Veganism … what does this foreign word even mean? Do vegans only eat fruits and vegetables? Does going vegan make you a hippie? Is the change even worth learning about? Are there valuable benefits from this drastic lifestyle change? If a revamp in your lifestyle is what you need or if you’re simply curious, VALLEY is here to give you a full rundown of veganism at its core and the benefits that follow this particular lifestyle choice.
According to The Vegan Society, “veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” This means that vegans do not eat any animal products, including meat, dairy and eggs or purchase any items where an animal was exploited in the process.
Vegans partake in a fully plant-based diet including an abundance of different fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds and beans. So no more pizza or ice cream? Of course there is still pizza and ice cream! There are a variety of different brands such as Amy’s Kitchen, Daiya, So Delicious and Ben & Jerry’s who create delicious vegan foods that you could find at your local Wegmans, Trader Joe’s, Giant or Weis.
The list of positive benefits of becoming vegan is seemingly endless. One of the most important benefits is an improvement in your overall health. Since vegan diets heavily consist of healthy staple foods, all foods consumed are higher in vitamins and minerals and also lower levels of cholesterol and saturated fats. By eating a plant based diet, your risk of health conditions such as heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes also decrease.
An increased pep in your step may also occur, as vegans tend to have more energy from all of the healthy foods they consume. And with all of that increased energy, you could take a light run downtown to State College’s very own vegan cafe, Café Verve.
When you go vegan, not only will your own health improve, but you will be improving the health of the environment. Raising and breeding animals for the meat, dairy and egg industry takes away a lot of scarce natural resources. By being vegan, you get to decrease the amount of natural resources, including land and water, being taken away for the agricultural industry.
Vegans also better the general welfare of animals within the agricultural industry. Being a vegan means that less animals will be raised solely to be served on a dinner plate and more will grow up to be loved.
What are your thoughts on going vegan? Tweet us @VALLLEYmag with your opinions on this dietary and lifestyle change.