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Veganism: a Trend or a Lifestyle?

In the past, when one would think of someone who lives a vegan lifestyle, they might correlate it to peace signs, tie-dye, or other stereotypical appearances that seemed to just “fit” the lifestyle. Over the past year, more and more people have turned to a vegan lifestyle. As of 2018, more than one million Americans call themselves vegan. Although some people become vegan for its trendiness, what does it actually mean to be vegan? What does one believe as a vegan? Do all vegans actually follow the exact “rules” of veganism?

The definition of veganism is “a person who does not eat or use animal products.” Of course, this definition seems clear and simple enough for one to understand, but most may not know how much preparation and caution it takes to be a vegan. Most people who do not know much about the plant-based diet assume the terms vegetarian and vegan can be used interchangeably. The difference between these two is that vegetarian refrains from eating the meat of any kind, while a vegan does not have any meat, animal-based foods (dairy), and any products containing anything derived from an animal (like fur, makeup, etc.).

In the past, people originally decided to become vegan because they have a strong belief in preserving animal rights and feel obligated to advocate for animal cruelty. Some vegans believe that humans are abominable for the way they slaughter animals for food, milk, or their fur. They want to bring awareness to non-vegans about the gruesome actions that go into preparing foods and clothing. Vegans also believe that it is not healthy for humans to consume animal flesh. Many advocates for veganism like YouTube creator, Freelee the Banana Girl, try to teach others about the harm meat and animal products can do to one’s body and how morally wrong it is for anyone to support the slaughtering or harm of these animals. Many documentaries have also been made, such as What The Health? which go into major depth and show the downsides to eating meat from a doctor’s perspective. They also depict what life is like for an animal in a slaughterhouse, and what physical and emotional benefits come from being vegan. In the past few years, thanks to helpful blogs, videos, and movies, veganism is increasing throughout the United States.
Although a large part of veganism is the spiritual journey one goes on and how one is willing to find ways to make the world a safer place for animals, that is not always the case for vegans today. Most people decide to become vegan because of the physical benefits. Eating diets consisting of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, quinoa, and other forms of protein along with exercise are extremely successful when it comes to weight loss. Although following these strict restrictions can be tricky when going out to eat or dining with a friend, people find the results worth it, and they at least try sticking to the diet for a few weeks. When done correctly, changing one’s diet to a vegan lifestyle/diet can help them lose a few pounds.

Because of the social media exposure of its success, many people decide to try to go vegan for just a few weeks and afterward feel “fresh” in their own bodies. When the term vegan and veganism first originated, it was more about the belief and lifestyle that made people go vegan. Veganism was originally a form of activism that was meant to advocate for animal rights and put a halt to animal cruelty.

Although vegans like this do surely exist, it is safe to say the “trend” of veganism has certainly grown because of its victory of improving weight loss. Whether you are looking to lose weight or you strongly believe in the case of animal cruelty, a vegan diet might be something you are interested in trying.

Carly Giacoio

Muhlenberg '22

Carly Giacoio is currently a junior at Muhlenberg College who originally is from northern New Jersey. She plans on graduating with an English major and Creative Writing minor. Carly also enjoys singing, composing music, and writing poetry in her free time.
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