One of the big questions of the year 2018 is whether the world is turning into vegan or not. With the number of environmental hazards, health concerns and benefits associated with the kind of diet intake, the standards of consumerism have radically evolved. People are now more concerned with the kind of food that they buy and eat, as more awareness about manufacturing procedures and processes has surfaced.
It is hard to state a downright fact and close-ended answer to the question at hand; whether the world is actually turning vegan or not. Everything has its pros and cons, and so does a vegan lifestyle entail all the positive and negative aspects.
What we can do though, is to get to know more about a vegan diet, its advantages and disadvantages, and on that basis conclude a crude knowledge on the rise of veganism.
What does Vegan really mean?
Before discussing whether veganism is really on the rise or not, we need to understand what the terminology actually means and stands for. Defining it will help us in clarifying the concept in a better way.
The term Vegan is defined as “a strict vegetarian who consumes no food (such as meat, eggs, or dairy products) that comes from animals, also: one who abstains from using animal products (such as leather).” Another definition by the Vegan Society website is that “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.” A person who has adopted the lifestyle of Veganism is called a Vegan, basically. That means no met, fish or poultry products.
People adopting this lifestyle, thus, avoid animal products as a means of running campaigns for animal cruelty-free regimes, promotion of vegetarian products, resistance for animal-derived products or also, to represent environmental and health hazards associated with a non-vegan diet. There could be a number of or a single contributing factor to the adoption of this lifestyle.
To understand the rise of veganism as a “top consumer trend of 2018”, we will look at some of the pros and cons of a vegan lifestyle that could serve as a basis for establishing a sound opinion.
Pros of a Vegan lifestyle:
Some of the pros and benefits regarding a vegan lifestyle are listed below:
- Animal cruelty-free products: Veganism can surely ensure a better production and sustenance of cruelty-free products in the market, ranging from food to even makeup options. We always see a product aiding the ecosystem and environment as a good one. Also, there is a surge in products with such labels as people tend to opt more for cruelty-free products.
- Incorporation of plant-based diet: Many diet regimes are suggestive or green or plant-based products, salads, etc. For a better health routine. A vegan diet can easily include the incorporation of a plant-based diet as a healthy alternative to junk, fried and fast food.
- Increase in antioxidant benefits: Vegetables are seen as potent sources of antioxidants. They help you get rid of free radicals and toxic compounds via your diet intake and cleanse your body free of such harmful substances. Vegetarian options, thus help to increase your chances of gaining more of these health benefits.
- Alleviation of climate change: Food-related emission in the atmosphere are due to the industrial wastes contributed in the environment and ecosystem destabilization. There is a rapid change due to a significant proportion of such non-vegan food production methods. They increase the greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere and threaten the environment with a potential increase in global warming. A vegan diet can promote the alleviation of a rapid climate change in the world by putting an end to such practices.
- Improvement in biodiversity: The imbalance in biodiversity created due to keeping cattle and pushing out of larger herbivores can be overcome by less emphasis and focus on raising animals for slaughter. It can also decrease the environmental hazards marked by over-grazing, soil erosion, etc. This can create a balance in biodiversity and the ecosystem. This can additionally pave way for sustainable agriculture options.
Now we will look at some of the cons of a vegan lifestyle to address the downside of the adoption of Veganism.
Cons of a Vegan lifestyle:
Some of the cons of a Vegan lifestyle are listed as follows:
- Significant lack of protein: Animal-free products can risk the balance of an optimal diet. A significant lack of protein is also harmful for your body due to some essential components found only in meat, fish or poultry. This can create hormonal imbalances and also, risk your exposure to harmful protein substitutes that are loaded with preservatives and sodium. That too, is definitely not a beneficial option.
- Limited food options: For a better diet, one needs variety in daily diet routines. A boring and monotonous vegetarian lifestyle can limit you to just the leafy greens and beans. Thus, on a restaurant menu card, you will have significantly lesser variety and limited options for food ordering. This really cannot ensure an adoption of a vegan lifestyle for long if you are the sort of person who enjoys variety in your food choices.
- Potential vitamin and mineral loss: As aforementioned, a significant lack of protein can essentially rob you off the potential vitamins and minerals sufficiently found in animal products and foods. This can eventually act as a side effect and added hassle for a replacement of these components.
- Vegan lifestyle is not equal to a healthy lifestyle: all of the above cons add up to the fact that claiming a vegan lifestyle does not necessarily equal to a healthy lifestyle. You may boast of the benefits of veganism and health or environmental effects, yet a balanced diet is key to a healthy diet. So, the extreme of either vegan or animal product incorporation in your diet is certainly not a safe bet for a healthy lifestyle.
- Effect on industry and economic conditions: the cons of a vegan lifestyle are not only limited to an individualistic level. Rather, the downside of it all is the poverty, rise in unemployment rates, effect on non-vegan industries and economic conditions of people and places relying on non-vegan products. Once veganism is on the rise, it can be a sufficient drawback for industrial and economic problems. Developed countries with major elite populations could maybe afford this lifestyle, but developing and underdeveloped will face all these consequences as a major drawback.
Conclusively, the radical shift in veganism is evident. Yet the adoption of a wholly vegan lifestyle, in my opinion, can be fatal in more ways than one. Thus, we cannot fully say that the world is turning into vegan due to man’s inherently omnivore instinct.
But one thing for sure is the rise in veganism culture – there is no denying that. The debate between vegan and non-vegan can go on and on. Ultimately, we just need to find a balance between our lifestyle choices for not only our better health and what suits our needs, but also, for the environment, atmosphere and people.