World Vegan Month
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” ~ Albert Einstein
World Vegan Month─observed each November─commemorates the coining of the term, ‘vegan’ and the founding of The Vegan Society in 1944. Since then, the Society has worked to make veganism an easily adopted, widely recognized approach to reducing animal and human suffering, as well as environmental damage, through peaceful, factual dialogue with both individuals and organizations.
Veganism is both a philosophy and a lifestyle. Vegans by definition choose not to consume any animal products, including meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy products, or honey. Nor do they typically use leather, fur, or wool for clothing, or purchase products that were tested on animals. While these choices differ from the mainstream Western approach, those who live this lifestyle tend to have very good reasons for doing so.
Vegan health benefits
Many people go vegan for health reasons, especially as we learn more about the proven benefits of a plant-based diet. According to the National Academy of Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and many other agencies and organizations in the United States and abroad a low-fat, high-fiber, produce-rich diet offers the best disease prevention across the board.
Veganism for the planet
Going vegan is one of the best things we can do for the environment, since research suggests that current animal agricultural practices are responsible for 18% of total greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than every single car, bus, plane, and train on earth. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, if every American substituted one meal of chicken with vegetarian food, the carbon dioxide savings would equate to taking more than half a million cars off U.S. roads.
Vegans for compassion
Paul McCartney─a passionate vegetarian and favorite Beatle for many─was quoted as saying “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.” This is a hard reality, but the truth is that while we once required meat for basic survival, consuming it now is a matter of preference. Many vegans choose to eliminate animal products out of compassion for the suffering of living beings raised and killed for food, which, to the vegan perspective, is totally unnecessary, nor does it benefit our personal or planetary health.
Veganism on a dime
Still others go vegan to save money, as buying plant foods in bulk is quite a cost effective way to feed a family with optimal nutrition. Think black, red and pinto beans, brown rice, amaranth and quinoa, lentils and split peas, root veggies like sweet potatoes, parsnips, beets and carrots, dark leafy greens, tofu, nuts and seeds, and you have the makings of a host of hearty entrées, soups, and stews that can be paired with salads, garlic toast, stuffed mushrooms, and more. The only limit is your imagination! For an extensive listing of delicious vegan recipes, go to: http://www.101cookbooks.com/vegan_recipes/
Whether or not the vegan lifestyle is for you, it’s certainly nourishing food for thought. Thanks for caring about the animals and our planet. Happy World Vegan Month!