Technological progress and cultural development allow people on the planet to realize their wishes as much as possible. This also applies to food preferences. It turns out that every seventh inhabitant of the planet does not eat meat. There can be many reasons for this approach to the diet.
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Some simply cannot afford it, while others try to follow some considerations of morality or ethics. The latter are usually called vegetarians… But at the same time, in this environment there are many different currents, sometimes fundamentally different. Someone refuses meat, while others exclude milk or honey from the diet. Vegetarianism is not nearly as straightforward as it is thought to be. The same vegans prefer a slightly different approach to nutrition.
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The emergence of veganism
Initially, vegetarianism emerged from the desire of a group of people to give up meat food, fish and seafood, which are obtained by killing living creatures: hunting, fishing, etc. The prefix “veg” just means “rejection of meat”. But initially milk and eggs were also banned. Over time, the followers of this approach to food began to make themselves some indulgences. Now vegetarianism can be divided into several categories:
- Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians – eat any food of animal origin, except meat, fish and seafood. Their diet contains eggs (there are no chickens in industrial eggs), dairy products and honey.
- Ovo vegetarians – only eggs are consumed from animal products.
- Lacto vegetarians – only milk and dairy products are eaten from animal food.
- Vegan – these are the most strict vegetarians who eat only food of plant origin, in very rare cases, honey.
It was vegans who turned out to be more principled, refusing in principle from any food of animal origin. These people are guided not only by the approach to nutrition, but also by moral principles, having special respect for living things.
Vegetarianism in Russia appeared in the 1860s, as a manifestation of the development of new ethical views. Leo Tolstoy, who became a vegetarian at the age of 50, greatly influenced the development of the movement. Pre-revolutionary domestic adherents just adhered to the “old vegetarian” lifestyle, which is as similar as possible to modern veganism.
And the term “veganism” itself appeared in 1944. It was introduced by Donald Watson, an Englishman inspired by Tolstoy’s ideas, during the establishment of the Vegan Society. In the definition of the new organization, it was explicitly stated that the lifestyle of the followers would exclude any form of exploitation and cruelty towards living beings as much as possible.
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Vegans not only refuse to consume animal products, but also to use in everyday life things and objects created from living beings or tested on them: leather, furs, wool, cosmetics with animal components. The same honey was banned, since its extraction is considered a mockery of bees. Vegans exclude foods with gelatin and glycerin from their diet, since these substances are of animal origin. Even some types of sugar and alcohol were banned, since their preparation and purification also occurs with the use of “live” products. Vegans are ardent animal rights activists, urging everyone to ignore zoos and dolphinariums, where living creatures are exploited and kept in harsh conditions. For these people, even keeping pets is an unnatural norm. Vegans and vegetarians are in general ideologically close, but their degree of rejection of animal products is very different.
Some people have expanded the vegan restrictions even further. For example, raw vegans consume foods that are not thermally processed. These people dry food in the sun or in the oven at a temperature of no more than 42 degrees. Raw foodists consume exclusively plant-based foods, while refusing cereals, soups, salt, spices and sugar. And fruitorians do not want to destroy even plants, eating only their fruits: seeds, nuts and fruits.
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The consequences of veganism
Studies have shown that deaths from coronary heart disease in vegans are a quarter less than in traditional diets. And from an ethical point of view, a vegetarian as a whole can be content with saving 760 chickens, 20 pigs, 5 cows, 29 sheep throughout his life.
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Recently, the number of people turning to healthy and wholesome food has been steadily growing. More and more among them and vegetarians with vegans. So, in America, about 2% of citizens consider themselves vegans. In Los Angeles, the authorities even declared all Mondays – Lenten, out of a desire to help nature. But no one infringes on meat-eaters on this day. In Israel, 2.6% of residents identify themselves as vegetarians and vegans. There, even in the army, you can choose accessories made of leatherette or polyester. In Germany, up to 8% of the population adheres to vegetarianism, with 200-400 thousand vegans there.
There is no point in discussing all the pros and cons of veganism. The rejection of meat to one degree or another is a stable trend, which is based both on the desire of a person to revise his diet and make it more useful, and on ethical views. People are free to adhere to certain views or change them over time. The main thing is to observe the measure and listen to your body.