What is 'Veganism' ?

Updated: Jun 1, 2020

I know a few of you are curious as to why I am vegan, and want me to give advice on transitioning to a vegan diet, as well as facts about why it is so important. But first I want to clear up a few misconceptions about veganism.

So what does 'veganism' mean?

Veganism is not a diet. It is not a trend and hopefully is not 'going' anywhere. It is growing and for all good and valid reasons. But more on that later.

As I said, veganism isn’t a diet. Yes, vegans don't eat certain things, but it goes deeper than that. I like to state it like this: Veganism is the act of aligning your actions as a consumer with your beliefs.

"Veganism is the act of aligning your actions as a consumer with your beliefs."

The first thing you need to figure out is - what you believe?

Now I'm not talking about whether or not you believe we should or shouldn't eat animals biologically* - In my opinion, this argument is irrelevant.

It doesn't matter if we are biologically supposed to only eat plants, or animals or both. It is the simple fact that we can survive and strive on an all plant-based diet. There is no need to harm animals - that is the main message here.

*I actually find this topic super interesting and I will look at this in more detail, but in a future post.

So - what do you believe in. How about a few questions?

  • Do you love your pets?

  • Do you have a love for animals?

  • Do you think baby animals are cute?

  • Do you feel sad when you see road-kill or an injured animal?

  • Did you cry in Bambi?

  • Did that scene with the snakes in Planet Earth make you squeal in your seat, rooting for the little lizard guy to get away?

  • Would you want to stop unnecessary harm to an animal?

If you answered yes to at least one of these, then you already believe in veganism.

You have compassion and empathy for animals.

If you don't have compassion for animals, then maybe you should have a good sit down and think about a few things.

Animals are sentient beings. Sentience meaning the capacity to feel sensations, perceive, have consciousness, and to experience subjectively. Animals deserve a place on this earth, not for our 'use', but to live, love and enjoy life.

Veganism is simply, recognising your compassion for others, and acting accordingly. This includes not paying for animal products, whereby animals are enslaved and used in any manner against their own will. This can also mean contributing to an industry that otherwise supports these actions.

These industry's include where we get our clothes, food, washing products, make-up, toiletries etc - you might be surprised how reliant we are as a society on the 'use' of animals, in their body parts, by-products, and in animal testing. But thankfully, this is changing and there are options.

Veganism is about choice, and recognising your power as a consumer.

If you could choose to live a lifestyle where you do not harm any animals or humans, whilst still being your happiest and healthiest self - why wouldn’t you?

It has never been easier to make this choice, with the food security and options we have today.

You, as a consumer have the power to decide what you pay for. Veganism is simply refusing to pay for things that contribute towards the harm of other beings.

We are lucky to live in a generation where we don't need to cause unnecessary suffering to animals anymore. There are tonnes of alternatives and an infinite amount of information on the internet regarding a healthy plant based diet.

You can start today. It doesn't have to be perfect, but awareness is the first step.

I am excited to share this journey with you, after all - we are all in this together. Stay tuned for future posts regarding veganism.

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Alice Eleanor Matthews Blog @astroally.co.uk

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