If there’s one thing we can openly admit, it’s that we eat anything and everything here at TWC, and although there’s absolutely nothing wrong with food restrictions, there’s one particular diet trend that’s been gaining popularity lately: veganism. Which brings us to our most recent question: Is veganism a trend? We believe it is, but dug a little bit deeper.
According to figures from the Vegan Society, the number of vegans in the UK has increased by 350% over the past 10 years. Of those, 42% are between the age of 15 and 34, displaying a huge popularity in younger generations. If like us, you live in a big city such as London, you’ll have seen the increase of vegan restaurants, found almost in every street of trendy neighborhoods (think East London). So why is veganism so popular?
What Is Veganism?
The modernized concept of veganism was started about 70 years ago, by Donald Watson. Watson initiated a movement against animal cruelty and decided to start a petition against eating anything related to animals. After a few debates on how to call this new diet, they decided on the word vegan, which contains the first and last three letters of vegetarian.
“Veganism is a philosophy and 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..” Donald Watson.
To a meat-lover, adopting a vegan diet can seem like the end of the world. No meat, fish, dairy, eggs… anything that comes from an animal. So what exactly can you eat? What was once associated with religion and animal rights movements, is now part of people’s everyday lifestyle which has become clearly apparent in the increase of vegan food choices such as vegetables, fruits, mock meats made from plant proteins, dairy alternatives such as soy, and lots of nuts!
Another trending aspect of veganism is the short-time commitment to eating a vegan diet only for a matter of weeks or months, for a cleanse or spiritual journey. Those who choose to be a part-time vegan are certainly not against eating meat, as they tend to go back to their habits after a while. This is both a good way to try the diet and seeing if it could be the one for you, but also to adopt a stricter and animal-friendly way to treat your food.
There has also been a huge increase in documentaries, films, social media and articles published on the topic. One of the most popular articles by the World Health Organisation last year claimed that meats were one of the causes in the increase of cancer. Following the publication of that article, surveys revealed a clear increase in vegan consumers in the UK, as well as many public figures taking the stand against eating animal produce. We’re talking celebrities such as Ellie Goulding, Bill Gates and David Hayes (amongst many others). It’s no surprise that celebrities and public figures have a significant impact on trends, especially in the younger population, and it’s not a secret that veganism is one of the trendiest hashtags on IG. Many celebrities and bloggers use the tagline vegan to promote healthy lifestyles and fitness accounts.
The media has without a doubt, helped the vegan message to spread much faster and publicly, today making it hard to even “spot” a vegan.
Health & Environment
Other than the social increase of veganism portrayed in the media and online, there are also many benefits to veganism regarding the environment and overall health. Being aware of where the meat/fish you purchase comes from and looking after your well-being are trending themes for us millennials, and all three are closely related to veganism. Although many of us might never adopt the concept of getting rid of animal products, it’s important to be conscious about ethical eating, by simply knowing what you’re eating and what is best for your body.
Other than animal awareness and health reasons, there are also factors of environmental concern such as global warming and pollution. Animal agriculture is said to be the leading cause of C02 emissions and water pollution. Therefore getting rid of agricultural jobs related to animals would work towards a cleaner and healthier earth. But is this radical way the only option?
Is Veganism Healthy?
There are indeed many reasons why veganism is good, but how healthy is it really? From the research made today, I can confidently outline that if you want to try veganism, you need to do a lot of research. The reason being, is that if you take away all these essential foods from your diet, you will need supplements and make sure your body is not lacking from anything such as vitamins and nutrients.
Just like any other trend which we looked at this year, it’s all about moderation and making sure you do all the necessary research before taking a drastic decision. If you think veganism could help with your health, or if you’re environmentally aware and want to make a difference, why not try baby steps like a part-time vegan diet, before deciding anything.
Is it a good New Year resolution? I personally couldn’t tell you, but hope that this mainstream trend will raise awareness of all the issues related to animal well-being and the planet.
Although a vegan diet is the most popular aspect of the trend, many also choose to adopt a vegan lifestyle in the form of clothing and non-leather goods.
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