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Deep Dive into Veganism

Why is the diet so maligned?
Lunch at Utah Military Academy.

The Oxford Dictionary defines veganism as ”the practice of eating only food not derived from animals and typically avoiding the use of other animal products”.While this definition is true, it simplifies vegan history and culture into a summary.

The term veganism was introduced in 1944 by Donald Watson, however, the diet first came from Indian and Mediterranean cultures. However, the first meat-free diet was from Greece, by the Orphics(A religion).

The vegan diet has many health benefits such as lower blood pressure, improved digestion,  and a lowered cancer risk, however, this does not entice most people to join the diet. According to Redefine Meat, less than one percent of the world is vegan and only 4% of the U.S. population is vegan.

So why does this diet have such a small population? The main problem people find when looking at joining the vegan diet is the restrictiveness of the food options. Another reason that people might stray away from the diet is because of the common stigma of vegans being malnourished, however, this stigma most likely came from people who are new to the vegan diet not knowing how to balance their diets nutritionally, because they are not used to using some ingredients for their vitamins.

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Diets that do not contain meat have been around since the 6th century BCE. The diet only gained extreme popularity in the 2010’s, the cause of this popularity might have been the increased accessibility to vegan products, the health benefits, and animal and environmental conservation. Most people don’t actually believe that the vegan diet improves the environment. The University of Oxford says, “Vegans have just 30% of the dietary environmental impact of high-meat eaters.”

While the vegan diet is simply just a diet, the participants of this diet have gained a lot of hate for their lifestyle. One reason that people have a problem with vegans is because the vegan diet can challenge beliefs and traditions. Vegans can also be painted in a negative light by the representatives of the vegan community. A fairly new example of this is “That Vegan Teacher”.

“That vegan teacher” is also known as Kadie Karen Diekmeyer. Kadie is disliked by the internet for some of the ways she promotes veganism, such as using religion to guilt trip people into joining the diet, naming one of her videos” If your religion tells you to eat animals it might be time…” Kadie also attempts to guilt-trip viewers into the diet by comparing eating meat to violations of human rights. When things like this happen it can leave a negative opinion about the community with people outside of the community.

While there are negative occurrences in the community, the vegan diet represents something more pure. According to The Vegan Society the official term “vegan” was created by Donald Watson and a couple of other vegans who understood the ethics of eating animal products.

In the end, it’s most important to understand that everyone has their own lifestyles even if they don’t align with yours.


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