by Urmi Pandya
Veganism, a diet that eliminates animal-based products (versus vegetarianism, a diet that simply eliminates meat), is trending nowadays: Target introduced its own brand of plant-based “meats”, Tofurky launched 14 new products, even Santa Claus became vegan this year in the book Santa’s First Vegan Christmas by Robin Raven.
But what is the cause of this vegan epidemic?
Celebrities such as Ariana Grande, Ellen DeGeneres, Miley Cyrus, Sia and Venus Williams have become devoted vegans, thus popularizing the diet.
“I love animals more than I love most people, not kidding. But I am a firm believer in eating a full plant-based, whole food diet that can expand your life length and make you an all-around happier person,” said Grande.
However, celebrities are not nutritionists and it is possible that Grande may have exaggerated the health benefits of the lifestyle. Some actually insist that veganism causes vitamin deficiency and other health problems.
“A well-planned vegan diet has the elements that are necessary for growth and development,” asserts Reed Mangels, a dietician and lecturer at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst.
Michael Applebaum of FitnessMed.Inc believes that veganism can even shape character. He declares that people have to be fully aware of what they are eating. In this way, those who adopt the diet become much more careful and organized in many aspects of life.
Clearly, there are ethical aspects that support veganism – in fact, a majority say that ethical aspects influenced the decision to transition to veganism the most. Figures such as Ellen Page emphasize the ethical dilemma of eating animal products, while Jenna Dewan-Tatum switched to cruelty-free beauty products.
However, in response to the second-most significant reason to become vegan, health, Applebaum states that “A person might believe that by being vegan they are making themselves healthier. There are no good data of which I am aware proving that simply being vegan as an isolated behavior improves health.”
To become healthier requires a change in lifestyle as a whole, consisting of a new approach to the mind, diet, and physical exercise in order to improve health. Implementing a vegan diet, yet failing to exercise will not produce the famed results.
Overall, veganism has generated some criticisms. However, with thorough planning, acknowledgement of positive outcomes, and change to preexisting habits, turning vegan will turn you into a celebrity (well, it can at least provide you with a lifestyle comparable to that of a celebrity).