(VEGANISM) While only 2.5 percent of Americans are currently vegan, the plant-based movement is on the rise, leading experts to wonder whether veganism is just a fad or the future of food.
There are many reasons to enjoy a vegan diet, including health and environmental benefits. But for many, it’s a matter of animal rights and boycotting an industry that treats animals inhumanely.
Read on for five fast facts about veganism and why you should consider a vegan lifestyle. — Global Animal
Heavy, Beth Heyn
World Vegan Day is an annual event celebrated on November 1. People celebrating the holiday celebrate the benefits of veganism for humans, non-humans and the environment. Activities include hosting vegan potlucks and planting memorial trees. With Halloween the day before, World Vegan Day can also bring out healthier options for people around the world.
The term “vegan” originated in 1944 when a British wood worker named Donald Watson announced that he was creating the term to describe people who did not eat meat or eggs. In 1943, 40 percent of British cows had been found to have Tuberculosis, so Watson used that to his advantage in spreading the idea of veganism.
By the time Watson died in 2005, there were more than 250,000 vegans in Britain and over 2 million in the United States.
Here’s what you need to know about World Vegan Day:
1. The Event Was Established in 1994
World Vegan Day was established in 1994 by Louise Wallis, who was the chair of the Vegan Society at the time. Since the Vegan Society was founded in 1944, the event was created to mark the 50th anniversary of the society.
Wallis was born in 1964 in Birmingham, England. She became an animal activist in 1990 with the National Anti-Vivisection society as the Regional Campaigns Officer. She worked at an animal research laboratory in an undercover effort for several months in 1990 before being fired. After being fired, she wrote her story and launched a “Free the Beagles” campaign, which called for the release of 24 beagles Wallis had cared for in her time at the laboratory. The company refused to release the 24 beagles.
Wallis was elected as president of the Vegan Society in 1991, where she commissioned and produced the film Truth or Dairy.
2. The Day Kicks off World Vegan Month
November is World Vegan Month, and the Vegan Society is celebrating with events around the world throughout the month. The events include vegan cooking classes, vegan festivals and vegan food truck Thanksgiving.
The Vegan Society website also encourages hosting a vegan lunch or dinner party in order to celebrate the holiday.
This year, the Vegan Society is launching an app called VNutrition that will contain recipes developed by in-house dietitians and focus on helping vegans hit nutritional goals. They are also launching a “Vegan on the Go” campaign to encourage retailers to provide vegans with on-the-go type lunch options in order to establish veganism as part of the mainstream culture.
3. There Are About 1 Million Vegans in the U.S.
According to Vegetarian Times, roughly 7 million Americans are vegetarian and about 1 million of those people are vegan. Since more well-known people are becoming vegan, including athletes and celebrities like Liam Hemsworth and Jennifer Lopez, the trend is rising among Americans.
The number of vegans in United States has risen rapidly since 2014. According to a report by GlobalData, veganism is up to 6 percent in 2017 from 1 percent in 2014. The report, titled “Top Trends in Prepared Foods in 2017” cites a growing awareness of the impact of meat consumption among consumers.
With more restaurants and supermarkets offering vegan options, becoming vegan is becoming easier for those that are inclined to do so.
4. Restaurants Around the World are Celebrating the Event
The world’s first 24-hour vegan drive-thru launched in Canada this summer, but that’s not the only restaurant that will be offering more vegan options on World Vegan Day. The drive-thru, called Globally Local, opened their second restaurant in Canada in June. They offer options like a vegan Famous Burger, a Vegan Vopper and an entire breakfast sandwich menu. These options are available every day. On World Vegan Day, more restaurants, schools and businesses will follow suit in offering vegan options.
A restaurant in Miami called Plant Miami will be serving a KLC, a kale-based sandwich with chickpeas, lentils, carrots and cauliflower topped with herbs and coconut-curry dressing, Whole Foods will offer an all-vegan menu in partnership with Vedgerestaurant and Houston Intermediate School District is hosting a World Vegan Day festival for students.
Whole Foods is celebrating by offering an all-vegan menu for November 1. The meals will be available all day at the hot bar and is available to order online from November 1 to 6 at shop.wfm.com and use of the promo code VEGAN will grant $5 off.
5. Strict Veganism Prohibits Any Use of Animal Products
Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, not only in diet, but also in the use of every-day products. Distinctions are made between dietary vegans and ethical vegans. The latter is a stricter class of vegan, referring to those who avoid the use of animal products for any purpose.
Ethical vegans have to pay close attention to personal items like soap and hair care products because many of those products contain animal products like lanolin. Lanolin is from sheep’s wool and can be found in lip balm and moisturizers. An easy way to tell if a product is vegan or not is checking for the British Vegan Society logo. PETA’s bunny logo can also help because it means that the product was not tested on animals.