The case for the vegan

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World Vegan Day

Becoming a vegan is not just a decision about eating but a conscious state of being

My first question is what’s the difference between a vegan and a vegetarian? Well, I can honestly say, that up until recently I didn’t really know the answer.

I knew what a vegetarian was but didn’t understand the differences between the terms and the commitment undertaken by those who practice this lifestyle.

These days we are more conscious of our health. We understand that a healthy body is paramount to our whole life. Food affects the way we think, the way act and even the way we look. We are more mindful of the foods we buy and the way they have been produced. We make informed choices of what we put in our mouths based on many factors. These include:

• Access/Availability of good quality food

• Disposable income to purchase good quality food

• Religious/Cultural acceptances of the foods we eat

We all know that eating a diet of fast foods will eventually catch up with us, however most of us accept that the “occasional sin”, as we justify it to ourselves doesn’t hurt.

I admire those who are disciplined, those who live a truly healthy lifestyle, who practice healthy eating and drinking, meditation, spiritual enlightenment, exercise regularly and give back to others by way of community involvement in some way.

How many of us have committed to a healthier lifestyle as the clock strikes 12 for the start of the New Year. This year my New Year’s resolution is…

I spoke to a friend recently, who typifies what I see as that “perfect” person. She seems to attract positivity and just being in her presence calms and energises me at the same time. She radiates health and exudes something I can’t quite put my finger on. What makes her so special? I really don’t know, in every sense of the word, she is an average middle aged woman, with one difference—she is a vegan. “Casey” has been a committed vegan for the past 10 years, and made the change a long time before I met her. She like many others decided to make a conscious decision to change her eating habits for reasons going beyond being healthy.

Vegan refers to either a person who follows this way of eating (vegan style), or to the diet itself. That is, the word vegan can be an adjective used to describe a food item, as in, “This curry is vegan”, or, it can be used as a noun, as in, “Vegans like cookies, too.”

I guess the question most of us want to know is what do Vegans eat and how is Veganism different to being a Vegetarian.

Becoming a vegan seems not to just be about eating a range of foods that are not meat, but taking it one step further and not eating foods that have contributed to the suffering of any animal or animals used in the process, like milk and honey. It also goes as far making a conscious decision about the clothes we wear, such as wearing leather and being astutely aware of the make-up used, ensuring it has not been tested on animals.

The health benefits of a vegan diet are cited as many, including increased energy, younger looking skin and eternal youth.

There’s a lot of information and opinion about eating plants which are rich in protein, iron, calcium and other essential vitamins and minerals. Consuming nutrients which many of us are lacking in our “fast food” world is seen as the first step to a “happier” lifestyle. The plant-based sources of these nutrients tend to be low in saturated fat, high in fibre and packed with antioxidants, helping mitigate some of the modern world’s biggest health issues like obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Vegan’s view of the world takes it a step further though, looking into issues, most of us don’t consider.

Many of us “meat eaters” don’t think about where it comes from and how it is produced. However the “vegan” does. There’s always a lot of controversy around “diets”. Fads come and go. Diets come into fashion and then leave just as fast.

It does seem though, that the Vegan diet holds true for many—for a range of reasons.

I like most of us, love food and yes I eat too much chocolate, grab the quick sugar hit, or something from a takeaway shop, to stop that gnawing in the pit of my stomach on a day I have skipped breakfast.

Come this October, we all get the opportunity to find out firsthand what being a Vegan is all about.

The event offers a wide range of “tastings”, information and is delivered in a non-judgmental way. The aim is to share what it’s like to be a Vegan and let you decide for yourself, for your health and for your lifestyle.

This free event could be the start of your life….

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