Saturday 16 August 2014

The Difference Between Being Vegan and Plant Based Diets

There has been a lot in the news recently about celebrities turning vegan, with one of the biggest A list couples, Beyonce and Jay Z, now claiming to be vegan. However, what a lot of people don't realise is that there is a huge difference between being vegan and abstaining from animal products in your food.

Being vegan is more than just a diet, it is a lifestyle, a belief system. Obviously everyone knows that vegans don't eat meat, but we also don't consume fish, eggs, dairy, honey or anything else that comes from a living creature. It doesn't end there though, veganism isn't about food, it is about ethics. We don't believe that it is right to exploit animals, to use them for entertainment, food, clothing or anything else, so for example we wouldn't go to a zoo or an aquarium and would never wear leather or fur.

To make things simpler, here is a list of things that I will avoid because I am vegan. This is not everything, but it will give you an idea:
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Honey
  • Zoos
  • Circuses with animal acts
  • Aquariums
  • Horse carriage rides
  • Horse back riding
  • Horse racing
  • Greyhound racing
  • Silk
  • Products tested on animals
  • Products that contain animal derived ingredients
  • Farms
  • Keeping certain pets
  • Animal breeders
  • Wool
  • Hunting
  • Fishing
I really could go on for page after page, but I hope you get the idea. Here is a list of the things that people eating a plant based diet will avoid:
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
That's it! Do you see the difference? I'm all for people cutting animal products out of their diets, but to proclaim yourself as a vegan when you still contribute to the suffering of animals isn't right, it gives the wrong impression of what veganism is. Beyonce, for example, is apparently eating a plant based diet and that's wonderful, but she was actually photographed walking into a vegan restaurant wearing a fur coat! Not only is that vile and disgusting, it's also really disrespectful to the vegan restaurant she was visiting. 

Each year the average person consumes:
  • Roughly 130 shellfish
  • 40 fish
  • 26 chickens
  • One whole turkey
  • Nearly half a pig
  • A little more than a tenth of a cow

Is that more than you expected to see? It's a lot isn't it. I'm not here to guilt-trip anyone, I've nailed my colours to the cross and half expect to get some backlash for this post, but I think it's important that people understand the differences between an ethical choice and a fad or a diet. For years I've had people tell me I'm "weird" or "a hippie" for my choices, but that doesn't bother me in the slightest. It's human nature to mock what we don't understand, or to be on the defensive when confronted with the impact of our choices.

Does it matter to you that the media gets it so mixed up? What are your opinions on the new plant based fad that so many celebs seem to be trying? I understand that opinions on this will differ, and that's ok, all I ask is that you're not rude to me or anyone else in the comments.

Thank you,

P.S. Don't forget that my competition is still open (at the time of writing this), click here to find out more.
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