What is a “vegan”?

What is “VEGAN?”vegan-1343429_960_720

Some COOL Cuisine folks identify themselves as vegans, and that deserves some explanation–many people are unclear about what it all means.

“Veganism (/ˈviːgənɪzəm/) is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, as well as following an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals.”

THE ETHICS OF COMPASSION

There is vegan diet, and then there is vegan lifestyle. That ethic feeds into not just diet, but everything many vegans do in their daily life including all of the products they buy. Many vegans stop buying as many products as they can that have caused the suffering of animals. That includes obvious things like leather and fur, but also the glue used to make many shoes, fish bladders used to clarify some beer and wine, and many additive ingredients that take a bit of research to determine their source.

Some vegans are also activists advocating rights and better treatment of all animals — for instance elephants, tigers, and all animals used in the circus, horses used for the entertainment of horse-drawn carriages, zoos and agricultural fairs that display animals in environments that frighten them, and the use of animals for scientific experimentation or hard labor.

There is significant video documentation of animal abuse throughout animal agriculture. If you want to see it, here are some good YouTube playlists: Mercy for Animals, PETA, and educational filmmaker, Erin Janus.

THE ENVIRONMENT

How does veganism support a healthy, sustainable world?

“RAISING ANIMALS FOR FOOD GENERATES MORE GREENHOUSE GASES THAN ALL THE CARS AND TRUCKS IN THE WORLD COMBINED.”  – United Nations, 2006.

While this statistic is now called into questions – it is certain that animal agriculture is just bad for the environment.

“We collectively raise, feed, water, kill, and eat over 65 billion animals each year for food. That number again: 65 billion, which is ten times as many people as we have on the entire earth.” –Dr. Richard Oppenlander via Sarmaraw

More climate change information from Dr. Richard Oppenlander, author of Comfortably Unaware. The film Cowspiracy also has interesting facts on their webiste.

YOUR HEALTH

 A plant-based diet is also proven to prevent/reverse disease.  You can learn a lot about health effects of an animal focused diet from Dr. Michael Greger, author of How Not to Die. Also, Dr. Dean Ornish has been advocating an almost entirely plant-based diet to reverse heart disease for 25 years.

other resources:

Environmental Vegetarianism

Vegan Society

Vegansofdavis 

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