These days, many people are going vegan. Veganism is a lifestyle choice in which vegans seek “to promote health and peace while reducing the suffering of both people and animals,” (Dupler, 2018) by not consuming any animal products through food, clothing, cosmetics, and virtually every other aspect of consumption.


  • 8 million adults in the United States are vegetarian (as of 2016)
  • 3.4 million of these are vegans (Frey, 2019)


  • Pythagoras (582-507 BCE)
    • Followers practiced the self-disciplinary lifestyle of a vegan diet and no animal bloodshed, including sacrifices to Greek gods (Frey, 2019)
  • Jain religion in India followed, and still follows, a vegan diet, where followers cannot eat the roots of plants because ingesting the roots kills the plant.
  • England – founding of the Vegan Society (1944)
    • Coincided with the end of World War II
    • Founders dreamed of a better world, one that started with a reconstruction of the food system so as to not promote the death of any living beings (Dupler, 2018)
    • They chose the term “vegan” to start with the same letters as “vegetarian” and end with the last two, because they were starting with vegetarian ideas and taking them to their logical, more impactful conclusion (Dupler, 2018)
    • Vegan is also derived from the Latin word vegetus, meaning “full of life,” which founders hoped would be true of the movement.


  • Environmental
    • Environmental problems caused by livestock production include “topsoil loss, water shortages and contamination, deforestation, toxic waste, and air pollution,” and methane gas is released by cows in huge amounts, contributing to global greenhouse gas emissions (Dupler, 2018).
  • Ethics
    • There are estimates that the grain which goes into livestock feed in the United States is equivalent to six and a half times that which could be consumed by the American population, which could feed 1.3 billion people (Dupler, 2018). If that grain were to go directly into pantries, there would be a positive impact on the fight against world hunger.
  • Health benefits
    • Decreases your ingestion of pesticides and synthetic chemicals. Avoiding the top of the food chain reduces bioaccumulation, or the exponential increase in toxins as they work their way up the food chain. 
    • Hugely reduces cholesterol intake, because cholesterol is only found in animal products (Dupler, 2018).
  • “Social Justice of the 21st Century”
    • Veganism fights speciesism, which “is rooted in the same ideology that perpetuates hierarchical treatment of human animals,” and cultural customs in regards to food consumption thus need to change (Leonard, 2019).

Veganism is a movement demonstrating the interconnections of living beings, aimed at demonstrating just how outdated the food system is in terms of animal welfare and environmental impact.


Dupler, Douglas, MA. “Veganism.” The Gale Encyclopedia of Nursing and Allied Health, edited by Jacqueline L. Longe, 4th ed., vol. 7, Gale, 2018, pp. 3686-3689. Gale Health and Wellness.

Frey, J., PhD. “Veganism.” The Gale Encyclopedia of Diets, edited by Deirdre S. Hiam, 3rd ed., vol. 2, Gale, 2019, pp. 1263-1269. Gale Health and Wellness.

Leonard, Suzy Fleming. “Here’s Why I … Am a Vegan.” Florida Today, 18 May 2019. “Key Facts.” The Vegan Society