Veganism has been a trending and growing movement, rapidly becoming popular amongst the biggest celebrities in Hollywood and top athletes around the world.
A vegan diet boasts a significantly lower risk of developing deadly diseases and cancers, a longer and healthier life, and simply an all-around more energetic and positive outlook; not to mention all those innocent animal lives being saved, as well as an important step towards a greener planet. With its many benefits, you might be wondering why everyone isn’t embracing this wonderful way of life. But is it really as amazing as some people swear by?
What used to be considered a radical lifestyle pursued only by peace-loving hippies has now become a common and widespread choice, especially throughout the younger and more modern generations, otherwise known as the millennials. The Food Revolution Network reports that there’s been a 600% increase in people identifying as vegans in the United States within the past three years alone, and as a result of that, restaurants are offering more vegan options than ever before.
Famous People Who Endorse this Lifestyle
Plant-based diets are also being increasingly adopted by professional athletes. For example, Wilson Chandler, who plays for the Denver Nuggets in the NBA, announced that, “Eating a vegan diet has changed my everyday living. I sleep better, I wake up in a better mood, I recover faster, I’m not so inflamed, not so achy. I feel better overall, in everything that I do. I can take in more information easier. My mind is just open.”
Other famous vegan basketball players include Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, Al Jefferson, Enes Kanter, and JaVale McGee, alongside some of the world’s most successful tennis players such as Venus Williams and Novak Djokovic.
Furthermore, many celebrities, while striving towards a vegan diet, also passionately advocate for it. Natalie Portman, Ariana Grande, Ellen DeGeneres, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lopez, Sia, and Bill Clinton are just some of the few famous people who have spoken out about their vegan lifestyles.
When asked about why he decided to go vegan, Liam Hemsworth replied, “[I wanted to become vegan because of…] My own health, and after all the information I gathered about the mistreatment of animals, I couldn’t continue to eat meat. The more I was aware of [the situation], the harder and harder it was [to continue]. There are no negatives to eating like this. I feel nothing but positivity, mentally and physically. I love it. I feel like it also has a kind of a domino effect on the rest of my life.”
The Australian actor is an avid activist for animal rights, together with his girlfriend, Miley Cyrus (picture above), who became determined to go vegan after the death of her most beloved pet dog.
Ethics Regarding Veganism
So what is it about this vegan diet that makes it so appealing towards a growing mass of people? One of the main motivations behind this lifestyle change is usually the concern for animal cruelty. Slaughterhouses can be extremely brutal with how they abuse and murder millions of animals. Many consider that whole process inhumane and view the act of killing an animal in itself as wrong. When their love for animals becomes stronger than the love of bacon on their taste buds, many people decide to cut meat out of their diets since they can’t stand the thought of eating what was once an innocent animal.
Not contributing to animal farming also helps to cut back on CO2 emissions, therefore helping our environment. The more animals we need to grow, the more crops we need to plant – crops that could be used to feed humans directly.
According to The Vegan Society, only about a third of the land that is currently being used for a “conventional” omnivore diet would have to be used for a vegan diet. They also state that it takes approximately three times more water to feed a meat eater compared to what it would take to feed a vegan. For example, “It takes 15,500 litres of water to produce 1 kg beef, contrasted with 180 litres for 1 kg tomatoes.”
Effects on Human Health
To add to the list of the positive impacts of veganism, the health benefits that a plant-based diet can offer are truly astounding. It has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes type 2, hypertension, obesity, and many types of cancers. Most vegans report an effortless digestion, stronger immune system, and a general youthful and liberated feeling.
After speaking with the AISB cafeteria manager, Daniel Obretin, who used to be a raw vegan himself for a few years, he revealed that through eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and less heavy, processed foods, he found himself enjoying a healthier life. He found that fruits and vegetables should make up the core of his diet thanks to their plentiful vitamins and nutrients, alongside lots of beans, chickpeas, and nuts. Nevertheless, he wasn’t sure what to believe as to whether veganism was the best diet, stating, “Some say it’s ok to eat meat, or be paleo, or be raw vegan. You never know which one is right because there are too many conflicting studies.”
Common Vegan Myths
That leads us into some of the most common vegan myths, but also the potential disadvantages. The most common concern for the efficiency of a vegan diet is that vegans may not get enough protein. There is a huge misconception among people who haven’t done any research that protein can only be obtained through meat, dairy, or eggs. However, that is definitely not the case. There are tons of plant-based protein sources, such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, nuts (especially peanuts, cashews, and almonds), oats, peas, quinoa, potatoes, whole wheat bread, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, and any soy products including soy milk, tofu, and edamame.
Many people also believe that veganism is too difficult to maintain and very restrictive. However, according to Livestrong.com, more than 38% of Americans alone eat vegetarian meals. Many stores and restaurants have more vegan menu items or products ever since the vegan food industry has grown significantly. Many cookbooks have also been created for this purpose.
Possible Disadvantages of a Plant-Based Diet
Vegan diets also tend to be higher in carbohydrates and lower in fats, which can be regarded as a good thing by some or a bad thing by others. Some people swear by a high carb diet that gives them more energy and the extra fuel they need for tough workouts, while also enjoying the clean feeling of a low-fat diet. Other people claim that they thrive on low carb diets and don’t mind eating a little more fat from animal products.
Difficulties might also arise when one is allergic to nuts, which make up a large part of a strict plant-based diet and important for getting in one’s daily protein intake.
Vegans have also socially been portrayed as weak and nutrient-deficient, however, that myth has clearly been debunked by all the powerful and successful athletes who are able to thrive so well on plant-based diets.
In the end, there is no ultimate, perfect, one-size-fits-all diet; but rather everyone should focus on finding the diet that works best for their own body and that gives them a genuine sense of well-being. While a vegan diet generally comes with a lot of benefits for one’s health and for the planet, it is true that it won’t be the best diet for everyone since human bodies can react so differently, and that’s why there will always be conflicting studies and rigorous debates on what the best way of eating really is.
If you’re thinking of giving veganism a try, go for it! Just make sure you are educated on food groups and are able to form a complete vegan meal, then just listen to how your body responds to it. Hopefully, you will enjoy this healthy, empowering, and cruelty-free lifestyle!
Resources if you are interested in veganism: