Lots of individuals are favoring to go vegetarian. But they are faced with a big question.
The Cambridge dictionary describes 'Vegan' as a person who does not eat or use any animal products, such as meat, fish, eggs, cheese, or leather. A Vegan uses products which are free from animal products.
A Vegetarian is a person who does not consume meat, eggs, fish, though there are some who consider eggs to be vegetarian. But they have no problems using leather or goods made of animals or animal products. It can be said that veganism is a lifestyle whereas vegetarianism is a diet.
Being a person who enjoys food especially "non-vegetarian" food as much as the next person - be it lamb, chicken, mutton or sea food, I draw a line at beef or pork. I must say I am not too comfortable eating beef or pork or all the other animals out there that end up as exotic foods on peoples' platters. Hence, I can say that to some extent I can understand peoples' aversion towards any kind of meat and preferring to go the vegetarian way.
Before we can understand veganism, we need to comprehend what it means. So, where do vegans get their protein from? It is mainly from nuts, seeds and cereals. Most individuals swear by this diet and feel that this is ideal for their general well-being. Veganism is not a newly coined term, though it has been one of the most searched one in the recent times.
The roots of Veganism can be traced back to India during 3000-1300 BCE, to the Indus valley civilization. Some of the most prominent advocates of this diet was Mahavira and his followers strictly followed the Vegan diet. Lately, a lot of people are preferring this diet mainly due to
Ethical Reasons- Vegans strongly believe the adage 'live and let live'. Their argument is that since there are alternatives available why should the animals be made to endure such psychological trauma. For instance, animals like cows, pigs and poultry are kept in such tight confines that the animals must be undergoing severe stress and depression.
Religious reasons- Some religious teachers also preach that eating the products, be it milk or meat has a very strong and psychological effect on humans as well. According to them the fear and trauma that the animal undergoes gets ingested into the humans when they consume the products which come from these animals.
Health reasons - Potential health effects are also a reason for the choice of vegan food. Plant based diets have been scientifically proven to reduce the risk of heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's - to just name a few.
Environmental Reasons- A UN report argues that animal products require higher resources compared to plant causing increased greenhouse emissions.
But I find it a little difficult to understand people forgoing even animal products like milk, cheese, curd, etc. This is something that the animals give willingly, and if it is not milked it just leaks out and if a sheep is not sheered it becomes difficult for the animal to move and its body gets overheated, which can also be termed as kind of cruelty.
Refusing to use products made from animal skin, fur or fat is commendable in some instances when we know that animals are either killed or tortured for the use of their skins, tusks or horns. The bottom line is Veganism is the step towards a healthier living which also includes elimination of cruelty towards animals.
We have been taught about the food chain for generations and how it is plays an important role in keeping a balance of the eco-system. Breaking the fundamental rule would cause an ecological imbalance. Following a certain kind of diet should be an individuals' preference. The bottom line is that be it veganism or vegetarianism we should not forget that a human body needs a balanced diet.