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What the ism? Veganism

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If this hasn’t already happened, at some point in our lives we will go to dinner with a vegan. You know that person who is kind of a vegetarian that doesn’t eat meat so takes forever to choose an item on the menu, and after they’ve picked out a few options, they interrogate the waiter/waitress about the ingredients in each dish.

To the carnivores on the table, who would most likely be in the majority, this is just plain annoying especially seeing as all you want to do is order a steak.

The reason why vegans sometimes annoy carnivores is perhaps because they don’t really understand what veganism is all about.

We here at TNS are all about equality so we decided to educate you carnivores on veganism.

In 1847, the first vegetarian society was formed in England. Three years later, Rev. Sylvester Graham, the inventor of Graham crackers, co-founded the American Vegetarian Society. Graham was a Presbyterian minister and his followers, called Grahamites, obeyed his instructions for a virtuous life: vegetarianism, temperance, abstinence, and frequent bathing.

In November 1944, a British woodworker named Donald Watson announced that because vegetarians ate dairy and eggs, he was going to create a new term called "vegan," to describe people who did not.

There are three kinds of vegans. The first is the ethical vegan, who as well as removing animal based foods from their diet, does not wear clothing or own objects made from animals. To the ethical vegan, veganism is not just a diet, it’s a philosophical lifestyle.

Then there’s the dietary vegan (or the extreme vegetarian), who only reject animals from their diet. These vegans have caused quite the debate in the vegan community. As author Joanne Stepaniak argued in her book, Being Vegan (2000), "Practising a vegan diet no more qualifies someone as vegan than eating kosher food qualifies someone as Jewish." In other words, some vegans believe that rejecting animals from your diet doesn’t automatically award you the title of a vegan.

Then there’s the environmental vegan who are a bit like the ethical vegan as they don’t eat or wear animal based products - but their motivation for their veganism is to do with the environment as they believe that veganism cases less environmental damage.

When it comes mainstream acceptance, vegetarianism has managed to find acceptance within the meat eating world but veganism still have a way to go.

Some speculate that this is due to the fact that the media doesn’t portray veganism as much as it does vegetarianism. But with celebrities like Bill Clinton and Catwoman herself Anne Hathaway coming out and singing the praises of their vegan lifestyle, veganism may become as mainstream as vegetarianism very soon.




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