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What is a vegan?

A vegan is somebody who does not eat or use animals or animal products. That means that vegans don't eat meat, eggs or dairy products, and also that they avoid other things that have been produced by animals, such as leather, wool or silk.

Why?

Why on earth would you want to go to all that trouble!? Three reasons, but mainly the first one.

1. I wouldnít want it to happen to me. I believe that animals feel pain and that animals suffer when they are used for commercial gain. I donít like that thought, and I donít want to be responsible.

2. Eating a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables and low in animal protein, saturated fat and cholesterol is healthier and can help to prevent diseases such as heart disease. Thereís also a potential health risk from the hormones and antibiotics that are present in animal products. Many humans also have an allergy to milk proteins or they are lactose intolerant. This is common in all animals as they donít continue to drink milk (let alone the milk of another species!) after they have been weaned.

3. Using animal products is not good for the environment. Farming animals uses more fossil fuels, and the animals produce waste and methane in large quantities, polluting the land, water and air.

Donít take my word for it, find out more! You could start with The Vegan Society.

Why Not?

To me, the question isnít "Why should you be vegan?" but "Why shouldnít you be vegan?".

Itís not difficult. Thankfully most of us don't live on desert islands where the only edible thing is a goat (or various other ridiculous scenarios that people come up with to persuade you that eating meat is a good idea). You get everything that you need from vegetable sources if you eat a varied diet, and you don't even have to stick to vegetables with all these new fangled products in the veggie and free-from sections of supermarkets.

Although studies have shown that the 'average' diet is deficient in more vitamins and minerals than a vegan diet, people do often ask me "But where do you get your protein/iron/b12?" I can answer all those questions confidently and worry more about where some other people are getting their nutrients from - particularly when I walk past fast food restaurants or look in peopleís shopping trolleys. I'm quite confident that a vegan diet is healthier, not only because people who eat meat and dairy products are more likely to develop heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis (to name a few), but also because vegans tend to eat more wholegrains,fresh fruits and vegetables. Why hurt animals and yourselves when you don't need to?


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© Cherry 2012. Questions, comments & corrections welcome. Email Cherry at Parsleysoup.