From ArticleWorld

Veganism is a lifestyle choice that people make to abstain from consuming or using animal products, to include products that have been tested on animals. It is “the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals,” according the British Vegan Society.


Animal products

Any product derived from an animal, not just meat, is considered an animal product.

Some vegans, however, may avoid eating animal products but may continue to wear leather and other products derived from animals. These vegans are also known as dietary vegans.

Human breast milk is acceptable, but a cow's milk is not. Meat byproducts such as gelatin, lanolin, rennet and whey are forbidden, as are silk, honey and beeswax since these products are derived from insects. If cane sugar has been filtered with bone char or beer and wine has been clarified with egg white or animal blood, they may avoid these foods. Depending on one's beliefs, he or she may also abstain from food that has been prepared with non-vegan food.

Most vegans also dislike the exploitation of animals for profits and for that reason steer clear of circuses, zoos and aquariums.

Reasons for veganism

Veganism is typically a lifestyle choice and people make this choice for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Animal rights.
  • Health.
  • Ethical, moral, spiritual or religious reasons.
  • Political reasons.
  • Environmental awareness.


The word vegan began in 1944 as a derivative of vegetarian. This came about because Elise Shrigley and Donald Watson were frustrated that the term vegetarianism had expanded to include the consumption of dairy products. These two founded the UK Vegan Society, calling it such because they considered a vegan to be the beginning and end of a vegetarian (taking the beginning and ending letters of the word). Today, the term means those who decide to eliminate all animal products from their lives.


A good number of vegans believe that health benefits from their diet and from avoiding artificial substances (like growth hormones or antibiotics that are often given to animals). Many government dietetic associations agree that a well-planned vegan or vegetarian diet offers nutritional benefits. These benefits may include lower levels of saturated fat, low cholesterol and the consumption of antioxidant rich food.

Many vegetarians and vegans have lower body mass indices than meat eaters and it is shown that they also have lower death rates from ischemic heart disease (no cause and effect relationship has been established yet, however).


There are dangers to a vegan diet, especially when young children are on one and are unable to consume proper nutrition; this can lead to developmental deficits. Some experts see a vegan diet as a sign of anorexia among young women.