Veganism

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Veganism denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practical—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals, and the environment. ~ The Vegan Society

Veganism is both the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. A follower of either the diet or the philosophy is known as a vegan.

Quotes[edit]

  • There is injustice; you can challenge it. There is a way to live a life of integrity, of trying to do the least harm possible, of integrating political beliefs with what you eat and how you treat others. Welcome to a feminist-vegan vision for the world.
  • By setting aside animal-derived products—meat, dairy products, and eggs—you can reach a level of health and well-being that you may never have expected you could enjoy. … Although our work has focused on helping people trim down, conquer diabetes, cut cholesterol, and tackle other medical problems, it should be said that not everyone who decides to forgo animal products makes that choice for health reasons. Many people are concerned with how animals are treated by the food industries, and rightly so. And the environmental consequences of meat and dairy production should be of concern to all of us.
  • After having my daughter, I made a conscious effort to regain control of my health and my body. But I didn't want to do a crash diet. I was a mom now. I needed to change my ways and set an example for my child. … A year later (around November 2013), my husband and I decided we wanted to try a completely plant-based diet … And so the journey began that helped me get into the best shape of my life. Little did I know the long-lasting effects it would have. I thought, like with most diets, I would feel deprived and hate food, that I would miss out on restaurants and celebrations, that I would get headaches and be irritable, etc. I was wrong about all of that. It took a few days to adjust, but what I discovered was increased energy, better sleep, weight loss, improved digestion, clarity, and an incredibly positive feeling for my actions and the effects it would have on those around me and the environment.
    • Beyoncé, foreword to Marco Borges's The 22-Day Revolution, New York: Penguin, 2015
  • I want to try to live my own values as consciously and purposefully as I can. Being vegan for me is a cleaner way of not participating in practices that don’t align with my values. … As soon as I said publicly that I was trying this experiment, so many vegans out there, hundreds and hundreds of people, have been reaching out to me with incredible support and encouragement as well as practical tips of how to do this without having to sacrifice that much in terms of the food and what I like. I've discovered some really delicious things—recipes, stores, and restaurants—that have made this transition far easier. … There's too much judgment out there. Really what we need to be doing is just all of us finding our own paths towards living the best lives we can live as clearly and boldly in accordance with our own personal values.
In fact, my best year of track competition was the first year I ate a vegan diet. Moreover, by continuing to eat a vegan diet, my weight is under control, I like the way I look. (I know that sounds vain, but all of us want to like the way we look.) ~ Carl Lewis
  • I have used this [vegan] diet since 2008. I first tried it when I was preparing for my challenge of WBC super lightweight champion Junior Wittier -- my first world title fight -- and after seeing the results it gave me I have tried to stay as loyal to it as possible. It helps keep my body clean and it provides me with a tremendous amount of energy due to my body spending less energy breaking down foods like meats. This is a big key factor in my fitness. … The energy is always there. I feel so alive. My senses and reflexes are so acute. … With a vegan diet you always have energy, so much that sometimes I have trouble sleeping at night. You feel light. You don't feel bulky or heavy. This would benefit any athlete in any sport.
  • You're going to be healthier, you're going to live longer, you're going to look better. You're going to have fewer zits. You're going to be slimmer. You're going to radiate health. You're going to have a better sex drive. That's what shifting away from meat and dairy does. My whole family did this, and we're doing spectacularly well from a health standpoint. I have not had a single sniffle, not a flu, not a cold, nothing that's taken me offline as much as an hour in three and a half years.
  • Our study [China Diet and Health Study] suggests that the closer one approaches a total plant food diet, the greater the health benefit. … It turns out that animal protein, when consumed, exhibits a variety of undesirable health effects. Whether it is the immune system, various enzyme systems, the uptake of carcinogens into the cells, or hormonal activities, animal protein generally only causes mischief. High fat intake still can be a problem, and we ought not to be consuming such high-fat diets. But I suggest that animal protein is more problematic in this whole diet/disease relationship than is total fat.
    • T. Colin Campbell, interview, 1994; as quoted in Souls Like Ourselves by Andrea Wiebers and David Wiebers (Rochester, MN: Sojourn Press, 2000), p. 51
  • [After struggle with heart disease] I've stopped eating meat, cheese, milk, even fish. No dairy at all. I've lost more than 20 pounds so far, aiming for about 30 before Chelsea's wedding. And I have so much more energy now! I feel great. … I just decided that I was the high-risk person, and I didn't want to fool with this anymore. And I wanted to live to be a grandfather. So I decided to pick the diet that I thought would maximize my chances of long-term survival. … The main thing that was hard for me actually … was giving up yogurt and hard cheese. I love that stuff, but it really made a big difference when I did it. … [To truly change the conditions that lead to bad habits and poor health] we have to demand it by changing the way we live. You have to make a conscious decision to change for your own well-being, and that of your family and your country.
I realized veganism is the only diet that can change the world. … You can expect a healthier body, and the feeling of pride that goes hand-in-hand with living according to your values. That’s something that many people aspire to, but few people achieve. ~ Alicia Silverstone
  • I used to think that I needed chicken and fish as a source of protein in order to train properly. I subscribed to that theory for a while and then when I finally decided to cut everything out and I was doing it right, it felt really good and I didn’t lose any strength at all–I feel like I recover quicker so it’s been good. … A lot of people try to stay away from carbs and stuff like that, but I eat a lot of brown rice and just good clean complex carbs and it works for me. … In this day and age I don’t see any reason to contributing to a really awful industry [sc. the meat industry] that causes too many problems. It’s horrible what the animals have to go through on a daily basis, it’s just awful–they’re born and raised in really nasty conditions and it’s better not to contribute to that whole thing. … I just don’t see in this day and age a real reason to contribute to that when you can be really healthy and not eat that sort of thing and not cause a lot of suffering.
  • I think it’s more difficult to be vegan than gay. I think people have a harder time accepting it; people feel more uncomfortable with a vegan at their dinner table than they do a lesbian. It’s confronting. It’s kind of suggesting that what someone else is doing is bad or wrong, and it hits them on a more personal level. … If somebody is setting there eating a steak watching you eat polenta, they’re thinking that you’re trying to preach to them or you’re trying to convert them in some way. Whereas with being gay, I don’t think anyone’s concerned that that’s the agenda. “Hey, Mom, you also have to be gay. I’m gay and so should you be!” Certainly when I told her that I was vegan, it forced her to look at her habits.
The contemporary vegan movement is founded on loving-kindness and mindfulness of our effects on others. It is revolutionary because it transcends and renounces the violent core of the herding culture in which we live. ~ Will Tuttle
  • I guess I'm a very compassionate person so hearing about animal abuse kind of triggered something in me that maybe I should try it… I'm really into health and fitness and wellness, so this kind of tied into it. I thought I was just going to do it until the (2010) Olympics, but then I didn't go to the Olympics, and then I ended up liking it so much, I think I'll be a vegan for the rest of my life. … My energy is so much better, I don't hit that wall at 2 o'clock or 3 o'clock in the afternoon, I sleep well, my skin is better, everything just feels well. And it transfers into my attitude, everything in my life has just become a lot calmer, everything I'm putting in me is clean and genuine and organic and in turn, the way I live my life has started to follow that path.
  • One of the main arguments that I make is that although almost everyone accepts that it is morally wrong to inflict "unnecessary" suffering and death on animals, 99% of the suffering and death that we inflict on animals can be justified only by our pleasure, amusement, or convenience. For example, the best justification that we have for killing the billions of nonhumans that we eat every year is that we enjoy the taste of animal flesh and animal products. This is not an acceptable justification if we take seriously, as we purport to, that it is wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering or death on animals, and it illustrates the confused thinking that I characterize as our "moral schizophrenia" when it comes to nonhumans.
  • Over a year ago I changed my diet to a vegan diet, really just to experiment to see what it was like. And I felt better, so I continued with it. Now, for many people, that choice is connected to environmental ethics and health issues and all that stuff, but I just wanted to try it to see what it was like. In a visceral way, I felt better, so I've continued with it and I'm likely to continue it for the rest of my life.
The more I learned about factory farming… the more I realized that I could not, in good conscience, be a contributor to such violence. ~ Russell Simmons
  • The very saddest sound in all my memory was burned into my awareness at age five on my uncle's dairy farm in Wisconsin. A cow had given birth to a beautiful male calf. The mother was allowed to nurse her calf but for a single night. On the second day after birth, my uncle took the calf from the mother and placed him in the veal pen in the barn—only ten yards away, in plain view of the mother. The mother cow could see her infant, smell him, hear him, but could not touch him, comfort him, or nurse him. The heartrending bellows that she poured forth—minute after minute, hour after hour, for five long days—were excruciating to listen to. They are the most poignant and painful auditory memories I carry in my brain. Since that age, whenever I hear anyone postulate that animals cannot really feel emotions, I need only to replay that torturous sound in my memory of that mother cow crying her bovine heart out to her infant. Mother's love knows no species barriers, and I believe that all people who are vegans in their hearts and souls know that to be true.
  • In fact, my best year of track competition was the first year I ate a vegan diet. Moreover, by continuing to eat a vegan diet, my weight is under control, I like the way I look. (I know that sounds vain, but all of us want to like the way we look.) I enjoy eating more, and I feel great. … I remember vividly making the decision in July of 1990 to become a vegan. … And I had my best year as an athlete ever! … Your body is your temple. If you nourish it properly, it will be good to you and you will increase its longevity.
  • Only by discarding a diet based on rotting corpses could men become sane. The fantasy of needing a blood-diet, a corpse-diet, was inseparable from the distorted relation to the parents I had been trying to clarify in myself and which one way or another existed in everyone. The corpse-eater was still in fantasy feeding on the parents. We discussed these ideas and decided to eat no more meat, no more animal products of any kind (such as milk, cheese, eggs) and to discard mineral salt. Apart from a few extreme applications of our position, when I tried to eat such nauseous things as raw potatoes, we found that we felt very much better in health.
    • Jack Lindsay, Fanfrolico and After (London: Bodley Head, 1962), pp. 217-218.
I’m vegan. It’s really changed, like, my eyes, my, you know, everything. ~ Portia de Rossi
  • Many years ago, when I was merely a vegetarian, I met the great Cesar Chavez, and he said to me: "If you are interested in preventing animal suffering, the first thing you should give up is eggs and milk, because the animals who produce those foods lead the most unhappy lives. You would do better to eat meat and stop eating eggs and dairy products." I was shocked, since I had no intention of eating meat but had never thought of giving up eggs or dairy products. But when I looked into it I realized he was right, and now, years later, after I have studied the matter up close, I know for certain that he was completely correct about the cruel treatment of the animals raised for such products. The advantages of a vegan diet are enormous for our health, for the environment, for the animals themselves.
  • Among the many prejudices against vegans is the belief that they are always preaching to others and trying to convert them. I do not think that is true; we are incredibly tolerant. We are always polite when others ask, “Don’t you ever get tempted by a bacon sandwich?”… In fact, most vegans I know are rather coy about explaining why they are vegan, mostly because the question tends to be asked when we are sitting a dinner table full of meat eaters, and it seems rather impolite to answer. However, seeing as we are not at a dinner party now, here is the ethical case… If people are vegetarians for ethical reasons—because they believe that killing and eating animals is wrong—they really ought to be vegan, too. The average human eats more than 11,000 animals in his or her lifetime, but millions of calves and chicks are also killed every year as “waste products” of milk and egg production.
When you think about a better tomorrow, you think about veganism in the world. ~ RZA
  • I remember one day in August of 2003 I made the decision to become (near) vegan and that once the decision was made I felt great emotional alignment within my heart. I knew this was the right thing for me to do and I also knew that I was making a decision that I would be committed to for the rest of my life. At last my beliefs and my ethics had come into alignment.
  • Certainly, if the entire world decided to become vegan tomorrow, a whole host of the world's problems would disappear overnight. Climate change would decrease by 25 percent, deforestation would cease, rainforests would be preserved, our water- and air-quality would increase, life-expectancy rates would increase, and our rates of cancer would plummet, so certainly, with that one action of becoming vegan you are quite effectively making the world a better place.
  • I’ve also been on a pretty strict plant-based diet for 4 months now – feeling stronger, fitter, healthier and more productive. I ride longer distances on my bike, can do more pull-ups than ever, and my brain seems to have a larger capacity for new projects, problem solving, songwriting, and fielding random questions. My health and strength make me a better performer and all that combined gives me more confidence to go out in the world and shine my light. It also makes me a lot better in bed. … For those curious or concerned about a plant-based diet, check out the film Forks Over Knives. It’s a life changer. You can get all the protein you need from greens, quinoa, and hemp seed.
  • My assistant showed me a video called Forks and Knives (sic) or something, about (cutting out) meat and dairy products, so I thought, 'I'll give this a shot!' … I feel OK actually, I feel better about myself, you know? I go on binges... That's the reason why I decided to cut out meat out and dairy because I've limited what I can have because when you're on the road and you're travelling, you grab buns and... burgers are everywhere... so now I've just narrowed the margin. … I'm not saying I'm gonna do it forever; I might go back - when my wife learns to cook, so that'll be never!
  • When you think about a better tomorrow, you think about veganism in the world. I don’t need a dead animal or dead piece of flesh to go into my live body. There’s nothing on this planet that doesn’t want to live. I had animals as friends, they were happy to see me in their own animal way. I’m quite sure they did not want to be on my plate. I think hip-hop has become more conscious about diet… You are what you eat, so if this cow who is stressed, dumbfounded, sick becomes your meal, when you eat it, you are eating that stress and sickness. You are eating that fear. My peers and people that are related to me appreciate the vegan lifestyle, it’s really spreading.
  • When I went vegetarian at age eleven, it was a remarkably easy transition. A boy at my school was attempting to kill creatures in the pond. When I tried to stop him, he said, “You eat animals,” like that meant I had no right to try and save something that could end up on my plate later. The hypocrisy of my actions became crystal clear in that moment. I decided, no more meat. … When I first started working for two organizations supporting anti-factory farming, vegan outreach and humane education, my choice to go vegan became that much clearer. I realized veganism is the only diet that can change the world. … You can expect a healthier body, and the feeling of pride that goes hand-in-hand with living according to your values. That’s something that many people aspire to, but few people achieve.
  • [As a vegan] I feel better, I look better, so it’s a big change for me. You have more clarity and I think that all of us want to be more clear. I wanted to look younger and feel better and wanted to be a greater contributor to the good on the planet … The more I learned about factory farming… the more I realized that I could not, in good conscience, be a contributor to such violence.
  • In the final analysis, despite our diversity, there is only one type of vegan — a person who is committed to and practices reverence and respect for all life.
When people ask me why I don’t eat meat or any other animal products, I say because they are unhealthy and they are the product of a violent and inhumane industry. ~ Casey Affleck
  • Implementing a compassionate perspective that embraces all life is at the heart of being vegan.
  • I drink soy milk, and that’s the right thing.
  • The contemporary vegan movement is founded on loving-kindness and mindfulness of our effects on others. It is revolutionary because it transcends and renounces the violent core of the herding culture in which we live.
  • The good news is that our bodies thrive on a conscious plant-based diet, and that this diet is infinitely more compassionate to animals and people and more environmentally sustainable than eating animal foods.
  • Veganism denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practical—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals, and the environment.
  • So far from vegetarianism springing from the anthropomorphism of predominantly urban dwellers, as has been suggested by its more superficial critics, it and its inevitable successor veganism are increasingly being recognised as a logical, even inescapable, process, essentially relevant, essentially practical, essentially compassionate to all species.
    • Jon Wynne-Tyson, "Dietethics: Its Influence on Future Farming Patterns", in Animal Rights: A Symposium, edited by David Paterson & Richard D. Ryder (London: Centaur Press, 1979), p. 141.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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