Veganism Is More Than Just a Temporary Trend

Veganism Is More Than Just a Temporary Trend

Examining the Growth in Vegan Identifiers and Consumers in the U.S.
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Many popular trends have come and gone, proving themselves to be mere fads within an era. Short-lived, often seasonal, and sometimes impractical. Diets stand as one of the leading trends typically chosen by people to follow. However, one plant-based diet is making strides for the long haul by changing the way people view food production, distribution, and marketing which lends itself to wonder how significant the impact of going vegan has and will affect the U.S.

Though avoidance of meat and animal products as food has shown to be a lifestyle standard for over 2,000 years, we present day health-conscious nuts have Donald Watson and five fellow non-dairy vegetarians to thank for our modern day vegan movement for. In November of 1944, they came together to discuss their non-dairy vegetarian lifestyles and consequently dubbed their lifestyle change: The Vegan Movement.

According to an article titled, Veganism in American Culture, Watson strung together the first three and last two letters of the word vegetarian to come up with the word vegan referring to the vegan diet as, “the beginning and end of vegetarian” (The Vegan Society, 2015). Now, nearly 73 years since this communion, people across the world have decided to make the change toward a vegan diet and lifestyle.

As mentioned by the website Rise of the Vegan, 6% of Americans currently identify as vegan and according to a report from 2012, the consumption of meat has decreased to 12.2% since 2007. Interestingly enough, the majority of vegan consumers are women, making up a 79% mass within the vegan identifiers group (The Raw Food World, 2015). Though this does not mean that only women are vegans.

At its core, Veganism is a lifestyle choice that eliminates the consumption of not only meat products, but also animal byproducts such as dairy, eggs, honey, fur, leather or wool, and cosmetics made from animal products (The Vegetarian Resource Group, 1996-2017).

With such restricted choices, the alternative to go vegan spans a variety of reasons all specific to the individual. For some, opting to embrace a vegan diet stems from the desire to live a healthier life with studies showing that those who eat a majority of red meat were 26% more likely to die of nine major diseases than those who eat the least amount of meat (Rise of the Vegan, 2017). Though grim, statistics like this exist to show the long term effects of a primarily meat consumed diet.

Nonetheless, many people choose a vegan lifestyle to detract from contributing to the damaging impact that meat manufacturing and distribution has on the environment. Not only has it been shown that animal agriculture makes up 18% of greenhouse gases (Cowspiracy, 2014), but the use of fresh water on animal agriculture largely outnumbers the amount of water used for plant agriculture according to a 2011 study from National Geographic.

  • 1,799 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef,
  • 576 gallons of water to produce one pound of pork,
  • 468 gallons of water to produce one pound of chicken,
  • 132 gallons of water to produce one pound of wheat and
  • 216 gallons of water to produce one pound of soybeans (Henning, 2011).

Furthermore, if the U.S. reduced animal consumption by half its amount, the U.S. dietary consumption of water would decrease by 37% (National Geographic, 2015-2017).

Of the most widely reported reasons for pro-veganism, a stance against animal cruelty is one of the more sympathetic perspectives. Ethical reasons to support animal life and well-being is a prominent factor for many people to undertake the transition to a vegan lifestyle. With growing information regarding the mistreatment and exploitation of animals within large animal agricultural corporations, it is easy to accept one’s belief in a more sustainable and guilt-free way of life.

With veganism on the rise, it is clear to understand the upward progression in popularity that has taken shape in the past decade. Unlike most crazes, veganism appears to have established itself as no mere fad, but as a trend worth hopping on board for those who are willing and desire to make necessary lifestyle changes toward a healthier diet, for the well-being of all life, and for environmental improvement. Considering the increased awareness in food cultivation and preparation, veganism will surely remain formidable as a lifestyle choice for generations to come.

Cover Image Credit: Plant Based News

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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13 Reasons Sophomore Year Is Much Worse Than Junior Year Of High School

And now you can happily throw all your misconceptions about junior year down the drain.

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Maybe you're an eighth grader getting ready to start high school in a few months, or maybe you're a junior almost done with the supposedly "toughest year of high school." Or maybe you're smack-dab in the middle of sophomore year, overwhelmed by everything around you. Sounds familiar? You'll be happy to know that for the most part, too, that 11th grade has nothing on the horrors of 10th grade. So what makes them so starkly different in difficulty?

1. People still do not take you seriously.

You're still in the bottom half of the high school, and you're still a lot shorter than that senior walking past you in the hallway. People in the year above you still see you as the little freshman from before, and you're trying so desperately to prove that as a 10th grader, you're a lot wiser now. Keep in mind, though, that after an entire year of stress, stress and more stress, you'll be wishing to revert back to the first day of high school.

2. Certain classes start taking over your life.

For me? AP World History, easily the most difficult class I have ever taken throughout high school.

I am not a history buff, nor do I think I ever will be. And that's one of the biggest reasons why I just could not understand the content in the class. On top of that, it was my first class of the day, I'd have hours of work for the class to finish each night and I just couldn't find any interest. So why, pray tell, did I take the class? Because everyone else was.

Because I succumbed to the peer pressure surrounding taking AP World History, I found myself struggling to stay afloat. Every test was just another issue after the previous one, and I'd even feel like crying and not knowing what to do to get through the class. I bet there will be a class like that, no matter how interested you are in its content, and you will have those horrible days where you don't know how to get out.

3. You realize that freshman year was almost too easy.

Way, way too easy. I was having fun in freshman year, and that shouldn't even be happening when I'm supposed to be growing up into a high schooler. And that's mainly because freshman year is a transition year where no one expects too much out of you. It's like a buffer year in which you're on autopilot while observing how upperclassmen have to manage their own stress.

Sophomore year is when everything you've observed in ninth grade has to come into play, and you're suddenly thrown into a hurricane that won't stop until that very last school day. Sounds like fun.

4. People keep telling you that "junior year only gets worse than this."

Is that true? Nope.

Junior year is a lot less stressful than people make it out to be, and maybe that's because you're so used to the idea of it being an impossible year to conquer. Honestly, all I realized is that the key to a successful year is just choosing the right course load and toning down the out-of-school duties so I could balance out the two parts of my life. Junior year is not anywhere as bad as sophomore year, and that's a guarantee.

5. You feel like you've already lost a year of high school to impress colleges.

Graduation's coming sooner than you think.

Because freshman year comes off as so easy, I remember thinking that I did not take advantage of how lax my year was. Come sophomore year, I felt like I had to join another club, take another class, do another project. The work kept piling on because I thought in ninth grade that high school was always going to be so easy. In fact, sophomore year makes it the complete opposite.

But don't base your success on what you believe colleges will think of your every action. Look at your career holistically, and notice the trends you tend to take that have gotten you to where you are.

6. Other people start taking you seriously. Too seriously.

Remember a few points back when I said no one takes you seriously? There are the few special people who scrutinize absolutely everything you do and do their best to make you unnecessarily stressed about things you shouldn't be worrying about so young.

"Thought of your specific dream college that you want to attend the minute high school is over?"

"Know every single class you'll be taking in your second semester of senior year?"

Questions like these pop up out of the blue and from the same few suspects, and they're meant to scare you. Don't be spooked by these people; they either want what's best for you or are wasting their own time trying to make other people upset.

7. You begin to underestimate yourself and your capabilities.

When teachers keep expecting more from you as the year goes on and extracurricular activities are making you feel more and more on edge rather than de-stressed, you feel as if this isn't how you should be feeling. You think you're supposed to be on top of everything given to you because that's why you chose that certain rigor for your sophomore year. This happened with me last year when AP World History was becoming too much work, and there was this one week when I couldn't even leave my room because I thought I'd be losing too much time for my assignments.

8. Peer pressure makes you start questioning your good decisions.

Peer pressure gets the best of us.

Peer pressure and good decisions aren't supposed to mix, but they happen to make the perfect mixture of stress and worry. Especially when everyone boasts about the classes they're taking or the activities they're a part of, you feel so utterly compelled to throw yourself into the same pathway, even if you have no interest in what others are doing.

This always happens with me and others when course recommendations for the next year come out. When you're told to choose a whole new set of classes, you can't help but take a pointer or two from others who seem to know what they're doing.

SEE ALSO: No One Prepares You For The Peer Pressure That Forces You To Choose 'Better' Decisions

9. In some classes, you're forced to be with upperclassmen you don't know. 

This happened in a few of my classes, and it was so painful to be the one sophomore in a room full of juniors and seniors with a few sophomores sprinkled here and there. It's scary to be in a room where the people around you are taller than you and know a lot more about the world than you do. You feel like that one small fish in a big, big pond.

10. People start talking more about this thing called "class ranks."

You've definitely heard of it somehow and somewhere in your life. But people start taking the concept really, really seriously starting the end of sophomore year. You'll hear foreign whispers about it, almost as if it's a forbidden secret that you're not yet supposed to know about. And you'll eventually wish that you never heard about it when people starting comparing themselves based on such rankings.

SEE ALSO: My Graduating Class Is Competitive To A Worrying Extent, And It Drives Us Away From Each Other

11. Even before sophomore year begins, you don't know what classes to take.

An empty classroom.

When you take a cookie-cutter schedule from ninth grade and get asked to choose from a slew of new courses in 10th grade, you have to ask yourself what you want to get interested in. And on top of that, you might find so many classes you're genuinely intrigued by that you have to find the balance between fun classes and core classes. Sophomore year's independence can sometimes be burdensome.

12. You get put into way more group projects than before.

Of course, being a team player is an important aspect of being successful in the future, but in most group projects I've been a part of, no one works on the project at all until the night before the project is due. And when you're constantly thrown into groups of people you've never talked to and who won't work on the project until the night before, you get stressed way beyond what's considered normal.

13. Time starts flying really quickly, and that's not always a good thing.

Yeah, yeah, time flying quickly does mean the weekend will come sooner and that summer break is getting closer, but your long-term decision making begins in sophomore year. Surprisingly, a lot of your decisions about your future start playing themselves out in 10th grade itself, and you have to control time itself to make sure you don't forget anything as you rush through each day.

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