Vegetarians have been on the meat free train for years, which is clear thanks to almost every food product on the shelves labeling their product as ‘suitable for vegetarians’ if it fits the bill. However, in the last 36 months a rise of a new label is sweeping supermarket shelves everywhere – vegan friendly. Veganism or at least the diet behind this movement is huge right now, with numbers estimating around a quarter million people took part in Veganuary this year, the word is swiftly getting round that going meat free is not just healthy but achievable. The real question here is why are vegans making more of a stamp than vegetarians and what is the big difference?
Vegans don’t eat any animal products, which means that they don’t consume products from any process that involves animals, eggs being a prime example. Vegetarians don’t seem to mind about eggs because ethically its not quite the same as slaughtering an animal outright for its body. But in reality the egg business isn’t angelic in way, which vegans have been very vocal about.
What About Free Range?
It may seem that there is already a strategy in place to make the farming of eggs a blissful process for all the chickens involved, this however is simply a marketing scheme. Though there are small hatcheries out there that do allow their chickens to roam the land to their hearts content, the term ‘free range’ is as vague as the term blue. Depending on the country the regulations for free range eggs differ, but none of them are what you would consider a paradise for hens. Mainly the ‘option’ to go outside being available is all some places need to be classified as free range. In overcrowded barns this means that as little as 10% of the hens actually go outdoors. Beak cutting, disease and killing the male and elderly chickens is also part of this process. On the health side, the cholesterol and fat content have always been under scrutiny, and long term egg consumption has been shown to increase mortality.
This one is probably even tougher as milk is not only constantly promoted as a healthy product but also finds its way into so many foods and is of course the main component in that yellow gooey stuff cheese. You don’t need to look far to see the horrors of the dairy industry however. Whether the forced pregnancies that the cows must endure, the health issues from constantly pumping, or the separation of mother and child upsets you, its all happening. Ethically milk is a pretty torturous affair for the cows no matter how you look at it, which is why many vegans go the extra mile to avoid it. The health issues that surround milk are another reason to swap it out, without even touching the real contents of what makes up a glass of the stuff, acne, confused hormones, brittle bones and more can all be traced back to milk. Add the amount of sugar and fat that is entering your diet from all angles and it’s easy to see why it doesn’t make sense to go halfway with your diet choice. Veganism has a solid reasoning behind it, both ethically and healthily, which is why so many have jumped aboard.