Veganism (also known as strict vegetarianism or pure vegetarianism) is a philosophy and lifestyle that avoids using animals and animal products for food, clothing and other purposes.
In practice, a vegan (an adherent of veganism) commits to the abstention from consumption or use of animal products, including meat, fish, and poultry, animal gelatin, honey, eggs and dairy products, as well as articles made of silk, fur, wool, bone, leather, feathers, pearls, nacre, coral, sponges and other materials of animal origin.
Most vegans also avoid products that have been tested on animals.
People become vegans for a variety of reasons, including ethical concerns for animal rights or the environment, as well as more personal reasons such as health benefits and spiritual or religious concerns.
Many people grow up thinking that animal products like meat and milk are essential parts of a healthy diet. However, well-planned vegan diets follow healthy eating guidelines, and contain all the nutrients that our bodies need. Both the British Dietetic Association and the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recognize that they are suitable for every age and stage of life.
An opportunity to eat better
Going vegan is a great opportunity to learn more about nutrition and cooking, and improve your diet. You won’t be consuming saturated fat from meat, milk and eggs, and you’ll be avoiding processed meat, which the World Health Organization has classified as a cause of cancer. Getting your nutrients from plant foods allows more room in your diet for health-promoting options. If you make smart choices, a vegan diet can be a really healthy way of eating. Get the most out of yours by limiting salt and eating plenty of whole grains, fruit, nuts, seeds and vegetables. These foods are packed full of beneficial fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Excellent long-term health
Some research has linked vegan diets with lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. You can eat a totally plant-based diet that supports excellent health, whilst helping animals and protecting the planet.