It may seem like an unlikely cohort of celebrities, including Bill Clinton, Jessica Chastain, Natalie Portman, Ellen DeGeneres, Venus Williams, Liam Hemsworth and Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, but what they all share in common is their vegan lifestyle.
What is Vegan?
November 1 is World Vegan Day, a day where vegans around the world celebrate and champion their lifestyle. Donald Watson coined the term “vegan” in 1944 to describe someone who fully abstains from all animal products for ethical reasons. People nowadays adopt a vegan lifestyle for many reasons including animal welfare, health promotion and environmental concerns. Until recently only a very small percentage of people identify themselves as vegan, but particularly among millennials interest is growing. Google Trends showed a quadrupled interest in searches between 2012 and 2017.
A vegan lifestyle not only involves not eating meat, but it also means abstaining from all animal products including leather, eggs, wool, honey, silk and dairy products. Research from Oxford Martin School showed that a switch to diets that rely less on meat and more on fruit and vegetables could save up to 8 million lives by 2050, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds and lead to healthcare-related savings and avoided climate damages of $1.5trillion.
Plant-based diets are also growing in popularity, particularly since the release of the Netflix documentary, “The Game Changers” (produced by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan and James Cameron) which show the benefits of plant-based eating for athletes. While the two diets are similar, a plant-based diet predominantly consists of plants while someone who is vegan totally avoids all animals products, from what they eat to what they wear but they can also include processed food in their diet like white flour and refined sugar.