- Category: Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)
- Published: 08 October 2014
Many people who consider themselves to be "vegan" have been very misinformed as to exactly what being a true vegan means and are potentially putting themselves at risk.
Since the food trend started about a year ago, people have been giving up all animal products and by-products in order to maintain a healthier lifestyle. What these people do not realize is that they're not actually vegan, they just have a vegan diet.
According to The Vegan Society, veganism defines as "a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to animals for food, clothing or any other purpose."
So what does this mean for the "vegans" out there? Basically, they are not exactly what they make themselves out to be. Yes, their diet is free of anything animal related, but what about the rest of their daily lives?
Part of living like a vegan involves making sure every aspect of your life is free of any form of animal "exploitation." You may be wondering why I put quotes around "exploitation." Well, let's just say I didn't know that wearing wool could make a sheep feel exploited. I apologize to you, sheep.
Thankfully, the animal rights advocates over at PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has provided the vegan version of "What Not to Wear" on their website. Every article of clothing you could possibly imagine wearing, minus underwear and bras for some reason, is highlighted on this mini fashion tutorial. So if you're thinking of becoming a vegan, it might be best to get rid of those cute leather boots and fancy wool coat.
While veganism preaches that we should feel guilty about "exploiting" animals in our daily lives, it fails to discuss the health risks that come with being a vegan. It is very gracious of those who choose to be vegan to be kind to the animals of the world, but what about them?
Are vegans not living creatures, too? Don't they need the proper care that the animals they are so desperately trying to save need as well?
According to the article "Top 5 Reasons Why a Vegan Diet is a Terrible Idea" on authoritynutrition.com, it is common for most vegans to have a slew of vitamin deficiencies.
The one vitamin the article stresses is crucial to your diet that vegans, as well as vegetarians, lack is Vitamin B12. The article claims that Vitamin B12 cannot be found in any plant life for the exception of some algae and that the only way we can get this in our systems is by eating meat.
After doing further research on this important nutrient, I found that the article's findings were accurate. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) clearly states, "Plant foods have no Vitamin B12 unless they are fortified."
The NLM goes onto say that Vitmain B12 is important for one's metabolism, the development of red blood cells and maintaining the central nervous system.
So what does this mean for vegans? Well, they are intentionally putting themselves at risk without truly understanding the facts. Yes, they are saving the animals from being turned into delicious steaks or even nuggets, but at what cost?
In an article from Headlines and Global News (HNGN), it was discovered that veganism and vegetarianism is particularly detrimental to young children. The NLA says that Vitamin B12 is essential in metabolism development and how are children supposed to maintain a healthy metabolism without the proper tools? Would you go into a sword fight with a butter knife? No, so why would you want to maintain a diet that can potentially harm you?
In fact, the article found that in 2011, a vegan couple from France faced murder charges because the mother's choice to breastfeed led to the death of their newborn child. HNGN said that the lack of essential vitamins in the mother's breast milk was the ultimate cause of death seeing that the child did not possess the qualities of a well-nourished child.
I hope that you have taken away something valuable from reading this article. I hope that those of you that are vegan or thinking about becoming vegan really think about your choices. I hope that if you choose to live your life this way, I have prepared you for what you are getting into. I am by no means judging you for your way of life, but simply I am providing you with information that I hope keeps you safe on the path that you choose to take.
For all of my meat loving readers out there, I hope that you are making yourself a cheeseburger or heating up a plate of chicken nuggets. You deserve it.