Nowadays, we are becoming more aware of food, the ingredients and our health. ‘No, I can’t eat that since I am vegan’, is a phrase I am hearing more and more in my surroundings. Many of my friends are becoming vegan and I started to wonder what exactly does it mean to be a vegan? According to the Oxford dictionary, the definition of Vegan is: ‘A person who does not eat or use animal products ‘a vegan diet’.
It got me curious about what exactly this lifestyle entails and how it influences the daily life of someone. When I think of a vegan lifestyle the first thing that comes to mind is someone that faces challenges by not eating meat and avoiding animal based products. Besides that, it involves a lot of checking the labels of products and asking questions about whether or not certain ingredients are used. It seems like a lot of work but is that really the case?
A little bit of history about Veganism
Veganism is not just a trend from the last couple of years, surprisingly, it is already an old way of living. It started with the Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras of Samos, who introduced the concept of vegetarianism in 500 BC besides him there were also the followers of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism that promoted a vegetarian way of life. Although, the concept was not really popular in the west until later on, the first vegetarian society was formed in England in 1847. Just three years later the American Vegetarian Society was founded by Graham instructed his followers in having a vegetarian and abstinent life. In 1944, a British woodworker called Donald Watson created a new term: ‘vegan’. He used this term to describe people who did not eat meat, dairy and eggs. During this time tuberculosis was found in the dairy cows before and Watson used this as an advantage, he claimed that the vegan lifestyle protected people from tainted food. This was the start of what later became the Vegan Society that gained more awareness and followers over the years.
Which types of vegans are there?
There is not just one type of vegan out there; there are many different forms of veganism suitable for different lifestyles. All these types have one thing in common: it is a plant- based diet which avoids animal products or products tested on animals. Here is an overview of the different types of vegans that exist; some are more serious than others:
- Junk food vegan – These vegans eat all sorts of food, the only requirement is that it does not include animal products. The motivation for these vegans is mostly based on ethical reasons and not so much on health reasons.
- The whole foods/ plant based vegan – These vegans only eat unprocessed foods and avoid anything that comes in ready – made packaging.
- The raw vegan – In this form of veganism, there are several levels of raw- ness. Some of these vegans are strongly committed and eat their food 100% raw. Other vegans are less committed and eat the food heated or dehydrated at low temperatures
Different types of vegan diets
Besides the types of vegans that exist, there are also types of vegan diets that create difference in vegan lifestyle. Below, there is an overview of 4 different types of diets:
- The low fat raw (80/10/10) vegan – This type of diets was inspired by a popular book, which was called ‘The 80/10/10 diet’. It was written by Douglas Graham, it is about eating whole, fresh, raw organic fruits and vegetables. The focus is to obtain 80% of calories from carbs, 10% of calories from protein and 10% of calories from fats. There is a difference from the raw foods diet since the emphasis is on keeping the fat content low & fruit content high.
- The raw till 4pm vegan – This diet became a popular trend thanks to the trendy Youtuber/ blogger Freelee. She was inspired by the 80/10/10 diet but she noticed that it was hard to stick to the 100% raw diet and therefore introduced the raw till 4 pm and having a cooked dinner. The original focus is still the same; nevertheless she added the option of having cooked food for dinner.
- Starch solution vegan – This diet is similar to the 80/10/10 diet, since it promotes a high carb and low fat diet based on whole plant foods. It differs from the other diet in the way that the focus is on cooked starches for example potatoes, rice, oats and corn. The book was created by Dr McDougall, who advises to eat in order to sustain weight and healthy body for life.
- The beauty detox vegan – This diet is based on a book by Kimberly Snyder, it is similar to the other diets but the focus is more on other habits to achieve good health. These habits include eating properly combined foods, light to heavy over the course of the day.
Now, hopefully you have better idea on what veganism is and the different types that exist. Don’t forget to keep following my blog over the next couple of weeks as I will dive deeper into finding out what it is like to live life as a vegan.