When I was little, I would fight my sister over the last chicken wing or chip, seeking an instant satisfaction for my taste buds. Now, looking back at the decisions I made as a child, I recognize that my young brain did not process anything beyond what was within my direct field of vision. A huge part of my journey to plant-based eating has been expanding my field of vision to see the impacts of my food choices that don’t meet the naked eye. After finishing off my last tub of greek yogurt about a year ago, I officially became “vegan”. Being a vegan eater has come with challenges, but the one thing that has motivated me to keep doing what I’m doing is knowing that my decisions will positively impact the world I live in. I feel incredibly lucky to live in Vancouver, a city where veganism is on the rise, and where restaurants such as Virtuous Pie and MeeT on Main cater to people just like me. In the future, I can see myself going somewhere with my passion for plant-based food, but as of right now, I’m going to keep exploring Vancouver’s vegan life and bug my friends to join me.
Veganism from Past to Present:
The plant-based movement has been growing exponentially in the last few decades, but the concept of abstaining from meat has been around for centuries. Historically, Pythagoras of Samos, a Greek philosopher who was most commonly known for creating the Pythagorean theorem of right triangles, was one of the first to promote the idea of kindness between humans and animals around 500 BCE (Suddath). Vegetarianism is also deeply rooted in religions including Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism, because these religions embody the belief that human beings should not cause pain towards animals. Many other historical figures have stood for veganism and vegetarianism throughout history as well, including the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten and the Japanese Emperor Tenmu (Timmins). However, the term “veganism” only first surfaced in 1944, after a carpenter named Donald Watson, and his wife Dot invented the word to describe the “beginning and end of vegetarianism” (Timmins).
In today’s society, veganism is powerful because it has the ability to unite people of different genders, races, and cultures under a shared goal of ending animal cruelty. While veganism has taken the world by storm, the current “vegan” capital of the world is Tel Aviv, where more than 200,000 vegans reside, and 400 vegan and vegan-friendly kitchens are situated (Phull). One reason why veganism has been so successful in Tel Aviv is because the citizens living there consider “farm-to-table” as their way of life. Looking more closely at the country itself, its size and climate makes it possible for fresh fruits and veggies to be available year-round, and farmed food from rural areas to reach dinner tables within hours (Phull). Tel Aviv is just one example of vegan success. Here in Canada, nearly 10% of the population identifies as either vegan or vegetarian, and more than half of this group is under the age of 35 (Thomson).
Advice & Tips:
From my own experience, I know that transitioning to plant-based eating has had a multitude of health benefits. Whether it’s been having more energy, being able to stay positive, or even having clearer skin, I owe much of my physical and mental wellbeing to being vegan. To anyone considering veganism or wanting to try veganism just for a day, I encourage you to take the leap and do it. When trying to achieve any goal, start by taking small steps first, and eventually you’ll be so far from where you started that you’ll never want to go back. Regardless of what type of eater you are, vegetarian, vegan, pescetarian, or see-food eater, remember to try to eat consciously and (sometimes or at least most of the time) healthily.
Phull, Jasmine. “How Tel Aviv Became the Vegan Capital of the World.” Indy, Independent UK. 6
November, 2017. Web. Accessed 21 May, 2018.
Suddath, Claire. “A Brief History of Veganism.” History, Time. 30 October, 2008. Web.
Accessed 21 May, 2018.
Thomson, Aly. “Most vegans and vegetarians in Canada under the age of 35: survey.” Canada,
Global News. 13 March, 2018. Web. Accessed 21 May, 2018.
Timmins, Beth. “Who were the world’s very earliest vegans?” Indy, Independent UK. 6 April
2017. Web. Accessed 21 May, 2018.