Let me start out by explaining what vegans do not eat and how that came about. Vegans do not include animal products of any kind in their diet: this includes meat, eggs, milk, and butter. Unlike vegetarians, vegans omit all foods that derive from animals.
Once referred to as vegetarian, the first person to follow the vegan diet was Dr. William Lambe, in 1806. His vegetarian diet aligned with what we know of as the vegan diet today, which was 100% plant-based. As the name suggests, vegetarians lived solely on vegetation. Another vegetarian, James Pierrepont Greaves, began the Alcott House in Ham, London in 1838 and required that pupils follow this vegetarian diet. At some point, vegetarians evolved, adding eggs and dairy to their diet. In 1944, Donald Watson, Elsie “Sally” Shrigley, and 23 others founded the Vegan Society. They were opposed to the use of all animal products and fought to create a subgroup of non-dairy vegetarians.
Why the word “Vegan”? It is simply the first three and last two letters of the word vegetarian. Watson referred to it as, “the beginning and end of vegetarian.” Pretty clever, huh? The Vegan Society is a registered charity and the oldest vegan society in the world. Vegans around the world celebrate “World Vegan Day”, which falls on Novemeber 1st and commemorates the founding of “The Vegan Society.”
Now that you have a bit of history, we’ll delve into what foods are available in a vegan diet. Vegans enjoy a diverse diet of grains, legumes, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Sound boring? It’s really quite the opposite. Unfortunately, the typical American diet consists of mostly meat, with vegetables covered in butter or cheeses. Switching to vegan can mean a complete overhaul of your taste buds. Many find that once they’ve made the change, they don’t miss animal products at all. In fact, most people claim that they now have a more varied diet than they ever had before. Here are some foods that should be included in a healthy vegan diet.
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