Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in the diet, as well as following an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals. The word ‘vegan‘ was invented in November 1944 by Donald Watson in England, who was a vegetarian from 1924, then ‘non-dairy’ from 1940 until he died at the age of 95 in 2005.
Over the years claims that Pythagoras, Plato, and many others from ancient Greece and Rome were vegans. Further investigation shows that this not to be strictly true. Nothing that Pythagoras wrote or said for example has survived, so we only have accounts from hundreds of years later.
There have been many people over the years who became vegan, but mostly for very different reasons to what we associate with veganism today. Many of those were due to religious reasons, which demanded various levels of abstinence and self-denial, even self-punishment. For some this meant abstaining from eating flesh, not because they thought it was bad, but because it was good, so they would suffer by denying themselves. In the modern era, there are very few true vegan cultures around the world. The Aryan tribe based in the Himalayans are one of the only true strict vegan tribes in the world.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
There is an environmental argument for veganism, because we are producing and consuming more meat than we need. However, nutritionally and biologically, there are many misconceptions of veganism.
1. We have evolved from Herbivores, so therefore we should be
The majority of monkeys, who most consider to be our most natural biological ancestor are Herbivores, eating mostly fruit and seed. Firstly there are some species such as the spider monkeys and squirrel monkeys, which are Omnivores, eating foods from both plants and animals source. And secondly and most importantly, man’s Biological relative is the Chimpanzee not the monkey, who are Omnivores just like us. We eat too much meat in modern societies, should be the main concern, not that we are eating it.
2. Animals are sentient beings, so we should not harm them
If you look at the research of such people as Cleve Backster (His books Secret Life Of Plants and Secret Life Of The Cell), you will find that plants, while less mobile, are just as sentient as many animals. As the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover!
3. A vegan diet is heathier for you
4. The China Study said that being Vegan is better for you
The China Study was considered one of the most comprehensive studies of Nutrition and concluded that in china a plant based diet had many more health benefits than eating a diet with meat and dairy. This study has been debunked by many experts in the field since and a study from China came out years later that directly contradicting the findings of the China study.
5. The human body is not well equipped to digesting meat
The human body is designed to adapt with our evolution. The enzymes needed to break any nutrient down in the human body are created by body as and when we need them, based on what we eat.
Proteins are generally hard to digest but compared to other sources of protein, meat is rather easy and the enzymes that the body produces to break down meat proteins are also used to metabolize plant proteins.
6. We do not need meat or animal products in our diets to be healthy.
One of the biggest proponents of the vegan argument has been that disease, such as heart disease and high cholesterol are a result of eating meat. Most people who suffer from heart disease have normal cholesterol.
The right type of cholesterol is absolutely critical for brain health and optimal digestion. A vegan diets lack sufficient amounts of dietary cholesterol coming by way of animal products, be it red meat, fish and shellfish or dairy. Insufficient dietary cholesterol can be harmful to the balance of our sex hormones.
7. We do not have the right teeth to eat meat
When you look at a true Carnivore like a Lion or Tiger, then you will see that humans do not possess true meat eating teeth. We are Omnivores. Our primal ancestors almost exclusively ate organ meats such as liver, kidney and heart which are much smoother, which are packed full of vitamins and minerals absolutely vital for optimal health. Since the evolution of fire and cooking, humans are able to eat the denser meats as cooking breaks down the proteins, making it easier for digestion.
Staying balanced through the seasons
Remember we have evolved and our body’s physiology is based on the seasons of the year. There are natural times during the year where we more have access to plant based foods to eat, and there are times where we need more animal proteins. The ideal diet is a balanced, seasonally conscious, omnivorous diet.