What is VeganismWhat is veganism?

Veganism is a lifestyle. As vegans, we believe in minimizing (read: eliminating) harm to animals of all kinds—including the fanged and ferocious. Most of the time, people associated veganism with a special kind of diet. But that’s only part of the equation. Because animal abuse is so closely entwined with modern Western culture, veganism also means proactively choosing to avoid businesses, consumer products, and other materials that violate animal rights.

Brief History of Veganism

Origins—500 BCE

When the Greek philosopher Pythagoras wasn’t waxing poetically about right triangles, he became the first to use the word vegetarian to describe people who avoid flesh (meat). He is also known to have promoted the idea of harmony between humans and animals. Later, ancient religions and ideologies like Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism would jump on the “Hey, animals are pretty rad, so we should probably be cool to them” bandwagon.

Veganism in the West

Vegetarianism did not enter the cultural zeitgeist of the West until the 16th and 17th centuries. Even then, the vegan practice of benevolence toward all creatures didn’t really catch. It would be another couple of centuries before the first vegan society was created (1944). By 2010, veganism began to grow in popularity. Today, it is estimated there are about 2 million vegans in the United States alone.

Modern Veganism & Pop-culture Influence

Moby is vegan (sorry Shady, everybody listens to Techno). So is Fiona Apple. And Demi Moore, Jared Leto, Samuel L. Jackson, and even tough guy Mike Tyson. Pop culture continues to drive awareness for veganism as actors, athletes, and brands continue to embrace and promote the vegan lifestyle.

Vegan FAQ

Check out our Vegan FAQ below to learn more about this ethical practice. Have questions that aren’t answered? Drop me a line and I’ll email you more information.

Frequently asked questions about veganism:

What is vegan?

What is vegan food?

Is it hard to grocery shop as a vegan?

What do people mean by cruelty free?

Do vegans eat dairy?

Do vegans keep pets?

Are there documentaries I can watch to learn more?

Is it hard to maintain a vegan lifestyle?

I’m feeling overwhelmed. Is there an easy way to try to be vegan?

What is vegan?

In short, anything that either minimizes or eliminates animal suffering is considered to be vegan. It might be helpful to think of veganism lifestyle in terms of four major domains: Food, clothing, household products, and cosmetics.

  • Food: Eat a plant-based diet, and avoid animal products like fish, poultry, beef, shellfish, eggs, dairy, and honey.
  • Clothing: Choose ethically produced clothing
  • Household Products
  • Cosmetics

What is vegan food?

Anything that isn’t made with animal products is considered vegan food. Largely, a vegan diet consists of grains, beans, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and plant-based meat alternatives (like tofu, tempeh, & other soy-based products). Careful though. Going meat-free does not mean you are in the clear. Many food companies use “natural flavors” that are derived from animal products.

For more information, visit this vegan food list.

Is it hard to grocery shop as a vegan?

It might be difficult at first, but it gets easier as you become more familiar with vegan foods. We got you, though. Visit one of the following links for free grocery lists: Vegan Grocery List, Vegan Protein List, or Raw Vegan Grocery List.

Grocery shopping not your thing? Visit the following page for a breakdown of popular vegan meal delivery services.

What do people mean by cruelty free?

There is a difference between vegan and cruelty free. Vegan means that foods/products do not contain any animal products AND have not been tested on animals. Cruelty free simply means the food/product has not been tested on animals. Although certified cruelty free, these products MAY CONTAIN things like honey, beeswax, collagen, and other animal-derived products.

Do vegans eat dairy?

No, vegans do not eat dairy.

Do vegans keep pets?

Vegans often debate whether or not it is ethical to keep pets. At one end of the spectrum, purists believe that keeping an animal as a pet infringes on that animal’s right to live a free and natural existence. One the other end, modernized vegans empathize with the serious ways modern culture has disrupted the natural world, and they believe that keeping pets can sometimes help animals to survive and thrive.

Are there documentaries I can watch to learn more?

Yes. Visit the following page for a list of popular vegan documentaries.

Is it hard to maintain a vegan lifestyle?

Everyone adjusts to veganism in their own way. Some find it easy to start, but difficult to maintain. Others find it more rewarding as time goes on. The Electric Soul is here to help. Join our mailing list to keep up with the hottest vegan influencers, products, and travel destinations. One thing is certain: It’s always better when we’re together.

I’m feeling overwhelmed. Is there an easy way to try to be vegan?

I got you. Visit the following page for a list of my favorite vegan books and cookbooks.