I have wanted to know more about veganism in different cultures. When I tried to research this topic, I ran into an article that alleges that veganism is a less than sustainable life style because there is no evidence that any great culture has ever been vegan.
It is quite clear that many societies in Africa, India, and elsewhere consumed vegetarian diets. Although there is no evidence that these cultures avoided all use of animals as food, surely the survival of these long-lasting societies argues for the rejection of meat in the diet as a quite healthy and productive way to live.
I don’t accept the conclusion of some writers that the absence of historically vegan societies brings the value of veganism into question. It is my understanding that cultures and people can evolve over time. Happily, consciousness can increase. More Hindus today are beginning to practice vegan diets. They have come to the realization that reverence for the cow should include not consuming its milk.
Traditional societies probably lacked our current ability to pick and choose from a wide variety of food staples. No hunter-gatherer society had the information that exists today about the merits of a plant-based diet. I would assume that people who grew their own food in subsistence farming were quite able at least to prevent the contamination of their water and the meat.
In my mind, agribusiness has helped to make the usual American diet a disaster. I feel no need to prove the value of my veganism by citing other societies that have been vegan. I can look at the vegetarian cultures and see that they have lasted a very long time with less heart disease and other illnesses that we have now.
Some people claim that the only “natural” culture that is vegan is in California. I’ve heard many references to the “Left Coast” in derogation of California and its counter-cultural tendencies. There was much there with which to disagree, but the movement to greater awareness of the food one consumes seems to me to be a valuable legacy.
Perhaps it is a part of West Coast culture, at least, to concern oneself with the effect on the environment of what one eats and how that food is produced. I believe it is likely that other people can become convinced of the value of a vegan diet when the increased health of vegans becomes apparent. That may take some time.
Occasionally, I hear someone say that he or she can’t go on a vegan diet for cultural reasons. I think most ethnic, traditional cuisines can be modified by the truly motivated into a vegan, but tasty version of the original. Again, it has to be an individual decision.
There is no monolithic vegan culture. The health-conscious vegan may have no concern about the environment or animals. Other vegans can be radical advocates for animals. For them, their motivation for veganism is purely or mostly about the animal kingdom. In addition, some vegans are only focused on the environment.
Perhaps one can say that among vegans themselves there is veganism in different cultures because we vegans are not all the same. Some vegans are even more restrictive in the foods that they consider acceptably vegan. They may be vocal about decrying the use of soy products or making any use of oil, even olive oil. The cultures of veganism are indeed diverse.
Vegasnism or rather the animal free lifestyle has been around for many, many years throughout different cultures of our diverse world. For greater details and to learn more about the vegan lifestyle, I suggest that you download my Amazon.com ebook into your Kindle, iPad or PC (personal computer).
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Filed under: Veganism Around the Globe
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