Veganism is a lifestyle choice for every individual who wishes to take that step. Although the diet is focused on as the biggest impact. Items which we wear, the food we eat, the candles we light, the haircare and skincare and how and where we socialise all part of a Vegan lifestyle.
Veganism until recently was met as a negative or a fad restrictive diet, rather than being an act of preservation off the earth and care for our environment and communities. Being vegan can also remarkably boost our mental health and well-being.
The practice of veganism is believed to be in the world for more than 2000 years, while vegetarianism has been there for even 500 years before veganism. This lifestyle practice was followed by Pythagoras, the famous Greek mathematician and philosopher who endorsed the idea of being kind to all kinds of species living on the planet.
Celebrated every year on November 1, World Vegan Day raises awareness about animal rights and advocates the widespread adoption of a vegan lifestyle. The day was created in 1994 by British animal rights activist, Louise Wallis, as a way to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of The Vegan Society in the United Kingdom.
The Vegan Diet
A variety of plant-based foods can cater to your protein needs just the way an animal-based diet does. You can include nuts, lentils, legumes, tofu, soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, cashew milk, avocado, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and broccoli in your daily diet as some healthy vegan-friendly protein sources.
Besides protein, other nutrients derived from animal sources, including calcium, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, and omega 3 fatty acids, can be substituted with alternatives like soya products, leafy vegetables, probiotics, exposure to sunlight, and so on.
Some of the health concerns which may be helped with are:
Research has shown that a vegan diet can help do the following:
- Promote weight loss
- Helps with gut health
- Improved skin health
- Reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels
- Lower your chances of getting certain types of cancer, such as colon cancer
- Manage diabetes by lowering A1C levels
"You can be overweight and be a vegan; you can be malnourished and be a vegan," Soble says. "Whatever your diet choice, you have to know which foods to avoid and which foods to seek out."
WHAT ABOUT MY SKINCARE, WHAT MAKES IT VEGAN?
Vegan Skincare means that it is not derived from animal or testing on animals. The European Union implemented a ban on all animal testing for cosmetic products and cosmetics ingredients under its Cosmetics Regulation 1223/2009 in 2013, this ofcourse may not be the case on products sourced around the world.
Animal derived ingredients, however, are used in a lot of well known brands. Some examples of such ingredients include:
Squalene which comes from shark liver and is a by-product of the cruel practice of shark-hunting.
Squalene is an oil that’s part of your skin’s natural oils, a.k.a sebum. The sebum present in your skin is made of triglycerides, fatty acids, ceramides, and squalene
Squalene, together with other oils, keeps your skin barrier intact and your skin moisturized and soft. Besides your skin, squalene is found in large amounts in shark liver oil.
Vegan friendly products such as the Glow Boosting 2 in 1 Moisturiser + Serum use wheatgerm oil or in other products we use olive oil, grapeseed oil and rice bran.
Hyaluronic Acid, the water rich hydrator and must have ingredient also has its animal based links. It is in the main produced from the combs of roosters (also known as coxcomb) – the red flesh located at the top of the rooster’s head. This type of hyaluronic acid is very close to the one that is found naturally in the human body.
The vegan alternative is produced through microbial fermentation. A bacterial strain, naturally containing hyaluronic acid, is fermented to yield the perfect molecular weight that is ideal for skincare purposes. Some fermentation processes use soy, others use wheat.
Another alternative is our use of coconut, jojoba and shea butter, which are all deeply moisturising and a sustainably sourced alternative to beeswax. The harvesting of beeswax can have a detrimental effect on bee habitats and populations, which are already endangered; as we know, the bee shortage could lead to devastating effects on food production.
Another ingredient to look out for is keratin – although we’re often sold a story about how keratin shampoo transforms our hair, when used in beauty products it’s typically derived from the horns, hooves, hair and nails of animals. Who would want to rub that on their head? Great alternatives to look out for include almond oils and soy proteins – instilling that glossy shine in your locks without extracting ingredients from unethical sources.
Lastly, it’s important to mention lanolin – an emollient derived from sheep’s wool found in many cosmetic products. Our products don’t contain lanolin; instead, we replicate its moisturising, emollient properties by using nourishing blends of plant oils and butters, such as shea butter.
IT IS THE LITTLE THINGS
Not ready to go fully vegan or vegetarian yet?
Are there swaps that you could be doing or how can you educate yourself to consume less?
Can you shop vegan home products such as candles, swap your milk or wider dairy products, have meat free days, check your skincare and haircare products?
Apart from these vital health benefits, another important reason to observe World Vegan Day every year is to be kind and empathetic to animals. Decreased consumption of animal products lowers the emission of greenhouse gasses, which contributes to a better environment and a healthier planet for everyone.
It takes willpower and courage to be a vegan and it is a journey where small swaps can help too.
On World Vegan Day today, let’s celebrate all vegans for their compassion towards animals and commitment to the environment.