About Veganism

A Closer look at the term “Vegan” and its History

The word “vegan,” pronounced with a hard “g” came about in the 1940s by a British woodworker, named Donald Watson.

Watson’s notion of the word was derived from his idea to take vegetarianism to another level, by removing all eggs and dairy from his diet.

An interesting fact, the word “vegan” came from Watson combining the beginning and end letters of the word “vegetarian”.

Donald Watson, who had been a vegetarian since the age of 14, decided to go fully vegan 18 years later. According to www.leafysouls.com, his decision for the lifestyle change, as a result of him, “witnessing the slaughter of a pig”.

In 1944 Watson created the Vegan Society to help bring about a community of people who practice a vegan lifestyle.

Veganism, according to healthline.com is currently defined, “as a way of living that attempts to exclude all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty, be it from food, clothing, or any other purpose.”

While the vegan lifestyle may not be everyone’s choice, more and more people, including celebrities, athletes, and people globally are adopting this plant-based way of eating.

Statistics on Google Trends gives proof of the growing increase of veganism around the world between 2004 to 2018. The top 5 regions to experience interest in this vegan trend are Australia, Israel, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

Infographic shows Vegan stats for 2020. (Created by Lakisha Bostick)

Veganism is on the rise in the United States as well. The website www.healthcareers.co reports, “more than 39% of people in the United States are adding more vegan food options to the dishes they eat.”

As people continue to look for ways to better their health, plant-based food options continue to drive the curiosity of many. One of the driving forces behind the popularity of meatless or plant-based recipes is social media.

Social data research conducted by linkfluence.com revealed the three main communities behind the popularity of the vegan movement on social media. According to their research, those three social media communities are: “1) self-care and well-being, 2) health and fitness, and 3) animal welfare and sustainability.”

One person in the vegan community that has taken social media by storm is Tabitha Brown, an actress, self-made, social media influencer, who went viral back in 2018 after streaming live on social media, while she was eating a vegan BLT from Whole Foods Market.

I had the chance to interview Mrs. Brown, 41, of Eden, North Carolina, and find out a little bit more about her “vegan stardom” and her plant-based food journey.

Tabitha Brown, who has been vegan for almost three years, says that she decided to go vegan for health reasons after facing, in her eyes, death.

“I was sick for one-year-and-seven-months, with many different issues that doctors could not figure out. So after watching, “What the Health” on Netflix, I decided to try it for 30 days and never looked back,” says Brown.

Tabitha said that after 10 straight days of eating plant-based meals, she felt a change in her body and her headaches stopped. However, like most people, she was skeptical about going vegan before she made a change in her life.

“Years before going vegan I thought, “ I can’t go without chicken and fish,” said Tabitha. “…However, when you are so sick and facing what feels like death, you change your perspective and that’s what I did!” 

Tabitha continues to grow in popularity on social media. In April 2020, her vegan “carrot bacon” recipe went viral on the TIKTOK app. According to an article on www.plantbasednews.org, her recipe video had an initial 2 million views, but that number continues to grow.

While Tabitha believes that going vegan may have saved her life, she advises for anyone looking to go vegan, whether it be for self-care and well being, to better your health reasons, or you have concerns about animal welfare, she says, “know your why.”

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