What is it to be V?

History

In the first civilizations, the habits of feeding were based on plants. Most religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism recommend a vegetarian lifestyle.

The first information on vegetarian nutrition dates from the sixth century BC. Pythagoras is considered the father of ethical vegetarianism, adopted by numerous and prominent classical philosophers and writers since they observed that eating meat can be harmful to both health and the mind.

In the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci followed a vegetarian diet stating that: 

"The time will come where we condemn eating animals, in the same way that today we condemn eating our own species, eat humans." During the Age of the Enlightenment, Tyron, Rousseau, Voltaire, Wesley and others also followed a vegetarian diet. 

Now, veganism as such has its origin in the ethical component. It is thanks to ethics that what could be limited to just one style of diet is extended to become a lifestyle. The term vegan was coined by Donald Watson (1910-2005) in the first issue of Vegan News, in 1944, where vegetarianism is clearly differentiated from veganism. 

India is the country with the largest vegetarian population, among 38% of the population. In the United Kingdom and Germany 9%, Taiwan 12%, Italy 10%, Israel 13% and Spain 7.8% of the population is already declared veggie. Of course, the proportion is very uneven, with only 0.2% of vegans, 1.3% of vegetarians and 6.3% of flexitarians. 6% of American consumers declare themselves openly vegan, which means a growth of 500% since 2014.

 

Most people, including animal rights activists, have not been raised in vegetarian or vegan homes, however Nicole R. Pallotta (2008), documents cases of motivations in adults to be vegan, and relies on in moments of childhood where they are questioned, or are aware of the fact that the meat comes from animals, eat animals, another living being, sometimes with whom they have created ties, which provokes a reaction of disgust before the meat and questioning towards adults.

Because they are underage and unable to make their decisions or because society puts them back into the cultural veil, which consists of supplying them with large amounts of varied but rarely direct and concrete information about the origin of their food, they go back to eating meat without the association identified at that time; and the latency period begins, which consists in the individual being unable to make decisions on this matter (because of his or her age), keep these impressions to use them later and thus become adolescents or adults in vegetarian or vegan; This is a theory also supported by McDonald (2000).

Even in childhood, this situation puts parents in an obvious contradiction and difficult to explain to a child: why love and care for some animals and why kill others to eat them? This is often resolved by instilling in children the belief that meat is necessary for proper nutrition and that meat comes from happy farm animals, who have had an idyllic life. 

Additionally, adults have different tools to minimize this obvious contradiction, but they face them themselves, considering themselves as compassionate people, but knowing that in industrial farms animals are treated more like machines than living beings. 

Restrictions in diets around the world

Percentage of respondents who say they follow a special diet that limits or restricts the consumption of specific foods or ingredients.
Source: Nielsen Study Q1 2016

We see how, then, empathy towards animals and then a vegan or activist lifestyle towards animal rights may have its origins in childhood, however it takes an additional time, maybe 

years, to become a vegetarian and then possibly a vegan . That empathy that can, as we have seen, in some cases be traced in childhood is fundamental and a powerful reason for reflections when it comes to consuming and eating, that is why authors and activists often cite it, and when it is recognized the direct damage that is caused to another being the ethical component becomes evident and from this point of view, irrefutable. Reinforcing the argument of empathy, Pallotta (2008) mentions how this develops more naturally insofar as we identify with the other, by race, culture or religion. 

Our current civilization is based on the exploitation of animals, in the same way that the civilizations of the past were founded on the exploitation of slaves, and we believe that the spiritual destiny of the human being will lead to the fact that in the future we will contemplate with horror the fact that man fed on products made with the bodies of other animals.

Definitions

We do not intend to pigeon-hole or classify, only to guide on the different ideologies and eating habits that each one can adopt, as well as terminology that we can find in this, our environment.
 
  • Veganism (V):

It is not limited solely to nutrition, since it is probably also adopted an attitude and a lifestyle that rejects all forms of animal use to produce consumer goods or for human entertainment. It is more a way of life in which the community either for ethical, healthy or environmental reasons does not include meat, fish, or any other product derived from animals (dairy, eggs, honey, ...), nor do they use of products that have been previously treated with animal derivatives or related to animal experimentation in which they have been treated cruelly as well as rejecting the use of leather, leather, silk or wool. 

The community often protects animals in other contexts by supporting ecologist and naturist principles. 

 
  • Crudiveganos or Raw Vegans:

Community that consumes the same products as vegans, but raw, without being cooked.

 
  • Vegetarians (VT):

Community that does not consume meat or fish but if they are derived from animals such as dairy products, eggs or honey, which does not imply the death of the animal, from which these products have been extracted. They also tend to protect animals in other contexts by supporting the same ecologist and naturist principles. In this group we can find "Lacto ovo-vegetarians" and "Lacto vegetarians", "Apiovolactovegetarians"

 
  • Pescetarians:

Community that consumes fish and shellfish but not terrestrial meat.

 
  • Semi-vegetarians or Flexitarians (VF):

Community that occasionally consumes meat or fish although a vegetarian diet is mainly follwed.

  • Veggie Friendly (VF):

We use "Veggie" to define Vegans and Vegetarians together.  If you find a supplier that is "Veggie Friendly" it will have products or services that are Vegans or Vegetarians (or sympathize with these habits) however they also have others that are not, that is, they will also offer products with meat, fish or derivatives of animals.

 
  • Cruelty-free:

Products or activities that do not hurt, experience or kill animals.

 
  • Macrobiotic:

it is not in itself a vegetarian regime, because it consists in understanding the specificities of each food -according to yin and yang- to obtain the freedom to use them according to personal objectives and needs. It consists of an adaptation of the culinary traditions of the Far East, where food, medicine and even spirituality are often imbricated. They comply with the principle of taking foods that respect the proportion of sodium and potassium so that they are well assimilated and of agile digestion, in addition to some very healthy basic principles.

 
  • Fruitarian:

Community that feeds on fruit, either partially or exclusively.

 
  • Organic:

rejection of artificial chemicals or pesticides in production, using only natural ones. The producers who work with the organic seal guarantee that:

- Contribute to maintain and increase soil fertility.
- They use crop rotation as a natural way of regenerating the land.
- Prevent the erosion of the field and the loss of biodiversity in the subsoil.
- They maintain the purity of the springs of groundwater.

 
  • Ecological (E):

the one that follows a production process that respects the environment. This certificate guarantees that the products that incorporate it:

- They use the best environmental practices.
- They manage to preserve the maximum natural resources.
- They apply demanding standards on animal and plant welfare.
- They use renewable resources integrated in local systems.

 
  • Biological:

the word biological is used to refer to those products that have not undergone genetic manipulation in their production process. Producers with the biological seal guarantee that:

- Carry out a natural process of species selection.
- Contribute to an improvement of the genetic patrimony by closing the reproductive cycle of the species.
- They support the preservation of a high level of biodiversity.

To obtain the ECO / BIO certificate in the products is specifically regulated by the CAAE body and which complies with strict and well-regulated requirements for the supplier.