What does the word vegan conjure up in your mind?
Even a decade ago proponents of a meat and dairy free diet were stereotyped as alternative ‘earth-mother’ activists. However recent years have brought a tremendous shift in perception and a growing embrace of alternatives to the traditional lifestyles. A recent study has showed a large leap towards the reduction of animal product consumption amongst the UK public.
Veganism itself is different from vegetarianism, with vegans abstaining from all animal based products including eggs, fish and honey and even suede and leather. This ethos is based on, according to the much respected The Vegan Society minimising cruelty and exploitation of animals for food, clothing and any other purpose. The society cites compassion for all species as the root for this approach and highlights many ways in which our society uses animals, from vivisection to zoos and urges all of us to stop and reflect on the vast impact this widespread cruelty has on our world.
A powerful quote from Leslie J Cross attempting to define the philosophy of veganism describes ‘the emancipation of animals from exploitation by man’. Vegans choose a plant-based diet and lifestyle out of a love and respect for the earth and all her inhabitants.
Findings on the carbon-footprint of the meat and dairy industry reveal the devastating impact animal farming is reeking on our precious planet. The Worldwatch Institute reports that an astonishing 51 percent plus of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture while researchers at California’s Loma Linda University have found that vegans boast the lowest carbon footprint, generating nearly 42-percent less volume of greenhouse gases than meat-eaters.
A vegan diet has endless proven positives to inspire change.
Scientifically proven benefits to overall health include improving cardiovascular health, total elimination of dietary cholesterol (which your heart will thank you for), lower blood pressure and aid prevention of various cancers including prostate, colon and breast cancers. Investing in our old age is key, and it has been proven that many common afflictions including arthritis, macular degeneration and osteoporosis can be averted by a plant based diet. The average meat-eater consumes twice as much needed protein daily and turning to veganism brings a balance that impacts numerous areas of health. It is estimated that upto 75% of the world is lactose-intolerant confirming that the human body is simply not designed to digest animal milk not to mention the hormones and antibiotics now so worryingly prevalent in animal products. Some of the physical benefits of veganism include:
- Weight loss – reduction in weight is possible with a healthy balanced vegan diet
- Increased energy is one of the joys of a meat and dairy free diet with many online testimonies of people finding enormous improvements in stamina
- Longer life – many studies indicate that on average three to six years of life are gained with a meat free diet
- PMS – when switching to a vegan diet many women have reported a reduction of or complete disappearance of symptoms associated with PMS.
In addition there are over 10,000 known phytochemicals, bioactive compounds only found in plants, all of which vastly contribute to health and contain such varied nutrients as chlorophyll, which prevents harmful bacteria forming and an oxygen conduit (wheatgrass is 70% chlorophyll), phytoestrogen which are believed to lower risk of bone and heart disease, rutin, an antioxidant for eye health and glaucoma prevention and phytosterols which protect our cells from cholesterol and oxidation. These are just a handful of the plethora of invaluable nutrients we can offer our bodies and minds with a vegan diet.
Another important element of a vegan diet in our modern world is the organic factor.
With vegetable and fruit products being largely polluted with pesticides and fertilizers resulting from a culture of intensive farming to meet demand, it is essential to choose certified organic products which are becoming more widely available and affordable. The dangers of genetic modification and iodizing radiation cannot be overstated and more and more studies point to the links between GMO food (much of which is engineered to contain their own insecticides) and autoimmune diseases, infertility, gastrointestinal problems and chronic diseases among others. The greed of man is invading our natural systems with greater damage each year and no-one is immune. From the Amazon tribe being displaced from their habitat, often brutally, to the man suffering from heart disease brought on from the average western diet and all the many species subjected to torture and slaughter, the system we have created is failing our world.
Society is, thankfully, in parts, waking up to the desperate need for a revelation in our dietary habits and organisations such as The Vegan Society and events such as Viva! Vegan festivals are gaining rapidly growing followings as people seek ways to be free from the chronic ill-health of our traditional ‘meat and medicine’ lifestyles. A recent paper published by the esteemed British Dietetic Association (BDA) and signed by its CEO confirmed that ‘a well-planned vegan diet can support healthy-living in people of all ages’.
Many celebrities and public personalities have been long-time and outspoken advocates of veganism. Hollywood star Woody Harrelson has been a vegan since, as a struggling actor, a woman on a bus diagnosed his streaming nose and acne as lactose intolerance and he has movingly spoken of his journey into campaigning for the vegan movement saying; ‘The message is simple. It is a message of compassion in a world that is spinning madly out of control. We have to realised we are all related. We have to live in harmony’. Ex-President Bill Clinton has credited moving to a vegan diet as the reason for losing 240 pounds while singer Ariana Grande has been vegan since aged 13 and explained her decision as leading her to be ‘an all-round happier person’.
Balanced Nature was founded as a platform for speaking out this message of compassion through our use of purely organic and wholly natural vegan ingredients in all our products. We have woken up from the slumber induced by the corporate system influencing all our lifestyles, urging us to seek out meat and dairy for essential nutrients and vitamins, while intensifying profit farming at grave expense to both natural life and our health. We have seen firsthand the dramatic impact for good on both our lives and others when the, at first seemingly radical, choice is made to take a higher path and embrace veganism. The result is, in essence, a life uncontaminated by needless suffering and death. For us, all animals, including fish and insects have the right to carry out their lives on this earth undisturbed by our carnal needs and we honour that gift of life by choosing to protect it rather than be predators. As Balanced Nature’s product offering expands, we are so excited by the incredible rainbow of nurturing choices available to create delicious, wholesome and utterly natural products.
We would love to invite you to, if you have not already, take the first step on the path to reclaiming your health and becoming a part of a powerful movement of voices standing up to the ravaging system and saying ‘We are compassion and we choose life’.
Julia and Peter