Is veganism a trend?

Monday, 12 September 2016

[Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.]
The Vegan Society.

Do you think veganism is just a trend? 

This was a question I got asked by a friend not long after going vegan. I was going to include it in my 'things people ask when you go vegan' post but I thought it would make a good post in itself, so here we are. 

According to The Vegan Society, today over 500,000 people in the UK follow a vegan diet, which is a 350% increase over the last decade. So, why the rise? 

People go vegan for so many reasons. It could be for the animals or the planet, for health reasons, for an experiment, even for a 'cleanse'. What tends to keep people vegan though is that underlying ethical connection, the realisation that this diet is the only one that makes sense. Having spoken to so many vegans, the main thing that always comes up is that once you make that connection between the meat and dairy you are consuming and the pain, cruelty and damage it causes, you simply can't go back.

If people just give veganism a try then they may never make that ethical connection and may revert back to eating meat and dairy. Of course, any passionate vegan would be disappointed at that but is it as awful as it seems?

I would love it if every person who tried being vegan stayed vegan but sadly that isn't always the case. To be vegan you need to really know your stuff. You need to know how to get enough nutrients and to always make sure you are eating enough. You need to be able to stand up for what you believe in and be able to explain that to others who might not understand. 

I think social media has played a huge role in the rise of veganism. I know myself if it wasn't for social media I may not have become vegan. It is so powerful, allowing you to connect with likeminded people so easily. It's a place where you can share your passions with people who understand and who respect you. I don't know anyone in my life outside of social media who is vegan but online I feel like I am part of a huge movement where vegan is the norm, and that is just incredible. Instagram can make veganism look glamorous and desirable, Twitter can provide you with facts, YouTube can give you inspiration, and across all platforms you are given the opportunity to connect with new people and share your stories. 

However, social media can also make veganism look like a trend as more and more people start to adopt this lifestyle. Some of the 'big' Instagramers and YouTubers have such a huge influence over people and can play a massive role in bringing people to this lifestyle. Social media can make veganism look cool but what happens when people start to lose interest? 

Let's say someone tries out veganism for a few months and then decides it's not for them and goes back to how they lived before. During the time they were vegan they created demand for vegan products and they would have talked about the lifestyle with their friends and family. Although they didn't stay vegan, they helped the lifestyle gain attention and showed that there is a growing demand for vegan products. 

Even if, for some, veganism is just a trend, they helped us for a little while to raise awareness and create demand and I really don't know how that can be a bad thing. I know there is a concern that when people go vegan and then go back it can make it look like it was too hard, not sustainable and not healthy, but being vegan for a little while is still better than having never being vegan at all. And even if people do stop being vegan, they might come back again.

Being vegan is all about creating the least harm possible. It's about compassion and about love. Once you make that connection, it's almost impossible to go back. Even if veganism is a trend, people trying this lifestyle is raising awareness of it, creating more demand for vegan products and sending a message that being vegan can be pretty great. 

For most, being vegan is a lifestyle, not a fad diet. It's for the animals, the planet and ourselves. It's also the best decision I ever made.

What do you think about veganism being a trend?

Ps. How cute is this t-shirt? I got it from The Vegan Society for only £3.99 if anyone is interested :) 

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