Being vegan: a diet or a fashion?

[Article updated on 19/09/2023]

Have you heard of the Veggie diet? Vegan foods? Or even this Vegan/Healthy lifestyle which is all the rage?

Before reading on

I’m not an expert in this field, but I am passionate about nutrition and health.

The articles you’ll find on my site are the result of in-depth research that I’d like to share with you. However, I would like to stress that I am not a health professional and that my advice should in no way replace that of a qualified physician. I’m here to guide you, but it’s important that you consult a professional for specific questions or medical concerns. Your well-being is important. So be sure to consult the appropriate experts and take the best possible care of yourself.

Is eating vegan really healthy for your health? Is it a fashion to belong to a group of inspiring people?

As a curious Dietitian Nutritionist, I searched for the answers to these questions. I read, interviewed vegans and learned about the vegan diet to reveal its secrets to you!

The beginning of the History of Veganism

The Veganism trend dates back to 1944, created by the Vegan Society and Mr Donald Watson (an Englishman) who invented the word “vegan”. It comes from Vegetarianism. In France we had to wait until 2010 to find the first Vegan Society and in 2013 to see the term “veganism” appear in Hachette then in 2015 in Larousse.

At present there are no concrete figures on the number of Vegans in France, depending on sources it varies between 0.01 to 3% of the population.

Since 1944, numerous associations have been created, notably L214 Ethics & Animaux founded in 2008 with the following objectives: to report on the reality of the most widespread practices in order to try to have illegal practices punished, to demonstrate the negative impact of the consumption of animal products, propose alternatives and finally, fuel the public debate on the animal condition.

L214 Ethics & Animals publishes this information on its websites, publishes videos, leaflets and brochures. The objective: to reveal the reality of farms and slaughterhouses.

Vegan or Vegetarian? What differences?

Being vegetarian means not eating meat. This diet can extend to fish, seafood and eggs.

Being vegan means not eating animal flesh or animal products (eggs, milk, cheese, honey, etc.). It means refusing to wear wool, silk, leather (let’s not even talk about fur!) or using cosmetic products containing animal fats. No testing on animals is allowed and nothing that requires any exploitation of the animals (forget a visit to the zoo, an afternoon at the circus or a horse-drawn carriage ride!).

Being vegan means feeling like a citizen of the world » Rudy, Vegan, explained to me.

It is a philosophy of earthing (= “being earthly”) where we all share the same planet.

Ultimately being vegan means transforming our current consumption patterns in a society of overconsumption where the objective is to consume without harming your health or that of other beings and without wasting our planet’s resources (water among others) .

vegan bowl

What do you eat when you are Vegan?

100% plant-based!

This eating method allows you to discover new products such as oils with pronounced flavors (flax, camelina, pulp, rapeseed or sesame), aquafaba (chickpea water which turns to snow like egg whites and allows you to making pastries) or even “fake cheeses” which will allow you to rediscover the taste of these popular products while respecting and protecting animals. We eat seeds, cereals, fruits, vegetables, oilseeds, etc. The menu is varied! You can try vegan restaurants if you don’t know them.

When you are vegan you also have the opportunity to discover other committed and independent stores.

Being vegan: a fashion?

Let’s dot the i’s: being vegan is much more than an “attitude”! This is a real commitment to the abolition of all forms of animal exploitation.

The nickname for vegans: “veggie”, rather trendy, is used in all sorts of ways on social networks, it seems to rhyme with success and glamor and is synonymous with “healthy” living… Eating 100% plant-based today ‘today it’s no longer being marginal, more and more followers are finding themselves in this way of life.

Did you know that celebrities are vegan: Tobey Maguire, Jared Leto, Nathalie Portman or even Gwyneth Paltrow, etc.?

According to Rudy, a vegan for many years, these are inspiring people who are models for the more or less young, truly invested in their lifestyle and who, ultimately, will give voice to this philosophy of life thanks to their influence! It seems to be positive that celebrities openly display their lifestyle, because as Gwenaelle pointed out to me, vegan for 2 years when I met him, high-level athletes like Novak Djocovic or Rich Roll, vegans themselves also, contradict the received idea that following this diet is a source of deficiencies, thinness and physical fatigue.

For Gwenaelle, being vegan is not a trend, it is not temporary, “veganism is a personal approach that lasts over time”.

Today we are seeing new vegan products appear: ice creams, cakes, yogurts and even cosmetics.

Green fashion is booming: textiles, shoes, etc. Many brands offer ethical or “animal friendly” shopping.

Nutritional advice from the Dietitian

Protein deficiency? In minerals? Well no !

A vegan diet is healthy, nutritionally adequate and could be beneficial for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Being vegan is also the way to seek and find nutrients essential to our health elsewhere, to awaken our taste buds, to discover new flavors, textures and finally to be an actor in our diet.

Protein? It is found in plants, dried vegetables or products such as tofu, seitan or tempeth and the combination of cereals + legumes becomes the animal protein supplement that could have been lacking.

Iron ? It is found in algae, cocoa, seeds, dried vegetables, but be careful, plant iron is less assimilated, so you will have to be careful to have a supply of vitamin C during the meal.

Omega 3? It is found in oils, seeds, nuts or whole grains.

What about vitamin B12? Provided by products of animal origin only, essential for the renewal of red blood cells, requires highly recommended supplementation!

I thank Rudy for his very pleasant interview as well as Gwenaelle, two young vegan people with whom I loved spending time, exchanging, learning!