Vegan and vegetarian lifestyles have become more mainstream as celebrities and regular people alike adopt completely animal-free diets. Vegans avoid any food, clothing or other products that exploit or harm animals in order to enjoy a healthy, environmentally friendly and compassionate diet. November is World Vegan Month, a worldwide celebration aimed at promoting vegan diets and recognizing The Vegan Society. Carnivores are invited to take a 30-day vegan pledge to join in on the month’s festivities. As World Vegan Day kicks off Tuesday, here are eight things you probably didn’t know about veganism.
1. There are several different types of veganism. All vegans avoid animal food products like meat, shellfish and eggs. But different types of vegans focus on different aspects of the lifestyle. Raw food vegans are those who also don’t eat anything cooked above 115 degrees Fahrenheit in order to keep food in as original a form as possible. Junk food vegans, a less healthy branch of eaters, don’t care what they’re consuming as long as it’s animal-free.
2. Five percent of the U.S. is vegan. Approximately 16 million people in the country are vegetarian and half of those consider themselves vegan.
3. Veganism has been officially recognized for 72 years. The Vegan Society, an organization that works to make veganism more widely practiced, was founded in 1949.
4. Honey isn’t vegan. The Vegan Society condemns consumed honey as exploitative. “Honey is made by bees, for bees, and their health is sacrificed when it’s harvested by humans,” the Society said.
5. There’s a vegan trademark. The Vegan Society certifies registered vegan products with its official vegan trademark. Qualifications for these products include having no animal ingredients, animal related genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or animal testing and proper kitchen and hygiene standards. A full list of vegan trademarked products is listed here.
6. Veganism is a protected right. In Europe, veganism is covered under Article 9 of the European Convention for Protection of Human Rights.
7. Many celebrities are vegan. A number of stars have come out as followers of a vegan diet including Ariana Grande, Peter Dinklage and Miley Cyrus.
8. The first vegan cookbook was published in 1850. The Hygeian Home Cook Book, or Health And Palatable Food Without Condiments, was published in 1850 by Russel Thacher Trall, a founding member of the American Vegetarian Society.