By Nizha Periaswamy

Have you ever imagined a life without meat, seafood, poultry, or to a certain extent, dairy products such as milk and cheese?

If the diet mentioned above sounds familiar, yes, you’re correct, we are talking about the plant-based diet that is trending around the world, especially in theWestern countries - the vegan diet.

More and more people are transitioning to vegan diet - a step ahead of vegetarianism, mainly for health, food safety and environmental reasons.

According to consumer research company Mintel, US food and drink products that mentioned “plant-based” grew 268% between 2012 and 2018.

In Malaysia, the vegan culture is slowly, but steadily developing. More and more restaurants and cafés are offering vegan food as part of their menu, while others offer pure vegan food.

Beside restaurants, we have many networks in social media to guide vegans and ‘would-be vegans’ to eat and live right. Among them are,, and, just to name a few.

With all the support and guidance, it has become easier for one to give up meat and animal products and become vegan.

Researchers at Oliver’s Travels took into account the number of vegetarian-friendly restaurants, the number of a country’s population, and the annual meat consumption per capita to measure the data for Global Vegetarian Index 2017.

Surprisingly, Malaysia scored 311 marks in the index, which puts us in third place for the highest volume of people per vegetarian restaurant.

Let check out top 3 reasons that attract people to go vegan.

Health, of course!

Obviously, plant-based food allow more room in your diet for health-promoting options such as whole grains, fruit, nuts, seeds and vegetables. They are packed with beneficial fibres, vitamins and minerals.

According to a general survey by PETA, vegans on average are up to 9 kg lighter than meat-eaters and they keep the excess fat off for good, and have plenty of energy.

Saving the environment

Vegans believe that avoiding all animal-based products can lower animal carbon footprint. We all know that meat and other animal-based products place a heavy burden on the environment since they generate waste and pollution.

Livestock produce 18 percent of the worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. So, cutting back on consuming animals means you save the environment!

Emotional bonding with animals

Vegans don’t buy the fact that animals that become food have lived full, happy lives and that they have
experienced no pain or fear at the slaughterhouse.

The truth is, all living creatures fear death, no matter how they are treated when they are alive. Vegans develop emotional attachments with animals. A research on vegan practitioners show that having
more pets early in life increases the tendency of a person avoiding meat consumption later in life.

However, there is a huge difference between a vegan diet and vegan lifestyle. Vegan diet, as mentioned above, only concerns food.

Meanwhile, a vegan lifestyle may take it a notch further by having one avoid any act or behaviour that concerns animal-based products on a person’s health, environment, and humanity.

Nizha Periaswamy is a yoga instructor and freelance writer.

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