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Looking for ways to take care of the earth, your body, and helpless animals all at the same time? Then look no further than World Vegan Day!

History of World Vegan Day

World Vegan Day first occurred on November 1st, 1994 as a way of commemorating the 50th anniversary of the UK Vegan Society and indeed the term “Vegan”. The Vegan Society was established in November of 1944; although the exact date was unknown. Of course, even though the term “vegan” and the Vegan Society were established at this point, obviously the idea of eating only foods that avoid the use of animal products has been around much longer.

In fact, it is estimated that veganism has probably been around for at least 2000 years, and the idea of vegetarianism (not eating meat) was perhaps around for even 500 years prior to that! That was when Greek philosopher and mathematician, Pythagoras of Samos, made it part of his life’s work to promote acting with benevolence and care for all species. Many followers of Buddhism are also promoters of vegetarianism and they do not believe in inflicting harm on other animals.

It wasn’t until 1806, however, that the concept of veganism as a lifestyle was really beginning to take shape. It was around this time that the objection to eating dairy and eggs for ethical reasons was first promoted to Europeans by Dr. William Lambe and Percy Bysshe Shelley.

It took more than 100 years or so, but finally, the vegan folks bonded together and created the UK Vegan Society. It was that same year that the term “vegan” was coined by Donald Watson, obviously derived from the word Vegetarian. At that time, the differentiation was that Vegans did not consume dairy products.

Later this definition extended to eggs and by 1951 veganism had become a movement of people who did not partake in the exploitation of animals of any sort. This included wearing furs, leather, or other animal products. The American Vegan Society followed along with its formation just a few years later, in 1960.

Then, in 1994, the President of the UK Vegan Society decided to elect the date of the 1st of November as World Vegan Day, which is now recognized as the date on which the Vegan Society was founded and on which Vegan Day would be observed. And it’s a great kickoff day as a start to World Vegan Month, which happens to be November.

Being kind to animals is one reason to celebrate World Vegan Day. Fewer animal products mean fewer greenhouse gasses, which means better earth for everyone. And it’s also better for the human body. It’s a win-win-win!

World Vegan Day Timeline

500 BC

Vegetarianism is first mentioned

The practice of not eating meat can be traced back to eastern Mediterranean and ancient Indian cultures. But the first time vegetarianism is recorded is by Pythagoras of Samos–that’s the same Greek mathematician and mathematician and philosopher who created the Pythagorean Theorem. [1]


Veganism is introduced as a lifestyle

Even before it had a name, the idea of avoiding meat, eggs, dairy and any products sourced from animals was recorded in a statement by Dr. William Lambe in London, England. He was one of the first Europeans to speak out, and he was particularly active in promoting the health benefits of the vegan diet.[2]


First vegetarian society is formed

Begun in England, this group started meeting and 150 members were enrolled in a short period of time. [3]


Vegetarian Society is formed in the US

Shortly after the movement in England, the vegetarian society began in the United States.[4]


“Veganism” is coined as a term

While the idea of avoiding all animal based products has certainly been around longer, the first time the actual term “vegan” came about was this year. It was coined by Donald Watson in the UK and accepted into the Oxford English Dictionary.[5]


Vegan Society is formed

Donald Watson and Elise Shrigley lead the way by joining forces with other vegans in the UK through the Vegan Society.[6]


Definition of veganism is expanded

Originally defined relating only to what is eaten, this season grew veganism to exclude all types of cruelty to animals. A statement made by the Vegan Society included the exploitation and use of animals for “food, clothing or any other purpose”.[7]


First World Vegan Day is commemorated

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Vegan Society in the UK, World Vegan Day is first celebrated.[8]


Veganism founder David Watson dies

By the time of Watson’s death at age 95, the UK counts ¼ million vegans and the US counts at least 2 million. [9]


VeGuide app is launched

In an effort to help more people embrace the vegan lifestyle, Vegan Society launches the first ever vegan App, VeGuide, to help folks on their journey.[10]

How to Celebrate World Vegan Day

Kick off the month of November with World Vegan Day. And those who are really into it may find that they want to celebrate all month long! Try out these ideas for honoring this day:

Try Out a Vegan Diet

Along with celebrating the start of the Vegan Society, Vegan Day is an opportunity to promote the benefits of a vegan diet and veganism in general. Although this might sound complicated, it really doesn’t have to be! Getting started can be easy, by just having a green veggie salad for lunch instead of that burger. Use coconut oil instead of butter for cooking, and substitute soy, oat, or almond milk for dairy milk. It’s easier than most people think!

Get Cooking Vegan

Feel like veganism would be too hard or make the family feel deprived? Not sure where to begin? Try out some absolutely delicious recipes that will not make anyone feel like they are missing out on anything!

  • Vegan Mac & Cheese. One of the biggest barriers to people becoming vegan is cheese, which is understandable because cheese is so tasty. However, when using this type of recipe, no one will miss the cheese! The sauce is made from vegan friendly ingredients such as grated potato, avocado oil, raw cashews and some spices. Delish!
  • Vegan Peanut Butter Cookie Bars. A lot of people think their baking will suffer without the use of milk, eggs and butter. But it doesn’t have to! These use peanut butter, almond flour, cocoa, walnuts and dates.
  • Butternut Squash Chipotle Chili. With a base of squash, peppers, cashews and beans, this chili is perfectly topped off with tortilla chips and avocado chunks on the side.
  • No Bake Cookies. An easy family favorite, these chocolate, oat and peanut butter cookies use almond milk and coconut oil as a substitute for the milk and butter. No one will even notice the difference!

Get Involved with a World Vegan Day Event

Each year there are a number of festivals and exhibitions held around the world by vegan societies. In addition, there are many local events, talks and cooking demonstrations organized by individuals. Check online, at the local library, or at the Vegan Society for information.

Can’t find a local event going on for World Vegan Day? Start one! Begin by inviting a few friends over to cook them a completely animal-free meal. They’ll be impressed with how delicious it is and might want to get onboard themselves.

Learn About the Health Benefits of Veganism

Many doctors have a lot to say about the way that a vegan diet can help with the health of a human being. The benefits are many, but here are just a few of the reasons to consider adopting a vegan lifestyle, if for no other reason than for personal health:

  • Veganism helps people lose weight. It has been shown that a plant-based diet can be an important factor in helping folks shed those extra pounds, certainly more than people eating a standard Western diet.
  • Blood sugar levels and kidney function are often improved. With diabetes making its way into an epidemic in the western world, getting people’s blood sugar down is of critical importance. A large percentage of diabetic people on a vegan diet have been able to lower the amount of medication they take.
  • Vegan diets are linked to a reduction in heart disease. Still the number one killer of people in the United States, heart disease may be mitigated by the inclusion of a plant-based diet. It may lower cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar, all of which may be contributing factors to heart disease.
  • Certain cancer incidences may be prevented with a vegan diet. Although not every kind of cancer responds to it, some cancers (approximately 1/3 , according to the World Health Organization) are within the control of the individual who can prevent them. A vegan diet is one way that people might be able to lower their risk of dying from cancer.

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