Veganism, when did it all begin?

Vegan popularity is at an all time high, for a variety of reasons.  So how did it get there?

So, Contrary to popular belief–Woody Harrelson, Alicia Silverstone, Joaquin Phoenix, Mya, Liam Hemsworth, Brad Pitt or James Cameron were not the pioneers of veganism, but they are all phenomenal advocates to say the least.


What about? Waka Flocka Flame, Pamela Anderson, Natalie Portman, Lewis Hamilton, Yolandi Visser, Greta Thunberg, Mylie Cyrus, Jane Velez-Mitchel or even the Esselstyn’s?  Nope, they weren’t either, but also are phenomenal advocates.



How about these possible new vegan members? Joe Rogan, Gordan Ramsey, Oprah, Conner McGreggor, The Rock? Okay, these are just hot takes, but you never know…

Oprah Winfrey Attends The Dignity of Women Conversation At The University of Johannesburg  THE ROCK

“Okay, so you probably get the point by now”

Here is some history of veganism, try to stay awake, it’s actually pretty interesting.


Historical Veganism 101– this is worth (3) credits toward your major.

Veganism is an extreme form of vegetarianism, and though the term was coined in 1944, the concept of flesh-avoidance can be traced back to ancient Indian and eastern Mediterranean societies. Vegetarianism is first mentioned by the Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras of Samos around 500 BCE. In addition to his theorem about right triangles, Pythagoras promoted benevolence among all species, including humans. Followers of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism also advocated vegetarianism, believing that humans should not inflict pain on other animals.


November 1 is World Vegan Day, a celebration of people who’s diet is free of animal-based foods (such as meat, dairy products, eggs, and honey.) Nowadays, the word’s meaning is commonly extended to refer to non-food products—such as clothing, cosmetics, and medicine—that are made without animal-derived substances. Some Vegans typically object to exploitative uses of animals in any way.  This animal-free holiday began in 1994.

related:Five of the worlds most historical vegetarians.

If that’s not enough history, here’s a little more.

Hindus, Buddhists and Jains have all long promoted plant based diets for ethical reasons. An early Jain called Parsva, taught followers about Ahimsa, one of the cornerstone beliefs meaning non-violence to living forms.

Jain monks often carry brushes to sweep the ground in front of them in order to avoid accidentally crushing insects when they walk. The practice of wearing muslin cloths over their mouths in case they swallow any insects is also observed.

Other notable vegan-leaning leaders include the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten who banned animal sacrifice because he thought it was sinful to take away any given life by the Aten god. Taoism and Chinese Buddhism in the late 4th century stipulated that their monks and nuns were to eat an egg free vegetarian diet and the Japanese Emperor Tenmu banned the use of all livestock.

In ancient Greece, early veganism was referred to as “abstinence from beings with a soul”. In 500 BCE, the Greek mathematician Pythagoras advocated the idea that all animals had immortal souls which would be reincarnated after death. He shunned harming animals and along with the mythical poet Orpheus, also abstained from eggs. Apollonius of Tyana shared these strong views on animal rights and the Greek philosopher Plotinus even eschewed medicines made from animals.

Historian Dr Catherine Oliver suggests that 18th Century philosopher Jeremy Bentham is the earliest notable proponent of likening animal suffering to that of humans: “The question is not ‘can they reason?’ Nor, ‘can they talk?’ But, ‘can they suffer?’ Dr Oliver told The Independent that veganism today is being increasingly situated “not as a diet but as a social justice issue”.


The term “veganism” itself however, was coined much more recently. In 1944, carpenter Donald Watson and his wife Dot invented the word to mark the “beginning and end of vegetarianism”. Watson decided to become a vegan after he saw and heard the death of a pig on his uncle’s farm.

“I decided that farms, and uncles, had to be reassessed”.  Watson lived to the age of 95 and predicted that at his funeral “there’ll be a smattering of people but there’ll be the spirits of all the animals I’ve never eaten. In that case it’ll be a big funeral”.

There are many theories on the history of veganism, trying to sum up the consensus is a bit challenging.  So, whether you’re new school or old school to veganism, this is some information you may or may not have know, interesting either way.


Plantbase Patriot favorite cap.

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