The Vegan Lifestyle – What Is It?
Lifestyle is one of the most important aspects of a society. Today it is used more loosely to describe a person’s mode of behavior. A modern example is the difference between a junkie and a conscientious person. While both may partake in destructive behavior, the one engages in it habitually, while the other never does. In this way, the two are very different, yet they have the same desire for a healthier lifestyle.
Lifestyle is the attitudes, ideas, behaviors, and cultural orientations of an entire group, individual, or society. The word was first introduced by Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler in his famous book, The Case of Miss R. With the implied meaning of “the basic nature of a human being as established at birth”. In this book, he illustrated that there are three types of people, which are by nature into two extremes. These are the Type I and Type II personalities, characterized by their over-stimulation, high need for variety, and freedom from structure. Adler further explained that there are four lifestyles that fit this description: freedom, communicative, independent, and communicative reliant.
As a definition of the word, some would look at the meaning of the phrase and say that a lifestyle is a complete way of being. However, this is not the case, as not all lifestyles are similar. Some lifestyles emphasize direct contact with nature, while others do not. Lifestyles also can include extreme individualism, where there is little room for traditional routines and conventions. Finally, some would look at vegan lifestyles as being in opposition to mainstream lifestyles and being highly motivated by ethics and values.
Many would agree that there are two main parts to a lifestyle, and these are the type of lifestyle that you are practicing and the level of intensity you are achieving. For instance, if you are a Type I vegan (which Adler defines as “ethical non-conformists”), which means that you “follow the practices and beliefs of an ethical vegan”, then you would be highly motivated. You will be aware of the animals you interact with and treat them humanely, but would choose to refrain from using certain animal products. However, if you are Type II vegans, which defines you as “embracing the continuity of life existing in both nature and nurture” then your lifestyle would be more likely to focus on reducing animal exploitation.
Many people have different reasons for following a vegan lifestyle. Adler has also talked about how there are physical changes that occur when following the vegan lifestyle. These would include weight loss, reduced energy levels, and general body aches and pains. On the other hand, many vegans feel that this is all a natural part of being a vegan. Adler points out that these effects are short-lived once you have gotten used to not having animal products in your diet.
Although some may perceive veganism as a lifestyle choice, it is one that is also driven by environmental considerations. Adler points out that animals are considered to be the number one reason we are surrounded by pollution. As a result, when choosing to be a vegan lifestyle you are doing not only your body a favor, you are also helping protect the environment. Vegetarian diets are increasingly being used by health-conscious individuals who are trying to live a healthy lifestyle. The key to being successful is to start slowly and to stick with it.