Compassion in the New Year
As the new year fast approaches, many of us take this time to reflect on the challenges and victories of the last 12 months, while considering how we might continue our journey of personal growth. The most popular annual resolutions focus on health and wellbeing. We want to look better and feel better. Well, did you ever consider trying a vegan diet to accomplish those goals?
There are countless new diet programs and health trends on the market, some successful, others not so much. And most fail to stand the test of time and sustainability. Veganism, however, has centuries of success behind it, and continues to stand as one of the most beneficial lifestyles for humans …and the animal counterparts affected by its framework of compassion.
Historically, Indian and eastern Mediterranean cultures have promoted a meat-free diet dating back centuries before the common era. Notable Greek philosopher Pythagoras of Samos (500 BCE) was one of the first to write of vegetarianism, believing in benevolence among all species. Likewise, the tenet that humans should not inflict pain upon other animals is a deeply held belief shared among the followers of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. 
The term “vegan” was coined in 1944 by Donald Watson, a British woodworker (and later co-founder of The Vegan Society) who wanted to distinguish between those who still consumed dairy and eggs, and those who did not. Watson claimed that unlike vegetarianism, a vegan lifestyle protected people from tainted food – at the time, Tuberculosis had been found in 40% of Britain’s dairy cows. Watson continued to promote veganism up until his death in 2005, when, at that point there were 250,000 self-proclaimed vegans in Britain, and approximately 2 million in the United States. 
Veganism continues to rise in popularity. Based on current available data, it is predicted that vegans make up about 79 million people globally. Google reports that the search for “veganism” is up 580% from 2015-2020, and searches for “veganism” received 5x more interest than the terms “vegetarian” and “cruelty-free”. In 2014, the global movement “Veganuary” was introduced to help people try vegan products and pledge to make more compassionate choices for the month of January. This too has proven increasingly popular. In 2021, over 580,000 people from over 200 countries and territories tried veganism. 
We at Animal Advocates of South Central PA are here to support you in whatever ways possible, be that through education, mentoring, or volunteer opportunities. January 1st we will launch our own 5th Vegan Challenge (registration closed 12/24/21) for those interested in receiving support and guidance as they start the new year with a vegan lifestyle. If you missed the deadline but are still interested in learning more about how you can make the transition to a more compassionate diet and lifestyle, check out our website at Animal Advocates of South Central PA and click the resources tab. Feel free to reach out to us at any time with questions or to find advice. We’re super accessible!
The greatest things to keep in mind as we make our resolutions this week are grace and gratitude. Everyone’s journey toward veganism is different, no two paths will look alike, so always treat yourself and others with grace…and show gratitude for the positive changes made, no matter how small. Every time you choose compassion an animal thanks you!
Be blessed this holiday season.
 McManus, Katherine D. “With a Little Planning, Vegan Diets Can Be a Healthful Choice.” Harvard Health, Harvard Health Publishing: Harvard Medical School, 6 Feb. 2020, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/with-a-little-planning-vegan-diets-can-be-a-healthful-choice-2020020618766.
  Suddath, Claire. “A Brief History of Veganism”. Time USA. Oct. 30, 2008. https://time.com/3958070/history-of-veganism/
 Meyer, Mandy. “This is How Many Vegans are in the World Right Now”. The VOU. Jan. 17, 2021. https://thevou.com/lifestyle/2019-the-world-of-vegan-but-how-many-vegans-are-in-the-world/