Going Vegan: The Secret to a Better Life

Examining the Controversy Surrounding the Term 'Vegan' Research Reveals It May Have a Negative Connotation

Study finds the word ‘vegan’ can turn some people off.

Dec. 13, 2023 – Ready to transform your health and save the planet? The answer lies in going vegan! Not only does this diet help you shed those extra pounds, but it also reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure1. And here’s the best part: you’ll start seeing the benefits in just 8 weeks! So why isn’t everyone jumping aboard the vegan train? It turns out, it’s all about the labeling.

In a fascinating study conducted by the University of Southern California, researchers explored how the “vegan” label influenced consumers’ choices2. They presented over 7,000 people with two gourmet food gift baskets – one containing meat and dairy, and the other filled with exclusively plant-based foods. Surprisingly, the basket without animal products was chosen only 20% of the time when it was labeled “vegan.” However, when labeled as “healthy” and “sustainable,” more than twice as many people opted for it.

The Judgmental Vegan Stereotype

“There’s a perception that vegans are judgmental and joyless, and vegan diets are boring,” says Wändi Bruine de Bruin, PhD, a researcher who specializes in veganism3. As a vegan herself, she experiences this stereotype firsthand. People tend to feel defensive or apologetic around her, as if she’s questioning their food choices. But why does veganism carry such moralistic weight?

According to Daniel Rosenfeld, a social psychology PhD candidate, veganism disrupts normative ways of thinking and acting4. It challenges our deeply ingrained beliefs about what animals are acceptable to eat. In some ways, veganism threatens a person’s identity and challenges long-standing social norms. This is why the word “vegan” can trigger feelings of insecurity and defensiveness.

Veganism, Identity, and Politics

Veganism’s political implications further complicate the matter5. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t about political ideology; it goes deeper. Some individuals perceive vegans as a threat to their freedom of choice. They may feel that vegans want everyone to give up animal products or see veganism as being inherently activist. This resistance stems from a fear that veganism limits their own sense of morality and social norms.

The Motivation Behind Veganism

Understanding why people adopt a vegan diet is crucial. For many, it’s about animal welfare6. Surveys show that up to 90% of vegans choose this lifestyle because they want to prevent the exploitation of other living creatures. Others emphasize the urgent need to address climate change. The United Nations reports that one-third of all human-caused greenhouse gases stem from agriculture, particularly livestock7. Going vegan can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70% or more, making it an essential part of the global effort to combat climate change.

Unveiling the Vegan Diet

But here’s the catch: people care about these issues, yet they hesitate to fully commit to going vegan8. The negative undertones associated with the term itself, coupled with the perceived restrictions of a vegan lifestyle, make it less appealing. Additionally, some studies have highlighted potential nutritional deficiencies in poorly planned vegan diets.

The Solution? Drop the “V” Word!

“If you want people to embrace plant-based, healthy, and sustainable choices, you need to lose the baggage associated with the label,” says Alicia Kennedy, author of No Meat Required: The Cultural History and Culinary Future of Plant-Based Eating9.

It seems that the secret lies in removing words like “vegan” or “meat-free” from our culinary vocabulary. The nonprofit World Resources Institute suggests that terms highlighting the absence of meat in a dish are simply unappealing. Indeed, one British supermarket saw a staggering 76% increase in sales simply by rebranding their “meat-free sausages and mash” as “Cumberland-spiced veggie sausages and mash”10.

Even major corporations are catching on to this trend. Swiss food giant Nestlé recently introduced vegan versions of their famous Toll House chocolate morsels, without using the “vegan” label. Instead, they’re called “plant-based”11.

Join the Vegan Revolution

It’s time to rethink our preconceived notions about veganism. Let’s embrace the concept without judgment, stereotypes, or unnecessary luggage. Going vegan doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor or freedom. Instead, it offers a path towards a healthier, more sustainable future. So, what are you waiting for? Take the first step and join the vegan revolution today!

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