The Vegan Lifestyle
The concept of LIFESTYLE came from the observation that people living in isolated communities tend to develop similar attitudes, behaviors, interests, and behavioral orientations. The word was first introduced by Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler in his influential article, The Case of Miss R. with the more definitive meaning of “the basic nature of a person as determined early in life”. In the decades since then, LIFESTYLE has been used to describe many related concepts and ideas, such as independent, individualistic, environmental, collaborative, and free association. However, it is still commonly used today as a term to refer to single-family homes.
The concept of LIFESTYLE has evolved over time in response to new research on human life-styles. In particular, research on environmental issues in single-family homes has found that LIFESTYLE lifestyles tend to be similar across the board, regardless of social class, occupation, and cultural background. In addition, the environmental conditions experienced by those living in LIFESTYLE lifestyles are often less hazardous than those found in more conventional, rural, or suburban life styles. This suggests that, contrary to popular belief, a LIFESTYLE is not necessarily a “bad” one, rather that it could represent the best possible way for a person to live. However, the environmental issues surrounding sustainable living and green living have created some tension between those who embrace the lifestyle and those who do not.
Environmentalists decry the lifestyle of the LIFESTYLE individual because they believe it ignores essential aspects of sustainability. For example, while most LIFESTYLE lifestyles are vegetarian, they deny the fact that animal products and the products derived from animal products (such as eggs, milk, meat, and other animal-derived foods) are harmful to the environment. Additionally, LIFESTYLE lifestyles are also devoid of any recycling programs, causing the disposal of personal belongings to produce numerous waste byproducts. Additionally, while some LIFESTYLE lifestyles may appear to be wasteful, environmentally sustainable, or free, these aspects are not unique to the lifestyle. As a result, many eco-minded individuals and organizations decry the lifestyle as being self-defeating and unsustainable in the long run.
On the other hand, proponents of the LIFESTYLE assert that the lifestyle does promote long-term health and well-being. Though it does involve a reduction in consumption of animal products, the lifestyle actually promotes a healthier, better quality diet and exercise, in addition to a reduction in consumption of non-vegan foods. For instance, unlike the vegan lifestyle, the LIFESTYLE individual consumes a lower number of eggs, milk, meat, and other animal products; spends more time exercising, and uses other safe and healthy vegan sources for most of his or her dietary needs. Furthermore, the minimalist lifestyle is often practiced by women, who consume significantly less fat and sugar than men. Thus, the overall consumption of food remains more or less constant while allowing for ample variety and delicious tastes.
While there is much that can be said about the positive benefits of the LIFESTYLE life, some lifestyle experts point out a few disadvantages associated with this type of lifestyle. The primary negative aspect of a vegan lifestyle is that it excludes a wide range of people (including children, the elderly, and those with special dietary needs), thereby creating what is known as a “lifestyle gap.” This lifestyle gap can have serious health implications for the vegan, especially if he or she becomes severely depressed or develop substance abuse problems along the way.
For most, the decision to adopt a LIFESTYLE involves a degree of self-indulgence; however, for those with a more traditional, or mainstream, sense of culture, the choice can prove to be quite difficult. Vegans and vegetarians, for example, do not usually relish the idea of giving up all animal products (even fish and eggs), especially if they feel guilty about their decision. Vegans are also likely to have trouble finding other non-vegan recipes, which are generally a far more difficult to find. For these and other reasons, the Vegan and LIFESTYLE are not without its critics, both from within and outside of the vegan/vegetarian community. Yet, for those who embrace the values and principles of the Vegan and LIFESTYLE, it proves to be an experience that offers great rewards.