The Evolution and Revolution of the Contemporary Vegan

Topics: Pythagoras

There are many questions asked by omnivores when they are introduced to vegetarians and vegans. Usually, the who and the why’s are asked. As well as the exaggerated question of ‘Where do you get your protein?’. I will illustrate a brief history of what it means to be an omnivore and a herbivore. As well as the perspective throughout time from anthropology and contemporary point of view. I will discuss the composition of the diet including but not limited to nutrients and health benefits as well as precautions, risks, and consequences of this chosen lifestyle.

It is believed that our evolutionary process throughout the changes is from past climate and environmental conditions that geared the evolution of early humans from herbivores to omnivores. The earliest human or Homo erectus evolved with larger brains, larger bodies, smaller teeth, less pronounced and muscular jaws, smaller stomachs, and larger foraging ranges in comparison to the earlier hominins. It was believed that H Erectus became an omnivore due to new and faster ways of food processing that became easier by using stone tools for slicing or cooking, which was uncommon up until 500, 000 years ago.

The meat was a more energy-rich meal and helped sustain the body for long hours in the day for the continued evolution of what has made us, us today.

According to Time in ‘A Brief History of Veganism’, the first mention of the term ‘Vegetarian’ was at around 500 BCE by a Greek philosopher and Mathematician Pythagoras of Samos, best known today for his mathematical geometric Pythagorean theorem.

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Until the mid-1800 a meatless diet that was earlier named after him as a ‘Pythagorean diet’. His influence among other several historical figures throughout the 19th and 20th Century there was to the growth of followers and this was established through education and publications. The first Vegan Society was established in 1944 by Donald Watson (1910-2005) who created the term Vegan, as he published in November 1944 the pronunciation ‘Vegan not Veejan’, a term he used to describe those who do not consume meat, eggs or dairy.

The newest term Vegan is defined as an individual who consumes absolutely no meat, eggs, or dairy products as well as uses any product made from an animal such as pearls, or leather. A Vegan diet consists of proteins, grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and vegetable fats. Plant-based diets have shown to have lower risks of cardiac diseases as well as some cancers. Many vegans choose this lifestyle for ethical, health, and environmental reasons. The sustainability is high in that of a plant-based diet and yields higher than that of an omnivore diet. It takes more natural resources to feed the agriculture, the water used, and the destruction of lands, and pollution that will take the millions of people on the planet.

Annotated Bibliography for Research on ‘Veganism’

  1. Mann, Sara E, University of Pennsylvania, Thesis ‘More Than Just A Diet: An Inquiry Into Veganism’, Spring 2014.
  3. Craig, Winston J, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 89, Issue 5, May 2009 Pages 16247S-1633S,, Published 11 March 2009.
  4. Suddath, Claire, Time Magazine, ‘A Brief History of Veganism’, Published 30 October 2008.
  5. Zink, K., Lieberman, D. Impact of meat and Lower Palaeolithic food processing techniques on chewing in humans. Nature 531, 500–503 (2016) doi:10.1038/nature16990

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The Evolution and Revolution of the Contemporary Vegan. (2022, Aug 10). Retrieved from

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