Skip to main content

November 1st is World Vegan Day.

Which actually launches the whole world into Vegan Month.

Here are some fun facts about vegans and veganism to help us celebrate.

What Is Veganism?

Vegans eat a plant-based diet which avoids all animal-based foods.

But it is more than just a specific diet—it is a philosophy. As the Vegan Society explains, “Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

One question I get asked a lot is what is the difference between a whole food plant-based diet and veganism?

As I explained in the Great Vegan vs. Plant-Based Debate the difference is pretty straightforward. A plant-based diet is about what you include – whole, plant-based foods with an emphasis on avoiding processed or packaged goods—while a vegan diet is about what you exclude (i.e. animal proteins and animal-based foods).

Also, the vegan diet puts much less of an accent on ‘whole foods’ (a lot of processed foods are accepted) while a whole food plant-based diet stresses the importance of eating food that comes directly from the source—Mother Nature.

The Birth of World Vegan Day

First celebrated on November 1, 1994, the global holiday commemorates the 50th anniversary of the UK Vegan Society and the term “vegan” itself.

Unsurprisingly, “vegan” derives from the word “vegetarian” and was coined by Donald Watson to differentiate the two because, unlike vegetarians, vegans don’t eat any eggs or dairy products.

5 Startling Reasons to Eat Vegan

Here are some shocking statistics that will make you think twice next time you are tempted to eat animal foods.

  1. In the US alone, 500,000 animals are slaughtered for their meat – every hour of every day. Each vegan saves about 200 animals per year. Over 25 years, that’s 3,000 animals saved from the butcher’s block.
  2. A plant-based diet increases your metabolism. For at least 3 hours after a meal, your body will burn calories over 15% faster than bodies on meat-based diets.
  3. You can grow about 200,000 pounds of potatoes on one acre of land. That same acre can only produce 165 pounds of beef.
  4. 7 billion livestock in the US eat enough grain to feed 800 million people.
  5. Meat is packed with protein, but acre for acre, plants produce ten times that amount of protein.

Celebrating the World’s Vegans

So what to do to celebrate World Vegan Day?

  • Eat something you’ve never tried before. Ever wondered what Jabuticaba (the Brazilian “tree grape”) tastes like? Here’s a list of ten “weird” things to try.
  • Donate your wearables. Strip your closets of leather and fur and send them out to charity. Or at the very least, don’t wear them today.
  • Cook for non-plant-based friends. Share your love of plants and animals by showing your meat-eating friends how delicious plant-based meals can be.
  • Volunteer at a local animal shelter. Show your love for our furry friends by spending some time with them – even if it’s just to clean cages. Or, give your own pet some extra loving and hugging today.

While the vegan diet “allows” for some processed foods that the whole food plant-based lifestyle doesn’t, it’s still a healthier and more humane way to live and eat.

So today we celebrate the world’s vegans and congratulate them on the difference they’re making in their health, their lives and the world.

And to celebrate in style here’s a very special recipe for Sweet Potato Lasagna to commemorate Vegan Month.


Rosane Oliveira, DVM, PhD

President & CEO, Plant-Based Life Foundation | Dr. Rosane Oliveira combines a lifelong passion for nutrition with 25 years of genetics research to create programs that help people develop healthy habits on their journey towards a more plant-based lifestyle. She is a Visiting Clinical Professor in Public Health Sciences and was the founding director of the first Integrative Medicine program at the UC Davis School of Medicine. She completed her postgraduate studies in Brazil and did her postdoctoral training in immunogenetics and functional genomics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.