A lot of people are under the impression that veganism and minimalism exist as separate lifestyles. But if you take a closer look, you’ll see how these two philosopies have more in common than differences that set them apart. Vegans have known this for years; minimalism and veganism go together like rice and beans.
“But Thomas, just because you’re a vegan dosent mean you embrace a minimal style of living”. Let me explain. A minimalist lifestyle is about getting rid of belongings you deem as unnecessary and only holding on to things that you feel add genuine value to your life. Minimalism teaches us that things in our life can weigh us down and leave us feeling cluttered, unhappy and unfocused. By getting rid unnecessary belongings and saving the essentials, we can live a life of more intent and happiness.Do you really need seven jackets? Or are five of them just taking up closet space while you choose between your two favorites?
If you look a bit closer, you’ll see that vegan culture has adopted many minimalist principals. When you cut animal products out of your diet, getting rid of other useless things in life just comes naturally. I found three ways that veganism and minimalism share the same core beliefs.
1. Sustainability is key.
A common thread between veganism and minimalism is something you don’t hear about much outside of these two lifestyles. And thats sustainability. How well does something stand the test of time. Sustainability is important to minimalists for one main reason; if you’re gonna have two jackets, they both better be built to last. Minimalists don’t have many posessions so they choose more sustainable items so they can last a long time and add more value to their life.
Sustainability is a cornerstone of veganism. People who became vegan due to ethical or environmental reasons are in touch with sustainability because they understand that housing too many animals due to the demand of animal products creates negative effects on the environment, is very destructive and not a sustainable practice. Often times, once you realize the sustainability of the earth and the other animal lives on the planet you will experience a ‘trickle down’ effect. Suddenly you see things differently in order to not be as wasteful. Most ethical vegans would prefer to use a nice well crafted mug opposed to a disposable coffee cup. They value the sustainability of the mug and dislike the idea of needlessly wasting paper cups.
2. Vegans appreciate the simple things.
Choosing to not use animal products has been a crazy journey. It seems like I’m constantly checking labels for any traces of animal byproducts. They put milk and cheese in everything. But it was a choice that I made to no longer consume those things. Ironically this process of becoming vegan taught me that its really not about the details.In fact much like minimalism, Veganisim is about subtracting unnessesary things from your life.Once the unnecessary things are removed, only the things that you see as nessesary will remain. After meat, eggs, dairy and cheese are no longer on the plate you really start to see the beauty in foods that come from the earth. Its a simpler way of eating and a philosophy that begins to bleed into your everyday life.
Since I’ve become vegan I have a new appreciation for eating less complicated, whole-plant foods. In turn, i’ve gained a huge appreciation for the other simpler things in life. Empty and uncluttered spaces, a simple and functional wardrobe, and taking time to do simple tasks. These anectdote’s are now a part of a growing list of minimal things that I’ve come to appreciate since becoming vegan. There are a great deal of other vegans that feel the same way, due to the simplifying the food they choose to eat.
3. Minimalism and veganism share a common enemy.
Excess and overconsumption are some of the main reasons people become vegan or minimalist. Often times vegans are more understanding of the negative effects of excess, and seek to remedy the situation by going vegan. Although minimalists see excess on a material level and vegans see it in terms of what we eat, both lifestyles have come to the same conclusion when it comes to excess. At our core, minimalists and vegans believe that generally having ‘too much’ , can be a bad thing. Too many cloths, too many magazines, too many food ingredients, Too many animals in too many slaughter houses. Excess can be your enemy in many cases.