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{{Wikipedia excerpt|Veganism}}

Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. An individual who follows the diet or philosophy is known as a vegan. Distinctions may be made between several categories of veganism. Dietary vegans, also known as "strict vegetarians", refrain from consuming meat, eggs, dairy products, and any other animal-derived substances. An ethical vegan is someone who not only follows a plant-based diet but extends the philosophy into other areas of their lives, opposes the use of animals for any purpose, and tries to avoid any cruelty and exploitation of all animals including humans. Another term is "environmental veganism", which refers to the avoidance of animal products on the premise that the industrial farming of animals is environmentally damaging and unsustainable.

Well-planned vegan diets are regarded as appropriate for all stages of life, including infancy and pregnancy, by the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, the British Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the New Zealand Ministry of Health. The German Society for Nutrition—which is a non-profit organisation and not an official health agency—does not recommend vegan diets for children or adolescents, or during pregnancy and breastfeeding. There is inconsistent evidence for vegan diets providing a protective effect against metabolic syndrome, but some evidence suggests that a vegan diet can help with weight loss, especially in the short term. Vegan diets tend to be higher in dietary fiber, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and phytochemicals, and lower in dietary energy, saturated fat, cholesterol, omega-3 fatty acid, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12. A poorly-planned vegan diet may lead to nutritional deficiencies that nullify any beneficial effects and may cause serious health issues, some of which can only be prevented with fortified foods or dietary supplements. Vitamin B12 supplementation is important because its deficiency causes blood disorders and potentially irreversible neurological damage, though this danger is also one of the most common in poorly-planned non-vegan diets.

Dorothy Morgan and Donald Watson coined the term "vegan" in 1944 when they co-founded the Vegan Society in the UK. At first, they used it to mean "non-dairy vegetarian". However, by May 1945, vegans explicitly abstained from "eggs, honey; and animals' milk, butter and cheese". From 1951, the Society defined it as "the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals". Interest in veganism increased significantly in the 2010s, especially in the latter half, with more vegan stores opening and more vegan options becoming increasingly available in supermarkets and restaurants worldwide.

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Vegetarianism can be traced to Indus Valley Civilization in 3300–1300 BCE in the Indian subcontinent, particularly in northern and western ancient India. Early vegetarians included Indian philosophers such as Mahavira, Acharya Kundakunda, and the Tamil poet Valluvar; the Indian emperors Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka; Greek philosophers such as Empedocles, Theophrastus, Plutarch, Plotinus, and Porphyry; and the Roman poet Ovid and the playwright Seneca the Younger. The Greek sage Pythagoras may have advocated an early form of strict vegetarianism, but his life is so obscure that it is disputed whether he ever advocated any form of vegetarianism at all. He almost certainly prohibited his followers from eating beans and from wearing woolen garments. Eudoxus of Cnidus, a student of Archytas and Plato, writes that "Pythagoras was distinguished by such purity and so avoided killing and killers that he not only abstained from animal foods, but even kept his distance from cooks and hunters". One of the earliest known vegans was the Arab poet al-Maʿarri (c. 973 – c. 1057). Their arguments were based on health, the transmigration of souls, animal welfare, and the view—espoused by Porphyry in De Abstinentia ab Esu Animalium ("On Abstinence from Animal Food", c. 268 – c. 270)—that if humans deserve justice, then so do animals.

Vegetarianism established itself as a significant movement in 19th-century Britain and the United States. A minority of vegetarians avoided animal food entirely. In 1813, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley published A Vindication of Natural Diet, advocating "abstinence from animal food and spirituous liquors", and in 1815, William Lambe, a London physician, stated that his "water and vegetable diet" could cure anything from tuberculosis to acne. Lambe called animal food a "habitual irritation", and argued that "milk eating and flesh-eating are but branches of a common system and they must stand or fall together". Sylvester Graham's meatless Graham diet—mostly fruit, vegetables, water, and bread made at home with stoneground flour—became popular as a health remedy in the 1830s in the United States. Several vegan communities were established around this time. In Massachusetts, Amos Bronson Alcott, father of the novelist Louisa May Alcott, opened the Temple School in 1834 and Fruitlands in 1844, and in England, James Pierrepont Greaves founded the Concordium, a vegan community at Alcott House on Ham Common, in 1838.

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Vegetarianism can be traced to Indus Valley Civilization in 3300–1300 BCE in the Indian subcontinent, particularly in northern and western ancient India. Early vegetarians included Indian philosophers such as Mahavira, Acharya Kundakunda, and the Tamil poet Valluvar; the Indian emperors Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka; Greek philosophers such as Empedocles, Theophrastus, Plutarch, Plotinus, and Porphyry; and the Roman poet Ovid and the playwright Seneca the Younger. The Greek sage Pythagoras may have advocated an early form of strict vegetarianism, but his life is so obscure that it is disputed whether he ever advocated any form of vegetarianism at all. He almost certainly prohibited his followers from eating beans and from wearing woolen garments. Eudoxus of Cnidus, a student of Archytas and Plato, writes that "Pythagoras was distinguished by such purity and so avoided killing and killers that he not only abstained from animal foods, but even kept his distance from cooks and hunters". One of the earliest known vegans was the Arab poet al-Maʿarri (c. 973 – c. 1057). Their arguments were based on health, the transmigration of souls, animal welfare, and the view—espoused by Porphyry in De Abstinentia ab Esu Animalium ("On Abstinence from Animal Food", c. 268 – c. 270)—that if humans deserve justice, then so do animals.

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Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals.

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