Today, 2022, vegan restaurants are springing up all over the U.S. and consciousness of animal exploitation is increasing too. So, where did the word “vegan” come from?

The word “vegan” was coined in 1944 by Donald Watson, a strict non-animal eater and founder of the Vegan Society, to denote one who abstains from eating any and all animal products – even honey.

Watson felt that vegetarians, most of whom eat eggs and dairy, and still do a disservice to the animal world, needed to be described separately from those who strictly followed an animal-free diet and included emphasis on avoiding animal cruelty and exploitation – to the extent that vegans do not use leather, wool or other animal skins, avoid gelatin (from calves’ hoofs) or regular mayonnaise (eggs).

Watson felt that “vegan” seemed the perfect solution to describe his dietary orthodoxy — and it stuck. Today, 5% of American adults say they are vegetarians, but only .5% describe themselves as vegan. The term plant-based is also becoming interchangeable with vegan, since one who follows a strictly plant-based way of life, doesn’t eat animal flesh or (hopefully) animal by-products.

Some famous vegans are Moby, Dennis Kucinich, Venus Williams, Lennon Leppert, Billie Eilish, Fineas O’Connell, Woody Harrelson, Tara Punzone,and Anne Gentry