Veganism – is it really that good for us? — a Talking Points lesson for English reading and speaking

I write lesson plans that incorporate reading, speaking, vocabulary and writing skills in English.

I try to make these lessons a little interesting. Having taught many ESL speaking classes myself where we are forced to use a textbook or the lesson plans of the training centre/school, I decided to create my own speaking lesson plans using topics that are a little different.

Many thanks!


Introduction

What is a vegetarian diet?

How about a vegan diet?

What is the difference?

Could you eat this way? Why/why not?

 

Reading

In the last few years, veganism has exploded in popularity. It has developed from the early beginnings in the hippie-culture of the sixties to the worldwide phenomenon we see today.

There are countless websites and blogs that discuss the merits, thousands of videos online and the supermarket shelves are packed with vegan products.

We see it as healthy and good for the environment.

But is it?

Proponents of the vegan lifestyle say it helps with weight-management or weight-loss. That a vegan diet reduces heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol.

They see it as good for the environment because it reduces animal farming and therefore it is humane because it doesn’t harm animals.

But now there is evidence that a vegan diet is not as healthy as first claimed. And that, in fact, it is actually bad for the environment.

One of the main issues with a vegan diet is that there is a lack in certain vitamins.

For people eating a regular omnivore diet — people who eat food extracted from plants and animals — they rarely suffer from any vitamin deficiency.

But vegans often have a great deal less vitamin B12 and vitamin D in their system. Vitamin B12 can be found in meat, fish, dairy products and eggs. The kind of food that a vegan doesn’t eat.

A plant-based diet lacks any vitamin D at all.

This can lead to problems such as tiredness, confusion and muscle weakness. It can also cause depression and weakness in the bones.

Vegans also have a deficiency in Omega-3 — an essential oil necessary in human beings. This can most easily be found in a fish diet.

Apart from health problems, veganism has created environmental concerns.

Food such as almonds and avocados require a lot of water to grow. This has caused water depletion in some areas of the world that grows these things.

Soybeans are an essential part of the vegan diet, but in fact, this has caused deforestation in some countries.

So, while there is much conversation about the vegan lifestyle being wholesome and healthy, there are concerns.

Vegans lack certain vitamins and essential oils plus the production of certain foods in the vegan diet creates some environmental problems.


You can download the entire lesson plan today.

Click the link below!

VEGANISM

 

 

 


 

Essential Vocabulary

veganism

exploded

hippie

phenomenon

countless

merits

proponents

cholesterol

humane

omnivore

deficiency

dairy

confusion

depression

depletion

deforestation

wholesome

 

Exercise

Write down all the words and phrases in your vocabulary notebook. Look in your dictionary and find the meaning of each word. Write the definition next to each word.

Then make up your own sentences using each word or phrase.

For example:

Notebook—a small book with pages of blank paper that students use to make notes when studying.

“I left my notebook at home so I was unable to make any notes in my English class.”

 

Questions

  1. Are you a vegan? If so, why?
  1. Would you like to live a vegan life? Why? Could you go vegan?
  1. Do you think a vegan lifestyle would be hard?
  1. How does a vegan get protein?
  1. What kind of food can a vegan eat?
  1. Why does a vegan choose this lifestyle? Are there religious reasons to be a vegan?
  1. What is a vegetarian? What can a vegetarian eat? What is the difference between a vegan and a vegetarian?
  1. Are there any vegan restaurants in your city? Have you tried the food in one of these places? What did it taste like?
  1. What do you think of vegans that still wear leather products? Is this hypocritical? Why? Why not?
  1. Hasn’t the human race evolved to eat meat as part of our daily diet?
  1. Can vegans eat honey?
  1. Animals are not harmed in the production of dairy products such as eggs, milk and cheese. Is it acceptable to eat these kinds of food on a vegan diet?

 

Teachers Notes

Introduce your daily diet. Maybe you are a vegan — if so, introduce your lifestyle to the students.

If you are not a vegan talk about your diet. The kind of food you regularly eat and why.

You can also introduce any unhealthy food you eat.

Try to introduce the vegan lifestyle as you know it in your own country.

The videos you can see on YouTube and the blogs that support the vegan life.

If you have any vegan friends talk about them and what you think of their life choices.


Did you like this lesson plan? Did you use it in your class?

Please let me know in the comments below.


You can download the entire lesson plan today.

Click the link below!

VEGANISM

8 thoughts on “Veganism – is it really that good for us? — a Talking Points lesson for English reading and speaking”

  1. I love this multi-tasking of combining an interesting reading with a lesson plan that can serve for both a reading and or writing lesson. You are providing a valuable service to overworked/overwhelmed teachers and helping them support ESL/EFL worldwide. Thanks so much!

    1. Thank you very much Leona! I’m glad that the lesson plans are going in the right direction. I shall publish more of these.

  2. The article is well written and would have been good if it hadn’t been so biased. It’s completely oriented and thus cannot be used in the classroom.

    1. I’m sorry you feel that way. I think what I was aiming for was to play devil’s advocate. I thought by doing that it could create much discussion in the classroom. I guess I failed with this one. Lesson learned. And thank you for your comment.

  3. I personally don’t have one specific food preference but could easily become a vegan or a vegetarian. However knowing the pros and cons is good so we can make our own choices, investigate further, or vary our pattern occasionally to get the missing vitamins.

  4. im sorry but most of this information isn’t true. if you’re trying to play devils advocate it still has weak points. 40% of omnivores lack vitamin b12 anyways. one glass of soy milk has 120% dv of b12. many oily seeds (hemp seeds and chia seeds) have plenty of omega fats, making it not necessary to eat fish. also 80% of soy farmed is used to feed ANIMALS that are then eaten by humans. im glad you are promoting discussions about veganism, but these points can easily be debunked. these are my thoughts as a vegan, if my teacher created this assignment i’d have lots of fun discussing it though!!

    1. Thanks for your feedback Stella, much appreciated.

      I take on board what you have stated, but I should add that this is not a lesson plan to teach students about veganism, but a lesson plan to make them discuss things, debate and have conversations about veganism.

      But having seen the things you have pointed out maybe I need to check my facts. I did use reliable sources of information about veganism, but maybe they are wrong.

      Thanks very much for your comments. It’s good to hear informed views on this subject.

  5. For EFL, any topic is good for discussion as long as it is culturally sensitive, but Stella made some good points. I’m primarily vegan and learned recently that I’m lacking in vitamin B12 so now I’m going to beef it up a little to even the score! I’m not fond of soy milk!

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