The world of veganism is sometimes viewed as a bit cranky but it is now fairly mainstream. With the rise of vegetarian culture vegans have become more common and better catered for with vegetarian restaurants and vegetarian recipes commonplace. Like any diet or lifestyle choice as long as your intake is well managed the vegan diet is a very healthy (not to mention ethical etc.) diet.
What is vegan?
There is also quite a bit of confusion about what vegans do and do not eat. So for the record (apologies if you know this) a vegan does not consume any animal products. Vegans avoid meat, dairy products and eggs. Some vegans do eat honey but most don’t. Most vegans also avoid the use animals products such as leather, wool, and products containing slaughterhouse ingredients. Additionally most vegans avoid animal tested products such as many shampoos, cosmetics, and cleaners. It is all about choice. There is no ‘right way’ to be a vegan it is all about personal choice and lifestyle.
The second question a vegan usually gets is ‘why?’. There are lots of reasons to be vegan and the reasons tend to fall in to one, or more, of the seven categories below. The choice to be vegan may be as simple as reducing your carbon footprint or health reasons or all seven reasons below
- Health – it is now widely held that meat is not something that should be eaten every day (it is only in the past 30-50 years meat has become an expected part of every meal)
- Ecological – intensive farming to produce cattle feed and cattle is not good for the environment, over fishing leads to depleted fish stocks and so on
- Economic – meat-free, fish-free and dairy-free is cheaper
- Ethical – we are well developed enough to understand that it is un-necessary to eat animals (aren’t we?)
- Altruistic – for the welfare of everyone
- Compassionate – the welfare conditions of farmed animals are problematic. The dairy industry is commonly held to be cruel in maintaining an animal in calf to keep milk production high – aside from the confined conditions
- Spiritual – many major religions maintain that vegetarian and vegan diets are necessary – founded on the belief that life is sacred.
How to be vegan
Being vegan is now easier than ever with access in local shops, supermarkets and restaurants to a wide variety of good quality, healthy vegan vegetarian food.
There are lots of vegan websites and recipe books with healthy recipes to follow at home. With vegetarian diets now mainstream almost every recipe book or website will have identified vegan vegetarian recipes.
There is a significant amount of material relating to choices, how to be vegan, how to be vegetarian, healthy recipes and lifestyle.