Many people think that the vegan diet, and being a vegan, is exactly the same as being a vegetarian. Although this is partly correct, as veganism is actually another step up the rungs of the vegetarian ladder. Veganism is a whole lifestyle with diets that aim to exclude any use of animals and/or animal products for all food, clothes, shoes, make up, or any other purpose. In relation to diet, it is sometimes also termed the ‘pure’ or ‘strict’ vegetarian diet.
The majority of vegetarians usually start their vegetarian diet for either health purposes or for some form of disagreement with the way animals are treated to produce food and products, or to take part in protesting against animal rights.
For those who have decided to that step further with veganism however, it is a totally different and new way of life beyond being vegetarian. Vegans also usually follow a philosophy that humans should be looking after the environment in which we are fortunate to live, not harming it or depleting resources for their own luxury needs.
Many vegans also believe that all animals are very much entitled to animal rights in some form. This belief is often the biggest reason why someone decides to become a vegan. Some vegans believe that consumerism has been given a higher priority that the ethical use of animals and that many products are the result of widespread cruelty to animals.
Some food processing methods that use animals as part of that processing, including wines and sugar refinement, are avoided by vegans. Even more so, products using animal testing are completely eliminated from the vegan lifestyle. Particularly some brands of make-up and skin care products, some medicines, and products made from animals such as wool, leather, and fur.
While a usual vegetarian diet will still include food such as eggs and dairy products, the vegan diet will not. Vegans would find adequate substitutes for these types of animal food products, usually looking into alternatives that can be produced from plants. A good example of this can be seen where soy milk is the substitute for dairy or cow’s milk.
Vegans do eat a lot of plant products such as; fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and legumes. In fact, many of the key ingredients of vegans’ diets are the same as the most popular Mediterranean diet; they merely replace the meat & fish with vegan alternatives.
Although it’s not really necessary to try to make food appear as if it is meat, vegans are able to make dishes similar to meat dishes by using animal product substitutes. For example, products such as veggie burgers, mince, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, are all examples of products now available for vegans to buy ready made. For dairy product substitutes, vegans can now buy soy based yoghurts and cheeses. You will be surprised to find out that you can even get a vegan scrambled egg substitute made from tofu too. Debate continues as to whether silk and honey are alright for vegans to use.
It is possible to get a balanced and correct vegan diet if you want to be vegan, this is confirmed by nutritionists in that if vegans maintain a well planned out diet that includes all their nutritional needs their health will be maintained. However, if vegans do not plan their diet sufficiently enough, they run the risk of getting Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, calcium and iodine deficiencies. It is particularly important for vegans to be vigilant throughout pregnancies to ensure they get a well balanced diet.
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