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Vegan 101 thread for new vegans/those interested in veganism/people with questions about veganism

(21 Posts)
dangermouseisace Sun 04-Mar-18 18:49:12

Helloooo! I’ve been vegan 22 years now, and have found recently on here I’ve been having to answer the same questions I was getting asked 20+ years ago, which I found surprising.

Therefore I thought it might be a good idea to have a thread to point people to, rather than answer the same question over and over.

So to start, I’d like to point people with questions “ what is a vegan”, “what does a vegan eat”, or can a person be vegan whilst taking a medication that isn’t vegan to the UK Vegan Society’s definition
Here is the short explanation:

Veganism is a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as possible or practical, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose

So...veganism is more than a dietary choice, it’s a way of living that seeks to exclude exploiting animals as far as possible/practical

So, for example, my prescribed medication involves an animal product. I would be very ill/dead without it, therefore I can take it and still be a vegan. However, I would never knowingly eat an animal product, and don’t buy wool/leather. I wouldn’t eat eggs/milk unless I needed to for my survival. Even if I knew the chickens!

yes but what about deforestation for soya?
Most soya is for animal feed, and the major soya product producers source their soya from Europe- see Alpro/Provamel/Taifun’s websites (google them).

but what about palm oil?
Many producers of vegan products ethically source palm oil. It doesn’t have to come from Borneo and damage orangutan habitat! African states also produce palm oil.

I’d like other people to add their FAQ’s...otherwise it’ll be me on a monologue (Ihave more....)

kikisparks Fri 09-Mar-18 07:55:43

What about B12?

In the past we’d have naturally consumed b12 from the soil but over time our fruit and veg has been thoroughly cleaned, meaning that we don’t eat any bits of soil we’d have gotten b12 from in the past. Many livestock are actually fortified with b12. As a vegan you should take a b12 vitamin or ensure you eat sufficient fortified foods.

What if plants feel pain?

Around 70% of the world’s plants are fed to animals. In eating meat you are indirectly eating significantly more plants than you would eating plants only. No study has definitively shown that plants feel pain. There is no question that animals feel pain.

KingIrving Sat 10-Mar-18 22:23:43

There are actually two definitions of vegan and you are reductionist if you only give one:

strict vegetarian who consumes no food (such as meat, eggs, or dairy products) that comes from animals; also : one who abstains from using animal products (such as leather)

I don;t eat animal product to reduce my risk of cancers and manage my tumours because I have NF1.
However, I love my bags, belts and shoes made of leather.
I follow a very colourful whole food plant based or let's say I eat the VEG part of VEGan, so tons of vegs.

kikisparks Sun 11-Mar-18 07:27:36

Kingirving you aren’t vegan then. There’s one definition, that coined by the vegan society. You eat a plant based diet and that’s great.

Oxford dictionary definition goes even further than vegan society one- “A person who does not eat or use animal products.” Add “as far as possible and practical” and that’s correct.

dangermouseisace Sun 11-Mar-18 10:02:12

I agree with kikisparks kingirving. Your link doesn’t work so I’m not sure what it led to.

The definition of veganism has extended past diet since the term was invented in the 1940’s, and this is why vegans are protected by the Equalities Act 2010 in the UK, as it counts as a belief system. Eg an employer has to provide non leather alternatives for shoes if they are provided as part of uniform etc.

If you avoid animal products (including honey, gelatine, etc) but wear leather then you’d be following a vegan diet, but you wouldn’t be a vegan. Bit like if I go to church, which I do sometimes, I like the sermons and the thinking about morals and I broadly follow the guidance, but I don’t describe myself as a Christian as I’m agnostic. This isn’t a ‘judgy’ thing, any move that reduces reliance on animals is great! I hope following a vegan diet helps your health condition.

KingIrving Tue 13-Mar-18 05:50:06

So let's see if this one works:

" vegan
[vee-guh n, vey-]

See more synonyms on
a vegetarian who omits all animal products from the diet. "

There are several definitions of vegan. Not all vegans adhere to veganism as a way of life .

KingIrving Tue 13-Mar-18 09:56:57

And drom Wikipedia

*"The Vegan Society is a registered charity and the oldest vegan society in the world, founded in the UK in November 1944 by Donald Watson, Elsie "Sally" Shrigley, and 23 others.[3]

Watson coined the word "vegan" to stand for "non-dairy vegetarians" who also ate no eggs.[3] T" *
It started with the food and then evolved to a lifestyle.

dangermouseisace Wed 14-Mar-18 16:29:46

The Wikipedia page mentions their focus on animal free products eg shoe polish, in 1945 and says the quickly made clear to hey rejected the use of animals for all purposes. For the past 22 years that I’ve been vegan, before Wikipedia was invented vegan has meant no animal products/exploitation as far as possible. Wikipedia is a community edited source and anyone can edit it. The citation for ‘ethical vegan’ is from one person who wrote an encyclopaedia of vegetarianismin 2010 it isn’t correct and really should be changed. I’ve never heard the term ethical vegan before used by any one, and particularly not other vegans.

dangermouseisace Wed 14-Mar-18 16:30:11

Not from other vegans I meant!

kikisparks Wed 14-Mar-18 17:29:02

Lions eat meat though

Lions are obligate carnivores- they should only eat meat and require meat to survive. Humans are omnivores and can live very healthily on a plant based diet. If we were to model lions as our moral guides we could also commit infanticide, rape and murder. We have the ability to view things in terms of ethics and morality- lions cannot do so. We also have the ability to go to Tesco or Aldi and buy food whereas lions hunt what they eat and take only what they need.

Animals will overpopulate if we don’t eat them

We presently breed animals for our consumption and farmers control how many are bred in the same way a farmer decides how many carrots to grow- they will try to supply to meet demand as they don’t want to pay to raise more animals that won’t then be profitable. The world won’t go vegan overnight. There’s no point in theorising what would happen if it did, it will not happen. It will be a gradual reduction of demand which will allow the farmers to reduce the supply and eventually move into other fields (pun partially intended) such as arable farming, forestry, conservation etc.

dangermouseisace Fri 16-Mar-18 18:49:31

but our natural diet is that of a caveman/woman- meat, nuts and berries and no carbs...vegans eat comparitively loads of carbs and they just aren't necessary
Well you can eat like a cave woman if you want the life expectancy of a cavewoman/man...around 30 if you were lucky. Life expectancy increased with the development of agriculture. We are fortunate that we don't have to eat like a caveman because we've evolved since then. Although people may lose weight through calorie restriction on these diets, there is increased risk of depression and anxiety, amongst other problems (constipation, circulatory problems) as the brain needs carbohydrates to make serotonin.

Ataterf Sun 15-Apr-18 20:07:38

Life expectancy increased with the development of agriculture.

Do you have a citation for this? My understanding is the opposite - early farmers (first two thousand years or so) were shorter, suffered more from disease, and died younger.

eggsandchips Sun 22-Apr-18 21:17:08

I would be very grateful for suggestions. I would like to go vegan - I don't eat meat but my weakness is cottage cheese, quark, fromage fraise, and milk in coffee. I enjoy egg whites but could live without these. If I could replace these with vegan substitutes I'd be delighted. Can anyone please suggest any alternatives?

At the moment I have cereal - weetabix - with oat milk. Which is delicious.

Thank you in advance.

ppeatfruit Mon 23-Apr-18 10:08:01

eggsand Tofu is your friend, there are lovely tofu yoghurts and cheese substitutes.

Also good quality soya milks like Alpro are not too expensive, there are soooo many good plant milks now (i don't like some of them because they pad out with sunflower oil, thickeners etc.) But I know some people don't get on with soya milk in tea . It's great in coffee though (gets fluffier than normal milk in cappuccino).

ppeatfruit Mon 23-Apr-18 13:44:40

Also tahini is a nice salad dressing or cream substitute. There's a gorgeous 'cheesecake' sold in Planet Organic which is soo nice you couldn't tell it was made with tofu cream at all.

eggsandchips Mon 23-Apr-18 15:39:19

Off for a google!!!

cushioncovers Tue 24-Apr-18 20:00:45

I'm sure I saw somewhere that the couple who gave veganism it's name took the first and last part of the word vegetarian and put it together to create the word vegan.

cushioncovers Wed 25-Apr-18 07:40:59

Oat milk and cream is my favourite.
And for an occasional yogurt the coconut collaborative is delicious but expensive and high fat 12g per pot so no good if you're trying to loose weight.

ragged Sat 28-Apr-18 11:12:02

KingIrving: you're using American definitions. Many (?most) Brits claim that only one of those definitions is valid.

So you get to call yourself vegan in some places outside Britain but not in Britain (if you agree Brit Vegan Society has a sole monopoly on the definition). Or you can decide the BVS & other groups like them are full of BS. Your call. grin

Manupprincess Sat 28-Apr-18 11:18:44

Brown rice milk in coffee is a lovely substitute.

How did you transition to a vegan diet? I'm keen to move to a plant based diet (I know I'm not going to be a vegan in the strictest sense) but struggle with butter and cheese alternatives. I LOVE cheese, tried a sliced alternative which made me feel physically sick. Nut butters seem a bit faffy to make.

Also, how do you cope with eating out? I have a lot of work dinners at restaurants and even as a vegetarian I struggle.

ppeatfruit Sat 28-Apr-18 14:42:34

Manu I'm not a vegan or veggie in the strictest sense, but I've always had nasty health effects from dairy so I've used tofu and tofu yoghurt, organic soya milk etc. for ages. They're getting better and better now. There is a soya 'cheesecake' in a pot (from Planet Organic )that is so delicious you wouldn't know it was soya cream.

When I'm out I do eat some fish (only salmon and or cod). We live between Fr. and Eng. and I wouldn't get much to eat here if I didn't
eat fish!

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