In a world where conscious consumption is gaining momentum, the term “vegan” has become more than just a dietary choice. It has become a lifestyle, for some. I have been eating vegetarian (10%) and mostly vegan (90%) since 2017 and I’m still feeling good about this decision. But what exactly does it mean to be vegan, and how does it differ from being vegetarian? Moreover, what does it entail to be 100% vegan? Let’s dive into these questions and explore why you too should consider eating plant-based.
What Does “Vegan” Mean?
At its core, veganism is a lifestyle and dietary choice that abstains from the use of any animal products, not only in food but also in everyday life. This means no meat, dairy, eggs, or any other animal-derived ingredients. Vegans also avoid non-food products like leather, wool, and cosmetics that have been tested on animals or made with animal-derived ingredients. The primary motivation behind veganism is to reduce harm to animals and minimize one’s environmental footprint.
What do you eat as a vegan?
Being vegan doesn’t mean limiting your food options; it opens up a world of exciting culinary possibilities. A vegan diet primarily consists of plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. These foods provide a wide range of nutrients, and with a bit of creativity, you can prepare delicious and nutritious meals. Plant-based proteins like tofu, tempeh, and seitan are popular alternatives to meat, while dairy substitutes like soy or oat milk, coconut yogurt, and cashew cheese make it easy to replace other animal products.
For example, when we eat at our parents’ place, they don’t find it difficult nor annoying to cook something vegan for us. There are so many alternatives out there nowadays, that you can make any of your favourite dishes in a plant-based variation.
Also, in my sustainable city maps, I’ve highlighted my favourite vegan hotspots in various cities. And I’m sure your town also has some cool vegan hotspots!
The difference between vegetarian and vegan
While both vegetarians and vegans avoid consuming meat, the key difference lies in their approach to animal products. Vegetarians typically exclude meat but may still consume dairy products and eggs. In contrast, vegans eliminate all animal products, not just meat but also dairy, eggs, and even honey. This commitment to animal-free living sets vegans apart as they strive to reduce their impact on all animal suffering and environmental degradation.
I started eating plant-based after watching the documentary ‘Cowspiracy’
If you’re truly interested in delving deeper into the world of veganism and its profound impact on our planet, there’s no better way to start than by watching the documentary ‘Cowspiracy.’ This documentary really changed my perspective on eating meat. I realised that I can’t support this industry – no matter what. This documentary connects the dots between the livestock industry, deforestation, water consumption, and climate change.
What is 100% vegan?
The term “100% vegan” emphasises the strict adherence to vegan principles in all aspects of life. It means not only following a vegan diet but also ensuring that all personal care products, clothing, and household items are free from animal-derived ingredients or have not been tested on animals. Being 100% vegan requires a dedication to minimising harm to animals and the planet at every turn.
Although I absolutely understand and support the idea of embracing veganism for 100%, I made the choice to be an imperfect vegan. I do buy second hand wool, silk or leather. And I do eat organic and local cheese from time to time. But for me that’s okay, because it allows me to maintain this lifestyle. If you also want to give veganism a try, but are worried you can embrace it fully, don’t be to hard on yourself. Because remember, starting and doing it imperfectly is still better than doing nothing!
In conclusion, veganism is more than just a dietary choice. It is a holistic lifestyle aimed at reducing harm to animals and promoting environmental sustainability. When you embrace veganism, you commit to a way of life that extends beyond what’s on your plate. It’s about making conscious choices that align with your values and contribute to a better world.