A Beginner's Guide: The What's, How's and Why's of Veganism
Are you considering switching to a vegan lifestyle, but unsure which products are the best for you and more importantly, your health? Nowadays the supermarket is full of delicious plant-based alternatives to meat and animal products. However, getting an overview of all of these options can be difficult, especially for those just starting out with the vegan lifestyle. But there are a lot of reasons to make the change: not just for your personal health, but also for the safety and preservation of animals and the environment.
The decision to go vegan is a decision that benefits animals, the environment, and humans alike:
In the meat industry, animals are often kept in inappropriate, sometimes painful living conditions.
High meat consumption can cause an increase in production of greenhouse gases and promotes deforestation of the rainforest. A very high percentage of rainforests are destroyed just to be used as feed in the meat industry.We can counteract this problem by reducing meat consumption.
The production of meat and animal products requires a lot of water. About 800 million people in the world have no access to clean drinking water.
A lot of nutritional resources used as feed in the meat industry could actually be repurposed as food to help curb the problem of world hunger in human populations.
High meat consumption can be damaging to your health: obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high levels of bad cholesterol and even cancer are all diseases which are connected to diet. Through a balanced plant diet, you could potentially avoid these diseases.
If you’re interested in learning more about the personal and environmental benefits of a vegan diet, check out Vegan Easy to find great recipes, a shopping guide, and more resources.
Living vegan means more than just eating vegan. Veganism is a way of life, which includes adherence to values such as the fight for animal rights and environmental sustainability. From handbags and leather jackets to shoes and makeup, there is a large number of products on the market which are tested on animals or made from animal-based materials. However, even here you can find plenty of alternatives! For example artificial leather or cosmetics which don’t use animal products or test on animals.
For our hesitant readers, who still believe that a vegan diet is too complicated or monotonous: we’ve created a list of some great products which should convince you otherwise. Living vegan is easier than you might think. There are countless vegan fashion, beauty products, and tasty plant-based alternatives that are just waiting to be discovered!
Here is a list of some of our favourite items which should help you smoothly transition to eating, buying, and living vegan.
Almond milk. Along with soy, cashew, and oat milk, this vegan classic is a wonderful alternative to cow milk. Almond milk can be used with cereal, smoothies, and even milkshakes: enhancing your dish with a pleasant note of almond.
How are you helping animals by avoiding the consumption of dairy and dairy products? Cows are mammals, which means they produce milk to nourish their young. In the dairy industry, cows are artificially inseminated, give birth and are separated from their calves so that they can continue lactation. The male calves often end up at the slaughterhouse after this separation.
One more thing: cows actually have an average life expectancy of 20 years, but live to an average of 6 years in the dairy industry. This practice could become less popular if milk consumption was widely reduced.
When Jonathan Safran Foer became a father, he began researching nutrition in order to make an informed decision about his son’s diet. This book is the result of his investigations and discussions on the subject of meat consumption in modern society.
Eating Animals tries to answer the question of what food means to people. Why do we eat animals, and would we continue to eat them if we knew where they came from? Foer deals in particular with the problem of factory farming.
He enters a dialogue with numerous experts, consults studies and reveals the not-so-tasteful truths of the animal product industry. If you are even remotely interested in the subject, you should consider this fascinating and educational dive into this ever-debated issue.
Are you craving some traditional black pudding, but want to stick to your new vegan way of life? No worries, the Real Lancashire Black Pudding Company has got you covered with this completely vegan replacement, which tastes just like the real thing!
The rise of intensive animal husbandry (AKA "mega-farming") is becoming a real concern for animal and environmental activists across the United Kingdom. It could be that animals are being held in a massive factory farm in your own county.
Why should you reconsider consuming pork? Pigs are exceptionally intelligent and social creatures who have evolved to live in groups in the wilderness. The denial of social contact and mental stimulation, as well as the effects of decades of over-breeding, tends to lead to stressed-out, sickly pigs.
But at the end of the day, you, the consumer, have the power to choose what food products you will or won't purchase. By deciding against pork consumption, you are also supporting the fight for porcine rights.
There are plenty of egg alternatives on the market. But here’s something different that you might want to try: an Indian salt called Kala Namak, a volcanic rock salt mineral which gives your food the smell and taste of eggs. This salt is used in vegan cuisine for recipes such as stirred tofu, omelettes and quiches.
But why is abstaining from eggs worth the effort? Chickens lay eggs anyway, right? That's true.
However, since it is impossible to determine the sex of the chicks before hatching, many male chicks are born in addition to the female chicks for egg production. The egg industry is then faced with the problem of an entire population of male chicks which cannot lay eggs nor grow quickly enough to be raised for later meat consumption. Unfortunately, the current solution to this problem is stomach-turning for some.
Vegans don’t have to go without cheese-like products, either. This Vegan Cheese Kit from Mad Millie allows you to choose your own base of nuts and vegan milk to make a perfect cheese substitute just for you.
Why should you choose a vegan alternative to cheese? Milk is the main ingredient in cheese; the harder the cheese, the more milk is needed to make it. As we mentioned earlier on in this article, abstinence from dairy products is a great way to support the humane treatment of cows and other animals (such as sheep and goats) which produce dairy products.
The most beloved condiment in the United Kingdom, some people might be unable to fathom the concept of going without mayonnaise. But not to worry, this vegan mayonnaise from Geo Organics is completely free of egg yolks, which is the main ingredient in conventional mayonnaise.
For reasons we listed above, finding a substitute for egg-based products is certainly worth a dedicated vegan’s time and efforts.
Vegans can also enjoy sweets with a clear conscience. There are all sorts of animal-friendly candies on the market, such as these peach gummy sweets.
Why should you think about purchasing these vegan sweets instead of traditional candy?
Well, gelatin is made of animal by-products, including connective tissue, skin and bone fragments. Luckily, many food companies such as Goody Good Stuff put in the effort to avoid the use of gelatin in their sweets. They have also removed allergens such as gluten, lactose and nuts from their products, which means that most everyone can enjoy their treats worry-free!
This vegan cookbook is the perfect starting point for anyone doubting their abilities to successfully stay healthy and satiated while following a vegan diet. The recipes are specifically built to be easy-to-follow for beginner cooks and vegans alike.
While these recipes are great for the whole family, it’s important to keep in mind that a purely vegan diet for children is a controversial concept and that a poorly managed vegan diet can be detrimental to a child’s growth and development. We recommend meeting with a paediatrician or dietician before making the choice to offer children a purely vegan diet.
“But as a vegan, I’d have to give up so much food…” Wrong! There is a plant-based alternative for nearly every type of meat or animal product, so vegans can enjoy a barbecue, too.
We’d like to introduce one of our favourite meat alternatives: the veggie burger! By consuming this tasty veggie burger instead of a classic hamburger, you are actively boycotting the oftentimes cruel treatment of animals in the meat industry.
These stylish, vintage-inspired boyfriend fit jeans are also a classic must-have for any wardrobe.
In case you're wondering why normal jeans aren't considered vegan. Most jeans are made of cotton, which is of course plant material. However, the tiny label found on a lot of high-end jeans is typically made out of leather. These jeans from Mud, as well as any of their other products, are vegan and mostly made from recycled materials. Sustainability is one of their most important company values.
This biker jacket from James&Co is the perfect bridge between the classic look of leather and vegan ideals. The fabric is 100% faux leather with a faux fur collar and liner, making it warm as well as comfortable. A leather-style jacket should be in everyone’s basic wardrobe, but why should you avoid buying authentic leather?
Many animal products are used in fashion as well as food items. The material used in conventional leather jackets, belts, boots or bags is the tanned and chemically preserved skin of animals such as cattle, buffalo and calves.
These Dr. Martens don’t just look rad, but are also 100% vegan. They are made of a high-gloss synthetic material, which is firmly welded to the sole and makes this boot extremely robust.
If you prefer it a bit simpler, you should buy this low shoe by Dr. Martens or these vegan Birkenstock sandals for the summer. Buying vegan shoewear is another easy way to avoid the purchase of leather.
This natural cork watch is handmade, eco-friendly and waterproof! It is 100% natural, very lightweight as well as scratch and stain resistant. Not to mention, this unique design will be sure to catch everyone’s eye. Due to the use of cork material instead of leather, this watch is 100% certified vegan.
The bracelets of many commercially available watches are usually made of leather because leather is particularly robust. However, there are many great leather imitations that are just as hardy and look great without animal additives.
This vegan bucket bag from Corkor is practical and stylish all at once. It is roomy, meaning you’ll have plenty of space to carry around all your vegan snacks. The processed cork textile is very supple and its unique grain makes each bag unique. Corkor also offers attractive wallets for men.
Leather is often used in the production of purses and wallets. However, the vegan alternatives are in no way inferior to leather goods and are still available in many unique designs.
This toothpaste from The Green People Company is 100% vegan and is also suitable for people with bleeding gums or people who are prone to skin or tissue conditions, such as psoriasis or eczema. A lot of toothpaste contains glycerin, which is often made from animal products. It is currently being debated in the dental field if glycerin is even good for our teeth!
Even if toothbrushes are produced vegan, we still have a special alternative to ordinary plastic toothbrushes made of plastic. These bamboo toothbrushes with charcoal bristles are a wonderful, environmentally-friendly alternative which is completely recyclable and suitable for the whole family.
This deodorant from PitROK is based on pure natural mineral salts. It has not been tested on animals, does not contain aluminium and is generally suitable for vegan and vegetarians.
Many commercially available deodorants and beauty products are tested on animals, which can cause them a lot of suffering. Luckily, most companies who do not test on animals make an effort to display that they are cruelty-free, so it should be fairly easy to find beauty or hygiene products which align well with a vegan lifestyle.
This fair trade, handmade natural shampoo bar is perfect for adding shine and colour (particularly for dark hair due to the coffee contents) to your luscious locks. It is free of artificial colours and fragrances and also completely vegan! It is, of course, completely cruelty-free.
Conventional shampoos may contain animal gelatin and cholesterol, which is mainly obtained from the connective tissue and skin of animals. In addition, many shampoos are tested on animals.
The vegan mineral makeup from Honeypie Minerals is a perfect, sensitive foundation for all skin types. It is available in many different shades, so you can perfectly match your foundation to your own skin tone. Like all Honeypie Mineral products, this one is not only vegan but also not tested on animals. They also offer a wonderful sunkissed bronzer, which is a necessity for anyone’s makeup toolbox.
Cosmetics can contain several animal products. Glycogen, keratin and collagen are just a few of them. Glycogen, for example, is obtained from the muscles of animals, keratin from hooves and horns and collagen from the skin of pigs. If you’d like to fight against the production and usage of these animal products, make sure to look for vegan-approved makeup products.
This set of vegan make-up brushes contains 15 lovingly handmade cosmetic brushes. The bristles are made of high-quality Nurai synthetic hair, which is very similar to natural hair but much more resilient and easy to care for. With the help of these brushes, any makeup, whether blush, eye shadow or contour powder, can be applied efficiently and evenly. The 15 brushes come in a practical lockable box, which is particularly suitable for travelling, but also looks good on any makeup table.
Why shouldn't you use a real makeup brushes? Many high-quality makeup brushes use hair from dead animals including squirrels and weasels.