Vegan is a term you may have been coming across a lot more lately, and that’s because veganism is becoming a little more popular. Lately, we have seen a bunch of celebrities saying they’ve gone vegan and our shelves are lined with vegan-friendly products. So, it may lead one to wonder what vegan is and what does that consist of?
When going vegan, there is a specific eating pattern that must be followed and a long list of what is and isn’t allowed to enter your mouth. So, let us chat a little about veganism and what vegans can and do eat in the first place.
Table of Contents
When Did Vegan Become a Thing?
Vegan is a term that was founded back in 1944 by a group of vegetarians. These vegetarians were originally apart of the Leicester Vegetarian Society in England but left form the Vegan Society instead.
In doing this, the group decided to stop eating dairy, eggs, or any byproduct that comes from animal origins, this includes not eating meat. So essentially, veganism is defined as “a way of living that excludes all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty, from food to clothing, to any other purpose.”
Veganism in a Nutshell
Of course, things need to get a little more complicated, and there are a variety of types of vegans that are out there.
Dietary vegans can be called “plant-based eaters” which means they evade all animal products in their diet. Dietary vegans may not eat an animal, but they use products like clothes or cosmetics that may contain the animal. Whole-food vegans have a diet that is filled with fruits, veggies, grains, and legumes.
Junk-food vegans love processed vegan food, like fake meats, frozen dinners, and even the good old fry. This includes Oreos, which are in fact vegan, and non-dairy ice creams. Raw-food vegans sound precisely what it is, raw food. This includes fruits and veggies, or food cooked below 118 degrees.
Lastly, there are low-fat, raw-food vegans. You may have heard of fruitarian, and this is what they are. They basically only eat fruit.
What Vegans Don’t Eat
If you’re considering going vegan but can’t decide, here are a few foods that vegans steer clear of when heading out to the grocery store.
- Meat including chicken, fish, and shellfish
- Honey (yes it comes from bees)
Depending on why you went vegan, you may also want to take a look at gelatin, pepsin, casein, and carmine. All of these contain some form of animal byproduct in them.
Foods that have these products in them include marshmallows, cereal, gum, gummy candy, and even some of your favorite beers or wine.
What Can a Vegan Eat?
If you’re overwhelmed with that information, don’t worry. There is a ton of great and delicious food that vegans eat and offer you a lot of options in the kitchen. When shopping look out for:
- Beans and lentils
- Seitan or tempeh
- Nuts and seeds
Dairy products easily can be replaced with milk like almond or oat milk, and honey can be changed to molasses or maple syrup. There are also a variety of sources online that cater to vegan needs that will show you how to replicate your favorite dish with vegan ingredients.
It may seem odd, but you can make an easy and filling dinner with the help of beans, lentils, and a variety of vegetables. The best part is some of our favorite companies are even getting into the vegan world and making pre-cooked vegan meals that just need to be popped into the microwave.
So Why Should You Go Vegan?
There are numerous reasons a person can do vegan. Some it is due to ethics, other it could be their health, and some people are looking out for the environment. Regardless of your reason, the big takeaway is that going vegan doesn’t mean you’re necessarily healthy. There are a lot of vegan foods that are highly processed and full of saturated fats that are bad for you, so take that into account.
If becoming vegan is something you’re interested in, the step may be a little easier than you think. Make sure to talk to a doctor if you have health issues beforehand and don’t take a massive leap all at once.