Last updated on April 24, 2015
It is a common misconception that people who practice a vegan way of life simply avoid eating meat. There is much more to being vegan than avoiding meat or dairy products. As any practicing vegan will tell you, veganism is a lifestyle not merely a diet. Practicing true veganism means removing all animal products from every aspect of your life including what you wear, eat and use.
Vegans go out of their way to avoid using consumer products that are related to animal use. This includes bee honey, leather, silk, down, wool, fur, as well as whey powder and gelatin. When you combine this with the avoidance of eating meat, fish and dairy products — including chocolate — you can see how practicing true veganism is about more than avoiding meat.
When it comes to consumer products like toiletries and cosmetics, vegans are very careful about choosing products that use animal testing. Vegans only use products that are not tested on animals.This includes everyday household and cleaning products. They seek products that do not exploit animals.
Most of a vegan’s diet is about plant-based foods like fiber, fruits and vegetables. A properly balanced vegan diet can be an excellent way to reduce the risk of heart disease, colon cancer and diabetes due to the lack of consumed saturated fats. To ensure the proper vitamins and mineral levels are met, many vegans utilize health supplements.
For most people however, switching to a vegan lifestyle could prove to be a challenge since meat, including fish, is a staple for many non-vegans and off-limits for vegans. There are ways though, to easily remove meat from your favorite dishes. Replacing meat or fish with vegan-friendly tofu is one solution. Tofu, which is a coagulant made from soybeans, is a great meat substitute since it is without its own flavor and naturally picks up flavors from surrounding foods.
Other vegan food choices include nuts, leafy greens, seeds and legumes. Where most people would find meat on the menu, vegans will eat chickpea burgers, stir-fries and curry lentils. Numerous companies are acknowledging the growing demand for vegan products. This abundance of vegan products have made it easy to substitute cheese with Sheese or Tofutti, Booja Booja and Organica vegan treats for dessert choices and Oatly, Swedish Glace and B’Nice when you need to curb those ice cream cravings.