Do you understand the difference between vegans and vegetarians? I did not until recently. Vegans go a step further than vegetarians since they do not eat animal products of any kind. While vegetarians may still eat milk, cheese, and eggs, vegans do not, and their lifestyles are affected as well as their diets since they avoid leather, wool, fur, silk, down, and any products that are tested on animals.
I read in the college newsletter of my daughter’s school that the college years are a popular time for young people to make the choice to become vegan or vegetarian. It stated that their awareness is increased during this time, and also that they are associated with more people who have the same preferences. My fourteen year old niece recently made the choice to become a vegetarian and is active finding new recipes that support her eating style in a healthy way.
Vegans frequently avoid foods with animal products as ingredients, too: no refried beans with lard; no fries cooked in beef tallow; no margarine made with whey or casein (from milk); no foods made with meat extracts; and no foods with gelatin (from animal bones and hooves).
From the eatright.org web site, I learned that vegans eat baked goods made without butter, eggs or albumin (from eggs) and many avoid honey, which is made by bees. On vegan.org it stated that the transition to a vegan diet is accomplished in different ways. Some simply take out the animal products from their diet and replace them with plant foods with which they’re already familiar, and others jump right in and try entirely new vegan foods, often from international cuisines.
It appears that there is no shortage of vegan foods to help make the transition, and much of the food we eat is vegan. Personally, my favorite breakfast is a protein shake where the protein is plant based and I mix it with water or juice and sometimes a banana. The shake tastes delicious to me if I blend it in a blender with ice to make it a smoothie texture, but the real benefit is in the way that it makes me feel all morning. All the way until the next meal, a protein shake balances your blood sugar levels so that you feel energized for hours.
The internet is a wealth of information on almost any subject, and I was not disappointed when searching vegan and vegetarian terms. On vrg.org there was discussion about the fact that many vegans choose the lifestyle to support their desire for a more humane and caring world, and feel they can show responsibility with this personal choice.
Variety appears to be key to a nutritionally sound and successful vegan diet. Fruits, vegetables, plenty of leafy greens, whole grain products, nuts, seeds, and legumes are desirable choices. The websites I noted have considerably more information if you would like to research further.
To all Vegans: Enjoy Vegan Month and be sure to get all the nutrients that you need to build great health.
For more information on plant based soy protein that is water washed and low glycemic, there is a great soy protein audio presentation under this ‘Healthy Audios and Videos‘ tab (2nd link under Audio Presentations) that discusses the benefits of soy over ‘dead protein’. Soy choices can be viewed here: SOY Supplement and SOY Meal Shake.