Going vegan can seem like an intimidating proposition for a lot of people. No meat, eggs, fish or dairy products? That rules out cheese, traditional butter, and milk/whey!
There are dairy products in a huge range of different foods – and a lot of drinks too. Going vegan isn’t for the faint hearted or the non-committed.
That said, there are a lot more options than you might think for people who are serious about pursuing the vegan lifestyle.
Vegans can do a lot with fruits, vegetables, pulses, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Tofu and soya proteins make great meat substitutes for those who want to eat something that has a slightly meaty taste, and there are vegan chocolate bars that are made from a higher percentage of cocoa and have no milk added.
You can drink coconut, milk, soy or almond milk instead of cow’s milk, and there are vegan cheeses too.
Vegans need to be mindful of what they are eating and try to have a diet as varied as possible so that they don’t end up with nutrient deficiencies. Animal proteins are ‘complete’ while plant proteins tend to be shorter and contain only a sampling of the amino acids that the body needs for repair and health.
That’s not to say that vegans can’t be healthy – but they do need to get proteins from a wide range of sources, and make sure that they eat lots of dark green vegetables (for the iron content), and keep an eye on their Vitamin B12 levels as well.
Vegans can enjoy most of the treats that vegetarians and meat eaters have, but they will need to read the labels carefully. Even vegetarians sometimes mistakenly eat candies thinking that they are mostly sugar and synthetic ingredients – only to find that they contain pork or beef gelatine. A lot of the top vegan subscription boxes will provide a good amount of snacks to choose from.
There are even some surprises within the same brands – Oreos, for example, are marketed as vegan in some countries, but in other countries they are made in factories where cross-contamination with cow’s milk is likely, so they are not considered vegan.
Some vegans will accept some risk of cross-contamination, but others will want to make sure that they do not financially support any products that don’t adhere to certain standards – meaning they will expect adherence to the vegan rules. This means reading the labels of all processed products carefully.
A new website to check out is: The Vegan Life