Below you’ll find some of the most frequently asked questions about veganism. Have fun while learning

Isn’t it hard to go vegan?

It can be, especially if you hold yourself to too high a standard. But the important thing is to make changes you feel comfortable with, at your own pace. While reducing your consumption of animal products completely may be ideal, any reduction is a step in the right direction. The vegan lifestyle is an ongoing progression. Everyone should go at their own pace and remember that all steps towards veganism are positive. It is most important to focus on avoiding the products for which animals are bred and slaughtered. Animal by-products will exist as long as there is a demand for primary meat and dairy products. When it comes to avoiding items that contain small amounts of by-products, vegans must decide for themselves where to draw the line. Some vegans will adjust their level of abstinence according to the circumstances. For example, as a consumer, you might make sure the bread you buy is not made with whey; but as a dinner guest, you may accept bread without asking to see the ingredients. These types of compromises can actually hasten the spread of veganism, in that they help counter the attitude that it’s very hard to be vegan.

How healthy is a vegan diet?

A well balanced whole food vegan diet is up there with the healthiest of diets. It can improve your quality of life and decrease your chances of succumbing to many significant diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers.

How do I know a food is vegan?

These days more and more products are marked as vegan which makes life much easier when you are out shopping. But for the ones that doesn’t, you have to pay attention and be extra inquisitive.

Some foods have “E” numbers listed in the ingredients, with no mention as to the source of these E numbers. Ones to definitely avoid include:

120 – cochineal
542 – edible bone phosphate
631 – sodium 5′-inosinate
901 – beeswax
904 – shellac
920 – L-cysteine hydrochloride

Un-numbered:
calcium mesoinositol hexaphosphate, lactose, sperm oil, spermaceti

Possibly animal derived:

101, 101a, 153, 203, 213, 227, 270, 282, 302, 322, 325, 326, 327, 333, 341a, 341b, 341c, 404, 422, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 436, 470, 471, 472a, 472b, 472c, 472d, 472e, 473, 474, 475, 476, 477, 478, 481, 482, 483, 491, 492, 493, 494, 495, 570, 572, 627, 635

Un-numbered:

calcium hepatonate, calcium phytate, diacetin-glyceryl, glyceryl diacetate, glyceryl triacetate, glycine, leucine, monoacetate, monoacetin, oxystearin, triacetin and any unspecified flavorings.

Why is it wrong to eat meat?

It’s not a question of being “right” or “wrong.” If one wants fewer animals to suffer and die, then one can stop supporting such practices by not eating animal products.

What about organic?

Although ‘organic’ foods may be preferred for many of the same reasons that vegan foods are (animal welfare, environmental quality, and health), a food is usually considered vegan regardless of whether or not it is organic.

Is it expensive to eat vegan?

That all depends on you. If you go for pricey convenience foods every day it might be costly, but then that would be expensive on any diet. Some products like vegan cheese are more expensive than their animal-derived equivalent but others are cheaper so overall there is no reason why you should have to spend more money. If you prepare most of your meals from basic ingredients and only use pre-packaged convenience foods some of the time, you can eat very cheaply.

What about when I eat out with my friends who eat meat?

Many omnivorous restaurants now cater for vegans, just ask. If they don’t, send them to hell!!!!!!!

Alternatively, take your friends to a veggie café or restaurant.

For a vegan sandwich or snack, go to a health food store. Supermarkets and coffee shop chains are now beginning to cater for vegans as well so are worth checking out.

Is Breastfeeding Vegan?

Of course it is. It harms no creature and provides vital sustenance for another. Vegan mothers commonly breast feed for longer periods of time than other mothers, as they are unwilling to use dairy based infant supplements. Vegan infant formulas are available now.

What’s Wrong With Wool?

Scientists over the years have bred a Merino sheep which is exaggeratedly wrinkled. The more wrinkles, the more wool. Unfortunately, greater profits are rarely in the sheep’s best interests. In Australia, more wrinkles mean more perspiration and greater susceptibility to fly-strike, a ghastly condition resulting from maggot infestation in the sweaty folds of the sheep’s over-wrinkled skin. To counteract this, farmers now perform an ‘operation’ without anesthetic call ‘mulesing’ in which sections of flesh around the anus are sliced away, leaving a painful bloody wound.

Without human interference, sheep would grow just enough wool to protect them from the weather, but scientific breeding techniques have ensured that these animals have become wool-producing monstrosities.

Their unnatural overload of wool (often half their body weight) brings added misery during summer months when they often die from heat exhaustion. One million sheep die in Australia alone each year from exposure to cold after shearing.

Every year, in Australia alone, about ten million lambs die before they are more than a few days old. This is due largely to unmanageable numbers of sheep and inadequate stockmen. Of UK wool, 27% is “skin wool,” pulled from the skins of slaughtered sheep and lambs.

Should I Be Worried About Getting Enough Protein On A Vegan Diet?

No, not as long as you’re taking in enough calories. Official recommendations suggest that eating 8% of our daily energy as protein will provide an adequate amount. National and international recommendations for protein intake are based on animal sources of protein such as meat, cow’s milk and eggs. Plant proteins may be less digestible because of intrinsic differences in the nature of the protein and the presence of other factors such as fiber, which may reduce protein digestibility by as much as 10%. Nevertheless, dietary studies show the adequacy of plant foods, as sole sources of protein as does the experience of healthy vegans of all ages.

The main protein foods in a vegan diet are the pulses (peas, beans and lentils), nuts, seeds and grains, all of which are relatively energy dense. As the average protein level in pulses is 27% of calories; in nuts and seeds 13%; and in grains 12%, it is easy to see that plant foods can supply the recommended amount of protein as long as the energy requirements are met.

What Is Tvp?

Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) is a meat-like substance that is used to boost the nutritional content of meals, while still remaining relatively attractive-tasting. TVP usually contains “defatted” soya flour, and is very low fat. It is quite often sold in mixes for meat substitute dishes, and can often be found in bulk bins in health food stores. It is sold in a dehydrated form and requires re-hydration before using.

General Guidelines

If you want a diet that is not just good, but super-healthy, ensure it is varied. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, especially those with strong colors, as they tend to have more nutritional benefits. Also include plenty of whole grains and cut down on processed foods, especially hydrogenated fats. Generally, the more processed a food is, the less nutrients it contains. Ensure you have a reliable source of B12, iodine, selenium, omega 3 and vitamin D2.
Sources: Diet and Health, Vegan Society, Vegan Outreach

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