What is veganism?
To put it simple:
A vegan refuses to eat any foods that are of animal origin or include animal-derived ingredients such as meat, fish, dairy and eggs (and even honey, gelatine, lanolin and many more).
Vegans eat a plant-based diet, with an abundance of veggies, fruits, grains, beans and nuts. In my opinion and also described by Colin Campbell in his book The China Study, the best way to go is to eat plant based whole foods, so no processed food, but only food in its natural state.
Be aware: Vegan labelled food is not always good for you: processed vegan fast food has a lot of nasty ingredients and I personally consider it as junk. Vegan does not necessarily mean healthy! Let’s say as an emergency back up or if you are new to this lifestyle and in transition, some processed vegan food won’t hurt…but you might want to limit these food to sporadic occasions.
For some people veganism even goes further as it will not only have an impact on their food but also on other aspects of their life. Some may forgo silk, wool, fur and leather, some even renounce foods that are processed using animal products, such as refined white sugar, beer and some wines. You see that veganism touches every aspect of our life and that you can be vegan for many distinctive reasons: health, ethics, environment… But all in all we do it for the same main reason: Make this world a better place, with thriving healthy people, less pollution and no animal cruelty. How strict you want to practice this is up to you.
Animal products sometimes show up in unexpected places, so learn to become an avid label-reader. Reading labels will definitely be part of your journey. However if you choose to only eat whole foods things will become much easier. Fill your cart with only fruits and veggies, preferably organic, and you’re good to go.
While vegans have an abundant variety of foods to choose the diet may seem very restrictive to those who are used to an omnivorous diet. But believe me this lifestyle is nothing but abundant. You have an endless variety of fruits and veggies to choose from, there are a ton of yummie recipes online, there are also a huge selection of cookbooks where you can find inspiration and vegan restaurants are popping up on every street corner. Possibilities are endless; you just have to look out for them.
Vegan Curry at Café Wirr, Vienna