Becoming vegan is a logical step for many vegetarians. A vegan diet is one which completely cuts out any animal product. Vegans do not eat eggs, dairy, or cheese. It is also part of a vegan lifestyle to avoid wearing, or using, anything that comes from animal sources, such as fur, leather, cosmetics, or anything that has been tested on animals.
The reasons people go vegan are usually a combination of the following:
- It’s a healthier diet
- It eliminates many food allergies
- It’s compassionate towards animals and cruelty free
- It makes better use of the earth’s resources
- It is best for the environment
There are now many egg and dairy substitutes commercially available that make it much easier to be vegan today.
- Eggs can be replaced by egg-replacement mixes such as Ener-G. If your supermarket doesn’t have it, try a health food store. In a recipe, you will often find that eggs can be replaced by soy powder, potato or corn starch, banana, or pureed silken tofu.
- Milk can be replaced by soy, rice, or nutmilk. These are now widely available. It may take a little time to adjust to the taste. It’s easier if you use these products all the time and don’t continue to consume dairy.
- Cheese and yogurts can be replaced by soy cheese and yogurt. These are available in health food stores. Like milk replacements, they take a little time to get used to.
- As with the vegetarian diet, there are many meat replacements for vegans, such as tofu, pulses and vegan-cheese. There are also vegan burgers, sausages, bacon and TVP vegan-mincemeat available in health food stores and the frozen food sections of many supermarkets.
Changing to a vegan diet will be more successful if you enjoy the process. Convert at a pace that suits you and experiment with new vegan recipes as you go along, so that you won’t be eating the same stuff all the time and feel you are “giving up” something.
Once you get used to making dips, sauces, burgers, pancakes, cakes and casseroles with vegan substitutes, it will become second nature to you and you will eat as well as you ever did before. But it is a learning curve at the beginning, so do prepare well.
When you do become vegan you can enjoy all the benefits of a vegan diet—less heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, colon cancer, kidney disease, obesity and high blood pressure. In fact, you greatly reduce your risk of developing all the killer diseases of the Western world.
If you become like any of the vegans I know, you will probably look about ten years younger than you really are. This is because you are healing and nourishing your body with the vitality of plant foods, from the inside out, and after a while it shines through. Much better than expensive creams!