1. What is Veganism?
Veganism is abstaining from all animal products in diet and lifestyle.
Foods that are avoided in a vegan diet include: meat (including fish and poultry), eggs, dairy, and honey.
If the food is completely unprocessed, any fruit, vegetable, nut, seed, bean, or legume is vegan.
If it’s a packaged food, read the ingredients list. There are many by-products derived from animals which can cause some confusion at first, for example; whey powder, casein, and modified milk ingredients are all dairy products.
If you’re considering adopting a vegan diet, don’t let that scare you! You’ll be amazed at how quickly you learn what ingredients to avoid, it’s nothing to sweat over, you’ll learn it all in time!
A simple tip for quickly scanning ingredients lists: look at the very bottom of the ingredients list for the information on allergens. If the product contains milk ingredients, eggs, or shellfish it will plainly say, “Contains milk, eggs, shellfish”. This doesn’t work so well for meat products, but it really helps when scanning for dairy and eggs.
There are some very comprehensive lists of animal by-products and all of there many names online. They can be a little overwhelming for someone who is new to veganism.
Here are some of the more common ingredients to watch out for (not including the obvious such as “eggs”, “milk”, “beef fat”, etc.)
Food: albumen, bone char, butter fat, carmine, casein, gelatin, lactose, lard, l-cysteine, shellac, vitamin D3, whey powder
Personal care products, cosmetics, etc.: beeswax, castor oil, lanolin, keratin, musk, pearls, tallow
To add to the confusion there are many ingredients that could be plant based or animal based. For those ingredients you’ll often have to contact the manufacturer directly to find out where they source the ingredient from, or check online, someone else may have already found the answer.
This simply means that milk is not an added ingredient,but a very small amount may have come in contact with the food. This is really intended for people with severe allergies where even the tiniest amount of cross-contamination with an allergen could cause them to have a reaction. Sometimes companies that don’t even use these ingredients will add the “may contain “X” ingredients” to the package to cover their butts if someone were to have any adverse reaction.
6. Is eating vegan expensive? Do you have tips for eating vegan on a budget?
Just like any other diet, you can choose to eat an extravagant vegan diet, or a more budget conscious one. In my experience so far, I spend a considerable amount less to eat healthy and vegan than I did when I was eating healthy and vegetarian.
For all of my tips for eating an affordable vegan diet, read Vegan on a Budget.
Check out: Nutrition and the Vegan Diet.