The Vegan Diet

11 Jul

Rules, rules, rules.  The world has too many rules.  And when it comes to what we eat and what we believe, which converge in the concept of veganism, people can feel pressure to take a position and declare a side.  Well, not here.  This is a judgment free place and my hope is that it is welcoming to anyone who for any reason seeks to eat a plant-based, whole foods diet.  Even if you’re a work in progress.

I have trouble with the idea that someone may not be vegan enough to call themselves “vegan.”  Some argue that if you are not an animal rights activist, you cannot rightly declare yourself a vegan and that there is no such thing as a dietary vegan.  Where exactly that is codified or etched in stone, I have no idea.  Some vegans are more focused on animal rights and environmentalism than diet – and there’s nothing wrong with that.  I’ve even read that the creators of the term “vegan” were motivated by ethics rather than diet.  In my opinion, no matter what your motivation, someone eating a vegan diet is  still not eating animals.  By not eating animals, you’re helping to minimize the environmental impact of factory farming.  Additionally, I’m sure we’ve all suffered a bit of the weirdo-hippie stigma associated with a vegan diet and supporting one another through such challenges  is far more humane than judgment.

Because of the concern with not being vegan enough, some plant-based, whole food proponents I’ve met are reluctant to declare themselves vegan.  Since the backdrop of this blog is cooking and lifestyle, and I’d like to avoid getting caught up in confusion and semantics, I’ll generally refer to vegan diets rather than veganism.  And when I do say “vegan”, I generally refer to the dietary aspect of the word.

So what is a vegan diet?  Someone following a vegan diet abstains from eating meat, eggs, milk and milk based products (including cheese, butter and whey) derived from any animal, seafood (except sea plants) and insects.  Ethical vegan dieters may abstain from consuming honey.  A handy gauge is if it had a face or a parent, it’s not a vegan food choice.  Sounds like a lot of exclusions, I know, but the list of what is on a vegan diet is pretty great. Fruits, vegetables, beans and grains (including breads and pastas) are part of the menu.  So is alcohol (unless you’re an ethical vegan, who may abstain from certain wine due to isinglass use in the winemaking process).  All good things in moderation, of course.  The options with a menu this broad are practically unlimited.  And that’s where I think things can get interesting.

People always ask me what I eat and how I get my protein.  They think I eat a boring diet of twigs and seeds.  Not true.  I am positive my diet is interesting, rich and healthy.  I love to cook and create amazing recipes.  I also avoid meat analogues and processed foods.

All that said, I need readers to understand I’m not a doctor, nutritionist or dietician.  In fact, I’m a lawyer.  As a lawyer, I feel compelled to mention that everything I write is my opinion, based on my individual experiences and research.  I can’t imagine that seeking the advice of a health care professional before endeavoring into any dietary change could ever be a bad thing – but I don’t tell people what to do.  The experiences I write about and any suggestions I make as to lifestyle and cooking are made for entertainment purposes only and are not intended to advise anyone in any way on anything.  You’re reading a blog – not a medical journal.  Please keep things in perspective, use common sense and be safe, especially if you control the diets of anyone who may have special needs or is very young.

More later.



One Response to “The Vegan Diet”

  1. ProducePowered September 17, 2017 at 5:04 pm #

    Labels are just that, labels. I call myself vegan because I am proud of my choices to cause other beings the least amount of suffering as possible. To me, that is veganism. Someone can agree to disagree, but they won’t change my views or what I decide to “label” myself. No one is 100% vegan in today’s society. It’s just impossible to abstain from ALL products made by or tested on animals, sadly. I do the best that I know how and continue to educate myself.
    In Alabama, I can say that just the word “vegan” will put a sour taste in some peoples mouths. I’ll tell someone and they ask “but what about chicken?” “you eat fish though, right?” and when I say no, they look at me crazy and think I also eat a boring diet, when in fact, I probably eat a much more variety of foods than they do!

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