Veganism – What’s that about?
Have you gotten to the point where you know you are ready to become vegan, but you aren’t sure how to do it? Or maybe you have already started trying to change and need some guidance? Well then you’re like me and want to know more before making a decision.
I decided to write about veganism instead of vegetarianism because I thought I might as well explain the toughest form of non-meat diet, go all the way and let you use the information any way you want. This article will be helpful for anyone who wants to be a vegan or vegetarian, or for someone like me who wishes to reduce the amount of animal products in his or her diet.
If you have any health problems at all, you should check with your doctor before changing or altering your diet. In fact, even if you’re in super sized good shape, you should tell your doctor that you’ve become a vegan or are considering a vegan lifestyle, simply because it’s always good to tell your doctor these things.
I once read that it takes about three weeks of doing something to form a habit, sooooo, I decided I might take the challenge. But, before doing so I need to know more, so this is what I found out and I wanted to share. Read on.
How do I even begin?
Stop Eating Animal Products: Before you roll your eyes and say “DUH!”, realize that this obvious step can be quite difficult. Remember that you really don’t know what to eat in place now, do you? Ok then, hopefully the info provided will help because it seems logical and it’s helping me. Read on.
Vegan vs. Vegetarian
Veganism is a philosophy and lifestyle; those who choose to follow it exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Vegans do not use or consume animal products of any kind.
Vegetarianism is the practice of a diet that does not include meat (including game and slaughter by-products; fish, shellfish and other sea animals; and poultry). There are several variants of the diet, some of which also exclude eggs.
The difference between a vegan and a vegetarian is that vegans eliminate all animal products from their including dairy and eggs. Those following a vegan lifestyle generally do not wear leather and avoid products made from animals such as wool, silk and down. Vegans’ tremendous compassion for animals is an abiding, overriding conviction in their lives.
Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish or poultry but they tend to consume dairy products and eggs. Lacto-vegetarians consume dairy products but not eggs, ovo-vegetarians eat eggs but not dairy products and lacto-ovo-vegetarians eat eggs as well as dairy products. Vegetarians also do not eat products that contain gelatine or other meat-based products.
The vegan point of view is that animals are not here to be exploited by man, and that commercialization of animals necessarily involves a fundamental, inhumane component and lack of respect for basic life.
From a nutrition point of view, the only difference is that vegans need to take a B12 and amino acid supplement, since they have no dietary source of these nutrients. You can get all the nutrients you need on a lacto-ovo (eggs and milk) vegetarian diet without supplements.
Most people like to eliminate animal products from their diets in stages, baby steps right? For example, I stopped eating pork (years ago because my husband doesn’t eat it) and beef all together about a month ago. I am working on poultry next and then fish and so on. From what I can gather, it is strongly recommended you let go gradually or in stages, maybe more timely, depending on your personality. Stop eating pork and beef the first week, poultry the second week, fish the third week, etc. After six weeks or so you should have run out of categories and you’ll find that you’re now pretty much a vegan.. Experienced vegans suggest that the transition to veganism is easier and more likely to last if you use this method.
On the other hand, some folks prefer the dramatic effect of a sudden conversion and want no part of a gradual transition. That’s fine so long as you can stick to it. However, going from eating meat all the time to a vegan diet is a big change, and it is easy to become frustrated and convinced that you can’t do it. Don’t give up! Research suggests that mostly people who have anemia are the ones who have any real difficulty with being vegans, and even they can do it with appropriate iron supplementation. So long as you’re smart about it we all should be just fine. I’ve even included a Food Pyramid as a guideline. So go ahead, go have the last meaty supper, summon up your willpower and get ready to change your life for the better.