Frequently Asked Questions
4. The Vegan Part
The vegan diet is a plant based diet, but there’s more to being vegan than just the diet. Veganism is an ethical worldview that seeks to do the least amount of harm by avoiding the use of any food or products that caused the pain and suffering of animals. We’re trying to make it so easy to eat a plant based diet that adopting it is a no-brainer.
Technically, there is no “vegan diet” since veganism is an ethical stance. However, if you choose not to eat animal products, whether it’s purely for the animals, or for your health or the environment, that makes it a vegan diet even though you may not be a full blown vegan. Dietary changes are how most people start their journey to becoming vegan. Veganism may not be a diet, but diet is a huge part of being vegan.
Where to start… Eating a plant based diet benefits your health while living a vegan lifestyle benefits the environment, and most importantly, it means you’ll no longer be contributing to the abuse and torture of sentient animals who feel pain, know what’s happening to them, and fear for their lives.
In terms of health, you may have been told that a “vegan diet” isn’t healthy and you can’t get all the nutrients you need from it. That may have been true in 1982, which is the study most meat-eaters cite to support their argument, but times have changed. We now know what vegans need to eat to get the balanced nutrition they need to be healthy.
That’s why we see so many famous vegan (or plant based) athletes, like Serena and Venus Williams, Carl Lewis, Mike Tyson, Tom Brady, Novak Djokovic, NFL Defensive Lineman David Carter, and many others. You can’t claim these world-class athletes are unhealthy or don’t get enough protein. If you haven’t yet, we highly recommend watching The Game Changers on Netflix. It features many of the world’s top athletes who eat a plant based diet.
In terms of the environment, some estimates suggest that meat-eaters use 3,000 gallons of water per day in the production of their resource-intensive diets. Vegans, however, use about 300 gallons per day, or 10% of the meat-eater’s diet. That means a typical vegan would save nearly 1 million gallons of water every year!
In addition, eating organic, plant based foods requires far less land, deforestation, pesticides, fossil fuels and every other natural resource to produce, making the overall environmental impact of going vegan HUGE!
Finally, eating meat isn’t a sustainable diet. That means more and more people will be forced to go vegan as our natural resources are further depleted. Those of us who have already made the switch won’t notice a difference. We’re prepared.
Eating a plant based diet and living a vegan lifestyle is a guilt-free, healthy way to live. You’ll be thankful you went vegan.
The most common objection by vegetarians about going vegan is that they’ll miss dairy and eggs. However, thanks to some very creative people, we’ve found ways to substitute those ingredients so you may not notice they’re missing.
If you’re an ethical vegetarian, meaning you can’t eat meat because it grosses you out, eating dairy and eggs should be just as gross. It can be argued that dairy cows and chickens are treated worse than animals raised for meat because their abuse and torture goes on for years before they’re brutally killed and used for meat. For a 5-minute breakdown of why vegetarians should consider going vegan, check out Dairy Is Scary on YouTube.
Unless you want to be the stereotypical scrawny (or overweight), unhealthy vegan, the vegan junk food diet is not for you. This basically means you eat a bunch of highly processed foods, potato chips, soda, candy, etc. If it has color, you avoid it.
Food with color is where most of your nutrients come from so if everything you eat is a shade of white, you’ll be missing key ingredients to a healthy plant based diet.
The nice thing about being vegan, however, is that you can eat white foods without feeling guilty, but eat lots of colorful foods, too.
A lot of vegans think diet doesn’t matter, but they’re not looking at the whole picture. If you’re an unhealthy vegan, chances are good that you’ll need to take more medications and require more healthcare down the road. Both of these generate byproducts that are harmful to the environment (air, land and water), which directly affects the lives of animals who live in the environment.
Medications are also tested on animals, so if your poor diet requires the use of more medications, that’s not very vegan. It’s impossible to be a perfect vegan and it’s impossible to avoid all medical needs, but we should all do our best to minimize our impact on the environment and reduce our need for medications tested on animals.
We live in a meat-eater’s world. Vegans make up about 1% of the population and vegetarians add another 3 or 4 percent. That means over 95% of the population eats meat. And society has been built around that population.
Amelia and I do our very best to live in our vegan bubble, but some things are non-vegan that you wouldn’t expect, like jelly. You may not know this, but they use Gelatin to make jelly, and Gelatin is made from collagen obtained from various animal by-products. It’s basically disgusting fat squeezed from animal goo.
Palm oil is another one. It’s in almost every processed food you buy at the grocery store. Restaurants sneak meat and dairy into almost everything and if you don’t tell the server you’re vegan, chances are you’ll get something non-vegan in your meal.
Bottom line is, do your best and don’t beat yourself up if something sneaks by.
No. We live in a meat-eater’s world so it’s challenging to avoid all non-vegan things.
If you eat out a lot, it’s easy to accidentally eat meat or dairy. Amelia likes to call this “the meat sneak.” Restaurants put meat, dairy or eggs into things that don’t need them, and conveniently leave it off the menu.
At a business lunch, Amelia ordered what she thought was a vegetarian salad without the cheese. After taking a few bites, she realize the strange shaped objects mixed in with the salad were little pieces of processed meat. She did her best to pick the rest out, but it wasn’t easy.
At another business meeting, someone brought toffee, which Amelia loves. After eating a piece, she found out it was made with bacon bits inside.
Meat, dairy and eggs are everywhere, as well as animal products used in clothing, and beauty products tested on animals. It’s impossible to escape. Just do your best and if something sneaks by, complain about it, educate the vendor, and move on. You don’t need to reset your vegan clock.
When Amelia and I went vegan, I did it cold tofurkey (hehe). I simply couldn’t stand the thought of eating meat, dairy or eggs anymore and haven’t since. If I have a meat sneak like Amelia did, I would probably throw up. I have a hard enough time walking through the meat section (aka morgue) at the grocery store. The thought of putting it in my mouth makes me physically ill.
Amelia has a hard time throwing away food, especially food that had its life brutally taken to be in our refrigerator. However, since I wouldn’t eat it, we threw the meat out. Amelia did finish some of the dairy and eggs we had purchased, but we haven’t bought any since.
The non-food items are a different story. I had a car with leather seats. I have leather shoes, leather belts, and a leather football that was given to me as an award years ago. We have health and beauty products that were tested on animals. Once you go vegan, you realize we use animals like toilet paper! It’s shameful!
However, we bought those things (or were given those things) before our blinders were removed. Some people would argue that we should throw it all out and torch our cars, but that’s very wasteful in our opinion.
Part of being vegan is environmental (destroying the environment also destroys animal habitat, air and water) so throwing perfectly good non-vegan things out and replacing them with vegan things not only creates trash, but also requires more resources to create the replacements.
Another part of being vegan is to do the least amount of harm. The damage has already been done for the things you already own so it’s better to take care of them so they last as long as possible to honor the animal who had its life taken, as well as prevent the needless use of additional resources to create new items.
Most sensible vegans recommend using what you already have, but don’t buy any more of it. That seems like reasonable, environmentally and financially friendly advice.
We suggest watching the National Geographic special, “Years of Living Dangerously.”
Most of the palm oil comes from Indonesia where they’re burning rain forests to plant the trees that make palm oil. In the process, they’re releasing millions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere and they’re killing all of the wildlife that gets in their way.
The cultivation of palm oil is an atrocity and it’s in nearly all packaged and processed food in the grocery store. Read the label and if it has palm oil, don’t buy it.
With that said, if you can find sustainably farmed palm oil, some argue it’s actually better for the environment because it produces more per acre than other oil alternatives. I’ve yet to find any sustainably farmed palm oil, though. Hopefully it’ll be more widely available soon. However, it’s still not considered healthy.