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Old 01-01-2004, 10:43 AM   #1
Dancing banana
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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If you know anyone who is planning on going veg or vegan i found this amazing article which isn't heavily biased or trying to persuade you to go vegan its more facts i think its good what does everyone else think?

The Vegan FAQ
Written and Compiled by Beth Geisler
Last Update: September 15, 2000

General Questions | Making the Switch | Health | Being Vegan | Dining Out | Travel | Social Situations | Animal Ingredients
General Questions

Q. What is a vegan?

A. By definition, a vegan (most commonly pronounced VEE-gun) is a person who does not eat animal products, including meat, fish, seafood, eggs, and dairy. But veganism is more about what people choose than about what they avoid. For example, vegans demonstrate respect for all life — their own, the planet's, and the animals' — not only by eating plant-based foods, but also by choosing nonfood items (such as nonleather shoes) that are produced without animal byproducts. Many vegans also go out of their way to choose cosmetics and personal care items that do not contain animal byproducts and are not tested on animals.

Q. Isn't veganism unnecessarily extreme? If I just quit meat but continue to eat eggs and dairy, animals don't have to die so I can eat, right?

A. Some vegetarians believe their choices don't hurt laying hens and dairy cows. However, vegetarians who eat eggs contribute to the death of 200 million male chicks each year. Since there is no such thing as a "layer rooster," these animals serve no purpose in the egg industry and are killed shortly after hatching. Most layer hens are kept five to a tiny battery cage, where they must stand and sleep on a wire floor 24 hours a day. Living under these horrendous conditions, a hen needs about 30 hours to lay just one egg. Even though a chicken can live five years, most hens are killed before their second birthday because their egg production declines with age.

With cows, the story is quite similar. Just as hens lay fewer eggs as they age, dairy cows produce less milk as they get older. Even though a cow can live twenty years, most dairy cows are sent to the slaughterhouse at age five. Additionally, the veal industry could never exist in its present form without the existence of the dairy industry. Since cows must be impregnated to give milk, calves are a byproduct of the dairy industry. Each dairy cow produces about five calves during her lifetime, only one of which on average will become a dairy calf. Male calves — since they cannot become dairy cows— are often sold to the veal industry for about five dollars each. The flood of cheap calves created by the dairy industry allows the veal industry to survive in its current form.

Q. What ethical, health, and environmental advantages are there to becoming vegan?

A. Regarding ethics, a vegan diet eliminates a tremendous amount of killing. The average U.S. resident eats more than 40 chickens a year, as well as a substantial amount of beef and pork. Thus, every one person switching to a vegan diet keeps dozens of animals out of the slaughterhouse each year. Regarding health, it's important to note that both eggs and whole milk products contain large amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat — the two major culprits that also give meat products such an unhealthy name. And, regarding the environment, cattle grazing is widely considered among environmental advocates to be the largest single cause of wildlife loss and acreage destruction in the United States.

Q. Where did the word vegan come from?

A. A shortened version of "vegetarian," the word "vegan" was coined in the 1940s by a vegetarian society in England to distinguish members who chose to consume absolutely no products derived from animals.

Q. Why do people become vegan?

A. Many paths lead to veganism. Some people begin as a result of their love for animals. Actively boycotting products and industries that exploit animals is a powerful statement. Other people become vegan because they are concerned about the quality of life on the planet, which cannot be sustained given the prevailing meat-centered diet. Some people begin to make diet changes for their own health and then discover the ethical and environmental reasons to go further.

Q. Does a vegan diet carry any dangers?

A. Experts agree that vegans appear to enjoy equal or better health in comparison to both vegetarians and nonvegetarians. The best short article on the benefits and risks of a vegan diet is the Position Paper on Vegetarian Diets put out by the American Dietetic Association. By following the eating advice in The Vegetarian Starter Kit (put out by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine), new vegans will be well on their way to avoiding any potential nutrient deficiencies.

Q. Are there any people who won't thrive on a vegan diet?

A. Absolutely. The ones who subsist on the famed potato chip and cola diet come immediately to mind. But seriously, as stated by the American Dietetic Association, vegetarian diets — like all diets — need to be planned appropriately to be nutritionally adequate. Choosing healthful foods as part of a balanced diet makes sense for everyone — not just vegetarians or vegans.

Q. Are there any famous vegans and, if so, who are they?

A. The following well-known people are vegan:

Steve Jobs
Alicia Silverstone
Woody Harrelson
Kevin Nealon
James Cromwell
Dick Gregory
Dexter Scott King
Paula Cole
Fiona Apple
Russell Simmons

Making the Switch

Q. I'm interested in becoming vegan but doesn't it take a lot of willpower?

A. As Erik Marcus writes in Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating, becoming vegan requires not willpower but willingness — a willingness to try new foods. He suggests trying a new type of cooking or a new type of food every week. Indian one week, recipes for this strange grain "quinoa" the next, Thai the next. Soon, you will have a diet that exceeds your previous one in both diversity and taste.

Q. What's the best source of advice on switching to a vegan diet?

A. For nutrition advice, the two best books are The Vegetarian Way by Virginia and Mark Messina and Becoming Vegetarian by Vesanto Mellina et al. The best general advice comes from the experience of other vegans. Many books, including those available on this site, recount the experiences of people who have made this change for the better in their lives. Remember, veganism is not about limiting yourself, it's about freeing yourself — from disease risks related to a meat-based diet, from exploiting animals, and from making purchases that don't support your beliefs.

Q. What nutrition needs should I watch out for when dropping meat, eggs, and dairy from my diet?

A. In general, as long as you have a varied diet and consume sufficient calories, you won't have any unusual nutrition needs. For extra insurance, opt for calcium- or vitamin-enriched foods, such as soy milk and orange juice. And because there is no conclusive research showing that vegans can get an adequate supply of B-12 without supplements, take a B-12 supplement several times a week (these are most effective when allowed to dissolve under the tongue).

Health Questions

Q. What about protein? How do I get enough protein on a vegan diet?

A. When was the last time you heard of someone keeling over from a protein deficiency? When was the last time you heard of someone keeling over because of arteries clogged with animal fat? The problem with protein is that many of us eat too much of it. When our protein comes from animal foods, we get an unhealthy dose of fat and cholesterol along with it. Plant-based foods provide sufficient protein — with no cholesterol whatsoever — and are not associated with heart disease, osteoporosis, and kidney problems. As long as you are eating a decent variety of healthy vegan foods and are getting enough calories, you can be confident that you are consuming sufficient protein.

Q. Is a vegan diet appropriate for athletes and bodybuilders?

A. People mostly wonder if vegan athletes get sufficient protein. The answer is yes. However, the needs of elite and professional athletes differ from those of weekend warriors. If you are a serious athlete, do your homework by reading a book such as The Vegetarian Way by Virginia and Mark Messina.

Q. Can a vegan diet meet the special nutrition needs of women, such as calcium and iron?

A. Yes. Sufficient calcium can be obtained from plant foods. The same is true for iron. Vegetarians are no more likely to be iron deficient than anyone else. In fact, vegetarian diets contain more iron than meat-based diets, and vegans have the highest iron intake of all. In a study conducted in Great Britain, researchers found that vegan children consumed twice as much iron as nonvegetarian children.

Questions on Being Vegan

Q. Will I pay more for my food as a vegan?

A. Pound for pound, fresh veggies usually cost less than meat. And beans and rice are always cheaper by far. But if you're into convenience foods or vegan processed foods, such as "fake" ice creams, some products may be more expensive than nonvegan varieties. As you change your shopping style, you're likely to find you spend far less on food than you did before becoming vegan.

Q. Is it hard to be vegan? Don't you miss burgers, yogurt, cheese, etc...?

A. You may be happy to go meatless, but the day someone suggests you order a cheeseless pizza, your jaw may drop. Admittedly, it can be hard to part with familiar, comforting foods. However, after you dive into your first cheese-free veggie pizza and investigate other vegan foods, your taste buds and your thinking will gradually adjust. Animal-based foods likely will become offensive to you over time, especially as you become increasingly informed about their link to animal exploitation and human health risks.

Dining Out

Q. What fast-food items can I order at chain restaurants?

A. Veggie subs. Bean burritos (ask for no cheese, and be sure there's no lard in the beans and that the rice has not been cooked in chicken stock). Salads. Baked potatoes. French fries (watch for fries cooked in or coated with beef tallow).

Q. Generally speaking, which kinds of restaurants offer the most options for vegans?

A. The number of vegetarian and vegetarian-friendly restaurants is growing, as is the presence of natural food stores, which often include in-house cafes. When one of these isn't at hand, trot to the nearest ethnic restaurant, such as Mediterranean, Mexican, Indian, Italian, or Japanese (believe it or not, sushi restaurants often offer great tofu and sea vegetable options). Buffet restaurants are another option, although these can be tricky if the ingredients for each dish aren't clearly labeled. Wherever you go, you have the opportunity to educate servers and chefs about veganism and encourage them to whip up something special for you.


Q. How can I travel successfully as a vegan?

A. A little research in advance can help, including a consultation with a travel agent specializing in veggie travel, which is an emerging niche in the travel industry. Your game plan may include talking to the hotel chef before you book your room reservation. When planning ahead for meals isn't possible, opt for Middle Eastern or Mexican restaurants, which tend to serve veggie fare. When possible, you may want to stash some energy bars, mini soy milks, almonds, etc., in your travel gear to help tide you over in a pinch. And wherever you are staying, you might keep an eye open for farmers markets and natural food stores, and create your own small stock of snacks.

Social Situations

Q. I'm in my teens and my parents have gone out of their way to discourage me from eating a vegan diet. Since my parents do all the food shopping, I don't have many choices. What should I do?

A. Your parents may be concerned that this food choice — which is unfamiliar to them — is harmful to you. It will take some patience and skill on your part to educate them otherwise. Print out a copy of the American Dietetic Association's Position Paper on Vegetarian Diets and share it with your parents. This document will go a long way toward convincing them that you are choosing a healthy and nutritionally adequate way of eating.

Q. How should I handle my boyfriend/girlfriend, who has no interest in vegan eating and discourages me from following this diet?

A. Co-veganism clearly simplifies a dating relationship. However, when it isn't happening, what should be happening nonetheless is mutual respect. If your guy or gal isn't supporting and respecting your personal choices, you may want to give up more than meat and dairy products.

Q. I live in a college dormitory. The options for vegans are poor to nonexistent. What advice do you have for eating vegan under these circumstances?

A. First of all, don't give up on the possibility of educating your school's administration and food service about the importance of offering vegan food choices. Do your homework and respectfully present information about veganism to those who make the decisions. You may be surprised by their receptive response. If you find a group of other vegans on campus, your efforts at activism can go much further if you combine forces. If your efforts don't bring vegan options to your cafeteria, work with the administration — again, respectfully — to be excused from purchasing mandatory meal plans. Then use the meal plan money to buy a dorm-sized fridge and vegan foods to stash in your room.

Q. I've decided to become vegan but my husband/wife doesn't support my choice and plans to continue eating animal foods. What should I do?

A. It's normal to feel frustrated when the person closest to you doesn't share your views or enthusiasm when you make a landmark change in your life. Remember, though, that the choice to become vegan is an individual choice. Over time, show support when your partner chooses a vegan meal or compliments you on a vegan dish you've created. Share information in a positive, nonjudgmental way so your partner understands the reasons behind your personal choice. Through your patience and the positive power of your example, you may find that veganism spreads.

Animal Ingredients Questions

Q. Is it possible to live a 100% cruelty-free lifestyle, neither using nor purchasing anything made with animal ingredients?

A. In theory yes. In practice no. The fact is, human beings are so dependent upon animals, we use them or their byproducts for much more than food. Film (from gelatin), envelopes (glue comes from animal sources), and tire rubber (from animal fat) are some examples. Keep in mind that these products are made from the waste products of slaughterhouses. If slaughterhouses ceased to exist, plant and petroleum-based alternatives for each of these products could easily be found. A world without meat would not create a world without cameras, tires, and glue.

Q: Doesn't it take a lot of effort to find out what products are vegan?

A. You only have to learn about a product once. And remember: Veganism is not a contest to identify the most animal ingredients. If you preach a purist message and make it look hard to be vegan, you'll turn others off to veganism and do the animals more harm than good. Instead, make manageable, sensible choices based on the best information you have at the time.

Q. What are the best sources for finding out about animal ingredients and animal testing for specific products and ingredients?

A. You can rely on a reputable source such as Animal Ingredients from A to Z by E. G. Smith Collective or PeTA's Shopping Guide for Caring Consumers. Or you can simplify: limit the amount of stuff you buy or buy more natural, unprocessed stuff that doesn't even need an ingredient label.

Q. What's the buzz about honey?

A. Many vegans choose to eliminate honey from their diets because they believe honey belongs to the bees, just as cows' milk belongs to the cows. In addition, many people object to the cruelty inherent in beekeeping: some bees are invariably killed when the beekeeper gathers honey, and some beekeepers burn their hives at the end of each year.

Q. Some people say that white sugar isn't vegan. What's the scoop?

A. The not-so-sweet thing about refined white sugar is that bone char — an animal by-product — sometimes is used in processing. If you want to avoid white sugar, some excellent substitutes include sucanat or maple syrup.

Q. What about beers and wines? Are they vegan?

A. When you're at the pub, you don't expect the fish and chips to be in your pint. But there is something fishy going on in some brews: Isinglass, a substance taken from the swim bladders of fish, is used to clarify some beers. Wine is sometimes clarified with animal products such as gelatin or albumin. If you're serious about identifying animal products in beer and wine, your best bet is to contact the makers of your favorite brands. Most brands of beer are vegan. A partial listing can be found in Animal Ingredients from A to Z published by AK press.
make the connection: cute pig=bacon
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Old 01-01-2004, 10:46 AM   #2
Dancing banana
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and more.... i would have loved to have had some of this information when i went veg/vegan


So many people have asked me how to set up a vegetarian pantry that I decided this subject merits a permanent place on my site. Whether you are a newcomer to a vegetarian diet, or someone who wants to have a greater variety of healthy ingredients at hand, this list can serve as your handy guideline. Now, no matter how time-crunched life gets, you can be sure that a healthy, nearly effortless meal awaits at the end of the day!


Beans, canned: Look for good-quality beans, without additives, or better yet, organic canned or jarred beans from natural food stores or co-ops, including your favorites from the following:
Black beans
Black-eyed peas
Chickpeas (garbanzos)
Great northern beans (cannellini)
Pink beans
Pinto beans
Red or kidney beans

Beans, dried: If you're inclined to cook beans from scratch, I don't object! Black beans, adzuki beans, and navy beans are particularly good cooked from scratch; there's also pink, kidney, red, and large white beans; brown and red lentils, and split peas. Look for lots of tips on cooking beans from scratch on the sidebars on pages 000 to 000.

Chilies, green, in 4 or 7-ounce cans, chopped, mild or hot, as preferred

Grains: If you are going to store whole grains at room temperature, don't buy more than what you will use up in about 3 months. During hot summer months, refrigerate them.
Rice (long-grain brown, basmati, arborio,
quick-cooking, etc.)
Wild rice

Herbs and spices, dried: Keep a good range of commonly used varieties on hand; seasoning blends, especially an all-purpose salt-free herb-and-spice blend, a good-quality curry powder, as well as an Italian herb seasoning blend, are especially useful.

Dark sesame oil
Extra-virgin olive oil
Light olive oil

Pastas and noodles: Keep a good supply of different sizes and shapes of pasta in your pantry. Some useful shapes to have on hand include angel hair, thin spaghetti, spirals (rotini), ziti or penne, fettuccine, and linguine. A few Asian noodles, such as udon, soba, and rice vermicelli, are available in natural food stores and are nice to have on hand too.

Soy sauce: Sometimes marketed under the name tamari or shoyu; buy a good natural brand for best flavor.

Tomato products, canned:
Diced, in 14- to 16-ounce cans
Crushed or pureed, in 14, 16, and 28-ounce cans
Tomato sauce.

Balsamic (dark and/or white)
Red wine or white wine vinegar
Rice vinegar (for Asian-style cooking)

Barbecue sauce (great for broiling or stir-frying tofu, tempeh, or seitan)
Pasta (marinara) sauce (this comes in so many natural and flavorful varieties)
Pizza sauce
Salad dressings (choose natural, low-fat varieties of your favorites; I find red wine vinaigrette, balsamic vinaigrette, and ranch most useful)
Salsa, tomato-based, mild to hot as you prefer
Salsa, tomatillo (Salsa verde)
Thai peanut sauce
Stir-fry sauce

Onions (yellow, red, or both)
Potatoes, white (red-skinned are an excellent all-purpose potato)
Potatoes, sweet (for fall and winter)
Refrigerator staples are more subjective to define than pantry staples. That being the case, this is a fairly short list, concentrating on the ingredients that I feel are essential to have on hand to ensure flexibility in meal preparation. This doesn't include fruits and vegetables, which you should buy as often as you need them.

Butter or margarine (both to be used quite sparingly; I like natural soy based margarines;look for a brand that is free of hydrogenated oils and trans-fatty acids)
Cheeses, shredded (low-fat if preferred, or soy cheese)
Parmesan cheese, grated fresh (or if you prefer, try Parmesan-style soy cheese)
Mayonnaise (preferably commercially prepared tofu mayonnaise)
Milk, low-fat, or soy milk
Mustard, prepared (Dijon-style is excellent)
Tofu (in various forms including silken, soft, firm or extra-firm, and baked. See more detailed description of the various forms of tofu on page 000)
Yogurts, plain and flavored

Burger and hot dog rolls (for veggie burgers and soy hot dogs, of course)
Hero or sub rolls
Pastas, frozen (any of ravioli, tortellini, cavatelli, gnocchi)
Pita bread
Pizza crusts
Soy bacon
Soy hot dogs
Tortillas, corn and flour
Vegetables of your choice (corn kernels, green beans, green peas, and chopped spinach are useful)
Veggie burgers

Though fresh produce is undoubtedly a staple in this book's recipes and menus, it would be cumbersome to list all those used. Produce is the food I shop for most frequently, since I like to have it as fresh as possible. Though the seasonality of produce has been stretched by imports, I like to stick with what is truly seasonal as much as possible. Please support family farms by shopping at local farm stands and farmers markets if you have access to them. Cast a vote for organic produce (as well as organic eggs and dairy products) by buying them as often as you can; they are more expensive, to be sure, but if there is more of a demand, prices will come down.
make the connection: cute pig=bacon
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Old 01-01-2004, 03:11 PM   #3
almost willingly...
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Thanks for sharing that, ajveg!
Cherish yesterday. Dream tomorrow. Live like crazy today.
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Old 01-01-2004, 06:04 PM   #4
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Great article! Where did you find it?
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Old 11-15-2005, 04:37 PM   #5
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This is great info for the newly veganized out there ...

Now Sig-free!
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Old 11-15-2005, 06:49 PM   #6
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I know this site! It has come in really handy for me many times. really reat advice!
"...not all who wander are lost..."
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Old 11-15-2005, 08:17 PM   #7
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Could someone post a link to this website? This info is good, and it would be even better if we also had the link. I just looked around online and couldn't find it.
happy happy joy joy
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Old 11-15-2005, 09:55 PM   #8
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Yeah, I was hoping to have a link too. I found this page at I don't know if that's the original source. That's for the first post here (Q&A). I don't know about the second one.
- Robert
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