Vegan

Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals A follower of the diet or the philosophy is known as a vegan (/ˈviːɡən/ VEE-gən).Distinctions may be made between several categories of veganism. Dietary vegans (or strict vegetarians) refrain from consuming animal products, not only meat but also eggs, dairy products and other animal-derived substances. The term ethical vegan is often applied to those who not only follow a vegan diet but extend the philosophy into other areas of their lives, and oppose the use of animals for any purpose. Another term is environmental veganism, which refers to the avoidance of animal products on the premise that the industrial farming of animals is environmentally damaging and unsustainable.

Vegan diets are regarded as appropriate for all stages of life including during infancy and pregnancy by the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada and the British Dietetic Association. The German Society for Nutrition does not recommend vegan diets for children or adolescents, or during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Vegan diets tend to be higher in dietary fiber, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and phytochemicals; and lower in dietary energy, saturated fat, cholesterol, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12. Unbalanced vegan diets may lead to nutritional deficiencies that nullify any beneficial effects and may cause serious health issues. Some of these deficiencies can only be prevented through the choice of fortified foods or the regular intake of dietary supplements. Vitamin B12 supplementation is especially important because its deficiency causes blood disorders and potentially irreversible neurological damage.

Donald Watson coined the term vegan in 1944 when he co-founded the Vegan Society in England. At first he used it to mean "non-dairy vegetarian", but from 1951 the Society defined it as "the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals". Interest in veganism increased in the 2010s, especially in the latter half. More vegan stores opened and vegan options became increasingly available in supermarkets and restaurants in many countries.

Avoidance
Egg Free & Dairy Free

Vegans do not eat beef, pork, poultry, fowl, game, animal seafood, eggs, dairy, or any other animal products. Dietary vegans might use animal products in clothing (as leather, wool, and silk), toiletries, and similar. Ethical veganism extends not only to matters of food but also to the wearing or use of animal products, and rejects the commodification of animals altogether. 

An important concern is the case of medications, which are routinely tested on animals to ensure they are effective and safe,and may also contain animal ingredients, such as lactose, gelatin, or stearates.There may be no alternatives to prescribed medication or these alternatives may be unsuitable, less effective, or have more adverse side effects. Experimentation with laboratory animals is also used for evaluating the safety of vaccines, food additives, cosmetics, household products, workplace chemicals, and many other substances.Philosopher Gary Steiner argues that it is not possible to be entirely vegan, because animal use and products are "deeply and imperceptibly woven into the fabric of human society". Animal products in common use include albumen, allantoin, beeswax, blood, bone char, bone china, carmine, casein, castoreum, cochineal, elastin, emu oil, gelatin, honey, isinglass, keratin, lactic acid, lanolin, lard, rennet, retinol, shellac, squalene, tallow (including sodium tallowate), whey, and yellow grease. Some of these are chemical compounds that can be derived from animal products, plants, or petrochemicals. Allantoin, lactic acid, retinol, and squalene, for example, can be vegan. These products and their origins are not always included in the list of ingredients.Vegetables themselves, even from organic farms, may use animal manure; "vegan" vegetables use plant compost only

Eggs and dairy products
Modern methods of factory farming are considered highly unethical by most vegans.
The main difference between a vegan and vegetarian diet is that vegans exclude dairy products and eggs. Ethical vegans avoid them on the premise that their production causes animal suffering and premature death. In egg production, most male chicks are culled because they do not lay eggs. To obtain milk from dairy cattle, cows are made pregnant to induce lactation; they are kept lactating for three to seven years, then slaughtered. Female calves can be separated from their mothers within 24 hours of birth, and fed milk replacer to retain the cow's milk for human consumption. Male calves are slaughtered at birth, sent for veal production, or reared for beef.

A vegan diet is often accepted to be a healthy one and thought to help reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. Nevertheless, if you’re a full-time vegan it is worth taking the time to plan your meals and snacks – this way you will ensure your diet supplies all the nutrients you need to remain strong and healthy. 

What do vegans eat and avoid?
Vegans avoid all animal-derived foods – so as well as meat and fish, that means no eggs, dairy or honey. They also exclude animal byproducts like rennet used in cheese making, gelatin in desserts and certain E numbers including the red food dye cochineal (E120). Even certain vegetarian foods, such as some meat substitutes, are off the menu because they contain egg and sometimes dairy.

Shopping tips for vegans:
If you’re new to vegan cooking, follow our shopping guide for vegan-friendly ingredients:

  • Check the labels of all packaged products that you use in cooking such as bouillon powder, stock cubes, sauces and spreads. Ingredients to look out for include whey, casein and lactose, which are all derived from milk.
  • Be aware that non-vegan wines and beer may have been processed with animal products.
  • Remember most breads and pastries contain butter and some contain milk or milk derivatives.
  • In desserts and puddings, replace gelatin with agar-agar or vege-gel, both made from seaweed.
  • Use silken or soft tofu as an alternative to dairy in desserts and be sure to use fortified plant-based dairy alternatives as they contain added vitamins.