As our culture continues to grow and develop, the idea of veganism isn’t as far-out an idea as it once was. The person sitting next to you in the office or your new friend at the gym may be a vegan and you could have no idea. If you are thinking of becoming vegan, here’s a helpful guide that reviews the different types and tips to transition into this lifestyle.
4 Different Types of Vegans
The fact that there are different types of vegans and different reasons for going animal product free may be a surprise for some. Check out this list of the different reasons many choose this lifestyle:
- Ethical Vegan
An Ethical vegan cares about the animals and the environment. They do not consume any animal by-products such as meat, fish, eggs, cheese, dairy, honey, etc. and do not wear leather, fur, silk or any other clothes made from animals. Ethical vegans also do not use cosmetic products that were tested on animals, and typically abstain from shopping in stores that sell these products. They also do not support the entertainment exploitation of animals, such as zoos and circuses; they believe in equality for all living beings, and do not support mistreatment of animals in any way.
- Plant Based Vegan
A plant-based vegan chooses a strictly plant based diet because they found this lifestyle for health purposes.
A plant-based vegan diet is focused on whole, unrefined or minimally refined plants.
People who follow this type of diet can expect to eat:
- Nutritional Yeast
- Fortified Nut Milk
- Leafy Greens
- Whole Grains
- Raw Vegan
A raw vegan is also predominantly driven to this lifestyle for health purposes. These individuals do not eat any animal by-products as well as anything cooked above 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius). They live this way because they believe any foods cooked above this temperature have lost their enzymes and nutrients. Benefits of a raw vegan diet are weight loss, more energy, clear skin, improved digestion and improved overall health. Raw vegans also do not eat anything that has been processed such as refined sugars, breads, etc.
Some examples of raw vegan foods are:
- Nuts and seeds
- Fresh herbs
- Cold pressed oils
- Unprocessed olives
People who live this lifestyle believe we should be getting our food in its most natural, original state; no killing, no processing, no cooking.
- Junk Food Vegan
The junk food vegan is usually driven to veganism for ethics, whether it be the animals or the environment. These people do not focus so much on the health aspects of veganism, as long as they do not consume animals or animal products. People often think that just because you are vegan, that it automatically means you are healthy. This is incorrect because there are tons of vegan treats and junk foods. Examples include: Oreos, soda pop, chips, fries, certain chocolate frostings, faux cheese, faux meat, etc.
Junk food vegans may also smoke and drink alcohol, as long as it does not contain any animal by-products. Someone could be vegan and never eat anything that resembles a plant.
While a junk food vegan lifestyle may not be the healthiest way to live, it does have a positive impact on our environment.
How to Go Vegan
If you are thinking of making the transition to veganism, here are some simple and easy to follow tips to get you started.
- Start Slow: The fact that you want to go vegan is a huge step! Victoria Moran, author of Main Street Veganrecommends removing one kind of animal from your diet at a time (she says chicken and eggs are a great place to start); being "vegan at home" to better control your food; or trying "vegetarian for now" and continuing to eat eggs and dairy. Andre Kroecher of Daiya Foods suggests, "Start with the one thing you consume the most and substitute it with the vegan version," such as almond milk for whole milk. Jenné Claiborne of The Nourishing Vegan advises: "Crowd out less healthy, or non-vegan foods with a yummy vegan addition. For example, have a green smoothie before your usual breakfast, or some fruit before an afternoon cookie. By eating the plant-based food first you won't have as much room for other stuff, and you'll develop a taste for the healthier option."
- Think through the Process: If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by all the changes and rules, remember you can start slow (as mentioned above) and go at your own pace. Vegemite blogger notes that her “Commitment to a cruelty-free lifestyle became stronger than my cravings.”
- Use Support Groups: Once you go vegan, you may find it more difficult than you thought it would be, or you may want to bounce ideas off others who are following the same lifestyle as you. Whether your support lives next door or is through a Facebook page, you'll widen your world of vegan-friendly products, recipes, and restaurants through a group. If you don't know where to look, Crystal Tate of Food for Loversrecommends 30 Day Vegan Challenge: "[The] daily tips and videos hold your hand through grocery shopping, dining out, and trying new recipes." The Forks over Knives Facebook page also provides excellent recipes and videos for you to follow!
- Don’t Worry about Protein: If you're trying to become a vegan, don’t worry about not getting enough protein in your day; "Rich sources of concentrated protein include beans, soy products like tofu and seitan, quinoa, nuts, and hemp seeds," says Moran. Plus, there are vegan protein powdersyou can add to water and shakes. As long as you include these staples along with protein-rich veggies like asparagus, cauliflower, and broccoli, you should meet your daily requirements.
- Fill Up on Fruits and Vegetables: "Many who claim to be vegetarian or vegan are really starch-atarians filling meat voids with pasta, fries, bread," and other non-plant substitutes, says Ashayla Patterson of the bakery Sweet Artique. Try to eat more healthy, whole foods to give your body the vital nutrients and antioxidants it needs.
- Shop Smart: Many staples of a vegan diet like grains, beans, and nuts are cheap, and they usually store well if you buy them in bulk. Bechter also suggests you join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture); shop at farmers’ markets an hour before closing for discounts; and visit comfor daily deals and discounts on vegan food and lifestyle products. You can also find more grocery shopping tips in the book Eat Vegan on $4 a Day, by Ellen Jaffe Jones, or at the site Plant Based on a Budget.
- Learn to Cook: Enjoying what you eat is critical to sticking with this new way of life. Not only will having good meals keep you full and satisfied, but actually cooking will make you feel proud and empowered to keep going. Check out Two City Vegans for delicious recipes that will make you forget you’re not eating dairy or meat.
If you don’t think you can give up your Taco Tuesday plans, don’t fret! Here is a scrumptious and vegan taco recipe to keep your traditions alive:
Roasted Butternut Squash Tacos with Spicy Guacamole Ranch
For the roasted butternut squash
- 1 medium sized butternut squash
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. garlic salt
- 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
For the ranch sauce
- 2 Tbsp. GOODFOODS guacamole
- 3 Tbsp. vegan ranch
- 2 Tbsp. pickled jalapeños
- Water to thin, if needed
For the toppings (all suggestions)
- More guacamole
- Black beans
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Peel and cube an entire butternut squash.
- Toss the squash into the olive oil and the spices, and spread evenly on a baking sheet; bake for 40 minutes, flipping midway through.
- While it bakes, assemble your sauce by adding 2 tablespoons of GOODFOODS guacamole, 2 tablespoons pickled jalapeños, and 3 tablespoons vegan ranch dressing to a food processor and blend - use water to thin out if need be.
- Assemble your tacos and add guacamole, black beans, corn, cilantro, lettuce, vegan cheese or whatever you like!
Go Vegan Today
No matter your reason for becoming vegan, these simple and easy tips will give you the jump you need for your new lifestyle. Remember, there is nothing wrong with taking your transition slow; even a small step is a step in the right direction. Becoming an active part in your new lifestyle through groups, shopping and cooking will help you gain control of your life and making the right decisions. Keep checking our blog for even more tips and insights into veganism; we love this lifestyle!
About PLNT BSD
PLNT BSD is a unique apparel line that lets customers express their plant based lifestyle, while looking great at the same time. The company’s vegan apparel is stylish, while avoiding the 'in-your-face' type of approach. PLNT BSD is PETA approved. They use only vegan materials when choosing apparel and use ink that is not tested on animals. PLNT BSD hopes to spread the word and start a conversation about the benefits of a plant-based diet. Not only is a plant-based diet and lifestyle good for you, it's also beneficial to the environment and animals alike.
Visit www.PLNTBSDApparel.com for more information on vegan clothing and a plant-based diet and lifestyle.