What's a Vegan?

What's a Vegan?

Are you one of the many people who have no clue what being a vegan actually means? Well, it's time to put aside stereotypes and learn about a lifestyle that has more to offer than you think.

What is a vegan?

Veganism, a word shrouded in mystery for many, simply refers to a person who does not eat anything that comes from an animal--no meat, dairy, eggs and honey, among other foods.  It also refers to the choice to abstain from using materials derived from animals such as leather, wool, silk and cosmetics.  Living a vegan lifestyle requires a willingness to expand your food selection and plan meals in order to ensure proper nutrition, but many find the rewards well worth it.

Common Misconceptions

One of the most common assumptions about veganism is that it can't be healthy to eliminate so many foods from your diet.  How will you have the energy to function without the protein that meat and dairy provide, you might wonder?  In fact, the American Dietetic Association has found that vegan diets are healthful and can aid in the prevention of certain diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension.  Despite popular belief, protein can be found in almost all foods except alcohol, sugar and fats.  This means that as long as you are careful to eat a wide variety of foods, like whole grains, nuts, beans and legumes, you should have no problems meeting nutritional requirements.  While vegans eliminate certain food groups, they are also wildly expanding the types of foods eaten and the quantity of fruits and vegetables consumed.  This change in diet can easily be seen as an asset to your health rather than a deprivation.

What To Eat

Being vegan definitely involves will-power and discipline; however, it doesn't mean you have to settle for plain, lackluster meals.  On the contrary, most of your favorite dishes can be prepared vegan with a few simple swamps.  For example, try this recipe for a delectable, dairy-free chocolate cake.  It's true that you won't be eating cheeseburgers anymore, but you still can satisfy cravings with flavorful "burgers" abounding with veggies, rice or beans.  Veggie and bean burgers are both delicious and heart healthy-- what's not to love?

More Vegan Recipes:

Bold Vegan Chili
Harvest Herb Bread
Cauliflower Corn Bake
Sauteed Spinach with Garlic
Sweet Hot Tofu

Is becoming a vegan the right option for you or your family?  That's a decision you must make for yourself.  This article isn't meant to convert all who read it to veganism, but only to rid "vegan" from that list of words that so commonly elicits quizzical looks, wide-eyed stares and repulsed sneers.  There is no doubt that a change in diet can be a difficult one, but now that you are armed with a few facts about what it means to be a vegan, you can set off on your own path of self-discovery.

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