FRequently asked questions
Here are a few common questions people have about veganism along with a brief answer and explanation. I tried to keep them short and to the point because I want to encourage you to do your own research along with this! No matter how you’re changing up your diet, it’s always important to do as much research as possible. And please note, I am not a dietician or nutritionist and this is not meant to be advise on how you should eat :)
What are all these labels a lot of vegans use like: HCLF, 80/10/10, Starch Solution, WFPB, WSLF, Rt4, and RAw?
What is a vegan?
According to The Vegan Society,
Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as practical and possible, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.
Vegans do not eat meat, fish, eggs, dairy, honey or any products that contain them. We do not purchase clothing or any other products that have been made with animal byproducts, such as a leather purse, wool socks, or soap that contains honey. We do not buy products that have been tested on animals. We do not participate in events that exploit animals for entertainment such as going to zoos, aquariums, or elephant riding. We adopt rather than shop for pets, meaning we do not purchase them from mills or breeders.
It's not possible to eliminate all personal contribution to cruelty, but what matters is that you're doing the best you can. It's not about perfection, it's about intention!
What's the differnce between veganism and a plant based diet?
Veganism is a lifestyle that is not only about health, but the animals and planet as well, whereas a plant based diet is just related to health. One who considers themselves plant-based does not consume meat, fish, dairy, eggs, or honey (or may consume them infrequently) but does not necessarily avoid consuming, using, or doing any of the other things listed in the previous question as vegans would.
Why do people go vegan?
The 3 reasons people go vegan are:
for their personal health,
to contribute less to animal cruelty,
and to reduce their negative impact on the environment.
Is it hard being vegan?
Honestly, not as much as you’d think! From my experience, and from what I've heard from many other vegans, it is not nearly as hard as you first expect it to be.
Of course any big lifestyle changes are going to present difficulties, but for me the hardest part was transitioning to veganism. Once I went vegan (February 1st, 2015), it was not by any means hard to stay vegan. I have never craved non-vegan foods or purposely eaten them (although I have on accident more times than I can count) and when I look back now, it's kind of funny how worried I was that I wasn't going to be able to do it.
Everyone's experience will be different though and if you rush into, aren't prepared or educated, or are only a little bit interested in it, it will likely be more difficult. For example, if your main interest is losing weight through a vegan diet and you think the best way to do that is by eating 1500 calories a day, you might get hungry and crave meat, dairy, or eggs, which is going to make staying vegan much harder than it should be.
There are so many resources online that can help you but I would recommend learning as you go and slowly transitioning so it's not as big of a change all at once. If you'd like you can check out my Free Guide to Going Vegan which goes through all the things I think are important to know before going vegan.
I also want to mention that I will always encourage reducing animal product consumption over just the all-or-nothing approach that many vegans have. If you live in a household that doesn’t allow you to go vegan, just do what you can. If you don’t feel ready to go vegan, focus on what you do feel ready to do, the rest can come later. If you have no interest in ever going vegan, you can still reduce your animal product consumption and/or choose more ethical animal products (ex. free range eggs over factory farmed eggs).
What do vegans eat?
Vegans can eat almost anything non-vegans can eat! There are actually vegan alternatives for so many animal products out there, more than you’d think. I had no idea before learning about veganism that they could even make vegan versions of hot dogs, mac and cheese, mayo, cream cheese, orange chicken, tuna, or crab cakes- but they do. You can still eat pancakes, pizza, ice cream, doughnuts, cakes, cookies, brownies, cupcakes, pies- just vegan versions of them. And the fun part is you never know if they’re gonna taste amazing or absolutely repulsive! It’s always a surprise!
And unfortunately all these items are not going to be available everywhere, and many of them may be too expensive for a lot of people which can make it harder for some to transition. But for the 2ish months I transitioned to veganism and a couple months after I went vegan, the only ‘vegan alternative’ I used was almond milk so it’s completely possible to be vegan without them.
Other foods vegans eat:
It might not seem like a lot but those are large groups. I have a day in my guide where I give a bunch on meal ideas- you can find that here. The best thing you can do though would be to watch what I eat in a day videos! Here are a few that I think represent the common (but not necessarily healthy!) ways of eating on a vegan diet:
Is a vegan diet healthy?
While one can certainly eat an unhealthy vegan diet, a vegan diet itself is not inherently unhealthy.
One can also eat a healthy vegan diet, but a vegan diet itself is not inherently healthy.
Here is a statement from the ADA regarding vegan and vegetarian diets:
"It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes."
By eating a well-planned vegan diet with the majority of your calories coming from whole plant foods (and not over or under eating), you can have a healthy vegan diet. Of course it is necessary to be aware of the nutrients in your foods to make sure you are getting everything you need, but that is not exclusive to a vegan diet. There are some people who have health conditions which make it extremely hard to eat vegan, or even impossible, so if you have Crohn’s Disease or IBS or anything that makes a large group of foods difficult to eat or completely off limits, its best to consult your doctor.
Make sure not to follow a way of eating just because you see others doing it online. Finding what works best for you might take months or years, and it may change over months or years, but what is healthy for one person, might not be the best for another, so experimentation is always the best way to figure out whats best for your body! But also know that simply listening to your body (no matter what ‘diet’ you follow, vegan or not) can not fully indicate health. It can be very beneficial to track your food intake/macro+ micronutrients and get your blood tested on occasion to be sure you eating adequately.
Why shouldn't we eat meat + fish?
There are many reasons not to consume these products. Starting with health, according to the World Health Organization, processed meats cause cancer and red meats probably cause cancer. A diet free of meat can not only reduce risk of heart disease but reverse it as well. It can also lower your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Then there are the environmental issues that come with consuming these products. Animal agriculture is destroying our land, air, and water. Check out this infographic to see how animal products effect climate change, deforestation, species extinction, and more.
Factor farming is one of the cruelest industries in the world. Billions of animals are needlessly slaughtered every year for our consumption. If you are interested in knowing what really happens to your food before it gets on your plate, I recommend watching these 2 documentaries: Lucent and Earthlings.
Why shouldn't we consume dairy products?
Dairy products are misleadingly advertised as healthy and good for our bones because they are high in calcium, but just because they have benefits does not mean there can’t also be negative effects. Milk consumption is associated with higher risk of hip fractures, cancer, and premature death.
Cow's milk is intended for baby cow's- similar to how human milk is intended for human babies. Why are we drinking the milk of another species? And why are we drinking milk way past our toddler days? It's a little weird when you think about it.
Also there are so many awesome kinds of plant milks- almond, soy, hemp, oat rice, coconut, cashew, flax + more. It’s probably the most mainstream vegan alternative out there!
Watch this quick video to learn more about the dairy industry.
Why shouldn't we eat eggs?
Eggs are one of those foods that nutritionists and doctors are constantly going back and forth about. Some say they're healthy, some say they're not. What's interesting is that eggs are legally not allowed to be called "healthy" in advertisements because they are high in fat and cholesterol. Based on the research I’ve looked at, I’ve concluded that they have positives and negatives to them, as most foods do. I would suggest researching both sides and having fun trying to figure out which you agree with- without being biased.
Something we tend not to think about is what eggs even are. These eggs are just like the eggs that women ovulate once a month. Imagine if you started eating human eggs. It would be kinda weird.
Another issue with the egg industry is that chicks that are hatched and end up being male cannot be profited from.. so they are often ground up alive.
What's wrong with honey?
Bees don't produce honey just for the heck of it. It is a way for them to be able to store food for the winter. But when we take their winter food source from them, what they're left with is a sugar replacement bee keepers give them. And that's not what they are meant to be eating.
It is harder to imagine the cruelty in honey but unfortunately, it is there. Bees will not make honey if they don't have a queen, so what many bee keepers will do is rip off the wings so the queen cannot leave the hive. Some of them will also kill off the entire hive before winter.
A good replacement for honey is agave nectar which tastes and has a consistency very similar to honey :) While the production of honey isn’t nearly as bad as other animal products, its also the easiest to replace because most people aren’t addicted to it nor do they eat it all the time!
Do plants feel pain?
The amount of times I see people ask this online is alarming! Plants do not have pain receptors or nervous systems. Please check out this video if you slept through biology class in high school.
There is really not much else to say about this one because most people thankfully know that plants do not feel pain.
Why shouldn't we buy clothing that comes from animals?
The cruelty that goes into products like leather, fur, wool, etc. is horrific. We do not need these products to survive in any way at all, so why purchase them when they cause so much harm to the animals they come from? You also always have the option of buying second hand! Some vegans don’t think thats very vegan but you can just ignore them like us rational vegans do. Buy purchasing things used or second hand, you are not directly supporting the industries that make these products nor are you ‘promoting’ animal product use any more than you would be if you were buying a faux version of the item.
Why shouldn't we use products tested on animals?
The reason it seems most people are okay with us testing our products on animals is because we believe they are inferior to us, not as intelligent, and that their lives and wellbeing are not as important as ours are. So we lock them up in cages, only taking them out to conduct disturbing experiments on them or inject them with some dangerous substance. Sadly, many people are not aware of this. But once you are, it's hard not to make the change in your life to discontinue purchasing products tested on animals. There are so many other alternatives out there that are being enacted by many companies already, so let's support these businesses instead!
Weren't animals put here for us to use/eat?
This seems to be a common belief mainly within Christian religions, which makes it difficult to answer because I, for one, am not a Christian nor do I want to make it sound like I'm trying to change your religious beliefs. From what I've understood of the Bible, it seems humans were meant to be herbivorous in the beginning. Genesis 1:29-30 states, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food." I have never read any scriptures that directly state that eating meat is forbidden, so I am not trying to make that claim. But (this is just my personal opinion) I can't imagine God being okay with our cruelty to His creation. Wouldn't He want us to treat others (not just humans, but all other sentient beings) with compassion?
Aren't humans suppose to eat meat?
Biologically and anatomically, no. It is true that we have adapted to be able to consume meat, but that does not mean we are omnivorous biologically. Our anatomy- as shown on the chart (click to enlarge)- is much more like that of a herbivores.
What about humanely slaughtered, organic, cage free, etc products?
How can one humanely slaughter someone? Murder is not humane. No matter how much companies try to convince you that they treat the animals with so much love and compassion, their main drive is always $$, so of course they are going to lie or exaggerate in order to get you to buy their products. But I do want to encourage those who never will go fully vegan, to consider buying more ethical products anyways, because while there is still cruelty involved, less is better.
Organic does not mean that animals are treating fairly. According to the USDA National Organic Program, the definition of organic is as follows:
"Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation."
The mental image that one gets when they think of cage-free is not usually reality. Here is what one cage-free chicken farm looks like. That is not an isolated case though- a quick search on google photos will show you that cage free just means a hundreds or thousands of chickens stuffed in a building, without cage walls. They are still cramped, crowded, and mistreated.
Many people are mislead in the same way about free-range farms. They think it means 40 or so chickens pecking around in an acre of land. A few pigs grazing an open field, happy as can be. Again, this is not reality- it is propaganda. There have been cases of farms just cutting a small opening in the side of the building in which the animals are kept in so they can come and go through there, thus making it 'free-range'.
Is a vegan diet expensive?
Veganism can actually be one of the cheapest diets on the planet, depending on what you eat!
Rice, beans, potatoes, oatmeal, canned + frozen veggies, bananas, lentils, bread etc are some of the least expensive foods on the planet and are all staples in a vegan diet. You do not have to eat organic or all natural to be vegan nor do you have to buy vegan alternatives like cheese and mayo and hot dogs which tend to be pretty spendy. A plant based diet based largely around starches is going to be the cheapest way to eat vegan and I promise you can make so many yummy meals from them.
Does veganism actually make an impact?
Your dollar is your vote. The less we pay these industries, the less they are going to need to produce their products. If 10% of the world population stopped eating eggs, we would produce 10% less eggs because the demand would go down. Companies only produce what they will sell. So by not purchasing animal products, you are essentially casting a vote for less animals to be farmed for food.
How does a vegan diet benefit the planet?
Animal agriculture is one of the most detrimental industries to the environment. Here are a few facts from the documentary Cowspiracy:
Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation.
Cows produce 150 billion gallons of methane per day. Methane is 25-100 times more destructive than CO2 on a 20 year time frame.
Animal Agriculture is responsible for 20%-33% of all fresh water consumption in the world today.
2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef.
1/3 of the planet is desertified, with livestock as the leading driver.
Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction.
Every minute, 7 million pounds of excrement are produced by animals raised for food in the US.
A farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people.
As many as 40% (63 billion pounds) of fish caught globally every year are discarded.
Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction. Up to 137 plant, animal and insect species are lost every day due to rainforest destruction.
For more facts, click here.
Where do vegans get their protein?
It's actually not hard to get protein on a well-planned vegan diet. Almost every food contains some amount of protein... and believe it or not- most people in the US actually consume too much protein. The Dietary Reference Intake for protein is 0.8 grams per kg bodyweight (0.36/lb) of protein per day. On average, women need 40-50 g while men need 50-60 g. You should aim to get 10-35% of your calories from protein, according to the National Academy of Medicine.
The chart shows vegan foods that contain the highest amounts of protein. If you are eating enough food for your body- you will likely not have any struggles getting enough overall protein (unless you have a medical condition). Meeting your needs for all the amino acids will require a balanced diet comprised of more than just, for example, fruit and kale. Speaking just from personal experience (which I know does not prove anything one way or the other) I have tracked my food intake many time on a website called cronometer and have never not gotten enough protein, and I didn’t have to try by making sure I was eating certain foods.. for most it won’t be hard to do!
Another common myth people have is that vegans are weak or can't get 'gains' as well as non-vegans can. Take a look at this video that shows vegan strongman Patrik Baboumian breaking the world record for the most weight ever carried by a human. You can also check out all the shredded vegan men and women over at veganbodybuilding.com!
What about calcium?
There are a bunch of great sources of vegan calcium, as you can see from the picture. You do not need dairy to get calcium.
It's important to make an effort to try to incorporate some of these foods into your diet so you can make sure you're getting enough of this nutrient. Again, cronometer is a great website to help you track your food intake and see how many vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you are getting. If you’re really worried you’re not getting enough, have a medical condition, or simply don’t like a lot of the foods that are high in calcium, it’s perfectly fine to take a supplement… but do your research because long term use of certain supplements, like zinc for example, can have adverse health effects.
What about other vitamins + nutrients?
Go through the slide show to see the specifics for some.
Iron: There are heaps of ways to get iron on a vegan diet- legumes, vegetables, nuts, grains, etc.
Omega's: SEEDS are you best friends here!
DHA: DHA is an essential fatty acid which can be obtained on a vegan diet through ALA (another essential fatty acid) which can be converted to DHA, but the conversion rate is very small. Many people recommend taking a supplement for this.
Vitamin K: Leafy greens and oils.
Zinc: Beans, nuts, and soy products are all great sources of Zinc.
Iodine: Cranberries (I believe craisins work as well) and nori sheets are probably the easiest ways to make sure you’re meeting your iodine needs.
Others: I encourage you to look up “vegan sources of ___” for other vitamins and nutrients!
B12 + Vitamin D: Read Below ☟
Do vegans need to supplement anything?
Vegans should supplement for B12. We use to be able to get B12 from the soil but since that is no longer possible with today's advanced agricultural practices, supplementation is necessary. Most people take oral supplements but you can also get nasal spray or injections. The are different kinds of b12 but cyanocobalamin is usually the kind I see recommended most. Make sure it doesn't contain gelatin or any other animal products. Read through the chart to get the whole rundown on B12.
If you don't go outside often or live in an area with cold winters, it would be a good idea to supplement Vitamin D as well. There are fortified foods like certain plant milks, orange juices, and cereals that are fortified with D, but unless you're eating a large quantity of those things, it might be better to just take a supplement seeing as the only other way you could get Vitamin D on a vegan diet is from the sun. 10-30 minutes spent in sunlight 3-4 times a week is sufficient if you are able to go outside.
What do i do if people are judgemental/rude about the fact that I'm vegan?
Some people are going to be rude, most just won't understand why you're vegan but won't be too mean about it to your face. Make sure you're doing you part to not get people annoyed by your lifestyle. Do not try to convince people to go vegan if they are clearly uninterested (trust me, it never works). Only talk about it briefly in an educational way if someone shows interest or asks a question. If people are judgmental about it, do your best not to react but rather to just be a kind human being. Being passionate about your lifestyle is a good thing but you can still abuse it when it comes out too strongly for people who are not in agreement. If you've literally done nothing but told someone you're vegan and they start saying rude things, just be like, "dude, chill. It's just the way I live my life, that's it." or "It's just the way I choose to eat for health reasons." Even if it's not, it's way better to downplay it a little then to give people a bad impression of vegans, which doesn’t really help the movement.
What if my parents won't let me go vegan?
The best way to get out of that situation is to try to educate your parents in the least argumentative way. How you do that is by first knowing why they don't want you to go vegan so here are some common reasons:
They think it isn't healthy: If your parents have been mislead to believe that a vegan diet is unhealthy, then they are going to do the best they can with the knowledge they have to try to make sure you're healthy which unfortunately means not wanting you to go vegan. Just know that if this is the case they are only looking out for your wellbeing. There are many resources you can provide to them that may help show them otherwise. Forks Over Knives is a good health-related documentary that may do the trick. Or you can simply compile a list of facts with reputable sources or websites like the ones I list on my More Resources page.
They don't want to cook/buy vegan food (or think it's expensive): If you are able to, offer to go grocery shopping with your parents and point out inexpensive things that are vegan. Rice, beans, canned veggies, oatmeal, bananas, potatoes, lentils, bread, etc are some of the cheapest foods on the planet in most places and are all vegan! You will also have to begin cooking/making your own meals which can actually be really fun and doesn't need to take a lot of time, there are plenty of vegan recipe videos out there that show you how to make quick meals. Show your parents that you are willing to step up and do the things they do not want to do and they will be a lot more likely to see your passion in going vegan and allow you to.
If your parents already don't want you to go vegan, do not try to convince them by showing them why they should also go vegan!!!! Focus on only trying to get them to allow you to eat vegan. Also, transitioning slowly is the best way to make it seem like less of a drastic change to them. If they are absolutely adamant and will not allow it no matter what you show them, the best thing you can do is just reduce as much as possible and eat as few animal products as you’re able to. You can also focus on buying cruelty free hair + skin care products, makeup, clothing because they’ll likely allow that. You could also check out videos on this topic on youtube, there are a ton of them!
What do I do when going out to eat?
Visit the website Happy Cow to find restaurants in the area that are vegan, vegetarian, or provide vegan options. If you have the choice of choosing a restaurant, choose one that you know has vegan options or things that can be made vegan.
If you don't have the option, what you can do is google "vegan options at ___". If it's a chain restaurant there will often be results and even if there is only one thing, that's better than none. If it's a smaller business, you might not find any results but more and more restaurants put their menus on their website now so you can always look at it and see if they have something that sounds vegan or seems like it can be made vegan easily. You can also call ahead and ask if they have vegan options. It's probably smart to also explain that that means no meat, dairy, eggs, or honey just incase they don't know what it means (or might be confused with vegetarian). You can also just wing it (which I've done many time) and go in and ask when the waiter comes to take your order. Sometimes you'll find things that are vegan and sometimes they'll say that if they just exclude an ingredient or two, it can be made vegan. I've never had an experience where they did not kindly accommodate for me (honestly the hardest part is not wanting to feel like a burden to the staff but just know that they want you to have a good experience at their restaurant- thats how they make money!)
And sometimes, you’ll think you’re gonna get a vegan item and they’ll bring out your taco with cheese on it or something. This has happened to me before, the cook forgot omit an ingredient or the server didn’t actually know what was in the item. Different vegans will have different opinions on what to do in a situation like this. Some will send the item back which I think is the worst possible thing you can do. Not only are you wasting food, but it gives people a bad impression of vegans which is not good for veganism. Take the non vegan food item off/out if possible, give it to a non vegan you’re eating with, put it on the side and don’t eat it, or if it’s not really something you can take off/out, just eat it. The food has already been made- it doesn’t matter (in an ethical/environmental sense) if you eat it, throw it, give it to someone else.
What I usually do when going to a place I’ve never been before is see if they have a menu online first, if they do look through it or if not, do that when you get there, and find a vegetarian option (which is actually pretty common!), I’ll ask if it can be made without dairy (and eggs if it’s something that could have that in it).
Social situations and restaurants tend to be a huge factor in stopping people from going vegan. I highly encourage you to weigh what is most important to you, but you also shouldn’t let those things stop you from eating fewer animal products. So I think it’s very important to say that eating vegan foods while at home and eating non vegan foods in social situations IS an option! You can call yourself a reducitarian or plant-based if you want, and while you might not be fully vegan, it’s far better than letting this one thing stop you from doing anything!
Can veganism help prevent certain disease like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes?
According to an abundance of research that has been conducted, a vegan diet has been shown to lower risk of developing cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and more. Is it the cure? No, but it can help reduce risk for many different health issues.
If you are really interested in this topic, 3 books you could read are:
The China Study by T. Colin Campbell
Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes by Neal Barnard
Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell Esselstyn
How do i know if a food is vegan?
The first thing to do check the allergen information of the product which is usually listed right below the ingredients list. The only things that will ever be listed in there that mean it's not vegan are shellfish, dairy, and eggs. If one of those things is listed, then you don't have to read through the ingredients so always start with that. But don't assume if it doesn't list any of those things that it's vegan. You'll still have to read through the ingredients to make sure there are no meat products or honey which won’t ever be listed in the allergens. If there's ever an ingredient you're unsure of, you can google it to see if it's vegan or not.
There are some ingredients that are common but you might not even know what they are.. like whey- which comes from dairy, gelatin- which is from animal bones, tendons, and skin, or anchovies which are small fish (I use to get them mixed up with artichokes and therefore thought they were vegan for a bit hahah). Or you might forget to look at non food-product labels and get a chapstick with beeswax in it or a soap with goats milk.
There are weird ingredients like confectioners glaze (in some candies) or Isinglass (in some alcohol), and things you’ve probably never heard of like lutein or oleic acid or lactylic stearate that aren’t vegan. Sometimes things as innocent as Vitamin B12 or D3 can be derived from animal sources.
Here’s my opinion on this: only worry about what you want to and feel ready to. Don’t let all these weird random ingredients hold you back from going vegan. Don’t focus on these smaller things when you first go vegan, or ever if you choose to. I personally don’t eat whey or gelatin or anchovies anymore, nor do i purchase things that contain goats milk or beeswax. I stopped purchasing things with confectioners glaze maybe 1-2 years into being vegan. I will buy things with vitamin ingredients unless i know for a fact they are non vegan (some Kellogg’s cereal products). I’ve been vegan 4 years as of writing this and never even heard of lutein before looking just up ‘non vegan ingredients’! I won’t buy something that I know isn’t vegan, but I’m also not trying to memorize the countless random ingredients that I can’t even pronounce.
Like I said though, just do what works for you.
What about products that say "may contain" eggs or dairy?
If you see a product that says it may contain eggs, dairy, or shellfish or may contain traces of them (which is listed underneath the allergens), that means the products were made on the same production line or in the same facility as products that contain those items. So while there may be trace amounts of them in the food, it is not something to worry about, they are still vegan. It is there for people who have allergies that can be triggered by even trace amounts of foods.
Is palm oil vegan?
Palm oil is vegan. It is not the product of an animal. That being said, some vegans choose not to eat or use products that contain palm oil because of the effects it has on the environment as well as the animal exploitation and human rights issues that almost always come along with its production. If you would like to learn more about palm oil, click here or here or here.
I made the choice not to use products that contain palm oil about 3 years into being vegan, but I do use Dr. Bronners soap which contains palm oil because they have videos showing where their palm oil is produced and the workers conditions on youtube. But I also suck at remembering to look at products that are labelled vegan to see if they contain palm oil, so I’m no where near perfect!
What are all these labels a lot of vegans use like: HCLF, 80/10/10, Starch Solution, WFPB, WSLF, Rt4, and Raw?
Some vegans choose to eat one of these 'diets' (not in the sense that it's a short term weight loss diet- but more of simply a labeling of the way they eat on a regular basis) within their vegan diet. Here are brief explanations, not that you need to follow any of them, just so you know what they mean when you come across them. They seem to not be as common nowadays which is good, but when I first went vegan they were all over the place:
HCLF: This stands for High Carb Low Fat and once you know that, it's pretty self explanatory. People who follow this get the majority of their calories from carbs while a smaller percentage come from fat and protein. They typically eat a lot of fruit and starches.
LCHF: Some people eat Low Carb High Fat.
80/10/10: This could be considered a 'stricter' version of HCLF. 80/10/10 is actually a book written by Douglas Graham and followers of this diet consume about 80% of their calories from carbs while 10% come from fat and 10% from protein. This is a high fruit diet, but they also consume a lot of starches as well (and other foods too of course, that is just what the bulk of their calories come from). Majority of health professionals would not recommend this way of eating. And don’t let anyone convince you that Doug Graham is a health professional.
Starch Solution: The Starch Solution is a book written by John McDougall. People who eat a high starch diet may use this term to describe the way they eat. The usually eat a lot of starches, legumes, beans, veggies.
WFPB: A Whole Food Plant Based diet describes someone who aims to eat only a small amount of processed foods, and instead a lot of whole foods.
WSLF: Whole Starch Low Fat is a diet created by a couple called Mr. and Mrs. Vegan. I don't know much about it but believe it is similar to Starch Solution, as one can guess by the label. You can check out their FAQ page to learn more about this one.
Raw Till 4: Raw Till 4 is a diet created by a woman called Freelee the Banana Girl where followers of it eat raw foods (mostly fruit) for breakfast and lunch and have a cooked meal for dinner (usually starches and veggies).
Raw Vegan: A raw vegan is someone who does not consume cooked food. What they eat are fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and herbs that have not been heated above a certain temperature. Smoothies, juices, monomeals (meals that consist of only one fruit), and salads are the most common meals they eat.
I want to go vegan but where do I start?
You can start by checking out my Free Guide to Going Vegan if you'd like. You can also check out my resources page where I recommend vegan documentaries, books, websites, and YouTubers to get you started. Learn as much as you can on all the aspects of a vegan lifestyle (health, animals, planet). Watch what I eat in a day videos, recipe videos, and food haul videos to get an idea of things to buy and make. You can also contact me via email if you have any further questions and I will be sure to get back to you as soon as I'm able to! And lastly, don't overwhelm yourself. Start slow. Don’t get and at yourself if you mess up. Just learn from your mistakes and try again.