If only I would get a dollar every time people would ask me this question…
Let’s say we all know what vegetarians are. Vegetarians don’t eat meat (also fish). Vegans will not eat anything that will come from an animal. So no meat, fish and also no dairy. As such vegans avoid cheese, poultry, eggs, milk, butter or other animal-derived ingredients. There are vegans who will also not eat food that are processed using animal products (an example would be refined white sugar or honey). A lot of vegans also avoid the use of products (cosmetics and chemical products) that have been tested on animals. And of course a die hard vegan would not wear leather, fur, wool or silk.
So what is left? What do vegans eat?
When I started eating healthy I came up with the above food ‘rules’ only to figure out later on that this way of eating is labelled as ‘veganism’ (I do eat raw honey and bee pollen though). So in other words, if you eat like a vegan your diet is most of the time (if you also don’t consume sugar and little grains/gluten) healthy. So what do vegans eat? A vegan diet is a plant based diet and includes legumes (peas and beans), fruits, grains, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Veganism is for a lot of people a way of living that could be described as an animal cruelty-free lifestyle.
There are many reasons why people adopt a vegan diet/lifestyle. Although I love animals for me health is number one. I was dealing with a lot of minor non specific health issues that all together could make my days sometimes a struggle. Low energy levels, skin problems, muscle pains/cramps, anemia, a severe addiction to sugar and above all severe bowel problems (IBS). Although the doctor would treat me on all issues separately I always had to came back for more consults. Why? I was addicted to sugar and ate too much dairy and bread. No one ever told me that dairy, sugar and bread could be the problem. My doctor even told me to drink more dairy and eat more brown bread. Only when I decided to clean my body with a so called raw/vegan diet and lot’s of juices (without sugar and no grains/bread) I started to feel better. I lost 15,5 pounds in the first six months. I never have cravings anymore and therefore I’m never overeating. The fact that this way of living is good for me and for animals as well is such a bonus that really makes you think. Are you really healthy by eating dead animals? Do you really feel light and energetic after a meal? Since that is how you should feel. Just think about it.
Let’s say you are in a natural environment and thirsty. What do you do? You will look for water. I believe no one will look for a cow and try to get the milk out of the udders. And when hungry you will look for fruits, vegetables or even nuts. You will not look for a chicken, make a fire and bake the embryo of the chicken, right?
The most compelling reason for me would be the health hazards associated with meat-eating. Consumption of animal food is linked to an increased risk of heart diseases and certain types of cancer. By contrast, vegetarian diets are associated with a decreased risk of (lung) cancer, obesity, hypertension, circulatory and heart disease, diabetes and gallstones. And trust me there are more diseases linked to this type of diet…
I don’t believe we should judge one another. For some people eating animal products may ‘work’. For some of us it doesn’t. Eat and drink what makes you feel good. Whether that may be a vegetarian diet, a raw diet or a vegan diet.
In a world with so many labels, please let’s not label each other. Let’s try to hurt as less people/animals as possible and above all let’s try to be just happy and healthy.
Experiment and enjoy!
My vegan favourites? Chickpeas and broccoli!
photos and text by the green creator (c) (copyright)