What Are the Best Tips for Becoming Vegan?

Ray Hawk
Ray Hawk
Fruit and vegetables, which make up a large part of a vegan diet.
Fruit and vegetables, which make up a large part of a vegan diet.

Becoming vegan involves more than just changing one's diet to eliminate animal products, so the process can be rather involved. There are aspects of it, such as adopting a vegan wardrobe, that are surprisingly easier than may be imagined. While dietary vegans focus solely on removing animal products from their diet, ethical vegans reject the use of animal products for any human purpose. Whichever choice is made, modern society has many products and alternatives available to make the transition relatively easy.

Soy milk is often substituted for dairy milk in vegan diets.
Soy milk is often substituted for dairy milk in vegan diets.

Vegan lifestyle starts with a commitment to an awareness of a person's day-to-day activities at a minute level. Everything from clothing to transportation and entertainment can involve the use of animals and animal products, and must be examined for such sources to completely eliminate them. The use of animals in movies for instance, even if statements are made that they were not harmed in the process, is against vegan philosophy. Upholstery and cushioning materials in both public and private transportation are often made from animal products, as well as clothing, furnishings, and even cooking utensils.

Designers often use plant-based materials like hemp to make vegan clothing.
Designers often use plant-based materials like hemp to make vegan clothing.

Eliminating these hidden uses of animals can be fairly straightforward, however, in becoming vegan. Transportation methods can be easily changed as well as non-essential items in the home. Clothing produced from cotton, hemp, and other natural materials is also widely available, and some retail outlets specialize in the sale of vegan fashions that are synthetic copies of popular leather, suede, and fur designs.

Many vegans are allergic or sensitive to dairy products or avoid them for ethical reasons.
Many vegans are allergic or sensitive to dairy products or avoid them for ethical reasons.

The vegan diet seems to be the biggest focus of the lifestyle, as it is the most obvious area of consumption involving animals. This also involves vegan nutrition where supplements are accounted for, as many drugs and vitamins have animal products as a part of their ingredients list. Vegan cooking is often the easiest way to start eating vegan foods, as the content of source ingredients that are used in recipes are clearly known.

Vegan leather can look indistinguishable from the real thing.
Vegan leather can look indistinguishable from the real thing.

In 2009, the American Dietetic Association published information that the vegan nutrition of an entirely plant-based diet is just as healthy or more so than one that involves animal protein, especially considering the fact that substitutes like the non-dairy products of soy milk and cheese are now widely available. The vegan version of the food pyramid places grains at the bottom for the largest part of the diet and vegetables and fruits next. Fortified dairy substitutes and protein sources from beans, nuts, and seeds can easily replace animal protein. At the top of the pyramid are vegetable-based oils and fats used in cooking, confections, and spices.

The top area of the vegan food pyramid may be the most challenging aspect of changing one's diet while becoming vegan. This is because many processed foods that contain oils, flavorings, and colorings are of animal origin, but this is not readily apparent on food labels. Vegan lifestyle, therefore, can benefit from looking at two other types of retail food groups that routinely exclude animal products from their ingredients list — kosher foods and vegetarian foods. Examining foods with these labels can reduce the time it takes to becoming vegan.

Restaurant foods that don't require ingredient labels are more of a challenge for becoming vegan. Both menus and processed foods with vague ingredient terms are the primary areas where a vegan has to assert themselves. In order to adhere to a philosophy with the noble intent of minimizing the suffering and unwarranted use of animals in all possible forms, a vegan must constantly be aware of his or her surroundings and ask the necessary questions in order to confirm that his or her ethics are being upheld.

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    • Fruit and vegetables, which make up a large part of a vegan diet.
      By: monticellllo
      Fruit and vegetables, which make up a large part of a vegan diet.
    • Soy milk is often substituted for dairy milk in vegan diets.
      By: 3dsguru
      Soy milk is often substituted for dairy milk in vegan diets.
    • Designers often use plant-based materials like hemp to make vegan clothing.
      By: esebene
      Designers often use plant-based materials like hemp to make vegan clothing.
    • Many vegans are allergic or sensitive to dairy products or avoid them for ethical reasons.
      By: lidante
      Many vegans are allergic or sensitive to dairy products or avoid them for ethical reasons.
    • Vegan leather can look indistinguishable from the real thing.
      By: Eky Chan
      Vegan leather can look indistinguishable from the real thing.