It seems impossible to be completely vegan! - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 06-11-2013, 06:21 PM
 
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I always used to say "Oh, I could NEVER be a vegetarian!" Yet somehow I changed. Now, four+ months into being vegetarian I keep thinking *I could NEVER be vegan!* Believe me, I've considered it and I would absolutely love to be, but it seems very hard! Last night I decided to stop eating dairy (I already switched to soy milk a while ago) but I didn't make it past my yogurt at breakfast and then my cheese and tomato sandwich at lunch. I think I need to do some major food shopping before I consider cutting out all dairy!

I digress. I've been researching online and here are the question's I have come up with:

What foods are completely vegan that we wouldn't normally know about?

-I found this "Accidentally Vegan" list on the PETA website - http://www.petakids.com/accvegan.asp

What foods are NOT vegan that you would assume are vegan?

-I found this "7 Foods You Thought Were Vegan" Blog - http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/01/foods-you-thought-were-vegan-not.html

 

WHITE SUGAR IS NOT VEGAN?? My mind is completely blown. After reading a few more lists, articles and blogs I starting considering how much discipline you need to practice in order to be a full fledged vegan! And that even the most experienced of vegans must still make food choices unknowingly. (No doubt that we are all doing the right now by lessening our animal product intake and I praise everyone for that!)

 

I'm concerned about making the switch from vegetarian to vegan! I know it will have to be a slow and gradual process that I am not ready for at this time in my life. What are some things that helped you become vegan? Did you go straight to vegan or were you vegetarian first? How much do you research the food and drinks you consume?

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#2 Old 06-11-2013, 07:09 PM
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#3 Old 06-11-2013, 07:23 PM
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It took me about a year to get comfortable with it. If you have specific questions regarding vegan cosmetics or household items, you can ask me as I have done extensive searches on those. 

 

Not all white is sugar is non vegan. Some vegans also don't give much concern if they eat products "possibly" made with bone charred sugar, like in commercial candies or otherwise vegan foods, but they will probably buy vegan sugar in bulk. In the grand scheme of things, it's not the little detail you need to put so much stress on. 

 

I find this guide good for begginners. http://vegankit.com

 

and this video by Gary Yourofsky is like a wake up call. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=es6U00LMmC4

 

Also, when you stop looking at veganism as a "purity" thing and more of a practical and "reduce harm" type of thing, it isn't as stressful. Many of us make mistakes, getting something that's not vegan unknowingly or eating something that we thought was vegan was not, but that doesn't need to drag you down, just move on, and avoid the problematic foods next time.

 

These sites should also help you out.

 

http://www.chooseveg.com

http://www.farmsanctuary.org

http://www.veganoutreach.com

http://www.cok.net

 

If I have questions for a company on whether their product is vegan, I usually contact them or look it up online first from others who might have had the same question.

 

Have you tried Daiya cheese? http://www.daiyafoods.com/

 

Coconut yogurt from So Delicious? http://sodeliciousdairyfree.com/

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"Why should man expect his prayer for mercy to be heard by What is above him when he shows no mercy to what is under him?" ~Pierre Troubetzkoy
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#4 Old 06-11-2013, 08:01 PM
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Veganism can seem daunting, but please remember it's more of a process, than a simple destination. It can be extremely challenging to go all out vegan quickly or overnight, simply because we live in a society where animal use is so ubiquitous.

To be clear, veganism, as generally defined by the Vegan Society, means:
Quote:
Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practical, the use of animals for food, clothing and any other purpose.

From Wikipedia:
Quote:
Veganism (/ˈviːgənɪzəm/) is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, as well as an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals.

One could also look it up in some online dictionaries:
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/vegan
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vegan
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/vegan

In general though, vegans abstain from animal product use, both in diet and products used. If we want to be completely anal and strict, avoiding all animal products can be extremely daunting and sometimes, simply impractical and still stay sane/healthy. This is the reason the Vegan Society has the "as far as possible and practical" aspect.

Does that mean vegans sometimes eat steak? No.

Does it mean sometimes, when confronted with health issues some vegans take medicines, tested on and possibly containing animal products? Yes.

Does it mean vegans can't pick up a feather they found on the ground? Not really (and it's kind of a weird issue to fuss over smiley.gif).

It does require vegans to read labels and know what is in the food their buying, as well as in the products they purchase. It means that vegans avoid meat (all animal flesh), dairy (and casein), eggs, honey in their diet, and they avoid the usual animal products like leather, wool, feathers, etc.

Then there are the multitude of minor and smaller quantities of animal ingredients in various foods and products. When it comes to this, educating ourselves and doing the best we can to avoid these animal ingredients, given the circumstances we're in, is really all we can do.

In terms of animal ingredients, the following is pretty good:
http://www.peta.org/living/vegetarian-living/animal-ingredients-list.aspx

Does that mean you should know all those? No. More when you stumble across something not clear on a product, just look it up. smiley.gif

In terms of nutrition, here's a good guide/booklet:
http://ar.vegnews.org/nutrition_2.html
Quote:
Originally Posted by emgoehringer View Post

I'm concerned about making the switch from vegetarian to vegan! I know it will have to be a slow and gradual process that I am not ready for at this time in my life. What are some things that helped you become vegan? Did you go straight to vegan or were you vegetarian first? How much do you research the food and drinks you consume?

I'd say don't sweat the small stuff, just do the best you can with what you feel comfortable with and what you can do. Labels are just labels. smiley.gif

To me, what's important to remember is why I'm vegan (or going vegan). That's for non-human animals. Trying to reject their use and the view point that we need or must to use them in order to live our lives. As more and more people go vegan, the easier finding food will become and the less ubiquitous animal products will become.

As for what helped me to start on the vegan path was educating myself. Reading about animals (I started with The Mad Cowboy book), as well as watching some videos about animal treatment, only to understand what non-human animals go through and to help remove my personal biases so ingrained from society regarding non-human animals. I read about animal ingredients, and started searching for vegan alternatives whenever I found out about definite non-vegan foods.

I was an omni who switch straight to veganism, but I did have some slip-ups (instinctively grabbing and eating certain foods, only to realize what I did after I ate it sad.gif), and it probably took 6 months to a year to fully educate myself, embrace veganism, and feel comfortable with the change.

I hope that helps, and I apologize for the length of my post. Welcome!

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#5 Old 06-12-2013, 07:19 AM
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Once I learned how animal foods ( especially dairy and eggs) were produced I could not continue to eat them.
Learning to cook helps a lot too.
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#6 Old 06-12-2013, 11:30 AM
 
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As people have said previously: don't sweat the small stuff. Just the fact that you care AND are working towards a change counts for a lot thumbsup.gif Just start by cutting out the obvious (stuff that says milk or eggs on the package) and trust that you'll learn about the other stuff as you go smiley.gif For example, my personal belief on bone char is that I shouldn't necessarily stay up at night worrying whether what I'm eating has been filtered bone char because by eliminating the demand for the big stuff (meat, eggs, dairy), the demand for bone char sugar will also go down. In other words, there aren't people saying "we need to kill more animals so we can filter the sugar through their bones", the reality is that filtering through bone char is a side effect of the MEAT industry and that's where I feel that the focus of my efforts should be because no meat industry=no bone char sugar. But like 4everaspirit mentioned: the processed candies are probably made in less than ideal ways.

 

PETA's list is not always 100% accurate, they say "Items listed may contain trace amounts of animal-derived ingredients. While PETA supports a strict adherence to veganism, we put the task of vigorously reducing animal suffering ahead of personal purity. Boycotting products that are 99.9 percent vegan sends the message to manufacturers that there is no market for this food, which ends up hurting more animals." That's not to say that PETA isn't a good place to start, but I usually glace over the ingredients as well just to make sure I'm personally ok with eating it.

 

I find it helpful to go to the source when it comes to my staple foods. By buying all of the fresh produce, rice, and beans, and using it to make a healthy meal, I know exactly what's in it, and there aren't a list of ingredients I can't pronounce. 


"To the beaten pig, I hear your screams; to the scolded chicken, I feel your pain; and to the stunned cow, I see your suffering. It is real to so many of us who value your life on earth as much as our own. We are no more important than you. We are so sorry that humans possess so little mercy for those whom they have the power to abuse. We will do everything we can to end your misery until the day we die. You are not alone."
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#7 Old 06-12-2013, 12:15 PM
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You might find it helpful to consider the magnitude of impact on animals various products might have. Meat is obvious -- animals had to die for that, and dairy and eggs aren't far behind. However, once your start getting into trace ingredients and byproducts, the waters get a bit muddy. If slaughterhouses didn't exist, bone char would not be so cheap and we would almost certainly switch to another way to refine cane sugar. If you had to give a percentage to the amount of profit provided to meat producers by bone char, I'm certain it would vanishingly small. The vast majority of the profit comes from the meat.

In the meantime, you just have to decide if you want to keep using sugar regardless of the source, switch to beet sugar (Crystal is one brand in the US), or use an organic or unrefined cane sugar that doesn't use bone char (these are usually more expensive, and may slightly alter the flavor and color of baked goods). You could use beet sugar at home, but any sugar when you are out. I personally don't worry too much about sugar -- I buy generic sugar, the majority of which does come from beets here in the Midwest.

I think you just have to find what works for you. Overwhelming yourself with the details so much that you eventually burn out doesn't do any good for you or the animals. You can do the most good with the least hassle just by avoiding obvious meat, dairy and eggs, and by encouraging others to do the same.
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#8 Old 06-12-2013, 04:00 PM
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No one can be completely vegan...even if you live off the grid and grow all your own food, you are going to inadvertently kill insects and small rodents. Ok so here's what you do....you do the best you can. The biggies are meat, dairy, eggs, honey, and random byproducts, like gelatin. Then you have your wool, leather, silk, etc.  Not sure of your sugar source? Don't worry about it.  Find out when you get a chance, then work on finding a brand you can get on board with. Then stick with that brand. The vegan police are not going to raid your cupboards to see if your sugar is vegan. It's something you continually work towards as you learn. You aren't any less vegan now than you are in 20 years when you've completely perfected your diet and wardrobe. If you have the basics down, you are vegan. Period. In my opinion anyway.

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#9 Old 06-13-2013, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Shauna_m View Post

No one can be completely vegan...even if you live off the grid and grow all your own food, you are going to inadvertently kill insects and small rodents.

Vegan is defined as doing what is possible and practical. Not total elimination.
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#10 Old 06-13-2013, 10:19 AM
 
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It's a gradual thing. As you discover products which are vegan you can switch. Here in the UK some white sugar IS vegan...until I discovered that I didn't use white sugar at all.

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#11 Old 06-13-2013, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by luvourmother View Post


Vegan is defined as doing what is possible and practical. Not total elimination.

Exactly, but sometimes people have it in their head that they have to be perfect 100% of the time and it's literally impossible. That's not the goal of veganism. The goal is to do what you can and adjust as you learn more.

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