Veganism is the new sexy, and the new thing to be. Gaining incredible popularity in the past few years, more and more people have begun to embrace the lifestyle. In fact, there is now a subspecialty of chefs called vegan chefs. These awesome chefs e.g. , Cloe Coscarelli and Josh Rosen are making their marks on reality TV. Coscarelli won Food Network’s Cupcake Wars while Rosen took the top honors in Sweet Genius. Recently, the New York Fashion Week debuted its first all-vegan solo show.
Veganism is not just a flash in the pan; it is here to stay. And veganism is not just about giving up the meats and the eggs and the cheeseburgers; it is fundamentally about having a mission. According to Gary L. Francione, “Veganism is not about giving anything up or losing anything; it is about gaining the peace within yourself that comes from embracing nonviolence and refusing to participate in the exploitation of the vulnerable”
So for starters, what exactly is veganism?
The best definition that I have for veganism is that it is “a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”
This means that there are many brands and degrees of veganism. From 'junk food vegans' to raw food vegans, and every other thing in between, there's a variety of veganism to suit everyone. Yet one thing vegans all have in common is that they focus on a plant-based diet which shuns all animal foods like meat, fish, insects, shellfish, dairy, honey and eggs - as well as products such as leather and any product tested on animals.
If you are worried about where to get started, here are some tips to get you started as a new vegan:
Don’t be so bothered about eating a vegan version of a typical omnivore diet. It’s about the worst ways to start your first day as a vegan. Some newly vegan individuals are worried about living in a place where specialty soy products are not readily available. But guess what? Veganism is beyond specialty soy products. It’s neither healthy, practical nor affordable in the long run to live on vegan soy patty or soy grilled cheese.
Go for new kinds of ingredients like tempeh and tofu. Familiarize yourself with them and try out some new vegan dishes.
You should definitely consider converting your kitchen in a way that is easy to stock vegan foods to deal with those late-night snack temptations, especially when you just start the lifestyle. For example, buy granola and pour it in an easily accessible bowl. It's cheap, doesn't require preparation, and is a nice standby for a vegan snack any time of the day.
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