What exactly is a vegan?
A vegan is a person who omits all animal products (including fish, meat, dairy and eggs) from his or her diet. This person also abstains from wearing fur, leather, silk or wool, and avoids using any other items that contain animal by-products.
Why would someone want to be a vegan?
The yummy food, of course! Seriously though, while vegan food is delicious, the most common reasons for becoming a vegan are moral conviction concerning animal rights, the environment, human health, and religious or spiritual concerns. Of particular concern to many vegans are the practices involved in factory farming and animal testing, and the intensive use of land and other resources for meat production.
What do vegans eat?
Not only do vegans eat fruits and vegetables, they also consume a variety of beans, grains, legumes and rice, not to mention a variety of soy products and mock meats, such as seitan and tempeh, that are made to substitute any type of dairy or meat products from that of an omnivorous diet.
What is seitan [sey-tan]?
Also known as "wheat meat," this protein-rich mock meat is made with wheat gluten. It is often used in place of beef or chicken and is very versatile.
What is tempeh [tem-pey]?
Tempeh is a patty made with fermented soy beans. It is often used in place of chicken and pork, and may be used in a variety of vegan dishes.
How do vegans get their calcium, iron, and protein?
These vital nutrients may be obtained from a variety of foods:
- Calcium is found in dark green leafy vegetables (bok choy, broccoli, collards, kale, mustard greens), calcium-fortified soy milk and juice, calcium-set tofu, soybeans and soynuts, chickpeas, almonds, sesame seeds, oranges, figs and black molasses.
- Iron is found in spinach, sea vegetables, potatoes, peas, green beans, lentils, beans, chickpeas, tofu, tempeh, cashews, oatmeal, raisins, blackstrap molasses, figs, watermelon and tomato juice.
- Protein is found in oats, wheat, cornmeal, rice, soymilk, beans, lentils, almonds, peanut butter, artichokes, asparagus, avocados, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, corn, mushrooms, peas, peppers, potatoes, pumpkin, squash, tomatoes, seitan, tempeh and tofu.