According to the Medilexicon medical dictionary, a vegan is “a strict vegetarian; one who consumes no animal or dairy products of any type,” including honey. Not included in this definition, however, is that purists also protest wearing leather, wool, and silk. Basically, if a product comes from an organism that moves, it is outside the scope of veganism.
Growing more popular than ever, people become vegans for a variety of reasons:
- To live a more natural, healthy lifestyle.
- To protest the social injustice commonly performed on commercially farm-raised animals.
- To support global sustainability and protect the environment from food manufacturing processes.
- To live out religious requirements.
Some argue that vegans are a subtype of vegetarians, yet not all vegans agree. Unlike choosing a level of dietary restrictions – like ovo-vegetarians do by permitting eggs consumption, or lacto-vegetarians do with eating dairy – veganism is a lifestyle and not simply a list of dietary restrictions. According to Gentle World Inc., a 34 year old non-profit dedicated to building a more peaceful society by educating the public about the core reasons for being vegan and how to make such a transition, “This paradigm shift in perspective is all-encompassing, and extends to every area of life where animal products are used.”
Granola Hippy Tree-Huggers
A common misconception is that vegans are hippy tree-huggers who don’t use deodorant, wear dreadlocks and eat tasteless, unsatisfying food. Granted, there may be some like that but most vegans are much more sophisticated. Take Alicia Silverstone whose vegan movement, website, and newsletter The Kind Life is a perfect illustration of the 21st century vegan. Her site is sexy, fun, and loaded with delicious gourmet vegan recipes and tips to go green and live “The Kind Life.”
Here’s a list of some famous people you may be surprised to learn are vegans (as of this writing):
- Bill Clinton
- Venus Williams
- Natalie Portman
- Brad Pitt
- Mike Tyson
- Alicia Silverstone
- Olivia Wilde
Just One Day
It generally takes 24 – 72 hours to digest meat and dairy products. Regarding the metabolic burden and toll on your GI tract, consider giving your body a break once and a while from eating animal products. Even Lance Armstrong goes vegan twice a day while training for an Iron Man triathlon because he experiences more consistent energy levels as a result.
Our challenge: Try vegan for one day. Give your digestive system a break and watch what happens. Remember, not too long ago (and still in many countries), most people would only eat meat one or twice a month. Some even consider it an evolutionary advantage to go vegan periodically. To give you an idea of what tasty vegan cuisine is like try the recipe below. It can eaten at any meal and kids love it. Don’t be surprised if you get hooked!
Vegan Chocolate Avocado Pudding
Prep: 30 min
Avocados for desert? Yep! One of the most nutritious foods on the planet and generally used by Americans in salads and sandwiches, the avocado is actually a fruit and most countries outside the U.S. eat it as such. When properly whipped, avocados become exquisitely creamy and, being naturally mild in flavor, is a delicious accompaniment to deserts.
- 3 avocados
- ¼ cup agave nectar
- ½ cup date paste
- 1 t vanilla
- ½ unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup coconut milk
- ¼ t stevia
- Place avocados in food processor.
- Add ¼ coconut milk and the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth, making sure to scrap the sides with a rubber scraper.
- Add extra milk to desired consistency.
Sources for this article include: