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The decision to become a vegan

By Edited Sep 22, 2016 0 0

Exploring a vegan diet may seem simple at first, but look around the Internet for a short time and you’ll discover that many considerations are involved. There are a few things you should know about if you’re thinking of becoming vegan, though it’s probably best to start out simple and see how far you want to go later on.

Eating vegan just means avoiding milk and eggs as well as flesh, right? Well yes, but some ingredients are animal-derived without any labeling to clue you in. Will you scrutinize the backs of packages and do research on the source of each ingredient, or would you rather keep it easy? And while we’re at it, are you going to eat honey? These are questions that, if you start a vegan diet, you will have to answer eventually. Honey can be a heated issue among vegans.

Some draw the line at insects, freely spraying bothersome wasps and roaches, while others remain purists, insisting that all animal life is equal. The debate can plunge you pretty deep into ethics, the philosophy of morality, and names like Jeremy Bentham or Peter Singer may pop up.

Rather than arguing over the sentience of a species, perhaps it’s best to consider what would make veganism easiest for you. Jumping in too quickly and imposing too many restrictions on yourself could very well make a vegan diet seem too difficult if not impossible. If losing the honey in your tea is going too far, then there’s no need to make the sacrifice.

The source of ingredients is an often-discussed topic. It’s good to know that casein is a milk product, and you’ll probably want to avoid cheese substitutes that use it. But then you may run into a discussion about which beers are vegan. Beer?! That’s hitting a little too close to home! Isn’t it made from grain anyhow? Yes, but some are refined using fish-derived product called isinglass, or bone char may be used to filter it.

Also, there’s a dough conditioner called DATEM, short for the unpleasant-sounding Diacetyl Tartrate Ester of Monoglyceride, in many supermarket brands of bread. Sometimes it’s made from pork fat. You’ll only know how it was produced if you call the company and ask or search message boards for the answer. If there’s a buy-one-get-one special at the store, do you really want to quibble?

If all this makes becoming vegan seem a little too complex, don’t worry. Sure, there are people out there who will claim that only perfect purity in diet, even in clothing choices, is the only true way. Really, your diet is your own.

Whether you’ve become vegan out of compassion for animals, because you’re concerned about the impact of modern, industrial farming practices on the environment, or because you want to improve your health, or maybe a mix of these, you can know that any effort you make will be a good one. You want to do the right thing, but you also have to live from day to day. To whatever degree you restrict your diet, you can rest easy in the fact that you’re making a difference.



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