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Going Vegan: The Complete Guide

Jul 01, 2019

Going vegan is appealing to more and more individuals each and every year. With the New Year just around the corner, what better way to start it than by going vegan.

There are hundreds of advantages to embracing the vegan lifestyle. Whether you’re just looking for something different, aiming to help the planet or striving to become healthier, becoming a vegan can help you to accomplish a range of resolutions.

So, What is veganism?

In short form, veganism is an extreme extension of vegetarianism; it’s a diet and lifestyle that doesn’t consist of any animal products or by-products. A lot has changed in terms of the vegan diet, lifestyle and history over the last couple of centuries. Let’s take a look back in time and explore exactly what it is that World Vegan Month celebrates, and how you can get involved.

History of veganism

To get to know World Vegan Month a little better, we can look back at where it all started. The term ‘veganism’ was coined in 1944, yet the concept of this lifestyle can be traced back to ancient Indian and eastern Mediterranean societies.

As early as 500BC, the famous Greek philosopher Pythagoras promoted compassion between man and animal as he followed what could be described as a vegetarian diet. Jump to 1806 and true patterns of veganism are beginning to emerge with protestors publicly objecting to eggs and dairy due to ethical grounds.

By 1847, the first vegetarian society was formed. Skip forward 97 years and the first vegan society was set-up to set aside people who did not eat dairy and eggs from vegetarians. The word ‘vegan’ is taken from the first three and last two letters of vegetarian and is said to mark both the beginning and end of vegetarianism.

With World Vegan Month being founded in 1944, we can all make the celebration of the vegan lifestyle something of a tradition. With over 74 years of history under its belt, the vegan society has helped guide thousands of lifestyles, diets and individuals to a more ethical and environmentally way of living.

Celebrating World Vegan Month is a great way to support the amazing changes that have happened over the last 74 years and whether you’re vegan or not, simply supporting those around you is a great way to get involved.

Trying something new

First and foremost, going vegan can open your world up to a range of new products that you might never have experienced before, particularly when it comes to food.

Contrary to common thought, rather than narrowing what you eat, going vegan encourages you to try something new. Although you will likely be cutting out a range of foods as a vegan, going vegan is the perfect time to discover something a little different.

Whether it’s tofu, seitan or tempeh, the vegan market has a lot to offer. Going vegan doesn’t have to be a challenge, with so many online tools and blogs, finding new food and fun recipes to start off your New Year has never been easier.

Going vegan can also open up opportunities for a much healthier diet, a New Years' resolution that most of us tend to set as a target and one which can be easily met by going vegan.

With a basis of plant-based foods including fruit and vegetables, going vegan is a great way to eat healthier and take care of your body after the Christmas season. Going vegan is also reported to have links to the prevention of health-related issues such as heart disease and obesity.

However, this isn’t to say that all vegan foods are healthy. There are many junk-food vegan options available, so being cautious and steering clear of processed foods will let you kick off your New Year to a healthy start.

Helping the environment

If you’re focused on the environment and making a more positive impact on your actions, going vegan is one of the best ways to help lower the effects of animal agriculture.

The farming of animals for consumption is one of the highest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. The farming and production of meat uses up a whole load of energy and resources; water, electricity and natural resources make up an incredibly large part of the farming process.

By going vegan and cutting meat out of your diet, you can take positive steps to reduce your personal impact on the environment and encourage others to do the same.

There’s one particular environmental impact that the production of meat is creating; deforestation.

Meat production is taking its toll on rainforests, and the effects are considerable. Rainforests are a vital part of our environment as they are what help to regulate our global climate, water cycle and the reduction of CO2 whilst providing us with a range of natural resources.

Sadly, meat farming is destroying the world’s rainforests. With more and more space being needed for cattle ranching, we begin to lose more and more of our precious rainforests. Going vegan is one of the best ways we can collectively help to reduce and stop the destruction of rainforests and the environment.

Thinking and acting ethically

Aside from the health and environmental benefits of going vegan, there is always the impact of the ethical side of things. The farming and consumption of animals and animal by-products can easily be avoided yet so many are happy to consume meat regardless of the ethics involved in the production process.

Many of the animals farmed for consumers are treated poorly. Reared in conditions that are overcrowded with no veterinary care, exercise or sunlight is not a way for any creature to live.

The same goes for lots of other products. Toiletries, makeup and household products are often tested on animals before reaching the shelves. By going vegan, you can help reduce the number of animals that are exposed to this kind of treatment.

There is no better way to start your New Year than to know that you have made a difference. Taking the initiative to go vegan and help save animals whilst reducing your environmental impact is one of the best things that you can do. Going vegan has so many benefits so why not make your New Year one that is beneficial to all.

The vegan diet

When it comes to celebrating World Vegan Month and veganism as a whole, the lifestyle can be adapted to what suits your individual needs. There are no set rules on how to be a vegan, so tailoring the diet to your individual lifestyle is an easy way of staying happy and eating what you want while still doing your bit for animals and the environment.

Going vegan isn’t just an ethical stance, it’s also a way of supporting your health. World Vegan Month celebrates more than just helping animals and the environment, it focuses on how we can help ourselves. The vegan diet does amazing and wonderful things for our bodies.

Many people are quick to believe that the vegan diet isn’t beneficial because it doesn’t focus on in dairy and protein, but there are hundreds of vegan-friendly alternatives. A healthy and balanced vegan diet has been said to help lower cardiovascular disease, support weight loss and help to clear skin. If you haven’t ever thought of going vegan, what better time than to try it out.

Help to celebrate world vegan month by taking on the vegan one-week diet challenge, you never know the impact it might have.

Cruelty-free lifestyle

Celebrating World Vegan Month doesn’t just mean focusing on the food side. World Vegan Month celebrates veganism as a lifestyle, not just a diet. There are many things that go into a fully functioning vegan lifestyle, including clothes, beauty products and socialising.

A lot of what can be found around us in our day to day life isn’t always vegan, so getting to know what is and isn’t vegan can be quite surprising. Chewing gum, tattoos, makeup brushes, candles and beer are just some of the day to day products that aren’t actually vegan.

However, World Vegan Month celebrates and embraces the changes to the market and the increase in products available that have opened up veganism to be easier and more accessible. You don’t have to make drastic changes to your lifestyle to become vegan or vegetarian, just the smallest of steps can help you maintain a more ethical and environmentally friendly way of living.

Vegan life is possibly one of the most talked-about lifestyle choices of today. With so many of the population embracing vegan life, why is it that it’s catching on so rapidly amongst the nation?

The modern world has opened up many opportunities that make vegan life more adaptable now than ever. Doing your research on what a vegan life consists of and how you can make the most of the new ways of achieving this lifestyle before jumping into it is a great place to start. There are now hundreds of articles, videos and forums where people have shared not only their transition to vegan life but also the reasons behind their choice to make the leap.

Learning as much as you can about vegan life before you get started will allow you to familiarise yourself with all the aspects of a vegan lifestyle. From diet tips to travel suggestions, there is a whole world of vegan practices waiting to be discovered.

Vegan Life: Making the transition

The reasons behind embracing vegan life

There are many reasons why people opt for a vegan life and choose to adapt their day-to-day actions and behaviours to fit the bill. Whether it’s for the exceptional health benefits of the vegan diet or the moral stance it holds over animal cruelty, being vegan can be incredibly positive and often only requires small changes.

The three main reasons why people choose to pursue vegan life tend to be based on animals, health and the environment. Preventing the exploitation of animals, boosting your body’s immune system and reducing your carbon footprint are all reasons to go vegan that make a difference to the world we live in.

Making changes both big and small

Once you have gotten to grips with the reasons behind embracing vegan life, it’s time to make the transition. Although the word ‘transition’ makes going vegan sound like a long, hard process, it doesn’t have to be. With the right tools and mindset, vegan life can come quite naturally.

Start with vegetarianism

If you’ve never altered or changed your diet before, jumping straight into vegan life may not be the best way to transition. Cravings, weight changes and digestion issues are just some of the issues you could face if your body isn’t quite prepared to instantly go fully vegan.

Starting off as a vegetarian is a great way to ease yourself into the vegan diet; the changes aren’t as dramatic and you’ll be eased into vegan dietary changes much easier.

Know what you can eat

Possibly one most of the challenging aspects of vegan life is knowing exactly what you can and can’t eat. Becoming a master label reader will quickly fall into your bank of natural talents when doing the weekly shop.

Preparing yourself with the skill set of being able to identify what makes a product vegan or not is something you will quickly get used to. However, don’t be afraid to use the internet to your advantage.

There are hundreds of social media pages, websites and forums that give you a rundown of what you can and can’t eat as a vegan, making shopping simple.

Know what products you can use

Many perceive going vegan as being all about changing up your diet, however, cutting out meat and animal by-products reaches so much further than what we have for each meal.

There are heaps of non-food products on the market that are made in unethical ways and use animal products. Identifying and subsequently not using these products is a big part of vegan life.

Beauty products, fashion items and everyday materials aren’t always cruelty-free or vegan-friendly. Making sure you know exactly what’s in your moisturiser, what your jumper is made out of and the tattoo you’re considering is vegan-friendly can be tedious, but putting animals at the heart of your life and your choices is what vegan life is all about.

Build your community

Being part of social media groups, events and forums is a great place to meet like-minded people. Improving your knowledge, getting guidance and hearing about other peoples’ transitions to vegan life is a great way of helping your own transition. Communities are also perfect places to swap recipes, lifestyle inspiration, events and top places to shop and eat as a vegan.

Most importantly, don’t compare your vegan transition to anybody else’s. Just like everything in life, we all take on changes at different paces and in our own unique way. Your vegan journey is personal to you, so doing things in your own time and on your own terms will help make the transition to vegan life much easier.

However, there are still a lot of factors that put people off trying the vegan lifestyle, even if it is just for Veganuary. Let’s take a look at some of the top vegan myths and how we can help you know the rights from the wrongs.

Common Vegan myths

Don’t vegan diets lack protein?

Even though Veganuary is inspiring more people to change their ways, one of the most common misconceptions that stops people from altering their lifestyle choices is the fear that vegan diets don’t offer enough protein.

Whilst meat is considered the main source of protein for many, it isn’t the only option. You can make your Veganuary a successful one by finding your protein from the same source as animals; plant-based foods.

Green vegetables, beans and pulses, grains and nuts are all great sources of protein that are both meat-free and full of flavour. Your Veganuary can also look at everyday foods that you already have in your pantry for protein, such as pasta and potatoes.

Other vegan protein alternatives include seitan, tempeh, quinoa and nut butters. The dishes you plate up for Veganuary don’t have to lack protein, it’s just about knowing which foods you can source it from.

Isn’t a vegan diet restrictive?

Many shy away from committing to Veganuary thinking that the vegan diet is too restrictive, but it’s far from it. Many households are already stocked up with lots of vegan-friendly foods making your shot at Veganuary seem a little less daunting.

Most jams, cereals, herbs, sauces, biscuits and tinned goods are vegan-friendly, making the store-cupboard essentials in your kitchen only the beginning of your vegan food adventure.

If you’re one to enjoy home cooked meals, the internet is the best tool that you can rely on. Vegan-focused websites, forums and social media all make great Veganuary resources; they’re home to endless recipes and ideas that are bursting with inspiration for your Veganuary.

If you’re not so interested in eating at home during your Veganuary, you don’t need to worry, many restaurants now offer vegan dishes and alternatives, making eating out during Veganuary less of an impossible task.

Restrictions only exist in a vegan diet if you’re not open to trying a few new things. Experimenting with vegan-friendly ingredients will open your diet up to a world of food and flavour opportunities this Veganuary.

Isn’t honey suitable for vegans?

Taking on Veganuary can leave you struggling to understand what does and what doesn’t constitute as vegan, with one of the most common confusions being around products that are derived from bees.

As we know, bees make honey naturally, which is where a lot of people tackling this alternative lifestyle become a bit morally confused. The reason bees produce honey naturally is that they need it, though the process is incredibly hard work. Bees exert exceptional effort when it comes to collecting nectar, making the honey and storing it, only for it all to be taken away and replaced with a human-derived sugar water substitute when farmed.

Factors like this are leading to a decline in the bee population, consequently making any bee products or by-products unsuitable for vegans. Ruling out any bee products from your lifestyle during Veganuary is just one great way you can help animals, try new alternatives and help to do your bit for the bees.

Try Out Veganuary

With so many health benefits of going vegan, trying out Veganuary could be just what your lifestyle needs. Research shows that people who have vegan or vegetarian diets are at much lower risk of various illnesses including diabetes and heart disease.

What’s more, Veganuary is also a great way to become healthier and lose weight after the festive period as vegan diets naturally tend to reduce your calorie intake, promoting healthy weight loss. Veganuary has so many advantages, so why not make it part of your lifestyle, even if it is just for a month.

Vegan Christmas: The changes you can make to your day

Having a vegan Christmas is possible. It sounds strange, we know, but there are many ways in which you can celebrate Christmas without worrying about whether the food, drink or presents around you are 100% vegan. A vegan Christmas doesn’t have to be expensive, hard or time-consuming; with veganism growing in popularity so much in the modern world, accommodating the vegan lifestyle all year round has never been easier. Have a look at some of our top tips for having your very own vegan Christmas.

Festive Food

Being vegan doesn’t mean that you should miss out on any festive treats or food traditions, it should be taken as a window of opportunity to find new and exciting ways to change up the traditional Christmas dinner.

Finding vegan alternatives to traditional favourites is a positive and accommodating way to have a vegan Christmas that suits everyone.

Christmas is a great time for all things veggie based, making your meal choices a little less difficult. Finding fun ways to mix up traditional veg will not only leave your Christmas healthier but may open other people’s’ eyes to how unique vegan food can be.

There are hundreds of vegan-friendly food options that are often overlooked – roast potatoes, stuffing and gravy don’t always have to contain meat or animal by-products which means having a vegan Christmas doesn’t have to be overly difficult. The same goes for meat alternatives, nut roasts and tofu-based dishes can pack as much flavour, texture and taste as a traditional turkey does.

Offering to help cook, bringing a vegan dish or even offering to host are just some of the ways that everyone can enjoy having a vegan Christmas and people will likely appreciate the effort. Use your vegan diet as an excuse to get the family to try something outside of their comfort zone and make the whole vegan Christmas an interesting one.

Vegan Drinks

One thing to note when it comes to Christmas is the alcohol. Not all festive drinks are suitable for vegans, something which can end up being quite the hindrance when hosting a vegan Christmas. Alcoholic drinks and spirits often contain ingredients such as fish oils, eggs and gelatin, so steering clear of any alcoholic drinks containing animal-derived products will allow for the vegan festivities to begin.

Most shops and supermarkets now specify which alcoholic drinks are suitable for vegans, making the vegan Christmas shop a whole lot easier. Some of the leading alcoholic drinks that are festive and vegan-friendly include; Moët & Chandon, Cointreau, Amaretto, Limoncello and also Bailey’s Almande Liqueur which was specifically created using vegan ingredients to suit the needs of vegans.

Cruelty-Free Consumables

One aspect of a vegan Christmas that is often overlooked is the presents themselves. Whether it’s a new fluffy jumper or a beautiful bath set, there is always a possibility that it isn’t 100% vegan or cruelty-free. Before you try to panic buy suitably vegan gifts for your loved ones, taking the time to understand what goes into a vegan gift as well as what doesn’t will help you to easily identify which products will make for suitable vegan gifts.

Cosmetics and toiletries are the top contenders for common presents that often aren’t vegan. Ingredients to look out for when it comes to having a vegan Christmas are any animal products and by-products.

These can include:

  • beeswax
  • lanolin
  • keratin
  • musk
  • pearls
  • oils
  • fats
  • tallow.

A quick and easy way to identify whether what you’re buying is suitable is to look out for a vegan logo or a CCIC bunny logo as this means that your product is vegan, cruelty-free and safe to use.

Another area of gift buying when it comes to having a vegan Christmas is fashion. Whether it’s a new scarf or handbag, highstreet consumables aren’t always suitable for vegans. Fur, leather, suede, wool, silk and down are not suitable for those who have decided to adopt the vegan Christmas lifestyle so it’s best to avoid any products that contain these materials. Many fashion products are also made in poor working conditions and unethical sweatshops.

Swapping your high street store for one that is guided by ethics and vegan lifestyles will leave you with vegan Christmas presents that are truly unique and sustainable.

Vegan Tattoos: How you can get the ink that matches your lifestyle

Over the last few years, the increased focus on vegan tattoos has brought a lot of change to the tattoo industry.

With the popularity of vegan tattoos influencing change in both tattoo products and processes, this shift in tattooing is another way that the vegan lifestyle is becoming much more accessible and simple to take up.

So how can you make the most of these changes to ensure that you can proudly wear vegan tattoos in the future?

Getting to know exactly what goes into the tattoo process is key to working out whether an inking session is vegan-friendly, let’s take a look at the considerations that go into creating vegan tattoos so that you can have the confidence to go ahead with your next piece of art.

Think ink

When it comes to creating vegan tattoos, the inks used during the process are the first thing to look out for as they’ll directly influence whether your tattoo matches your ethics or not. Although there are many tattoo inks out there that are vegan-friendly, this doesn’t rule out all inks on the market.

Vegan tattoos can be more than meets the eye, each colour of tattoo ink includes a varying cornucopia of ingredients, some of which aren’t vegan-friendly, so understanding exactly what each one contains will help you to make sure that your body is free from animal-based products.

Vegan tattoos rule out ingredients such as glycerine, gelatin and bone char, all of which are common ingredients used in traditional tattoo inks in order to achieve certain colours and pigments. As long as your artist has a clear understanding of the inks on their studio shelves and chooses to use the latest formulations, you can be on your way to a powerful piece of vegan art.

Ethical studio equipment

Although it’s essential to know what ingredients are going into your new artwork, vegan tattoos concentrate on more than just what goes into the ink. You might not have realised it, but many other tattoo studio essentials and equipment can contain animal-based products.

Stencil papers are often made using lanolin, a substance derived from sheep’s wool, that is found in the waxy transfer of the paper. If your studio is creating vegan tattoos, they’ll opt for vegetable and natural waxes to make sure tattoo process isn’t tainted by any animal products.

Even studio essentials such as razors and cleansing soaps aren’t always vegan-friendly. Alongside lanolin, many studio products can be found to have animal-derived ingredients such as glycerine and beeswax, making them unsuitable for use when it comes to creating vegan tattoos.

Achieving vegan tattoos is possible, though it may involve some research into exactly what supplies your studio uses, asking your artist is the best way to get the answers you need.

Animal-free aftercare

Once a vegan tattoo has been created, in comes the aftercare process. Vegan tattoos are as easy to maintain as any regular tattoo and, as the popularity of vegan tattoos grows, more and more vegan aftercare products are becoming available.

When it comes to thinking about which aftercare products are well-suited to vegan tattoos, you may be surprised to find out that many balms and moisturisers that are available on the market contain animal products.

Looking out for any oils or fats, along with honey, propolis or royal jelly when picking out your aftercare essentials will make sure that you’re taking care of your new artwork in a way that’s suitable for your choice of lifestyle.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more natural alternative to aftercare, organic options such as shea butter and olive oil can do just the trick for healing your tattoo.

Finding your artist

Whilst you might be eager to start covering your body with vegan tattoos, to get started you’ll need to find the right studio who know all there is to creating vegan tattoos. Although the market for vegan tattoos is still relatively small, it is growing at a rapid pace, meaning finding an artist to provide you with top quality vegan tattoos is slowly but surely becoming easier.

Many studios are beginning to embrace the processes used for vegan tattoos; thanks to many of the vegan studio alternatives being just as suitable as traditional ones, artists can continue to create great, unique art all whilst taking a positive stance for animals and the environment.

Finding an artist who specialises in vegan tattoos can be simple and stress-free, with a range of online tools and communities now available to offer guidance and recommendations.

Vegan Beauty Products: What are they and where can I get them?

Vegan beauty is something that is slightly tossed about. We all understand the vegan lifestyle from food to home farming, yet vegan beauty is something that is a bit of a miss. What makes a product vegan? What alternatives are out there? Where can I find them? These are just some of the questions people seem to be pondering. Let’s go through a rundown on what vegan beauty is, what makes it vegan and where you can get.

What makes a beauty product Vegan?

So you’ve chosen the vegan lifestyle and now you’re looking for vegan beauty products, the only problem is that you are unable to identify and understand what makes a product vegan. Many people don’t consider how harmful beauty products can be to them or the planet, that’s where the vegan beauty products come in. They are an environmentally and animal-friendly beauty alternative.

First off, a vegan beauty product must not contain any products or by-products from an animal or have been tested on an animal. If you know that the product ticks these boxes then you’re on the right path. Looking for vegan logos and labels is also a great way to quickly identify vegan beauty products.

If you see a vegan logo or a CCIC bunny logo it means that your product is vegan, cruelty-free and safe to use. If the product is lacking in clarity it may be time to dig deeper. Looking into ingredients and other product pointers will help you identify if your vegan beauty product is all it claims to be.

What ingredients are Vegan?

Knowing if a beauty product is vegan can be challenging but there are several ways to double check and make sure you’re getting 100% vegan beauty. A great way to straight away see if a beauty product uses vegan ingredients is to scan through the ingredients list and know what to look for. Many ‘natural’ products don’t actually contain vegan ingredients, however, it depends on your vegan stance on whether a natural product is a vegan beauty product.

A great way to clue up your vegan beauty knowledge is to do an online search for animal by-products to find out about ingredients that aren’t vegan-friendly. The internet is full of comprehensive lists of animal by-product names and ingredients so you can identify exactly what your products contain.

Some popular cosmetic and beauty ingredients that aren’t vegan-friendly include beeswax, lanolin, keratin, musk, pearls and tallow. Looking out for any oils and fats and bee products or by-products (wax, honey and propolis) is the easiest way to identify if a product is vegan or not. If you’re still not sure,checking online or contacting a products manufacturer directly will help you clear up any confusion.

Where can I find them?

Vegan beauty is becoming much more accessible to keep up with the rise in vegan lifestyles, from high street stores to small independent online shops, vegan beauty products are available, it’s just a case of finding them. From nail varnish to night cream, mascara to hair masks, the high street and online have a wide range of vegan-friendly products, that a simple google search will help you find.

Large retailers like Kat Von D, Too Faced and PUR are just some of the leading vegan beauty product brands that offer animal-free and cruelty-free products so you don’t have to stem far from what you already love and like. However, for less common beauty products you may have to search harder.

As a vegan, the internet is your best tool. Use it to find products, reviews and forums that will help guide you in the direction of vegan beauty products. If you look hard enough, you should be able to find exactly what you need.

Being vegan can be a hard task, especially when it comes to finding vegan beauty products, however, there are ways around it. Using your common sense and a bit of research will easily lead you to products that are full vegan and cruelty-free.

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