October 8, 2013

What is a Vegan?

"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." – Albert Einstein

There is a stereotypical image of a ‘vegan’ as being a hairy, stinky hippy who wears potato-sacks and eats only lettuce and tofu. But, this is not true. Veganism is becoming more and more fashionable and is being adopted by many celebrities and sports people such as Mike Tyson, Alicia Silverstone, Venus and Serena Williams, Ellen DeGeneres, Pamela Anderson, Bill Clinton and Paul McCartney. Famous intellectual geniuses in history such as Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Pythagoras, Sir Isaac Newton and Vincent Van Gogh all lived vegan lifestyles.  How amazing!


The general definition of veganism is a lifestyle where a person does not consume, wear or purchase any animal products or products tested on animals. This includes the flesh and meat of an animal such as poultry, seafood, meat etc… and also the animal’s by-products such as dairy products, eggs, animal proteins, animal fats, honey, lanolin, carmine and gelatin. The removal of an animal’s by-products from an individual’s diet is what really separates the lifestyles of a vegetarian and a vegan. On the other hand, a vegan person will also not support animal products for the use of clothing such as leather, silk and wool. A vegan lifestyle is simply a 100% plant-based lifestyle.

On that note, veganism is a personal choice and each individual will choose what they believe is right and wrong and which products they will choose to consume and not to consume. Some people may choose to adopt a vegan diet but not worry about vegan clothing or cosmetics… this is completely up to the person. The main point is to follow what you believe in and to always make decisions based on what you feel is right.

Personally, I decided to go vegan for ethical reasons. I had researched what happens in the meat industry and I was so shocked and distraught by what I saw, that I just had to give up meat. It wasn't long after this that I researched what happens in the egg, dairy and other animal product industries and I just had to cut all animal products from my lifestyle. This was a personal choice. It was after making this choice that I learnt about all of the other benefits of veganism and I realized what a positive change I was making for the animals, for myself and for the environment. It was definitely the best decision of my life... well alongside marrying Jerome of course! 

On the other hand, vegetarianism is a lifestyle where a person does not eat meat or any parts of an animal’s body. This includes gelatine (made from animal skin, tissues, organs and bones) and animal fats. However, vegetarians may continue consuming the by-products of an animal such as dairy products and eggs. There are many different types of vegetarians and some may choose to consume certain animal by-products and not others. It is a personal choice.

If you are interested in undertaking a vegan lifestyle, my tip would be to do some research and become informed so that you can make the decisions that are right for you! Maybe even start with making some of our delicious recipes... I guarantee that you will be impressed :)

Research has proven that a balanced plant-based diet provides all of the nutritional requirements needed to fuel ones body and mind. Vegans eat and adopt a plant-based lifestyle with a diet consisting of a variety of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and grains. But don’t worry… the delicious vegan food and meals out there are endless! There are vegan alternatives to nearly every type of food, product or dish that you can think of. Most local supermarkets are starting to stock their own little vegan/vegetarian food section which is so exciting and easily accessible. Check out our recipe section for lots of different meal ideas to start your vegan adventure today!

There are a few types of clothing pieces that are not consumed and bought by many vegans due to being animal products or by-products. These include:
  • Leather – alternatives include faux-leather, vinyl, PVC and polyurethane. Fake leather and vinyl bags, shoes and belts are more common in your local department store than you may think! Just read the labels.
  • Wool – alternatives include polyester, cotton flannel, synthetic fleece and tencel.
  • Fur – faux furs are alternatives but check the labels to make sure that it is faux and not real.
  • Silk – polyester satin is an alternative.
  • Down feathers – alternatives include jackets and blankets with synthetic linings and cotton ball pillows.
  • Cashmere - alternatives include polyester, cotton flannel, synthetic fleece and tencel.
  • Suede – alternatives include microsuede.

A lot of products and cosmetics now add a “no animal testing” or similar badge to their packaging to let you know of their dedication. I always believe that if a company needs to test an ingredient on an animal to examine the harmful effects, then it is probably not a product that we would want to be using anyway. To be safe, purchase all natural products that guarantee no participation in animal testing or even start experimenting and having fun making your own natural products!


  1. What an absolutely wonderful post! So informative and cute, too! :) I love it.

    1. Thanks Katie! We are re-doing our 'Vegan 101' section with info for new vegans. Glad you liked it :)

  2. Hi Madison, I absolutely love your blog and all your yummy recipes! I aren't strictly vegan but I do try and maintain a vegan lifestyle for the most part. I have a little ethical problem at the moment, I study pharmacology at university and whilst I knew that pharmaceutical companies tested on animals until I learnt more about it I wasn't aware of the full extent. To pass EU regulations all drugs are tested on 2 rodent species and another species. Whilst I enjoy my degree I am curious as to what vegans think about this? I'm not sure where I stand at the moment and would like to know other peoples opinions :)

    1. Hi Lydia! Thanks so much. I am glad that you love Veggieful. I can see how that would be a dilemma for you. It really is a personal opinion. I don't think there is a common opinion for vegans as a whole. There is no right or wrong decision and you should decide on what is ethical on your own moral basis! :)