What is Vegan?

Vegans don’t eat animal products for various reasons including ethical, health, and environmental.  Many vegans try to avoid items made from or tested on animals.  It is necessary to know vegan nutrition when going vegan.

Why Vegan?


Animals are complex beings who can experience much unhappiness.  They are killed, enslaved, and suffer for foods respected sources say you can find nutritional alternatives linked to better health and better for the environment.  Animals suffer in experiments for products you can often find alternatives that are cruelty free.  It has become easier to be vegan with many tasty and nutritional vegan meat and dairy products, and more vegan options at restaurants and stores.

Animals in Factory Farms  Warning the video is graphic

Meat Industry’s Environmental Impact

UN Urges Global Move to Meat and Dairy Free Diet “As the global population surges towards a predicted 9.1 billion people by 2050, western tastes for diets rich in meat and dairy products are unsustainable, says the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) international panel of sustainable resource management…Professor Edgar Hertwich, the lead author of the report, said: ‘Animal products cause more damage than [producing] construction minerals such as sand or cement, plastics or metals. Biomass and crops for animals are as damaging as [burning] fossil fuels.'”

University of Chicago Study: Vegan Diet Healthier for Planet than Meat Diet “It is demonstrated that the greenhouse gas emissions of various diets vary by as much as the difference between owning an average sedan versus a sport-utility vehicle under typical driving conditions.”

Federal Panel: Vegan Diet Best for Planet (Contains Audio) “The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a federally appointed panel of nutritionists created in 1983, decided for the first time this year to factor in environmental sustainability in its recommendations. They include a finding that a diet lower in animal-based foods is not only healthier, but has less of an environmental impact.  [The committee] highlighted research concluding that a vegan diet had the most potential health benefits. The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) [said] sustainability is a complex issue best left to a body that specializes in the environment. [The committee] said the panel did bring in two domestic sustainability experts to work with the committee members.”

How Being Vegetarian Does More Harm to the Environment than Eating Meat ” The Cranfield University study found that switching from British-bred beef and lamb to meat substitutes imported from abroad such as tofu and Quorn would increase the amount of land cultivated, raising the risk of forests being destroyed. Production methods for meat substitutes can be energy intensive and the final products tend to be highly processed, the report, which was commissioned by the environmental group WWF, found…A spokesman for the WWF said it was important to remember that livestock produce large amounts of methane, a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.”

Vegan Health

From US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 

“The types of vegetarian diets consumed in the United States vary widely. Vegans do not consume any animal products, while lacto-ovo vegetarians consume milk and eggs. Some individuals eat diets that are primarily vegetarian but may include small amounts of meat, poultry, or seafood.

In prospective studies of adults, compared to non-vegetarian eating patterns, vegetarian-style eating patterns have been associated with improved health outcomes, lower levels of obesity, a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and lower total mortality. Several clinical trials have documented that vegetarian eating patterns lower blood pressure.

On average, vegetarians consume a lower proportion of calories from fat (particularly saturated fatty acids); fewer overall calories; and more fiber, potassium, and vitamin C than do non-vegetarians. Vegetarians generally have a lower body mass index. These characteristics and other lifestyle factors associated with a vegetarian diet may contribute to the positive health outcomes that have been identified among vegetarians.”  P45

Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Vegetarian Diets

“It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes. Plant-based diets are more environmentally sustainable than diets rich in animal products because they use fewer natural resources and are associated with much less environmental damage.”

[No Difference Between] Mortality Rates of Vegetarians and Vegans [and Meat Eaters]

“A paper came out in December reporting mortality rates of different diet groups from the large EPIC-Oxford study containing 60,310 people from the UK (1).  The mortality rate before age 90 was no different between vegetarians (including vegans) and regular meat-eaters (1.02, 0.94-1.10).”

Vegan Nutrition and Food

When going vegan it is important to know vegan nutrition.  For example, vitamin B12 is necessary and not found in plants.  You can get B12 from supplements or fortified food.

It has become increasingly easy to be vegan, with many tasty and nutritional vegan meat and dairy products that you might like better than the real thing.  Tofu, soy or almond milk, and mixing nuts into your everyday meals are some examples of vegan options.  Many restaurants provide options for vegetarians and vegans.  You can find hearty and tasty vegan foods rich in protein and nutrients.  In the US, stores like Whole Foods tend to be vegan friendly.  See the My Vegan Way section for how I go about being vegan, including dining out, shopping, vitamins, and “pest” control.  More info can be found from the websites below.

Vegan Websites  These sites are not affiliated with AnimalRightsVegan.com

VeganHealth.org: vegan nutrition from a registered dietitian.

Nutrition Guide by Happy Happy Vegan: guide about vegan nutrition.

VegWeb.com: many vegan recipes and tips for vegan cooking.

TheSaucyVegan.com: Vegan discussion forum on various topics.

Famous Vegans


Brad Pitt


Alicia Silverstone


Carl Lewis


Al Gore

Ellen DeGeneres Book Signing of 'Seriously... I'm Kidding'! at Barnes and Noble at The Grove in Los Angeles on Tuesday, October 4

Ellen DeGeneres

David Carter

David Carter (NFL Player)

President William J. Clinton

Bill Clinton (Mostly vegan)

Wikipedia: Famous Vegans

Wikipedia: Famous Vegetarians

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