Vegan Diets

Vegans do not consume red or white meat, fish or fowl. They also do not consume eggs and dairy. Many vegans do not use honey or beeswax, gelatin, or ingredients that are a by-product of animals or their labor. Other vegans make exceptions for honey to enjoy its benefits to the immune system.  Vegans vary on how strictly they adhere to animal-labor-by-product issues since a strict interpretation could be construed to prohibit consumption of plant products that benefit from pollination by bees, birds, and animals or result in the death of animals and insects in the tilling, tending, and harvesting processes.

Yeast is not usually considered problematic for bread baking, fermenting beer, etc. in that it is a fungus and not considered by most vegans to be a living animal and more comparable to eating vegetables than animal products. Similarly, vegans may consume lichen in order to supplement vitamin D needs.  Vegans typically do not use animal products such as silk, leather, and wool.  Refined foods such as white sugar and brown sugar are filtered with bone char and are not vegan.  Vegans also avoid animal-tested baking soda.

Raw foodists or raw veganism are groups of vegans who eat mainly raw fruits, vegetables, legumes, sprouts, and nuts.

Fruitarians follow a very strict diet that includes fruits, nuts, seeds, and other plant food/matter and only gathered without harming plants.  Some may not eat seeds since those are considered future plants if allowed to germinate and grow.

Vegans must be very aware of their nutritional needs and try to identify good, plentiful sources.  Calcium, protein, and Omega-3s can be easy to replace while other critical needs such as vitamins D and B12.

You can find vitamin D either through exposure to natural sunlight – too much leads to skin cancer – or by consuming foods naturally containing vitamin D or fortified with the nutrient.  Fortification basically comes from animal-based sources.  While mushrooms contain varying amounts of vitamin D, those considered enriched are raised and harvested in controlled environments that include UV exposure.

Vitamin B12 comes from living bacteria and has no other viable, nutritional source yet it is critical to our DNA, red blood cell formation, and neurological functions.

Debates reign supreme in vegan conversations and we are not here to weigh in but to remind everyone to consider what your body needs and to eat a healthy, balanced diet.