hey everyone! as requested, here is a vegan master list of EVERYTHING you need if you want to go vegan (or if you’re already vegan but have some questions)! i cover food, people, documentaries, brands, stores, and so much more.
there are DELICIOUS vegan alternatives to everything. these are all plant based and so much healthier than the meat/dairy versions. some of these are what’s known as ‘accidentally vegan,’ meaning that the regular brands actually have no animal products in them. these include chicken, beef, pork, fish, pocket meals, cheese, mac n cheese, cream cheese, butter, mayonnaise, eggs, cake, cookie dough, doughnuts, cookies, oreos, candy, ben & jerry’s ice cream, (more ice cream flavors), milk (the most healthy being ALMOND), and then the well-known tofu, tempeh, seitan, so on and so on. all of these links are to my favorite “version” of the alternative OR the best (in my opinion) list or explanation there is about the product. You can shop vegan in almost any grocery store: whole foods, publix, kroger, walmart, target, winco, etc. stella rae does videos on how to shop at such stores. a common misconception about veganism is that it’s more expensive than a meat-eating diet. fortunately, this is false. you can eat a happy, healthy vegan diet just by eating things such as fruits, vegetables, rice, beans, pasta, lentils, and potatoes. in fact, my leading a diet consisting of these foods, you would save more money than a meat eater or even a vegetarian.
additionally, many restaurants are vegan-friendly. be sure to let your server know that you’re vegan and that you can’t have any animal products. they will be happy to help. this article goes in depth on how to eat out as a vegan. almost every fast food place will have options for you such as fries and a salad, but if you’re looking for a heartier meal, places like taco bell and chick-fil-a. some of my favorite vegan-friendly restaurants include chipotle, willy’s, mellow mushroom, papa john’s, panera bread, california pizza kitchen, and starbucks. additionally, you can almost always order pasta with olive oil and a vegan sauce (and most certainly a salad) at common restaurants. and of course, keep a pack of nuts and some dried fruit in your bag if all else fails!
although i did my own research and encouraged myself to become vegan, i know that i would not be so passionate without certain social media presences to push me forward. my favorite vegan social media users include freelee the banana girl, that vegan couple, stella rae, sonia elsie, supreme banana, nina + randa, suzi (cruelty-free kitty), claire michelle, mr and mrs vegan, kalyn nicholson, and unnatural vegan. all of these people have different approaches to veganism, but share the same undercurrent, which is promoting the love and compassion of the vegan lifestyle. if you want to know more about how a vegan lifestyle truly changes and betters lives, visiting these links would be a great start!
what most people don’t know is that a vegan lifestyle involves more than just diet and clothes. being vegan also means not supporting brands and companies that test on animals. the cosmetic industry is notorious for animal testing, and surprise, it’s completely unnecessary!! cosmetic animal testing causes severe harm to animals, which is why animal rights activists oppose it so strongly. the term “cruelty-free” means “manufactured or developed by methods that do not involve experimentation on animals.” here are some of my favorite CRUELTY-FREE brands: pacifica, e.l.f., lush, image skincare, bare minerals, and not your mother’s (this one is actually still pending, so it may not turn out to be cruelty-free but as far as I know, it is). Other popular cosmetic brands that DON’T test on animals include kat von d, china glaze, colourpop, and so on. full lists of cruelty-free and vegan brands can be found here and here.
the first list does bring up a good point that for a product to be considered FULLY cruelty free, the brand should NOT: test products OR ingredients on animals, hire third parties to test on animals on their behalf, or sell their products in china (because in china there is a law requiring animal testing in order to sell foreign products).
IMPORTANT THINGS TO NOTE
concerning cruelty-free brands: even if you find a brand that doesn’t test on animals, they could be owned by a corporation that does test on animals. the fundamental reason not to buy from cruel companies is to not endorse (give your money to/support) animal testing. therefore, if said company is owned by a cruel company, then this said company is not cruelty-free. there is a lot of controversy concerning whether to or not to boycott cruelty free companies which are owned by cruel companies, but it all comes down to a personal decision. this article explains the reasoning behind both sides of this topic. at the bottom, there is also a list of articles that delves further into shopping cruelty-free. these are must reads! 🙂
concerning social settings: obviously, not everyone you know is vegan. it may seem difficult to go out to eat when you’re vegan, and worrying about how to order and ask for special options without sounding snobby is all too real. never fear, i’ve got your back! if a friend invites you over and you know you’ll be eating at their place, make sure they or their parents know you’re vegan. be sure to offer to bring something for yourself, or, if they suggest it, tell them what you can or would like to eat so that they can accommodate. if you’re going out, you can always suggest somewhere that you know has vegan options. it doesn’t have to be a vegan restaurant, either; just somewhere that you know you can eat at. for instance, if the group wants pizza, suggest papa john’s or mellow mushroom. both places have vegan crust and can accommodate for vegans. and, if all else fails, pack some dried fruit, nuts, and chips in your bag. you’ll be fine either way!!
concerning other people: not everyone understands, and not everyone will understand. this is okay. as hard as it is, we must accept that not everyone is openminded. some people will hold that ‘ignorance is bliss.’ yes, i know that this phrase is frustrating and horrible, but we can’t change people. the best way to inspire others to go vegan is to lead by positive example. after all, you’re doing so much just by being vegan! did you know that a person who is vegan saves 1 life per day? incredible. again, not everyone will understand these concepts the same way you do, and we have to accept it. i know it’s hard, i do. so choose your battles (don’t waste your time and energy on meanies), lead by positive example, and live and let live. it will be okay. i am so proud of you!
concerning supplements & medications: make sure the caps your pills are in are vegetable caps. many of these are made from beeswax and gelatin, which are not vegan. every supplement or medication you need can be vegan if you make sure it is. also, the only supplement you need as a vegan is b-12, which is found in dirt. it is not “only found in animals.” they are injected with it. that is not natural. supplements are fine and will be absorbed by our bodies just fine.
concerning ‘hidden’ animal products: animal products that may be listed in ingredient lists include casein, lard, gelatin, suet, carmine/red 4, albumin, animal glucose, lactate, lactic acid, pepsin, and whey. additionally, be aware of products that say “meat-free,” “dairy-free,” and “egg-free.” just because something is free of one animal product does not mean that is also free of all others. double check on the ingredient list to know for sure!
concerning sweatshops & vegan clothing: being vegan does not only pertain to animals. veganism is about love, compassion, truth, awareness, and coexistence. shopping at sweatshop-free companies limits pain and suffering of the workers being put to hard work to make your clothes. companies such as american apparel and free people are sweatshop-free. lists of sweatshop free companies can be found here, here, and here. you can also always ask if a store uses sweatshops. and, of course, small shops, boutiques, lowkey online stores, and small businesses probably do not use sweatshops since there is no need.
concerning soy & nuts: processed soy products such as tofu, soy milk, ice cream, mock meats, etc. contain compounds known as ‘phyto-estrogens.’ if we eat too much soy, these compounds can mess with our hormone levels and cause problems to our health. the only way to prevent this is to limit intake of soy to, say, 5 days a week max. it’s nothing to worry about, just make sure you eat a variety of plant-based products which are all not only derived from soy. on that note, make sure you eat more than one kind of nut. if you only eat one kind of nut in your foods, your body can develop an allergy to that nut. to put it simply, make sure you eat a variety of nuts, soy, and other plant-based products in your diet and you should not run into any problems.
GOING VEGAN FOR HEALTH REASONS
– vegucated – youtube
– forks over knives – Netflix
– simply raw: reversing diabetes in 30 days – youtube
– fat, sick, and nearly dead – netflix
– super size me – youtube
GOING VEGAN FOR ENVIRONMENTAL REASONS
– cowspiracy – netflix
– unity – available to BUY ONLY on most platforms
GOING VEGAN FOR ETHICAL REASONS
– earthlings – youtube
– speciesism: the movie – available to BUY ONLY on some platforms
– peaceable kingdom – available on d.v.d.
– live and let live – available to BUY ONLY to stream or on d.v.d.
THE ‘TRINITY‘ OF VEGAN MOVIES
some people swear that by watching these 3 movies in a row, one can be completely persuaded to go vegan. first, watch forks over knives. then cowspiracy. lastly: earthlings. these three cover the health, environmental, and ethical bases of veganism.
GARY YOUROFSKY’S ‘BEST SPEECH YOU WILL EVER HEAR’
– you can find it here (youtube). it’s from a lecture, and gary, an animal liberation activist, covers all reasons to go vegan.
LASTLY, THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO VEGAN…
- not everyone will understand.
- people will try to fight you. a lot.
- the vegan jokes will not stop. don’t try to fight them.
- if people keep pestering you about your veganism, just know that it means that they are thinking about it a lot. the fact of the matter is that they are probably looking up veganism at home and doing research of their own. chances are, they will learn more about it and will maybe even become vegan later on.
- people will say things just to get you angry. choose your battles very wisely.
- don’t be preachy. i know it’s hard. if i could be preachy, i would. but, it’s not effective. if you tell someone they’re wrong, you’re only pushing someone to do their ‘wrong’ thing more, because they are most likely embarrassed and ashamed. instead of being preachy, lead by example. it’s the best thing we can do.
- again, the only supplement you need to take is b-12 (and maybe d3 if it’s not in enough of the foods you eat – simply search vegan vitamin d3 online and you should be able to find it). just make sure that you are eating a variety of fruits and vegetables every day balanced with enough carbs and protein to keep you going (CARB UP)!!!
- people will support you in different ways. this is okay!! every step counts. if their way of supporting you is limiting their animal food intake THAT’S GREAT!! veganism can seem like too much of a commitment to people, and this is okay. after all, it entails a lot!!
- know that you are making a tremendous difference by going vegan. each day, you are saving lives. you are preventing slaughter and suffering. you are helping the earth. you are not contributing to the ultimate destruction of the earth or the unnecessary and cruel murdering of billions of innocent creatures. by being vegan, you are saving the world. that is something that should be celebrated.
veganism is about love, compassion, and empathy. who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
thank you so much for reading this lengthy post, and thank you so much for your interest. leave a comment with any questions or comments, and i’d love to hear any suggestions you have for a future entry. xoxo!