If you’re thinking about becoming vegan or you are just curious about what the vegan lifestyle looks like then this post is for you. I’m going to try and create a pretty complete list of what can vegans NOT have.
Veganism is more than strict vegetarianism. Being a vegetarian is solely related to diet and food. That is a vegetarian is concerned about what they eat.
There are in my opinion 4 types of vegetarians. There is the lacto ovo vegetarian who is someone who doesn’t eat any flesh of any animal but will eat dairy and eggs. Then you can get the lacto vegetarian who eats NO animal products and eats NO eggs but does eat/drink dairy. Along these lines you get the ovo vegetarian who in my experience is more rare than the lacto ovo and the lacto vegetarian, but the ovo vegetarian is someone who eats NO animal products and does NOT consume dairy but does eat eggs.
Lastly is the strict vegetarian who in diet is very similar to the vegan. A strict vegetarian does NOT eat any animal products and does NOT eat dairy or eggs either. The diet is based on plant foods.
But as I mentioned in the beginning, a vegan is someone who goes further than just diet. Being a lifestyle choice based on ethics and those ethics being the goal of eliminating as much animal suffering as possible, the vegan ethic if you will can be captured under 3 main groups.
We can look at what a vegan does NOT use as far as FOOD. Then we can also look at what a vegan will NOT use as far as CLOTHING and lastly we can look at what a vegan will NOT consumer under the category I’ll call LIFESTYLE.
Let’s take a look at the things vegans do NOT have under each of these categories.
The following is a list of food items that vegan’s do NOT eat. Please note, that because I am not an anal vegan who gets tied up in knots about the minutiae, you won’t find them here. This list includes the main food items that vegans do NOT eat. I want to make veganism easy and accessible for most people to embrace. As such, if you are a vegan nazi or purist or curious about the seemingly endless list of ingredients that might be of animal origin, here is a list of your perusal.
My veganism and my opinion of the goal of veganism is to reduce the suffering of animals and embrace the goal of animal abolition by encouraging as many people as possible to see veganism as an easy step towards those goals. Not a Herculean task of identifying sub atomic animal ingredients.
Vegans do NOT eat the following animals or food:
1. In the broadest sense when we speak in terms of biology, vegans do NOT eat anyone or their products who comes from the Kingdom Animalia. If you know nothing else of vegan food then this would be a pretty complete list of animals that vegans don’t eat.
2. With the above in mind, vegans do NOT eat flesh, fish or fowl as well as seafood like scallops, lobster, octopus/calamari, oysters and mussels etc.
3. Vegans also don’t eat any of the products produced by animals such as all types of animal milk (dairy) or products produced by dairy. NO cow milk, goat milk etc. NO goat cheese or any other cheeses based on animal milks.
4. Vegans exclude from their diet eggs including not only chicken eggs, duck eggs etc, but also fish eggs like roe and caviar.
5. Vegan’s don’t eat honey as it is from a bee (kingdom animalia). Not all vegans exclude honey but it is a good goal and I don’t get uptight if you call yourself vegan and have honey occasionally. If you want to know why vegans don’t eat honey click on that link.
6. Vegans also do NOT eat gelatin or products made from gelatin like Jello. Why? Because gelatin is made from the sinews, tendons and bones of large mammals like horses and cows.
Those are the biggies that I concern myself with and it is easy to avoid those products and ingredients if you want to become vegan. It doesn’t create a hardship to avoid those products when so many other vegan options are available like great tasting plant milks.
A couple of final ingredients that are quite easy to avoid but that you might not realize are animal based are:
Whey powder – A protein from milk making up about 20% of the protein content and,
Casein – Another protein form milk making up about 80% of the protein content
I’ve put clothing in second place, because after diet, clothing is the next biggest category of items that vegans avoid wearing.
As mentioned before, being vegan is about trying to eliminate as much suffering that humans put upon animals as is possible for a person to do without becoming an ascetic monk. Remember – and I’ll keep harping on this – veganism is not about being puritanically pure which is impossible but about making some reasonably easy choices that have a great impact on alleviating much of the suffering that animals endure at the hands of humans.
So why clothing? Because all clothing that comes from animals sources requires either the murder of sentient creatures or great suffering to them. I would argue this is also the case for silk. If you are interested about how clothing that comes from animals is produced you can read about leather, wool, silk and down here.
Here are the common clothing items that vegans avoid:
1. Leather products. No leather jackets, shoes, belts etc.
2. Wool products. No wool suits, sweaters, scarves etc.
3. Down products. No down filled jackets or duvets/comforters etc.
4. Silk products. No silk ties, socks, scarves etc.
Why a lifestyle category? Because if you try and put yourself in the ideological shoes of veganism you realize as I’ve said many times that we are trying to reduce the suffering of animals as best we can.
So lifestyle incorporates many sub-categories if you will where vegans try to avoid products and entertainment that includes animal suffering.
What are some of the things that vegans try NOT to use or support in the lifestyle category:
1. Toiletries and cosmetics that either contain animal ingredients or involve cruel animal testing. The lifestyle category is where the finesse of being vegan comes into play. This is where we try our best to avoid these products without beating ourselves up about not being perfect. A great list of companies and their products that are NOT based on animal testing can be found here from PeTA. I urge you to try start buying products that are not based on animal suffering.
2. Animals used in entertainment. Circuses and other shows that use animals in unnatural environments are also eschewed by vegans. Circuses in fact hide the horrendous cruelty some upsetting imagery involved in abusing animals during training them to perform.
Other forms of animal entertainment vegans avoid are zoos, animals used as actors, keeping exotic pets, fairs, rides etc, cruel sports which includes things like rodeo, greyhound racing, bullfighting, dogfighting etc, horse racing upsetting video, horse-drawn carriages and others.
Vegans try to avoid any product or activity that involves animal exploitation, suffering and/or death. If you take the golden rule and apply it to our furry and feathered friends and act upon it, you are likely to become a vegan.
The golden rule is “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”. Would you want to be abused and made to perform in front of others? No right, see how easy it is to understand the vegan ethic when you put yourself in animals’ shoes?
The other great thing about becoming vegan is that it is easy to do. Yes, you’ll miss some of your favourite foods but the suffering you are helping to end is way more satisfying than that piece of pepperoni pizza. Veganism is also a valid and valuable protest that is effective for any of us to use as a tool in bringing about more justice and kindness towards our fellow creatures how inhabit his planet with us.
You don’t have to be out there on the streets protesting or flailing your naked body for the media. But everyday with every bite and every purchase your choices can matter and they can make a difference for a kinder and more compassionate and equitable world.