Frequently Asked Questions

Where do you get your protein?


Despite what you may have heard, protein is actually not much of a worry for most vegans. Not so long ago, conventional wisdom had it that vegans and vegetarians would inevitably develop dangerous protein deficiencies. But over time this myth has largely died out, doubtless due to the fact that have been virtually no instances of vegans dropping dead from lack of protein. Unfortunately, a harmful counter-myth has arisen within the vegan world: that plant-based foods are so loaded with protein that vegans need never give the topic a thought. That's an unreasonable belief that has set a lot of vegans up for inadequate protein intake, even if they'll never be hospitalized for deficiency. Protein is a vital nutrient and falling short of your needs is harmful in a variety of ways. So it's worth making sure you're incorporating several rich sources of protein into your everyday diet. Here are some protein-rich vegan foods that will help ensure your needs are met. • beans • nuts • tofu • quinoa • tempeh • soymilk Maybe the best approach to making this happen is to make sure that most of your meals include a solid source of protein. That can mean using nuts, seeds, or gomasio as a garnish. It could mean adding sautéed tempeh or vegan meats to your spaghetti sauce. Or it could mean making a side-dish of fried tofu mixed with a little barbecue sauce and a dusting of nutritional yeast. If you construct your diet with protein in mind, you'll find an abundance of vegan foods to meet your needs. But protein is just the start of nutrients worth paying attention to: also keep an eye on zinc, iron, calcium, and especially Vitamin B-12. For more on these and other nutrients, visit our vegan nutrition page. *Taken from veganeasy.com




Isn't it expensive to be Vegan?


Once you learn the basics, your food bill can be lower than omnivores while consisting of higher-quality food. There's plenty of cheap yet high-quality vegan food out there, and the trick to finding it all is learning how to shop effectively. Once you learn a few basic shopping tips, it's actually easier to eat an affordable vegan diet than one that contains animal products. The key to being vegan on the cheap is to buy unprocessed foods in bulk. Every good natural foods store has a bulk section where you can buy everything from beans to grains to nuts to granola. If you can keep most of your purchases to items costing under $3 a pound your grocery bill will be remarkably low. But what about produce? You'll dramatically cut costs if you learn when different fruits and vegetables hit peak of season. In North America, that means peas and strawberries in May, cherries in June, peaches and watermelons in August, and apples in November. When you buy produce items at its peak of season, you'll get the highest quality food at the lowest price. If you extra-motivated to minimize your produce costs, remember that most supermarkets offer outrageously good sale prices on a few produce items every week—just check the market's weekly flyer when you walk into the store. Amazon.com can be a great source of inexpensive convenience foods. We've collected Amazon's best vegan food deals on our grocery page. The one area where vegan foods consistently cost more is frozen dinners. That's largely because vegan offerings tend to be made from high quality organic ingredients, whereas conventional TV dinners are made from the worst factory-farmed dreck imaginable. If most of your food is frozen vegan dinners, you'll undoubtedly have a higher grocery bill than a typical omnivore. But you can get around this by learning to cook. Two cookbooks are specifically geared to eating cheaply on a vegan diet: Robin Robertson's Vegan on the Cheap , and Ellen Jaffe Jones' Eat Vegan on $4.00 a Day . *taken from vegan.com




I could never be Vegan, I love the taste of meat too much.


Just try some of the new vegan meats on the market; you'll probably be very impressed. You'll be amazed by how much meat alternatives have improved in the past few years. In fact, some of the vegan meats on the market today are so convincing that many die-hard meat eaters can't even tell the difference. There are wonderfully convincing versions of hamburger, chicken, bacon, deli meats, and even shrimp and jerky. And don't forget falafel! These flavorful and satisfying balls don't taste at all like meat, but stuffed into a pita with veggies and tahini dressing they'll leave you as satisfied as any hamburger. If the idea of going 100 percent meat-free seems too much for you, you can still make a big difference by cutting out meat products you eat but don't particularly enjoy. *Taken from veganeasy.com




Haven't we evolved to eat meat? It's natural.


The question isn't whether humans have in the past relied on meat to survive, the question is whether there's any clear benefit to eating meat today. There's no doubt that at many times in history, especially during periods of war and famine, the ability for people to eat meat helped ensure their survival. Likewise, there are some parts of the world today where local populations depend of fish, poultry, or livestock for protein and calories. That's because marginal lands that won't support agriculture can often still support the grazing of livestock, and some coastal areas have insufficient land for farming but access to substantial amounts of fish. That said, few people living in developed countries can credibly claim that their survival depends on animal products. In terms of nutrition, there's nothing in animal products that isn't readily available from a well-planned vegan diet. And if we were really intent on feeding the world, we would stop feeding a huge portion of the worldwide grain crop to livestock (which entails massive food waste), and instead grow grains for human consumption. *Taken from veganeasy.com




You don't have to kill animals to get dairy & eggs, so whats wrong with those products?


The truth is that all commercially-raised animal products—including milk and eggs—involve killing. When it comes to killing, the only difference from eggs and dairy products is that while meat comes from an animal who has been slaughtered, milk and eggs come from animals who will be slaughtered. Guaranteed. Every dairy cow and egg-laying hen inevitably goes to slaughter (unless they die prematurely from disease). Milk and eggs have one major thing in common: they're the reproductive products of young females. As cows and chickens age, their milk and egg yields decline markedly. In consequence, nearly all dairy cows and layer hens are sent to slaughter at less than half their natural life expectancy; replaced by younger animals who will also in turn be slaughtered when their yields decline. Add to this that the America's egg industry breeds more than 200 million replacement hens every year, and that it's standard practice for dairy cows to be kept pregnant nine months out of every year. What happens to the males born in these systems? Male chicks are unwanted since, being of the egg-laying variety, they can't profitably be raised for meat. These animals are generally ground up alive, or smothered within hours of hatching. Male calves produced by the dairy industry likewise have little value. Some are sold for a pittance to veal farms, while others are slaughtered immediately upon birth. These dark realities tend to be true regardless of whether we're talking about the worst factory farms, or the best free-range egg farms and organic dairies. *Taken from veganeasy.com




Isn't it hard to go Vegan?


It's probably much easier than you think! Let's be honest. If you grew up eating meat, milk, and eggs in almost every meal, the idea of going vegan certainly seems hard—maybe even impossible! But most vegans discover the switch is far easier than they ever imagined. All you have to do is focus on crowding out animal-based foods rather than cutting them out. That is, don't eliminate a meat, dairy, or egg product from your diet until you've found two or three great new vegan foods than can take its place. When you focus on crowding rather than cutting, you eliminate all feelings of strain and sacrifice. Your diet actually becomes more interesting, varied, and delicious as you fill it with more and more vegan foods. Some ideas for beginning your transition: • Remember that you're not the first person to do this, so you don't have to figure it all out by yourself. Invest in a vegan guidebook, which can provide invaluable pointers while making your journey quicker and easier. But I Could Never Go Vegan is a great choice because it's nicely written, full of recipes, and has gorgeous full-color food photography throughout. The Ultimate Vegan Guide is likewise loaded with helpful advice, and costs just 99 cents on Kindle (plus, you can read the first edition for free on Vegan.com.) • Visit your closest natural foods store, and buy at least ten vegan products you've never before tried. • Buy a few basic vegan cookbooks. We highly recommend Quick-Fix Vegan and Everyday Happy Herbivore as two perfect cookbooks for aspiring vegans. • Visit Yelp.com and do a search for Vegan to see what vegan-friendly restaurants are in your area. • Pick up a good vegan nutrition book like Vegan for Life to make sure you steer clear of any needless nutrient deficiencies. Don't put pressure on yourself. Just make a point of constantly trying new vegan foods, and move at whatever speed you feel comfortable. If you make a mistake and end up consuming animal products, don't call the whole thing off. You'll find that over time, it gets easier and easier to stick with a mostly or entirely vegan diet. *Taken from veganeasy.com




Where do I get iron from?


From plants! Try to ensure that you eat a variety of foods, such as dark green leafy vegetables, beans and lentils, seeds, wholegrains, nuts and dried fruit. Foods such as breakfast cereals and orange juice are often fortified with iron. Vitamin C aids the absorption of iron in the body so a vegan diet is at an advantage as it generally contains a variety of fruit and vegetables. If you are concerned about your iron intake then try to avoid drinking tea or red wine with your food. The tannins contained in them can inhibit the absorption of iron. *Taken from veganeasy.com




Will I need to supplement calcium if I don't eat dairy?


Not necessarily, you can get an adequate amount of calcium from a vegan diet. Good sources of calcium include green leafy vegetables, baked beans, black beans, dried figs, tahini and almonds. As well as this most plant milks are fortified with calcium too. In Australia the recommended calcium intake for adults ranges from 1000 to 1300 mg of calcium per day. Vitamin D assists the absorption of calcium in the body. A reliable source of Vitamin D is approximately 15 minutes of unprotected exposure to the sun each day. Though vitamin D supplements are recommended for many non-vegans and vegans alike, especially during the winter months. *Taken from veganeasy.com




I've heard that Vegans have trouble getting enough B12?


Vegans can get B12 through fortified soy milk, marmite and savoury yeast flakes. B12 has also been added to some other vegan products (eg. some Sanitarium burgers, sausages and ice 'creams' – check labels though as some Sanitarium products contain eggs and dairy). We recommend that vegans take a B12 supplement as any B12 present in plant foods is not easily absorbed into the body. It is important to also realise B12 is usually supplemented into 'livestock' animals diets too, so there is no 'natural' way for getting B12 in today's society. *Taken from veganeasy.com




Aren't free-range eggs ok?


Most free range laying hens live in crowded sheds. Their outside area is generally restricted to a small enclosure with access via small exit holes which many hens are unable to reach and therefore have no outside access. The ones who do go outside are sometime trapped outside to be picked off by foxes. Hens can have a lifespan of 10 years, however they are often killed after 18 months when their productivity drops. Free range laying hens are the offspring of parent birds who are kept for their entire lives inside crowded, filthy sheds with no access to the outside. The hens and roosters are housed together for constant mating. The hens have no escape or respite from the roosters, their backs become featherless, red and sore from when roosters mount them. The female chicks of these parent birds are sent to free range, barn laid or caged sheds. The males are unwanted by-products and are killed soon after hatching, generally by being ground up alive in a macerator. Go to eggsexposed.com for more info. *Taken from veganeasy.com




Is alcohol Vegan?


Most spirits are vegan, although there are the more obvious ones that contain cream or honey that are not. Most wines and beers go through a filtering process, often using animal products. Such filtering agents include milk, albumen (from eggs), isinglass (from the swim bladders of fish) and gelatine. Labelling regulations require allergens such as milk and egg to be listed on labels, but it is not a requirement for isinglass or gelatine. Coopers, Boags and Heineken beers are all vegan. While almost all German (and Belgian) beers are vegan because of their laws for purity! To find more vegan alcohol visit www.barnivore.com *Taken from veganeasy.com




What about things like toiletries? How can you tell if they contain animal products or are tested on animals?


What about things like toiletries? How can you tell if they contain animal products or are tested on animals? There are no regulations governing the labelling of products as 'not tested on animals', so if you are unsure about a product then do some research. Contact the manufacturer to ask them about their testing policy. Remember that just because a product has not been tested on animals it doesn't mean it is vegan. Some products, for example skin care and make up, often contain animal products. Choose Cruelty Free is a great place to research your products: www.choosecrueltyfree.org.au *Taken from veganeasy.com





We've compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help you get answers to your most pressing questions about veganism.  

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