How to Become Vegan

VeganLifestyle“Veganism must be the moral baseline of anyone who claims to take animals seriously.”   ~Gary Francione

In this article (actually a compilation of various articles), you’ll find various information on vegan diet including what veganism is all about, steps to take if you want to become vegan and a list of the best vegan cookbooks.

Veganism Defined

Veganism may be defined as a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practical, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.
In dietary terms, it refers to the practice of dispensing with all animal products, including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, animal milks, honey, and their derivatives. (ref. International Vegetarian Union)

Veganism Equals Respect For Life

Veganism is a lifestyle designed to respect all living things as fully as possible. In particular, vegans try very hard to treat other sentient animals with real concern for their interests. We do not use their bodies for our own purposes. This means that we do not use their flesh, milk, eggs, fur, feathers, fiber, cocoons, honey, or wax. We do not use their organ systems for research, or manipulate their behavior for our entertainment or education. We try to engage in relationships with others only when they freely engage with us. Most importantly, we consider them not as property, but as living beings.

Veganism equals Not harming others

Insofar as is possible, vegans try to live their lives without harming others. An easy (but not foolproof) way to see if something is vegan is to ask yourself, “did someone have to suffer and/or die so that I could have this?” Dairy cows suffer when they are forcibly impregnated, separated from their newborns, milked exhaustively, and then slaughtered. Egg-laying chickens suffer when their bodies are manipulated to optimize egg production without allowing for natural behaviors like pecking on the ground or roosting in trees, or natural cycles like day/night or ovulating/not ovulating. They suffer when their beaks are seared in half and they are kept in tiny cages, unable to spread their wings. They suffer when they are either killed as male chicks or slaughtered as spent hens.

Veganism Equals Not Exploiting Others And Respecting The Planet’s Ecosystems

We may not be sure that bees suffer in any way we can imagine, but they are certainly exploited when we take the honey and wax that they laboriously make and store for winter food or hive construction. They are killed when we harvest these products of their labor, and when we decide to start over with a new hive, rather than maintain an old one.

Salmon, which naturally swim hundreds of miles from rivers to oceans and then back again, are often kept in crowded tanks that breed disease and stress. Wild salmon and tuna are thought to feel pain in their lips and certainly suffer when they suffocate outside the water. Like every other animal-derived product, fish flesh, eggs, and oil are all unnecessary for us to live healthy, fulfilling lives, but they deprive fish of life and liberty. Vegans therefore choose not to use them.

By refusing to support fishing, vegans also allow the rest of the aquatic ecosystems to flourish. Farmed salmon are fed on large quantities of smaller fish, which are becoming rare, spelling trouble for the many other species that feed on them. Fishing nets kill other species as well, and some of the techniques devastate the habitat of ocean-dwelling organisms.

Vegans Are Against Any Form Of Exploitation

By refusing to use products that were derived from animals against their will, vegans protest all forms of exploitation. We would like for everyone to see that enslaving non-human animals and forcing them to perform demeaning tasks is wrong, and that enslaving human animals is also wrong. We want to encourage people not to pay for the products of any such labor.

Reprinted from

How to be Vegan

You’ve done the research and you really believe that it’s time to make the change to a Vegan (no animal products) lifestyle for your health and the health of the planet. But, man oh man, what are you going to eat?

Step 1
Make a list of your favorite meals. Categorize them by meal. i.e. put all the breakfasts you like in one column, all the lunches in another and dinners in a third. Try to come up with at least 5 of each.

Step 2
Look at each meal and see how you could come up with an acceptable vegan substitute. For instance, substitute a Morningstar Griller Prime Vegan Burger for meat in your hamburger. Use bacon bits that are made from soy protein instead of the real thing in your salad.

Step 3

Invest in a couple vegan cookbooks so you can step outside of your foody comfort zone but mostly, stick to the food you’re comfortable with or else you won’t be successful.

Step 4
Read: A World of Wisdom by Amy Cox Jones
Read: Food Revolution by John Robbins
Read: The China Study by T. Colin Campbell

Step 5  FYI: For those who don’t know, Vegan (that’s a long E sound) is one who consumes no animal products at all.

How to be Vegan, Part 2

If you thought a vegetarian diet deprived people of food, vegans take it one step further. Only vegans don’t see it as deprivation whatsoever—and it’s more than a diet, it’s a lifestyle.

Step 1
Cut out dairy (milk, butter, yogurt), meat, eggs, and even honey from the diet—anything that was produced by animal or insect.

Step 2
Check out all the products you currently consume. Your loaf of bread probably contains eggs, or even honey. Common items might not be vegan-friendly.

Step 3
Cut out other animal products, such as leather: shoes, belts, bags, and other animal-based products.

Step 4
Cut out some cosmetics and health products. Look for “Cruelty free” on the label or “Not tested on animals,” sometimes with the icon of a rabbit.

Step 5
Look into vegan-friendly foods. The king of these is soy—it can be a protein-rich alternative to meat, milk, cheese, even chocolate. The list of soy-based food is growing. Other types of beans are also a good protein source. Tofu and veggie burgers are soy-based. Also try rice milk, almond milk, nutritional yeast, and other grains.

Step 6
Get some vegan cookbooks. A lot of ethnic cooking is perfectly suited for vegan cooking—especially Asian, Indian, and Italian.

Step 7

Find some vegan-friendly restaurants.

The Best Vegan Cookbooks

Vegan’s often get a pretty bad rap from their stringent ways of eating. And while eating vegan is very specific and requires a lot of thought and planning, anyone who has ever eaten a truly vegan meal or bit into a decadent vegan dessert knows firsthand that veganism is not just healthy, but quite delicious.

Veganism is like the stricter sister of vegetarianism. Eschewing not just meat, but dairy, eggs and fish, vegans subsist on vegetables, fruit, grains, soy, nuts and seeds. And just as shunning meat has become increasingly popular among health and eco-friendly devotees, so has veganism seen a rapid rise in its comrades of followers.

For anyone who is interested in becoming a vegan, even just for a day, getting a good vegan cookbook is a necessity, unless you run the risk of eating salad with tofu and sunflower seeds for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The great news is that there is now, more than ever, an entire mini library of vegan cookbooks to choose from.

Here are some of our favorite vegan cookbooks:

Vegan with a Vengeance: Written by a quirky and edgy Brooklyn born and raised vegan, Isa Moskowitz, this cookbook includes 150 recipes like fresh corn fritters, orange scones, BBQ pomegranate tofu, TLTs (tempeh, lettuce and tomatoes) and tons of other vegan-friendly fare. Moskowitz gets rave reviewers for her innovative and yummy recipes and her entertaining and upbeat dialogue.

The Garden of Vegan: Two-hundred pages of meat- and dairy-free recipes makes this cookbook a real hit. Dishes like portobello mushroom bake, caramelized onion and fennel mashed potatoes, coconut spiced vegetables are not for the advanced vegan chef, but are rather fairly simple and straightforward. It also features a section for college students who want to cook vegan in the dorm room. One downside is that the recipes don’t include photos.

Simply Vegan: If sweets are your thing, but dairy isn’t, Simply Vegan is your must-have dessert cookbook. Featuring 140 recipes of your traditional favorites like chocolate cake, fudge, apple pie, cheesecake, rice pudding and some creative ones too like jelly donuts, hold the wheat carrot cake, pink passion smoothie, and Boston cream pie, Simply Vegan will do more than just satisfy your sweet tooth. Fifty of the recipes are wheat-free, too.

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: Another gem by Isa Moskowitz, this cupcake bible includes 75 different recipes for cupcake batter and frosting. From lemon macadamia and pumpkin chocolate chip to from white chocolate
marble and cappuccino filled with espresso cream, Vegan Cupcakes will tantalize and inspire, especially with the beautiful photos of each recipe.

Skinny Bitch: From just plain old Skinny Bitch to Skinny Bitch in the Kitch and Skinny Bitch Bun in the Oven, vegan devotees Rory and Kim have created a mini dairy-free empire arm-wrestling women to eat and become just like them.

Ten years ago, you would have had a tough time finding a vegan cookbook, let alone one devoted solely to cupcake-making, but the vegan cooking climate has surely changed. And don’t think you’re going to restock your pantry with funky ingredients like xanthum gum and amaranth flour, most of the recipes call for ingredients commonly found in grocery or health-food stores.

Happy vegan cooking!

List of cookbooks courtesty of


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