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A quick guide to veganism

You’ve probably noticed that veganism is growing in popularity- you may even be a vegan yourself. Whether you are or not though, it’s practically a certainty that you at least know someone who is.

There’s a lot said about veganism from all quarters but when it comes down to the bare basics of it, what is veganism and how does it work?

 What is a vegan?

First things first, there’s often a bit of confusion between vegans and vegetarians. As a rule, vegetarians do not eat meat or fish but they do eat animal products such as eggs and dairy. They typically aren’t fussy about using goods, like cosmetics, which contain animal products.

Vegans, on the other hand, do not eat any animal products at all and they usually won’t use any goods which contain animal products.

Why do people become vegan?

People typically become vegan for either ethical or health reasons (or of course, both).

Ethical reasons may include:

  • Concerns about animal welfare -- specifically issues of animal maltreatment in the food industry, and the ethics of killing sentient creatures.
  • Concerns about the environment – specifically the ways in which livestock farming practices result in deforestation and related environmental issues.
  • Concerns about the impact of the global meat industry on human beings – specifically health issues which may be associated with eating meat, as well as the logistics of feeding malnourished populations (hypothetically easier to do with plants than meat).

Health reasons may include:

  • Veganism as a potential preventer of heart disease.
  • Veganism as a potential preventer of cancer.
  • Veganism as a potential preventer of obesity.

Where do vegans get their protein?

The most protein rich foods out there are meat and other animal products. Because of this fact, many people are confused about how vegans can meet their daily protein requirements.

Common protein sources for vegans include:

  • Lentils – 9g of protein per 100g
  • Tofu – 8g of protein per 100g
  • Black beans – 21g of protein per 100g
  • Quinoa – 4g of protein per 100g
  • Oatmeal – 2.4g of protein per 100g
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