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There are a lot of questions that people ask when they find out you’re vegan. You may also have a lot of questions if you’re trying to go vegan! I decided to write this continual blog post to answer common questions I receive and/or that I can think a non-vegan may be curious about. That means I’ll be adding questions as time goes if I think of anything else! So if you have any other questions/curiosities that I didn’t answer here, please let me know in the comments!
Where do you get your protein from?
If I made a dollar for every time I’ve been asked this question… No but seriously, it’s the most common question I receive and usually the first thing that people ask. If you go vegan, get ready to answer this question! So where does our protein come from? Quinoa, lentils, beans, nuts/seeds, oats, couscous, whole grain breads, lentil pasta, various vegetables. Not to mention there are vegan meat products, many of which contain lots of protein! There are also many, many vegan protein powders and protein bars. I am fully capable of consuming a healthy portion of protein. I have gained the most muscle as a vegan. Keep in mind, some of the largest land animals are herbivores…gorillas, elephants, and even the brachiosaurus!
Will I lose weight?
Maybe. If you go from a highly processed diet to a whole food plant-based diet you should experience a healthy amount of weight loss. I have also heard stories of people losing too much weight and getting really sick, but that’s because many people think they can only eat fruit and vegetables and end up starving themselves. It’s actually quite easy to gain weight as a vegan, especially if you’re sensitive to carbs. The easiest vegan meals often contain rice, pasta, and/or bread which can cause weight gain in a lot of people. Not to mention everything you can eat, we can eat vegan. Vegan junk food is everywhere and can be easily made…Oreos are even vegan!
What do you eat?
A common misconception is that vegans only eat salads and tofu. I would be miserable if that’s all I ate! We can eat everything except for meat, dairy, and eggs. Think about how much food is out there! I eat a wide variety of foods and I am satisfied with what I eat. Personally, I meal prep weekly so I eat about the same thing daily for that week. This is what I prefer to do because it saves me time and keeps me on track. I stick to simple meals because that’s what I like to do (sweet potatoes, rice, quinoa, veggies, couscous, etc are some of my staple items). If you want some meal prep ideas click here. However, it is definitely possible to eat a variety of delicious meals throughout the week, there are recipes all over the internet.
Do you eat eggs?
By definition a vegan consumes NO animal products. Many people are not educated on veganism so believe it or not I still get asked this question. No I do not eat eggs, but I have heard of “egg-eating vegans.” Eggs found at the grocery store came from chickens forced to live in confined areas with poor living conditions. Even the “free range” eggs probably came from the same conditions, it’s a way for the industry to increase their prices. However, maybe you have a neighbor that has a chicken coop where they live in peace and happiness and lay their eggs naturally, that is the egg eating that I support! For me, I used to love eggs, but I don’t think I would even eat eggs from a local farm because they kind of gross me out to think about. It’s an EGG, like a baby develops from that…it’s weird.
Do you eat fish?
Another question that I get pretty often… I think a lot of people believe fish are lesser than mammals or that they don’t feel pain. I’m not really sure, but I see them as animals (because they are) and they can feel pain, they have a circulatory system, they have eyeballs, therefore I do not eat them. Again, if you eat fish, you are not a vegan, nor are you a vegetarian.
Don’t chickens lay eggs naturally? And cows need to be milked right?
Sure, but it’s not so simple. These animals are abused all of their life. Chickens are maintained in small cages that are over-populated and unsanitary, without access to sunlight. Same goes for dairy cows, however, in order for a cow to be lactating they need to be pregnant and/or recently pregnant. Workers shove cow sperm into the females with their hands and as soon as the calf is born he/she is taken from their mother. A very traumatic and emotional process for both mom and calf. This is repeated over and over with a machine attached to her utters barely able to move.
What’s the difference between vegan and plant based?
I feel like society is so afraid of the word vegan. Mostly because we get a bad rep as “crazy people” or “hippies.” Plant based seems to be more accepted these days but there is a difference. Vegan is more of a lifestyle. If you’re vegan you don’t consume, use, or purchase animal products. For example, if you’re vegan you probably won’t buy a pair of leather boots or use goat milk soap. If you’re plant based, you don’t consume animal products and you may or may not use or purchase animal products for other purposes. I also feel like plant based is a loose term, maybe they’re okay with eating milk chocolate every once in awhile or something like that. That’s how I see it/my opinion on the terms.
Do you get rid of leather and non-vegan beauty products?
My dad gifted me with a small leather book bag several years ago that I actually use everyday. I also own shoes that are made with leather that I still wear. I didn’t throw away products that weren’t cruelty free either, I just used them up and purchased a vegan/cruelty free product to replace it. It’s a transition really. You could definitely sell or give away those items, but you shouldn’t throw them out because then it’s just a waste of that animals life. I know other vegans have a very different opinion on this subject though.
Are all meat-alternatives vegan?
No! Many meat-alternatives contain eggs or milk (MorningSide and Quorn for example). Most companies will include ‘Vegan’ on the front of the packaging. Otherwise under the ingredient list you’ll find something that says CONTAINS: x, y, z. Gardein and Boca are the 2 brands I always go for!
Do you miss the taste of meat/remember it?
I haven’t eaten meat since 2004. I do remember the taste of it and no I do not miss meat. I do however consume vegan meat products, which I obviously enjoy the taste of. Many taste like actual meat, which I have confirmed with meat eaters. It’s not wrong to enjoy the taste of something that imitates actual meat, this doesn’t make you less of a vegan. These meat alternatives are readily available, why not choose the humane option?
Our ancient ancestors ate meat, why would we stop?
I’m sorry but we’re in the 21st century and last time I checked we’re not wearing loin clothes and creating our own spears. However many thousands or millions of years ago that people refer to is a complete 180 from life now. Grocery stores and restaurants are on every corner. It’s not necessary for humans to “hunt and gather” in order to survive. We also don’t NEED meat/animal products, otherwise myself and all other vegans would be dead right now! It’s not “natural” for humans to eat meat…look at our teeth. We have teeth like deer aka herbivores, not like a tiger.
Plants are living, why do you eat those?
People love to bring up “plant feelings” once they find out I’m vegan. It’s actually very frustrating. Plants do not have hearts nor a nervous system. They cannot feel pain nor emotion. I actually save more plants by being vegan because majority of the crops grown are used to feed livestock, even though those plants could be used to feed starving nations.
Wouldn’t the animal population overpopulate if we don’t eat them?
Very wrong. Animals raised for meat, dairy, and eggs are bred by HUMANS. Over population wouldn’t occur if it were a natural process.
Do you eat honey?
I do eat honey. I still consider myself vegan. Removing honey does not harm the bees. They produce the honey naturally and yes it’s for them to have food during the winter months, however honey in the grocery store isn’t collected from a wild hive in the middle of nowhere. It is collected by a beekeeper that knows what the honeybees require to survive the winter months.
Is being vegan expensive?
It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. The cheapest vegan lifestyle is the whole foods approach. Avoiding the processed foods will save you money. For years I thought about going vegan but put it off because I thought I wouldn’t be able to afford it, I definitely can and so can you. Unfortunately, the demand for vegan products is lower than that for non-vegan products. It’s kind of like the healthy/organic section at the grocery store. It costs a lot more to buy a natural product versus a highly processed box of mac n’ cheese for example. Why? People like cheap and easy, and if you live in America you know that most people also love unhealthy. It’s all about supply and demand. If more people start switching to/buying vegan products, prices will lower.
Do you use cruelty-free and vegan products?
I do, for the most part. I try my best to only purchase cruelty-free and vegan products. This includes beauty, household, and personal hygiene products. This is probably the area that tends to be more difficult and more expensive. Sometimes you read the ingredient list on a tube of lipstick for example, and you have no idea which of those ingredients would come from an animal. This is why it is best to stick to companies that proudly display the “leaping bunny” or bunny face logo and the vegan symbol. Some companies are cruelty free, yet not vegan. Some companies will be cruelty free but not display that on their products. Logical Harmony is a great source to find products that best fit your needs. It can get difficult with things such as Peroxide or getting your hair dyed at the salon. My advice is to shop at your local Whole Foods or Sprouts Farmers Market, majority of the products are both.
My favorite beauty/personal hygiene brands that I personally use:
Pacifica – make up, skin care
Tom’s of Maine – toothpaste
Avalon Organics – shampoo/conditioner
Desert Essence – mouthwash, tooth paste
JASON – mouthwash, lotion
Alaffia – body wash, lotion, hand soap (VERY affordable)
Is your boyfriend vegan?
No he is not. Would I like him to be? Yes, but I’m not going to force anything on anyone, especially considering I chose to date him knowing he is not vegan. Sometimes I will express my vegan opinions to him, but I can’t expect everyone to think the way I do. I make him vegan meals and sweet treats that he really enjoys, but I won’t buy or cook non-vegan food.
Would you eat cloned meat?
While I would support cloned meat cells compared to actually killing animals, it’s not something I would consume. The idea of eating flesh is just sickening to me at this point and I’d much rather eat fake meat made from plants.
Do you take vitamins? Supplements?
Yes and yes. As a vegan it is easier to miss out on some important vitamins in our system, doesn’t mean we can’t make up for it. I suggest a multi-vitamin (I always preach about my Ritual vitamins), Vitamin D (especially women should be taking this), a probiotic, and maybe some omegas. Watch out for non-vegan vitamins though! Sometimes they contain gelatin which is sourced from the skin and bones of a variety of animals.
As for supplements, I drink protein shakes, I eat protein bars, and I drink BCAAS for my workouts. However, unless I am “cutting” I usually do not consume these products on a consistent/daily basis and there is no need to. There are many, many vegan protein powders to choose from as well as bars. BCAAs can be derived from animal ingredients as well, but there are vegan products on the market.
What are some hidden animal ingredients?
This is where things get complicated and unless you become obsessed with reading food labels you’ll probably consume many of these ingredients, I know I have. It’s pretty disgusting that the food industry disguises these ingredients, this is why it’s best to stick with products that specifically say VEGAN or only eat whole, plant-based foods. Below are common ingredients I have seen:
Gelatin: comes from animal skin and bones (marshmallows, jello, pop-tarts, gummies)
Casein: derived from milk
Whey: derived from milk
Lecithin: can come from animal tissues and egg yolks
Personally, I’m not going to stress out and micro manage every ingredient that goes into my mouth. Apparently a lot of sugar isn’t even vegan due to the way it is processed. I definitely pay attention to my ingredient lists but I don’t go crazy about it.
How do you stay vegan/have the willpower?
This comes back to reasons for going vegan. Yes, absolutely that perfectly frosted red-velvet cupcake looks delicious, that fresh baked pizza smells heavenly, and that Reeses peanut butter cup would sure hit the spot. It’s normal to still think these things look/sound amazing. If you go vegan because you love animals, you won’t eat these things, it doesn’t matter how delicious they look…it’s not worth it. Remember, there are vegan alternatives to everything. You can bake your own cake, make your own pizza, it will still taste amazing. For me, meat doesn’t look good. I look at meat and I see images of that animal being slaughtered. Eventually, you’ll get to a point where the foods start to disgust you. For example, I used to LOVE cheese, pizza was my favorite food. And while that delivery sure smells and maybe even looks good, I know where it comes from, I know what’s in it, and I get grossed out by it.
If you were stranded on an island would you eat animals?
This question is stupid. My answer: no. I honestly would rather die, and I’m sure there would be something on that island that a vegan could live off of anyway. I can’t remember who said it, but I remember reading about this question elsewhere… So if someone asks you this, come back with this: You’re asking me a question that would probably never happen to me even if I tried. Yet, here we are, living in a time where plants and vegan products are in abundance and available for us to eat and you still choose to consume a once living being.
What about meat/dairy from a local butcher/farmer? Isn’t that better/more humane?
There is no such thing as humane meat. Just think about it for a second…an innocent animal is killed by whatever means, maybe it’s even quick, but it’s dead only for someone to consume. It’s quite selfish if you ask me. Humans do not require meat or dairy.
Yes it may be better to purchase locally because the animals are apparently not abused compared to bigger companies and they may not use antibiotics/growth hormones, but the animals are still living beings, they still have feelings, and there are alternatives.