Vegan Friendly brings you all things vegan and is a great resource whether you are already a vegan, have vegan friends or relatives, or are thinking of going vegan in the future. We love food, both eating it and cooking it, and food and nutrition is a big part of the site. We’ve got healthy and delicious vegan recipes, loads and loads of information on the key nutrients vegans should be aware of and we also assess the best vegan restaurants around the UK.
We’re not just about food though. The Is It Vegan? section covers a range of products and items (including lots of food and drink ones, of course). On top of that, we’ve got interesting and informative articles on a range of vegan topics, from the vegan flag to the ethics of veganism and from vegan bodybuilding to vegan barbecues!
Frequently Asked Questions About Going Vegan
There are several core areas to the Vegan Friendly site, hopefully covering everything you could ever want to know about veganism. We present a wealth of information on the biggest issues, including the ethical reasons to be vegan, whether vegans need multivitamins and supplements, some fantastically tasty (and simple) vegan recipes and a whole Is it vegan? section that should clear up what you can and can’t eat.
If you’re not ready to delve into vegan sex just yet though, check out our frequently asked questions below. This is a great place to start your journey into veganism and also serves as a useful resource for concise, general information on the vegan world.
Q. What does veganism mean?
When answering what it means to be vegan, there are a few variations and nuances to consider. In general terms, vegans exclude all animal products from their diet. That means no meat (including fish and other sea and river creatures), milk, eggs and honey. For most vegans it also means avoiding products with animal-based derivatives or additives, and foods and drinks that have used such things in their manufacturing processes.
However, the real meaning of veganism is to exclude, as far as is practical, all animal products and all activities which exploit or harm animals of any type. That means that wool and leather clothes are out, products tested on animals are avoided were possible, zoos and animal-based sports are opposed and various household and other products are checked for animal-based ingredients wherever possible.
Q. Is there a fixed definition of veganism?
The Vegan Society defines veganism as “A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”
That definition has changed in the past and may well change again as we learn more about animals and the nature of consciousness, and as we develop new technologies. Ultimately much falls down to personal choice and where your own personal line is drawn.
Q. Why is veganism becoming so popular?
There are a number of reasons why more and more people are becoming vegan. The primary concerns are related to ethical considerations, environmental factors and health benefits, with most vegans citing a combination of the three.
Better public knowledge about mass food production methods, as well as an increased understanding about the intelligence and ability to suffer that animals possess largely account for the rising tide of ethical vegans; climate change and, again, a better understanding of how mass farming impacts the environment can explain why people switch to a vegan way of life for environmental reasons; and lastly many choose to adopt a plant-based diet as we learn more about the negative impact meat and saturated fat can have on health, which can be viewed as more pertinent in the face of the rising tide of obesity.
Q. Is it easy to be vegan?
Some people will find it very easy to be vegan; for others, giving up their favourite animal-based foods will be incredibly tough. Most vegans say it was easier than they were expecting though and, like most things in life, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Once the habit is engrained, being vegan will seem natural and you’ll wonder how you ever lived any other way.
That said, there is much about being vegan that isn’t easy. Animal-based ingredients find their way into so many foods, drinks and household items so ascertaining what is and isn’t vegan can be tricky. Labelling often leaves a lot to be desired and so sometimes the only way to be 100% sure is to check with the manufacturer… and even then you might well get an unsatisfactory response.
Q. What are the first steps to becoming a vegan?
There are many ways to go about becoming a vegan and how you choose to do it is down to you. However, as we list in our feature on vegan celebrities, many vegans were vegetarians first and this is quite a common transition. That said, it tends to be a natural progression for many vegetarians, rather than a deliberate choice to move from omnivore to vegetarian to vegan.
Firstly, you are in the right place to become vegan as we have so much helpful and balanced information and advice. Secondly, even if you don’t immediately become the world’s most perfect vegan, simply by taking the first steps you are saving the lives of animals, helping the environment and quite probably improving your own health.
As well as all the information we have, enlisting the help of a friend, partner or relative is great. If they are already a vegan they can offer advice and encouragement, whilst if they aren’t you can support each other along your collective journey.
Q. Should I be a dietary vegan or go fully vegan?
Again, the choice is a personal one, but unless you are becoming a vegan solely for health purposes it would seem logical not just to stop at food. Changing your diet is a great starting point and simply cutting out meat, dairy and eggs would make a huge impact. From there you can become stricter in making sure your food doesn’t contain animal products.
Then, gradually, as you replace clothes and shoes you may choose to buy vegan-friendly materials. Likewise, being more careful with your cosmetics, cleaning products and other household goods can be a gradual process. There is no need to feel guilty if you don’t instantly throw out everything from your former non-vegan life. In fact, that might be counterproductive from an environmental perspective.
Q. How can I check if an item is vegan?
Some products will be certified as vegan by the Vegan Society and others will be clearly labelled as “suitable for vegans” or something similar. If an item is labelled as vegetarian it might be vegan… but it also might not. Checking the Is it Vegan? section of our site will provide a lot of answers and also help you to better understand product labelling and what to look out for. As a final option, phoning, Tweeting or emailing the manufacturer or retailer is a great way to make sure, though they might not be able to clarify instantly.
Q. What about eating out?
Eating out has never been easier for vegans and there are a growing number of wholly vegan restaurants, as well as many others that bill themselves as “veg forward” or similar. Most restaurants, pubs, cafes and takeaways will now have at least some vegan options and usually these are clearly marked. If something doesn’t expressly state that it is vegan then we would recommend asking a member of staff. Moreover, if you are very strict about what you eat, checking if separate grills, pans and other kitchen implements are used for vegan and non-vegan food is a good idea.
Q. Are there vegan alternatives available for non-vegan foods?
We have a dedicated vegan substitutes section of the site listing loads of great options for just about everything, from parmesan to milk and from meat to eggs. Here at the Vegan Friendly team we recently enjoyed an incredibly tasty vegan doner kebab made with seitan, whilst tofu is a great stand-in for meat and, used differently, eggs.
We’ve got loads of information on vegan substitutes, with specific recipes and lots of general tips on how to replace things in a standard recipe.
Q. Is a vegan diet healthy?
There is no such thing as a vegan diet, beyond the basic notion that it doesn’t include animal products. Some people follow a raw vegan diet, packed full of leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Other vegans may subsist almost solely on chips – though we wouldn’t recommend that!
However, as we discuss in our feature on the health reasons to go vegan and also when discussing vegan supplements, a well-planned vegan diet can be incredibly nutritious, very healthy and provide all the vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients our body needs.
Q. Do vegans eat enough protein?
Vegan protein sources are plentiful and there is no reason why a vegan shouldn’t be able to get enough protein. Plenty of successful sportspeople are vegan, like boxer David Haye; whilst there are, as mentioned, successful vegan bodybuilders who show that building muscles doesn’t require consuming animals. Nuts, beans, seeds, legumes, tofu, seitan and vegan Quorn are all great ways to get protein into a vegan diet, whilst there are also vegan protein powders and bars for when you want that extra hit!
Q. What about vaccines and medicines?
Medicines and the question of whether vaccines are vegan or not can be contentious issues. In short, basically all medicines and vaccines in the UK will have been tested on animals at some stage, whilst others may actually contain animal products or have used them in their production.
Ultimately though this has to fall under the remit of “possible and practicable” that is included in the official definition of veganism. Many things are a personal choice but certainly at Vegan Friendly we would never recommend ignoring medical advice or putting your own health at risk because of your vegan beliefs. A dead vegan is no good to anybody.
Q. Are free range and organic products okay?
The short answer is no. Whilst some animals may have a slightly less horrible existence on some free range or organic farms, ultimately they are being exploited and killed for humans so whilst some elements of veganism are down to the individual, this isn’t one of them!
Q. What about pets?
With pets we are certainly going back to an individual’s own decision. Usually vegans prefer to call their pets “companion animals” and see the relationship as two-way, and whilst many vegans believe this is acceptable, others disagree. Get more information in our feature on pets and veganism.
Q. What would happen to existing farm animals if everyone was vegan?
This is likely to remain to remain a hypothetical question for a long time but it is an interesting one nonetheless. Ultimately they would die out, although some could perhaps be preserved in reserves. Whilst this sounds like a frightening prospect, in reality, the vast swathes of land this would free up would allow far greater bio-diversity and many more species would thrive in the wild. There are already sanctuaries set up in many countries that care for former farm animals until they live out their days.
Q. Aren’t things like wool and honey vegan friendly?
As you can read in our Is wool vegan? article, wool isn’t vegan because the sheep can experience a lot of suffering, and they are being exploited by humans. They don’t just baa a quick thank you for the kind farmer for removing their winter coat and go for a sunbathe in a meadow filled with lush grass.
In a similar vein, honey is made by bees, for bees and harvesting it to spread on toast (or however else you might use it) has numerous negative consequences. Read our Is honey vegan? article for learn more.