Ethical vegans believe strongly in living a compassionate lifestyle, with respect for all living things. Because of this belief, they choose not to use animal products of any kind, as they know that animals that are used as commodities are confined, abused, and slaughtered. The place where dietary and ethical vegans meet is in the area of food.
There are some obvious areas where the vegan diet is superior to the standard American diet. The vegan diet is usually very high in fiber, iron, and the vitamins C and E, but is usually lower in calories and saturated fat. Cholesterol is completely absent from the vegan diet, as it is only found in animal products.
While vegans tend to be defined by the foods they avoid, in fact they frequently have a much more varied diet than most people. Most vegans enjoy experimenting with new fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans, and they find creative ways to put them together in new recipes. A vegan shopping basket will have a distinctly healthy look to it, with basics such as cereals, whole wheat bread, fruit, salads, vegetables, pasta, beans, and hummus.
Being vegan doesn’t mean you have to give up the special little luxuries we all like to indulge ourselves in from time to time, however. There are many online resources for vegan desserts, as well as many vegan cookbooks in print. Take the time to try some of the many delicious vegan treats. Vegan muffins, for example, taste decadent, but they are often lighter in calories and fat than their non-vegan counterparts, and they have no cholesterol. Try a rich vegan pumpkin chocolate chip muffin, dense and moist, with a heavenly combination of flavors. Or imagine biting into a fluffy blueberry muffin without worrying that you’re clogging your arteries with saturated fat and cholesterol.
Most supermarkets carry plenty of products to satisfy vegan dietary requirements, but a supermarket that caters especially to vegans will have a large number of special products not available in regular stores–vegan frozen entrees, lunch “meats,” desserts, non-dairy milks of all sorts, and snack foods.
Veganism is not just an American phenomenon. People in other countries also know the benefits a healthy and compassionate lifestyle can bring. There are vegan supermarkets springing up everywhere, with Europe leading the way, especially Germany, which is right up at the top of the recognized vegan-friendly nations. A wander around one of these establishments is a real eye opener for the unconverted, with vegan options seemingly for almost everything. A particular treat are the vegan muffins that come in all manner of combinations, but each significantly lighter than the standard versions. Peanut butter and chocolate, parsnips and apples, or oranges and cranberries are just some of the unlikely alliances that have been put together to create delicacies.
While cooking and eating at home are positive activities, vegans also like to eat at restaurants, just like everyone else. Eating out would once upon a time have been a real problem for vegans, but the modern world has caught up and vegans are catered for in large numbers of restaurants these days. Chinese, Indian and Mexican establishments all have meal alternatives that are designed to appeal to a vegan customer.