Whether you’re a long-standing vegan or vegetarian, you’ve recently made the switch or are just thinking about it, you may have questions. We’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions for you below, but if you have a question that’s not covered here check out our Ask an Expert page.

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Veganism

Answers to the questions most frequently asked about a vegan diet and lifestyle:

What is a vegan?

A vegan is someone that follows a plant based diet of fruit, vegetables and grains that excludes any animal produce such as dairy, honey, fish and meat. An adaptation to this is following a raw food diet based on plant foods.

How to become a vegan

This is different for everyone, some people jump straight into their new diet, other people gradually introduce more and new plant foods to their diet as they take animal produce out. There is no right or wrong way to do this. It can be a big change to diet and routine, so it is best to go at a pace that suits you. Some people may start the journey as a vegetarian replacing meat and fish with foods such as egg and cheese, and then gradually replacing these with plant food.

Are there any recipe books/sites that you would recommend?

We would recommend:

Is a vegan diet healthy?

A vegan diet can be healthy or unhealthy, just like all diets. The most important thing is to limit all refined foods such as fast food, processed foods such as vegan cheeses, white pasta and bread. Aim to get a well-balanced diet from nutrient rich foods and have fortified foods containing vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

List of vegan foods

Any foods that contain a number of ingredients will usually show The Vegan Society trademark on the label to indicate that they are suitable for vegans.

All plant foods are vegan (soya, grains, fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouts and pulses).

Are any alcoholic drinks vegan suitable?

Barnivore is a website that contains a database of drinks that are suitable. Many stores are also now labelling vegan suitable alcohol.

Why become vegan?

  • it makes you burst at the seams with energy from all the nutrients you gain.
  • have a flat stomach from better digestion, you will be ironing shirts on that stomach.
  • dump that bad excessive cholesterol; fibre binds to cholesterol to aid its removal from the body.
  • look radiant – plant foods are bursting with antioxidants. Antioxidants just want to look after you, clearing the body of bad toxins, to leave you looking and feeling youthful.
    Not only do you look and feel good, but look what difference you are making to the world:

    • less land and water use to rear animals.
    • improved welfare of animals.
    • aiming at reducing world famine. We have enough crops to feed every person on the planet, but crops are used to rear animals instead of being fed to starving people in third world countries.

Vegetarianism

Answers to the questions most frequently asked about a vegetarian diet and lifestyle:

What is a vegetarian?

There are different types of vegetarians

  1. Semi-vegetarian or flexitarian: a person that is cutting back on their meat intake, this can often be the early stages of becoming a vegetarian or vegan.
  2. A pollo vegetarian avoids red meat and fish but eats chicken.
  3. A pesco pollo vegetarian avoids red meat but eats chicken and fish.
  4. Lacto ovo vegetarian is the most common diet that is followed by a vegetarian. The diet excludes meat and fish but includes dairy produce and eggs.

How do you become a vegetarian?

This is different for everyone, some people jump straight into their new diet, other people gradually introduce more and new plant foods to their diet as they take animal produce out. There is no right or wrong way to do this. It can be a big change to diet and routine, so it is best to go at a pace that suits you. Getting a vegetarian cookbook can be a good idea, if this style of food is new to you.

Are there any recipe books/sites that you would recommend?

We would recommend the following recipe books and websites:

What is the difference between vegans and vegetarians?

A vegetarian includes some animal produce and foods that are made from animal produce such as honey, butter, dairy cheese and ice-cream. A vegan excludes anything that is from an animal or produced from an animal.

What can a vegetarian eat?

A vegetarian can eat all plant food (grains, soya, nuts, seeds, pulses, fruit and vegetables) and animal produce such as dairy and honey. Some vegetarians may also include white meat and fish.

What are the reasons to become vegetarian?

  • it makes you burst at the seams with energy from all the nutrients you gain.
  • have a flat stomach from better digestion, you will be ironing shirts on that stomach.
  • dump that bad excessive cholesterol; fibre binds to cholesterol to aid its removal from the body.
  • look radiant – plant foods are bursting with antioxidants. Antioxidants just want to look after you, clearing the body of bad toxins to leave you looking and feeling youthful.
    Not only do you look and feel good, but look what difference you are making to the world:

    • less land and water use to rear animals.
    • improved welfare of animals.