If you’re as lost as I am when it comes to the “vegan” word, welcome to the club.
I suppose that for every one vegan in the world, there are probably tons of other people out there who are clueless about what “vegan” means. And, with this growing movement in the culinary world, I reached a point where I got frustrated every time I saw another vegan blog, because I couldn’t quite figure out or imagine exactly what veganism meant.
So…I finally decided to pick myself out of this ridiculous frustration, and inform myself about this increasingly important food trend, which seems to be taking the food blog world by storm.
What is veganism?
According to Wikipedia, veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, as well as an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals. A follower of veganism is known as a vegan.
Distinctions are sometimes made between different types of vegans and veganism. A dietary vegan (or strict vegetarian) is one who abstains from including animal products (not only meat and fish, but also dairy products, eggs and often honey, as well as other animal-derived substances) from his/her diet. The term ethical vegan or lifestyle vegan is often applied to someone who not only follows a vegan diet, but extends the vegan philosophy into other areas of their life. Another term used is environmental veganism, which refers to the rejection of animal products on the premise that industrial farming of animals is environmentally damaging and unsustainable.
In case you got a little confused, no, vegans are not exactly the same as vegetarians. Wikipedia states that one of the main differences between a vegan and a typical vegetarian diet is the avoidance of both eggs and dairy products such as milk, cheese, butter and yogurt. Ethical vegans do not consume dairy or eggs because they state that their production causes the animal suffering and/or a premature death. Vegans may view the consumption of honey as cruel and exploitative with modern beekeeping a form of enslavement.
For many vegans, veganism should be a way of life and this movement has led to many protests against eating meat, and there is growing insistence of the protection of animal rights.
Alright, now that we’ve gotten the definition of veganism out of the way… here’s the more interesting part. What sort of foods do vegans eat?
Any plant-based dish may be vegan, Wikipedia tells us. Common vegan dishes prepared without animal ingredients include ratatouille, falafel, hummus, veggie burritos, rice and beans, veggie stir-fry, and pasta primavera. Ingredients such as tofu, tempeh, and seitan are widely used in vegan cuisine. Plant cream and plant milk—such as almond milk, grain milk, or soy milk—are used instead of cows’ or goats’ milk. Vegan recipes will use apple sauce, ground flax seeds, mashed potatoes, soft or silken tofu, or commercial starch-based egg-substitute products, instead of chickens’ eggs.
Meat analogues, or “mock meats,” made of soy or gluten—including vegetarian sausage, vegetarian mince, and veggie burgers—are widely available. Since, however, some meat-free vegetarian foods, including some vegetarian sausages, may include eggs or dairy products, they would be part of an acceptable diet for vegetarians but not for vegans. Cheese analogues made from soy, nuts, and tapioca are commonly used. Vegan cheeses like Teese, Sheese, and Daiya can replace the taste and meltability of dairy cheese in various dishes.
To be honest, the phrase “vegan food” doesn’t look or sound very appealing at first glance.
Before I found food blogs featuring this growing movement, I thought “vegan food” consisted of bland, boring and tasteless plant-based only dishes. I was only half-right, on the plant-based part.
If you do a quick search on the interest and start “googling” vegan food blogs, you’ll be mightily surprised at how pretty and appetizing some food bloggers have presented vegan food to be. Colorful, mouth-watering, a beautiful sight for the eyes. I thought I had seen wrongly at first, that these beautiful plates of delicacies could not possibly be “vegan food”.
How could plant-based-only dishes whet my appetite to such an extreme extent? How could I be attracted to eating a plate of food which I had originally assumed should be “bland, boring and tasteless”?
Don’t believe me? Trying to call my bluff? Look at these vegan dishes below then.
What do you think of this Tempeh Wrap by Vegie Head?
Still not convinced?? These will do the trick.
Check out these Pumpkin Seed-crusted Lentil Patties with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Salad..
If you’re now finally open to the concept of checking out “vegan food” recipes, here are a couple of vegan food blogs which will work up your appetite.
I think the Vegan food trend is cool – a new type of cuisine, but I still like my meats once in a while.
Still, it never hurts to explore the option of being Vegan, or simply just trying out Vegan food. Who knows, you might just convert. Enjoy!