New to veganism and have a question...

Jack Young

Jul 3, 2017
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United Kingdom
  1. Vegan newbie
Hi. I have been a vegetarian for nearly 3 years and have decided I'd like to go vegan. It is something I have wanted to do for a while. I had been a very good vegetarian and I knew about stuff you wouldn't expect to be non-vegetarian like ice-cream and toothpaste.

Are there any foods which you wouldn't expect to contain milk, eggs etc which do?
Sometimes it is difficult to tell by looking at labels as they don't often put 'Suitable for vegans' on things which are suitable, and the names of some ingredients are quite obscure. Sometimes they have several obscure ingredients and I find myself Googling each one which is very time-consuming. I get a bit panicky about it.

Thank you.
Don't freak out :) Labels are usually pretty clear about eggs and dairy. You just have to read carefully. There's a learning curve. Currently, I'm having a hell of a time finding some vegan shoes that fit.
Why don't you start by reading the ingredients and then selecting the food if, as far as you can tell, there is nothing animal in it. Over time steadily learn more ingredients but don't panic. Also the further down the list the smaller the amount. If there is something I don't recognize in the 15th position in the list of ingredients I don't care, because it is probably like a tiny amount. Have a more detailed look at home and if it doesn't meet your standards don't buy again etc.

With this attitude you can reduce hte animal suffering you cause by say 95% or 99% and then steadily increase it over time. But don't worry about perfection.
I, too, am fairly new to veganism and one thing I have read or heard over and over again is "it's not about perfection." The intention of this lifestyle is to prevent and decrease animal suffering in every way possible, not to be a perfect person. I will say that there are lots of products I was unaware contained animal, mostly because I did not read labels/labels were unclear about animal products. Take for example vitamins (relevant to me b/c I work at a supplement shop): Many brands proudly advertise "veggie-caps" or "v-caps," but fail to mention that their vitamin D is lanolin-derived (sheep wool). One thing that helped me a lot, and still does, is to scan through PETA's A-Z list of animal byproducts that do not necessarily sound like animal products. And, if all else fails, you can always google if a product is vegan-- thought with this, I would check about 5 sources and take the general consensus!
One of the easiest ways is to consume as many whole foods as you can and limit the processed ones.

Rice, potatoes, veggies, fruits, green, beans, lentils (including canned ones) don't have animal products in them and so what I have done is when I do have a processed food like a pasta or a cereal, I just stick to the 2 or 3 types that I have checked out and then don't worry after that. Sprouted breads like Ezekiel are also usually oil-free.

As the others have said, you don't have to be perfect, you just do the best you can in the circumstances you are in. Sweating the small stuff can be stressful not joyful and that is just as important.

Emma JC
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