Welcome to the Australian Vegan website.
What is a vegan?
According to the UK Vegan Society, being a vegan means following “the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals.”
Dietary vegans never eat any food containing animal products or animal bodily parts.
Environmental vegans reject the use of all animal products on the premise that the industrial practice is environmentally damaging and unsustainable.
Ethical vegans will not use animal products for clothing, toiletries, or any other reason, and will try to avoid ingredients that have been tested on animals. They will not buy fur coats, leather shoes, belts, bags or wallets, woollen jumpers, silk scarves, camera film, and certain vaccines, etc.
An animal product is any material derived from animals, including meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy products, honey, fur, leather, wool, and silk. Other commonly used, but perhaps less well known, animal products are beeswax, bone char, bone china, carmine, casein, cochineal, gelatin, isinglass, lanolin, lard, rennet, shellac, tallow, whey, and yellow grease.
According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a vegetarian diet is associated with lower levels of obesity and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
The American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada said in 2003 that properly planned vegan diets were nutritionally adequate for all stages of life, including pregnancy and lactation, and provided health benefits in the treatment and prevention of certain diseases. The Swiss Federal Nutrition Commission and the German Society for Nutrition do not recommend a vegan diet, and caution against it for children, the pregnant, and the elderly.
Physicians John A. McDougall, Caldwell Esselstyn, Neal D. Barnard, Dean Ornish, Michael Greger, and nutritional biochemist T. Colin Campbell, argue that high animal fat and protein diets, such as the standard American diet, are detrimental to health, and that a low-fat vegan diet can both prevent and reverse degenerative diseases such as coronary artery disease and diabetes.
A 2006 study by Barnard found that in people with type 2 diabetes, a low-fat vegan diet reduced weight, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol, and did so to a greater extent than the diet prescribed by the American Diabetes Association.
The 12-year Oxford Vegetarian Study of 11,000 subjects recruited between 1980 and 1984 indicated that vegans had lower total- and LDL-cholesterol concentrations than did meat-eaters. Death rates were lower in non-meat eaters than in meat eaters; mortality from ischemic heart disease was positively associated with eating animal fat and with dietary cholesterol levels.
According to the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada, diets that avoid meat tend to have lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein, and higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate, and antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, and phytochemicals.
People avoiding meat are reported to have lower body mass index than those following the average Canadian or American diet. From this follows lower death rates from ischemic heart disease, lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancers.
Any plant-based dish may be vegan. 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. Joanne Stepaniak writes that cheese substitutes can be made at home, using recipes from Vegan Vittles, The Nutritional Yeast Cookbook, and The Uncheese Cookbook.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine recommends what they call the "Four New Food Groups." They suggest that vegans and vegetarians eat at least three servings of vegetables a day, including dark-green, leafy vegetables such as broccoli, and dark-yellow and orange such as carrots; five servings of whole grains (bread, rice, pasta); three of fruit; and two of legumes (beans, peas, lentils).
Above information courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veganism.
Recommended cook books for serious vegans:
The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook: Delicious Dairy-free cheeses and Classic "Uncheese" Dishes.
The Nutritional Yeast Cookbook: Nutritional Yeast Flakes are a great source of B vitamins, especially B12-essential for vegans. Nutritional yeast can be used to make wonderful substitutes for cheese sauces, sliceable cheese for cold snacks, and meltable cheese for toppings, fondues, and pizza.
Vegan Vittles: Down-Home Cooking for Everyone. Everything you need is in this one special book, from breakfast to dessert, and everything in between. And the greatest part of all, everything is 100% vegan and 100% delicious.