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I am a new vegan and just starting to write a blog about my journey thus far. http://griffinwolf2008.blogspot.com/

Thursday, December 29, 2016

What's the difference between vegan and vegetarian?

     I have noticed that there seems to be some confusion between the terms vegan and vegetarian, even among those who choose the lifestyle. Some don't realize the two terms are different, some say they're vegetarian when they're actually vegan and vise versa. I find this to be very frustrating, although, even as a teenager myself, I thought the term "vegan" was just short for "vegetarian." So I'm not the only one who used to have this misconception.

     A vegan is simply someone who doesn't eat animal products. Period. No cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, milk, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, butter or ANYTHING with ANY animal byproducts in them (there are some foods that actually have bone and hoofs in them to give certain foods a jelly like texture.... ewww!). Many go so far as not buy products and avoid companies that have tested on animals, use animal products in them and that are generally better for the environment. It's a very strict diet.

     A Vegetarian is someone who doesn't entirely eliminate animal products from their diet and aren't nearly as strict as vegans. Many vegetarian's may try to eat USDA organic or free range type animal products as much as possible, to try and look out for the welfare of animals on some level.

  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarians eat both dairy products and eggs; this is the most common type of vegetarian diet.
  • Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy products but avoid eggs.
  • Ovo-vegetarian. Eats eggs but not dairy products.
  • Pescetarians eat seafood
     Even with this simple distinction between these two diet choices, it can be difficult to know exactly what someone means when they say that they are vegan or vegetarian. If you are having them over for a dinner party or a BBQ, simply ask them to clarify. Some vegetarians can be just as strict as Vegans. Many people won't mind if you ask them if you explain where you're coming from. Ask them to send you a couple recipe's that you can make or make the dinner a pot luck style to make sure that everyone has something that they can eat and enjoy. If you do not want to ask, simply just look up some recipe's and don't include any animal products in that dinner. There are many alternatives for cheese, butter and other animal substitutes that are very yummy!

     When it comes to gift giving, as I stated above, some vegan's and vegetarian's are very animal and earth conscious. If you aren't sure what to get him or her, simply ask for some guidelines. What company should I go with? Is it O.K. if I give you a gift card to a certain store? What would you like to receive? You need to also be upfront with what your budget is. Most people will be respectful and understand because allot of people aren't made out of money.

     Personally, I would rather get a gift card because I know it's difficult to buy for people sometimes. I don't see it as "oh I'm too lazy to figure out what I should get you." I see it as "I'm not sure what to get you but I want to give you something." I don't see it as a bad thing at all. Anyway, that is besides the point. It can all be very confusing for non- vegans and vegetarian's as it is for those who have chosen the lifestyle. The biggest thing you need to do is just ask questions and do some research.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

The start of a "fat" vegan's journey

About 3 months ago, I became vegan because of some health issues I've been having. About a year and a half ago, I was admitted to the hospital because I was having a severe gallbladder attack, towards the end of my hospital visit (I was in the hospital for 6 days), I was physically feeling better, so, the surgeon refused to remove my gallbladder. Once discharged, I was still sick on a daily basis. I was vomiting at least once a day and I was eating very minimally and lost about 50 pounds. I was still eating animal products on a regular basis, which I now believe is what was making me feel sick.

I switched to a vegan diet because I found that I wasn't feeling sick on a daily basis and kneeling over the porcelain throne every night. Plus, I was tired of trying to work with my insurance and doctors to try and get my gallbladder removed. Am I still trying to work with my health insurance and primary care doctor to remove my gallbladder? Yes AND it's a less pressing issue because I'm not putting things into my body that my system can't handle digesting.

I have found that once I got going on learning new recipes and having a few staple recipes that I cook regularly and having a good variety nutritionally, I am saving some money by skipping the animal products when I'm grocery shopping. I don't miss any of it to be honest. I'm not going to deny the fact when I see something that I think LOOKS yummy but that doesn't mean I WANT it. I hear allot of people say that they "don't know how" to cook vegan dishes. I have a simple answer. Google. Use the internet, there's a reason we have it at our fingertips. There are facebook groups galore and countless vegan cookbooks and blogs. You don't ALWAYS have to buy USDA organic either. If you can't afford it, the "regular" stuff still is very nutritional.

Another reason I switched to this lifestyle is because I want to lessen animal suffering and lower my negative impact on the planet. I'm only one person you say? Honestly? Assuming I live to 80, in the next 52.5 years, I can make a dent in lowering my impact, even if it's just a little bit.

I'm not going to just talk about my diet in this blog, I'm going to talk about many aspects of how I choose to live. reduce, reuse, Recycling, how I clean my house and much more.