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The Ultimate Veganism Kit

You all have probably heard of the vegan diet, okay most people have. The vegan diet excludes all animal products: dairy, meat, honey, etc. which is much healthier for the planet and for humans. In recent years, veganism has grown more popular as people are discovering the impact it can have on the environment and themselves. You might be thinking, “Being vegan sounds hard!” But fear not! This article is designed to help you make the switch to veganism. And if you can’t or don’t want to totally switch over, that’s okay too! Sometimes it's not possible to completely switch and that's totally normal! Decreasing the number of animal products you eat on a weekly basis, even by just a little bit, can go a long way. 

 

This kit will help teach you how vegans sustain themselves with only plants and how we transitioned from a non-vegan lifestyle to a vegan one. After reading this, you will be able to become a successful vegan too! 

The History of Veganism

 

Here’s something that may surprise you: veganism has been around for hundreds of centuries. It’s not just something people decided to try out because of climate change; this is a real lifestyle that people in Ancient Greece, India, and the Middle East adopted in the name of kindness towards animals, and respecting them as living beings. Greek philosophers such as Pythagoras of Samos even mentioned it and partook in the lifestyle. Many cultures practiced veganism due to religious reasons too: Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism have sects that take part in veganism. 

 

Veganism and the West, however, have a complicated relationship. It took a bit longer to have veganism catch on in the west; the first time the word ‘veganism’ was coined in the western regions was in 1944, though it had existed for centuries. Throughout history, there have been spurts of vegetarianism and veganism in the United States and across Europe. It was something that people found fashionable and popular. But these diets never really grew further after their brief period of being “in.” The one time that veganism and vegetarianism grew in Europe was when Donald Watson (who coined the term “vegan”) used sick cows to make his point.

 

The sick cow epidemic was the spark that made veganism grow quickly, as both a lifestyle and catching the name of many diet brands. As diet culture grew and new weight-loss brands emerged, the idea of veganism spread across the world, promoting it as a fad diet to lose weight (more on this in upcoming sections).

 

In the early 2010s, climate change awareness began to spread, and with it, grew veganism. Several studies were conducted on the effect of veganism on the planet, and the results clearly showed its impact in decreasing carbon emissions from agriculture (more on this in upcoming sections). Younger generations were inspired to transition off of animal products, several of them becoming vegetarians and vegans. More companies such as Violife and So Delicious expanded, creating more options for vegans to choose from. The later 2010s had many studies conducted on the health benefits of vegan foods in aiding with low cholesterol and healthier hearts. 

This was only a brief history of veganism! There is still a lot more to learn about, so feel free to do your own research. In the next sections, we will be getting into more specifics. How does veganism make you healthier? What are the brands you should start buying? Read on to find out more. 

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The Benefits Of Veganism

 

The big question here is: is being vegan really all that beneficial? It turns out that yes, it is. The vegan diet is proven to have several health benefits like reducing your risk of heart disease, some cancers (like colon cancer), and can help you manage your diabetes. It can also possibly aid in weight loss.  However, all of this is assuming you have a good, balanced lifestyle that provides you with all the nutrients you need as veganism should not be used solely to promote weight loss. 

 

In addition to health benefits, veganism is also ridiculously beneficial for the planet. The main reason is that agricultural practices that contribute to climate change the most (like the overabundance of those darn cows) are eliminated in the vegan diet. (Watch Agricultural Impacts on the Environment  to learn more!) Because of this, if the whole world went vegan, the food-related carbon emissions would drop by 70% by 2050. As these emissions are responsible for approximately 15% of total greenhouse gas emissions, this is a huge opportunity to make the planet healthier. 

 

Alternative milks also tend to be more environmentally friendly for the environment and have benefits for us! Producing regular milk from cows takes around 1000 liters of water per liter of milk. This excludes the amount of water needed to skim or process it or flavor it into strawberry or chocolate milk. The majority of this water is used to feed the cows. In contrast, oat milk uses around 48 liters of water per liter of oat milk. Almond milk needs 384 liters of water to produce one liter of almond milk. Additionally, dairy alternatives do not require as much land. For example, oat milk needs around 60 square meters of land per glass while regular milk requires about 650 square meters of land per glass. Clearly, this is a huge difference and perfectly demonstrates how the overall environmental impact of dairy alternatives is much lower than dairy. 

 

Alternative milks also are beneficial for us! Almond milk products are heart-healthy and can lower the risk of heart attacks or heart disease. Soy milk has a lot of protein with less fat, making it very useful for building muscle! Many people believe that it causes cancer, but hint, it actually does not (read more in FAQ!). Oat milk products aid greatly with digestion, constipation, and bowel movements. 

Vegan food is also known for releasing more dopamine. Foods such as almonds, fruits, and plant-based proteins, when eating a variety of them, due to incomplete amino acids, produce more dopamine than other diets.

 

Studies have shown that having large glasses of regular milk repeatedly can lead to more acne and cysts, an increased risk of ovarian cancer, and even a high risk of bone fractures. Milk does have tons of benefits too, such as protein, bone development, and lowering diabetes risk, however, alternative milks have those benefits too. Alternative milks do also create emissions and can, but rarely, have negative side effects, but their negative impact on the environment and the consumer are significantly lower than those of dairy. 

 

Then, there’s the sexual aspect of it. Vegans are meant to be better in bed. Bet you didn’t see THAT coming!! Yep, vegan foods give more stimulation to the brain. They provide protein, healthy fats, as well as carbs in every food item. With this, the body gets the energy it requires in order to be sexually healthy and active. Since vegan foods increase dopamine levels in the brain, vegans are meant to have both a higher sex drive and longer endurance. 

 

The health and environmental benefits we’ve included in this section only cover a small portion of the vast benefits of veganism. Feel free to do your own research, and explore the other sections to learn more; education is key!

 

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Your Stereotypical Vegan

 

She--a thin, white, and a quite attractive lady, with a messy top bun hops into the light blue Toyota Prius, turns the reverse lights on but still doesn’t back out of the parking spot. On the bumper of her car, just below the license plate reading “Food4Earth”, you glance at the light green, oval bumper sticker screaming “Go Vegan~ Save the Earth.” Vegans. Thinking they own the world. Needing the spot in a hurry, another person honks their horn at her, causing her to open the window and yell “Cow Eater! Meat is Murder!” then hastily back out of the spot, opening the window and sticking the middle finger out. Cranky mood. 

 

This is the stereotypical vegan. The vegan we see in memes. The ones in ads promoting weight loss and diets such as Noom. The vegan on the classic vegan food packaging. This is not a representation of a vegan, yet rather a construction built on institutional racism and injustice towards fat bodies to both promote diet culture and create a joke. 

 

Believing this stereotypical vegan and creating jokes, though the memes are quite funny, can actually be quite detrimental for many reasons. Veganism comes from many cultures of people of color, yet the stereotypical vegan is a white, thin, lady that consumes a lot of ‘disgusting’ tofu. Though it is acceptable to have opinions, labeling a substantial part of many cultural (including cultures from people of color) dishes as ‘disgusting’, or associating that with solely white women can be disrespectful.

 

It is necessary to acknowledge the true roots of many vegan foods and not only acknowledge the creation of some foods to white people, but credit the people and cultures of color where it originally came from. Resonating vegans with solely white, skinny, cishet, women create a lack of diversity and do not establish intersectional environmentalism which is what is inevitably needed to change the Earth. 

 

The stereotypical vegan also relates to injustice towards fat people and bodies; the stereotype that vegans are always skinny once again does not represent true intersectionality. Vegans come in all shapes in sizes, as healthy comes in all sizes -- healthy does not solely translate to skinny. When talking about veganism and imagining only thin white, women, we forget all those who took the transition to veganism, pushed for environmental activism, and made real change, yet were not white, thin, cishet, women. 

 

The cishet is another large aspect. Usually, this vegan is "aggressively straight". This vegan does not meet many guys -- as a result of patriarchal guidelines, since the vegan is very “conscious about their body” and a “prude”. Vegans can be of any gender, any sex, and have any sexuality; this is crucial for understanding intersectional environmentalism. LGBTQ environmental activists are typically not represented, and this stereotype of the “rude vegan” sets unrealistic expectations of what a vegan should be.

 

Toxic masculinity also fuels this stereotypical vegan. The patriarchal society pushes for men to be one kind of shape, having large biceps, built chest, six-pack abs, and muscular legs. This is to represent being ‘manly’, and in order to achieve such a form, the patriarchy makes an expectation to consume loads of meat. This is very dangerous because it creates an image promoting a specific body type that all men should be, and is offensive to men who do practise veganism as it claims no man can be a ‘true man’ without consuming meat. 

 

It is crucial that society looks beyond the stereotypical vegan. This creation has been damaging for many people, and we must strive to acknowledge and fix this. The climate crisis is happening right now, the idea of a stereotypical vegan should not stand in place between people making change and those who do not. The racism, sexism, and injustice to LGBTQ and fat people, that this vegan stereotype portrayed is not correct, and must be learned from. 

 

Veganism is a Lifestyle, Not a Diet.

 

Through countless weight loss ads (Noom, Weight Watchers, Beachbody LLC, Herbalife, Omnilife, Nature’s Sunshine, and on, and on, the list is never-ending),  veganism is portrayed as a diet, not a lifestyle. “Lose weight fast, quick vegan diet!” or, “Go Meat-free, fat-free!!” 

 

These brands promote a diet, not a lifestyle, and in the end, the majority of them actually result in you gaining more weight than you lost. It’s important to remember that veganism isn’t a quick and easy thing that you participate in for a few months to lose that extra 10 pounds you gained over Winter Break. (We’ve all been there. We know.) With veganism, you’re committing to avoiding all animal products.  This changes which food you order at restaurants, what recipes you cook for dinner (keep reading to get recipe suggestions!), etc. While weight loss (which can be beneficial, neutral, or detrimental) and other health benefits may be byproducts of being on a vegan diet (see “How is Veganism Beneficial”), veganism is more about respecting animals and our bodies instead of a diet. 

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Getting Nutrients

 

The biggest worry when switching to a vegan lifestyle is “HOW THE %#&$ WILL I GET NUTRIENTS?” Never fear, this is why this ultimate vegan kit is here!

 

Some of the nutrients that people worry about are calcium, protein, iron, and vitamin D. All of these are essential to our bodies, playing a very specific part in growth and development, as well as brain function. All foods have vitamins and minerals, as well as protein, the amounts are simply a little different. So even if someone were to eat Oreos all day, solely as their diet, they would still technically be eating protein! However, it's important to remember that a balanced lifestyle includes exercise for both mind and body, as well as nutrition from all categories. That is why getting nutrients is so important!

 

Let's talk about where you can find some of these nutrients in vegan foods. There are tons of ways to consume the common vitamins or nutrients people say the vegan diet often lacks, but to make life easy, we will list a few right here!

 

Protein

Protein is the largest concern for the vegan lifestyle. However, animal and dairy protein only make up less than an eighth of all protein sources! There are hundreds of plant protein options out there!

 

  • Tofu 

  • Tempeh

  • Peanuts and peanut butter

  • Pea protein

  • Almond protein

  • Soy protein

  • Chickpeas

  • Chickpea protein

  • Hummus

  • Ground chickpeas

  • Veggies (carrots, Brussel sprouts, spinach, broccoli) 

  • Vegan Protein Powder

  • Plant-Based Meats (they actually taste pretty good!)

    • Crumbles

    • Patties

    • Snacks

    • etc.

  • Quinoa

  • Green peas

  • Seitan

  • Buckwheat

  • Hemp seeds

  • Rolled oats

  • Pistachios

  • Walnuts

  • Pumpkin Seeds

  • Many Vegan Breads! (like Dave’s Killer Bread, etc.)

  • Protein Bars

  • Green beans

  • Black beans

  • Lentils

  • Chia seeds

  • Flax seeds

  • Figs

  • Tons more!

 

Calcium 

  • Almonds

  • Vegan Yogurt (any type of vegan milk)

  • Vegan ice cream! (oat, soy, or almond)

  • Beans (every kind)

  • Soy foods

  • Lentils

  • Chickpeas

  • Brazil Nuts

  • Tahini

  • Chia seeds

  • Flax seeds

  • Amaranth

  • Teff

  • Spinach

  • Okra

  • Kale

  • Cabbage

  • Broccoli

  • Blackberries

  • Figs

  • Plant-based milks 

  • Orange juice

  • Tons More!

 

Iron

  • Spinach

  • Kale

  • Sesame seeds

  • Oats

  • Plant-based milks (oat, almond, cashew)

  • Cashews

  • Lentils

  • Peas

  • Chickpeas

  • Coconut Milk

  • Tofu

  • Tempeh

  • Tomatoes

  • Pistachio

  • Basil

  • Hemp Seeds

  • Black Beans

  • Tempeh

  • White potato

  • Potato

  • Cocoa Powder (true coca, without the added dairy and sugar)

  • Mushrooms

 

Vitamin D

  • Plant-Milks! 

    • Soy milk -- one cup gives 19% of daily intake

    • Almond milk

    • Oatmilk

    • Cashew Milk

  • Mushrooms

  • Plant-based yogurts

    • Almond based

    • Soy-based

  • Plant-based cheese

  • Vegan granola (clusters or cereal -- a good brand to look into is MadeGood)

  • Orange juice

  • Many vegetables!

    • Carrots

    • Spinach

    • Broccoli

    • Brussel Sprouts

  • Tons more!



 

These are just a sample of the hundreds of nutrients veganism provides. There’s always more! Many of the foods listed have both protein and iron or calcium, or even all three of them. This is great for getting more nutrition in more consistently, and each food is feeding two (or three) birds with one scone!

 
 

Switching Techniques and Tips

 

Switching over to veganism can be hard, and requires both a lot of dedication and motivation. Nobody is going to go full vegan in a day, and there is no correct time frame for someone to become vegan. It all varies. Some people might become vegan in a week, others throughout their entire life, and both are totally okay! Veganism is all about finding what your body needs through a sustainable lifestyle, so the great thing is you tailor it to your needs! 

 

Sometimes a few switching tips and techniques are always good to know, and that is what this section is about. Veganism shouldn’t be a pain and there are different ways to become vegan! Here are some of our favorite, most useful, switching techniques and tips to make your transition easier!

 

1. Start Gradually

To become vegan, it's crucial you start gradually, meaning that you switch non-dairy products to vegan ones very slowly. This makes it so any cravings for dairy are less frequent (but if you do crave dairy, do go have some). This also allows for your body to get adjusted to the different kinds of foods you are consuming. In order to sustain a vegan lifestyle, a slower transition is needed for your body to keep a balance and continue getting forms of nutrients it relied on before. Graduality adds a sense of consistency to the body. If transitioning from a meat-eating diet, try switching over to vegetarianism first (swapping meat for plant-based meat), sustain on that for a month then make the leap to veganism! Consider taking two to three weeks to fully switch to plant-based milks, a few weeks to switch from meat to plant-based meat, a few other weeks to switch to vegan ice cream, a few more for the yogurt, and so on, until you are basically vegan!


 

2.  Alternative vegan and non-vegan foods

Consistency is key for any balanced lifestyle, and when switching to veganism or any other lifestyle, it is important to withstand that balance. Breaking the balance leads to nutrient deficiencies, mood swings, and others. To keep consistency, both transition gradually and alternate a vegan product to a non-vegan food or meal every day. For example, for lunch, if you eat a regular hamburger, for dinner, prepare a vegan meal. A few days later for lunch, or when craving a burger, prepare a vegan burger, and the meal after that can be a non-vegan one. Slowly over time, you can start to make full days vegan, and other half-days nonvegan, until you achieve your goal!


 

3. Find Local Vegan Restaurants

This is always a fun one to do! Finding local vegan restaurants is great to establish places to eat and always have a go-to place. Trying out different vegan foods makes it more likely you would stick to veganism, especially when other businesses support you! Whether you dine there or not, it's always great to get to know your surroundings and where you can always get access to vegan foods in the future. A quick search on Google will do it!

 

4. Journal Your Veganism Goal Per Day

Journalism is always a way to stay more consistent and brainstorm what your body needs. Take a few minutes every day to write down the goal for the day on veganism, whether that be eating a vegan lunch or eating more veggies, or so on. This makes tasks and becoming vegan more achievable and in the future, you can flip through and see how much progress you made!

 

5. Lookup a new recipe every other day, even if you don’t make it

When you feel like you cannot continue with something, your brain needs a lot of inspiration. Food does this amazing, as both consuming and looking at pictures of organized food increases dopamine. When someone looks at a picture of a food item, it is more likely they would eat that item and foods similar to that. This applies here too for veganism, even if you can’t cook or bake the item, looking at recipes and pictures of appealing vegan foods will keep you motivated.

 

6. When grocery shopping, start with the non-dairy aisles and areas first

When shopping at the local Target, it's super easy to pick up non-vegan foods, making it harder to prepare vegan foods and switch to a vegan diet. It's perfectly alright if you do pick up non-vegan foods. Graduality is important, but starting with the non-dairy aisles will aid in the process of choosing vegan foods over non-vegan ones. Once you start going through vegan aisles, picking up any goodies you want, chances are you cross basically everything off your list and your cart is already full with all vegan-friendly items! You also never know what good foods you could find!

 

Substitutes and Brands

 

Living without dairy ice cream seems hard, but there are always substitutes! Many times people actually find the substitutes even better than the original. Vegan replications of dairy or meat products also tend to be healthier, with less added sugars in ice cream, and vitamins and protein in fake meats. Here are some substitutes and brands for common foods non-vegans eat. 

 

Milk

  • Almond Milk

    • Almond Milk includes many health benefits such as being heart-healthy, high protein, and high calcium. Environmental-wise, it uses the most water out of plant milks (significantly less than dairy), but utilizes very little land and produces one of the least amounts of CO2 emissions.

    • Our favorite Brands include Silk, Almond Breeze, and Califa. Local grocery store brands sell almond milk too. Almond milk is usually an option at cafes, including boba and coffee. 

  • Soy Milk

    • Soy Milk typically has the highest protein content of all plant milks. It also contains many other health benefits such as being great for muscle building and having vitamin D. Learn more about the myths in the FAQ. Soy milk does need far less land than dairy, but more than almond, however, uses very little water and has very little carbon emissions. 

    • Our favorite brands include Silk. Local grocery stores, such as Costco and Safeway brands also manufacture it! It’s available in every grocery store, and occasionally in cafes. 

  • Oat Milk

    • Oat milk aids digestion with its high fiber, has calcium, and is even mind-healthy, meaning it helps cognitive function! Environmentally, it is one of the most climate-friendly milks, with low carbon emissions and minimal water usage and land space. 

    • Our favorite brands include Planet Oat, Oatley, and Califia Farms Oat Milk. Califia Farms Oat Milk is one of the best brands (in our opinion) of oat milk out there. It has a perfect consistency: smooth, creamy, and not-too-liquidy. It has a sudden taste of oats, which makes it perfect to eat with oatmeal and cereal. It also tastes heavenly in coffee.  

  • Coconut Milk

    • Coconut Milk has tons of calcium! There is the liquid form of coconut milk as well as the solidified version. It tastes sweet but not too sweet, making it perfect for ice teas, boba, and smoothies. Thai iced tea uses it! The solid version is great for baking!

    • Our favorite brands include So Delicious and Thai Kitchen. So Delicious sells the liquid version, and Thai Kitchen sells the solid version. Local grocery store brands also sell it!

  • Rice Milk

    • Rice milk needs water but has low emissions and minimal land usage. It has great fiber and is awesome for allergies! Rice milk is utilized in many deserts and is very versatile.

    • Our favorite brands include Rice Dream and Pacific. Local grocery stores also sell and manufacture it for their brand, such as Trader Joe's. 

  • Cashew Milk

    • Cashew milk has high protein content and calcium. Many times it is used for baking, specifically for making things creamier. It has a very low total environmental impact as well!

    • Our favorite brands include Silk, So Delicious, and Pacific. 

 

Yogurt

  • Our favorite brands include So Delicious, Silk, Yoplait, Siggi’s, The Forager Project, and many more. A lot of dairy brands do make non-dairy yogurt! So Delicious specializes in coconut milk yogurts which taste sooo good. Silk has both almond milk and soy milk yogurt, and they are one of the creamiest yogurts we have ever had! Siggi’s and The Forager Project make vegan greek yogurt with different plant-based milks! 

 

Butter

  • Our favorite Brands include Myokos and Earth Balance. Both of these brands are good for different purposes; Myokos is far better for cooking, while Earth Balance is good for spreading on toast and eating with jam. (Even when I wasn’t vegan, I preferred Earth Balance to butter!) The one thing to remember is that Earth Balance is heavily salted, and so it isn’t as healthy as Mykonos. The consistency of both these products are very different as well: Myokos is very creamy, while Earth Balance has the same consistency as butter. Both of them melt really well! We highly recommend these products, and we hope you give them a try.


 

Cheese

  • Our favorite Brands include VioLife and Daiya. Both of them sell it in slices or shredded. They taste exactly the same as regular cheese! Daiya is better for foods like Mac and Cheese, and using their cheese shreds, while Violife is great for eating cooked, plain, or on crackers! Many of them also make cheese dips. 

Meats (all)

  • Beyond Burger 

    • One of the most popular, Beyond sells vegan sausages, patties, and nuggets.

  • Impossible 

    • High protein and perfect for burgers and pasta, the Impossible brand mimics many types of meat!

  • Gardein 

    • Gardein has plant-based crumbles, patties, and even more! It is completely vegan and their food is delicious to use everywhere. 

  • Boca

    • Boca replicates meats specifically, creating fake chicken patties or beef!

Ice cream

  • Our favorite Brands include So Delicious, Ben and Jerry’s, and Cado. So delicious really lives up to the name! It is typically half the amount of sugars and makes it in oat milk, almond milk, or coconut milk. 

  • Ben and Jerry’s Non-dairy ice cream is made with the same flavors of the dairy, just vegan and healthier! Typically, there is less sugar, less saturated fat, or trans fat!

  • Cado is an ice cream company that makes their ice cream with an avocado base. But from the taste, you would never be able to tell! Cado comes with half the amount of sugar than dairy brands, half the number of calories, and is made with the unsaturated fat from avocados, whereas dairy brands use the saturated fat from milk or cream. 

Honey

  • Veganism removes honey from the diet because it is an animal product. Instead of honey, there are other sweeteners you can use, such as Agave and Stevia. Local grocery stores always sell this!

 

A Special Recipe - The Best Vegan Tacos!

 

Ah yes, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Here is one of our favorite recipes that is delicious (sibling/child-tested!). Feel free to try it out, either with just yourself or with your families! These vegan tacos (makes around eight) has protein, carbs, iron, vitamin D, and calcium!

 

Ingredients: 

  • One can vegan enchilada sauce (available at local grocery stores) or make your own right here

  • One packet Violife (or Daiya) vegan cheddar cheese shreds

  • One packet Violife (or Daiya) vegan mozzarella cheese shreds

  • 8 Whole uncooked tortillas -- you can use more or less!

  • One onion

  • 3 Garlic Cloves

  • Two Tomatoes

  • One ear of corn

  • Two Cans of vegetarian/vegan refried beans (make sure it is not cooked in beef broth -- we like Rosarita’s Brand)

  • One and a half tablespoons vegetable oil

  • Pinch of salt

  • Pinch of cumin

  1. Preheat the oven to 360 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Chop garlic cloves and onion finely. Take the corn off the ear of corn and cut the tomatoes into small pieces. 

  3. On a skillet atop medium heat, pour the oil and let it heat. Gradually add the chopped onion. Stir occasionally, letting it cook for around five minutes.

  4. After 5 minutes, when the onions are starting to change color to a light caramelized color, add a pinch of salt, cumin, and any other spices or seasonings you would like. Gradually add the remaining vegetables in. Add oil if necessary. Cook for another 7-10 minutes.

  5. Once cooked, take the skillet of vegetables off the stove and transfer it into a bowl. Add the two cans of refried beans gradually into the cooked vegetables, slowly mixing them together. This will form a bean vegetable mix.

  6. Using another skillet or pan on medium heat, cook the tortillas. It is alright to undercook it a bit as it will go in the oven!

  7. Lay the tortillas down flat. Using a spoon, take the desired amount of bean and vegetable mixture (typically two large spoons per tortilla), and put it in the center of the tortilla. Spread the mixture evenly across just the middle section of the tortilla. Sprinkle a little bit of the vegan cheddar and mozzarella cheese on top of the mixture. Tightly roll the tortilla up, making sure none of the mixture spreads out. Set aside. Repeat with the remaining 7 tortillas.

  8. Open the can of the enchilada sauce. Pour half of the enchilada sauce on the baking sheet, and spread it evenly around. The enchilada sauce should be covering the bottom of the baking sheet!

  9. Take the eight tortillas and put them on top of the baking sheet covered in enchilada sauce. Drizzle the remaining enchilada sauce over the tortillas. Sprinkle with the vegan mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Add any extra bean mixture or toppings you would like.

  10. Cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil. Put in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.

  11. After around 25 minutes, remove the aluminum foil. Put the enchiladas back into the oven and bake for another ten minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are starting to have brown edges. 

  12. Take out the enchiladas and serve with the remaining bean mixture, and serve with vegan sour cream!

 

Celebs Who are Vegan!

 

Many celebrities are actually vegan and say it helped establish a proper lifestyle, making them feel better! Here is a list of a few vegan celebrities that many people have heard of.

  • Zac Effron

    • Zac Effron has reported that being vegan has given him more energy and feeling more alive. He announced that it was helpful for working out and carrying on more day-to-day tasks. 

  • Joaquin Phoenix

    • Joaquin Phoenix has been vegan since the age of three. He reported that when he was little, around the age of three, he saw fishermen fishing and thought it was a very cruel process. From that day onwards he decided to go vegan and be a huge animal rights activist. 

  • Ariana Grande

    • Ariana Grande has always been a huge animal rights activist. In 2013, she announced that she would be going vegan, and has been vegan ever since. She even added that she loves animals more than people.

  • Sia

    • The famous singer of Cheap Thrills has been vegan for quite some time, ever since she announced on Twitter that she was fully vegan. She reports that veganism has helped her feel happier and make a difference!

  • Benedict Cumberbatch

    • The Dr. Strange star has been vegan for more than three years now and brings it up in many of his interviews. During an interview, when asked if he had to eat any egg whites to stay in shape, he responded that he stays on a plant-based diet and enjoys it! He is also a big advocate for more vegan foods throughout the world. 

  • Natalie Portman

    • Natalie Portman has been a vegetarian since she was nine but switched over to veganism when older. She has been a vegan for more than 8 years. Portman has always advocated on the behalf of farm animals and pushed for others to try a vegan diet. Currently, her kids are vegan!

  • Emily Deschanel 

    • The American actor has always been passionate about animal rights, starting a club about it with a vegetarian friend in her old high school. She became vegan after learning the significant impact of dairy products on the environment. Since then, she has been making sure she participates in only ethical activities, even refraining from photoshoots. 

  • Kevin Smith

    • When Kevin Smith had a massive heart attack, his daughter suggested he try a vegan diet. Since then, he has been a strong vegan, reporting that it has helped him recover. He started becoming more of an animal rights activist and telling others about his vegan story. 

  • Lizzo

    • The Grammy-winning singer has been reportedly feeling “good as hell” due to her vegan lifestyle. Through a series of TikTok videos, she revealed her lifestyle switch to the public and started to talk about animal rights and the environmental impact of dairy. She has been sticking to only raw veganism meaning no animal by-products at all. 

  • Brad Pitt

    • Brad Pitt is a huge climate activist, appearing in ad campaigns for animal rights, Get Out the Vote, and being vocal on his support for meatless, and vegan diets. At the 2020 Golden Globes, he even announced publicly his support for veganism and how it helps make a difference!

 

FAQs

 

1. Doesn’t Soy Milk Give Cancer?

No, this is not true. Soy milk does not cause cancer at all. Many people associate breast cancer with soymilk and this is due to the plant having isoflavones, which is similar to the estrogen hormone. However, it's quite the opposite, according to Cancer.org and The Mayo Clinic; soy products actually lower the risk of breast and other cancers. So feel free to chill back and have some soy ice cream!

2. Does veganism help with weight loss? How can it make me lose weight quickly?

This is one that frequently pops up, and we cannot stress it enough. Veganism is a lifestyle, not a diet, and should not be used for quick weight loss. Diet culture industries push for specific unattainable weight goals, unfortunately, using veganism and older cultures to do so. Weight loss can be an effect of veganism for some people, but weight loss is not necessary, and it is not guaranteed that you will lose weight. Therefore, the motivation for veganism should not be weight loss, but for another reason of your own!

 

3. Is it good for the long term?

Yep, veganism is great for any time frame! It's like any other lifestyle, such as meat consumption and vegetarianism. Once you find a groove that works for you, veganism works as long as you want!

 

4. Will it make me allergic to dairy?

Our bodies are not originally meant to ingest dairy after toddler years and adolescence. This is why the majority of the population is lactose intolerant. However, this does not mean that it will make you allergic to dairy products; it differs depending on the person, some might, some might not. If reintroducing dairy, make sure that you do so gradually. (If you want to learn more about dairy products, watch the Netflix documentary “Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret”!)

 

Veganism Dos and Don'ts!

 

Some helpful things to remember when transitioning to veganism! This was written by a vegan on what she wished she had heard, so keep these in mind!

Do make vegan friends

Making Vegan friends is always fun and useful! Having others in the same boat as you helps you have more motivation to keep going. It's also very fun to experiment with different vegan recipes with friends!

 

Don’t beat yourself up for eating a non-vegan food

Everyone makes mistakes and it's totally alright to crave non-vegan foods! Transitioning to a vegan lifestyle takes dedication and is gradual so don’t beat yourself up for eating non-vegan food. In fact, if you are craving non-vegan food, go eat it! Restricting only leads to more cravings and binging, taking away from a balanced lifestyle. 

 

Do research

Research is key when it comes to any lifestyle change. This veganism kit has a lot of information, but not all! There are so many recipes out there and make sure that this is something you are committed to before starting on it. 

 

Don’t buy in large quantities at first

When switching any lifestyle, make sure that you buy products in small quantities in case you don’t like it. Food waste is responsible for the majority of methane emissions in landfills, so make sure even if the food is vegan, it does not go to waste!

 

Do celebrate!

Veganism is not an easy thing to achieve, and whether you are fully vegan, half vegan, or just starting, celebrate your current accomplishments. Look back at your journal or in the past few days to see how far you have come.

 

Don’t give up because someone made fun of you

Many times, in the beginning, people tend to judge the reason for switching to veganism. A lot of common misconceptions are that it is for weight loss or for weak people. However, your body is your own and you decide what you want your lifestyle to be!

 

Do experiment -- even if it doesn’t work!

It's alright if veganism does not work out for you; different lifestyles work differently for everyone! Remember, veganism is not one size fits all, and there are so many variations. You can still be half vegan and help the planet. Experiment with veganism even if you think it's not going to work -- worst case scenario you discover a new food you like!

 

Final Thoughts

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to being a vegan! Firstly, feel free to contact us at art@ecolearners.org with any questions or concerns you have! We would love to help you out! Now for some final thoughts for you all as you begin your journey to limit animal products:

 

  • Challenge your biases! Several Asian and Middle Eastern cultures have a long history of being vegan, but sometimes we forget that vegans aren’t always white, skinny, and obsessed with kale (see “Your Stereotypical Vegan”). It’s important to acknowledge and remember PoC’s within the vegan community, and recognize the origins of veganism as well. Next time you picture a vegan, question why you think of that specific type of person!

  • Experiment with your favorite recipes! You can make anything vegan by simply using substitutes. This allows you to continue to enjoy your favorite foods! 

  • Spread the word! Become an advocate for the planet. You don’t even have to do it verbally: instead of barbequing burgers for your judgemental family, maybe make a really delicious vegan pizza! 

  • Be proud of yourself! By being vegan--or by limiting your meat intake to once a week--you’re doing an amazing thing for the planet, and you’re helping us fight climate change every single day. 

  • Think of other ways you can contribute to the planet! The list of things you can do doesn’t stop at being vegan. Try to lessen the amount of water, electricity, and gas you use. Taking shorter (and maybe colder if you can handle it) showers, turning off the lights every time you leave the room, and walking instead of driving will have a much higher impact than you think!

  • Follow our instagram and subscribe to our youtube! Support EcoLearners by giving us more followers and views. You will learn more about climate change issues, and the impact of cutting animal products from our diets on the planet. We would love it if you donate!

Thank you for reading this guide to becoming a vegan, and check out our other modules! 

 
 

Comments

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(1) In 1944, cases of tuberculosis in cows were particularly high. Watson used this to his advantage to get people to stop eating cows, and eventually meat in general.

(2) The sole purpose of veganism should not be for weight loss. The vegan lifestyle is different to a fad-diet version of veganism which our diet culture pushes to meet patriarchal beauty standards. Though weight loss can be beneficial to some, it is not necessarily always for all. Veganism does not guarantee weight loss and should be practised as every other balanced lifestyle.

(3)  That being said, there are instances where some people need to have meat once a week to get the nutrients. If this applies to you, then yes! Eat meat! Our purpose is to simply lessen the amount of meat we eat on a weekly basis. Whether you go all the way is up to you.