The Growing Lifestyle Change
Veganism. We've heard about it since it's surge in popularity with the alternative culture movement in the '60s. We see it in specials on TV. Hear about it's benefits from vocal Vegans. Read the books that proclaim its health benefits. Watch the protest movements standing up for animal rights and against factory farming. See the food replacements on the shelves of the grocery stores. So, what exactly is it to be vegan? What could possibly drive someone to give up all food products? How do you "go Vegan" so your body doesn't suffer? And how can Edge of the Woods help you in your quest to become or keep Vegan?
Definition of Veganism
Vegans, quite simply, do not eat or use any product that has been derived from an animal. This includes not just the meat given up by vegetarians, but eggs, milk and milk products, honey, leather, fur and suede. There is some variation on veganism, with some vegans consuming products containing leather, for example.
Why go Vegan?
Vegans will highlight many reasons to adopt a plant-based lifestyle. The reasons can be:
1.) Ethical - many do not support the mistreatment of animals in industrial farms.
2.) Environmental - some believe that the animal byproduct system is harmful to the environment, and that a plant-based system would leave less of a footprint.
3.) Medical - books abound on reports that a vegan diet will reduce the spread of cancer including, The China Study and Crazy, Sexy Diet.
4.) Wellness - many vegans argue that animal-based proteins are harmful, causing everything from acne to sinus infections, and that by adopting a plant-based diet, you are doing your mind, body, and soul a favor.
And many others. Ask any Vegan. Most will be happy to talk about why they changed their lifestyle.
But what about protein?
Protein sources abound in non-animal products. Vegans will eat tempeh - fermented soy beans bound together into a patty -, seitan - concentrated wheat gluten that tastes "meaty" and is the source of products like fake beef jerky and fakin' bacon -, tofu - coagulated soy milk pressed into blocks -, and a variety of grains, nuts, grains, peas, and beans for complete sources of protein. There are many athletes, including ultra-marathoners and Ironman competitors - who are vegan.
Any other concerns?
Many vegans will need to supplement with Vitamin B12, which is not normally found in plant-based food. It can be obtained through fermented foods, edible forms of seaweed, and somoe cruciferous vegetables and grain. Some vegans will also need to supplement Iron and Calcium, if they do not follow a diet rich in vegetables, legumes, and grains - all natural sources of these vitamins.
What about my favorite foods?
There are many products at Edge of the Woods that can help you in your vegan lifestyle. Many alternate milks exist - oat, hemp, almond, soy, hazelnut, coconut - and products containing these milks can be found as well. You can find almond yogurt and soy butter in the dairy section; chocolate hazelnut milk at the end of aisle two; coconut and other dairy free ice creams in the frozen section; vegan cheeses and toffuti in the cheese section; an assortment of vegan baked goods and pastries in the bakery; vegan options in the Hot Bar... The list goes on.
Here at Edge of the Woods, we are committed to helping you live your most healthy lifestyle, without the deprivation. So come on in, and enjoy a Vegan Pizza (they can be made using vegan cheese on Pizza days in the bakery) or a vegan tempeh reuben from the Juice Bar! You will be glad you did.