Nutrition

What is a vegan?

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A vegan (also sometimes called a "strict vegetarian") is someone who does not eat anything that comes from animals. This includes not just meat and fish but also eggs, dairy, and honey. Vegans also usually do not use products such as fur or leather.

There are lots of reasons why people choose to be a vegan, such as not feeling right about eating meat and other animal products, or wanting to watch out for certain health concerns associated with eating those things. Vegans eat mostly fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and soy products! These foods are able to supply vegans with lots of healthy nutrients like protein and iron (found in beans, nuts, and soy), calcium (found in leafy greens like kale and spinach), vitamins and minerals, and lots of different food choices. Vegans eat lots of foods that are similar to the foods that non-vegans eat; there are recipes for making all kinds of vegan-friendly foods, including cookies, pizza, pancakes, and more!

Exploration

Exploration: Very Vegan!

Have a grown-up help you pick out a vegan recipe to try making together! How does the vegan food item taste compared to the ones you usually eat? What kinds of ingredients does your vegan recipe use which seem different than the ingredients you find in non-vegan recipes??

Further Information

When it comes to getting all the right nutrients, vegans sometimes need to make sure they are getting enough of Vitamin B12, which naturally occurs almost exclusively in foods that come from animals. In order to get their recommended amount of B12, vegans can take a dietary supplement or eat foods that are specially fortified to have it. While some studies have shown that plant foods like seaweed contain B12, current research indicates that the B12 in these foods is probably not able to be absorbed by the human body.

Sources

Vegetarian diet: How to get the best nutrition. 2008. MayoClinicVegetarian Diet. MedLine Plus. 2009. United States National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.Veganism in a Nutshell. Vegetarianism in a Nutshell. The Vegetarian Resource Group