Veganism is only continuing to become a more popular choice, not only in North America, but all around the world. More people are becoming interested in it and opting to take on this lifestyle, but the big question people often have is - what is a vegan?
Being a vegan basically means you are a very strict vegetarian. You follow the same general principles as a vegetarian by not eating meat, but up the ante a bit too. Vegans also exclude dairy products from their diet, therefore abstaining from the use of all animal products.
People often make the mistake of assuming a vegan and vegetarian diet is the same thing, when it is not. Of course, just to make it harder on all of us, there are other side versions of the vegetarian lifestyle to worry about too, including lacto-vegetarian and ovo-vegetarian. The first refers to one who does include dairy products in their diet but not eggs, while the latter is basically the opposite, including eggs but excluding meat and dairy.
To follow a strict vegan diet, it can take quite an investment of time and effort on your part. Avoiding meat, eggs and dairy products seems relatively easy enough, but avoiding all animal-derived ingredients is often a lot easier said than done. You need to read labels and do research to ensure the products you're consuming not only are meat, egg and dairy free, but also not tested on or derived from animals. Vegans also include these morals in their general lifestyle, such as in the clothes they wear and skin or hair care products they use. It can take some work and is certainly a big adjustment for most people to make, but the payoff is huge if these are food preferences and morales you take seriously.
There is no single reason for someone to become a vegan. Man or woman, old or young, whether you choose to follow a vegan lifestyle for moral, religious, or health reasons, it is up to you and is your decision. At least now you know what it means to be a vegan and can more easily decide if this is the right way of living for you.