Living vegan

Do you believe that non-human animals shouldn’t be harmed needlessly?
Do you believe that animals matter morally?

If you just answered yes to either of those two questions the only logical thing to do is commit to living a cruelty-free vegan lifestyle.

What do vegans eat?

This is a question we get a lot, and the answer is a huge range of plant-based foods. But it is not so much what vegans DO eat, the quicker answer is what we DON’T eat.

Here is a list of foods that vegans avoid:

  • Animal flesh including red meat, poultry and fish
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Honey
  • Other animal by-products

Almost any recipe can be redesigned to replace animal products with plant-based products, once you get the hang of it, it becomes second-nature! By cooking vegan many people realise that their food has more flavour, texture and variety than they had ever experienced before.

You can get all of the nutrients you need from plant foods easily if you eat a varied diet and veganism has the added bonus of cutting out harmful saturated fats and animal cholesterol.
The American Dietetics Association states that “..vegan diets are healthful and nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”

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Clothing

Vegans also avoid buying materials that are derived from animals.

These include:

  • Wool
  • Silk
  • Cashmere
  • Angora
  • Leather
  • Duck and goose down and feathers

We choose instead natural plant derived fibres such as cotton, hemp and linen or synthetic materials.

Cosmetics and Personal Care

Vegans avoid buying products that contain animal-derived ingredients or that have been tested on animals.

Entertainment

Entertainment based on the exploitation of animals is also unnecessary and should be avoided. Boycott and voice your opposition to: rodeos, circuses (with animals), horse racing, greyhound racing, zoos and theme parks with animals etc.

Companion Animals

It is typical among vegans, and other caring individuals, to choose companion animals from shelters and pounds. This is done for the simple fact that these animals are in need of a home and are not being bred for the purpose of making money. Any breeding is done at the expensive of the animal’s well-being. This is particularly true of dogs.

Puppy farms exist all over Australia and they churn out puppies at a rate of knots to satisfy the demand for “cute” puppies that get sold through “pet shops” and the like. Often these puppies grow up to be dogs and the appeal ceases. They are then neglected or “surrendered” to a shelter because they are “too much work” to look after properly. The puppy farms themselves are some of the worst “factory farms” where dogs are kept in appalling conditions, and forced to produce litter after litter of puppies to meet “consumer demand”.

Demand something better for companion animals. Choose you next friend from a shelter or pound and give them a new life.

How to Live Vegan in Tasmania

Meeting other vegans

For supporting on becoming vegan to meet other vegans, to a look at the Facebook group: Tasmanian Vegans. This is a supportive group that can answer all your questions on where to shop and where to find delicious vegan foods in Tasmania as well as running regular meet-ups and pot lucks to meet like-minded individuals and share amazing foods.

If you aren’t connected to Facebook we also have an email:
tasmanianvegans@gmail.com where you can request to be notified of up and coming meet-ups.

Tasmanian Vegans also has a sister Facebook group: Vegan Cook and Share Tassie. This is where we post all of our vegan food appreciation for meal inspiration and share recipes.

Cheat sheets for some vegan products:

What is vegan at Coles (keep in mind that this list changes)?
www.veggieful.com/2013/02/vegan-groceries-at-coles-australiawww.veggieful.com/2013/02/vegan-groceries-at-coles-australia

What is vegan at Woolworths?
www.veggieful.com/2012/07/vegan-groceries-at-woolworths-australia

Vegan cheat-sheet including health and beauty, cleaning agents and foods
www.livingvegan.com.au/vegan-cheat-sheet
avegansmiles.com.au/veganproducts

Other Tasmania Specific Resources

Vegetarian Tasmania website: www.tasveg.org

Vegan Tasmania website: www.vegantasmania.com

Other Vegan Resources
Assistance in making the transition

veganeasy.org
vegankit.com

www.pcrm.org/health/diets/kickstart/kickstart-programs

Why Vegan?

As Animals Tasmania is an animal advocacy organisation, much of our education is dedicated to the protection of non-human animals. There are however many other very good reasons to live vegan for the planet, for humanity and for your own health as well as the animals.

Vegan for the Planet

Every year humans kill over 50 billion land animals worldwide to feed themselves. This means that every year we are keeping 50 billion extra animals on the land consuming valuable crops and grains, and water, and creating waste. Raising animals for food uses a crazy 30% of the Earth’s entire land mass and they create 49,400kg of waste every second! This waste pollutes water supplies, rendering them unusable. Recently it was stated that 51% of gases causing climate change are attributable to animal agriculture (animal foods).

This is a highly inefficient means of acquiring nutrition as every 1kg of meat requires between 8 and 16kg of plant foods to be fed to the animal. This means that on top of the room that the animal itself takes up in housing etc we are using 10 times more land to grow our food than is necessary. To do this we are cutting down trees and destroying natural habitats. The cattle industry is one of the biggest drivers for the felling of the Amazon rainforest along with soy production. That said, over 60% of soy is grown to feed cattle.

Raising animals for food also wastes phenomenal amounts of fresh water which we are increasingly becoming aware is not an unlimited resource. It takes more than 41,200 litres of water to produce one kilogram of meat. This means that you would save more water by refusing to eat 450g of meat than you would if you didn’t shower for six months. A vegan diet is estimated to require 1,135L of water a day while a meat-eating diet requires a crazy 15,140L.

Land degradation, destruction of natural habitats, acid rain, habitat acidification, pollution of water sources, ocean dead-zones, climate change, fresh water shortage, you name it, it can be helped in a massive way by adopting a plant-based diet.

Resources:

World Watch says 51% of climate change is associated with animal agriculture: Livestock_and_Climate_Change.pdf

The UN urges people to limit their animal consumption and adopt a more plant-based diet: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/jun/02/un-report-meat-free-diet

Fact sheets on resources used and waste produced in the production of animal products: http://www.culinaryschools.org/yum/vegetables/
http://www.veganoutreach.org/whyvegan/environment.html

Please consider watching the movie ‘Cowspiracy’ to learn more about the impact of our diets on the environment.

Vegan for the People

As mentioned above, we feed between 8 and 16kg of grains etc to animals in order to procure 1kg of flesh. If, instead of cycling our nutrients through an animal in this highly inefficient manner, we simply ate the plant foods directly, it is estimated that we would have 70% more food in the world’s supply which would be enough to feed an extra 4 billion humans. Now considering that there are an estimated 925 million people worldwide suffering from starvation, it could be surmised that we have in fact found the answer to world hunger!

The Earth without a doubt provides enough resources to meet every person’s need, it can’t, however, meet every person’s greed.

Resources:

http://gentleworld.org/could-veganism-end-world-hunger/

Vegan for your Health

The evidence regarding the health effects of a plant-based diet is still being gathered and many people notice surprising significant improvements in their health after committing to a plant-based diet. Many report a decrease in headaches and other pains, decreasing anxiety and depression, a greater sense of vitality and many other amazing effects. There are different experiences for everyone. As this is a large section we have linked to a researched journal article that explores the health benefits of a plant-based diet deeply.

In general, vegetarians typically enjoy a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), obesity, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. A vegan diet appears to be useful for increasing the intake of protective nutrients and phytochemicals and for minimizing the intake of dietary factors implicated in several chronic diseases. In a recent report, different plant food groups were rated with respect to their metabolic-epidemiologic evidence for influencing chronic disease reduction.

According to the evidence criteria of the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization (WHO/FAO), cancer risk reduction associated with a high intake of fruit and vegetables was assessed as probable or possible, risk of CVD reduction as convincing, whereas lower risk of osteoporosis was assessed as probable. The evidence for a risk-reducing effect of consuming whole grains was assessed as possible for colorectal cancer and probable for type 2 diabetes and CVD. The evidence for a risk-reducing effect of consuming nuts was assessed as probable for CVD.”

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/89/5/1627S.full

Winston, Craig 2009, ‘Health effects of vegan diets’, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 89, No. 5, Page 1627S-1633S