Sunday, September 19, 2021

What it means to be Vegan

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Bailey Woodean
I have been a freelance writer for more than 4 years, a mom for more than 2 years, and a wife for just under a year. I am currently a student in a cooking and catering program with the intention of expanding my knowledge of the culinary business. I then plan to take this knowledge to properly write about and critique restaurants and food. Writing to you from Niagara Falls, NY, thanks for joining me on the ride!
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I am far from a vegan and I am not sure I could ever commit to being one. Let’s face it, there is just too much good food in the world! But, I do know people that claim to be vegans and I started to wonder what that really means. So, I decided to become informed on the subject and here is what I found out!

What is veganism?

At first, I thought that veganism was purely a dietary decision that some people make. And in part it is! The diet of a true vegan means that you do not consume any animal products, including meat, eggs, honey, fish, dairy or shellfish. Their diet is almost entirely plant-based. And some people that consider themselves “vegan” may stop there. But, there is much more beyond the long list of dietary restrictions to being a true vegan.

For example, vegans try very hard to avoid using products that were tested on animals in any way (regardless of how well the animals are treated). This means that when shopping for personal care products, health products, and beauty products, they seek the label on the packaging that reads similarly to “no animal testing done”.

Vegans also avoid wearing any clothing or other materials that were made from any part of an animal. This includes down, wool, reptile skins, etc.

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Finally, vegans also avoid any event that may encourage animals or pets to perform or be used in any way for entertainment. So, they likely avoid circuses, zoos, dog shows, and various other animal forward entertainment.

The breakdown

So, you may be scratching your head and thinking, what does a vegan eat? After all, animals and animal products are found in most foods. This is a valid concern but, the answer is rather simple. The diet of a vegan is primarily plant-based. Think of it as being a next-level vegetarian! Here is an example of a vegan recipe.

Cauliflower Tacos with Yum Yum Sauce

https://www.acouplecooks.com/crispy-cauliflower-tacos/

Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Make the Crispy Breaded Cauliflower (about 40 minutes total; use the remaining time to complete the steps below.)
  2. If using purchased refried beans, taste and if needed, mix with 1/2 teaspoon cumin and/or a pinch or two kosher salt. (Or, you can make our Supremely Simple Refried Black Beans but for this recipe, we preferred using store-bought so we could focus on the cauliflower!)
  3. Thinly slice the cabbage, enough for 2 cups. Mix it with 2 tablespoons lime juice and a pinch or two of salt. Allow it to stand at room temperature until serving.
  4. Make the Yum Yum Sauce.
  5. Warm tortillas, or char them by placing them on grates above an open gas flame on medium heat for a few seconds per side, flipping with tongs, until they are slightly blackened and warm.
  6. Chop the cilantro for a garnish.
  7. To serve, place refried beans in a tortilla, top with cabbage, breaded cauliflower, Yum Yum sauce, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges to spritz prior to serving. (If you have leftover cauliflower, you can reheat them in a 350F oven for 10 minutes, flipping once.)

Now, you may read this recipe and think “wow, that sounds delicious”! I had that very thought (in fact, I plan to make it after the holidays). The truth of the matter is that a vegan diet doesn’t mean a boring diet. It may even mean your eating (and living) cleaner and healthier than before!

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