Veganism is a lifestyle that excludes the use of animal products and by-products for food, clothing and other purposes. Vegans reject animal exploitation and cruelty, espousing the belief that animals should not be treated as commodities. The vegan diet was first defined in 1944, and interest in this lifestyle has increased tremendously. (https://www.vegansociety.com/try-vegan/definition-veganism)
1. Thou shall not kill, exploit or harm animals unnecessarily.
This is the basic precept of veganism: avoidance of any harm to sentient beings whenever possible and practicable, including in the choice of food, clothing and other purposes in the home and at work. In the pursuit of nutritious food, strict vegans may avoid dairy products. Avoiding the use of animal by-products such as leather, goose down and pelt may be part of the lifestyle choices of vegans.
2. Thou shall think before you act.
It is easy to get carried away by the philosophy of strict veganism. However, there are many ways to practice veganism. If adhering to stringent rules leads to unhappiness, dissatisfaction and possibly eschewing the lifestyle altogether, consider tweaking the practices, making sure that the products used are sourced and processed in ethical ways.
3. Thou shall not renounce vitamins and supplements.
Aside from advocating for animals, the vegan lifestyle is also focused on promoting health and general well-being. Pay attention to plant sources for iron and vitamin B12 that are typically available from meat and meat products. These sources include spinach, miso and fermented foods. When considering supplementation, scan the ingredient list to make sure that it is vegan friendly. (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/vegetarian-diet/art-20046446?pg=2)
4. Thou shall not favor one food group to the exclusion of other essential food groups.
Diversity in the intake of nutritious food for vegans is based on variety, and taking advantage of this rich array of choices enhances satisfaction with the lifestyle. For instance, a diet based largely on vegan chocolate to the exclusion of everything else cannot be considered healthy even if it conforms with vegan guidelines.
5. Thou shall not take the easy path to vegan choices.
With the popularity of the vegan lifestyle, grocery chains have made it easy to find vegan products. However, something labeled vegan may not be the best choice, depending on how the product was sourced and handled. Industrial processing can strip away nutrients, so whenever possible, shop local and opt for regional suppliers to ensure that produce is as fresh as possible.
6. Thou shall not shun fat.
Cold-pressed, high quality oil should be part of the diet. The body needs fat to process fat-soluble vitamins and minerals especially those that are available from raw food. Plant sources for fat include tofu, full-fat soymilk, avocado, nuts and all plant-derived oils. (http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09324.html)
7. Thou shall not take the Earth in vain.
Vegans are concerned about the ethical aspects of living as well as the environmental impact of their lifestyle choices. For this reason, vegans are self-aware when it comes to sustainable practices. The Earth’s resources are finite, and conserving these resources for future generations is one of the causes backed by vegans. Environmental activism begins at home through recycling, upcycling and efficient use of resources.
8. Thou shall not sow discord among carnivores and omnivores.
Differences in lifestyle and dietary choices should not be a reason for discord. Let the carnivores and the omnivores enjoy their own smorgasbord.
9. Thou shall show tolerance for everyone.
It takes different types to make the world and different ideas to keep it going. Pursue your bliss without causing grief or harm to anyone. Listen to what others have to say even if their practices and beliefs are radically different.
10. Thou shall share whenever the opportunity arises.
The most efficient way to let others know of the benefits of the vegan lifestyle is to share it with them. Open your kitchen and share a vegan spread with family and friends. Enlighten them on the advantages of the raw food diet by sharing nutritious food based on vegan recipes.
Veganism is a celebration of life. Embrace it, and share the joy with those around you.