(what's the difference?):
Q. What's the difference
between Vegetarian and Vegan?
A. A Vegan won't
eat any products that are derived from animals, including eggs
and dairy products. You won't find honey on a Vegan's shopping
You may ask "Why those products, when the animal hasn't been
killed in the process? Well ... many farming processes used to
"harvest" these products are inhumane and cause great
stress on the animals. For example, egg laying hens are often
farmed in appallingly cramped living conditions, while dairy cows
are kept in a permanent state of pregnancy, which means they are
artificially inseminated. Their foetuses are aborted to create
a constant yield of milk. In fact, a dairy cow will only live
for around 4 years of her normal 20+ year lifespan. Once the amount
of milk a dairy cow produces declines, it is unprofitable to keep
her alive so she is sent to slaughter.
Vegans will not use or wear leather goods or any product derived
from dead animals. In fact, to be a proper vegetarian you should
also abstain from buying leather goods because if you don't eat
animals for ethical / compassionate reasons you shouldn't wear
"dead ones" either. Remember, the humane ethics are
identical in both cases.
For more info about other terms associated with veggie-based diets
(and others that you shouldn't confuse vegetarianism with), read
step No 2 - becoming veggie
Q. What does "Veg*n"
it's an abbreviation which may have originally been devised through
the origins of this site, Veg*n is now often used across many
veggie organizations and websites. It's simply a shortened way
to describe "vegetarians" and "vegans" combined
into one word, and its easier when describing
an issue that simultaneously covers both plant-based diet options.
(what is vegetarian cheese?):
Q. Why are some
cheeses OK for vegetarians and others not?
A. Many cheeses contain
animal rennet, which is an enzyme often made from the stomach
of calves and lambs. For example, some cheddar and traditional
parmesan cheeses contain animal rennet.
is also obtained from vegetables, such as cardoons. In
the UK more cheddar cheeses are being made using vegetable derived
rennet (but check the labelling to make sure). There is absolutely
no difference in the taste between cheeses that are made with
either animal or vegetable rennet. Animal rennet is a cheap byproduct
of animal slaughter.
The other thing to watch out with cheeses is if "pepsin"
has been used in the making process. Pepsin is an enzyme from
the stomach lining of pigs and is also used in preparation of
some other foods containing
protein. The problem is that "pepsin" may not show up
on a cheese ingredients listing, even if the cheese doesn't contain
ALWAYS look on the label when buying cheese to make sure it's
suitable for veggies. Remember, if you eat cheeses that contain
dead animals you are NOT vegetarian.
See more on food suitability
Wine and Beer
(what is vegetarian wine?):
Note for VeggieGlobal Kids - This is for grownups!
so pass on the info to your veggie parents or guardians - because
they need to know!
Q. Why are some wines
and beers OK for vegetarians and others not?
A. Many wines and
some beers contain clearing agents made from parts of animals
and fish. For example, wine usually undergoes a process called
"fining". Centuries of tradition in wine making have developed
many different ways to apply fining. In its most natural course
this is achieved by letting the soapy appearance of wine disperse
simply by gravity. However gravity fining takes time and isn't
favoured commercially. So to
speed up the process, fining agents
are commonly used instead and include animal derived:
In fact, a very few red wines still
contain blood. Because there are so many winemakers, large and
small, throughout the world - and some of these more obscure than
others - it's hard to determine where and when blood might be
used as a fining process or red wine a deeper colour. The use
of blood in wine-making is banned in France and USA.
Isinglass is mainly used in
the fining of beers, often at the end of the brewing process.
Isinglass is often sourced from the bladders of sturgeon fish
- but can also be derived from cod. The dramatic decline of both
these species means they are at high risk of becoming extinct.
Sturgeon (from which caviar comes from) are a focus of concern
for CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)
At VeggieGlobal we understand how difficult it is to determine
which wines are veggie and which aren't - but we urge you to always
ask your wine/beer merchant if they can tell you if the wine/beer
you choose is vegetarian or not. Surprisingly, many wine/beer
merchants don't even realize that many of these drinks contain
dead animals! And remember, just because you see wines labelled
as "organic" certainly doesn't mean it's animal friendly!
See more on food suitability at "Watch
Protein, Calcium &
Q. Do I need protein,
iron and calcium to stay healthy?
A. Most of them,
but read all of the following ...
IMPORTANT NOTE: the
following information is for guidance only. If you suffer from
any nutritional deficiency or medical condition relative to your
diet, you should seek advice from your medical practitioner to
make sure that your vegetarian diet is tailored to your individual
complete myth that veg*ns lack proper proteins.
Protein itself is not essential to your diet (unless you
are a body builder), but slow releasing carbohydrates are essential
such as brown rice and pasta. The natural intake of proteins ingested
through a normal vegetarian diet is more than enough for an average
person. Think about it ... a cow eats just grass, but a steak
is full of protein! In other words, we create protein from within
our own bodies. Protein simply adds bulk and this is why meat-eaters
are normally fatter than veggies
- but even vegetarians can be podgy too! (By the way, if you are
an overweight vegetarian, then exercise gives quicker results
than if you are a meat eater.)
A report by the
British Lancet said
that animal fat consumption raises the risk of breast cancer among
women, but vegetable fats do not.
Calcium intake can
be essential and is traditionally found in dairy produce, milk
for example. This has always been considered a convenient source
of calcium, but if you are moving away from dairy products, there
are soya, rice, oat, nut and coconut milk-like products available
which fortified with calcium. However, when you buy soya products,
make sure that the soy beans the manufacturer uses are not from
unregulated plantations created by destroying rain forests and
subsequently the animals that lived there.
In fact, green leafy vegetables and fortified orange juice also
provide plentiful amounts of calcium and with far fewer calories.
In a study of American children between 9 and 14 it was found
that cows milk leads to significant weight gain. It was also shown
that most children of Asian and African origins are lactose intolerant.
based supplements may be necessary for some people. (Check with
your doctor or dietitian) If so, make sure to source calcium supplements
that are suitable for vegetarians.
Note: Only buy supplements which
are not encased in gelatin based capsules. Always read the label
contents for vegetarian suitability.
Iron. Most importantly, with
any vegetarian diet, keep up your iron intake.
Eat plenty of dark green vegetables i.e. broccoli,
spinach and green salads, preferably eaten with tomatoes which
contains vitamin C. Vitamin C helps absorb iron into the body.
Or follow an iron rich meal with oranges, other citrus fruits
or juices. You'll find
more details on this at our nutrition
TIP: Don't boil your vegetables
or microwave them for too long! This destroys nearly 100 percent
of all the nutrients. Lightly steam vegetables instead - or microwave
for just two or three minutes maximum ... this way they will only
loose around 18 percent of their goodness.
Note: The Glyceamic Index
is an important reference to help get you through a full day without
your all important blood sugar levels dropping. You'll find details
on this at our nutrition
Q. When food is labelled
organic (or Bio) does it mean it's automatically suitable for
Organic is the trendy buzz word - now over-hyped by many manufacturers.
In Europe you'll see the term "Bio" which means the
same thing as "Organic". In many cases, things which
contain animal products are advertised as organic or bio. Don't
be fooled into thinking that you are being ethically conscientious
just because you eat only organic foods ... half of them might
have cost the life of an animal. Organic is a great movement in
principle, but use your initiative to see through the hype and
therefore understand the ethical and humane advantages of its
Organic standards differ greatly depending on which country you
live in and which standards organisation is tied in with the product.
Many products are just called organic or bio but with no specific
regulation being applied - so watch out for products claiming
to be organic which aren't!
Whatever the contentions surrounding the organic or bio revolution,
VeggieGlobal encourages you to choose organic fruit and vegetables
whenever you can - Organic contains far more nutrients and your
body doesn't have to work so hard to rid itself of all the artificial
chemicals normally found in non-organic fruit and veg. A healthier
choice all round.
Clothing and Veg*ns
Q. What Can I Wear?
you are going through a dilemma about vegetarian / vegan clothing,
its worth considering VeggieGlobal's own "responsible vegetarian"
philosophy about this.
In fact, ethically minded vegetarians certainly shouldn't buy
new leather. However, some vegetarians might argue that you could
buy second hand items that contain leather (more on this later).
vegans choose not to wear any leather, wool or silk, most being
byproducts of farmed animal slaughter. Instead, more responsible
type vegans may wear organic cottons, hemp and other clothing
made from plant derivatives.* Other
apparel, technically suitable for vegans, are things such
as synthetic fleece and non-leather shoes; products often derived
From the outset, these types of apparel are far from being an
environmentally-friendly answer to avoiding animal-based clothing.
One of the current trends is wearing fleece-based clothes made
from recycled plastic
green ... but it isn't. Every time non-natural fiber clothing
like this is washed they
shed large amounts of microplastics down the drain; pollutants
which end up in oceans and rivers and are ingested by marine organisms
and subsequently the natural food chain consisting of mollusks,
fish, birds and mammals. There is continually growing evidence
that microplastics are causing a large-scale decline in marine-life
and all subsequent species which are linked within its food chain.
what is the most environmentally friendly answer for responsible
shoes or clothing derived from animals might be decades old, hard-core
vegans still won't consider this an environmentally suitable alternative.
VeggieGlobal would argue that at this volatile time in humans
management of the planet's resources, the purchasing and wearing
of vintage clothing (yes, the trendy word for old cloths) is perhaps
the most environmentally acceptable choice, including old leather,
wool, silk etc.** Buying
vintage means you are technically, and somewhat morally, not directly
responsible for the animal's death as it was slaughtered as an
action of the item's first owner. The first owner purchased it
newly manufactured and therefore approved it's death so he or
she could use it. So the consequences or cause of the animal's
death was not due to your action buying such items second hand.
For example, used cars with leather upholstery is a buying choice
that hangs somewhat precariously on the edge of animal ethics
Vegetarians might also feel justified in buying leather goods
made from animals which have died from natural causes.
No problem perhaps? But what about the message it sends out to
people who see you wearing such products but who won't realise
that it was derived from an "ethically" natural death
and so they assume you are a "hypocritical" vegetarian!
Back to vintage options ... A
beautifully decorated silk dress or leather handbag from the 1920's
(both biodegradable) which are bought, cherished and passed on
perhaps for another 100 years, quickly starts to look the most
sustainable and ecologically acceptable option against a fleece
scarf and "veggie" shoes made of pollution-creating
petrochemicals. VeggieGlobal suggests you set a threshold date
for yourself when buying
vintage clothes; for example the year 1970. Buy whatever long-wearing
anytime before 1970 (except
fur, snakeskin, crocodile etc.) even if it contains farmed wool,
leather or silk. Don't buy anything new or old after your threshold
date which contains any animal products and try your best to avoid
new non-animal derived non-biodegradable apparel which contributes
to environmental damage.
made from hemp, organic cotton, bamboo and, to a lesser extent,
rayon / viscose, which undergoes extensive chemical-based processing
to become fiber (Some sources of tree cellulose for rayon have
been linked to rain forest destruction). With all natural occurring
fibers, including hemp and bamboo etc., it is important to determine
where the material was "grown" and make sure you only
buy products made using fibres sourced from plantations which
have not destroyed
rain forests or savannas to create the growing areas.
Don't forget that silk is made from creatures that were killed
to make it - silkworms in fact.
Fur of any age is a contention due to the hyperbole regarding
fur as a fashion statement and its ongoing black-market roots.
VeggieGlobal will never condone the wearing of fur except indigenous
Inuits where climate dictates and plant alternatives are not available
and whereby the animal is consumed and utilised entirely by only
those who kill it.
Jewellery and Veg*ns
Q. Is all jewellery
suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans?
Pearls, coral, leather and
even more controversially elephant hair are all used in the jewellery
industry. Along with this,
there are many aspects of the jewellery making process which involves
the use of tools and supplements derived from animals. The environmental
impact linked to jewellery crafting, and thus the displacement
of animal life, must also be considered before a vegetarian buys
a piece of jewellery which may superficially appear to be veg*n
natural and cultivated pearls are harvested from mussels, oysters
or scallops. All such clams (bivalve molluscs) are killed to retrieve
the pearl. Even some imitation pearls can be made from coral or
conch - both which are sea creatures.
elephant hair jewellery has traditionally been harvested from
the ground around trees where elephants have rubbed their bottoms
on the tree-trunks, there is a considerable risk that the hair
has also come from poached elephants. You can read the VeggieGlobal
/ Looking-Glass exclusive report about the ethical risks of using
or wearing elephant hair jewellery here.
Although not directly animal related,
a lot of amber for jewellery is extracted from the Baltic region
in a manner that's very harmful to the environment. Apart from
the mining process itself, the sea in the locality of the mining
process is heavily polluted by millions of tons of waste, destroying
sea-life in its wake. The destruction caused by one of the largest
amber mines has been measured as "one of the biggest culprits
in the environmental crime of anthropogenic suspended material
explusion", according to a report by the Trade and Environment
As you may know, VeggieGlobal regularly reminds its visitors that
detrimental effects to the ocean is a major cause of planetary
deterioration. When buying amber products make sure it has come
from traditional gathering methods and ethically processed for
use as jewellery.
The mining of gems and precious
metals is now commonly known to be associated with human rights
issues ... but dig deeper and the environmental cost to the earth
caused by any form of gem and precious metal extraction (fairtrade
or not) continues to cause a ecological catastrophe which is cumulatively
destroying once pristine environments and causing massive displacement
of wildlife habitats; a combined area easily the size of two large
European countries. Is it worth it ... all for the sake of vanity?
Greenwashing the Gold Rush
Ethical jewellery craft should,
you would think, be defined by the responsible use of recycled
precious metals, and not by promoting the continual extraction
of raw materials and the subsequent environmental disruption it
causes. To describe any form of new-mined gold in jewellery as
sustainable and green is contradictory and misleading, and perhaps
the most blatant example of greenwashing to date. Gold mining
by nature is not an ethical practice. This also applies to "fair-trade
or "fair-mined" gold, platinum and silver which should also not
be termed as "green" either. Mining disrupts and destroys essential
life-sustaining, interdependent ecosystems by displacing previously
untouched environments containing fragile flora and fauna, right
down to the micro-biological level. Mining is detrimental to the
ecology of our planet, and there is no form of raw extraction
for the jewellery industry that can genuinely claim to the contrary.
As from 2011, Fair-trade's new undertaking increased the demand
for mined gold as many "ethical" jewellers (and even standard
jewellers), who were originally only sourcing ecologically-friendly
recycled gold have jumped on the fair-trade bandwagon and are
now clamoring for Fair-mined gold, platinum and silver instead.
(The surge in demand for such "fair-trade" precious
metals is considerably more than what is available.) Subsequently,
the amount that is mined is set to rise dramatically ... a major
drawback for earth's ecology and for those environmental organisations
whose aim is to save it.
To summarize: Recycling gold is an environmentally friendly practice.
It can comfortably be termed as an ethical process because disruption
to our fragile, natural environments has effectively been eliminated
from the procedure of refining pure gold for use in the jewellery
industry. Mining gold is a practice which destroys or displaces
the long-established natural ecology of the areas where it is
extracted, and therefore offers no environmental benefit.
As far as responsible vegans and veggies are concerned, we clearly
advise you to avoid new-mined gold and always opt for recycled
when buying jewellery. Mining always devastates the ecology of
the land, and displaces and destroys life. If you don't condone
the decimation of wildlife for the sake of vanity then recycled
gold and silver is your only natural choice. If any jeweller attempts
to convince you otherwise you are being "greenwashed".
VeggieGlobal's Solution for Jewellery
and our sister site Looking-Glass has been busily researching
the ethical / eco jewellery hyperbole spreading across the internet
for some years now and have discovered a myriad of jewellery web
sites claiming to be "responsible". But scratching beneath
the sparkly, galvanized surface, we have found that
an unhealthy number of
ethical claims in jewellery making practices to be riddled with
contradictions, half-truths or plain lies. With no proper regulation
of how a jewellery seller, goldsmith or their suppliers can use
the term "ethical", they lavish the customer with greenwash
marketing jargon while keeping quite about the bulk of their business
practice which isn't.
VeggieGlobal determined that if no jewellery business was able
to provide a genuine, compassionately ethical service to jewellery
lovers with real environmental concerns, we would voluntarily
set the foundations for such a business ourselves. The result
is a unique ethical collaboration between the art of fine jewellery
making and vegetarian philosophy with goldsmith artist Kerstin
Laibach embraces the true meaning of "environmentally friendly"
by eliminating every unethical aspect of the making process down
to fine details that most wouldn't even have considered - and
all without any compromise in quality.
With Atelier Laibaich
we have also pioneered the world's first truly cruelty-free vegan
/ veggie inscribed goldsmith standard designer jewellery; a sincere
highly advanced ethical approach,
ultra-fine quality bespoke, sculptural jewellery based
on our unique principles. All Laibach jewellery is made in a vegan
work environment with no animal-derived materials or work tools...
and of course nothing newly-mined - only recycled precious metals,
with 15% of profits donated to wildlife protection, renaturing
projects and land-care education in developing countries.
"The reality is that all raw extraction of stones and
metals leave environmental scars and displaces / destroys habitats
and ecosystems wherever and however it takes place. There is absolutely
no process which can genuinely claim to the contrary" ...
"the only way in which ecological full-proofing can be achieved
is if gold and precious stone extraction ceases completely".
acclaim for Kerstin
Laibach's jewellery collections growing, she is often commented
as the world's most ethical goldsmith. ... but Laibach (and VeggieGlobal)
considers "gold" and ethical" an uncomfortable juxtaposition when
putting the two words in the same sentence and it should be pointed
out that gold will only become ethically stable when it is no
longer mined at all.
You can see Kerstin Laibach's specific
collection of veg*n inscribed jewellery here.
After our extensive
research into greenwashing associated with ethical and vegan jewellery,
Atelier Laibach clearly proves to be genuinely sustainable and
cruelty-free, with an astonishing array of unparalleled
the meantime, there's a shameful number of "ethical"
jewellery makers who seriously need to fix their moral compass;
self-proclaimed as leading exponents and pioneers, but actually
using new-mined gold and gems, animal derivatives and non-biodegradable
materials. We've observed that in the world of unscrupulous jewellery
marketing, it's frighteningly
easy to mesmerize
customers, not just with sparkle, but also words like "pure",
and of course "green".
Useful external link on amber extraction:
Fish Oils (Omega 3)
Q. Do I need Omega
3 from fish oil to stay healthy?
Although "Omega 3"
is often considered an essential oil, you certainly don't need
to kill a fish to obtain it.
You can source a far more refined and even safer form of Omega
3 from flax
seeds, pumpkin seeds
and walnuts. Either snack on pumpkin seeds or walnuts on a daily
basis or buy ready-made organic Omega 3 oils and pour over salads,
pastas, pizzas - or anything else you fancy.
Omega 3 is an EFA (essential fatty acid), and various studies
have often suggested that an Omega 3 enriched diet can help reduce
heart disease, lower blood pressure, cut the risk of cancer and
even help memory loss.
In fact the list seems endless as to what researchers claim to
be the benefits of Omega 3!
However, in 2006 the UK's University of East Anglia reviewed 90
studies which found no clear evidence that Omega 3 fats were of
any use at all. Those studies suggested that Omega 3 did nothing
to prevent a recurrence of chronic heart conditions, and excessive
amounts from eating too much fish even increased
the risk of heart disease.
In fact, fish turns out to be the source of Omega 3 to stay clear
of; Oily fish was shown to be potentially unsafe to eat because
of high levels of contaminated pollutants, such as dioxins, PCB's
(polychlorinated biphenyls) and mercury.
NOTE: High levels of PCBs
and dioxins can affect the development of an unborn baby.
it comes to determining the true benefits of Omega 3 fat, most
scientists admit that it's still difficult to tell for sure either
way, and research continues to try and discover the true benefits
of this unique "essential oil".
suggests that Omega 3 oils sourced from vegetables (nuts, pumpkin
seed etc) is a wise choice and a moderate amount of the oil should
be consumed daily through these natural sources to maintain a
healthy, balanced diet.
Reminder: You are NOT vegetarian
if you eat fish.
NOTE / DISCLAIMER: Always consult
your medical practitioner before embarking on any changes to your
Q. What Food Additives
are suitable for Veg*ns?
A. This is a complex
question to answer.
Even though a list of additives may be present on a food or beauty
product, it's almost impossible to determine if the additive has
been derived from an animal or vegetable source. This is because
an additive with the same name can be made using different source
materials. If you would like to find out more about which additives
may or may not be suitable for veg*ns, see our Non-Vegetarian
Food Additives List. To help eliminate this confusion
you can also vote on our Ethical
The next step on your New Veggie Information
Path is step 4, the Nutrition
Guide, which provides a host of pages
on all aspects of maintaining a healthy veggie lifestyle - including