What Does Vegan Mean

Talk about a word that carries a lot of stigma?

Vegan is definitely that word.

Vegan Food: Any food that does not contain animal products

Vegan does not mean that the food is healthy, unprocessed, sugar-free, gluten-free, clean, natural, organic, or low calorie. 

It just means that it doesn't contain animal products. 

Yep, that's it!

Now, you might be wondering, "So, what are animal products?" 

Because...who talks about food like that?!

The obvious ones are meat, like chicken, duck, turkey, beef, pork, lamb, and deer.

Fish, including shellfish, are also animals. 

The animal products that may not immediately jump to your mind are those that are made with not the flesh of these animals, but the secretions or other parts of these animals. This sounds gross...because well, it kind of is.

These include... 

  • Cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, whipped cream, yogurt, ice cream, and butter (which are made with milk) which comes from cows
  • Mayonnaise (which is made with eggs) which comes from chickens
  • Chicken and beef broth (which are made from meat and bones)
  • Gelatin, which is made by boiling animal skin, tendons, cartilage, ligaments, and or bones of cows, pigs, or fish in water
  • Honey which bees make as food for themselves

Once you know what vegan means, the second step is to know your options.

You may be thinking about what you just read and wonder, "Well, what's left?" 

A lot! 

Innovation in the food space has really made strides and those of us who chose not to eat animal products are extremely thankful.

In addition to the wide variety of vegetables, fruit, beans, grains, seeds, and nuts, we have plant-based alternatives to all of the products I listed earlier.

Learn about all of the vegan substitutes for animal products: The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Substitutes