What is Vegan?

Leisa Cournane16 Dec 2021

Vegan is one of the more popular lifestyles people choose to follow today. It is estimated that about 80 million people are vegan in 2021, with a continual increase every year. What exactly does it mean to be vegan and how does it differ from other lifestyles? 

What is vegan - defined

Officially, vegan is defined as “a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose” according to The Vegan Society. Commonly, this also refers to a specific dietary choice. A true vegan diet has no foods derived from animals. 

Vegan diets compared to vegetarians

Vegans and vegetarians often get confused, but there are some stark differences between the two. Vegetarians don’t eat any animal meat. A vegetarian may or may not abstain from other animal products. 

In comparison, a vegan also doesn’t eat any meat. In addition, vegans also do not partake of any products derived from animals. This includes all dairy such as milk as well as eggs, honey and other products produced from animals and insects.

A “Plant-based diet” is also a term that gets conflated with vegan. Someone on a plant-based diet strives to consume plants primarily, but may not be strictly vegan or vegetarian. Plant-based diets can range from the main nutrition source being plants to all foods being plant-based. 

Full veganism goes beyond diet

While a diet free from animal products is often associated with vegans, veganism includes more than dietary choices. Vegan choices also relate to clothing and other products. A vegan will typically avoid leather for example, and any products that are tested on animals. Many vegans are concerned with health and environmental concerns along with animal welfare.

A person can follow a vegan diet but not follow the other tenets of veganism. This is another place where the term Plant-based diet is used, to denote someone who exclusively follows the dietary aspects of being vegan. 

How to tell if foods are vegan-friendly 

For many people, following the vegan diet is the most challenging part of the lifestyle. In recent years this has been alleviated somewhat by more brands stating that they are vegan. However, there are some complications with that as NZ doesn’t have a single vegan certification. One of the most reliable methods is by looking for the Certified Vegan symbol from the Vegan society. 

Products with this label are 100% animal product free and have gone through the certification process. 

Many products are vegan without the certification, however; the best way is to check the ingredients label for any animal products. Keep in mind that some ingredients aren’t vegan even though they don’t appear to be animal products. This list of non-vegan ingredients is a good example. On the other hand, some popular foods are accidentally vegan, like Oreos in NZ. 

Vegan Products at ComplEat Wellness

At ComplEat Wellness, we have many products suitable for vegans. These include foods as well as many of our supplements. Some of our more popular options include: 

If you have any questions about whether any of our products are vegan, feel free to stop in for a chat or get in touch by phone or email. If we don’t know the answer off-hand we’ll make sure we find out for you from the manufacturer.