(photo credit: Courtesy)
Vegans are people who take vegetarianism a step further. Not only do they
eschew all meat, poultry and ﬁsh, but they also won’t touch eggs or any kind of
For a carnivorous family like ours, where the favorite
get-together of children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces is a barbecue in the
back garden with mountains of chicken skewers, hot dogs and hamburgers and a few
steaks for the adults, the announcement that one of our number was becoming a
vegan was a shock from which we still haven’t quite recovered.
if we want to include everyone in a celebration, we go to the vegan restaurant
Buddha Burger in Tel Aviv, where they work their magic with seitan and tofu,
producing convincing replicas of schnitzel, chicken and goulash without bending
their belief in not being the indirect cause of cruelty in any form to
In fact, there are two very good reasons to follow a vegan diet.
The ﬁrst, and the one that changed my son’s life, is because of the suffering of
animals in the food industry. While he dislikes dwelling on the horror stories
of factory farming and battery hens, he has read and seen enough to know that he
can no longer eat any creature that once lived. For David, the transition to
vegan has been painless, healthy and very satisfying. For me, his mother, it has
been an education, having to learn totally new approaches to food. For a meat
and two-veg. family, it has required serious adjustment.
For example, if
I know he will be home for Friday night, I make lentil or pea soup rather than
traditional chicken soup and try to prepare a main dish with soya or grains and
legumes to go with the vegetables we all eat. Pie or cake makes an acceptable
dessert and is perfectly vegan as long as you don’t use eggs in the dough. In
fact, I discovered on Hanukka that you can make great potato latkes without
eggs. I always assumed you needed eggs to bind the grated potatoes, but they
stick together quite well just with ﬂour binding them.
For my son, eating
vegan is doing the right thing.“People repress their knowledge of what
really goes into producing meat to eat,” he says. “Deep down they know it is a
product of cruelty, but they don’t think about it.” He also feels that
things like free-range eggs, while not as bad as the other kind, are still
inhumane. “The supposedly happy hens aren’t really that happy,” he
The second reason many people become vegan is
health. Warnings about eating meat surface all the time. According to
American Dietetic Association, “Appropriately planned vegan diets are
nutritionally adequate and may provide health beneﬁts in the prevention
treatment of certain diseases.”
Veganism has been
credited with lowering
cholesterol and blood pressure, improving diabetes, and claims are made
vegans have a lower overall cancer rate.
vegan diet is very
healthy, there are certain elements missing that have to be made up for.
B12, found in meat, has to be added. Omega 3, which is an essential
element in a
healthy diet found only in oily ﬁsh, has its vegan substitute in ground
Far from being limited, a vegan diet can be
very varied and quite
delicious. Many cookbooks are available, such as a popular one by ﬁlm
Alicia Silverstone entitled The Kind Diet, and the Internet is, of
of recipes. Some vegan recipes are complicated but can easily be
most of the ingredients are available here.
Vegans have their role
models, and a full list of celebs who are vegan is available on the
From Bill Clinton to Alec Baldwin to Ellen De Generes, a wide range of
stick to a vegan way of life, which in some cases also extends to not
leather shoes or wool and silk clothing.
another food item that
many vegans won’t touch, though it’s not up in the same taboo rating as,
lamb chop. It’s bee-related, therefore comes from something alive. But
suffers from producing it, so some vegans don’t reject it. If they do,
many alternatives like date or carob honey.
Vegans have their heroes,
such as Gary Youroffsky, a charismatic speaker for animal rights who has
arrested and imprisoned many times for causing disturbances relating to
considers cruelty to animals. Fur wearers are his bête noire, and he is
passionate about the cause of animal rights, lecturing to schools and
organizations with a no-holds barred attitude to the people he regards
Many of us would regard switching to a
vegan diet as a huge step
and not an easy one. But the more one reads, the more one has to
that it is the right thing to do -- if only one had the courage.