Below are a few of the things that people new to veganism may not know about, but should. In transitioning to veganism, you don’t want to have the embarrassment of bringing something non-vegan to a vegan party or finding out there are milk products where you’d never hope they’d go. Below is information about vegan condoms and contraceptives, alcohol, sneaky food additives, tattoos, and online shopping suggestions.
* Not all condoms are vegan. Why? Many condoms contain casein (milk) as a coating component, and some condom companies use animal testing. Take the time to have cruelty-free, safe sex with these brands of vegan condoms and contraceptives, as well as vegan methods of birth control:
- Glyde Condoms
- Sir Richard’s Condoms
- RSFU Condoms
- Unique Condoms
- Durex Avanti, Real Feel, Fetherlite Ultra and Deluxe Condoms (only non-latex Durex condoms are vegan. Do not buy their latex condoms unless you want milk all over your penis and in your vagina. Which I’m pretty sure is a good description of “what vegan nightmares are made of”)
- Contragel alternative spermicide
- Warning: There is a condom company called French Letter that claims to be “vegan” but their condoms are produced with casein. They don’t really know what vegan means and have no vegan certification.
- The Birth Control Pill “Femulen” produced by Pfizer contains no animal products, as well as their injection “Depo-Provera”. Other animal free contraceptives are Bayer’s injection “Noristerat” and the “Evra” patch.
The most effective vegan birth control method for those who do not wish to use condoms would probably be the Depo-shot. At least this way, you do not have to consume monthly pills with milk ingredients. There’s no reason to continue using non-vegan contraceptives if you have the option to switch, so think about it!
* Spray-on preservatives for fruits and vegetables may often contain shell fish and other non-vegan items. Try to buy organic as often as possible if this is an option for you. One of the biggest fruity offenders of this crime to watch out for is bananas. Buy organic bananas for your own sake, and for the sake of eliminating your support of non-organic foods and business which may employ pesticides or damaging agricultural practices. Organic farming fosters biodiversity, which is (arguably) good for our Earth.
* You’re all set for your sexy vegan night in with your special someone. You brought the vegan condoms, he brought the bananas. It’s a party for two. Now all you have to do is crack open the bottle of wine and… wait. Shit. Is this vegan?
- Brewmasters, winemakers, and distillers may include animal ingredients in their products directly, or they might use them in the processing and filtration.
- When making the product, dairy, honey, and other things (including, in one case, a whole chicken dropped in the tank) are ingredients in the final recipe.
- When filtering the drinks prior to bottling, companies can use things like isinglass (from fish bladder,) gelatin, egg whites, and sea shells, among other things.
- Trust Barnivore.com for all your boozy vegan needs.
* Even though I’m not someone who would get a tattoo any time soon, I feel sorry for vegans who do have tattoos and are constantly questioned and judged by non-vegans who don’t know much about the art of tattooing other than “Huh-duh, I heard tattoos aren’t vegan on the internet once. You’re a hypocrite!” Getting a vegan tattoo, free of cruelty, is becoming increasingly easier as supply rushes to catch up with demand. But you do have to do some research and ask your tattoo artists to supply you with vegan materials and inks if they don’t already come with it.
* As for some problems with vegan cheese containing casein (milk)…
- Just don’t buy from this company and you’ll be fine.
* Or vanilla/raspberry flavouring and extract supposedly containing beaver butt…
- Castoreum produced for food purposes does not exceed by far products such as vanillin for these flavourings. So while there’s a 1% chance that your vanilla extract has the anal glands of a beaver in it, there’s a 99% chance it doesn’t. If you can’t care to bet on those odds, call the company you buy from or visit their website. This is also primarily an issue for the United States. And Scandinavian alcohol.
* If you’re having trouble navigating for vegan products in the real world, perhaps it’s time to seek out online sources of 100% vegan products:
- Vegan Essentials
- The Vegan Store
- The Vegan Sex Shop
- Vegetarian Belts
- Search “Vegan” on Etsy
Some other things that might surprise you in having to veganize them, or some things you may not have realized have vegan versions:
- Vegan candles (not only do regular candles contain beeswax, but most beeswax based candles are not clean burning = not good for the air quality in your home)
- Worcestershire sauce (typically contains anchovies)
- Marshmallows (typically contain gelatin: animal bones and ligaments. You don’t have to miss out on smores with these!)
- Try not to buy anything specifically fortified with Omega-3 unless it comes from a vegan company or a product that specifically says vegan friendly on the packaging. It is frequently made with fish oil. This can be seen in Omega-3 orange juice, Omega-3 peanut butter, or similar products. Your safest bet for Omega-3s are from soy milk like So Good or Silk.
- If you’re especially new to veganism, you may not know yet that there is a vegan alternative for just about anything (Google it! E.g. “vegan mac and cheese”, “vegan cheesecake”, “vegan sausage rolls”, “vegan deviled eggs”) meaning that vegan food choices are no more limited than omnivorous ones, and they may even open you up to trying new things.
A few things…
Kimono condoms are also vegan. I would recommend these because they are Japanese made and ultra thin.
The Depo shot is only intended to be used for a maximum of two years. The copper IUD is as effective as sterilization, lasts 5-10 years and is hormone free. Please, please, please do your research before claiming this or that BC method is the “most effective”.
Barnivore.com has a pretty comprehensive list of vegan alcohol and an app as well. Although generally lighter beers like Corona are vegan whereas darker beers like Guinness are not.
There’s no real way of knowing if the produce you buy is vegan. Conventional apples are coated with wax so that’s problematic but almost all farmers use manure in the fertilization process. Organic also doesn’t mean chemical free, it means less chemicals. So it’s possible that you could purchase organic produce that’s been sprayed with pesticides containing animal ingredients or that have been tested on animals.
Some decent additions, but as you’ll notice I’ve already listed barnivore as a resource, and you should probably supply a link for your counterclaims on birth control methods.
Also, that general rule you said about light and dark beer is way fucking false. I drink plenty of dark beers and IPAs that are vegan and have had more problems finding nice light beers and ciders. Barnivore’s list of oatmeal stout is like 98% vegan, and the majority of their IPAs are vegan. Half of the products with “chocolate” in their name (including chocolate stout and porter) are vegan, and the other half aren’t but that’s mostly because they are creamy alcohols like milk chocolate porter or creme liqeuer,
There is no general rule that’s true about vegan beers. It’s all bloody myth created by people who’ve never used barnivore or who decided they didn’t want to do any research and would just be “vegan by rule of thumb”.
If you’re looking for great vegan beer, though, try Mill Street Organic.
I’ve been on the depo shot since I was 18. I’m 30.
Nooch crusted tofu with crispy onions, sautéed asparagus, mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, and some biscuits. All made with luv by @jordanrock and me. Hurry home, @mateoway
Grocery stores always display the unit price for each item, but a lot of grocery stores also display the price per weight for items. Use this to compare prices between brands and different sizes of products. If your grocery store doesn’t list price per weight, consider using a calculator to compare prices. Often times, the “cheaper” option will turn out to be more expensive by weight.
Produce: Fresh vs. Frozen
If you’re into making smoothies, adding fruit to oatmeal, or baking with fruit, look into buying frozen fruit. Frozen isn’t always cheaper, so make sure you’re being thorough with your price comparisons. If you come across a great deal on fresh produce, specifically fruit, stock up and freeze it. This works great for berries, bananas, and other fruit for use in smoothies. Remember, frozen produce, as a rule, contains more nutrients then fresh produce – this is because they are frozen at their peak ripeness and will not lose nutrients during transport to your grocery store. It is a misconception that nutrients are somehow lost during the freezing process.
Bulk vs. Packaged
Purchasing some items from the bulk sections can be a great way to save money, especially if you only need a small amount. Often, the largest package will be the cheapest per weight, but don’t bother if you don’t need much. Great things to pick up in the bulk section include:
- nuts and seeds
- spices and herbs
- dried fruit, make sure they’re not over-dried, and that the containers are close to air-tight.
- snack items
- more expensive items that you’ve never tried before. Find out if you like them before you buy a larger package!
Organic vs. Non-organic
Whether you choose to buy organic or not is up to you. In general, organic foods tend to be more expensive. If you don’t usually buy organic produce, make sure you check out the organic section anyways. When organic produce goes on sale it tends to be cheaper than non-organic.
Brand Name vs. Generic Brand
Generic brand items can be an easy way to save money when shopping. Items that are great for buying generic are:
- baking supplies: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, corn starch, etc.
- nuts & seeds
- dried fruit
- canned fruits- the quality of canned produce is usually indicated by the grade, fancy grade the best quality.
Compare Grocery Stores
Always check the flyers of all your nearby grocery stores online, and build your shopping list from there. If you happen to live somewhere where there are a few grocery stores to choose from, and are located in the same area, I suggest shopping all of their sales. This can be time consuming, but it can be really worth it. Learn if your grocery store has a customer appreciation day, a lot of stores offer 10-15% off your entire purchase one day out of the month – it may be different depending on your location and store. Try to get there earlier in the day for the best selection if there are specific sale items you want to pick up.
Prepare Your Own Meals
Make Your Own Convenience Meals
Prepackaged foods are often more expensive than preparing your own food from scratch. By being prepared and cooking for yourself you can easily save a lot of money. Preparing your own meals also allows you to be aware of exactly what’s in your food. If you often find yourself needing to pick up convenience foods, consider buying an insulated lunch box and making your own meals and snacks to take with you. An even more budget friendly option is to use a reusable grocery bag for a lunch bag. Keep your food cold by freezing one or two water bottles and throwing them in with your lunch, later in the day your lunch will still be cool and you’ll have ice cold water to drink.
Avoid Vegan Substitutes
While I often find that a lot of packaged vegan meat and cheese substitutes are similarly priced compared to their non-vegan counterparts of medium quality, they’re often to items that cost the most compared to their volume. Watch for sales, or close-dated items that are discounted, and pick up these items then. Where I live, vegan substitutes don’t have a high turnover rate so they get marked down fairly often. Make sure to use them quickly, or freeze them (if it seems appropriate.) Consider making your own vegan burgers, they’re usually very affordable, more nutritious and fresh than store bought veggie burgers.
Make the Most of Your Shopping Trip
Stock Up On Staples
Volume purchase items that you’re certain you will use before their expiry date. Watch best before dates, if there’s a great deal on a product, buy multiples if the item is far dated. An example where I find this works great is on shelf stable non-dairy milks, they’re often dated for a month or more if left unopened, so it’s a great item to stock up on.
Schedule Shopping Trips
Find a schedule that works for you, and stick to it. I like to grocery shop every 5 days, this way I don’t have to buy quite so much produce and risk any of it going bad. Save your receipts so that you can go back and see what you’re buying during each shopping trip, and how much you’re buying. This will prevent you from running out of some items, while overbuying and wasting others. You will also see which items you may want to cut down on, or eliminate completely from your shopping trips.
Have a Budget and Use a Grocery List
The best part of eating vegan is that you don’t need to buy all of the fanciest ingredients or “super foods”. You can easily enjoy the benefits of eating healthy on a tight budget, it just requires a little extra planning. Make sure you’re aware of how much you have to spend on food, and stick to it. It can be helpful to keep a mental tally or rounding and adding prices on paper as you go to make sure you are staying on budget.
Fruits & Vegetables:
Fruit: apples, bananas, as well as any other fruit on sale or in season.
Vegetables: spinach, carrots, broccoli, celery, mushrooms, cucumber, green bell pepper, tomatoes (canned or fresh), onions, garlic
Proteins & Healthy Fats:
Proteins: firm tofu, chickpeas and/or black beans, lentils, unsweetened soy milk
Healthy Fats: almonds, peanut butter, avocados, ground flax seed, canola oil
Grains & Potatoes (I like to choose 2-3 options): oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, sweet potatoes, russet potatoes
Bread Products (I like to choose 1-2 options, you can have a good selection to choose from by storing these products in the freezer, and taking out one serving at a time. Check your store for a discount section.): sprouted or whole grain bread, whole wheat wraps, whole wheat bagels, whole wheat english muffins
Condiments, Herbs, and Spices: white vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, vegetable bouillon, cumin, coriander, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper
General Baking & Cooking: whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, corn starch, ground flax seed, cocoa, cinnamon
Sweeteners: sugar, molasses, raisins, dates
Coffee & Tea: green or white tea, black tea, coffee
Examples of what could be made with this grocery list:
Salads, stir-fries, pasta dishes, sandwiches or wraps, soups, chili, vegetables with hummus, apple & peanut butter, peanut butter & banana sandwiches, smoothies, baked potatoes, baked fries, pizza, baking: cookies, muffins, & biscuits, oatmeal with toppings, and more!
—- all info sourced from ilovevegan - it’s a great site, check it out!
What a great resource!
For the dough:
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F / 45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 tablespoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
For the mac & cheese:
1/2 cup Follow Your Heart cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Daiya cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup uncooked macaroni (mini shells are my personal fave!)
2 tablespoons margarine
6 oz plain soy milk
FYI: this is 1/4 of my recipe for Creamy Mac & Cheese with Daiya and Follow Your Heart vegan cheeses; double or quadruple this recipe you’d like some extra mac & cheese to serve with that mac & cheese pizza – or if you’d just want the mac & cheese, please! For a healthier pizza, sub in a mac & cheese recipe that uses a nutritional yeast sauce.
For the pizza:
Cornmeal or cooking spray with which to coat the pizza stone or pizza pan
Two to four tablespoons of margarine with which to coat the dough
1/2 to one cup of vegan cheddar cheese for the pizza (we used Daiya)
Eight to twelve strips of of vegan bacon, diced into small bits (optional; we used Lightlife Smart Bacon)
Prepare the dough!
1. Stir the water, sugar and yeast together until dissolved. Add the olive oil and salt, as well as any extra spices or seasonings. Stir in the flour until blended. Form the dough into a small ball and let rest in large bowl, covered loosely with a towel, anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.
Assemble the cheesy pizza!
2. Once you’re ready to make the pizza, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
3. As the oven is heating, spread a dusting of cornmeal onto your pizza stone (or lightly coat your pizza pan with cooking spray). Using fingers dipped in olive oil (optional), pat the dough onto the stone, spreading it out evenly.
4. Next, lightly spread some margarine onto the uncooked dough, taking care not to press down too hard as you do so. It helps if the margarine is near room temp when you try this! You want even but sparse coverage; too little margarine means that the pizza will be a little on the dry side, while too much will compromise the integrity of the crust. We used between two and four tablespoons to coat the entire pizza.
5. Spread the diced bacon onto the pizza, followed by the cheddar Daiya cheese.
6. Bake at 425 degrees, for between 15 and 20 minutes for a single pizza, or 30 minutes for two pizzas.
Make the cheese sauce!
7. Once the pizza’s in the oven, it’s time to make the macaroni and cheese! Begin with the cheese sauce. In a small saucepan, bring the soy milk to a boil.
8. Reduce the heat to medium and mix in the margarine, stirring until melted.
9. Add the cheese shreds, stirring gently until they combine with the liquid to form a creamy cheese sauce.
Optional: season to taste with salt, pepper, onion or garlic.
10. Reduce the heat to low, stirring every few minutes.
Make the pasta!
11. In a skillet or sauce pan, cook the pasta according to the directions provided on the package. Stop when about 90% done and drain, leaving a little hot water with the pasta. (This will mostly cook down as you continue to heat the pasta.)
Combine the two to make mac and cheese!
12. Mix the cheese sauce into the pasta, stirring well. On medium low heat, let the pasta continue to cook until it’s the desired consistency. Stir constantly during this last step so that none of the pasta or cheese sticks to the pan.
Mac & Cheese Pizza, holla!
13. Once the pizza’s done cooking – and hopefully you’ve timed this so that the pizza and pasta finish cooking at roughly the same time! – remove it from the oven and top with a drizzle of mac & cheese. Let cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy warm, perhaps with a side of extra macaroni and cheese?
"Dear Mr. Einstein, watching the documentary about Anouseh Ansari really motivates me. Tonight I am going stargazing again. Everyday, every night I dream of floating in space."
In a small rural village far from Tehran a young Iranian astronomer named Sepideh has a dream of becoming an astronaut. Sepideh is encouraged by friends and held back by her family, who want a more traditional Iranian life for her. Sepideh’s family expects her to get married and work the lands to provide for her family the traditional way. She is even threatened with death by her uncle who warns Sepideh not to disappoint god by studying the sky. This is an inspiring and eye opening film about one woman’s struggle and her brave pursuit to achieve her dream. Brought to you by by:
Chime For Change: A community of people working to promote education, health and justice for every girl, every woman everywhere.
Directed By: Berit Madsen