What does being vegan mean to you?


Veganism has only one meaning, as defined by Donald Watson, who invented the term: "a 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". Some people use "vegan' to describe a plant-based diet. Veganism is much more than that - it means respecting animals by not using them in any way.

Is the way the vegan lifestyle portray in the media the same as it actually is?


Vegans come in many shapes and sizes, including lots of athletes, sports people and celebrities. The media often describes them as compassionate, caring people. Of course, sometimes low grade media falls back on incorrect stereotypes, such as vegans being weak and pasty. If you hear that you know that the 'journalist' did not do their research.

Is it possible to get all of the nutrients needed from a vegan diet?


Yes, as stated in the government publication, the Australian Dietary Guidelines. You can find a short summary in our media release "Government recognises vegan diet as viable option for all Australians".

The only nutrient that must be obtained by supplementing is Vitamin B12. This can be obtained either using supplements or eating foods fortified with B12. For more information, see "What every vegan should know about B12".

What are some of the main benefits of living a vegan lifestyle?


The main benefit of veganism is the reduction in suffering of farmed animals. Each person who becomes vegan saves 100s of animals from short, painful lives. Other benefits include reducing green house gas emissions and other environmental problems, making the world a fairer place by reducing the grain fed to animals thus making it more available to the millions of starving people. There are also health benefits for people who eat balanced plant-based diets, including a reduction in the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, obesity, and diabetes.

For omnivores who are wanting to try being vegan, what are some tips you would suggest?


Two tips. First, learn all you can about the suffering of animals in the animal agriculture industry by watching earthlings.com and other documentaries. Second, understand that you can live very healthily without using animal products. Once you do this, everything else will fall into place.

What foods are richest in protein/iron/fibre/calcium?


You don't need to worry too much about individual nutrients as long as you are eating a wide variety of nutritious foods from the four food groups as given in the Australian Dietary Guidelines:

  • fruits and vegetables
  • wholegrain cereals
  • tofu, nuts, seeds, legumes and beans
  • dairy alternatives

Do you think everyone can be vegan? (even if they have health issues, etc.)


Yes. The Australian Dietary Guidelines state that vegan diets are appropriate for all stages of the lifecycle. Many people with health issues see improvements in their health after they start eating a well-balanced plant-based diet.

Do you think being vegan is becoming a lot more popular because of social media?


Yes. Before social media, it was more difficult for people to hear about veganism. But now new vegans often talk about what they have learned on social media which then inspires others to find out more. Also, vegan groups on Facebook are multiplying very quickly with numbers growing all the time.