Your Thoughts Thursday: Types Of Vegan

August 5, 2010 by Keri

When I joined the online vegan community, I honestly hadn’t realized the great divide between different “types” of vegans.  I was naive to think a vegan was simply a vegan, but I was quickly schooled on the “denominations” within us and which beliefs set each group apart.  People choose to be vegan for all different reasons- the animals, their health, the environment- and hold strong sub-beliefs within those reasons.  And yes, some people are vegan for the trifecta, but there are still so many intricacies.  So my question is, Why are you vegan? Do you think it matters why a person is vegan?

  • Have some of your reasons for and beliefs about veganism changed throughout your journey?
  • How do you “market” veganism to those you come in contact with- ethically, nutritionally , environmentally?
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I Eat Trees is a blog featuring my adventures in all things vegan. My favorite recipes, snack food finds, and restaurant trials are all on the menu so enjoy!


  1. Any road that takes someone to the path of veganism is good in my book. I’m moved by the plight of farm animals, my health, the environmental factors… veganism is not just 1 legged stool for me!

  2. What opened my eyes was learning about animal cruelty in factory farms, and the environmental damage that comes along with that. I simply had no idea of the scale of the filth and the suffering until a few years ago. I quickly came to accept the concept that Animals’ Lives Are Their Own, the basic concept behind animal rights. If someone does not believe that, they are probably not vegan.

    To explain: if you’re “vegan for health only,” you may still support circuses, buy fur, and consume honey. If you’re only concerned about the environment, you may still hunt deer. And, if you are concerned with animal suffering, but not in favor of animal rights, you might be persuaded to eat animals that were “raised humanely” and killed with “minimal pain.”

    Every reason that leads people toward veganism is a good one, but the only reason to be completely vegan (abstaining from using animals as food, entertainment, research, or clothing) is because non-human animals have as much of a right to live their lives in freedom as we humans do. =)

  3. Casey says:

    Well, I become vegan because I know too much not to, but if we’re talking about what set off the chain reaction; I think I said this a lot before, but my father set off a chain reaction in my head, very young, and it evolved to me becoming vegan. What he did was constantly compare animals to dogs… particularly horses(which I think may be his favorite animal for reasons other than taste). He was letting me ride one once and said to me “its just a big dog”…. and that did it. I was never afraid or nervous about horses or ponies again. But, then I looked at cows,… well, they’re kind of like horses… and so on and so on and I could have never seen myself eating a dog. So it made sense to me to drop meat and,after learning about how baby cows are treated and whats in milk, dairy.

  4. Vegan says:

    My reason for going vegan has always been for my love of animals.
    I guess the only way I “market” veganism is by making food that doesn’t taste any different to what my friends are used to eating. I’ve had a lot of friends and family switch to veggie ground beef instead of regular ground beef because they couldn’t tell the difference.

  5. Tasha - The Clean Eating Mama says:

    I went vegetarian after watching Food Inc. I had always wanted to go vegetarian but never knew enough about it. Then quickly after I became vegetarian I wanted to be vegan. I mean, Why Not? So I did. I’m not a good vegan, though. I am in practice to being the best vegan possible, but I have not perfected it.
    I am the way I am because of the animals, then my health, then the environment. All within milidecimals of each other. Milidecimals? Is that a word?
    Regardless, I am very proud that I am who I am and I love that I can proudly say that I am not causing innocent animals pain and suffering. Plus, I feel healthy all of the time. I see this as an added perk 😉

  6. Judith says:

    What a great project! It’s like hearing about how Gramma and grammpa came over from the old country 🙂 I know I will enjoy reading other people’s stories of why they are vegan. Thanks for the platform.

    I originally became vegan because animal flesh comes in styrofoam packages.

    I was trying to be more environmentally aware and cut my waste output. I quit smoking cigarettes, began using cloth and glass jars instead of disposable paper and plastics products. One day it dawned on me, as wasteful as the whole animal exploitation industry is, veganism is the only logical conclusion.

    I had been an off and on vegetarian since I was 11, depending on how much control I had over my cooking/eating situation. I didn’t and still don’t understand the separation of the pets we loved and the animals we ate. I ate cheese and dairy products and only ate animal parts to be polite and not cause trouble. In other words, it was convenient.
    Finally when I was about 39 I completely stopped eating animals, including dairy and eggs. A few months of not eating my fellow beings and researching vegan options led me to realize how badly animals are treated and more importantly, how unnecessary and wasteful eating and wearing animals is.
    It’s a triple bottom line for me, my health, the health of my fellow animals, human and non-human and my concern for the environment.

  7. Lisa says:

    I first went Vegan because of health reasons for myself & family, but I quickly became passionate about the animal rights side of Veganism after I became educated… and THEN I found out about the environmental impact meat has. So needless to say, there is no going back for me!!! BUT, I think people that go Vegan for a “diet” trend, have a good chance to go back to their old carnivorous ways.

  8. Cleaninggirl says:

    I’m fairly new to the vegan buisness I’ve been vegan for a little over a year. I made the decision to go vegetarian first Feb 09 with the intent on going vegan for both health reasons as well as for animals. I stated talking to a friend who’d been vegan for just over a year who offered me alot of support and advice as well as providing me with links to websites such as Farm Sanctuary, and PETA it was there doing my research into veganism that I discovered the horrificness of factory farms and how the animals are being treated there. I had also seen some shows that showed veiwers the animal rearing and slaughtering in the UK (where I live) and it shocked me which is why I started asking my vegan friend for help with making the trasistion from meat eater to vegetarian with the intent to go vegan later on. I had reached a point where my body was telling me NO to meat the smell of cooked meat made me want to vomit I could hardly stand to see it without wanting to gag so I knew I had to do something about it as my body was acting strongly against me eating meat, I was also suffering with my health as well I would always have a sore throat and/or tonsillitus and was extreamly overweight I needed to do something to help my body get it’s natural balance back and once I cut meat out of my diet I started to feel better in myself after a few weeks but I was still having to have a small amount of chicken as my mother insisted that I had to eat it *roll eyes* BUT after 3 months I put my foot down and said NO to eating ANY meat at that point I also started to cut out milk and dairy products and within 2 months I no longer suffered with continues sore throats I haven’t had a cold either in the time that I have been vegan nor when my whole family had a stomach virus I didn’t get it mainly because I don’t consume any animal products and my weight is much better in a year of being vegan I lost just over 50 pounds (I still need to lose another 50 pounds to reach a much healthier weight for my height which I hope to do within the next year or two).
    But since having gone vegan I have taken on the environmental aspect of it too but if anyone asks me why I have gone vegan I always tell them it’s due to health reasons and for animals. I have even taken the time to read more on veganism and animals rights with booth such as Farm Sanctuary, When Elephants Weep, Dominion, The Pig that Sang to the Moon and Why Vegan. I don’t push my friends or family into going vegan but I am trying to encourange my family to eat less meat and have at least 1 meat free day during the week.

  9. James says:

    I was in O’Hare airport last year looking for something to read, and the new edition of Animal Liberation was featured in a display at one of the bookstores. I picked it up, along with a steak and cheese bagel from the McDonald’s around the corner. (They didn’t have this item at my regular McDonald’s, and I was excited!)

    I had seen Earthlings, but I’m one of those people who just isn’t affected by sick images, no matter how odious. And I had read The China Study, but I had also read the responses and rebuttals, and I knew the nutrition debate was far from a clear case on either side. To me, veganism just seemed like something you came to for emotional reasons and not for “real” reasons.

    So I had my breakfast and started reading, and immediately I felt a connection to Peter Singer’s writing. Here was a guy who was like me, who started off by admitting that he didn’t particularly love dogs and cats, that he in fact distrusted emotion and intuition on every issue, and that he was simply trying to figure out what people were getting wrong about the world. After the introductions, the first chapter was an overview of the utilitarian philosophy, with the introduction of the concept of speciesism. (I had heard the term “speciesism” in Earthlings, but the movie didn’t take the time to define it in a logical way, the way you can in a book.)

    I can’t tell you how weird it was reading that first chapter (titled “All Animals are Equal.”) When I read one of Singer’s ideas, I thought of a counterargument, and then in the very next paragraph he had the answer to it. This happened again and again until I just shrugged and thought, “Well, I guess he’s right.” And by the end of that chapter I knew I wouldn’t have steak again. Not too long later did I know the same thing about cheese.

    I know many of you don’t like Peter Singer or the utilitarian stance in general, but you should know that sometimes it’s the only thing that can convince a stubborn, skeptical guy like me. I’ve since read stuff from Francione and Regan and others, and I see what they’re saying to some extent, but this isn’t a philosophy debate thread, it’s just a “tell your story” thread, and I’ve done that, so I’ll get out of the way now.

  10. i started researching the benefits of vegetarianism probably 2 years ago. it took about a year for me to be convinced it was conducive to my life (i’m pretty all or nothing, so i wanted to be SURE). once i went vegetarian, though, i started to research what was behind the dairy and eggs i was eating, and after reading eating animals, i had made my decision.i went vegan that day, and continue to build passion for it each day.

    you rock, girl! this is a great idea.

  11. Danielle (Runs on Green) says:

    Ohhh love this question 🙂

    I am mainly vegan for my views on nature. I just think people have lost touch with nature/their bodies/the earth and I like to remember where I came from and stay in tune with the world (this is some deep hippie stuff, I know lol). I believe that humans are herbivores…in fact, it’s argueably…a fact. Eggs are animals to me. Period. And dairy is probably the most unnatural of it all. Why don’t we (as humans) drink our mother’s breast milk as adults?? Because…it’s “gross.” The reason we think it’s gross simply being that it’s against our instinct. Once we are weaned, we are suposed to sustain ourselves on food…not our mother’s milk. So then why on earth are we 1.) Drinking breast milk as adults? and 2.) Drinking the breast milk of an entirely different species?? It just…seems very twisted to me.

    I think the other reasons I’m vegan all stem from that (^). Health reasons, environmental reasons, etc.

  12. Michal says:

    I think its so interesting that you brought this up, I am vegan for me! For my health, for the planet and for the animals. I personally think that going vegan is one of the best things that you can do. Regardless for who or what you are doing it for, it is the number one thing you can do to live a cruelty free lifestyle. Not only that but since I habe went vegan i have met so many wonderful people, and I have become so sure and confidant in myself. It was the best decision that I ever made!