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[from Charlotte Observer]

Ever eat a cheeseless pizza or dunk a cookie into soymilk?

For about one out of every 100 people, avoiding all animal products -- meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy products -- is second nature. They do it every day.

They're vegan (VEE-gun) -- vegetarians who go a few steps farther than the rest. Most vegans also steer clear of honey, and some even avoid refined sugar (much of it is whitened with bone char).

What motivates people to go to such extremes? Ethics, usually.

Vegans are typically motivated by deeply felt convictions about ecology, world hunger and animal rights. They believe it's wrong to kill or misuse animals.

Any use of animals that exploits them or contributes to suffering is off limits, and that extends to clothing and cosmetics, too. Vegans don't wear leather, wool, or silk and they avoid make-up, shampoo and other products made with animal ingredients or tested on animals.
...
But perhaps the most important lesson we could all learn from vegans is their thoughtfulness toward food. Vegans mindfully consider everything they eat. They study the fine print on food labels and pepper restaurant wait staff with questions.

While most people would consider a vegan lifestyle too extreme, adopting a more thoughtful approach to what goes onto your plate can be a giant step toward a healthier diet.

Suzanne Havala Hobbs is a registered dietitian and a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy at UNC;
suzanne@onthetable.net; www.onthetable.net.

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full story:
http://www.charlotte.com/mld/ charlotte/living/food/13986848.htm

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