Vegans, do you know your stuff?


A fun article from Marisa at Kind Green Planet on vegan and vegetarian terms and definitions. Do you know them all?....

Vegans, do you know your stuff?

On November 1, 1944, The Vegan Society was co-founded by Donald Watson, and the term "vegan" was coined.

In celebration, I'm going to share a few other terms that you're likely to come across in your adventures into plant-based living.

This glossary is a slightly shortened version of the one on

Adzuki beans

- Small, brown sweet bean. Used in Japanese cooking.


- A clear, flavorless odorless sea vegetable. It is freeze-dried, sold in sticks, flakes or powder. It is a natural thickener and is a good substitute for gelatin.


- A thin, spaghetti like, dark brown sea vegetable rich in calcium, iron and other minerals.


- It is a substance found in deep orange, yellow and red vegetables and fruits. It is believed that it protects against cancer and heart disease.

Bean thread noodles

- Translucent cellophane noodles threads made from green mung beans starch. Can also be deep-fried.


- Cracked hulled and parboiled wheat.
Canola oil - Rapeseed oil. Lower in saturated fat than other oils.


- Used like cocoa powder in baked goods, but does not contain caffeine, and is lower in fat.


- Dairy cheeses. Hard, aged cheeses often contains animal rennet. Cheeses that do not contain rennet are often made with chymosin (a bacteria), that may be listed as enzymes. Kosher cheeses are made with vegetarian rennet because Jewish dietary law does not allow the mixing of dairy and meat. Soy and nut cheeses often contain a milk protein called casein.


- Cholesterol is a waxy substance that can often be found in the arteries of a person who is diseased. If there is too much cholesterol in a person's diet there may be a hardening of the arteries which can cause heart disease. Cholesterol is made by the liver and is only found in animal foods such as meat, eggs and dairy products. Plant foods do not contain cholesterol. The body does not need any cholesterol since the body can produce all that it needs. A diet with a low level of saturated fats and cholesterol is healthiest, and this diet can help reduce the chance of coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.

Complementary proteins

- Refers to the practice of eating foods in the correct combination in order to optimize the correct intake of essential amino acids. This combination of food is believed to form a "complete protein." At the present time this practice is no longer considered to be valid by most experts.


- This is a form of vitamin B12 that is believed to be the best form for absorption by the human body.

Egg Replacer

- Powdered combination of starches and leavening agents that bind cooked and baked foods instead of eggs. Sold in health food stores.

Essential amino acids

- Amino acids that are not manufactured by the body and have to be gotten from food.


- Fiber or roughage is only found in plants, and is not found in animal products. A vegetarian diet is a good source of fiber.

Free radicals

- Molecules that cause damage to the body's cells.


- People who only eat fruits and apparent vegetables that are actually classified as fruits such as avocados, nuts, seeds, eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes.

Garam masala

- A Indian blend of ground, dry-roasted spices. Typically it includes cumin, black pepper, cloves, cardamom, fennel, dried chilies, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander and other spices.


- A tasteless, clear thickening agent usually made from animal products. There are also often vegetarian gelatin that is made from plant gums. Some kosher gelatins are animal-free. Sometimes you will see kosher gelatin listed on a yogurt package, but the yogurt label does not say the yogurt product is kosher. The gelatin is kosher (is not meat and milk mixed together or is made from fish), but if it is a meat derived gelatin and it is mixed with the yogurt than the yogurt product is not kosher nor is it fit for a vegetarian.


- a protein complex made from grains, found in a high level in wheat and in lesser amounts in rye, barley, oats and spelt. It is mixed with water and spices and is often used in vegetarian meat substitutes. It can be used to make bread rise as a leavening agent.


(hee-jee-kee) - A black sea vegetable that is sold in strands. Expands five times after it is soaked and cooked.

Hydrogenated Fat

- This is vegetable oil that has been hardened. Corn oil can take a stick shape such as margarine. It is used in baking and in peanut butter. Hydrogenated fats can produce cholesterol and may increase the chance of coronary artery disease.

Jalapeno chili

- Dark green chili pepper that are one or two inches long. Can be extremely hot.

Lacto Ovo Vegetarian

- A lacto-ovo vegetarian does not eat meat, fish or poultry, but eats eggs and milk. They eat eggs and products made with eggs in them, yogurt, cheese, milk and ice creams.

Lacto Vegetarian

- A lacto vegetarian does not eat meat, fish, poultry or eggs, but includes dairy products in their diet. They will eat milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream that does not include eggs. They would avoid ice cream that contains eggs, veggie burgers that contain eggs, and baked goods and pancakes that contain eggs.


- Plants that produce seed pods that break on both sides when ripe. Some examples are beans, soybean, peas, peanuts and lentils.


- Macrobiotic takes into consideration the concept of yin and yang, which is applied to the acid and alkaline qualities in foods, to get a neutral pH diet. This food is often prepared in a Japanese-style. It recommends using local foods. Macrobiotic diets are often vegetarian, but some of them may contain seafood in their diet. In this diet all other meat products are excluded, as are eggs and dairy products. They also do not eat "nightshade vegetables" (potato, pepper and eggplant), refined sugar and tropical fruits.

Mung beans

- A bean that has a yellow flesh and black, yellow or green skin. Often used for sprouting. Used in Indian cooking to make a healthy bean soup.

Natural Foods

- Foods that generally have had minimal processing, and do not contain chemical additives, preservatives, artificial colors or flavoring. Natural foods are usually more nutritious because they are less processed and do not contain potentially harmful ingredients. There is no legal definition of the words "natural food." A natural breakfast cereal would use whole grains and contain more fiber, minerals and vitamins than normal cereals. Foods used in natural foods are often organically grown and usually contains less sodium. Foods that are sweetened will usually only have the minimum sweetener. They will often use fruit juice to sweeten them instead of refined sugar. Does not use nitrites or monosodium glutamate.

Nutritional yeast

- A variety of brewers (inactive) yeast that has a cheesy/nutty flavor that is rich in minerals and vitamins. Like brewer's yeast, but tastes good. Added to soups and casseroles or put on spaghetti and toast.


- No prohibited substances allowed to be used on the land within three years of harvesting organic produce. It is best that organic seeds are used, but non-organic seeds can be used under certain conditions. Crops pests, insects, diseases and weeds should be stopped as much as possible by pulling weeds or by biological methods (lady-bugs). Certain synthetic substances can be used if natural methods don't work. Crop rotation must be done. Crop waste and animal goods should be used, and certain permitted synthetic materials. Genetic engineering, sewage sludge and irradiation cannot be used.

Phyllo dough

- Thin pastry layers used in Middle Eastern and Greek dishes.

Pure Vegetarian

- One who does not consciously eat meat, fish, poultry or eggs. A pure vegetarian will never eat meat under any circumstances. They will also avoid products that have meat products in them such as cheese made with the rennet of a cow's stomach, products that contain animal gelatin, refried beans with lard in them, candies that contain eggs and other ingredients derived from meat products, marshmallows made with eggs, and baked goods that contain eggs.


- Protein is nitrogen-containing compounds that become amino acids when they are digested. Amino acids make up protein and they make up the basic structure of every cell. They make up antibodies, enzymes and hormones.

Raw foods diet

- A diet in which primarily only uncooked food is eaten. One who follows this type of diet believes that cooking changes food in a negative way and makes it less nutritional; dimishing the vitamin and mineral contents of the food.


- An enzyme that is used as a starter to curdle milk to make cheese. It is usually made from the stomach lining of calves, pigs and lambs. It may also be made from a vegetarian substance.

Rice Milk

- This is a rice-based beverage that can be used as a substitute for dairy milk on cereal, etc. It is often fortified with nutrients. It comes in a variety of flavors including plain, carob or vanilla.


- There are several varieties of rice.

Basmati Rice

- A creamy white, aromatic, nutty tasting, long-grain rice that is grown in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains in India and Pakistan. Brown basmati, or Texmati is a cross between basmati and long-grain brown rice.

Brown Rice

- Unpolished, whole, natural brown rice that has higher nutritional value than white rice, but some people will not like its taste as much. It is higher in fiber, phosphorus, B-vitamin, linoleic acid, iron and protein than white rice.

Refined White Rice

- Rice that is dehulled, refined (the bran and germ is removed) and polished.

Enriched White Rice

- Rice that has been refined and then sprayed with a vitamin solution, and then coated with protein, which makes it more nutritious, but it is still not as good as brown rice.

Long-grain Rice

- Long grain rice that is fluffy and separates nicely when cooked.

Jasmine Rice

- Aromatic rice from Thailand.

Japanica Rice

- A short-grain black rice with a sticky texture that originated in Japan. It is usually mixed with brown rice in dishes.

Wehani Rice

- It is derived from rice from India and is grown in California. It has large grains and taste like brown rice and has the texture of wild rice.

Sushi Rice

- A short-grain rice that has a sticky texture. It is often used in sushi and nori rolls.


Wild Rice

- It is dark brown, longer than long-grain rice and slender. It is not really rice but is the seed of an aquatic grass. It is usually grown in patties and is grown in Minnesota (mainly), Michigan, Wisconsin, the Rocky Mountain area and California.


- Comes from autumn crocus. Gives food a yellow color. Has unique pleasant taste. Relatively expensive.

Sea Salt

- Salt that comes from the sea. Sun baked or baked in a kiln. Does not contain sugar, chemicals or other additives. High in trace minerals.


- Boiled or baked wheat protein (gluten). A meat-like, high-protein, chewy dough-like food that has the texture and taste of meat. It is often used as a meat substitute. It is served fried, stir-fried or baked. Has no saturated fat or cholesterol.

Soy Cheese

- This is imitation dairy cheese that is made of soybean. A person who is a vegan

may want to check the label for casein, which is a protein derived from milk.

Soy Sauce

- Salty liquid that is derived from drained off soybean miso. Imitation soy sauces are also chemical hydrochloric acid extraction or imitation sauces flavored with corn sauce. Shoyu is derived from compressed soybean and then is fermented for four to six months. Tamari is similar in taste to shoyu, but doesn't contain wheat.


- Indian style of cooking that uses a round-topped clay and brick tandoor oven. Food is baked over direct heat.


- Fermented whole soybean. It is made from cooked soybeans that are hulled and then compressed into cakes and then fermented for 24 hours. It is often mixed with grains and then combined with a mold culture. Often made into mock meat substitutes or tempeh burgers. It is made with a culture called rhizopus, which is grown on hibiscus leaves. It is a traditional Indonesian food that is usually mixed with rice. It can be fried or baked. It is high in B vitamin and protein. It is rich in fiber. It is sold in the refrigerated or frozen food section. Like cheese and other fermented products a little mold on the surface is harmless and can just be cut off.

Textured vegetable protein

(TVP) - It is compressed soy flour, which usually comes in a dry granules or chunks that look like ground beef after it is rehydrated. Rehydrated it can have the texture and look of meat.


- Soybean curd (looks like white cheese) made by curdling and then pressing out the liquid in soy milk making a solid block. It is high in protein, low in sodium, and is a good source of B-vitamins and iron. Depending on how much of the water has been pressed out of the tofu it will be different degrees of hardness. It can be soft or firm. Hard tofu is often used in stir-fries. Middle firm tofu can be used in baked goods and as an egg replacer. Soft tofu can be used in sauces, puddings and custards. If the curdling agent is made from a calcium compound it is a good source of calcium. A four-ounce serving of tofu contains just six grams of fat and is low in saturated fat. The softer the tofu, the lower the fat content. Tofu is used by many Asian cultures.
Tofu should be kept refrigerated unless it is packaged tightly. You need to check its expiration date on the package. Once the package is opened tofu should be rinsed and covered with water to store it. The water should be changed daily and the tofu should be used within a week. It can be kept for up to five months when frozen.


- One who does not eat any animal products including meat, fish, eggs and dairy, or foods that contain any of these products. They also do not use any non-food items that contain products from animals including wool from sheep, leather and silk. Vegans often do not eat honey, because bees may be killed while harvesting it.

Veggie Burger

- Veggie burgers are made from soy protein, vegetables, rice, grains or fiber. Some brands contain eggs, dairy or cheese. They can be grilled, baked or micro-waved.


- One who does not eat meat or fish. Some vegetarian also do not eat dairy products because they do not eat any animals byproducts.


- Young green grass sprouts of wheat. Considered to be very healthy. Made into juice.

Article courtesy of KindGreenPlanet.Org.

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