What is a Level 5 Vegan? – Vegan Levels Guide

what is a level 5 vegan

There are different categories and types of veganism, based on the lifestyle followed. While some people try to follow veganism in the purest form, some find it difficult to maintain the same. Knowing about these categories might help you to choose the best vegan diet for yourself. If you’ve been wondering what is a Level 5 Vegan, here is what you need to know.

As vegans, looking for the best plant-based diet is what we ensure. But, the process of switching to a vegan lifestyle is not as simple as it seems but, with this how to go vegan guide, it will be easier to go vegan. Animal-derived ingredients can sneak into our foods in the strangest ways, making them unsafe for vegans. Also, when the production process of food and its ingredients has a possibility of animal cruelty or cross-contamination, it can be unsuitable for the strict vegans.

So, based on the categorization, which level do you fall in? Or, which level will be the easiest to follow? Let’s find out.

What is a Level Five Vegan?

what can't vegans eat

A level 5 vegan is someone who never eats anything that casts a shadow. Now, that sounds very funny and almost impossible. Well, the term was actually used as a humorous barb in the episode of The Simpsons. More precisely, it was first coined in the ‘Lisa the Tree Hugger’ episode of The Simpsons to describe the character, Lisa Simpson.

A level 5 vegan is the most extreme and difficult level of veganism. It refers to all those vegans who go to the extreme extent to follow a lifestyle that eliminates all exploitation of animals from their lifestyle. It is not about the food but also the products one uses on an everyday basis, starting from the toothbrush to the shoes (they tend to even use vegan combat boots rather than using the leather one).

Level 5 vegans say no to all animal-derived products (food, shoes, bags etc) like eggs, dairy products, meat, skin, seafood, or anything that contains these. Also, they refrain from using animal-derived products like leather, gelatin, some food colors, and more. They do not entertain the usage of such products and try to stick to it very strictly. Avoiding any form of animal cruelty is not as easy and simple as it seems. Yet, the level 5 vegans are the best at it.

“Level 5 Veganism” Requirements

A level 5 vegan is synonymous with 100% vegan. It means adopting a plant-based lifestyle and considering animal rights as the main priority. So, the requirements would not be only avoiding eggs, cheese, and meat but something more than that.

Firstly, following a level 5 vegan lifestyle requires avoiding all sorts of food that might contain animal-derived ingredients. It refers to both fresh home-cooked food and packaged food items. The second requirement is to avoid foods processed with animal-derived ingredients such as sugar (processed with bone char), palm oil, gelatin, and also flavoring and colors that are derived from or tested on animals.

Thirdly, to be a level 5 vegan, one must avoid animal product is leather. The strict vegans also refrain from checking their cosmetics or medicines for animal testing. They choose alternatives that are organic, sustainable, and eco-friendly. These are mainly the requirements of level 5 veganism.

What Level Vegan are You?

Level 5 Vegan - Vegan Levels Guide

It is always better to start at level 1. Vegan perfectionism exists and there is a certain way you can improve to reach there. If you have recently switched to a vegan lifestyle or have been following it for quite a long, knowing your level of veganism will give you a coherent idea of where you stand. Below are all the levels of veganism explained, starting from level 1 to level 4. Read on to find out what level you belong to.

Level 1 Vegan

The level 1 vegans are people who switch to veganism typically for health benefits. Usually, this level of veganism doesn’t focus on the ethical and environmental benefits of veganism. Or, maybe at this stage, they are unaware of these multiple aspects.

Though the level 1 vegans avoid animal-derived food, they might cheat on rare occasions. Besides enjoying green smoothies like boba tea smoothie, kale salads, and Buddha bowls, they might consume organic honey as well. Hence, we can assume they follow vegan diet for about 95% of the time. These people are the believers of a great balanced diet but are not very strict with their vegan ethics so they might use non-vegan products.

Level 2 Vegan

This level includes all those vegans, who seem a little confused with their opinion on animal rights. They struggle a lot with finding and cooking tasty plant-based food. Since they are beyond level 1, they primarily choose a vegan diet to stay fit and active and additionally, are more emotional in nature when it comes to animal cruelty.

Hence, you will see them feeling moved after watching Earthlings, Cowspiracy, or Forks Over Knives. As a result, they will initiate an urge to protest against animal agriculture. Yet, they just might flaunt their brand new non-vegan accessories. It seems they are under a lot of social pressure at this level trying to follow something very new. For level 2 vegans, we have a number of recipes as well as vegan products options. To have a kick start, you can try out our beginner’s grocery list and best vegan meal plans.

Level 3 Vegan

Small changes do make a difference and this is what the level 3 vegans will tell you to motivate you. They are much more aware of animal cruelty and therefore, stand against it firmly. Level 3 vegans are usually conscious when it comes to choosing plant-based foods for diet like capers.

This consciousness or awareness is a result of their long experience living a plant-based lifestyle. Therefore, they can encourage others with a lot more confidence. When someone reaches level 3 of veganism, it seems they can achieve further perfection to reach level 4 and 5, which are the most difficult phases.

Level 4 Vegan

The level 4 vegans are just one level below level 5. Hence, they are aware, confident as well as quite active to opine about animal rights. This level refers to the vegans who are also practical when it comes to making a choice for living. They are just a little less obsessed with their lifestyle than level 5 vegans.

They follow a healthy vegan regime, which includes more fruits, vegetables like Eggplant, and nuts like walnuts over packaged foods. They only go to vegan restaurants for a treat or at places where they get vegan options like Pizza Hut, Jack in the Box and many more. The level 4 vegans might step on an insect by mistake while walking on the grass whereas the level 5 vegans will avoid walking on the grass instead and level 5 vegans will prefer restaurants that serve only vegan food.

Is it Even Possible to be a Level 5 Vegan?

As we already know, being level 5 vegan means following a 100% vegan lifestyle. For all practical reasons, is it even possible to be a Level 5 vegan?

The number of things you come into contact which might make it almost impossible to enquire the vegan purity. For instance, your bicycle tires might be made of vulcanized rubber, a non-vegan material. Or, the seats of an airline you are traveling in might be made of leather. Or, the sugar in your morning smoothie might be processed with bone char.

Once you hit 99.5 percent mark or at least level 4, you can certainly joke that you are a Level 5 vegan. But what pulls you back is the law of diminishing returns. Such trivial things do matter to you but it might possibly make you obsessed with a certain level of narcissism. It is up to you how you channelize this obsession.

Road to Being 100 Percent Vegan

So, to be 100 percent vegan, your road should be vegan activism. When you have eliminated almost 98 percent of the animal products from your life, you should focus on animal rights more actively. If you are too heartbroken with the scenario of animal exploitation as a whole in the universe, you should understand that animals need more and more effective animal advocates than level 5 vegans to save them from exploitation.

Hence, being a level 5 vegan seems a narcissistic attempt, which can be seen as the law of diminishing returns. It remains an enlightening concept that will most benefit you. When you think of the number of animals you save with your level 5 veganism, it actually makes not an enormous difference to animal cruelty overall. Hence, as long as you keep the concept of level 5 vegan from a healthy perspective, it is fine. When you get obsessed with it, the problem arises.

To be a level 5 or a 100% vegan, you need to go beyond your diet and lifestyle choices. Taking aim at animal agribusiness in the largest possible way can certainly be the way. Making people aware of the ongoing brutality can be the way. The growth of your vegan community will rise not through the existence of Level 5 Vegans, but through the awareness of animal rights.

What can’t vegans eat? – In general, vegans can’t eat any food that contains animal-derived ingredients or animal by-products such as meat, eggs, dairy, etc. And there are many foods that are accidentally vegan that we do not know about. So check for ingredients in each product to know whether that product is vegan or not.


Now that we have explained the five levels of veganism, you know which level you belong to. If you are not very strict with the level of your veganism, you belong to level 1 or 2.

The more confident and experienced ones are likely to belong to levels 3 and 4. And level 5 is all about focusing on every minute thing you come to contact with. If you are a level 5 vegan, you can dream of a safe and secure world for animals only by making people aware. There are lots of people in the world who are still unaware of animal cruelty.

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  1. I have worked on commercial fishing boats in both Alaska and Cape Cod. The reason the deadliest catch is based around King Crabs, they are taken out of a cage and thrown into a holding tank of water, which seems pretty non-cruel. If they ever filmed a Gill Net Fishing or Purse Seine Fishing boat people would be enraged, apoplectic, and that’s right after they are done throwing up.

    After they are caught their mammalian tract must come out while they are alive. The bloodfest is otherwordly.

    25,000 people a day die from starvation, Men Women, and Children fall into the abyss. After years of agonizing pain and sickness, they circle the black hole know as death, scared, alone, and the only way of life they have ever know.

    When vegetarians figure out how to feed those starving people I will be open to your argument. The food supply chain is extraordinarily delicate, when we have an offseason more people die. Cruelty to animals (Fish, crustaceans, and all manner of things we kill) is so far beyond your imagination it’s mindbending. We only keep 5 % of what we kill because there is no market for Dolphins, Humpback Whales, and the rest of the life forms we kill. I don’t like it any more than you do, but it is a simple fact, look up the first law of Thermodynamics, it may enlighten you, it will confuse you at first, but keep at it and it will hit you one day, there is no choice, there never has been and there never will be a choice, Physics will answer the “why” for you if you follow the laws of Physics like a bread crumb trail.

    Life is nasty, brutish, and short.


  2. What I always wonder is if peoples veganizm is due to the fact of them not wanting too take an animals life. Plants are also alive and conscious of time and there surroundings, so where do you draw the line?

    1. Given that plants do not have pain receptors, nerves, or a brain, they do not feel pain. It’s pretty pointless to fight on this matter. Its your life, depends on how you want to live. Live & let live! 🙂

      1. Thank you Ms. Zander for your insights and kindness. Bravo!

        Personally, I stopped eating animals because I love them and detest the implicit hubris & cruelty of industrial farming together. Now I’ve found that my health and demeanour have improved.

        You’re an inspirational & interesting writer. Such kind words and obvious compassion (& patience!) as yours are much appreciated.


    2. Animals eat plants, but when they are killed for food, the amount of meat that their bodies yield is much less than the amount of plants they eat in their lifetime.

      So, when a person eats animals instead of plants, they are responsible for the “death” of more plants than a vegan.

      So, more plants die for a meat eater than for a vegan. If plants’ feelings are of concern, then eating a vegan diet makes the most sense.

      1. So true Maribeth! I avoid any kind of argument with my readers as I believe it’s a free world and everyone is responsible for the path they choose.

  3. “More precisely, it was first coined in the ‘Lisa the Tree Hugger’ episode of The Simpsons to describe the character, Lisa Simpson.”

    False. The term Level 5 vegan was used by Lisa’s friend to describe himself. Literally right in the clip included in this article.

    Otherwise..no I don’t think this is satire, but it’s so oddly worded and organized I wonder if English isn’t the author’s first language, which in that case, uh, good job.

  4. A level 5 vegan who “doesn’t eat anything that doesn’t cast a shadow” can be easily accomplished by eating an animal in the dark room. Nothing casts a shadow in pitch black.

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