Vegan 101 and how to get started
From celebrity fads to weight loss programs, a vegan diet is becoming more and more known. Here’s what it really means to be vegan…
Nowadays, animals that are our pets are truly part of our family and we treat them as such. They’re loved so deeply and we’re always considering their emotions and well-being.
So what’s the difference between an animal that is a pet and an animal that is on our plate?
For most, vegan is a diet that omits animals products including meat, dairy, eggs, honey, lard, etc.
There are several reasons people go vegan including health, animal welfare, the environment and to lose weight.
However, vegan is also living your life without creating any consequences for animals.
Let me explain
Vegan is not only a diet but a lifestyle. It’s about having a cruelty-free home, style, beauty regimen and diet. It’s about considering what others go through for our wants. It’s no longer necessary for survival, but rather purely choice.
Did you know that even though most of our ancestors ate meat, it was in small amounts? It was eaten once a week as a treat with grains and vegetables, but never the centerpiece of a meal like we’ve created today (*1).
Here’s how Merriam-webster defines it:
The definition, however, isn’t always cut and try. Per the full definition, there are other types of vegan’s who choose to eat chicken or fish once in a while or omit a cruelty-free lifestyle outside of their diet.
For me, I just don’t believe that any animal should suffer or lose their life for my lifestyle. Having gone vegetarian 10 years ago, and vegan 4 years ago, it is night and day the advancement in options for a vegan lifestyle. There are so many delicious cheese and milk alternatives and beautiful vegan leather options for furniture that makes it so much easier to choose a compassionate lifestyle!
Here’s what to think about when you’re going vegan:
- In the home: avoid leather, wool, feathers (down) and fur when buying furniture and accessories.
- In the closet: consider alternatives to leather, suede, wool, crocodile skin & snakeskin and fur. Also, avoid fast fashion – items that are made poorly and cheaply. Think about the workers and their likely unhealthy and dangerous working conditions overseas putting together something that will only last you a season or two.
- In the beauty cabinet: Find products that are certified cruelty-free and vegan. Check out Leaping Bunny’s standard for certified cruelty-free. There are many ingredients that may not stand out when reading ingredients, including: Carmine (from the cochineal and other scale insects) lanolin (from the wool of sheep), beeswax (from a beehive), castor (from beavers), collagen (found in tendons, ligaments and skin), cetyl alcohol (from whale oil) and many more. One to follow for cruelty-free, vegan beauty is Tashina over at Logical Harmony.
- In the kitchen: avoid items that include any ingredients or processes that come from an animal: meat, dairy, eggs, honey, lard, and bones. Also, Did you know often times red food dye is made of ground-up beetles? There is a lot of talk of the health benefits of honey, but don’t forget to consider the work that went into creating that honey as a food source for the bees.
We are all on our own journey. Wherever you choose to incorporate veganism into your life makes a difference! It is an ongoing learning experience that is constantly evolving.
A great place to start in changing your lifestyle is to just consider the above bullet points when you’re out shopping for groceries, home decor, and clothes. Don’t get discouraged if you feel overwhelmed, believe me, I know that feeling! If there’s something you’re questioning, just pull out your phone and google it!
If you’re looking for a quick and delicious recipe, check out this cucumber, dill salad! If you’re looking for a laugh, check out this post on 13 truths you should know about vegans.
*1 Ronnen, Tal. Crossroads. New York: Artisan, 2015. Print.