(Spoiler alert: I went with the vegan post, but you can look for the fave new finds next Friday and the SCOBY post very soon; so soon that it's pretty much ready to go if I hit 'post' right now!) I don't talk too, too much about being vegan on my blog, but I thought it might be interesting to incorporate it into a post that decides how vegan is vegan to me! The entitlement to our own thoughts and opinions leaves a lot of wiggle room for beliefs, justifications, likes/dislikes, reasonings, and the sort! So, here is my take on where my veganism stands and why. Enjoy!
The Obvious Ones
Gotta start somewhere, so I thought I would get the ones out of the way that are pretty much a given that I do not consume/use:
- land and sea animals
- milk and dairy products from animals
I'm sure you're thinking,
why did she even put those in here?
but I just wanted to make sure you all knew that as long as we're vegan, those products above will not be seen in our home. And if, for some reason, anything changes (i.e.: something gets added back in), I would no longer identify myself as a vegan, or would make it known to others of our changes. Ok, moving on!
The Less Obvious Ones
These are the ones I like to think have their own boundaries of appropriateness given different circumstances and my choices. I'm pretty sure that as a vegan I shouldn't even be driving a car for the risk of killing innocent bugs (I hope you know I'm joking around!), but I'm doing what feels right for me. So, let me explain the following scenarios.
Ok, so let's be clear that there is no way I would ever buy a new leather product (and haven't since becoming vegan), unless I did so unknowingly, but would correct it immediately. Manmade leather is my new homie. So you might be wondering why the heck I would even include it under the 'less obvious' heading, so let's clear that one up. Here's my wiggle room: we recently bought Tyler's parents' old car off of them which does have leather seats. They're helping us out by giving us a deal on it, and it provides the space we need for a toddler. Although I'm not 100% ok with this, am I for our current situation? Yes. But, if we were ever buying a new car, it would be one without leather. But from a money standpoint, I'm ok with the used leather seats right now and super thankful for in-laws helping us out.
(A side fact: Leather is the #1 money making byproduct of the meat industry and in a weird way actually fuels animal slaughtering without people realizing this!)
And obviously a separate category, but could be sandwiched under this title (so I will!) for non-use are: fur, and goose-down pillows and comforters.
I feel like honey is one that sits on the vegan/non-vegan fence. I've been to vegan restaurants that are specifically labeled as 'vegan' that still use honey in their products, and other vegans who would never touch anything containing it. So, my stance is this: I would never go out and purposely buy a jar of honey, but I would still drink/eat something that contains it (take the chai tea latte at Starbucks, for instance). I'm pretty sure there's a lot of mixed reactions and views on bees at the moment (especially with honey bee populations decreasing - one example article here) that make it debatable whether honey consumption is good or bad right now. But, now you at least know where I stand (in the middle of the fence - haha!).
I almost always look for 'vegetarian' friendly supplements with the exception of one: Vitamin D. If you are unfamiliar, Vitamin D can come in two forms: D2 and D3. D2 is vegan and D3 is not (it comes from sheep wool). Vitamin D3 is the most common and easier form to find, and for that, we use D3. I don't have as much of a problem with using this animal-derived product because I like to think that at least the animals are not killed in order to make the product. Hey, it works for me.
This one is definitely a tough one for me. Not only would I like to get make-up that contains no animal derivatives, but I would like to "green" my make-up collection, in general. I'm not perfect and do still buy make-up that contains ingredients that I probably shouldn't be using, but hey, I'm working on it. Money is a huge factor, and with greener/vegan-friendly make-up I do feel comes a more expensive price tag. The best I can do is look for sales on better make-up and make slow changes. Plus, the only real make-up product I buy lately is mascara, so I can spend the few extra bucks (yet secretly still only buy it when I catch it on sale).
The Little Guys
These are what I like to think of as the very minimal items that many people might not even consider, but worth mentioning for where I stand on them.
"Item may contain…"
If I'm looking to purchase an item that doesn't have milk or animal ingredients in it but says, "May contain milk, etc.," I will still buy it. The company does this just to cover its' butt if it is processed in a facility that, say, has a product containing milk on another line. Chances are my product doesn't have any traces of milk in it, but just on the off chance that something did happen where they came into contact with each other, putting the claim on the label protects them.
This is a harder one because I have no control in the kitchen when I'm out to eat, so I like to think that when I order something vegan, that they're giving me something free of eggs, dairy, and meat. Although I have to admit that I do get anxiety (unless it's a place I completely trust) because I'm not comfortable with the idea of eating something out that might contain something I wouldn't eat at home (ex: using beef or chicken broth in an otherwise veggie soup--this completely took me by surprise for one of the soups we had to prepare in my restaurant course at school, so I imagine this is something that happens frequently!). I prefer to eat at vegan-specific or even vegan-friendly restaurants when I can, and although we have a pretty good handle on that, you can catch me as the one who is super specific when giving her dinner order to the waiter just to make sure there are no mix-ups. (But again, I can't control everything!)
Companies on the Stock Market
This might seem like a random one, but my husband and I more recently started buying stocks and it wasn't until that happened that I ever considered the vegan aspect of it. We had a friend recommend a chicken company to us (PPC) to buy stocks in, but the hubby and I both decided that even if it was something worth buying in to, it wasn't something that we wanted to support. We've decided to get into some other companies that match our beliefs (for instance, we're looking at an organics company right now!).
Other things that are pretty important to me that you will find me doing to coincide with the points I made above are as follows:
- a lot of food label reading and research
- research for restaurants and grocery stores when traveling
- preparing foods for travel
- educating Nia on our lifestyle to the best of my ability
- finding great vegan alternatives
I hope this has given you a better understanding on my viewpoints and what being vegan means to me! I like to be as honest and open as I can be about my journey because there really is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to live your life. I just thought it might be useful so you can see where my distinctions lie.
Now your turn...
Is there anything you identify with above? Or if not, tell me one thing you're doing this weekend!