When you become a vegan, there should be a superhero cape issued. At least, that is how I felt when I started this journey a few months ago. Me… aka “The Vegan”!!! Okay, okay… it sounds silly, I know. But there was this newfound responsibility that I discovered along with my new diet. It wasn’t as simple as no more meat and dairy. That was a good start, but to stick with the lifestyle, I had to keep learning about WHY I was sticking with it. It became more to me than a way to eat healthier.
People become, and stay vegan for a multitude of reasons. Some do it because of the treatment of animals. Some do it because of the treatment of the planet. Others do it purely out of health concern. I did it, and continue to do it, because I am absolutely horrified about my own contribution to the destruction of this beautiful planet, and to the animals in it. I do it because I want my children and grandchildren to have a planet to live on – one that can sustain itself. I do it because with my newfound knowledge, I can’t sit idly by and do nothing. With all of that said, I chose to be vegan and I TRY to choose cruelty-free. There is a difference, just as there is a difference between plant-based and vegan diets, and the differences all have impact.
For example, this weekend, I needed some things. I needed conditioner and mascara (don’t judge…I am not quite there on the zero-waste living). As I do almost every week, I headed to a nearby town that has all my favorite shops: used bookstore, second-hand clothing store, TARGET….(cueing the angels singing again…)
At Target, I looked for a vegan conditioner and mascara. As I always do, I read the labels. I chose a conditioner that is vegan, but I found that it is not on the “good list” with PETA, likely because they test on animals. I weighed my other options and chose the brand anyway. I picked a mascara that is also vegan, and says it is only human-tested. Although I prefer all cruelty-free products, I was satisfied with these purchases, know that I am doing good for the planet by choosing vegan and hope that I can do something about the brands I like that still do animal-testing (more about that later).
My point with this post is that you must decide for yourself whether you are vegan purely for the diet; if you desire cruelty-free products, and to what extent you can live with ingredients that are animal derived or tested. It is a lot to think about, but it puts new meaning into everything you choose to buy. I now look at EVERYTHING I consume and ask whether I can live with the purchase. It sounds really dramatic, but again – this lifestyle has just put new perspective on my previous mindless purchases.
If animal-testing is an important thing you feel you should avoid, look for the bunnies on your products. This is an indication that they are cruelty-free:
PETA also offers a place to search for products that are cruelty-free and even an app for your phone to assist with shopping. Do some soul-searching and decide what is best for you. No matter what your decision, just the decision to go vegan is doing huge things for the planet, so YOU are a superhero too!