Hi all! I wanted to ask, what does everyone think being a vegan or vegetarian means to them? Maybe some tips for us newbies that we might not know! Should I sit on my step-Moms durablend 17% leather couch? How cautious should I be when I go out to eat? Can I trust Quick-Check when they tell me their soft drinks are vegan? :P (Yes that actually happened I have the email!!) Even though I just found my go-to hair product after years of searching, should I stop using it? Are my shoes vegan? LOL, this may all sound silly but I have heard many different things and as a loyal vegan wannabe (currently vegetarian) I want to know! :) SO please everyone share your secrets- from food to furniture and hair products to house products! <3 

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Many vegetarians tend not to worry so much about animal products outside of food. If your vegan though, it becomes a real chore at first. Your shoes probably aren't vegan, hair and makeup either has animal products or was tested on animals, going out to eat is difficult in many cities. You have to read every label carefully and learn what weird-sounding additive is animal-based (veganwolf.com is a good source of info). If you drink, you have to look for vegan beers and wines (barnivore.com). It's quite a learning curve, and I'm still working on it myself.

The good news is that most vegans know this and are usually tolerant of slip-ups. You can't be expected to know everything at once, just learn as you go. Also, you don't have to get rid of everything the day you go vegan. It doesn't help the cause to toss things you already paid for. I'm holding on to my hiking boots and wool socks until they fall apart because they are so nice on the trails. 

I think it would be nearly impossible to live a "normal" life without coming into contact with products containing animal parts of one kind or another. I also think the stress of trying might be depressing. If you're trying to be vegetarian or vegan, I'd cut out processed foods entirely. It's the only way to know exactly what is in your food and takes out all the guess work. It also eliminates consumption of palm oil which is threatening the rain forests and habitats of orangutans. I try to eat only whole foods and two out of three meals I eat (or more) are Raw. For health reasons try to consume only organic produce to ensure as little genetically modified foods and pesticide ridden foods as possible. 

Also real soap is easy and fun to make. Natural moisturizers like coconut and jojoba oil are so much better for your hair and skin than any manufactured product you can find. There is tons of information on the internet about Vegan make up and alternatives and it's a long process going through it all but totally worth it.

Yes you can sit on your mom's couch!

For me the whole point of vegan-ism is to avoid animal products because of the all the pollution, environmental problems, the unequal food supply, and of course the treatment and slaughter of animals. But I also have to be a reasonable person and not make my life extremely difficult. It's not unreasonable to never intentionally purchase or eat and food with animal ingredients, and I don't find being cautious at a restaurant unreasonable. I also don't feel that I have to throw out or replace things I already own, like shoes, leather jackets or bags, because of a lifestyle decision I made after the purchase. That is not environmentally friendly at all, and at the heart of the matter doing anything that needlessly hurts the environment is not good for animals. I can wear my old leather items until I have worn them out, and then replace them with vegan items. And i like to keep my belongings in good repair, I would rather fix shoes and jackets than buy new until those items can't be fixed anymore.

Food wise and toiletry make-up wise there's a lot of stuff to read and avoid. But if you avoid processed and packaged foods, and look for bath products that are all natural and not petroleum based, it tends to weed out a good chunk of the items with animals products, and while you still have to read everything, it's actually easier.

Some stuff you have to accept. There are animals products in our computers. There's nothing I can do about it at this point in time. No one makes vegan baseballs or baseball gloves. Sometimes you need a pair of shoes and you can't find a vegan version that fits, or you can't find a vegan one at all. It's ok. A big part of the reason there are animals products in everything is because animals are grown for food, so it makes the diet the most important thing, and then you follow from there as best you can. The more you avoid animal products, the less the demand and eventually there will be change.

I really enjoyed reading everyone's comments! I love it, you guys are validating my exact fears and concerns, thank you! It is definitely crazy though, just thinking about how animal products have become such a norm. So sad! But- alas this is life and as individuals we can only do so much. Every little part counts though I presume! :D

so true :)

Living Vegan means freedom. I'm born in the family of vegans and by choice also I'm a vegan. I live in India and in our history it is vegetarianism all the way. Its only when Indians have started aping the west, that our food habits have declined drastically. I have toured western countries and I have realized that they do not know anything about vegetarianism. Even their sauce has some animal content in it.

If you really want to explore the world of vegetarianism and higher living, come to India and enjoy the dhabas. The menu is full of veg dishes. Dosa, Idli, sambar, vada, uttapam, naan, kulcha, bhatoore, thousand types of parathe, kathi roll, veg roll, tikki, pav bhajji, rajma, thousand types of dal, thousand types of potato dishes, plenty of salads, chole, makke de rote sarson da saag, kadi chawal etc etc..............In sweets you have Gullab Jamun, Rasgulla, Payasam, sweet toast, sweet curd, lassi, jalebi, thousand types of barfi etc etc.....

So the Menu is full. Who needs a dead peace of flesh anyways? That would be so damn boring!


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