Sunday, April 15, 2012

Phases of Vegan

Being a Vegan is hard. There are so many layers to veganism. You have your food. You have your clothing, furniture, toys, material possessions. And, you have the items you use to clean yourself and your house. Tackling it all at once is not advisable. I watched a youtube video about "going cold turkey." But for someone like me, someone with super, crazy anxiety, there is just too much to know, to learn. Add in living in a suburban/nearly rural environment and you are ripe for Vegan disaster.

I have talked about this before. My husband and I decided that we would do what we can. We are going to try our hardest to do our best and if we make mistakes, then we will learn from them and move on. What we are discovering, the sad truth, is that like oil, nearly everything has an animal product in it. Animal products are used in the manufacturing of everything from the obvious (bacon) to the not so obvious (bicycle tires). If you tried to extract everything in your life with an animal product in it, you would go CRAZY! It simply isn't possible. So, at some point, you have to do the best you can. After all, we all have to live in this world. I don't want my kids to stand out as totally belonging to the Wack-A-Doo family (anymore than they already do in East Texas), and I want to enjoy my life as well.

That being said, even PETA acknowledges that all animal products can't be avoided. See their statement on small amounts of animal products in food here.  Basically, we can't obsess all the time (even if we have obsessive personalities). This has to be especially true when you live in a town that doesn't have access to a wide range of "vegan" foods. Sometime you are going to have to buy bread with monoglycerides as an ingredient. Those monoglycerides may or may not be derived from an animal product, but you are still making the best choice you can. As countless Vegan websites suggest, go for whole, unprocessed foods when possible, then you don't have to worry about it!

But back to the "Phases of Vegan" and me. I realize that I don't even have the food phase down yet. Let's be honest. My mother pulled out a Triscuit and asked if I could eat it, and I had no clue. She didn't have the box, so I couldn't read the ingredients. I just said, "No thanks." Turns out I could have eaten it! But these things take time. We eat primarily fresh foods that I prepare myself, so I don't have to worry too much about it.

Then we had a dreaded moment a few days ago (you can read about the sunscreen moment here) when we ran out of body wash. First, I found out that my conditioner is NOT vegan. I repeat NOT vegan and neither is our body wash. So, we went to the store, painstakingly read all the labels and found a product that we thought met our criteria. It is produced by Dove. Then I find out that Dove tests on Animals, and so does Crest (the people who make my toothpaste). Even though I have been reading the labels, I haven't been buying Vegan products.

This brings me to phases two and three. We have already committed to making the change in our food. We are trying to cut back on our consumerism in general, and we purchase most of our items from auctions, second hand stores, craigslist, etc. When we do purchase new shoes or the like, we purchase vegan products which is pretty easy for us since Converse offers Vegan products (Yeah Converse!) Check out some other awesome Vegan Shoes at this blog Vegan Kicks. So we are cool there. The good news is that you can do the food and the clothing/material items no matter where you live.

Now, toothpaste, that is a whole new level of beast. A WHOLE NEW LEVEL. And that is the phase we are dealing with now. But the story is going to be awesome. Tomorrow I am going to do a little field research on Vegan products that are available at my local stores. After all, that is what this is supposed to be about--how you can do this too when you don't live right next door to a Whole Foods or in a major metropolitan area. So stay tuned. My next blog entry will be a haul...

2 comments:

Happy Kid City said...

Vegan shoes! Who would have thought there was such a thing? Very interesting post.

Wellman Group said...

I know! It is amazing how many products have animal products in them (including our shoes), but it is pretty easy to find products that are animal product free everywhere! I am finding that many of the products I use are already Vegan.