Being Vegan Is About More Than Just What You Eat

 

…It’s about how you live.

For many people who have turned vegan, or who are newly transitioning, there’s a lot to consider when you assess the changes that you’ll be making.

It’s much more than just not eating animal products, as many people may still perhaps think. It is a holistic way of living… a lifestyle.

If you define vegans solely by what they put in their mouth - then this only covers one aspect of veganism, and misses the point of the movement. Veganism is much more than just a plant-based diet, as there are many other non-food products, behaviours and processes that also exploit animals. This can be demonstrated by the irony of leather-wearing vegans, who would really be considered to be choosing a plant-based diet rather than a vegan lifestyle.

Most of the time, defining veganism by food consumption can be due to a lack of information or understanding about what it means to be vegan, or because many vegans choose to make the transition into this lifestyle by beginning with their food choices. So here’s an overview of what a #veganlifestyle actually means, and how to bring your actions in line with your principles. Not only does it do a great amount for the environment, the animals and your health – but also that feeling of aligning with what you believe is wonderful!

First, it’s important to be clear that consumption covers more than just food. There is a large emphasis on ‘diets’ in society and the vegan food movement has received a lot of exposure recently. For example, in Australia between 2014 and 2016, the number of vegan food products rose by 92%!

However, your consumption extends beyond food and beverages. Consumption is the driver for social, economic and environmental change. This is one of the biggest reasons why vegans are so passionate about the movement, as they truly believe that the way that society ‘consumes’ will make a huge difference to the functioning and sustainability of the world.

So when people talk about vegan consumption, they need to not only be talking about what they eat and drink; but also what non-food items they purchase, the events they attend and the processes/actions that they support. Consumption can even extend to the energy we consume, the people we spend time with, the thoughts we think, and the mindset we hold. Below I’ll step through some of the ways that vegan consumption is about much more than just food:


Beverages
There are a number of beverages that contain animal by-products. Some are more obvious such as milk or milk drinks, but some are less obvious. Many protein shake powder is made from whey, which is a by-product from cow’s milk. There are many vegan protein powders available now so that you don’t need to skip on your daily shake! Collagen drinks and powders are also rising in popularity, however collagen is also derived from animals and is not considered vegan. It’s also common for wine to be filtered with animal products, such as eggs. This is not well advertised but you will often see on the back of wine bottles whether any animal products have been used during filtration. There are also a number of vegan wines available and can be researched online.

Personal Care Products
Not only do products often contain ingredients that have been tested on animals, but they can also contain animal derived ingredients. Quick tip - here's some commonly used animal derived personal care ingredients to avoid: Cochineal Dye/Carmine, Guanine, Tallow, Lanolin, Squalene, Ambergris, Collagen, Beeswax, Estrogen/Estradiol, and most forms of Retinol. Many of the skincare or cosmetic products that you own may not be vegan and could contain animal derived ingredients as well as irritating synthetic chemicals. Opt for skincare and cosmetics that are advertised as vegan – such as the entire Buddy Scrub range!

 
Clothing + Accessories
This may be an area of the vegan lifestyle that you haven’t considered, and a great example of how veganism extends beyond food consumption. Clothing and accessories that contain leather, fur, feathers, snakeskin or other ‘skins’ from animals are not considered vegan, and animals are often subjected to significant pain and suffering for the use of their skins. You may think that purchasing leather doesn’t contribute to the death of livestock, however farmers sell their cows for their meat as well as their hides so all of these aspects contribute to the animal’s demise. Fashion brands are becoming more conscious of the ethics behind the materials that they use and many are now going ‘fur free’ or ditching animal materials altogether. There are many alternatives to traditional leather, fur and other animal derived fashion, and simply searching online for ‘vegan fashion’ will give you a whole range of results for brands, companies and sites dedicated to offering this.


Home/Lifestyle Products
Similar to above, there are many household products that contain animal derived ingredients. Examples of this include goose or duck ‘down’ pillows and duvets which use the feathers of geese and ducks, wool blankets or slippers made from sheep’s wool, some brands of mattresses, ivory or leather goods, and even products such as glue or candles can contain animal derived ingredients. Many people who change to a vegan lifestyle will find that they have many more products left over which may not suit their new lifestyle. That's ok. What you can do is donate what products you may already have to charity, so that others benefit. You can then replace them with vegan alternatives to support those companies who are supporting the world!

 
Events exploiting animals
Consumption also extends to the activities and behaviours that you take part in. Again, your purchasing power is a driver for change, and avoiding companies, experiences and activities that add to the suffering of animals will keep you aligned in your vegan lifestyle; you'll be one less person taking part in these acts. Some of the events or activities that involve the exploitation or killing of animals includes animal acts in circuses, sea parks, zoos and hunting. There are so many alternative activities that you can get involved in such as going on a hike, having a picnic in the park, lunch dates at plant-based cafe, yoga, dance, beach days...there are endless options that don’t need to involve animals for your entertainment.


Gifts for others
Being vegan is more than just being mindful of purchases and consumption for yourself, but also for others. Purchasing gifts or products that contain animal products is generally avoided by vegans, even if they are being gifted to someone who isn’t vegan. The reason for this is they ensure that their money is not going towards funding the businesses that are using animals for their products. Examples of products or gifts could include chocolate, wines, clothing and beeswax candles. This notion also extends to products that are used in conjunction with animal products such as BBQ sauces, ice-cream makers, meat accessories and more. There are many vegan friendly gifts that you can give to those you care about – why not get creative. They might even like coconut chocolate more than normal chocolate!

 
Mindset/Commitment
Going vegan does involve a large mindset shift and a newfound sense of compassion to consider the environment and animals in all that the person does. It can be quite an adjustment and one that may take place over a number of months to ensure that the lifestyle shift is sustainable and enjoyable. Going vegan involves cultivating a mindset that animals have rights to their lives and that society is able to create a more sustainable future without the exploitation of animals.  If you are considering becoming vegan, not everyone will agree with your choice and that’s ok. Building and strengthening your own mindset and commitment to veganism with a strong sense of your ‘why’, will help you to continue with this lifestyle in a sustainable way. The more that you are able to support and educate people to understand the vegan lifestyle, the more likely we are as a society to move towards more sustainable and kind practices.


As you can see, vegan consumption is more than just what someone puts into their mouth, but also regards products, clothing, experiences, purchases, behaviours, thoughts, efforts and action. It does take a large mindset shift and commitment to embrace a vegan lifestyle, however by embracing veganism beyond just a plant based diet is how real change will begin to emerge and we will see the benefits for animals, the environment and our society.




References:

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/common-cosmetic-ingredients-derived-from-animal-products/

https://foodrevolution.org/blog/vegan-statistics-global/

https://www.vrg.org/nutshell/leather.php

https://foodtolive.com/healthy-blog/go-vegan-diet/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28728684

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Cruelty Free is not the same as Vegan and here's why!

 


In the beauty community, it’s quite common for the words “cruelty-free” and “vegan” to be used interchangeably. However, this can be a problem because the two actually have completely different meanings.

For example, just because something is cruelty-free does not mean it’s vegan! It can be confusing at first, but once you know the difference between the two, you won’t forget. Here are some reasons why these two labels have completely different meanings and why my natural, vegan and cruelty free skincare products are the choice for you.

Requirements for Cruelty-Free Products

In order for an item to be considered cruelty-free, it has to be free of all animal testing. This includes testing on the finished physical product itself, as well as all of the individual ingredients.

Many beauty and cosmetics companies still use animal testing to see if their products are safe for human use, but it’s completely unnecessary and can be extremely cruel on the animals. During the testing process; animals such as mice, rabbits, and beagles are applied with products and ingredients to complete irritation and toxicity tests, many of which injure the animals for life or worse - kill them.

Cosmetic companies can rub products (such as mascara) directly into animal’s eyes or skin to see how they react to it. They can also shave their skin and expose them to toxic levels of products to see whether there are any adverse reactions.

If you don’t want to support this cruel practice, all you need to do is look for the cruelty-free label or cruelty free statement on products! There are many skincare companies that display cruelty free specific logos or clearly state that the product is cruelty free – you will see this statement on all of my natural skincare products.

Just because a product doesn't have a logo, it doesn't mean it’s not cruelty-free. Some companies use words instead, with a statement on the product such as ‘cruelty free’, ‘never tested on animals’ or similar.

However, if there is no statement or logo about cruelty free or animal testing, it may be safe to assume that the product was likely tested on innocent animals.

 

If it’s Cruelty-Free, doesn’t that automatically make it Vegan?

There is a common misconception that if a product is cruelty free, then it is automatically vegan. Many people think that just because something isn't tested on animals, that makes it vegan.

Unfortunately, this isn't true. Even though a product might not have been tested on animals, it could still have non-vegan ingredients in it that are derived from animals.

These ingredients might be obvious, or they might be hidden in words that many people wouldn't assume to be a non-vegan ingredient and this is why it’s important to check ingredient labels for any potential ingredients that are animal derived.

Examples of Non-Vegan Ingredients

Here are the most common non-vegan ingredients that are used in cosmetics, even in cruelty-free ones:

  • Carmine/ Cochineal - a red dye made from crushed beetles
  • Honey – a by product of bees
  • Beeswax - a by product of bees
  • Lanolin - derived from sheep’s wool
  • Tallow - rendered form of beef fat
  • Gelatin - ground up hooves, bones, etc
  • Glycerin - animal fats, although it can be vegetable derived
  • Keratin - a type of animal protein
  • Collagen – derived from animals and used due to its plumping effects


Requirements for Vegan Products

In order for a product to be considered vegan, it must be cruelty-free and have vegan ingredients.

Many companies are making the step to ensure their products are cruelty free, however they are unfortunately not taking the additional step to omit animal by-products from their ingredients and move towards vegan products. The well-being of animals is extremely important at Buddy Scrub and that’s why my skincare products are created to be both cruelty free and vegan so that you can always rest assured that no animals are involved or harmed.

What to Look For

When searching for cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics, the easiest thing to do is look for clear statements or the associated logos and can be on the front or back of a product.  The logos for cruelty free often include a rabbit and are associated with specific cruelty free organisations, and the vegan logos will often look like a ‘V’.

If you’re not able to find logos, then look for statements or check the ingredients list to make sure there are no animal derivates. All of my skincare products are labeled as natural, cruelty free and vegan friendly so that you know you’re making the right choice as soon as you pick me up.

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Now that you have a better understanding of the difference between the words “cruelty-free” and “vegan”, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions in regards to your cosmetics and skincare. Hopefully, companies will move towards making their products both cruelty-free and vegan; but my range of cleansers, body scrubs, moisturisers and lip care have you covered!

Shop our extensive range of natural, cruelty free and vegan friendly products here.

 

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