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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A Very Vegan Christmas – 6 Recipe Ideas for Christmas Day

Being a vegan during Christmas time can seem a little bit daunting, especially if it’s your first Christmas as a vegan. Gone are the days of roast turkey, seafood platters, cheese, chocolate and many other common foods for Christmas. However, being vegan doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with a lettuce leaf for Christmas lunch, as there are many delicious vegan recipes and vegan alternatives that you can make. Below are six recipe ideas that I’ve sourced that might spark some creative baking for your Christmas feast:

 

 vegan cranberry cheese

Cranberry “Cheeze”

This vegan cheese recipe combines cashews, cranberries and a few other ingredients to make a delicious festive cheese block for biscuits, bread and more.

See the recipe here – Vegan Cranberry Cheese

 

 Baked squash

Pumpkin ‘Roast’

You don’t need to miss out entirely on having a roast dish for Christmas day. Get creative and roast up a butternut pumpkin with a delicious stuffing mixture or combination of other vegetables.

See the recipe here – Butternut Pumpkin Roast

 

 Packed with protein and made with the super food cacao, these Vegan Cashew Cacao Bliss Balls are the perfect energy packed, sweet, healthy treat!

Vegan Bliss Balls

These yummy treats can take the place of a bowl of chocolates or other non-vegan Christmas treats such as Mince Pies. They are made from a combination of raw ingredients like dates, nuts and desiccated coconut.

See the recipe here -  Vegan Bliss Balls

 

 A serving plate with vegan mince pies

Mince Pies

What would Christmas be without some vegan mince pies? These little treats are easy to make and ensure that you won’t be feeling left out at all at dessert time.

See the recipe here – Vegan Mince Pies

 

 

Kale, Quinoa & Roasted Pumpkin Pilaf

If you’re after a salad option that is filling and also attractive to the whole family then this quinoa recipe is for you.

See the recipe here – Kale, Quinoa and Roasted Pumpkin Pilaf

 

 

 

Vegan Gingerbread

Another Christmas dessert that shouldn’t be left out is vegan gingerbread. Whether it’s to make a gingerbread house with the kids or a snack for Christmas day, then this recipe will be exactly what you need.

See the recipe here – Vegan Gingerbread

 

So here are six recipe ideas that might make it to your table on Christmas day. Also don't forget to check out my natural, vegan and cruelty free skincare - the perfect stocking filler

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What does it mean to become Vegan?

Cattle Farm

 

You may have been hearing more and more about the vegan movement over the past 12 months due to an increasing interest in this way of life. But what does it actually mean to be vegan?

The word vegan refers to people who consume no animal meat or by-products (such as eggs or dairy) and avoid any animal derived clothing, accessories, skincare and more. The word vegan was initially used in 1944 by Donald Watson who was a non-dairy vegetarian and settled on the first three letters and last two letters of vegetarian – ‘vegan’, to separate this way of life from vegetarianism.  

Below are some of the common food or products that Vegans avoid:

  • All animal meat – red meat, poultry, seafood, game meat etc
  • All animal by-products – dairy, eggs, lanolin (oil from sheep’s wool), honey, caviar, beeswax, whey protein powder
  • All animal skins – leather, fur, reptile skin, feathers, wool
  • Animal derived products – goose down jackets/bedding, sheep skin ugg boots, silk clothing/bedding, pearls, ivory, feathered accessories, goat’s milk skincare, makeup using animal products like carmine.
  • Animals for entertainment/experimentation – circus’ with animal acts, zoos, sea life parks, travelling animal acts, purchasing of exotic animals as pets, animal testing, factory farm pet breeding, rodeos, horse/dog racing.

This list is not extensive, however it gives you an overview of the ways in which animals are used and exploited for the human population and how adopting a vegan lifestyle can aid in reducing the harm, torture and pain that comes to these animals.

So why do people become vegan? People can decide to become vegan for several reasons, but there are three common themes for why people make this lifestyle switch.

  • One reason is to prevent animal cruelty and the exploitation of animals for food consumption and other general living needs. Every year, 56 billion farm animals are culled for their meat and this doesn’t include seafood and the many millions more that are culled or abused for their eggs, milk, skin, fur, feathers and more. By switching to a vegan lifestyle, each person can save up to 198 animals from being bred for food or accessories each year, which equates to around 1.4 billion animals per year in America alone that aren't bred for human benefit.
  • Another reason for becoming vegan is the environmental impact. The impact that large scale animal agriculture and fishing is having on our climate, oceans and land is now being well documented. The land required to grow grains to feed the livestock industry is responsible for the destruction of many of our rain forests. Imagine what could be achieved with livestock land if the demand for meat was simply not there? The methane and carbon dioxide emissions from the livestock industry is also higher than all of the car and transport emissions put together. These emissions are impacting our atmosphere and leading to climate change issues. Instead of switching to water saving shower heads or riding to work, you could eat vegan for two nights a week and have a larger impact. By adopting a vegan lifestyle, a more sustainable approach to living and land use can be achieved.
  • A third reason for becoming vegan is for health reasons. There is well documented evidence of the benefits of adopting a plant based diet for overall well being. A plant based diet reduces the risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular issues, and is linked to longevity in countries who eat a mostly plant based diet. A plant based diet involves eating vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes and nuts without processed food or excessive oil.

Vegans may relate to one or more of the above reasons, or may have additional reasons for their lifestyle choice. However, the commonalities of vegans are the choices they make to avoid animal derived food & products and the exploitation of animals.

Don’t forget that I’m all natural, vegan and cruelty free so if you’re thinking of becoming vegan, then my skincare range is a great place to start! Click here to see my range of cleansers, body scrubs, moisturisers and more!

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