A Plant-Based Lifestyle (Not Just a Diet)

08.09.2016 |

Episode #10 of the course How to go vegan by Karina Inkster

Most vegans view veganism as a lifestyle, not just a diet. In today’s lesson, we’ll discuss how to lead a fully plant-based lifestyle, branching out from just your food choices. If you want to avoid all animal products, especially for ethical reasons, everything you wear and use in your daily life needs to be considered.

Clothing, personal care products like shampoo and cosmetics, and household cleaning items often contain animal products. Animal products can show up in sometimes surprising places! True vegans avoid using any products in their daily lives that contain animal ingredients or were tested on animals as best they can. Like any other animal ingredients (milk, eggs, cheese, etc.), animal ingredients in non-food items are the product of animal suffering and death.

For example, leather isn’t just a “byproduct” of the beef industry (and even if it were, would you want to support it?). Most leather is made from a different type of cow than the ones used for beef. Wool (sheep), cashmere and mohair (goat), and angora (rabbit) are other animal products used to make clothing. Out of all the non-food items that may contain animal ingredients, clothing is usually the easiest to decipher.

“There is no morally coherent difference between fur and other animal clothing, such as leather, wool, etc., just as there is no morally coherent distinction between meat and milk or eggs.” Gary L. Francione

There are plenty of fashion options that don’t involve the use of animals and even many clothing companies that are 100% vegan. Many companies that aren’t fully vegan still have some great vegan options and often label their vegan products as such (especially shoes). Look for clothing made from cotton, bamboo, rayon (from wood pulp), hemp, canvas, and imitation leather.

Personal care products like soaps, shampoos, moisturizers, and cosmetics often contain animal ingredients. It can be a bit more challenging to find these ingredients because they often don’t have intuitive names. Casein, collagen, guanine, keratin, lanolin, retinol, squalene, and tallow are all animal-derived, for example. Many companies these days are labeling their products as vegan or 100% plant-based, which of course makes things simpler for us as consumers. Here’s a comprehensive list of animal ingredients found in cosmetics and personal care products.

When we find products like makeup or household cleaners that don’t contain animal ingredients, we still need to make sure the products (or their individual ingredients) weren’t tested on animals. Again, many companies label their products as being “cruelty free.”

Remember, there’s no “right” way to go vegan, and any changes you make toward a more plant-based lifestyle—however small—will benefit your health, our environment, and of course, the animals.


Recommended resource

Vegankit.com: A comprehensive website that includes “Wearing,” “Using,” and “Thinking Vegan” sections. Includes many links to vegan companies selling shoes, clothing, household cleaning products, and more.


Recommended book

“The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds” by Rip Esselstyn


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