When most people hear the word “vegan,” the first thing that usually pops into their heads is a bunch of pretentious hippies with a holier-than-thou complex. Or, they just think of uptight people who are too picky about what they eat just like those who are very conscious about how hamburgers and other foods are made. But the truth is, veganism is a noble lifestyle that’s about more than just food. Yes, a big part of being vegan is about eating a plant-based diet, but it’s also a personal commitment to hold all lives as sacred and live an environmentally conscious life. When you’re first transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, you might face a lot of challenges, and the sea of information on the internet can further increase your confusion. To help make your transition as smooth as possible, here’s what you need to know about living a vegan life.
Most cosmetics and toiletries, including lipsticks, blushers, shampoos, and soaps, have a shocking number of animal products. You’ll even find well-known toothpaste brands that have pork fat in them. Plus, many global cosmetic brands still test their products on animals. Fortunately, as the cosmetic experts at Mineralissima.com demonstrate, there are many vegan-friendly alternatives out there, which means that you can still look your best without contributing to the exploitation of animals. To know if a product is vegan, look for the “V” symbol on the packaging, and keep an eye out for the jumping bunny sign; it indicates that the product is cruelty-free, meaning it hasn’t been tested on animals. Nonetheless, it pays to know the common animal products found in cosmetics so you could steer clear of them.
- Tallow: This is another name for animal fat, and it’s usually used for making soaps and candles.
- Squalene: A widely-used oily, liquid hydrocarbon extracted from shark liver.
- Caprylic acid, also known as caprylic triglyceride: Made from cow and goat milk.
- Keratin: Comes from quills, hooves, and animal hair, and found in many shampoos, conditioners, and hair products.
- Silk powder: Made by dissolving silkworms in boiling water to create silk fibers, and used in most high-quality cosmetics.
- Hyaluronic acid: Extracted from rooster combs, which are the red bits at the very top of their heads.
- Honey, beeswax, royal jelly, and propolis: Obviously, they come from bees and are often found in lip balms, moisturizers, and soaps.
Novices who are new to the vegan life know that they should stay away from leather, fur, and wool, but there is a variety of other materials that you should avoid as well. The good news is, there are plenty of alternatives out there that look and feel just like the animal-sourced ones. Some common materials used in the manufacturing of clothes are also found in furniture and beddings. Here’s what to look out for in either case.
- Cashmere: Typically made from the soft undercoat of cashmere goats.
- Angora: This is a type of wool obtained by skinning angora rabbits – usually alive.
- Shearling: A sheep’s tanned skin with the wool attached, usually comes from young lambs.
- Suede: Commonly made from the underside of the skin from calves, lambs, goats, and sometimes even deer.
- Silk: As mentioned before, it is made by boiling silkworms until they dissolve.
- Feathers: Commercially, birds are usually plucked bare for their feathers. Besides clothes, feathers are also used to make down duvets, cushions, pillows, and blankets.
Usually, the last thing people think about when buying a pair of earrings or a necklace is animal-sourced materials, but animal products have found their way into every part of our lives, including our accessories. Here are some of the most common things you should avoid.
- Pearls: Although they are naturally made by oysters, clams, or mussels, sometimes a piece of dirt gets trapped inside their shells, which is usually covered with an irritating fluid that is put inside the crustacean forcibly.
- Exotic skins: Besides cow skin, many animals are killed for their “exotic-looking” skin to make handbags and shoes, such as snakes, alligators, crocodiles, kangaroos, and even cats and dogs.
- Glue: Commonly extracted from animal products and usually used to hold shoes together.
Veganism is more than just a diet; it’s a way of life. From the makeup and clothes you wear to the furniture you buy as well as a variety of other products you use every day, going vegan means cutting out all animal-sourced ingredients and reducing the effect of human demand on animals and the planet. For an easy transition, start eliminating animal-sourced products gradually, avoid overcomplicating your meals, and do your research to learn about the essential vegan alternatives to be able to make diverse and delicious meals. You’re committing to a huge lifestyle change, so be patient with yourself and accept the fact that you’ll make mistakes along the way.