From Vegetarianism to Veganism
Posted by KaysPJs at 12/30/2012
I've been a Vegetarian for a good 11 years now. Recently I've wondered why I've never gone Vegan.
I went over the list on what contains anything to do with animals, and WoW. I can't believe the amount of stuff that contains remnants.
So my question is, How does anyone really be a Vegan when there are just so many things to watch out for?
Thanks for anyones help!
Yeah I think I know what you mean. Unless you're living completely off the grid, I don't see how anyone can avoid every single animal-derived ingredient and product.
For example, do you know what bone char is? It's animal bone ash used in bone china and often used to make sugar white. It's used as the charcoal in aquarium filters. Bone meal is used in some fertilizers as a source of calcium. Or what about carmine? It's a red pigment from the crushed female cochineal insect. Reportedly, 70,000 beetles must be killed to produce one pound of this red dye. It's used in cosmetics, shampoos, red apple sauce, and other foods (including red lollipops and food coloring). I could go on and on giving examples because, unfortunately, animal products are all too pervasive in modern day products.
I approach it by trying to be the best vegan that I can be. As I learn about a product or ingredient that isn't vegan, I try to buy the vegan alternative.
Like you, I was vegetarian for a really long time before I went vegan. I regret so very much that I did not go vegan sooner. Becoming a vegan was one of the single best decision I've made in my life. You have no idea how much healthier you will feel (and be!). And the peace of mind and spiritual bliss it give me to know that I'm not contributing to the horrors of the dairy industry..that's priceless.
Dairy is so addicting. It's a hard habit to break but when you do you will be so much happier and healthier! I wish you nothing but the best!
It's true what (Longdrive) said about general things that your morals would essentially take over once put into a compromising situation.
And at (HappyCowGirl) Yes, living off the gris would be the way to go, and in the future I see myself growing and sustaining my own things, but now, living in a city, what can you really do?
I'm the type of person that likes to go big or go home, so I wanted to know how hard this would be. I'm aware of many many products that affect animals. I'm just baffled now that I'm really looking around at how many products depend on these animals.
I will do my best, and watch out for as many things as i can. This is the healthiest and most humane way to live a life.
Thank you both for your answers.
The best way to avoid all those weird animal derived ingredients is to avoid most packaged and prepared foods. Hey most of them have so much salt and sugar you shouldn't be eating them regularly to begin with.
I always read the ingredients, my 6th grade health teacher (whose name I can't remember) said if you can't say it or don't know what it is, don't eat it. To this day that is my first and foremost rule of thumb. On top that not buying anything with artificial and natural flavoring, unless the natural flavoring is in a product labelled vegan. I've also sat down and read list of ingredients that have some animal remnant in them. I committed to memory which of most common ingredients are vegan and which ones aren't. But since I can't be a walking encyclopedia of what's in everything, I stick to not buying something if I don't recognize an ingredient.
Avoiding packaged and prepared foods means cooking, and cooking a lot from scratch. And vegan or not, cooking for yourself is the best first step to healthy eating. I find lots of recipes online. I now own many vegan cookbooks, on top of the vegetarian ones I already have.
I try to stick to vegan restaurants or vegan friendly restaurants. I live in NYC so it's not hard. I always ask about what's in a dish, make sure to say no fish sauce at Asian restaurants. I stick to salads at places I am doubtful about.
Those are good responses to the "problem" you posed.
I could only add this. Being vegan is not something you do to make you 100% free from animal use, living among humans the way we do today, depending on each other for all the needs in life! I think being vegan is a clear concept by which we are guided. If we happen to step on a bug, or a lizard, or even killed a small animal by mistake, it's OK. It's what we do with intent that mattered! For instance, before I realised that down is taken (well, actually ripped) from the body of a living duck I thought nothing of using down. But now, I am not a down consumer with vengeance! HOWEVER, I'm using down still because I still own some garments. I still use the leather couch in my office, and leather shoes. I'm not trying to be PURE that way being a vegan. But since becoming vegan, and having learned more and more about what animal products go where, no way I'm going to partake in paying another dollar to another person for something unethical. It's not that I can make the world a little bit more ethical, I have no such fantasy, but it's just that I know doing so does make me purer at heart, and that's good enough, being vegan. Best wishes.
May I suggest my first book, "The Weaning of America", particularly the first essay, "The Case Against Dairy Products", and the final two essays, "Ethical Vegetarianism" and "What is a vegan?"