When I’m invited to dinner over a friend’s house the conversation usually starts with something like “So… what exactly do you eat?” While a vegetarian’s response is likely to be received with little surprise, announcing to the group that you are a vegan may invite some more curiosity only because little is known about the vegan culture, most people just see it as an extension of vegetarianism.
Vegans, like vegetarians, do not eat meat. Vegans take this a step farther, in that we don’t eat any animal products such as eggs, cheese, milk, honey (we don’t eat the animal or anything that comes from the animal). Most of us also shun materials like as silk, wool, fur, leather and soaps and cosmetics that list the use of animal products in the manufacturing. This would mean that apart from not gorging on a cheese burger, you won’t find me sporting leather boots or a fur coat as it could be a personal belief that the use of the aforementioned products are ethically and environmentally wrong (not to mention I look terrible in cowboy boots).
However, this does not mean that you compromise in any manner on living life wholly as finding quick substitutes to these products is easy. While several food products such as leafy vegetables, fruits, soy milk, oatmeal, nuts, tofu, lentils, pulses, hummus, peanut butter, to name a few, help compensate for the nutrition provided by animal products, you will find plenty of options available when it comes to clothing. Cotton is one such example. Similarly, non-leather shoes and bags that look as trendy and are far more comfortable and convenient to use could also be an option. As for daily products such as soaps, a range of soaps made from natural products such as neem and sandalwood are also made available.
You’ carefully browsing through the list of ingredients behind a food can, looking for any hidden animal products (they sneak this stuff into more products than you’d suspect). Once you get in the habit of checking ingredients, you’ll find that it’s easy to make a positive impact in not only animal lives, but also for the environment.