What It Really Means to Be Vegan

It will be two years this coming January that I decided to transition to veganism, and, the truth of the matter is, it has been quite an easy path - for the most part. As far as food is concerned, there are so many vegan options, such as meat and cheese alternatives, now on the market that there really is no reason to say it is too difficult. You may recall that even restaurants are catching on to the more-humane lifestyle by offering vegan-friendly dishes or, at the very least, accommodating patrons who do one simple thing - ask!

Part of being vegan and/or plant-based is simply living a less-cruel life. It is not just about the foods you eat, but also about other products you buy and use such as cleaning products, cosmetics, and clothing. Eliminating animal by-products from clothing is pretty much a no-brainer. Just read labels and stay away from the obvious such as leather, suede, silk and fur (yes, usually faux fur as well)!

Another area, and one I am getting better at with each passing month, is that I am now about 80% vegan friendly when it comes to cosmetics and personal care items I purchase for myself. 

The one area I am falling short on is cleaning and similar household items. Although, I am conscious about it and more and more I look for and buy environmentally friendly products. When I don't I can honestly say it is because I succumb to the cost factor.   A mixture of good old white vinegar and water has become a go-to cleaner for me, but I still buy too many traditional cleaning products simply because they cost less. Not a good excuse, but a reality nonetheless.

When you think about things logically, vegan and/or cruelty-free products SHOULD cost less money (usually, at least). However, they are often priced much higher, and that is no accident! If you think that the lobbyists aren't involved in driving up the cost of these friendlier alternatives, you are sadly mistaken.  But, I don't want to digress too much. I am not here (not now anyway) to dissect the government's role in keeping special interest groups happy at the expense of millions of animals.

If you are wondering why I haven't written an installment in my Going Vegan series in a long time, the reason is simple. It is just something that has become so second nature to me, I don't think about it very much anymore. I also have amazingly supportive family and friends, which is a huge help. You want to know what else is odd? Eating vegan has changed my relationship with food. I now look at food much more for its nutritional value and I have seen a MAJOR drop in emotional-eating and binge-eating. If I do cave every now-and-then, I am scoffing down cucumbers with hummus rather than chocolate chip cookies. Vegan cookies are too expensive to binge-eat!

I have found balance to be the key to my success. If you decide to start a fitness program, you don't go out and run a marathon the very first day. You have to take baby steps (read more about the process here) and build up to a lifestyle that is NOT perfect, but rather LESS-cruel.  Will there be critics? Oh, man, YES! You will be criticized from non-vegans who simply find your choice weird or inconvenient for them. But you may also be criticized by fellow vegans who are at more advanced stage in their journey. Don't listen to any of them.  This is your journey. 



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