I eat a plant based diet, I don’t wear leather and I recently decided to only purchase vegan and cruelty free make up and skincare items. However, for many I am not doing enough. I am not embracing a full lifestyle and therefore I am not entitled to be part of their gang. Essentially, I am not a vegan. But I tell everyone I am one. Why? Because I don’t believe being vegan should be discriminatory and degrading in any way. I always say that even the littlest conscious change you bring to your life to better this planet and those who live on it is significant. 

vegetable, carrot, cucumber, tomato, cabbage, pepper, broccoli, salad
Christin Urso

The discussion about the word vegan is long and quite difficult to cover, especially with only one point of view at hand. But I will offer my opinion. I think we all deserve to know what we put on our plates, on our faces and on our bodies. And that’s pretty much all there is. Knowledge is power, as they say, and your choice will only be completely free once you know what you’re choosing. I don’t expect everyone to go vegan after watching Cowspiracy or Gary Yurofsky’s speech, heck, none of my friends are vegan. But if you start to ask the barista to put almond milk in your coffee (though I always recommend the much underrated oat milk), it’s good enough for me. And it should be good enough for all vegans. We need to start encouraging people to make different choices, not preaching them. 

I want to offer you a break down of what the word vegan would entail in a perfect world. And then I’ll offer you what I think is an easy change if you want to approach veganism but are not ready — or simply, don’t want to — drastically change your lifestyle.

Vegan Food

Andrea Cecchini

The first step into going vegan is, of course, stop eating meat and any animal products, and start eating vegan food. But what is vegan food? Well, it’s not that weird thing called seitan for a start. Vegan food is plants, beans, grains. Yes, there are the occasional alternatives, such as mock meats and dairy free cheeses, but that’s not really needed if you want to eat vegan. Simply, choose oat milk in your coffee or tea. Eat meat only when there’s no other veggie option. Experiment once a week with a fully vegan recipe. And if anyone is still giving you a hard time, then tell them that this vegan gave you permission and if they want, they can take it up with me.

Vegan Make-up

Mun Ling Koh

This is the first of a series of tricky situations. Lots of makeup is still tested on animals. Lots of makeup is owned by companies (like L’Oreal) who still test on animals. Lots of companies don’t test on animals to sell in the UK, but they will do it in China. As you can imagine, lots of people have lots of different opinions about this one. My opinion? Stick to the cruelty free brands and don’t bother too much about who owns what. You will be surprised to find that lots of brands sold in Superdrug, including their own brand, is cruelty free. Lots of high end brands are cruelty free, too. 

Vegan Toiletries

Mun Ling Koh

Again, the spiel here is very similar to the vegan make-up: lots of brands test on animals. Since not everyone has the money to buy all of Lush, here's a tip: all of Superdrug-owned products are vegetarian and cruelty free, and most of them are vegan. My all time favourite shampoo + conditioner combination is from Superdrug. So there you go, I saved you the hustle. 

Vegan Clothes

Andrea Cecchini

I’m sorry to say this, but cashmere is not vegan. Oh, you don’t buy cashmere? Well, wool isn't vegan either. And lots of your favourite shoes are made from leather. And what about all the people exploited in poorer countries for our fast fashion industry? Why do you care about the animals, the environment, but not them? I’ll tell you what: living in today’s society is hard when commodities hide a great deal. Conscious living is knowing this, and do what you can to make a positive impact. And you know, not everyone has the privilege to snob cheap and readily available clothes. My advice is: remain inform. Take a look at apps like depop, or your local charity shops if you can and want. It’s all up to you, really.

Vegan Everything

Mun Ling Koh

Plastics is another big concern in the wellbeing of the planet. The impact we’re making with all the plastic we use is really disastrous. Many people see doing something about it as a code of honour for any vegan. You know, because if we care about one thing we need to care about everything else too. I don’t know about that, but I know the environment needs our help. So maybe buy a KeepCup if you can? Or order any water bottle off of Amazon and bring it with you everywhere you can so you don’t have to buy plastic bottles (and it also saves you money)? But don’t beat yourself up if you forget and leave them at home sometimes. It happens even to the best of us.

Vegan Pets?

Katherine Baker

Yes, dogs are dogs and they need meat in their diet. We can spend hours debating what humans do and do not need, but for animals is pretty straightforward. Get a bunny if you want to be vegan, right? Well, I have two cats. I buy them meat. That’s pretty much the end of it. 

So, this is my take on the whole ordeal. I call myself a vegan and will continue to do so. I do what I can and try not to beat myself up if it’s still less than some other vegan person.