Thanks to Gretchen for giving me the chance to be a part of the Chic Vegan team!
I debated what to write for my first post, knowing that ChicVegan is all about, well, being chic AND vegan. I’ve got some ideas up my sleeve that lend themselves towards the chic realm (more later!), but there is one topic that I really wanted to address that has been driving me bananas as I moved from being vegetarian to vegan.
An explanation as to my motives behind writing for ChicVegan may be in order first. Part of the reason I was excited to contribute to ChicVegan was to get more involved in the vegan community and connect with other vegans. I saw the request for writers and decided to jump in. I live in a part of the country that does not provide a wealth of vegan options….wealth probably isn’t even the right word. We have a few options, but you have to look for them. And I know one other vegan, that’s it. So, I don’t really have anyone with which to bounce those burning vegan questions back and forth. Needless to say, I’m jubilant about the possibility of having these discussions online.
Enter Chic Vegan. So here is my question du jour…as I seem to think about it quite a bit. I’m a new vegan, just going on one year, so perhaps this is common at first –
where do you compromise on being vegan??
I’ve done a bunch of reading on being vegan, and pay attention to some of the leading vegans and their journey, but I haven’t quite gotten an answer to this question. So far as I can see, it’s probably impossible to be 100% vegan.
I do my very best with food. I’m vegan at home, of course, and at restaurants, although I probably don’t do the greatest job I could with asking more questions about ingredients. I also prod in the politest way possible at social gatherings as to ingredients, or I just avoid food I’m not sure about. But sometimes, I just let it go. For example, I just learned last week that the communion bread at my church has honey in it. I briefly debated asking for a different recipe, but I have decided against that, for now. Maybe as I become more established in my veganism, I will be more vocal? For now though, it’s a compromise.
And I think the area in which I’ve struggled the most so far is in vegan purchasing. I actually started phasing out animal-tested products, leather, wool, etc. several years before phasing out dairy and eggs. I haven’t had a problem with shoes or bags. I have had challenges with cleaning and beauty products. When I made the decision to ethically shop, I dove right in, buying only clearly stated cruelty-free, organic and natural products….and then realized I was way short on cash at the end of that month. It’s simply not in my budget.
So, I started looking for other, cheaper options. St. Ives states the products aren’t tested on animals, as do many Wal-mart brand Equate products (I know, I know, just shopping at Wal-mart is a compromise; I live in a pretty rural area). Clorox GreenWorks products also state the same thing. This is another one of my compromises, until I find a better solution (or win the lottery). I don’t feel great about it, because testing a product and an ingredient are different things. Some of the ingredients may even be animal-based. Again, I’m just not asking the questions as well as I could, like with restaurants. And don’t get me started on medicine and animal testing….yikes. But I still take medicine!
Perhaps as opposed to being just “vegan,” I’m more of an aspirational vegan. My goal is to be VEGAN! with an exclamation point. But maybe compromise is built right into being just “vegan,” and it’s not a topic that’s easily addressed, so…..we don’t. I know as a new vegan it’d be nice to know others feel the same way and make similar choices. My one vegan acquaintance seems to be on the same page, which helps.
So, perhaps a bit of a weighty question to dive into it in a first post, but I’m just so curious. Where do you compromise? How do you justify these compromises? Or, have you figured out a way you don’t have to? I’m all ears!!
Image courtesy of Flickr’s The Commons