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How To Start A Vegan Lifestyle The Right Way

How To Start A Vegan Lifestyle The Right Way

When it comes to implementing a new habit, routine, or lifestyle, we have to start somewhere. Often, taking that first step is the most difficult. 

You’ve probably heard about all the fabulous benefits of going vegan for your health, the environment, and the animals. But how do you actually start a vegan lifestyle?

Stepping (or dancing or running!) into a vegan lifestyle doesn’t have to be as challenging as you  might imagine it to be. Like any change, it takes effort and commitment—but then, hopefully, you’ll be doing it without giving it a second thought.

What is veganism?

Veganism is the practice of abstaining from eating the bodies of animals (including fish and shellfish) the products animals’ bodies produce (dairy, eggs, honey) and products that contain even small amounts of animal products or byproducts (like gelatin, whey, and rennet). 

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For anyone accustomed to North American culture, veganism represents a pretty big shift in the way food, clothing, and other products are consumed since animal products are everywhere. That’s why it's important to go easy on yourself, especially when you’re starting your journey. Don’t strive to be perfect right away. The main thing is the intention behind the impetus (that we love animals and don’t want to harm them). This intention means that you will do your darndest to avoid purchasing food or products or support industries that hurt and exploit animals. 

Reasons to go vegan

There are many reasons why people go vegan, one of the main ones being animal welfare, which is becoming increasingly relevant in a society where cows, pigs, chickens, sheep, and many other animals have been turned into commodities. From a young age, we learn to ignore the distinction between what’s on our plate and the individual animals we see on farms, on television, and in storybooks. But once you make that connection and learn that all animals think and feel and have social circles, there’s no going back. For many people who make this connection for the first time, eating animals is no longer an option.

There’s also the environment and climate change to consider—two intertwined and critical issues we all need to do our part to address. Sadly, many of our modern-day activities (manufacturing products, driving cars and flying airplanes, producing food, and so on) have caused a whole heck of a lot of harm to the Earth. These energy-intensive activities produce dangerous emissions that enter the atmosphere, amplifying the Earth’s natural greenhouse effect and, in turn, causing disastrous weather conditions and rising temperatures. 

And as it turns out, animal agriculture is a top emitter of greenhouse gases as well as being the leading cause of deforestation—and with fewer trees to absorb greenhouse gases, well—you get the idea. To make matters even worse, consider the number of precious resources used to farm animals: did you know it takes 1,900 gallons of water and 2.5 pounds of grain to produce just one pound of beef? The equation just doesn’t add up. Animal agriculture is also directly associated with often-deadly contaminated water events because of manure (a technical term for poop) run-off into local water supplies for towns and cities.

Animals on a farm

That brings us to the third reason for going vegan: our health. An ever-growing number of studies link vegan diets to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. Some people decide to go vegan to prevent or reverse these health issues, or to improve their overall health. Plus, as many people have experienced first-hand, you feel amazing when you feed your body with a balanced, whole-foods vegan diet that is full of nutritious plants—and your skin will thank you for cutting out the dairy, too.

How to eat vegan

When you first decide to go vegan, it might seem like you’re missing out on loads of food (buh-bye chicken nuggets, grilled steak, and seafood!). But the truth is that you’re also going to be introduced to foods you probably never knew existed. All those fatty, hormone-laden animal foods will be replaced with nourishing vegetables of all kinds, along with fruit, beans, nuts, and grains. A whole new world of vegan food will be opened up to you as you discover all the creative and delicious plant-based products available today—lucky for us, there is now a vegan version of virtually every food that is traditionally made from animals. Our best advice is to experiment with new recipes and products until you find the ones you love. It should be a fun adventure!

One of the biggest concerns of new vegans tends to be protein intake. Can you get enough protein from plants? The answer is a big, whopping yes! When you cut out meat and dairy, your best protein sources become plant-based foods such as legumes, tofu, tempeh (fermented soybean patties), seitan (made from the protein in wheat), quinoa, nuts, and seeds—plus all the Beyond chicken nuggets, Impossible burgers, and Just Egg scrambles your heart desires, if that’s your jam. 

What is a vegan lifestyle?

Becoming vegan usually starts with eliminating animal products from your diet, and it can eventually lead to avoiding the use of animal products or byproducts in your wardrobe, cleaning products, beauty routine, and other areas of your life. Essentially, veganism becomes more than just a diet; it evolves into a lifestyle. 

Extending your compassionate choices beyond your diet means abstaining from wearing or purchasing clothing made from animals, such as leather, wool, and silk. Instead, you will start to consider the growing selection of alternatives like apple leather, organic cotton, and vegan silk made from plants instead of animals or insects.

There are also household products like cleaning supplies and furniture that can be made from or tested on animals, and being vegan can mean finding alternatives to these too, along with forms of entertainment like zoos, circuses, and aquariums that exploit animals (because vegans don’t want animals to suffer in any way, shape, or form).  

Why vegan beauty is so important

If you’re already conscious of your dietary choices when it comes to ethics, the environment, or your health (or all three!), it just makes sense to extend those values to your beauty routine, including vegan makeup and skincare. 

The sad truth is that many traditional beauty and personal care products—from shampoo to serums—contain animal-derived ingredients, such as carmine (red coloring derived from crushed cochineal insects), musk oil (fragrance from the glands of animals such as musk deer), and keratin (a protein used in shampoos made from crushed animal feathers or fish scales). Yuck, right?

These days, there’s growing concern about the use of animal-derived ingredients in makeup and personal care products, pushing brands to find ethical alternatives and to label their products “vegan,” “vegan-friendly,” or “100% vegan,” making it easier to identify vegan beauty products.  

Are vegan products tested on animals?

Avoiding food and other products made from animals is one thing, but there’s also animal testing to consider.

For products to be considered safe to use, some companies test their products on live animals, forcing them to undergo painful and unnecessary experiments in laboratories all over the world. Testing can be performed on bunnies, dogs, mice, and other defenseless animals to research how various products or chemical ingredients affect the animals’ skin, hair, eyes, or other areas, causing both physical and psychological harm to the animals being used. This is the hidden horror of product development that none of us would intentionally support, especially now that technology-based (and, importantly, animal-free) testing alternatives are readily available.  

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Shopping for cruelty-free products can be tricky because not all vegan products are cruelty-free. While the terms are similar, they are not synonymous. Animal testing is a big concern for us here at Kinder Beauty and is why we only work with bands that are cruelty-free. 

To help consumers like you find completely compassionate brands, Kinder Beauty ensures every beauty product we recommend and feature in our curated Vegan Beauty Box subscription is totally vegan and cruelty-free.

How to put a vegan spin on your beauty routine

An easy way to transition to vegan beauty is to consider one product at a time, rather than overwhelming yourself by trying to overhaul your entire beauty and skincare routine in one go.

When you need a new product, such as when you’re due for a new mascara or you’re almost out of moisturizer, check to see if the brand you currently use is already vegan and cruelty-free. Head to the brand’s website to find information about whether the product uses vegan ingredients and not testing on animals. You can also contact the brand directly to ask, or check online resources such as Logical Harmony and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), both of which share updated information about which beauty brands are vegan and cruelty-free. 

If the product you’re currently using is a compassionate one, you can buy another one knowing it’s not causing harm to animals. If not, now is the time to switch to one that is. Below, we’ll tell you how to shop for products that are vegan and cruelty-free.

Tips for shopping vegan

The easiest way to ensure your makeup is both vegan and cruelty-free is to do your research. 

Our best advice is to find brands that you can trust, such as the ones we feature in our monthly Vegan Beauty Box. With a subscription that already does the research for you, you don’t have to worry about whether you’re using ethical products—you know you are. And it allows you to try new vegan beauty products.

Shopping for vegan products at store

If you’re shopping for vegan products on your own, keep your eyes out for items that are marked or labeled vegan and cruelty-free. When it comes to deciphering the ingredients label on a product, we know those lists can be incredibly confusing—even more so than food labels—and can trip up even the most experienced vegans. Some ingredients have multiple names, other ingredients can be derived from plants or animals, and then there are the ingredients that are nearly impossible to pronounce—so how the heck would you know what it is? 

The easiest way to ensure you’re purchasing products that are vegan and cruelty-free is to look for certification labels on the product’s packaging. Lucky for us, there are third-party organizations that help consumers know which products are totally vegan and/or cruelty-free. 

These certifications come from organizations such as Vegan Action, which offers a “certified vegan” logo with a “V” inside of a heart; Vegan Society, which has a “vegan” trademark with a sunflower stemming out of the “V”; and PETA under its Beauty Without Bunnies program, which offers two logos: one that certifies products that don’t test on animals (shown with a bunny logo that says “cruelty-free”) and one that shows a product is both vegan and cruelty-free (a bunny logo that says “cruelty-free and vegan”).

Additionally, certifications such as Leaping Bunny, Cruelty-Free International, and Choose Cruelty-Free only certify brands that don’t test on animals. This means they don’t necessarily have to be vegan to obtain the cruelty-free logo.

Remember that vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics are available everywhere, including at your local drugstore and supermarket. You just have to know what to look for (and now you do!). At any drugstore or beauty store chain, you’re likely to come across all-vegan and cruelty-free brands such as KVD Vegan Beauty, Pacifica, and Milk Makeup. Some brands don’t test on animals but only offer some vegan products, such as Anastasia Beverly Hills and Urban Decay. And, as noted above, all products you’ll find in Kinder Beauty Boxes are totally vegan and cruelty-free (remember: we do all the hard work so you don’t have to). 

What about clean beauty?

Because “clean beauty” is just as much of a buzzword as “vegan” and “cruelty-free” these days, we want to ensure you know the distinction. Chances are, if you’re familiar with Kinder Beauty, you’re looking for all three. But clean beauty can be a bit of a mystery, so let’s break it down.

In the beauty world, clean beauty means non-toxic. This means clean beauty products do not use ingredients that can potentially cause harm to human bodies. Commonly used toxins that should be avoided include parabens (which could cause hormone disruption and cancer), formaldehyde (a known carcinogen), and phthalates (another hormone disruptor). 

There are many more questionable ingredients that could harm your long-term health, and it’s why many consumers are switching to clean beauty. But—and it’s a big but—the FDA doesn’t approve beauty products before they go on the market, and that means beauty companies can make whatever claims they want to on their product labels. This is part of the reason why it can be difficult to find genuinely clean beauty products.

There is currently no “clean” certification like there is for vegan and cruelty-free products, so you have to check and vet all of the products yourself. And if you don’t know what to look out for, you run the risk of being greenwashed by the beauty industry. 

And remember: clean beauty only means non-toxic—it does not necessarily mean a product is also vegan and cruelty-free. If you want to ensure the products you’re using meet the standards of all three, Kinder Beauty has you covered!

Final thoughts

Now that you’re more informed about aspects of the beauty industry that cause harm to animals and your health, we’re willing to bet you’d agree that clean and compassionate beauty is just better all around. 

A few extra steps in your purchasing decisions are well worth it if it means you can make a positive impact on the world and your own body. This is the ultimate goal of Kinder Beauty—to help you become a more conscious consumer while lightening the load when it comes to researching what’s best in the often-overwhelming selection of vegan beauty and personal care products. 

So you see: starting a vegan lifestyle isn’t so hard when you have brands like Kinder Beauty at your back! 

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