Monday, February 9, 2009

Are there any "cants" when it comes to being vegan?

Being vegan is a very personal choice, and if you've decided to adopt this lifestyle, you might think that now, you're suddenly bound by a strict set of rules that says you can never have animal products at any time, either in your diet or in your life in general.

However, that's not necessarily true. Because being vegan is such a personal choice, yes, you're going to find people who strictly adopt being vegan in every single segment of their lives. And if so, bravo. That's their choice, certainly.

However, that kind of strict focus can be detrimental, too. If you've decided to become vegan and adopt a purely strict vegan lifestyle in every sense right away, it can be quite difficult to live your life. For example, there are many, many products you wouldn't otherwise think of that have animal byproducts in their makeups, including even such things as some elements of computer ware. Most strict vegans, too, probably unknowingly use at least some animal byproducts occasionally simply because they're largely unavoidable in modern society.

The "danger" of strict veganism

What's perhaps "dangerous" about strict veganism, especially those who are newly trying it out, is that it's so strict it may be impossible to keep up, and may tempt you to give up the veganism altogether. If that's you, then I would encourage you not to be so strict with yourself. "Mostly" vegan is still better than "not" vegan, as the situation applies to you.

Instead, do the best you can and start out slowly; cut out animal products from your diet if you can so that at least you know you're not consuming animal products this way (this is where the bulk of animal products' consumption comes in), then slowly look at the rest of your life, too, and make changes there as you can. (By the way, many of we vegans have vegan diets, but still use animal byproducts in the rest of our lives, such as to feed our pets; this means that many in the vegan population are not purely strict with their veganism, in that they use absolutely no animal products whatsoever. This is unrealistic for many people, and therefore not everyone follows this focus.)

Remember that even "a little" is better than nothing. If you can't be perfectly strict in your veganism at least at first, that's okay. You may find as time goes on that you can cut other products out of your life comfortably once looking for alternatives becomes a way of life. And that may be the best way to live a comfortable AND conscientious vegan lifestyle.

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