The title of this blog is quite clear: I am a librarian who loves cats and follow a vegan lifestyle.
This very first post I want it to be focused on what means to be vegan.
What does it mean to be vegan? This is now such a popular term that probably it doesn’t need much explanation, because now everybody is vegan or knows someone that is vegan. However. I don’t think that many people, vegan and non, really fully grasp the meaning of “going vegan”. I say this because I see people on Instagram, Twitter and also in article, are a bit confused with the essence of veganism. For example, there is so much ado about Beyond Meat: this is a company that produces plant-based food and so many vegans really adore it. Well, while this is plant-based, it doesn’t mean it is vegan. Because Beyond Meat is owned by Tyson Food that in Wikipedia we read it “is an American multinational corporation based in Springdale, Arkansas, that operates in the food industry. The company is the world’s second largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork after JBS S.A. and annually exports the largest percentage of beef out of the United States.” I mean, this is a big no-no for vegans. And yet, so many are sharing the dreadful journey of cows and porks to the slaughterhouse, while they buy plant-based food from a company whose profits will go in the pockets of an other organisation dealing in the killing of animals.
Similarly, your beloved Oreos: they are produced by Mondelez International which “manufactures chocolate, cookies, biscuits, gum, confectionery, and powdered beverages”. And this stuff is not vegan, trust me. Or look it yourself on the ingredients.
This is not veganism.
This is capitalism investing in a trend.
Capitalism is very insidious and has managed to infiltrate a very profitable market.
People calling themselves anarchists and buy blood-stained food.
People who genuinely think they are vegan, are actually indirectly paying for the killing of millions of non-human animals.
And this is also part of the problematic common belief that veganism is expensive. Obviously, if you buy such overly-processed foods from these companies, they’ll make you pay for it. Because it is so fashionable to buy something “vegan”, following the trend, and oh we need these plant-based burgers so much!
To be vegan, means not exploiting animals for any reason: it is not only for food, or clothes, but also for entertainment and cosmetics and you have to do some research to see which are the decent companies and those that are not. It is requiring some effort, but it has to be done.
To make it a bit easier for you, I’ll post soon a list of those food companies that are not vegan.
So how do you start this vegan lifestyle?
Start reducing the intake of meat, fish, dairy, eggs, honey. As you do this increase the use of legumes (lentils, beans, etc) and veggies such as cauliflower, broccoli, spinach: these foods are rich in important nutrients, proteins, minerals and fibres. Tofu and tempeh are other items that you can integrate in your diet: but please look at some recipes to make them as their flavour is too bland (tofu) or quite pungent (tempeh), and you will enjoy them much more!
In terms of clothing: you’ll probably have something with wool or leather. There are two ways you can deal with this: you either discard those items (give them to goodwill, recycle etc.) or you can keep them. This second way follows the idea that you already bought such items, you already financed the exploitation of animals, you cannot go back and you accept it. Either way, make your choice, both are okay.
Animals are still exploited for cosmetic and medical tests. On the medical tests, you cannot do much: there are very few organisations that is against the use of animals in their tests, so we have to look into it. For cosmetics, the only big pace where this kind of test is required by law is China: this applies to imported goods meaning that all those brands importing to China are voluntarily or not agreeing to their product being tested on animals. Avoid them. There are many websites dedicated to asking various cosmetic companies what are their policies on testing the products and if they sell to China. This is very thorough.
Please be aware that there are many multinationals (like Unilever, Nestle, Proctor and Gamble, Pepsi, Coca Cola) settled in more sectors: for example, Unilever goes from food to cosmetics and you have to be careful as they are very sneaky.
So you have some tool to go vegan. Let me know what you think, what is your experience. I will soon post some of the companies that are absolutely not vegan.