Can vegans use non-vegan products that they already own?

One of the big misconceptions that I have found with veganism is the idea that if you want to go vegan you have to do away with everything non-vegan that you own in your life. While this method may work with other lifestyles, such as minimalism or decluttering, I have found this way of thinking to be hugely detrimental to the vegan lifestyle.

For me, when I decided to go vegan I too felt the need to throw away anything non-vegan that I had. From make up, to clothes, to products in my kitchen. But when I looked at everything that I had still in my possession that were not vegan friendly…it was A LOT. And to throw it all away almost made me feel more guilty, because not only is it really wasteful but, to me, it also made me feel that any animal suffering that went into this product was going to all be in vain if I was to just throw it out.

As my previous posts may suggest, I tend to take really good care of my stuff. I have items of clothing that I have owned for YEARS that I know contain wool or silk. But I keep holding onto them for the following reasons: They still fit, they aren’t broken, and they still bring me joy when I wear them. Why throw them away if they are still in perfect condition, and especially when I am now making more informed decisions when it comes to my shopping habits.

Which also applies when it comes to my make up. As I have said before, I am not a big make up guru and I work in an industry where loud and powerful make up looks are not really allowed. As such, I have nail polishes and eye shadow pallets that I have owned – again – for YEARS because they still work and they still look gorgeous when I do get to wear them. Such as this colour, which is a Maybeline New York colour that I have had since I was about 14. And I love it and it is such a pretty blue.

img_20200524_205431Please ignore my sausage fingers….

So if you are thinking of transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, do not feel bad if you still own non-vegan items. The whole point of veganism is to live as kind a life as possible, not beating yourself up because you can’t part with your favourite leather bag or your comfiest pair of suede heels or your warmest wool jumper. Look after these things, and wear them to remember why you have made the change to a vegan diet. I own a pair of original Doc Martins that I bought about 5 years ago for work and Docs are a brand of shoe that will last forever. So now whenever I do wear them, I think of the cow that gave their skin for those shoes and I don’t let myself forget that. I cannot go back and not buy these Docs, the damage has already been done, but now I know that if and when I do buy a new pair of shoes, I know what to look out for and can make the conscious effort to make the kinder choice.

So in summary, veganism is a learning process and you will find new alternatives for every one of your favourite items. It does not mean that you are a ‘bad vegan’ because you own non-vegan things. Everyday you will learn something new and each decision you make will be more informed and more conscious.

T xxx

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