So, let's talk about Veganism. Like, what it really is.
Many people operate under the misconception that it's solely about the food you eat, and I don’t blame them!
That idea has a little bit to do with what's trending right now. “Vegan” has become a buzzword. But we should clear this up! It's not about your diet. Well, not only about your diet. If you are eating fruits and vegetables, no meat, no dairy and that's the extent of your transformation, then you are plant based. You're on a plant-based diet and that's totally fine. Veganism? That’s a whole other thing.
The definition coined by Vegan Society is as follows: veganism is a way of living, which seeks to exclude as far as is possible and practicable all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. I just said a mouthful, right? This definition has seen a few iterations over the decades, but I mean, really, it goes way beyond food. I appreciate that qualifiers like “possible” and “practicable” are included because realistically speaking everyone’s experience will be different based on their location and circumstance.
With that in mind, let’s talk about what comes after food.
I'm vegan. I have a vegan-friendly car. I have vegan shoes. I have vegan clothes. I have vegan furniture in my home and in my office. Yes! All those things can be vegan! It is a huge lifestyle change.
And I know for some people that seems overwhelming or just unreasonable, but it can be done. It’s about being thoughtful. Thoughtful about your purchases, not just about what goes on your plate, but your day to day living. It's challenging, but it's not impossible.
I refer to it as a “compassion mindset”, which boils down to having compassion for other beings, the planet, and for myself.
The hardest thing for most people making this shift is letting go of things that they already have, items they've invested money into, or that have sentimental value. And you don't necessarily have to do that.
My transition is my own and everyone is different. For me, not only was it about not buying new things that were made of leather, silk, wool, etc., but I also did an evaluation of what I already owned and had to decide whether I was even willing to use it or carry it around anymore. Case in point…I bought my first pair of Christian Louboutin shoes not even a year before going vegan. If you're not familiar, it’s the “red bottom” shoe. Even though I didn't buy them after the fact, when it came around to wearing them again, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. So, I sold them. Luckily, they were a good investment, and I was able to get a good portion of my money back. Not everything is, but in luxury items, that's usually the case.
Handbags, I gifted them to my oldest daughter who's not vegan and who appreciates luxury handbags. Clothes, I read the tags and either sold them to resale stores, or I gave them away to other family members. The only things I think took a long time to make decisions about were items that had more sentimental value, like a string of pearls. Because I was born in June and pearl is one of the birthstones, this has been the center of meaningful gifts from my parents over the years. So that was difficult for me, challenging my ideas about items that had sentimental value. What could I possibly do with them? Was it okay to still wear them? And educating my family on gifting to me.
The other considerations I make daily involve things I use like skin and haircare products, nail polish and makeup.
I am also mindful about my activities.
I will visit an animal sanctuary instead of a traditional zoo. On vacation, I may ride four wheelers or go on a boat ride to sight see, rather than horseback riding or dolphin shows. I advocate for adopting/rescuing pets, if you are confident that you can provide adequate companionship and a lifelong home for an animal in need, over purchasing from a breeder or traditional pet store.
I could go on…these are all things I discovered along the way by being open. I realize I’ve shared a lot and it can seem overwhelming.
If you are considering veganism, my advice would be to take your time and allow your own convictions to lead you.
When people waver, its typically because they lose sight of their “why”.
When we lead with compassion in the decisions we make (for others, our planet, and ourselves) I believe the world will be a much better place for generations to come.
About the Author
Dominique Side, known as Vgn Bae or The Vegan Queen, is a world leading specialist in luxury ethical living. Her compassion-based lifestyle consultancy, The Luxury Vegan guides CEOs, executives, high performers, and entrepreneurs transitioning to veganism without compromising on their luxury lifestyle.
Founder of the Vgn Bae empire, Dominique has also built a 7-figure business enterprise with a record label, music studio, vegan clothing company, and boutique grocery store. To learn more visit: https://www.theluxuryvegan.com/