Veganism has grown more so in the past 5 years than it ever has before. An interest in eating less meat, cutting out meat completely, adopting a cruelty free lifestyle, or living a totally vegan life is at now at the forefront of peoples decisions when it comes to how to live their life. With vegans and vegetarians set to make up as much as a quarter of the British population by 2025 (vegansociety.com).
We all understand that vegetarians don't eat meat, but what does living a fully vegan lifestyle really entail?
First off not eating any meat or product which has come from an animal. This includes dairy milk, eggs, cheese and even honey. Think any product which an animal would have had to play a part in creating. This is because of the inhumane way the animal is treated during the process or even the fact it is killed because there is no use for it within that industry (think, the Queen bees wings being snipped, making her disorientated, so she stays with her colony, or male chicks being killed because they don't produce eggs).
Removing things from your diet is easy, but remember to always add to your diet, instead of just subtracting from it. Nowadays there are plenty of meat free substitutes to choose from so not having your meat at the forefront of your plate doesn't seem quite as daunting if you're simply replacing your meat burger with a plant based one, or chicken with plant based chicken pieces. But, if plant based 'meat' doesn't appeal to you then don't think you'll go without, instead fill your plate with tempeh, jackfruit or legumes to ensure you're still getting all of the protein and nutrients you need. There is even a huge range of plant based milk, cheeses and yogurts out there now made from Coconut, Almonds or oats. Long gone are the days of having tofu or soya as your only two options.
If you're fully committed to living a vegan lifestyle then next to have a re-think is your beauty products. This could be because they contain animal by-products or because they are tested on animals. For example your lipstick could contain crushed insects, animal fats or fish skin cells amongst tons of other things you really don't want to think about. It is possible to purchase cruelty free products as well as vegan ones so knowing the difference and what to look out for is super important. Cruelty free products may still contain animal products but are not testing on animals, where as vegan products don't contain any animal derivatives but may be tested on animals, although generally the higher quality brands or brands which are open about their practices, won't. Some vegan and cruelty free brands include: Urban Decay, Lush, The Body Shop and MUA.
As the years go on, the interest in vegan fashion continues to rise with consumers becoming far more conscious about what their clothes are made of, firstly with fur being taken off of the high street and most catwalks, with brands such as Gucci, Chanel, Burberry and Versace all going fur-free, and now that mentality is moving onto leather.
But what is 'vegan leather'? Vegan leather can be made of PVC, PU, Piñatex (Pineapple leather), Leaf Leather etc, all products which have no association with animals. Vegan fashion also includes not weather Suede, Silk, Animal Skins or Wool and finding plant based alternatives which offer you the same style, look and feel with none of the cruelty.