How to Be a Vegan beyond What You Put on Your Plate

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If you watched Chopped on Tuesday night, you would have seen the contestants using only plants and non-animal ingredients to create delicious dishes for the harshest of critics. While only using plants, seeds and grains may seem like heresy to gourmet chefs, restaurants like Vedge – whose chef, Rich Landau, was featured on the show – have shown that world-class cooking can extend beyond bacon and pork belly. Vedge was even listed on GQ Magazine’s list of Best Restaurants of 2013.

On top of that, movies, like Food Inc.; Forks over Knives; Vegucated; Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and books, like Eating Animals and Fast Food Nation, have shown problems with factory farming and the western diet, which has made veganism more popular. However, if you’re thinking about becoming a vegan, it’s important to know that being a vegan extends well past the plate. You would be surprised how many of the things we use in our daily lives use animals or involve cruel animal testing in some form. Here are several that come to mind that a vegan might want to avoid:

Leather: While you are certainly doing a lot of good for the environment and yourself when you avoid hamburgers and steaks, you should know that you might still be wearing or sitting on animals when you wear leather. Leather is made out of animal rawhide and skin, and it is used in a wide variety of products, including shoes, purses jackets, belts, wallets, furniture and more. While it might be tough to find alternatives, they are available. PETA lists several that you might want to look at if you want faux leather or other suitable alternatives.

Supplements: You wouldn’t know it, but many supplements use animal products in one way or another. For example, Vitamin D supplements are often extracted from lanolin, which comes from sheep wool. In addition, any supplement made with a gelatin capsule is made with byproduct from the meat and leather industries. There are alternatives out there, but it will involve some investigation.

Shampoo and other beauty products: Unfortunately, many of the beauty products we use are tested on animals first. In addition, some soap brands still use of tallow or lard as these were the traditional method of manufacturing. If you’re looking for natural shampoo or other beauty products that don’t use animals in any way, looks for those with a Leaping Bunny or PETA endorsement.

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