My Journey to Veganism… I’m Still Not There
In the last few years, plant based diets have become popular through high profile athletes and documentaries. But veganism isn’t just about a diet. It applies to everything we do or what we have in our lives, including toiletries, household goods, clothes, etc.
There are lots of reasons people decide to cut animal products out of their diets. Sometimes it's about the welfare of the animals. Sometimes it's for environmental reasons. Sometimes it’s for both.
Running a plastic-free shop hasn't just been about finding alternatives to single-use plastic, but also finding vegan-friendly products. We recently ran a giveaway for Earth Day on our instagram and one of the companies involved would only work with other brands that were vegan. This is the level of commitment we have come to expect from our community.
For me, being vegan seemed like a pretty big jump initially so I decided to stop eating meat and fish as the first port of call. I stopped eating red meat in 2016 so giving up poultry and fish seemed achievable. I did make the mistake of labelling myself vegetarian during a brief period, but my husband called me out a few times and provided me with the reality check that I wasn’t actually sticking to it.
What was I doing? Why couldn’t I stick to it? I could blame it on habit, but it’s more honest to say I wanted something and I had it. Will power is a funny old thing but I was contradicting my morals. The environmental impact on the world that the demand for fish and meat has is so damaging, yet here I was tricking myself. Shortly after this, I stopped eating meat completely and gave up fish soon after.
I didn't have milk in my diet for a long time as I stopped drinking it to improve my skin. It didn't really affect my skin as it turned out, but I stuck to drinking milk alternatives anyway, such as soya and oat milk. I actually prefer having soya milk in my tea and oat milk in my coffee. It took me a day or so to get used to the change in tastes.
What I did find difficult was trying to be 100% plastic free and vegan. I came across so many incredible vegan brands, but they weren't always plastic free. I was filling up my ecobrick faster than normal because of the extra plastic that came with the products that were available to me, and I struggled to find the right balance in my life.
I couldn’t always get to a fresh fruit and veg market because I would have to drive there and then increase my carbon footprint. In my head I wanted to solve everything, but couldn’t perfect one thing. I was torn by my ethics and my nutrition was suffering because I’m not the most creative cook.
I enjoy cooking and I have “go-to recipes” that are delicious (if I do say so myself), but I felt a huge amount of pressure to make sure each meal had the right balance of nutrition.
Was it worth stressing out for? Of course, but I had to calm my soul. I came to the conclusion that I can only do my best and take things step by step. I do use a bit of butter for toast and I don't let food go to waste either, but I don’t eat meat, drink milk or buy clothes/household products that are not cruelty free.
It’s a good start and something that will get better. Supplying you guys with a wide variety of vegan products is something that I'm always conscious of. We stock products that you ask to see and we’re always looking for more alternatives.
I've put together some of my favourite vegan products that I personally use and highly recommend.
My go-to moisturiser is the Blemish Defence Cleansing Cream by Valley Mist. I used it as a general moisturiser but also to take off my makeup. Valley Mist makes this in small batches, just up the road from us in Preston.
I pair it with my Facial Cotton Rounds by Vesta Living. I’ve had these for almost 18 months and they still look like I bought them yesterday, even after daily use. What an incredible swap these were. I feel like I don't talk about them enough.
I can't rave enough about two of my favourite completely vegan brands - Zero Waste Path & Lani Skincare. They both have the environment and veganism at the core of everything they do. I love the Aloe Vera Soap by Zero Waste Path and the Blue Mint Facial Cleanser by Lani. Both are incredible.
All our makeup is vegan-friendly. We stock ZAO Makeup and Love The Planet. I use the Volume & Sheathing Mascara daily, which is a refillable option. I use Mineral Foundation on my face, a product that I've recently found and fallen in love with.
Charlie & I both use the Acai Berry Shampoo Bar and have done since the beginning of our plastic-free journey. I also currently use a Liquid Conditioner by Bain & Savon and Charlie uses a Vinegar Rinse.
I use a Bamboo Hair Brush to brush through my hair too. Bonus points for being a super stylish brush!
Charlie and I use different products when it comes to our dental hygiene. Charlies uses the English Peppermint Natural Toothpaste by Georganics, whereas I use the Toothpaste Tablets with fluoride. We both use the Spearmint Mouthwash (one of my favourite plastic-free swaps) and of course, Toothbrushes by Truthbrush.
Truthbrush toothbrushes were the very first product I purchased when we opened LB4P. I said to myself “if the shop doesn’t work out, at least I'll eventually get through all of these toothbrushes one day!”
So, that’s just some of our favourite vegan swaps. What are yours? Also, what are your experiences with being vegan?