Vegan Lifestyle at Home; The Experts Tell Us How to Do It

Choosing a vegan lifestyle is not only about your dietary preferences; committing yourself to a genuinely vegan and cruelty-free lifestyle extends to all other areas of your life, from beauty and personal care products, fashion items like shoes, bags, and clothes, cleaning supplies for the home, furniture and home decór, since animal products happen to be found in a number of things you may not even imagine, and even when products can be vegan, which means that they don’t contain animal products, they may have been tested on animals, which is why it’s important to go for cruelty-free options as well.

If you want to know more about the basics of how to go vegan and have a truly committed vegan and cruelty-free lifestyle at home, keep reading to learn what the experts told us. 

 As a new vegan, what are the staple foods that should never be missed in your pantry?

Nutritional Yeast – Fortified nutritional yeast is an essential vegan pantry staple making sure you get enough vitamin B-12, naturally found in meat. Often referred to as ‘nooch,’ it can be an acquired taste that adds umami and ‘cheesy’ flavor to your meal. It can be stirred into recipes towards the end of cooking. Or try sprinkling it over the top of pizza, salads, soups, pasta dishes, etc. I recommend starting with a small amount, adding more as you get used to this savory ingredient.

Cashews – When you’re looking for dairy alternatives, raw cashews work wonders in everything from vegan mac and cheese, vegan queso and alfredo, cashew ricotta, vegan cheesecake, vegan cream, and more. Those who are free of nut allergies will benefit from adding this versatile nut to your pantry. They blend up creamy smooth in seconds with a quick soak, and you will never miss dairy again!

Legumes – Whether dried or canned, stocking a variety of legumes such as lentils, beans, and peas is a must. They are extremely versatile and the main protein in a vegan diet. Not only are they inexpensive and extremely versatile, but legumes are also low in fat, high in protein and fiber. Plus, they carry essential micronutrients and phytochemicals to keep you at your best.

Spices – Although they are not really a food, having a good assortment of spices on hand will enhance your plant-based meal. I love the simplicity of simple salt and pepper, but spices and herbs can make all the difference and make your recipe come alive. I recommend sourcing the freshest dried spices and using fresh herbs whenever possible.

-Julie West from The Simple Veganista 

What kind of vegan options can we have at home as meat substitutes that provide the proteins required?

The first thing that people need to know is that most of us eat too much protein, and unless you are only eating vegan junk foods, the likelihood of you not getting enough protein is slim to none.

Please check out this video (from 2014) by Dr. Michael Gregor in which he answers the question: “Do vegetarians get enough protein?”. As he states in the video: The average requirement is 42 grams of protein a day. Non-vegetarians get way more than they need, and so does everyone else. On average, vegetarians and vegans get 70% more protein than they need every day. Dr. Gregor also has a great cookbook: The How Not to Diet Cookbook.

Another good online resource for vegan protein can be found in this Comprehensive Chart of Vegan Protein Sources

So – what vegan options can you eat at home?

  • Home-made bean burgers
  • Home-made veggie burgers
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Seitan
  • Grains
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Non-dairy milks
  • Fruits and Vegetables – all contain protein

Store bought meat substitutes (burgers, sausages, chorizo, deli slices, crumbles, etc.) from the following companies:

  • Tofurkey
  • Beyond Meat
  • LightLife
  • Impossible Foods
  • Field Roast
  • Sweet Earth
  • Morningstar Farms
  • Gardein
  • And so many more

And with so many vegan recipes available online, it’s easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. Hope this helps you on your journey to a more compassionate and healthier way of eating.

-Gita Devi from The Ginger Cat B&B

In your experience, what are the Do’s and Don’ts when someone starts to adopt a vegan lifestyle? 

“Taking the first step is always the hardest”, but becoming vegan has never been easier than it is right now. So many new options – buying food, dining out, clothes, personal care items, sources of information etc. Everything points to an easier lifestyle than ever before.

What can I eat? – Meat, milk products, eggs, seafood, it’s easy to think that your diet will be seriously limited, but this is simply not true. Most peoples’ diets are very limited by what they choose to base their meal options around. There are a vastly larger number of fruits and vegetable options to base your meals on than animal-based options. Also, for an easy transition, there are also a huge number of faux-products –  meat substitutes, dairy-free milks, cheeses, pastries, and ice-creams. You don’t have to forego your fave dishes because these days there are plant-based replicas. It’s just a case of finding the shops and outlets where you can buy them from.  And it’s the same with dining out – the hardest part is getting started. Once you familiarise yourself with the local vegan-friendly options, you will find that you can eat at most places, and maybe you just do should not want to support places that do not cater at all to vegans. If you find yourself really short of options, try Italian, Indian, Chinese restaurants – you can always find a few options in these places.

Important foods for vegans – everyone needs to consume essential minerals, vitamins, and other components to ensure optimal health, and vegans are no different. Thankfully a well-planned vegan diet lends itself very well to good health. Most dieticians recommend only a vitamin B12 supplement for vegans since modern living has stripped food of this essential item. However, often vegan-friendly milks, margarines, cheeses, yogurts, even cereals will be fortified with B12. Other vegans take vitamin D supplements if they live in less sunny climes. Yet others take fatty acid supplements, however, studies indicate that most people can synthesize what they need. But the truth is that everyone should follow a healthy diet and you might find that your own supplement requirements are different. You can find many recommended vegan nutritionists online to allay any concerns.

How to tolerate the talk – Being vegan can be very challenging, especially when it comes to the thoughts and reactions of non-vegans, whether they be friends, family, co-workers, or just people you meet. Chances are you will be ridiculed, warned about your health by self-appointed “health experts”, treated to attacks from home-spun irrational philosophers, even ostracised. And the crazy thing is that this is usually from the most ignorant.

The trick is to be prepared. Dealing with these issues is challenging at the start, but the more often you address them, the more confident you will become. You will soon recognize the most familiar lines and build up your own stock answers to them. Remember that science and philosophy are on your side. There are plenty of online resources to help you, including vegan Youtube channels. And try to adopt an engaging and positive approach wherever possible because you are now an advocate for doing the right thing.

Staying the course – Making the transition can appear daunting but do not despair; you are not alone. There are more like-minded vegans than you might imagine, wherever you live. “A problem shared is a problem halved”, so get involved in on-line vegan communities such as Facebook or forums, or join local vegan clubs. And if there isn’t one, start one!

-Sheldon Hey from Vegan SA 

What are the benefits of a vegan diet on our overall health?

In a socio-cultural and economic environment, with large-scale publicity aimed towards influencing the consumption of products and, as consequence, diets, we grow up with the idea that we need animal products such as meat and milk to achieve good health and, many times, social status. However, a strictly vegetarian diet is filled with all the nutrients our bodies need and is scientifically proved to be effective in keeping the body healthy at any stage of a human being’s life.

There are many studies that report the benefits of being vegan and following a plant-based diet. This kind of diet tends to offer more fibers, antioxidants, as well as being even richer in potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, and E.

According to the American Heart Association, this type of diet is also effective at preventing cardiac diseases. A study was carried out by the association with 100 participants with pre-existing heart conditions to rate the performance of heart functions for patients with omnivorous and vegetarian diets. The vegetarian diet was shown to significantly reduce systemic inflammation and improved the lipid profiles for the patients, while this wasn’t the case for those with an omnivore diet.

Among other benefits of being vegan is the potential to reduce risks for some types of cancer. Regularly eating vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer by 9 to 18%. Among the cancers that we can reduce the chances of risk, we have prostate cancer, colon cancer, and breast cancer.

It can be observed that plant-based living is not only healthy and diverse but can also help us live better and longer.

-Alex Felipelli, Founder and CEO at Veggly 

How do you know when a beauty product is cruelty-free? What should we be looking for?

First, check to see if the beauty brand is listed on Leaping Bunny’s Cruelty-Free List or PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies List. You can also check my cruelty-free brands list. If the brand is in either of these three spots, great! It’s easy to tell they’re cruelty-free.

If it is a smaller brand, such as an indie brand like Necromancy Cosmetica, Fyrinnae, or Sydney Grace Co, you’ll want to check their FAQ page or about page to see if they list their cruelty-free status. Most indie brands will be very transparent. Necromancy Cosmetica, for example, states that their lipsticks are made with 100% vegan materials that have never been tested on animals.

If a brand isn’t on Leaping Bunny’s, PETA’s, or my cruelty-free list, and they don’t have the details in their FAQ page, you’ll need to email them.

The questions I typically ask a new brand now are as follows: (these questions were created with my bestie Jen from My Beauty Bunny
1. Is your company certified by Leaping Bunny/CCIC?
2. Are the products vegetarian? (no animals killed for the products – i.e. some forms of collagen, squalane, etc.)
3. Are the products vegan? (i.e. product ingredients that come from animals like lanolin, honey, milk, etc.

  1. Are the finished products tested on animals by the company, a parent company, a third party or an affiliate company?
    5. Are the products tested on animals during the production process by the company, a parent company, a third party or an affiliate company?
    6. Do you have documents from your ingredient suppliers to show that they are not testing on animals for your brand or any other brand?
    7. Does your manufacturer purchase any ingredients from laboratories that conduct tests on animals? Do you have documents to support this?
    8. Are the products sold in any markets where animal testing is required by local law and regulations (China, etc)?
    9. If the products are sold in China, please explain how you are avoiding pre-market testing (are you aligned with PETA or Leaping Bunny)?

The information you’re looking for is whether or not the brand tests on animals or if the brand contracts out to their manufacturers/suppliers/a third-party vendor for animal testing.

-Courtney, founder of Phyrra

What kind of materials should we look to incorporate in our home to make it vegan and cruelty-free?

  • Decorative Pillows:“Covers made from linen, bamboo, and organic cotton are healthier alternatives to leather and wool. They are free from harmful chemicals, vegan, and super soft.”
  • Pillow Inserts:“Consider rubber, kapok, or buckwheat fill for your decorative pillows instead of foam. These fills, unlike foam, are completely organic and free from off-gassing (the harmful chemicals that foam releases). They are also vegan.”
  • Sofa Cushion Filling:“When a sofa, for example, is touted as faux, make sure you check the fill. The upholstery can be a faux leather or velvet. However, the foam cushions underneath can be wrapped in feathers or down.”
  • Comforters and Blankets:“How yummy to wrap yourself in a soft thick cotton, bamboo, or faux fur blanket. These are much healthier, kinder options that contain less chemicals than a wool or down-filled blanket.”
  • Rugs:“I’m a fan of cotton, hemp, jute, and sisal. They are affordable, organic, and have fewer chemicals than wool or silk rugs. Plus, there are endless styles and patterns that are non-animal based.”
  • Printed Fabrics:“Printed fabrics are beautiful and come in endless prices and styles. Try to find fabrics that use natural dyes that are either vegetable or water-based.”

– Deborah DiMare, founder of VeganDesign.Org

What tips can you give us to start a vegan lifestyle and actually stick to it?

Our Top 10 Tips to Get You Started

  1. It’s all in the planning! 

Don’t wake up on the first day of your vegan adventure without having thought about what you might eat! That is the absolute quickest way to fall off the wagon. Ahead of time, have a think about your first day’s meals and buy plant milk for your breakfast and coffee or tea, some dairy-free butter for toast or sandwiches, and something tasty for your dinner.

Some people find making a weekly meal planner helpful, so they always know what they need to shop for and what they will be eating.

  1. Look out for accidentally vegan foods 

There are so many everyday foods that just happen to be vegan, so open up your cupboard and take a look. Pasta, rice, peanut butter and Marmite, most breads, tinned tomatoes, chickpeas and kidney beans, jam and marmalade, coconut milk, curry pastes, tomato puree, baked beans, many crisps, crackers and biscuits, herbs and spices, many gravy granules, tea, coffee and fruit juice… There is a good chance that half the foods you already eat are vegan!

  1. Ease yourself in

There is no need to reinvent your whole eating habits. If you like a sausage sandwich, have one – just make sure the sausages are vegan. If you want ice cream, go ahead. There are dozens of different delicious flavours out there. You can have almost everything you had before in a vegan version, so just switch like for like.

  1. Veganise your favourite dishes 

Again, there is no need to adopt a whole new eating regime. If your signature dish is lasagne, make a vegan version with soya mince and plant milk for the béchamel. If you love a morning fry-up, you can make it with vegan bacon and sausages. Whether you cook curries, casseroles, soups, stews, pies and pasties, roast dinners, cakes, desserts or anything else, simply veganise it.

  1. When you’re ready, branch out 

Many people find that becoming vegan opens up a whole new world of recipes and ingredients, and rekindles their love of great food. Once you’ve got the hang of the basics, why not jump in and try some brand-new recipes (there are thousands online) and see if it ignites your culinary passions.

  1. Keep snacks to hand 

Don’t get caught out! It’s really easy to pick up vegan snacks in most places but not everywhere, so make sure you keep a bag of nuts, a chocolate bar or some fruit in your bag or car just in case.

  1. Persistence pays

Not every vegan product will work for you but just because the first cheese you try or the first latte you make doesn’t hit the spot, don’t rule out all other cheeses and plant milks. There are so many different ones to try – cream cheese, melty cheeses, nut-based, coconut-based, soya-based, all flavours and lots of different brands and styles; and as for milks, you’ll find oat, hemp, almond, coconut, rice and soya. Try them all, and you will soon find your perfect match.

  1. HappyCow

Like eating out? Download the HappyCow app onto your phone and let it guide you to your nearest restaurant, café or shop where you can find vegan food wherever you are in the world.

  1. Find your tribe 

It’s easy to feel isolated as a new vegan but there are millions of us out there. Find your local vegan meetup group and make like-minded friends in real life or search online for vegan groups that interest you. From vegan runners to bakers to knitters; from vegan weightlifters to fashionistas to activists. They’re all there waiting for you.

  1. Be kind to yourself  

Everyone makes mistakes. Whether you ate something non-vegan accidentally or simply gave in to temptation, it’s OK. It doesn’t mean you are no longer vegan; it just means you are human! Chalk it up to experience and move forward.

-Toni Vernelli from Veganuary

What mistakes should be avoided when transitioning to a vegan lifestyle? 

First things first – don’t be too hard on yourself. Some people find it easier than others to give up animal products completely from day 1, but others may go back to their normal eating habits from time to time, and both are ok; that’s just part of the process. Don’t beat yourself up for “not doing it right”.

Next, try to avoid vegan junk food. Most people think that just by being vegan, you’re automatically healthier, but that’s definitely not the case if your daily meals just consist of burgers and pizza. I highly recommend you do your research and have lots of healthy vegan recipes on hand to experiment with. Personally, I’m a fan of adding at least 50% raw food into your daily meals as that gives you lots more nutrition. Try dividing your plate in half – fill half your plate with something cooked and make the other half a salad.

Lastly, don’t worry about protein and calorie counting. It is very easy for a vegan diet to meet the recommendations for protein. In fact, vegetarians and vegans actually average 70% more protein than they need every day. Just make sure you have plenty of variety, listen to what your body needs (not craves!) and enjoy your food.

-Anya Andreeva, founder of Live Love Raw and author of “How To Be A Raw Foodie”.

 What recommendations can you give us to raise vegan children? 

Raising vegan children can come with a set of unique challenges for parents. Talking to children about veganism from an early age can be a daunting task. Especially as reasons for being vegan are not always kid-friendly. However, it’s important to be transparent with your child about why your family is vegan, even if it’s a little uncomfortable at first. There are a lot of resources out there from vegan children’s books to vegan subscription services like Vegancuts. After all, as a parent, you never want your child to feel like they are “missing out”. At Vegancuts we curate 100% vegan snack boxes each month to showcase the very best vegan products on the market. Embracing fun experiences like subscription boxes go a long way to ensuring your kids don’t feel “left out” – and who knows, it might even make their friends jealous!

-Jase Quelch, Vegancuts Content Manager

Why is it important for vegans to supplement with B12 vitamin? Why is this necessary? 

Vitamin B12 used to be found in the soil where we farm our food. But over the centuries of over-farming, our soil is mostly barren of naturally occurring B12, which leaves no plant-based sources of it (although it’s worth noting that B12 deficiency rates are about the same in both vegans and non-vegans alike). B12 is a very important vitamin, and deficiencies can have symptoms ranging from sluggishness all the way to irreversible brain damage! A deficiency can take years to develop, as we can store it in our livers for 3-7 years, so even if you haven’t supplemented for years and your blood tests are fine now, it doesn’t mean that they will be down the line. With vitamin B12 supplements being so affordable and readily available, there is no reason not to take the supplement and stay healthy — vegan or not.

– Dani Taylor, Vegan Strong Assistant Tour Director, Author, Vegan Strength Coach, and Natural Bodybuilding Athlete

As you can see, nowadays, you can find vegan options for almost everything you need to move forward to a fully vegan and cruelty-free lifestyle. As more of us choose this way of living, more products will be offered in the market to cover all the needs of this growing trend all over the world.

Originally posted on Porch.com

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Vegan Cleaning – The Eco-Friendly Way

Vegan cleaning is a reality! Read on for a list of 100% cruelty-free brands, eco-friendly cleaning and how to make vegan cleaning a habit.

Vegan Cleaning - Couple together

Embracing Eco-Friendly Vegan Cleaning Alongside Your Partner

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has warned: the air quality in many American homes is two to five times more polluted than the air outside – a statistic that is surprising to many couples who prioritize health and wellness. The culprits are often surprising and hidden. They include indoor volatile organic compounds or VOCS hailing from furnishings, consumer products, and harsh cleaning products. Just a few ingredients that can harm human health include bleach and ammonia. Bleach, for instance, can cause irritation to the lungs, as well as the skin, eyes and mouth. If you or your partner have asthma, then you should be particularly keen to make the switch to a greener way of keeping your home spick and span. Rest assured that there are a plethora of vegan green products on the market as well, made by companies committed to not testing on animals.

Making A Commitment As A Couple

In order to improve your indoor air quality, you and your partner need to be equally committed to making key changes so your cleaning routine becomes greener. It is of little use to your health if one of you makes the switch to green cleaning products but the other continues to buy commercial cleaners and degreasers. Ingredients like bleach are, indeed, highly efficient at killing germs and whitening garments, yet by researching together, you can find replacements for commercial products. For instance, instead of using a chemical floor cleaner, you can decide to lay away a little money every month to invest in a good steam cleaner. This will kill germs, and does not require any chemicals at all. You can also make smaller changes – including the purchase of green, vegan cleaning products made with therapeutic grade essential oil blends. Thieves is a popular cleaner that contains essential oils such as clove bud, lemon, cinnamon bark, rosemary, and eucalyptus.

Backing Vegan Cleaning Companies

If you aren’t into DIY and you simply wish to buy eco-friendly products, just a few brands that are 100% cruelty-free include Seventh Generation, Citra Solv, and Mrs. Meyer’s. The latter, for instance, is known for its multi-surface cleaner, which works particularly well on glass and mirrored surfaces. What these and many more vegan cleaning product manufacturers have in common are plant-based formulae made with ingredients like essential oils, corn-derived ethanol, and plant-based fragrances.

Setting (And Sticking To) A Cleaning Schedule

The switch to greener cleaning methods may mean that you and your partner have to change up your regular cleaning routine. For instance, if you have bought a vacuum cleaner for the first time, the machine manufacturer may recommend that you vacuum your home at least once a week. This is, in fact, the frequency recommended by experts in hygiene, since long gaps between vacuuming can lead to the build-up of bacteria such as staphylococcus, which are brought into your home by shoes, and can cause digestive upsets and pneumonia. As a couple, you may decide that one of you prefers washing up while the other prefers to vacuum. The key is to ensure that all vital tasks are completed regularly without stress or tension hampering the quality of your relationship.

Embarking On DIY Projects Together

If you and your partner enjoy getting creative, why not make your own cleaning products together? For instance, to remove mold naturally, all you need is a paste made of water and baking soda. Just use a toothbrush to apply it to areas like your bathroom tiles, and after a few hours, scrub the mold off. To improve the scent in your home, boil leftover apple skins, and add cinnamon sticks and cloves into the pan: your home will instantly smell like Christmas. To make your own laundry detergents, mix natural Borax substitute, soda crystals, baking soda, soap bars, and a few drops of your favourite essential oil. There are a plethora of recipes online for everything from window cleaners to metal cleaners, all of which are perfectly compatible with your vegan lifestyle.

Switching to a greener way of cleaning is an excellent way to improve your indoor air quality. To make immediate improvements, use a vacuum cleaner so you don’t need to rely on toxic cleaning ingredients. You can also have fun with your partner by trying out different DIY cleaners, refining your list until you have a trusted few cleaners you can use for tasks like cleaning the oven, keeping surfaces clean, and keeping metal items shiny.

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So there you have it!

As Veggly grows further, make sure you stay up to date and read some of our success stories and messages from our users who found love from their Veg-Matches – all on this page here.

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How to Properly Prepare Vegetables?

What’s the right way to chop and prepare vegetables and fruits to get the most from them? In this article, we give great tips on how to prepare vegetables for your vegan recipes.

There are a many reasons to go vegan or at least include more vegetables in your plate, including animal welfare, environment conservation, health and even sexual performance.

Couple Prepare Vegetables

Prepare Vegetables In Advance With Your Veg-Match

Home-cooked meals are fast becoming a luxury, with a study published in the Nutrition Journal showing that while in 1965, up to 95% of meals were prepared at home, by the start of the new millennium, only 72% of people were doing so.

The shift in gender roles, rising housing prices, and the need to pay off student loans are just a few reasons for this phenomenon, although any vegan will tell you that time management is key to enjoying healthy meals regularly. Of course, if you are busy, then you may struggle to come up with varied enough meals throughout the week.

By prepping vegetables the right way, you can ensure your produce retains the maximum amount of nutrients and remains in the best possible state for your vegan sautés, sandwiches, wraps, snacks and soups. By preparing your vegetables together, the process can be as much an opportunity for romantic connection as the meals themselves.

Don’t have a Veg-Match yet? Get Veggly and find yours now!

Investing In Quality Equipment

If you are vegan, then your shopping cart probably wields a host of colorful vegetables of all shapes, textures and sizes.

When prepping this produce, it is important to use the right utensils, since your slices or pieces should be uniform to ensure even cooking.

You should have a very sharp knife for shredding leafy vegetables like cabbage and lettuce, as well as good peelers and graters.

There are many fancy electric tools around that shred, slice and dice, but if you have a small kitchen, simply have a good set of knives for small, medium and larger vegetables will most probably suffice.

Wrapping Chopped Vegetables In Plastic

If you are concerned about the possible loss of nutritional value caused by cutting and prepping vegetables beforehand, know that there are good ways to slow down nutritional loss.

As stated by Dr. A Kader of the University of California at Davis, by wrapping cut produce in plastic, you can reduce nutritional loss to about 10% for Vitamin C, 7% for folate, and just 3% for beta carotene.

Keep the vegetables in your fridge, and keep them in airtight containers. Buy fresh, seasonal vegetables if possible so you consume food with the maximum possible nutritional content.

Choose The Right Vegetables To Prepare

Some vegetables – including broccoli and cauliflower, asparagus, green beans, celery, sweet potatoes, winter squash and zucchini – can last in an airtight container in the fridge four around three days.

Others – including eggplant, potato and avocado – oxidize, and are better prepped on the same day they will be cooked.

There are also specific hacks that work well for some vegetables. For instance, you can prepare potatoes a day in advance, placing them in a bowl of water and popping them in the fridge.

Freezing Vegetables

You may buy an extra large batch of vegetables that the two of you won’t be able to consume in a few days. If so, freezing is a good way to save your purchases. 

Those vegetables that freeze particularly well include peas, broccoli, green beans, squash and cauliflower. Greens like spinach also retain their texture when frozen, as do herbs.

Avoid freezing vegetables with a high moisture content (including lettuce, mushrooms, and cucumbers) as they can freeze up then take on a mushy texture when thawed.

If you are excited about prepping your vegetables for beautiful vegan meals with your partner, ensure you save as much money as you can.

You can achieve this! Freeze excess produce and prepare vegetables all at once so you are more likely to use them over the next few days. For freezing, concentrate on low-moisture vegetables, planning meals in such a way that you utilize high-moisture produce first.

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So there you have it! There’s no excuse not to prepare vegetables for your next date! 🙂

As Veggly grows further, make sure you stay up to date and read some of our success stories and messages from our users who found love from their Veg-Matches – all on this page here.

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Vegan and Cruelty-Free Home

Living a vegan lifestyle can be challenging, yet it’s also extremely rewarding. When you think of being vegan, you think immediately on your diet and the things your body consumes. However, in order to be truly vegan, the same principles should be put into practice at home, too. Whether you’re looking for new cruelty-free products, furniture, or décor, read on to learn how to create the ultimate vegan and cruelty-free home. Originally posted at Porch.

The Basics of Vegan and Cruelty-Free Products

Anything that’s considered vegan means that it doesn’t include any animal animal-based ingredients, from hot sauces, to furniture, however, that doesn’t always mean that the product was not tested on animals. To ensure that your home products are truly vegan, make sure they’re also labeled as cruelty-free. This term means that the product was never tested on animals before being introduced into the consumer marketplace. Read the ingredient labels on all of your cleaning products to ensure that they don’t contain any animal-based components. Then, make sure that they’re specifically labeled cruelty-free, so you know you’re getting a safe product that’s in line with your values. It can be challenging to find home décor and furnishings that specifically state they are cruelty-free. You may need to ask the retailer or contact the manufacturer directly to confirm before you make a purchase. Look for products that are Leaping Bunny certified, which means they are not tested on animals. Anything without this certification could mean that the final product may not be tested on animals, but the ingredients or materials used to make it could be. Some companies will also create a “vegan” product line, while continuing to explore and kill animals in other product lines. A real vegan product is one that comes from a company that does not practice this tactic.

Start with Vegan Cleaning Products

You don’t need to purchase chemical-laden products in order to have a clean and spotless home. In fact, many ingredients used in mass-marketed cleaning products aren’t just harmful to the environment, they’re also potentially harmful to you, your family, and your pets. Avoid products like caprylic acid, which is sourced from milk, and animal glycerol and stearic acid, which are both animal fats. You may also see the term “animal lecithin” included on the ingredients list of many cleaning products. This term refers to the use of waxy nervous tissue and should also be avoided. Research the names of the most common ingredients found in cleaning products and their source. This simple step will make it much easier to identify the things you know you want to avoid.

While baking soda and vinegar can be a great all-natural way to clean your home, there are still some products you might need to buy in order to achieve the ultimate clean. Brands like Seventh Generation and Ecos offer plant-based formulas that are both vegan and completely cruelty-free. Products that use natural enzymes provide effective cleaning to remove stubborn dirt and grease without the need for dangerous chemicals. Do your homework and read labels carefully, and when in doubt, ask the manufacturer directly. You can also make a few DIY cleaning products using natural ingredients like lemon, vinegar, and baking soda to accomplish quick, daily cleanings in a safe way.

Furnish Your Home with Vegan-Friendly Options

When it comes to furnishing your home, finding vegan products can be especially challenging. Wool and leather should obviously be avoided, as should silk. The process to manufacture furniture from these materials is especially cruel, and none of them should ever be used in a vegan home. Look for furniture with upholstery made of pure, organic cotton and fabrics treated with natural dyes instead of synthetics. Even faux leather furniture can be harmful due to the chemicals used and the environmental damage caused via the manufacturing process. Tables, cabinets, and shelving made of reclaimed wood is another excellent way to choose sustainable, repurposed furniture that doesn’t contribute to the deforestation problem. Visit your local thrift or antique store to find quality furniture made from safe materials like bamboo, natural fabrics, or solid wood. It’s a great way to repurpose older furniture and save money in the process.

The benefits of choosing vegan and cruelty-free furniture are plentiful, including:

  • Using vegan furniture at home is much healthier than products treated with toxic chemicals. These chemicals can penetrate your skin and get into your bloodstream and can also be breathed in causing damage to the lungs. It’s especially important to choose all-vegan furniture if you have children or elderly adults living in your home.
  • Vegan furniture is easier to clean since it shouldn’t attract dust or insects as leather furniture will. Rugs made of cotton are easy to keep clean, and they’re much more resistant to stains than wool area rugs.
  • If you suffer from allergies, most vegan furniture and décor are hypoallergenic. Animal fur and feathers can cause allergies to flare up big time. Choose bedding and pillows made from a down alternative to keep your allergies under control. Not only will you feel better, but you’re also ensuring that you don’t purchase items that harm animals in the process.
  • When you furnish your home with vegan and cruelty-free products, you’ll feel good about your surroundings. While eating a vegan diet is the cornerstone of this lifestyle, having a vegan home is also essential to achieve a well-rounded and value-driven life.

Living the Vegan Lifestyle: Don’t Forget Décor

Finding and using vegan and cruelty-free cleaning products and furniture can be easy once you know what to look for and what to avoid. When it comes to decorating your home, don’t forget that all of your home accents and décor should be vegan, too. Stay away from throw pillows and bedding made of silk and wool or anything filled with down feathers. Instead, choose down alternative textiles and try pillows, rugs, and linens made of organic fabrics. If you love the look and feel of leather but hate the cruelty, there are some companies currently making products from vegan synthetic leather. Remember to stay away from fur at all costs, too. Delve into vegan companies that are dedicated to making quality home products without the need for animal products and byproducts.

There are a few key things to look for when choosing items for your vegan home:

  • Try furniture and décor with rubber cushions instead of memory foam. Natural rubber foam cushions are soft, comfortable, and are made sustainably by harvesting natural latex from the rubber tree. This material may also be referred to as “natural latex.” Visit the GOLS, or Global Organic Latex Standard to learn more about how to choose the cleanest option for your home.
  • The sourcing of materials used to make home goods and furniture should not create toxic pollution or cause harm via deforestation. Make sure every item you’re interested in has been third-party certified so you’re confident in your choice.
  • Even the finishes on furniture and home décor can be harmful to the environment and animals. Check to see if the finish uses low or nontoxic organic ingredients that have no or very little off-gassing that can cause harm to the environment as well as your health.
  • Some home goods, especially many cleaning products, are completely biodegradable. Find out about the life cycle of your products and whether or not they can be reused, recycled, or if they’re fully biodegradable before you purchase.
  • Reduce the demand for mass-produced home décor items and furniture by buying products from a local thrift store. Not only will you give these items a new life, but you’re also slowing down the need for mass-produced products in the consumer marketplace. It’s also a great way to get something new without cutting down trees, testing on animals, or harming the environment through importation and transport.

It’s also important to note that even products like the paint on your walls could contain animal products. Milk and beeswax are often used as a binder when the paint is manufactured. Some paint brands still test on animals, either by putting the paint directly on the animals’ skin or doing things as cruel as forcing them to ingest it. If you’re planning to change the paint color in your home, always make sure that it’s completely vegan and cruelty-free. Thankfully, there are a lot of eco-friendly and cruelty-free paint brands out there to choose from. Do your research if you’re planning to paint your home so that you’re using a product that is both safe and vegan.

When picking out items to decorate your home, always keep sustainability and cruelty-free practices in mind. Materials like glass, repurposed wood, and natural fabrics are all excellent choices. Shop locally to find artisans and furniture makers who use repurposed materials to make their products. Look at labels carefully to ensure that every item you purchase for your home from cleaning products to area rugs is entirely vegan and cruelty-free. It may take some time and patience to find everything you need, but the process will be worth it in the long run.

Say Hello to a Vegan Home

Whether it’s window and oven cleaners with the Leaping Bunny logo or furniture made of organic cotton upholstery and natural latex cushioning, achieving a vegan home is possible. Always research where your items are coming from and don’t be afraid to ask companies about their manufacturing processes. With a little bit of homework and research, you can transform your home into a 100% vegan abode. Thanks to many new brands that are embracing veganism, you’ll be able to create a cruelty-free space to enjoy for years to come. There are no limits to this lifestyle, you can even find your vegan love here with Veggly! And don’t forget that the way we eat has a huge impact on the environment as well!