I’m introducing a new category to my blog – Vegan friendly. Yes! Woohoo! I’m actually excited about this, because when it comes to blogging, veganism is something I have always wanted to cover as it’s very near and dear to me. I love researching and finding vegan options for myself, and then sharing it with others to make the search less hard. Veganism has brought me a lot of joy in my life, and has been a catalyst in a series of lifestyle changes not only to better myself, but to better my health.
BUT being 100% vegan and cruelty free is not easy or possible for me anymore. I no longer live with my mom and have disposable income. I work long hours and don’t have time to prepare myself food all the time. I eat eggs now to make sure I’m getting enough protein because I can get them free from work, a place where I don’t have any other vegan or vegetarian options.
The skin disorders I’ve been dealing with the majority of my life have not been responding well to an all vegan, cruelty free routine, it didn’t respond well to doing nothing, going the zero waste route, the holistic route, and so I am forced to going back to using stuff that is animal tested. My options of what I can use are extremely narrow and it’s near impossible to find vegan options that work. I don’t want to stress myself out further anymore, spending hours on end trying to find some. I’d rather give myself piece of mind and go for the stuff that’s proven to work, even if it’s tested on animals and contains animal ingredients.
Why I’m not 100% Vegan & Cruelty Free
I’m ready to get axed and beaten alive, or just yelled at by a bunch of straightedge strict militant vegans who might dig up this post and use it as ammo against me, but I wanted to share, or at least write down my experience with dealing with chronic disorders but also wanting to love on some animals at the same time.
Unless you are one of those people who doesn’t deal with many health issues, being vegan is actually really hard. Let’s say you have a past with restrictive eating disorders or have trouble gaining weight, it’s even harder. Let’s say you’re dirt poor and have to rely on free food to have enough calories to get through the day, it’s that much harder.
All pharmaceutical medications, therapies, treatments are tested on animals, and may contain animal derived ingredients, these are things you can’t necessarily find vegan alternatives to. All the pharmaceutical grade skincare recommended by dermatologists that are suitable for my skin type tend to not be cruelty free – and this is something I’ve struggled with hardcore. I so desperately wanted to have a routine, that not only helped me with the debilitating issues I struggle with, but was also 100% cruelty free and vegan. Not only that, but was something I could actually afford and maintain buying. I have accepted that this isn’t possible.
The fact that a lot of brands that do make vegan cosmetics and skincare tend to be more concerned with “naturalness” and “greenness” more than efficacy makes it even harder, because the bland, well formulated skincare products are few and far between, and even still contain the stray frilly essential oil bullshit.
I wish this wasn’t so, and I’ve dreamed of cosmetic chemists, dermatologists, etc., challenging this status quo by making options available to those of us that want something a little better than the norm, and want peace of mind. Some have like Curology, which I am grateful for. Theres no reason a face wash needs to be injected into a rabbit’ eye if we already know from other tests on animals that all the ingredients in a product are safe – that’s how I view it.
I do seek out cruelty free & vegan options when they suit my needs and are accessible, affordable, and reasonable.
Something I’ve been getting into, not only for ~eco friendly~ reasons, but for also sanity reasons, is favoring items I can buy in person, locally. Not only does this mean I have less things getting shipped to me from around the world whenever possible, but I also don’t have to stress as much if I run out of something, cause I can just ride by bike to the store and get some more.
For example, I was in need of a makeup remover. All the cruelty free and vegan ones I could find locally had ingredients that aggravated my skin in it.
Here’s a comparison of the Pacifica Cactus Micellar Water, and The Garnier SkinActive Cleansing Micellar Water both of which I can find at my local target:
Pacifica Cactus Water Micellar Cleansing Tonic $12/8oz (Vegan & Cruelty Free)
Aqua (Purified), Sorbiatn Oleate Decylglucoside Crosspolymer, Decyl Glucocide, Glycerin, Cereus Grandiflorus (Cactus Flower) Extract, Jasmine Offincinale (Jasmine) Flower Water, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Water, Rosmarinus Officinale (Rosemary) Leaf Water, Phenoxyethanol, Ethy Hexyl Glycerin, Parfum (All Natural)
-Courtesy of Ulta
Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Cleanser & Makeup Remover $9/13.5oz (Tests on animals)
Aqua / Water, Hexylene Glycol, Glycerin, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Disodium Edta, Poloxamer 184, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide Fil B162919/3
Notice how the Pacifica contains perfume, even if it’s natural, my skin reacts very poorly to fragrance. It also has jasmine flower, which doesn’t have necessarily any benefit to the skin and is effectively just more fragrance. I’m sure this shit smells really good, but it’s going to leave my skin so red and aggravated.All the ingredients in red, are ingredients that are NOT suitable for sensitive skin, and also have no real benefit to the skin.
The Garnier on the other hand, is cheaper, also available locally, and contains no ingredients that react with my VERY SENSITIVE SKIN.
Now you may thinking.. you’re just a fucking lazy excuse for a vegan wannabe. NO – I spent close to 3 hours looking for a vegan micellar water that would suit my skin, and the closest thing I found which I was close to committing to was the Skintifique Cleansing water – which turns out to have polysorbate 20 which is known to feed the fungus that causes Malessezia Focculitis – a condition I deal with.
It’s incredibly frustrating!
My struggle being vegan in a world where there is no vegan middle ground
A huge part of my “vegan” struggle was the need for outside validation – I needed others to believe I was “vegan enough” that a 100% vegan lifestyle was possible for me, and therefore possible for them, I didn’t want my efforts to be squandered by being seen doing non vegan things, which even the most vegan vegans are guilty of (they won’t ever admit it, cause they’re probably content creators/youtubers, who’s whole livelihood is dependent on being perfect vegan angels who could do no harm, I’m fucking looking at you, you banana ass motherfuckers).
Which is stupid – like who the fuck cares, no one. Except those that do. but fuck them too, cause a normal person minds they damn business. I have a vegan coworker who I’ve never seen break vegan edge, but she’s also still living with her parents and gets to spend her money on vegan stuff and not rent. Anytime she’d be around the same time I was eating free food from work that wasn’t vegan I’d feel a sense of shame or judgement. I’m sure she wasn’t judging me causes she a sweetie pie, but I felt like I could be judged and her presence made me feel like “why can’t i eat vegan all the time and be vegan like her and also have perfect skin and not deal with constant crippling fatigue”. This is all me projecting, whining and being a SUCKY ASS BITCH. This is the part of the post where I write like this cause its so true and needs to be emphasized with CURSE WORDS.
Another aspect, which is also big, is that I don’t like using stuff that’s tested on animals or has animal ingredients, I’d prefer not to! That’s literally just me! This in conjunction with the need for outside validation with my veganism can get pretty exhausting pretty fast. It leaves me stuck in a cycle of wanting vegan & cruelty free options, trying to look for some only to fail, and then being left feeling like I’m disappointing an audience of vegan strangers I will never meet or speak to.
This preference also makes me beat myself up, instead of being nice to myself, I’m mean to myself about it and get caught in negative self talk, i’ll tell myself “You’re just looking for an excuse to not be vegan”, it goes on an on. This aspect is also stupid, but probably the most harmful, which is why I’ve promised to stop it, and to ease up on myself. The reality is- I am just a human trying to get by and live a life with content! My depression, anxiety, compulsive and obsessive behavior, all that in relation to chronic fatigue, a past of eating disorders and self harm, and acne that has made me agoraphobic and self conscious to extreme levels make life hard. In essence I make my own life hard dealing with all this, as I am very poor at dealing with all this. So to make things less hard on myself I am no longer imposing on myself a strict moral baseline for basic living – may it be veganism or living zero waste. I gotta keep in mind Maselow’s hierarchy of needs, before I can do that shit I need to make sure my ass is bathing and eating enough on a regular basis (thanks depression)
The advice that gave me peace of mind.
The advice my boyfriend gave me, which I keep written on a little peace of paper I tuck into my ear and pull out whenever I need comfort is this: If it hurts you, don’t do it.
I will hark this until the end of time: Being an ethical, moral person begins with being moral towards yourself. This is especially hard if you’re a self deprecating person with low self esteem who values the lives of others, may it be humans or other animals, more than your own. If you have an autoimmune disease that requires you to take medication, take the fucking medication. Not taking it because the packaging isn’t zero waste, it isn’t vegan, it’s tested on animals, it isn’t holistic, its made of chemicals, etc., etc. are not valid excuses.
- If you have food allergies that make being vegan hard, don’t force yourself to eat those foods, even if they’re vegan
- If you can’t find vegan skincare that suits your skin and needs, don’t use vegan skincare that aggravates your skin
- If you have trouble with an eating disorder, don’t use veganism as a way to restrict your food groups
- If you don’t have time to invest in researching vegan options, don’t prioritize researching vegan options over the things you know you need to do, like you know get sleep and going to school.
- If theres no vegan food available to you at a specific moment in time, don’t skip out on eating if you know you’re not going to be able to get vegan food anytime soon.
- If you’re on a super tight budget and rely on free food to get through the day, don’t refuse eating it in favor of a vegan option that may be nutritionally inferior (Free eggs vs. vegan instant noodles)
My approach to veganism
I want to make vegan guides, review vegan products, and have vegan options in every post I make. This is very important to me. Being completely transparent is very important to me too. I don’t want to have a false veil over myself anymore, and I want to share what works for me, even if it doesn’t subscribe to the manuscript of ethics I have engrained into my own mind.
My approach is – vegan and cruelty free whenever possible and only if the vegan option is just as good if not better than the non vegan option.
This is easy with things other than skincare, right now all my clothes and shoes are vegan. Vegan food is definitely one of those things that are BETTER (imo) than non vegan options. I always eat out vegan, I make vegan meals at home, all the supplements I take are vegan, the majority of the food I eat is vegan, all the makeup I own is vegan.
I think this approach to veganism is a lot healthier in my opinion. Not only is it less controlling, but it makes you feel less burden, and when you feel less burdened, so do other people when they observe your lifestyle. If we paint veganism as this thing you have to conform to 100% and perfectly, we aren’t going to get more people to try vegan options, which will be ultimately better in the long run than a smaller percentage of people who conform to veganism perfectly.
In conclusion: Don’t eat meat, dairy is evil, and rub snail mucus on your face if it helps looking at yourself in the mirror easier. Fucking live and let live bitch!!
(note: I’m putting this post in the vegan friendly category, even if it isn’t necessarily vegan friendly, as i am very openly admitting veganism doesn’t always work for me (lol), but I feel like it’ll help give perspective and shape the narrative of this blog a little better)