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Veganism

Updated for Veganuary 2018: Top Tips for Easy, Sustainable, and Inclusive Veganism

Back in January 2016, when I first heard about Veganuary, I wrote a post aimed primarily at readers in the UK with my complete guide to easy, sustainable, and inclusive veganism. I wanted to use my knowledge to show that veganism can be simple, accessible, sustainable, and that it doesn’t always have to be exclusionary or elitist (and that we can play a part in making sure it isn’t).

I wrote about my (then) ~8 years’ experience as a very lazy, cake-fuelled vegan with a busy life who didn’t particularly want to make do with nuts-in-the-handbag whenever hunger struck. I wrote that I believed normalising veganism was a great thing. And I still do! And hoo-boy is veganism ever spreading now.

When I first logged on to the Post Punk Kitchen forum (RIP) back in around 2009/2010, I didn’t know a single real-life vegan. Elder-vegans told me about the dark days before Alpro and Fry’s. When wheat gluten could only be purchased over the counter in London. My favourite bloggers from back then (Maple Spice, Vegan Yum Yum) aren’t even blogging anymore. Today I see more and more people ‘discovering’ ye olde tricks of the vegan trade (aquafaba, nooch, soaked cashews) and I sit on my metaphorical porch smoking my metaphorical pipe and have a little nostalgic rock in my metaphorical rocking chair. Quorn, Pizza Hut, Flora, and other big brands had no interest whatsoever in catering for a small (and weird) percentage of customers; veganism was much more a DIY endeavour back then, with more of a DIY feel to it. Times have changed, my friends, and the future is exciting! (also we don’t have to bake quite so much cake).

I’ve been blogging or online-journalling since we got our first dial-up PC back in around 1996, and this blog has been alive in one iteration or another since 2012. The momentum of the last couple of years, though, has been staggering, and my previous post, whilst a trusty evergreen stalwart for a good while, needs to be updated.

With so many new vegans entering the fold, I find it more critical that I use my platform to advocate for a progressive veganism; one that is compassionate to humans and non-humans, acknowledges frameworks of oppression as they exist and connect to disadvantage or exploit both humans and non-humans, and that where appropriate, I pass the mic rather than speak on behalf of others.

This post takes the form of distinct sections, each with a little commentary and links to further resources. It ranges from the practical to the emotional to the philosophical. These days it’s impossible (and unnecessary) to provide an exhaustive list of resources, but nevertheless this should give a solid 101. It is largely aimed at those in the UK where shopping advice is concerned, but is still a valuable resource for any vegan, I hope.

(If you’d like to be amused, you can check out my 2012 ‘how to be vegan’ post here.)

A wooden bowl of lovely green basil leaves shot from above.

Veganism is a whole world view

I come from a tremendously meat-focussed, working class, northern family whose cooking repertoire featured every variation on meat-and-two-veg you can imagine (and little else). As a child, we would visit my Mum’s hometown in the North East of England, where my Nana worked on a market stall. Though she traded in fruit & veg, her nearest neighbours sold meat and seafood, and I actually have many fond memories of sitting at her kitchen table pulling meat from a mountain of crab claws with my Mum. Despite my family’s enthusiasm for animal products, I flirted with vegetarianism from around the age of 12, though it never lasted very long. As a young adult with a little more autonomy, I committed to vegetarianism in my early twenties. Progressing to veganism felt like inevitability, and I finally took the next step around 2007.

Around that time, I read a lot about veganism as a lifestyle and gave only brief consideration to nutrition or ‘health’. I read Vegan Freak, Skinny Bitch (this book is awful don’t read it!!!), The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life, and The Kind Diet. I read a lot about animal agriculture and the dairy and egg industries, and although it was very upsetting, I felt it was important to create a really solid base on which to let my belief system and new lifestyle grow.

I still believe this is the key to long-lasting, committed veganism. A 2015 study showed that those who choose veganism for ethical reasons are more likely to stick to the diet than those who choose ‘health’ reasons.

It’s important to be reliably informed. Think hard about why you’ve chosen to try veganism. Remember that veganism is a lifestyle, a whole world view; it isn’t meant to be a diet or a healthy eating kick. It can be a quiet resolution or a loud, public statement of intent, but however you choose to wade out into the wonderful world of being vegan, make sure you’ve thought good and hard about the reasons why. If you cannot defend the reasons to yourself, you are unlikely to be able to defend them out in the world.

A group of sheep within a barn, with one in focus looking curiously into the lens.

Read some books, watch some films, talk to some other sensible vegan folks about their own story. Once your viewpoint has been thoroughly informed and backed up, this ethical base will be much stronger, and it may well help see you through some of the tougher times.

Things might get weird or tricky during your first vegan weeks and months. You’ll make mistakes and feel bad about them. Some vegans will be wonderfully supportive, some will be critical about the fact all your shoes are leather and you can only afford to replace them as they wear out. That whole ‘veganism isn’t a diet, it’s a choice your heart makes‘ thing kind of makes me want to puke in my mouth a bit, but there’s truth in it as well.

Once you believe, at your very core, that animals are not for us to exploit or consume, whether for food, clothing or mascara, everything becomes a lot clearer and, believe it or not, a lot easier. I promise!

Friends, family, and eating out

Once upon a time, the question of Eating Out was a much thornier one than it is today. Many new vegans worry (understandably) about the impact their new food choices might make on their experiences of sharing food with friends or family. I’ve had some unexpectedly wonderful dining out experiences. Once I was in Rome, veritably the city of meat and cheese, quite a few years ago. One adorable cafe owner trawled his little kitchen to create the most amazing totally-vegan salad for me. It was huge and tasty and he was beaming with pride. But then only a couple of years ago I went to a very fancy celebrity chef Italian restaurant in Manchester city centre and the attention I got from about 6 waiters all fussing over what on earth they could concoct for me was quite mortifying (in the end they delivered the most expensive plate of mushrooms on toast I’ve ever paid for). Whilst many serving staff understand veganism well these days, and menu items are now very often labelled, it’s true that some of your experiences will be crap and mortifying. Your friends and/or family should be supportive at times like these! If your friends do end up side-eyeing you, I think you might need some new friends. Just sayin’.

An overhead shot of a cafe scene, empty aside from two customers with long hair drinking coffees and talking.

If you are concerned about eating out, particularly if you’re in a new city, then there are some very useful resources to keep in your back pocket:

  • The Happy Cow app. This is absolute gold. I’ve used this all over the UK and in Europe. I even use it in my own city these days since all the young ‘uns go out a lot more often than I do, and they keep all the entries up to date. If you’re ever in a fix, just fire up the app and search nearby, and whether it’s a local cafe or chain restaurant, if there are vegan-friendly options, you’ll know about it in no time. This is a particularly excellent resource for those of you with lots of meat-eating friends, but who would still like to feel part of the gang and not so much like The Weird Vegan.
  • The Barnivore app(s). This has a huge database of alcoholic drinks sourced from the Barnivore site, with info on whether vegan friendly or not. Very handy. Also – Sainsbury’s, M&S, Co-op, and Tesco label their vegan wines, and the Guardian has even produced a list of top vegan beers. Another top tip is that German-produced beers are 99.9% likely to be vegan-friendly, as there are strict ‘purity laws’ (Reinheitsgebot) that govern its production.
  • Veganuary’s comprehensive list of chain restaurants offering vegan options. This is updated frequently, but particularly in advance of –and during- January.
  • The Vegan Society has also produced a list of vegan-friendly options at chain restaurants.
  • Vegan Womble maintains up-to-date vegan lists for all supermarkets.

Of course, with the meteoric rise of bloggers talking about their own experiences the past couple of years, a Google search is also likely to yield a lot of useful results if you search for a particular city or supermarket (just make sure you check the date and use your own judgement when deciding whether the information is reliable).

Cosmetics, toiletries, etc

For many new vegans, this can be a particularly horrifying consideration, not least because ‘cruelty-free’ labelling frequently does not equate to vegan-friendly (more on that here).

However, I can promise that this does not have to be a weird and/or difficult part of being vegan, even if you have a make-up bag stuffed full of dodgy brands. Once upon a time I had plenty of nasties lurking in my immense collection of lotions & potions. When I became vegan, some I chucked immediately, and with others I waited until they ran out, because even at bargain prices I couldn’t necessarily afford to throw it all away and stock up again instantly. Go easy on yourself and do what you can do as soon as you can afford to do it.

Some folks have put in a huge effort to collate information about vegan-friendly make-up and skincare products/other toiletries, so I will link to a few here. I will also list a few of my convenient favourites for minimum effort.

N.B. Nearly all of these brands offer products that are produced ‘for men’ or ‘for women’ but I’m not a big fan of that binary so I haven’t made mention of it, however, just so you know the links here will help you out with everything from toothpaste to tampons to sex toys to beard oil. Dive in!

A pretty photograph of a purple soap, presumably lavender as there are also lavender flowers in shot.

Alien on Toast

Sal at Alien on Toast has been blogging (and YouTubing) about UK cruelty-free and vegan beauty for years. She’s put together an amazing –and frequently updated- list of brands on her blog, listing whether vegan or vegan-friendly, and also the status of any parent company. Logical Harmony is known for having strict standards and keeping up-to-date lists of vegan products, some of which are available in the UK.

High street options

Here are a convenient few UK brands or products available on the high street:

  • Superdrug own-brand cosmetics, toiletries, and hair products. They are labelled where vegan, and most of it is. Very handy to grab on-the-go. Superdrug also stock Barry M, and also e.l.f. in many stores.
  • Boots No. 7 and 17, and Botanics. Not all are vegan, but many items are confirmed (I’ve had success asking them on Twitter in the past.)
  • Co-op own brand toiletries and hair products. Not all are vegan, but they are clearly labelled.
  • Marks & Spencer. Many of their own-brand products are labelled where vegan, and they also sell Pixi and Barry M, with vegan status easily checked.
  • Waitrose own-brand toiletries. Vegan products are labelled on their website. May I recommend the ‘Pure’ sensitive moisturiser for post-tattoo care?
  • Soap & Glory. There are lots of vegan products in the range.
  • Lush toiletries and cosmetics. Not all products are vegan but they are clearly labelled. (NB. Lush has engaged in some rather dodgy ad campaigns in the past, for full disclosure.)
  • TK Maxx. It’s worth checking what they have in-store. In the past I’ve found products by Skinfood, Dr Botanicals, Ecotools, Nails Inc, JĀSÖN, and also Sukin. Some are labelled vegan, others you can Google in-store.

Online shops

What was once a niche section on a few producers’ or distributors’ online shops is now a selling point, and there are many online shops with clear filters/labels for vegan products, or exclusively vegan products to begin with. A few are listed below.

Cruelty-free apps, blogs, and other resources

Unfortunately, there aren’t really any comprehensive UK-based apps out there; many are US-oriented, unclear about which products are fully vegan, and/or produced by organisations I have problems with (e.g. PETA).

There is one app called Cruelty-Cutter which will tell you about a product’s animal-testing status but it does not specify whether vegan. They say in their FAQ they are hoping to add this functionality!

There are a million ‘cruelty free’ beauty blogs out there nowadays. Searching #cfbloggers on Twitter will bring up plenty. Often, though, they are not vegan so keep an eye out for that.

If you want to look up a particular ingredient use this Cosmetics Database. It will include data from PETA’s list of animal-derived ingredients where applicable. They also have an app.

Another very handy list of cruelty-free brands (international) can be found on the Vegan Make-up Tumblr. They have a 100% vegan list too.

An iPad open to the app store, on a very minimalist desk next to a Mac computer and a glass of water.

Household products: cleaning, washing up, laundry, etc.

Household cleaning, washing, and laundry products are marginally trickier to find than cosmetics/toiletries, but there are still high street options.

Co-op own brand household products are labelled if containing no animal ingredients, and also carry the leaping bunny.

Astonish cleaning products are labelled vegan, cruelty free and available in pretty much every budget store out there, each costing around £1-£2 on average. They stock an absolutely huge range.

There are other ways to research the household products you buy. You could join Ethical Consumer who have a super handy search function where you can ‘prioritise’ animal welfare as a way to filter products or supermarkets, etc.

You can also order online; I use Ethical Superstore to order washing-up liquid and laundry detergent/fabric softener in bulk.

You may also want to check out Animal Aid’s piece on animal testing of household products.

And if you are some kind of Real-life Pinterest Superhero, you could make your own. (Hold the flipping phone this actually happened.)

Hidden ingredients and e-numbers

This is a very legitimate issue to feel bamboozled by, for both new and more seasoned vegans. For example, recently M&S changed the way it listed ingredients on some of its veggie sweets; where it had previously written “beeswax”, it began to use beeswax’s e-number instead (E901). Many vegans picked up the packets, saw no mention of beeswax, gave three cheers for progress and started chowing down on the Percys. This sort of commercial sabotage really doesn’t help, so until you’ve established your mental database of vegan-friendly products and ingredients (which, I promise, will happen) there are a few useful resources that can help.

An overhead shot of jars of different herbs and spices.

Firstly, some handy (if sometimes rather clunky) apps:

  • Is It Vegan? You scan a product’s barcode (or search for it) and the app will list all the ingredients and tell you whether it’s vegan. Although the app looks rather outdated, I’ve been assured that the database is updated daily.
  • The Food Additives Checker app is great for checking random ingredients. It will tell you if the additive is plant based or not. (£1.99)

As mentioned above, there are quite a few ‘accidentally’ vegan products listed here, and this Instagram account is very useful. Also mentioned above, Vegan Womble’s supermarket lists are great, though it’s becoming increasingly common for supermarkets to clearly label their own products if vegan.

What’s even more handy these days is that all prepared food products are now required to list possible allergens, and this can be a very easy way to look out for hidden milk or eggs (usually in bold text within the ingredients list).

How vegan do I need to be?

The Vegan Society (for all their sins) have stuck by a definition of veganism which I, personally, believe is the definitive one if you want to call yourself a vegan with a capital V (rather than someone who simply eats a plant based diet, or eats a plant based diet ‘most of the time’).

Their definition is this:

“A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”

I guess you noted that I highlighted ‘as far as possible and practicable’. This isn’t a means to ‘cheat’ at veganism. This recognises that many vegans live in an incredibly non-vegan-friendly world or community.

I do believe that in the majority of cases it can be both practicable and possible to eat a plant based diet and embrace animal-free consumption, but remember that living an exhaustively, meticulously, profoundly 110% vegan lifestyle is impossible because we do not live in a world that makes it possible.

We live in a world that uses and abuses animals for food, by-products, clothing, cosmetics, medical research, entertainment, sport, and more. It is a huge industry. Industrial agriculture is massive. We live in a shitty world for non-human animals (and what’s more the meat industry is often inherently exploitative to humans as well).

However, none of this means that we shouldn’t try.

A small ceramic bowl on a wooden table containing lavender, rosemary, and other fresh herbs.

My own baseline is to consume zero animal products, and to try my best to make ethical choices beyond that. Here are some scenarios that might compromise efforts to successfully convert to veganism, and they are all valid:

Money/parent company ethics.

A low budget may make it very difficult to avoid problematic parent companies or less ethical corporations. When I was on a low income I shopped almost exclusively at Asda. Though I purchased plant-based products only, I understood that I was still supporting a very problematic corporation. When my budget allows I shop at Sainsburys, Waitrose, or independent retailers. (You can read more about supermarket ethics here.) If you can shop at local co-ops or independent retailers, that’s great. But some folks who may be very busy with work and/or childcare, and/or those who don’t have their own transport may not be able to buy in bulk for better value. Telling people they can eat cheaply using dried beans and fresh raw ingredients assumes they have the energy, know-how, means and resources to cook tasty meals from scratch. Please remember, just try your best. And know that a lot of vegans have Asda frozen veggie mince and beer battered onion rings in their freezers too.

Those of you on a tight budget might like Jack Monroe’s excellent blog, these days with 99% vegan recipes with calculated prices per serving. Jack understands food poverty well from first-hand experience and their recipes reflect this.

You can read my comprehensive guide to parent-company ethics and consumerism here.

Allergy warnings, ‘may contain’s, and cross-contamination.

Some vegans believe that eating any products with a ‘May Contain’ warning on (a cross contamination warning) e.g. for milk, or eggs, is non-vegan. Please do make your own mind up on this. Here’s some further discussion from the Vegan Society. Cross contamination warnings are in place because it’s a legal requirement, along with allergen labels, and I actually use this as a handy way to identify vegan products. If a veggie product has a label warning that the product may contain milk/eggs/honey then to me, that’s okay, because animal products are not an intended ingredient. Obviously, if you are allergic you probably want to avoid anything with a cross-contamination warning.

Some people choose not to eat in any establishments that are not exclusively vegan. You should also make up your own mind about this.

Medication/medical treatment.

You might find, one day, that you suffer an illness or injury, or require some other kind of treatment, for which a non-vegan medication is the only one on offer. I have taken non-vegan medication where there was no alternative in the past. Here’s where ‘as far as is possible and practicable‘ comes into play. Ask your vegan friends, Google vegan alternatives, but please do look after your physical and mental health first of all. You can’t take a vegan-friendly medication if it doesn’t exist.

A wintry scene with a plate covered in fresh ginger and citrus fruits, and a glass mug of hot lemon juice in the foreground.

Support networks and mental health.

Please recognise some of the reasons that people may struggle with their veganism. A critical and unsupportive family can make this very hard for some (especially younger folks). Eating disorders can play a part in struggles around sustaining veganism too. Here’s a pro tip – if you don’t have anything nice to say, please don’t say anything at all.

Honey.

Honey is an animal product. Vegans don’t eat it.

Compassion.

Above all, please, remember to be excellent to each other. If you are vegan 5 days a week, you ain’t vegan. If you ‘cheat sometimes’, you ain’t vegan. There is a baseline. But beyond that baseline, please try to be compassionate to others and to maintain an awareness of some of the issues that make Purest Most Perfect Veganism difficult for some. Be supportive of genuine best efforts.

Clothes, shoes, bags, belts, charity donations, knitting, visiting Seaworld, etc.

If you’ve decided to go vegan, I’m assuming that your aim is to minimise your contribution to the (mis)use of animals as much as possible. So for all those lifestyle issues that don’t fall under the categories of food, cosmetics/toiletries, and household products, here are some pointers you might find handy:

Avoiding leather, silk, wool, fur and other animal-derived fabrics/clothes isn’t really all that tricky. Embrace pleather (beware PU leather) and acrylic knits. They’re cheaper and look just as good. If you can’t afford to replace all your clothes and shoes at short notice, it’s okay wear them out. If you’re lucky enough to be able to afford to replace everything, consider donating the items to homeless folks, or ask your local animal shelter if they would use woollen clothes/blankets.

An overhead shot of a wooden desk with a Mac keyboard, an open journal, and a knitting project along with some balls of yarn: beige, grey, and black.

Shoes can be a little trickier. I’m perhaps not the best person to give advice with my ugly-stepsister 6EEE feet and my high instep. I am told there are quite a few excellent retailers of vegan friendly shoes, but I usually buy cheap synthetic wide fits from shops like New Look, Evans and Yours Clothing. If you are blessed with feet of a size and shape deemed acceptable by conventional society then just Google ‘vegan shoes’ and take your pick! This is a very useful post from The Vegan Society about spotting vegan shoes on the high street.

When it comes to bags/belts/accessories, once again I tend to stick with synthetic options. There are some very fancy retailers of lovely vegan items though, and I’ve received some as gifts in the past: Matt & Nat, Ethical Wares, Wilby. Do have a look in regular shops and department stores as well, because they may also offer high quality non leather items.

Charity donations can be very tricky, and a dilemma that might float in a most unwelcome manner onto your newly vegan radar when folks you know start fundraising for charities that have heinous animal-testing procedures like Cancer Research UK, for example. My own suggestion is this: take some time to read about Animal Free Research UK (formerly the Dr Hadwen Trust), an excellent charity that actively supports animal-free and human-relevant medical research. You could also read this informative page on the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine site. (Animal Aid have developed a thorough list of charities that fund vivisection and other experiments.) I donate to Animal Free Research UK monthly, and whenever I am invited to contribute to a medical charity whose animal-testing practices I am uncomfortable with, I make an extra donation and let that particular friend/colleague know what I’ve done (in the kindest way possible).

  • e.g. “Hi [Friend]! I wanted to let you know that in honour of your charity run/dryathlon/walk/silence I have made a donation to Animal Free Research UK, who fund research into human relevant and non-animal medical research, including [cancer research/diabetes/Alzheimer’s/etc]. I wish you lots of luck and hope you are successful!

If you enjoy crafting, know that you can knit or felt to your heart’s content without any sheep involved. There are many beautiful non-wool yarns available and just a Google search away. It’s also possible to buy non-wool felts from most craft outlets. There is also a lovely Facebook group for vegan arts and crafts.

Being invited to the zoo/Seaworld/the races can be tremendously awkward for a vegan. Eventually, your friends, family and colleagues will remember not to invite you to that stuff, but in the meantime, maybe practise your best polite declining. Remember that a lot of people do mean well, and if you decline nicely enough, it might even plant a little seed of critical thinking in someone else. Perhaps you could take them on a nice day out to an animal sanctuary instead?

A polar bear in a zoo, resting on a large pile of rocks.

Be reassured that weird/unforeseen issues happen to all vegans at some point or another, and there are plenty of folks who can offer support and advice.

Veganism and other social justice issues

Vegans and animal rights folks can, sadly, be soul-crushingly ignorant about the wider context of how the oppression of animals is woven into the society we live in.

Depending on how familiar you are with delving into the very real and very miserable reality of the frameworks of oppression and discrimination our modern world is rooted in, this might seem a little ‘next level vegan’ to you. However, it remains critically important, and so I decided to include some info on how veganism intersects with lots of other social justice issues, and you can choose whether or not to add this to your (perhaps currently large) ‘to think about’ list. Some food for thought is listed below, but you can also check out this blog’s library and my link round-ups for ongoing pro-intersectional vegan content.

The Sexual Politics of Meat

The links between veganism and feminism have long been discussed. The bible here is Carol J Adams’ The Sexual Politics of Meat. Adams argues that the frameworks of oppression within our society that seek to dominate women intersect with those that dominate and use animals. To tackle one is to tackle the other, and indeed to tackle other forms of oppression too. (Click here to see a lovely animated video where Carol J Adams describes how her veganism and feminism met in the middle.)

PETA has frequently been accused of (negatively) tapping into this intersection in their campaigns, as well as Lush. (Following Everyday Feminism will give you a decent, solid 101 on 21st century intersectional feminism). For some critical discussion about whether it’s actually okay to describe dairy as ‘rape’ please see this link.

Body-shaming and fat-shaming

The vegan movement is often rife with body shaming, and a heck of a lot of fat shaming. Being a fat person, and one who took decades to reject diet culture and accept their body as it is, this issue is close to home for me. It makes my heart sink when I see veganism promoted as a weight loss diet, or when I see vegans fat-shaming omnivores. One of the first books I read as a vegan was Skinny Bitch, and it made me feel downright hateful about myself. PETA is (unsurprisingly) once again a guilty party here.

Even vegan doctors have jumped on the bandwagon, and that’s depressing, but also not surprising. (To read more about being healthy at any size, check out Health At Every Size.)

Of course, fat vegans are plenty. Veganism ≠ good health and/or slimness.

Fat-shaming and body-shaming are contemptible and we should reject them 100%. Because even if someone is fat, and even if they happen to be unhealthy as well, it’s really none of your business.

Fat bodies are good bodies. Sick bodies are good bodies. All bodies are good bodies.

A glorious manatee, the majestic fatty of the ocean.

Here are some resources that may help you think differently about fatness and veganism, or give you some solace or reassurance if you are a vegan who’s simply in it for the animals:

Black Lives Matter

The shortage of black voices and/or prominent people of colour in the vegan and animal rights movement is very rightfully oft discussed, and it’s important to ask why the ‘default’ rhetoric of veganism is white (also see: environmental movements.) But it’s not really my place to tell you about this stuff. Seek out oppressed or marginalised voices and listen to them. Diversify the media you consume. Check out these excellent folks/books/movements to find out more:

For an excellent discussion of using the language of slavery in animal rights discussions, please see this great article. Please give me a shout if you know of any great sources of information I should add to this list. I, too, am always learning.

Also see this excellent article: Veganism and the Problem of Props.

For ongoing informative ‘pro-intersectional’ vegan content, I would recommend the following:

Vegan Warrior Princesses Attack made an excellent podcast episode about ‘Othering’ and Intersectionality. Listen to it here.

For differing views on whether intersectionality is an appropriate lens for veganism, check out this piece by Christopher Sebastian, and this piece by Vegan Voices of Color.

It’s important to note that I have only touched on a few issues here; I always recommend doing your own research and diversifying the media you consume. I am NOT an expert and I am always learning. Every day I try to learn and grow a little more. Sometimes I find it difficult to engage with some of these topics as successfully as I might because, despite the fact I am working through a Master’s degree in Anthrozoology right now, I do struggle to concentrate on and critically evaluate more traditionally ‘academic’ pieces of writing, or very complex issues. This is due to my CFS/ME, and my rather foggy and feeble brain. I found this piece about ableism in animal rights movements very interesting. I believe that any movement fighting against oppression should be open and available to all, and not exclude on any grounds.

Arguing on Facebook

Whether you choose to argue veganism online or not is entirely up to you, but please don’t feel that you must. You are under no obligation to be an effective ambassador or strategist at the cost of your own mental health or wellbeing.

On the subject of Facebook fighting, I recommend this podcast episode from the amazing Vegan Warrior Princesses Attack.

Other tricky issues

Anyone who spends more than 12 minutes in any vegan Facebook group is likely to run into some of these other potentially tricky issues. I’ve added some links to articles here which should start a thinking process at the very least. Do your research. Examine your own ethics. Make an informed decision!

A brown livestock cow with tagged ears, perhaps looking slightly sad.

This is by no means an exhaustive guide, and hopefully it isn’t overwhelming to new vegans, but at the same time provides some food for thought. I am happy to answer any questions you might have about veganism, or offer advice as non-judgmentally as I can. My blog has a variety of posts about my own vegan life: crafts, food, mental health, chronic illness, my dog Vulpe, travel, and everything in between, so I hope you’ll have a nosey about and see if anything catches your eye. Thank you for reading!

All pictures are from Pixabay. Thank you Pixabay!


A blog post image to Pin!


For veganism, dog pictures and life ramblings, giz a follow…

Woodcut of leaping deer.

YASSS!

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4 Comments

  • Reply Susan

    Amazing post with so much great information.

    January 5, 2018 at 03:20
    • Reply Jenny

      Thank you! <3

      January 5, 2018 at 09:20
  • Reply Jennifer

    I wish I had this post when I started to go vegan. I read Skinny Bitch- just like you. I was thin and able bodied so I thought it was funny, and it made veganism not a hippy thing. Which is good, but clearly there needs to be a different way to do that. I waffled back and forth for over 11 years, but I committed to it and never looking back. I hope new vegans find you page and find it helpful.

    January 7, 2018 at 14:59
    • Reply Jenny

      Thanks Jennifer! Ack, I shudder to think back to Skinny Bitch to be honest, and I’m glad there are more diverse vegan voices now 🙂

      January 9, 2018 at 20:13

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