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i am at a crossroad and wondering if you guys have any input for me.  i have been a very faithful vegan for 2.5 months.  i actually started it because of cooking boredom.  i was plenty tired of cooking the same old things for myself and my (thankfully)not very picky teenager.  nonetheless, i have REALLY enjoyed not only the very healthy, filling, and creative recipes from this site and via vegan cookbooks, but i also feel better, less lethargic, and peppier. i have even begun to have more respect for the environment, for lawn bugs that get in my house, and for all living creatures.  the thought of eating a chicken breast again is enough to make me nauseous.  i have changed..really.  however, i want toknow how you guys feel about leather shoes, wool coats, and other animal products?  i feel as though i cant possibly be a true vegan while still buying these products, yet i am kinda a fashionista and absolutely loooove clothes and shoes.  i don't want to be hypocrit, but i still want to be me.  i don't want to sacrifice anymore animals for things i can do without and i am committed to the cause.  any advice?  i ALWAYS carry around so much guilt about everything and i dont want to carry more.  thnaks in advance...i looovvve this site and i appreciate any advice that you guys can offer.

Congratulations on going vegan!!!!!!!!!  Different people become vegan for different reasons so everyone probably doesn't feel the same way about non-food products made from animals.  For people who become a vegan solely for health reasons, using leather, wool, etc. probably isn't a big deal to them.

However, I became a vegan for 3 reasons - all of them equally important to me.  Health, environmenal concerns, and compassion for animals. 

I don't believe that animals are here for us to torture and kill for any reason.  Purchasing animal goods in any form contributes to an industry that I don't want to support.

I used to have thousands of dollars in leather shoes, jackets, couches, etc. before I became a vegan.  However, after researching the vegan lifestyle and learning about the unecessary cruelty animals are subjected to, I decided to give away all of the aforementioned products because it repulsed me to think about the lives that were sacrificed for them.  I know that's kind of drastic and most people just use up what they currently have and when it runs/wears out, they replace it with vegan friendly items.  I now try to only buy products that are not tested on animals and that are vegan.  It's unbelievable how many products contain animal stuff in them. You can go to http://www.caringconsumer.com and download lists of companies that test on animals and animal ingredients that are commonly found in products.  I've found a couple of great places online for just about everything I need.  The ones I use most frequently are http://www.ecos.com/ for household products and http://www.mothernature.com for personal care items (search for vegan - it's much easier than having to scrutinize every ingredient of every product).  The brands I most often buy are Beauty Without Cruelty (BWC), Nature's Gate, Kiss My Face and Jason.  Granted most vegan items are going to be more expensive than your typical drugstore brands but they're cheaper than a lot of department store brands and the piece of mind they give me more than makes up for the cost.  I don't wear much makeup but I hear really good things about this company called ELF http://www.elf.com for their $1 makeup - they don't test on animals and many of their products are vegan (you'll need to email them for a list).  There are also many sources (especially online) where you can buy fashionable vegan clothing, shoes, and accessories. If shoes are your thing, I have found http://www.zappos.com (search for vegan) to have a lot of selection at reasonable prices.  You can also go to Peta Mall http://www.petamall.com/ to find vegan friendly clothing stores that also donate a portion of their sales to Peta.

You can definitely still be a fashionista.  Wearing vegan friendly clothes is much more stylish and fashionable than wearing the skin of an animal tortured to death.

For more information on cruelty to animals (i.e. why leather and wool are bad), check out Peta's website http://www.peta.org.  I also highly recommend watching http://www.meetyourmeat.com and Earthings http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3251419433163515470.  These films will change the way you think about animals and how our society treats them.

Best of luck to you. 

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I eat a vegan diet but would call myself a vegetarian if you asked as I don't have the money to waste by throwing away non vegan household and clothes items and replacing before the items are done. As they wear out I will repalce with vegan alternatives and when the replacement is complete I will feel comfortable calling myself vegan. Semantics a little but I feel 'Vegan' is the whole deal and I can't do that yet.

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Why do you carry guilt around?

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Strictly speaking, the Vegan Society's definition of the word "vegan" does state an abstinence from all animal products where reasonably possible, including leather, wool, and animal derivatives like lanolin.

However, if you don't feel like that's true to your ethics, then you can always say you are a "dietary vegan" or something like that. I personally wouldn't be offended if someone who called themselves a vegan also wore leather--that's their own problem. I know quite a few vegans who would be, though, so I would be prepared with an explanation just in case you are asked.

Above all, you need to do what is right for you.

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to; veggievulture; o2bveg; and littlecrystal

thanks so very much for all of the info!  i checked out the websites provided and was horrified by the slaughter but captivated by the vegan shoes.  you guys rock!

i have decided not to toss everything but to replace them with vegan items once they wear out.  i will also try harder to convince my very headstrong teenager to be more conscious of the things she purchases.  but this was my choice, not hers so i must be understanding.  i am committed to becoming a better person through veganism.  i feel in the end thats all one can commit to achieving.

to freight- the guilt is just a 40 year old single parent being extrememly hard on herself for no apparent reason.  thats for the inquiry.

by the way if you guys are ever in chicago check out the Chicago Diner on north halsted.  i went for the first time last week and its awesome.  now i dont feel GUILTY for talking about non food related items on a recipe site

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Good for you! Being vegan rocks!

I've been vegan for 1,5 years, an feel just as you describe: better, healthier, not in a constant cold, and more aware of the environment.

But the way I see it, vegan is somtheing I do when I eat. For me, it would mean a huge amount of work and money to be a completley ethical vegan. I wear leather shoes, I don't preach to everyine I know about being vegan and I have no idea of what's in all the E1847, E176 and E1434s out there.

I think being vegan is something strictly personal, you should never feel obliged to act or be in a certain way to be "vegan enough" - that would only cause prejudice, preassure and boredom. And who would like to join in a movement consistent of judging and restraining? not me anyway.

So keep eating vega, and do what you like when you're not eating or cooking. I mean, come on! It's really nobodys buissness but your own!

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Stella McCartney has fabulous shoes. She's vegan and never uses animal products.

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