Living a Plant-based Lifestyle: It's not Just the Food You Eat

It’s not just about swapping cow’s milk in your latté every time you go to Starbucks. 

Vegan and plant-based lifestyles have made headlines for their recent popularity and health benefits. Many people use these terms interchangeably but there are some key differences. Veganism refers to the elimination of all animal products from one's diet whereas a plant-based based diet don’t necessarily eliminate all animal products. In contrast, they focus on eating fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and grains. 

It’s similar to the vegan diet, just with less pressure to get everything right and more leeway for those who don’t want to completely eliminate meat and dairy from their diet. 

Whether you’ve decided to go adopt a vegan, vegetarian or plant-based lifestyle there are a few things you might want to consider. 

Let's start with the basics: Food

You know the basics: avoid meat, dairy eggs and fish. That means no chicken, no yogurt and no shrimp (to name a few). It seems pretty simple but knowing which foods are vegan isn’t always that easy. You have to double check labels for added dairy products and there might be a few things you didn’t consider when going vegan (like honey!) 

Take chocolate for example. Cocoa is vegan, but the majority of chocolate products also contain milk or milk products. Other sweets like gummies and marshmallows may contain gelatin which is a product of animal collagen. 

Instead of meat you can try swapping in tofu, tempeh, seitan, or use beans and lentils in place of ground meat. Instead of dairy milk you can try oat, nut or rice based milks. If you’re trying to veganize a recipe, our blog has more info on how to make baking substitutions or how to choose the best plant-based milk


How does adopting a plant-based lifestyle affect your cosmetics?

You might be surprised by how many cosmetics have animal products. Makeup, shampoo, body wash and hand soap often contain non-vegan ingredients or are made by companies that test on animals. If you need a cheat sheet: the leaping bunny symbol indicates the product is cruelty-free and the V symbol symbol means it’s vegan. 

So, what’s the secret to making sure your cosmetics are vegan? It all comes down to getting familiar with the ingredient list. When ordering a meal you probably glance over the description before telling the waiter what you want. You wouldn’t order something with mushrooms if you know you’re allergic. The same thing applies to cosmetics. 

Ordering something at a restaurant probably seems less intimidating than choosing a lipstick shade. You’re familiar with ingredients such as eggs and chicken whereas the label on a mascara bottle is gibberish.

 So instead of memorizing the beauty dictionary, just make note of a few key things to look out for the next time you’re in Sephora. 

What should you look out for when buying vegan cosmetics?

Silk powder: Silk powder is used in lighter coloured face creams and made by dissolving silk worms in boiling water.

Carmine: Carmine is made from ground-up beetles and often used to give products a reddish hue. 

Shellac: You’re probably already familiar with shellac. It’s the ingredient that gives nail polish, hair spray and shampoos their shine. Some sunscreen formulas also use shellac and, like carmine, it comes from beetles. 

Lanolin: Lanolin is the grease sheep create to waterproof their wool. This makes it vegetarian but not necessarily vegan. Double check the ingredients in products such as lip balms, lipsticks or body butters.

Beeswax: You will most likely find beeswax in lipstick and lip balm.


Shopping for Vegan Clothing

When you walk into a clothing store you probably don’t pay much attention to fabrics. You pull something off the rack because it catches your eye or feels nice to the touch. If you’ve decided to adopt a plant-based lifestyle there are a few other things take into consideration. Wool and leather are animal products and therefore not vegan (so you might need to rethink whether or not to buy that new pair of boots.)

Leaves House carries animal free brands such as Mimi and August and Vgan Style.

So, what fabrics should you look out for next time you go shopping?

Leather: It’s usually made from the hide of cows and is used in jackets, purses and shoes. Luckily vegan leather is available and many companies are adopting the practice. 

Suede: Suede comes from lambs, calves and sometimes deer. 

Wool: Some companies use wool to make coats, sweaters and many other winter items. So you might want to double check the label next time you buy yourself a new blanket scarf.

Silk: Silk is made from boiling silkworms to create fibres. As well as clothing items, silk is a popular fabric for hair accessories because it prevents frizz. 

Buying accessories when living a plant-based lifestyle

When it comes to accessories, animal products are much easier to spot. Chances are you don’t own much jewelry or accessories that contain animal products. With the exception of pearls, most earrings are already animal free. Similarly, some companies use down feathers to make winter coats.

Pearls: natural pearls come from oysters, mussels, and sometimes clams. Jewelry as well as clothing items and other accessories use pearls.

Exotic skins: snake, alligators and crocodiles skin is used for their “exotic” appearance and made into handbags, shoes and other items.

Down feathers: duvets, pillows, blankets and even some winter coats are filled with the soft down feathers from geese and ducks. 

Want to know more about adopting a plant-based lifestyle? Curious about what vegan products are available at Leaves House? Visit our blog to find out more!

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