I’m back again you beautiful humans. This time to talk about what veganism means to me.
As you’ve probably realised by now, Dula Balm is a completely vegan brand —even the dyes and adhesives on our labels are vegan— and this practice is important not only for my business but also for my personal life.
As well as abstaining from eating animal or animal derived products, I also avoid all non-food items (think leather clothing/furnishings, beauty products and cleaning products) that contain any animal products.
Animal welfare is a large (and perhaps the most apparent) reason many people pertain to veganism, and is certainly one of the reasons I choose not to eat meat. Factory farms: where to begin. Any large scale farm that is modelled off of industrialist ideals (i.e. aimed at the largest output for the smallest cost) does not have animal welfare built into its considerations. Sure, with increasing awareness today on what happens in factory farms, policies are starting to come into play that protect some dignities for farmed animals, but these policies are seen as a strain or a nuisance for business owners because they conflict with the businesses ideals set by capitalism (more info here. Warning: graphic content). Providing thousands of chickens with hygienic and ample living quarters conflicts with profit margins. Moreover, factory farmers are often pitted against one another to win the business of major distributors/sellers, which pushes the welfare of their animals to all new lows on the priority schedule, regularly losing out to factors such as size or ‘meat content’ of the animals. As long as we live in a global society that is demanding such large quantities of meat (which necessitates the existence of large factory farms) for consumption, animal welfare will not be highly regarded.
The other, perhaps less obvious, reason many people choose to adopt a vegan lifestyle, is for concerns for the environment at large. This is certainly a main concern of mine. The global cow industry produces more greenhouse gases than the global transportation industry. The cow industry is also one of the main contributors to rainforest destruction weather that be directly (deforestation for land to house the cows: more info here) or indirectly (deforestation for the sake of grain farms to feed cows: more info here).
Veganism to me means adopting a plant-based lifestyle, not just a plant-based diet. Veganism to me also means making sure that said plant-based lifestyle is a sustainable one, because what’s the point of disregarding one environmentally unethical industry for another. A specific example of this is buying vegetables and fruits that are organic and with the least amount of packaging possible. Organic produce, as you may know, uses no pesticides/chemicals that could be damaging to surrounding ecosystems and our bodies (more info here), and reducing plastic packaging is always a good thing (need I explain why?) for the future of our planet!! Now, this last point I raise is one that maybe not everyone would define as veganism, but to me it’s a very important one. For the same reasons that I avoid animal products I also source environmentally ethical plant-based products; it all comes down to caring for our Earth.
Now, it must be said that I, like most humans, do have slip-ups. Perfection is not real, and whilst striving for perfection can sometimes be a good motivator (hands up all the overly ambitious humans who set high standards for themselves!), it’s important not to beat yourself up when said standards are not achieved. Whilst I don’t think I will ever eat meat again, I sometimes allow myself to eat dairy if the food will otherwise be thrown away or if I’m at a family/social gathering and do not wish to be a burden on those around me. And that is 100% okay! In fact, give yourself a pat on the back if you’re in a similar situation to me, because consuming animal products some of the time (or choosing to eat some animal products but not others) is better for the planet than consuming it all the time. Go you!