Whether you choose to adopt a vegan lifestyle was the easiest or the hardest decision of your life, it can be frustrating to discover how difficult it is to find and buy vegan products. Though they are many and of superior quality to many non-vegan options, vegan products are not always advertised as such. It’s up to you to know what is okay and what is not
Avoid non-vegan ingredients in food. Of course, there is the obvious meat, milk, cheese, butter, eggs and honey. But you need to remember this list of frequently used vegan no-no’s for: whey, gelatin, casein, rennet, cochineal and shellac
Avoid non-vegan ingredients in beauty products. . Lanolin, for example, a fat derived from sheep wool. Keratin is another common one, but it is a protein made from hair, horns, hooves or feathers. Others to avoid include honey, beeswax, shellac (in nail polish), civet, musk, castoreum, Ambergis, chitin tallow, gelatin, elastin, squalene, urea and propolis.
When shopping for household products, buy only those who say “Cruelty-Free” or “No animal testing. No animal ingredients.”
When shopping for clothes, avoid wool, leather, fur, feathers and other materials or decorations that came from an animal.
Learn about companies that do not use animal testing or animal products. Just because it’s not on the packaging does not mean it is not vegan. Equally useful is to know which companies are doing tests on animals. For lists of both, check out Cruelty-Free Companies linked to the bottom of this page.
Find a store that caters to vegan lifestyle. Health food grocery stores are a great place to start, especially chains that spread like wildfire across the country, making healthier food options more affordable for all of us. They carry everything vegan these days, from detergent to shampoo. Of course, conventional grocery stores also carry some vegan products, you just will not find such a wide variety and you have to search harder to find them.
Search the web for some vegan products you will not find in your local stores, such as cosmetics, hair and shoes. Just be sure to use the word “vegan” in the search.
Tips and Warnings
Always, always, always check the packaging. If a food does not say vegan, check the ingredients. If there is an ingredient you do not recognize, err on the side of caution and look for something else. Then search online for the unknown ingredient, so you know its origin next time. If a beauty product or household item not have Cruelty Free logo or saying “no animal products, no animal testing,” check the ingredients. If there is no list of ingredients, again, err on the side of caution and go ahead.
The non-vegan ingredients listed in the steps above is by no means exhaustive. These are just the most common. For a complete list, check out the extensive list of non-Vegan Ingredients attached to the bottom of this page.