Why a plant-based person should go vegan
There are many reasons a person starts a plant-based diet. Perhaps you've heard of the significant health benefits - lower rates of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This is 100 percent true. Maybe you're even trying to reverse one of these preventable diseases. However, many plant-based dieters don't consider themselves vegans. The main difference being that they continue to buy other products that contain animal ingredients. This is an unfortunate mistake, and here's why those on a plant-based diet should consider a transition to veganism.
1) It's not just diet that contributes to preventable health issues. According to the non-profit organization, Women's Voices for the Earth, "certain chemicals in cleaning products have been linked to fertility problems, birth defects, increased risk of breast cancer, asthma and respiratory disorders, and hormone disruption. What’s more, there is no federal law requiring cleaning product companies to list all the ingredients in their products on the label. Which means companies can keep toxic chemicals a secret from you." Yikes!
The only way to fight back is to ensure that your cleaning products are made of natural ingredients that you know and understand. This is also why we're careful about selecting only the best natural cleaning products for you and your health.
2) Your skin is your largest organ and what you put on it matters. Did you know that skin care and cosmetics don't need to go through a pre-approval process in order to be sold? And you may have heard stories on the news, like S.C. Johnson concealing the fact that they knew many of their products caused cancer in women. Just a few years ago, DevaCurl was sued because their shampoos and conditioners caused hair loss.
What ingredients are the worst? Well, there is a long list of ingredients that can cause cancer, hormone disruption, asthma and other health issues. Any kind of paraben, carbon black, petroleum jelly (also known as mineral oil), fragrance (could be over 100 different chemicals that can cause harm), oxybenzone, phthalates (could appear as DEP, DBP, DEHP), Formaldehyde, monoethanolamine (MEA), diethanolamine (DEA), and triethanolamine (TEA)...and there are so many more. Check out the Environmental Working Group for more information. But, long story short, unless your skin care is simple with ingredients that you know and recognize, it may not actually be safe just because it's on the shelf of a store.
3. Think your hair and nail care are safe? Nope. Everything above also applies to chemicals in nail and hair products. There are even worse health impacts for people (mostly women) who work in the salon and spa industry as they are exposed to those chemicals everyday.
4. These toxins are also making the planet and all of us sick. The way these harmful toxins are produced, packaged, sold and disposed of is also making our whole plant sick. Microplastics found in skin care and cleaning supplies are killing animals and looping back into our drinking water. People of color, Indigenous and low income communities bare the brunt of this pollution because they are often located near the manufacturing plants. Buying these products directly supports this health crisis and systemic oppression.
5. But women's health care products are safe, right? Nope. According to Women's Voices for the Earth, "Research shows that many of today’s menstrual and intimate care products contain a host of chemicals linked to cancer, disrupt hormones, and unnecessary allergic reactions." I remember my own OB recommended avoiding mainstream brands of menstrual products because of the significant risk of cancer (this is why the Vegan Life Shop now carries sustainable, bamboo menstrual pads!).
It doesn't have to be this way. We can fight to get laws and protections in place. But until that time, protect yourself by buying natural, non-toxic products with ingredients you know and understand. And many of the products that fit that description are also vegan. Vegan products protect you, your health and the planet. Oh, and they 100% reduce animal suffering and cruelty...so, this decision isn't a hard one. Why chose animal suffering if you have other options?
If you already need to change your diet to plant-based foods, and you also need to change your cleaning supplies, skin care and menstrual products to move towards a healthier lifestyle, take the next step and also ensure that your new regime reduces animal cruelty and harmful environmental impacts. These issues are inextricably connected, along with workers rights, climate justice and racial justice. You can help increase progress on all of these issues by investing your money in vegan, cruelty-free and sustainable products.