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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to being vegan, so forgive me if my questions are super dumb.
I am reading through some threads here- and I am having trouble drawing the line for myself. I don't know if I want to draw the line at sugar- (seeing Oreos are possibly off the table reading another topic on here). I'm the kind of person that wants to do right by how horrible animals are being treated, and I am newly discovering all of these things that are happening behind closed doors. I regret it taking so long- I never had any idea- or was turning blinders on before. But now I know and I can't look back.
So after being vegetarian for some time now, last week I decided to become vegan. My husband and kids are remaining vegetarian, through some thoughtful discussion, my husband would prefer the kids remain vegetarian and not vegan and he won't get past it.

So drawing the line is difficult morally for me. I am giving my kids dairy, and my husband- but I won't have it. I feel horrible even giving my kids this stuff. That makes me a participant in perpetuating the industry. I want to make an attempt at visiting local farms to find humanely treated animals for their dairy products, but I don't really feel that any of it is humane and I can't get past it.

I feed my dogs dog food. Who knows what the heck is in that. I don't even know where to find vegan dog food or if that is even possible.

I look around my house and see so many animal products all around me! My furniture, clothes- I don't even know where to begin. Its so overwhelming.

I feel great that I made these choices for myself, but my family is not coming with me and I am in charge of cooking around here. Its hard for me to get past that. Its hard for me being a new vegan, to find where I feel morally comfortable in the foods that I consume as well- where I personally want to draw the line. I don't know where to start and where not to. Like- should I throw my leather couch out? or since the animal has already suffered- just keep it? I know none of you can make that decision for me, but I wanted to ask:

How do you decide for yourself where to draw the line morally? When you first became vegan- how hard was it to transition and what did you immediately change? What took longer to change?
 

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Step back. Breathe. I know it's overwhelming; as soon as you find out how many animal products you have in your home, it can be horrifying.

Take each issue individually. Your husband is his own person, you can't force him to do anything (as I'm sure you know). If you're in charge of the cooking, that means you can make vegan meals at home for everybody. They aren't that different from vegetarian meals (just usually healthier due to the lack of dairy). Your husband and kids can refuse to go vegan, and you can refuse to cook non-vegan meals. They want eggs and dairy, they make it themselves. And educate your children on your choice; tell them why you're going vegan, so that they understand. They may decide to make the journey with you, rather than you making the choice for them. Educate your husband too on the health benefits of veganism.

As for humane dairy, just go for the best option you can find. Something that, at the very least, doesn't support factory farming and massive industries. It's the best of a bad choice. Maybe also talk to your husband about how uncomfortable the dairy makes you feel.

Dogs can be vegan, as they are omnivores, although I would not personally recommend it as I have no experience with dogs. But you can definitely get vegan dog food - try http://www.veggiepets.com. I feed my cat the vegan cat biscuits alongside her meat (as she is an obligate carnivore). It at least helps to reduce the impact.

Furniture; wait until it wears out. You won't do much good getting rid of it now - it'll only really serve to hurt your bank account. Same with clothes, unless you want to have a wardrobe clean out and donate the ones with animal products.

All the advice above is what I did; I phased out (well, am still phasing out) all the animal products. I ate what was left in my cupboards and freezer and resolved not to buy any more. I gradually replaced my cosmetics and cleaning supplies. My wardrobe was mostly vegan anyway, but anything new I buy most certainly is.

Just remember; you're doing a great thing for the animals, and any positive influence you have on the rest of your family is a bonus. After all, you can buy your kids vegan clothes, buy a new non-leather sofa when you need one, cook more vegan meals for everyone... you'll actually probably end up reducing your impact by more than one person's worth just through this!

And we're always here to help.
 

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The way I see it, if your conscience has brought you this far, you will continue to learn as you go; with your own conscience as your guide. Good Luck. It's ain't easy being green!
 

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I'm going to chime in with some advice and resources. I'll edit this post later with links and such.
But for now let me just say you're doing a great thing! Take it slow and give it time, chances are your husband and/or kids will have a change of heart and join you more or less as vegan.

For now just focus on your own choices and then find other outlets for you concern for animals. For example, you may not be able to convince your husband to let the kids go dairy-free for another year or two. But if you hand out vegan leaflets at a local college once a month you will likely influence quite a few other people to go vegetarian or vegan, thus doubling your own personal impact. Moreover, getting active outside your home will be educational and motivational - it's bound to have an effect on your family. They can only resist chocolate almond milk for so long


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Added later...
In case you and your husband revisit the idea of what to feed your children or in case they get old enough to decide for themselves to go vegan, here is some info and here are some resources about raising vegan children:

- Infants (under 1 year) should get breastmilk or formula. There is soy formula and it's just fine. I fed my son soy formula and he's fine. After about 6 months they can have some food but the primary source of calories should still be breastmilk or formula. I fed my son standard infant foods like iron-fortified rice cereal, applesauce, pureed peas, etc. (he got plenty of less common foods that are more strongly associated with veganism too, I'm just making the point that you don't want to avoid all mainstream foods - there's a reason they fortify infant food with iron and vitamin D).

- Toddlers (over 1 year) should switch to soy milk instead of formula. They can eat more of a variety of foods that require some chewing, but still avoid hard candies and nuts or taffy or popcorn, things like that. Be careful with veggie meats because even though most are softer than animal meats, they can still pose a choking hazard just like animal meats. The issue with vegan toddlers is often that they fill up on fiber and may not get enough fat and protein, so just be a little careful about making sure they get plenty of legume-based foods and foods that have fat. My little one likes all kinds of beans, particulary well-seasoned beans. He loves avocados and a light spread of nut butter on crackers or toast. He gobbles up vegan cheese. And he'll eat virtually anything he can dip into a sauce (so veggie burgers or veggie chickn nuggets will get eaten if he can dip them in katsup or vegan ranch dressing).

- As they grow you just want to make sure they continue to get a wade variety of plant-based foods along with a good source of B12 and perhaps some fortified foods (like soy milk with vitamin D and calcium or breakfast cereal with added nutrients). Remember that children need more protein and fat than adults. They still need fiber and all the other good things in fruits and veggies and grains but for example, most kids can eat more nuts than adults should eat.

Here is a link with articles about veg kids: http://www.vegansoapbox.com/topics/children/

On the topic of dogs, my dogs eat V-Dog (available online for mail order) or Natural Balance Vegetarian Formula For Dogs (available at most major pet supply stores). They are both healthy and happy. We don't restrict the foods they eat when they're not in our care (friends house etc) so they do get some nonveg treats now and then, but in general they eat a vegan diet. I don't think every vegan needs to feed their animals vegan food because I think that's a personal choice and sometimes there are exceptional circumstances (we have four cats and three have special diets/medicines so our cats are not vegan). Do what feels right to you, just take the time to educate yourself about it.

For furniture and clothes, just take your time and change things little by little. Find a few good resources, like these
http://www.veganessentials.com/
http://www.alternativeoutfitters.com/
http://www.cosmosveganshoppe.com/
http://www.foodfightgrocery.com/
and then plan to replace old items with new vegan versions when you can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thank you everyone. Elaine I'm excited to check out the links

Its a process, I understand. For me it was kind of instantaneous. Like I absolutely can't do this anymore.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AeryFairy View Post

Step back. Breathe.
My thoughts exactly, it is hard making the transition from vegetarian to vegan. Don't worry about animal products you already own, especially something so expensive to replace such as furniture. Its already been made so it doesn't make an impact. What matters in avoiding it when making future purchases. If you're not comfortable wearing animal products donate them, but don't forget the environmental impact of buying new clothing.
When I first went vegan I eliminated all the obvious animal products/bi products first. There are topics like oreos (refined sugar) that even long term vegans debate about (as I'm sure you noticed lol). Sometimes slips happen. When I first went vegan there were a lot of "thats not vegan" from a vegan friend, so you learn as you go.
 

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Originally Posted by mollycakes View Post

thank you everyone. Elaine I'm excited to check out the links

Its a process, I understand. For me it was kind of instantaneous. Like I absolutely can't do this anymore.
I felt the same way when I finally made the decision to be vegan (just a couple months ago, i'm still a newbie). I wanted to instantly throw out EVERYTHING I had that had animal products in it (which was alot!). After many discussions with my partner, who talked me down a little, I was convinced that a more balanced approach was the only way for this new lifestyle to be sustainable (and budget friendly)! So I am constantly focused on learning more, reading more, etc., and being more aware of my purchasing choices. I still feel like there's lots of things I am unaware of, or never even consider, but I do my best to improve. It's challenging- and that's without the added pressure of kids!

One thing that might be helpful to note--I had never cooked vegan before I decided to be vegan, so I had no idea how good the food was! Invest in a good vegan cookbook (the one i started with was Vegan with a Vengance--its great!) If you cook recipes from that book, i'd wager your family wouldn't notice or care that their dinner is vegan!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
By the way, I "came out" to my followers on my food blog today. It felt good. I will be going in a new direction with my blog for sure, but it is going to be a tough change! Thank you for your support through this change in my life.
Here is my post today from a meal I made last night:
http://sunshineinmyfood.com/2011/07/...lack-bean-dip/
 

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I'm a deontologist at heart so becoming a vegan wasn't too difficult for me. Even after five years of being a vegan I still use leather shoes that I bought nearly a decade ago. Some people consider this un-vegan (and denotatively it is), but I don't see any hard moral reasons to not use them and find a lot of ecological and resource based reasons to use them. Given the "hard ethics" approach I take to previously purchased animal products I tend to talk of them in terms of what's comfortable for you.

If you're "comfortable" using pre purchased animal products, that's your choice and I won't harangue you for it (partly because I don't consider it a hard moral transgression and partly because I'm wary of any retail purchase vegan or non vegan--any product entails resource use and potential labour exploitation). If you're not comfortable then phase them out.

As for purchasing animal products for your family, that is a "hard" ethics issue. I can't support it, I have to object to it. If your family members want to continue to coast on their lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, whatever. You can try and persuade them and I encourage you to do so, but sadly you can't prevent them from slipping out and buying a slice of pizza if they're so inclined. What you can do, however, is be true to your own moral compass. If you're going to be so nice as to cook for them, they have to be respectful enough to not expect you to violate your principles just to satisfy their wants.
 

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At home, maybe you could all eat vegan meals, and then your husband and kids just won't be vegan because they still may eat vegetarian (but not vegan) out of the house, like at a restaurant or party. Also, there's lots of things that are common vegetarian foods that are also vegan, like spaghetti, meat substitutes (I know boca burgers and boca chik'n patties are vegan), many tofu dishes, bean burritos or other bean dishes, and things like that.
 

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Au'natural chicken nuggets by sniders are vegan. All omni friends will eat and enjoy.
 

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My advice is to not let anyone make you feel that you're not doing enough or aren't a vegan because you still have some very expensive, impractical to replace non-vegan items.

If you have the financial breathing room, replace things like shampoo, toothpaste, and cleaning products that are tested on animals with ones that are cruelty free. I found that was the easiest thing to do.

As for where to draw the line...draw it where you feel comfortable drawing it. No one is 100% vegan. There are animal products in just about everything we use (even tires and camera film).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollycakes View Post

So drawing the line is difficult morally for me. I am giving my kids dairy, and my husband- but I won't have it. I feel horrible even giving my kids this stuff. That makes me a participant in perpetuating the industry. I want to make an attempt at visiting local farms to find humanely treated animals for their dairy products, but I don't really feel that any of it is humane and I can't get past it.
Why not just give your kids vegan milks? Children certainly do not need dairy products of any type to be healthy.

Quote:
I feed my dogs dog food. Who knows what the heck is in that. I don't even know where to find vegan dog food or if that is even possible.
It's a big enough step to be vegan yourself without obsessing over what you feed your dogs, especially right off the bat. Such things as vegan dog foods certainly do exist but depending on your budget and geographical location it may be impractical to try to feed your dogs that stuff all the time.

Quote:
I look around my house and see so many animal products all around me! My furniture, clothes- I don't even know where to begin. Its so overwhelming.
Over 99% of all animals who are killed by humans every day die to be eaten. By simply eliminating animal products from your diet, you're helping to prevent the largest amount of suffering you'd have otherwise contributed to. It's nice to take those extra steps and eliminate other stuff gradually, but don't be overwhelmed. Remember that what you choose to eat makes the biggest impact on animals' lives - especially small animals like chickens and fishes who are slaughtered by the billions yearly.

Quote:
I feel great that I made these choices for myself, but my family is not coming with me and I am in charge of cooking around here. Its hard for me to get past that. Its hard for me being a new vegan, to find where I feel morally comfortable in the foods that I consume as well- where I personally want to draw the line. I don't know where to start and where not to. Like- should I throw my leather couch out? or since the animal has already suffered- just keep it? I know none of you can make that decision for me, but I wanted to ask:

How do you decide for yourself where to draw the line morally? When you first became vegan- how hard was it to transition and what did you immediately change? What took longer to change?
It's one of the hardest things I ever did in my entire life, but one of the easiest to sleep with. That's really the best advice I can give there. You have to adjust this thing to fit you. I can't tell you whether to throw out your couch or any of that. We all have our own personal limits.
 

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Originally Posted by vegansarawr View Post

Wait... what is this film of which you speak? Cameras are digital silly
For the most part, it's a non-issue. But I still have and use a camera that takes film.
 

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I stopped only cause I got a digital camera that is much better, saves money long term too, I take a lot of pictures.
 

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Originally Posted by vegansarawr View Post

I stopped only cause I got a digital camera that is much better, saves money long term too, I take a lot of pictures.
I have a digital camera that I use for snapshots and whatnot, but I have access to a darkroom and enjoy developing film. I'm sad that it's a dying art.
 

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If I had a darkroom it would be a different story, I learned to develop film in school and when I was in the darkroom alone it was so relaxing.
 

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Originally Posted by vegansarawr View Post

If I had a darkroom it would be a different story, I learned to develop film in school and when I was in the darkroom alone it was so relaxing.
Good times in the dark room
I've botched so much film, though.
 

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You mean they make cameras without a phone in them?

(I kid. Actually took photo tech my freshman year in college. Lowest grade I ever got by a long shot. I did well in Photography for Field Biology though.)

Oh, yeah, on topic:

Don't forget to have fun.
 
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