I'm been on a mission recently. Big surprise, I'm always doing/changing something. Gotta keep life interesting. So my recent challenge to myself is to make my lifestyle more green and cruelty-free at the same time. Let me explain....
Everyone knows that I've been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for several months now. As stated in previous posts, It's been awesome and I can't believe how much variety I have to choose from for food. In addition I tend to stay away from most "junk food." You know I gotta have my ice cream and sweets but other than that I think I'm doing quite well. So with my "success" and easier transition than expected I thought it was time to take it to the next level. Now I'm not going to get all crazy on ya'll, expecting people sit around the fire singing kumbayah or chant, "peace, love..." I'm also not going to go out and protest about animal rights or anything. It's just not my thing. With that being said, I also think it's important that I take my own personal changes to be more green and make conscious choices on a daily basis.
I have launched my search for new personal products along with cleaning products, etc. over that past month or so. Thanks to the help of Caring Consumer.com they've helped guide me through cruelty-free products along with animal-free products. I have hit a few roadblocks here and there. First, trying to weed through the defintions of organic, natural, cruelty-free, animal-free. The list goes on and on, but it seems like there's a different name for everything and when you really look at them they all mean totally different things in regards to ingredients, where they're derived from, and how the product is formulated. And even though it's one thing, it doesn't mean it's the other. For instance, organic AND animal-free. I've come to the point where I may not be able to have my cake and eat it too, and may have to choose my battle. Meaning, what's most important to me. Don't get me wrong, there are products out there that cover all of the bases, it just takes me longer to locate them. But that's cool with me. At this point my focus is on cruelty-free, then animal-free, and finally products that are as earth-friendly as possible. Meaning, I'm also keeping my eye on the other ingredients in the products, verifying that they don't have some crazy chemical, which would defeat the entire purpose of my mission.
My plan is to slowly transition to "better" products as we need them. For instance, I'm not going to throw out all the toothpaste I have and run out to get the "right" kind. That would definitely defeat the purpose. As I run out of products I will replace them with the products that I have researched. My first purchases were shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, facial cleanser, and lip balm. I chose Giovanni Organic Cosmetics for haircare due to it's accessibilty, but I must say that I'm really interested in David Babaii's line. Nature's Gate was my first pick for deodorant. My face cleaner is now Basis Cleaner Clean Face Wash. And my lip balm choice was Merry Hempsters to begin. There are many more products to choose from than expected so these next coming months will be interesting as I try different products to see which ones I like best. So far I've been ecstatic with the outcome of the products I have chosen. Of course you're always hesitant to veer from your normal products but I took a leap and they're all leaving me fresh and clean.
My future transitions will be makeup, detergent, fabric softener, household cleaning supplies, reusable underpads (instead of disposable puppy pads), and toothpaste just to name a few. For most of the items I have already chosen which brands I will start with. I'm thankful that we have Health Plus, a local small store, and Kroger's decent-sized "natural, organic section." It's not like living in a big city but at least I have choices and if I can't find the products I want the Internet fulfills my needs. In the future I also plan to look at alternatives for clothing. For instance leather belts, shoes, etc. Once again, I'm not going to throw what I have out that's in good condition. My plan is not and will probably never be to become vegan, meaning no animal products whatsoever. I personally think that's darn near impossible, especially with food and even more, with eating out. But if I can limit my animal products, especially in simple choices of clothing and products, then why not?
I'm sure a lot of people may say, "Yeah, that's all well in good, but that may get expensive." Very true, but thankfully it's just David and myself, not an entire family to change over. In addition, I believe it's a small price to pay to keep myself and the earth healthier. Heck, maybe with the cost it will help me be even more conservative in my usage of certain products. Now you know I'm not going to let myself go getting all stinky and stuff. I'm sure you understand. And lastly, the products aren't all that much more costly than your other daily products, depending on where you purchase them.
I'm also trying to make general better daily choices. I'm crazy about recycling and am constantly looking to see if this or that is recyclable. Our trash has diminished to less than a bag a week. And the majority of our trash is pet waste. I'm always looking to change bad habits and hopefully am well on my way to reducing my carbon footprint while considering the life of animals.