People choosing to live a vegan lifestyle usually do so because they are philosophically opposed to exploiting animals for any reason. Other reasons for choosing a vegan lifestyle include health, religious or environmental concerns. Those living a vegan lifestyle refuse to use animals for food, clothing or other purposes. In addition to a vegan diet, they purchase and wear vegan shoes, vegan clothing, vegan boots and other vegan footwear. They generally believe that animals deserve the same rights as human beings.
Vegans never consume meat, fish, seafood, dairy products, eggs, or poultry. Some even avoid honey.
A vegan lifestyle can be more healthful than a diet that includes meat, but it must be carefully balanced to avoid deficiencies in calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, iodine and vitamin B12. A diet rich in vegetables provides more dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E, carbohydrates, potassium, magnesium, omega-6 fatty acids, carotenoids and folic acid. Many of these help to protect against heart disease and cancer.
Many meat-based dishes can be adapted to include tofu, gluten or almond milk, soy milk and grain milk can replace cow’s milk. The vegan lifestyle diet consists of vegetables, grains, fresh fruits and starchy foods such as potatoes and yams.
Health benefits of a vegan lifestyle include lower blood pressure, weight loss, lower blood sugar and lower serum cholesterol.
Vegans avoid using fur, feathers, cocoons or wax from animal sources. Those practicing a vegan lifestyle look for alternatives to traditional leather shoes, handbags, wallets, belts and wool socks. This requires that shoe and boot outer surfaces are not made from either suede or leather and that the insides are not lined with silk or wool
Silk is rejected because the caterpillars that produce the silk fibers are killed when their cocoons are boiled to extract the filament. An alternative to silk extracted with this method is Peace Silk, which allows the caterpillars to emerge from their cocoons before the filaments are extracted.
Often, vegans require that their footwear be manufactured in a way that does not exploit workers or harm the environment. Vegan shoes can be made from recycled plastics or tires as well plant-based materials such as natural rubber, hemp or bamboo. Because many Hollywood celebrities have embraced a vegan lifestyle, there are many choices for vegan shoes and vegan boots available.
Many designers have begun offering vegan footwear that is made from synthetic leather or suede. Vegan footwear compares with traditional footwear in cost and designer vegan footwear is comparable in price to other designer footwear.
These people demand that the cosmetics and personal care products they use not be derived from or tested on animals. There are many products available in stores and on-line that do not contain animal products.
One common requirement of vegan clothing is that it not be produced by sweatshop labor and that workers not be exploited. Materials used for vegan clothing avoid animal-based products and by-products and rely on organic cotton and synthetic fibers.
Nike is being touted for creating a soccer uniform for a French team created entirely from organic cotton and recycled plastic bottles. Designer Stella McCartney is known for her vegan designs and does not use either leather or fur. Designer David Rittinger has designed a shirt made entirely from leaves. The company NOHARM offers men’s shoes and men’s vegan boots that look exactly like leather footwear but are entirely leather-free. In addition, the Japanese are marketing jeans made from sugar cane. Stylish vegan shoes are even being made from recycled plastic bottle caps.
As the vegan lifestyle becomes more accepted, product choices are becoming more plentiful.