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Is there more to vegetarianism than diet? Part 2: Reading Labels

Some lip balms contain beeswax, honey, and/or lanolin
Some lip balms contain beeswax, honey, and/or lanolin

Most people know that being vegetarian means that, at the very least, a person will no longer consume meat. But does going vegetarian effect more than diet? For many of the people who choose this lifestyle, the answer is a definitive “yes!”

Reading labels before purchasing products is common among the vegetarian community. From cosmetics to clothing, many vegetarians make a conscious effort to only support businesses that do not test on animals and do not use animal products.

The act of reading labels goes even further when a vegetarian decides to become a full-fledged vegan. Many vegans do not buy products that contain even the smallest amount of animal byproduct. For example, if a vegan is going to purchase lip balm, they will make sure that beeswax or lanolin are not listed as ingredients. The reason for this is because many bees die due to the foreign influence of beekeepers, and lanolin comes as a result of the mistreatment of sheep.

Unfortunately, there are many ingredients that the untrained eye would never connect with animals. Leather, beeswax, whey, lard, honey, silk, gelatin, and lanolin are obvious byproducts of animals. But what about rennet (the stomach lining of calves), casein (a protein that is found in milk), natural flavorings (ingredients that can be animal derived), glycerin (from the oil and fat of plants or animals), lecithin (found in egg yolks, the tissues and organs of many animals, and some vegetables), or pepsin (an enzyme derived primarily from the stomachs of swine)? These ingredients are used in food, clothing, and/or in beauty products. So, what does this mean for vegetarians? It just means that the best defense you have is to inform yourself. A person's quest for knowledge is never finished, especially when you're trying to live a life of compassion.

If you get tired of reading labels, take a break and check out Denver based vegan shoe store, Ahimsa Footwear. Every single thing they sell is vegan friendly!