There is no such thing as Vegan.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Aug 13, 2011
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Still, no excuse not to do what you can. It’s not about perfection, it’s about conscious consumerism, and consumption, and compassion.

Relephant bonus:

5 Tips for Making the Vegan Transition.


Pizza: My One Obstacle to the Pure Land of Veganism.



About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


43 Responses to “There is no such thing as Vegan.”

  1. Hazel says:

    At least every part of the cow is being used…

  2. Colin wiseman says:

    But not every cow is used 100% this way 🙁

  3. adam says:

    wow, and they're tasty and fun to push over. what an animal.

  4. swandiver says:

    Almost everything listed in that picture has non-animal alternatives though they may be hard to find. It is only because of our inhumane beef practices that make cows a cheap source for those materials.

  5. elisalle says:

    i am totally agree with you

  6. Tim says:

    You can add tattoo ink to that list. The carrier is glycerin which is made from cow fat and black ink and the darker colors contain charred and powdered cattle bones.

  7. Not if you swallow.

  8. JaoNegro says:

    Ah, so it is possible to be ethical. If you're rich.

  9. hedgebree says:

    "Still, no excuse not to do what you can. It’s not about perfection, it’s about conscious consumerism, and consumption, and compassion."

    That, right there is brilliant. I want to sharpie it all over my house so I can remember. Thank you, duoxie and the like…I really needed to read that.

  10. Suri kate says:

    Wow you must have to be a genious in order to transform milk into plastic or bones into glass…this list is very misleading as not all the products listed are products made from cattle…dude iF you are not spreading real facts you are spreadin lies…i mean flavorings can come from plants or roots….not all lotions and creams have the same ingredients…glass is made from minerals etcetera….generalizing …just not accurate

  11. Agree. Be mindful of our consumption. And give back.
    Spreading the Love

  12. Maria says:

    This is depressing…. but agree with some previous posters – there are vegetarian and vegan friendly alternatives to many items listed above.
    PS one thing you've omitted from the diagram – leather – shoes, jackets etc

  13. Nic says:

    Well said.

  14. Nic says:

    "Still, no excuse not to do what you can. It’s not about perfection, it’s about conscious consumerism, and consumption, and compassion."

    A resounding YES! This is why I hate labels.

  15. den says:

    Of course there is such a thing as a vegan. ALL of those listed above have cruelty free alternatives!

  16. Jamie says:

    i'd love to tell that to the vegan chef with grapes all over his forearm

  17. elephantjournal says:

    But, say, living in houses displaces animals…I was thinking today that if we were all vegan, domesticated animals would die off quickly, and only wildlife would remain. And wildlife is getting pushed out of existence—tigers, elephants, other such have only 10 years left in the wild unless things change. ~ W.

  18. Cyd says:

    The flux that is used to lower the melting temperature of glass for ease of working, is usually bone ash. It is also in the vast majority of ceramics and glazes. Quartz crystal glass, used for scientific applications, is free of this, and works at a ludicrously high temperature, and is not practical for the everyday.

    Also, I think the word you mean to use is genius. Genious is not a word in English, unless you check Urban Dictionary.

  19. Suri kate says:

    So , the most common ingredients used to make glass are lime, sand and soda ash or silica and potash….all of these usually come from mineral sources ,soda ash may come from the ashes of plants or it may be produced synthetically…bone ash is used like you said to make bone china or porcelain and is actually one of the most important ingredients in the making of such …it ia also important to note that synthetic alternatives to bone ash do exist.. And yes i meant genius….by the way Waylon i didnt mean to be hostile with my previous comment so i do sincerely appologize 😉 if it sounded that way

  20. Ashley says:

    Almost every single one of those things is avoidable in a vegan lifestyle. Vegan makeup is everywhere, vegan glue can be bought on vegan essentials, vegan sugar exists, the list goes on.

    If someone really wants to, they can live a truly vegan lifestyle except in cases of life-threatening illness. Almost every vegan knows an alternative to the vast majority of those items listed above. Soy-based bicycle grease, not driving a car (and thereby avoiding gross animal-based oils), and simply buying locally made products can keep animal products out of a huge number of lifestyle elements.

    As to the last comment, I agree; it is not about perfection, but about consciously consuming. Awareness at least is a good step and leads naturally to a steady change in consumer habits. It is not always cost-effective or convenient to live a vegan lifestyle to its "full capacity," and living a sort-of-vegan or mostly-vegan lifestyle, especially in consumer products, is a huge improvement over the typical consumerist-ignoramus lifestyle. It does a lot more than just help animals.

    As to the comment about living in houses displacing animals, go live in a tipi if you're bothered and move to a new part of the prairie every week. Or, more realistically, start a new animal sanctuary. Or work on promoting smaller families and birth control and negative population growth. Or sustainable urbanization in developing countries and regions. Or write more sentence fragments.

  21. Jessica says:

    But if we didn't keep deforesting to make space for the livestock, there would be room for wildlife.

    Also, up to 70% of the corn and soybeans we grow goes to feeding livestock. That farmland or those crops could be used to help feed the rest of the world.

    It looks like you're looking for excuses not to accept veganism as valid and sustainable.

  22. The only reason ALL those animal products exist is because animal consumption exists. End the animal consumption and ALL those profitable byproducts of animal production cease to exist  ….except in their (superior) plant based forms!

  23. Like almost everything on this list, there is a vegan alternative. Not all tattoo ink brands contain animal ingredients.

  24. agnes says:

    To the earlier comment, aminoacids are made in PLANTS animals cant make them- smartass.the only thing the a vegan diet does not provide is protien, that can be found in soya beans, and nuts suppliment pills dont HAVE to be used! And being vegan isnt about avoiding consumerism COMPLETELY. If people were to stop eating cattle and using plant based alternatives then the number of livestock killed every year would decrease by BILLIONS! Reducing methane emissions (which cause global warming) And there would be less agricultural land used to feed livestock! So more space to feed people and for wildlife. Being vegan is about caring! Notwiping out consumerism single handedly

  25. […] with the harsh judgement of those who have adopted an animal free lifestyle, which to really be vegan should not include leather or any other product where animal-testing is used such as […]

  26. Inev says:

    Vegan friendly materials exist, yes, but vegans still use products made from cows and other animals. They didn't add Leather products because most vegans don't buy them. This was targeting the things almost everybody uses.

  27. STOP ASKING ME says:

    This is the third time I have to say this-

  28. Sabbath Sermons says:

    Check out this strong raw atheletes health, wow, she looks healthy.

  29. Sabbath Sermons says:

    I think it’s terrible how the meat industry has lied to us for so many years;

    “Vegans who eat a variety of plants, including soy products, are sure to get plenty of protein, but what about vegan raw foodists? There is more and more information being revealed that there is an adequate, if not abundant, supply of protein even in a diet this devoid of animal proteins. It is further suggested through this research that the body prefers that the protein actually come in incomplete form (as individual amino acids) so that it can do it’s job of combining them in the best possible way for it’s various purposes. When the body receives complete or complex proteins it has to rip the amino acids apart and reassemble them accordingly. Amino acids from plant sources allow the body to skip that process and go right to the end game.”

  30. Sabbath Sermon says:

    I think it’s terrible how the meat industry has lied to us for so many years;

    “The WHO (World Health Organization) says humans need about 5% of their daily calories to come from protein to be healthy. The USDA puts this figure at 6.5%. On average, fruits have about 5% of their calories from protein. Vegetables have from 20-50% of their calories from protein."


  31. Sabbath Sermon says:

    Sprouted seeds, beans, and grains contain from 10-25% of their calories from protein. So if you are eating any variety of living plant foods, you are getting more than adequate protein. Numerous scientific studies have shown the daily need for protein to be about 25-35 grams per day. So if you ate 2,000 calories per day, and ate raw plant foods that had an average of 10% of their calories from protein, you would get 200 calories worth of protein, or 50 grams. This is more than adequate to support optimal well-being. Other studies have shown that heat treating a protein (such as with cooking) makes about half of it unusable to the human body. So raw plant food protein is even a better source than cooked plant foods or animal foods.

  32. daveqb says:

    "There is no such thing as Vegan."

    Ummm as I know it, the definition of Vegan is:

    "VEGANISM may be defined as a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practical, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose."

    So with that in mind, yes vegan is such a "thing".

  33. kuu says:

    once in a while, someone will say "if you kill something, use all of the animal". "be like the Indians! use every part of the animal"

    but now "I had no clue! I am enraged, how dare they sneek animals into everything, those tricky monsters. it's just cheap and easy and they are mean to do so, I am trying so hard to be a vegan and now this?"

    so yes. here it is. "wait no I take it back, don't use anything, because now I'm involved"

  34. Jesse says:

    Being a vegan is such a first world problem. What we should aspire to is consumerism that is limited to repurposing everything we can. Only buying what we need. Enjoying what we have. However, the whole fussy no butter and honey thing… oh Pulease! Seek organic farms, and pesticide free bee keepers who make artisan batches and enjoy yourselves now and then. PS, do vegans breast feed? If so, do they feel exploited? Also, if eating one's placenta is healthy, does that make a vegan a meat eater, or do they make their own Tocenta?

  35. "VEGANISM may be defined as a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practical, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose."
    And there are plenty of vegan options, and organizations that certify as such…elephant blew this one, and jumping on the anti-vegan backlash train is just crass opportunism…

  36. davey says:

    So you have a vegan home with vegan plywood? sweet…

  37. Guest says:

    That's fascinating the way you see deforesting to make space for livestock as abhorrent, yet you ignore the fact that land cleared for monoculture crop production (i.e. corn and soybeans) ALSO significantly contribute to deforestation and habitat destruction…

    It looks like you're looking for excuses to promote veganism whilst ignoring the environmental impacts of solely plant-based diets.

  38. Valentine says:

    One more blog entry resenting veganism…i am out of here.

  39. gigi says:

    I can see why vegans would get angry about this because they think real harm is being done in the world, but why would someone who has no stake in the system be so very very angry about someone not admitting they use animal products?

  40. elephantjournal says:

    The point of this is that it's impossible to not participate in the use of animal products. If that offends you than you're just trying to live in a fantasy. I'm a vegetarian/almost vegan. I don't want to hide from the truth. I want to know it fully and do the best I can to not harm any beings and be of benefit. Please write a pro vegan article!

  41. Nicole says:

    Refined sugar? from bones?

  42. kelly says:

    You are right…. Tattoo inks can be vegan but not the stencils that uses sheep oil in its production. You can't be 100% vegan technically but people can still strive to be more vegan. I think it's good when people rely lesser on animals for everything cos they are the only ones capable of sensing a tsunami hours before one starts.