As I am getting older and more financially secure, I am starting to understand that the way I spend my money is important. I have started trying to shop locally as much as possible, I seek out small businesses, I try to support companies that seem to have positive messages and ethical practices. I haven’t been perfect by any means, I mean my favorite brand of running shoes is Nike (questionable!) and I am not ashamed to admit that I sometimes hit up Wal Mart to catch a deal. But I do try! I understand that not everyone has the time or the resources to do it, but for me, it feels important, so I try my best to be mindful.
In early January I began to purge our house of any kind of product that was tested on animals. It was something I had been pondering for a while, and in January I finally decided to stop making excuses and just do it. IT WAS TIME! And let me tell you, as someone with a fairly hefty love for girly crap like make up, perfume, and other beauty products, it was hard. Some of that stuff was expensive, y’all! I just BOUGHT this Stila eye and cheek palette! My beloved Soap and Glory body wash! MY FAVORITE RED LIPSTICK! But every time I started to feel an unnatural connection with a beauty product, I looked at Sparkle, our house rabbit. I would say to myself, “Think of all the Sparkles in testing facilities, Chels!” and then I would throw it in the give away pile.
In the end, I had an embarrassing amount of stuff in the give away pile. But, I also had a pretty good amount of stuff from brands that don’t test on animals left over. I felt good, and I didn’t have to start over completely, so my wallet felt good too. (My mom and sister and sister in law ALSO felt good, because they got to raid the give away stash before all the leftovers were either thrown out or donated). I also switched out all of our house products, laundry detergent, dish soap, etc., for things that aren’t tested on animals as well. The hardest thing so far has been finding a good cruelty free deodorant. I am starting to believe it’s impossible and have began to ponder making my own, which is hilarious because I tweeted not that long ago about how people who make their own deodorant are ridiculous and are crossing some sort of decency line. OH HOW THE TIMES CHANGE. Yet another time where I’m cringing at what my past self had to say over social media.
I do not support all natural home made deodorant. No people. I draw the line there. File under: another reason why I hate Pinterest.
— Chelsea S. (@chelseasone) November 18, 2015
As I was going through this purging process, I kept thinking about other ways I could further my hippie-ish, sunshine and rainbows, why can’t we all just be friends, ideals. I could get a low flow shower head. I could start growing my own produce. I could start sewing my own clothes. I could stop shaving my leg hair and see juuuust how long it would grow! One thing kept coming back to me.
I have always known in the back of my mind that eating meat isn’t necessarily an excellent practice. There are many arguments people make, but for me personally it comes down to two big things really: 1. Industrial meat farming is not ethical. 2. Industrial meat farming is not good for the environment. BUT! Bacon! and chicken nuggets! and STEAK! it’s all just too delicious to give up, isn’t it? I decided to try eating less of it, with the mindset that if it was too hard or if I felt nutrient deficient, I would stop. Well, it’s been a month now since I last ate meat, and, y’all, it hasn’t been that hard. I don’t mean to downplay the importance of it to me, but figuring out what kind of make up and body products to use was way harder and more complicated than opting for a veggie quesadilla at our favorite Mexican restaurant, or holding the pepperonis on my half of the pizza, or substituting in beans or lentils when I’m cooking at home. Turns out I really like a lot of meatless foods, and there are tons of dishes I can make at home that are vegetarian friendly but still delicious and not boring. I feel good. Really good. My horribly chronic acid reflux has decreased significantly (meat is evidently really hard to digest), I feel healthy and energetic (because being meatless has forced me to eat a more diverse and healthy diet), and I just plain feel nice about my personal life decisions (high five, me!).
I will go ahead and say this in big bold letters: I do not think that going cruelty free or vegetarian is the right choice for everyone. I understand that everyone’s lives are vastly different from mine, and that we are all in different places with different priorities and struggles. I am incredibly thankful to be in a position where I have the time and energy and resources to devote to something that’s important to me. If you still love bacon, I’m cool with that, because I can’t lie, it’s delicious.
So yeah. There it is. I’M OUT OF THE CLOSET! I’m going vegetarian. I hope you still like me.