Detox Your Life: How to Responsibly Get Rid of Your Non-Vegan Crap

20 thoughts on “Detox Your Life: How to Responsibly Get Rid of Your Non-Vegan Crap”

  1. I’m definitely a fan of using up until it’s worn out. The only thing I wouldn’t keep using however are my old leather jacket and pants (yes I was a hardcore leather fan for years) as it would be like being a billboard for animal exploitation. However i still use a leather wallet which was a gift i got before my vegan days because it is very innocuous. When it gets in really bad shape it will be given away to Goodwill (my favorite thrift) and replaced with a beautiful vegan wallet. All my leather shoes were gone after they were worn and I have a great pair of Vegan leather shoes. So when people ask if my shoes are vegan I can proudly say that yes they are and you don’t have to sacrifice a style you like. This said, I totally understand those who don’t want to wear anything which looks like the animal based cruelty versions. That is something I totally get and I had to decide whether it was the right thing to do.

    1. I do agree, personally, that I wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing or using non-vegan items now that I am vegan. I tried in the beginning with my favorite vintage calf-skin leather boots (don’t hate me — I got them off ebay before I went vegan, not new, and didn’t realize that calf-skin meant calf skin), but I just kept feeling like Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs… You remember, “it puts the lotion in it’s skin”. I’m not too keen on feeling like a psychopathic serial killer who dresses in the skin of his victims. Not really the kind of person I see myself as lol.

      I agree with what you say about being a “billboard for animal exploitation” by wearing non-vegan clothing ’till it’s worn out. On the other hand, many vegan “leathers” at first glance (and some even very close up) bear a striking resemblance to the real (cruel) deal. I wear my black vegan leather boots to almost every demo I attend and always have at least one non-vegan onlooker try to call me out for being a hypocrite. They’ll be like “oh! i caught you! you’re wearing leather, you’re not vegan!” and i’m just like “uhhh… ‘all man made material’? would you like to feel?” and their face just gets this look of embarrassment that is absolutely priceless. (I dislike that my shoes say all manmade material, but that’s what it says :/ )

      I happen to find that vegan alternatives are great. If someone is against vegans wearing vegan leather or fur, then I feel that person might want to consider not consuming vegan meat, dairy or egg products. Personally, I like being able to tell people (just as you do) that I don’t have to sacrifice the foods I enjoy and the clothing style I like to be vegan. These items make veganism more accessible for people and are often very useful transitory tools.

  2. Oh, man, I just fell for that YouTube “commercial” — which I thought was part of your post. I wasn’t attracted by the lifeguard’s looks (honest!), but I figured you had some vegan message you wanted us to see, Kara. 🙂

    Oh, well, at least there’s a cute puppy in the ad. Next time I’ll pay attention to the tiny words in the upper right corner of the video.

    Hey, I hope my clicking on and watching it made some money for you? Is that how the ads on blogs work?

    Oh, by the way, good post for newbies and conflicted consciences!

    I still occasionally use a couple of old leather belts (I’m sorry for ever having bought them, cow friends). But I usually hide them under sweaters or jackets. As for non-vegan edibles (well, now viewed as in-edibles), I forgot what it feels like to have ’em lurking in my fridge, freezer, and pantry, thank goodness.

    1. Hahaha! Yes, you have fallen for my sneaky advertisement trap and I will now be able to buy myself an airplane with all this money muahahahaha!

      “As for non-vegan edibles (well, now viewed as in-edibles), I forgot what it feels like to have ‘em lurking in my fridge, freezer, and pantry, thank goodness.”

      LOL! “Lurking” is such an appropriate word for that! I remember it too well. I didn’t even want to look in my freezer or closet for fear of being confronted with all of the death and suffering. I kept telling myself that what was done was done, but I just had to get rid of it. I breathed a big sigh of relief afterward. It was liberating.

      And you! Give those belts to the homeless. They need to keep their pants from falling down too! 😉

      1. Well, you put your command in such a fetching, funny way, Queen Kara, that Princess CQ will do your bidding tomorrow.

        I went to the belt hanger and shoe tree in my closet and found things I didn’t know were there — I hadn’t used ’em in so long.

        Namely, six leather belts and six pairs of shoes (Topsiders, my “love” from college days; four pairs of heels and one pair of flats from Talbots; one pair of Reeboks).

        Maybe instead of buying that plane you’ll send me some new belts so my pants will stay up and new shoes so I won’t have to walk barefoot? 🙂

  3. I just wear my shoes and belts until they fall apart and replace them. Not only is it easier but it gives me a chance to save up and buy the alternate versions as many of these can be costly. It is best to remember that many people can’t always replace the wardrobe all at once. Luckily I was able to donate my old suede and leather jackets but I had to hunt to find another one I liked. I still have a few pairs of shoes I am looking to replace but in the meantime I wear the replacements. I am glad this post is open to all ideas as many other posts take an “all or nothing” and sometimes for new vegans this is not always easy to do.

    Anyway, many thanks on the post and have a wonderful week!

    Oh, another post idea: working out vegans. I went to GNC and Muscle Max; not sure how animal friendly are those supplements? I see ads for all things “Egg Whites”. How gross this at?

    1. Very true, sometimes it’s easier for people to use different strategies at different times. You don’t have to do it all at once.

      I try to remember what it was like for me when I was first learning about veganism and the transition from what I had been comfortable doing my whole life up to that point and flipping it all on it’s head (or at least it felt that way at the time). Of course, the best option in my opinion would be to get rid of every last leather, fur, silk, etc. item you can a.s.a.p. and donate all of it to people who are truly impoverished, but I know that is not something everyone is willing to do and might come as too much of a shock all at once.

      As long as you don’t buy any more, it’s not doing that much harm. Personally, I felt icky and hypocritical wearing those items and they were kind of just sitting in the back of my closet collecting dust anyway because I felt gross wearing them. I know there are many differing views on this subject in particular.

      The main thing is: get rid of that stuff as quickly as reasonably possible because you truly will feel liberated and free once you do because your behaviors will be better aligned with your beliefs. 🙂

      1. I can attest to your last point, Kara, because as of the afternoon of May 1st, my liberated conscience and closet have 18 fewer guilt-inspiring dust-collectors, all made from cows’ hides. I’m counting pairs of shoes as two shoes here, for purposes of adding up the number of items that are now on the shelves of the local Goodwill store.

    2. Oh, and about the fitness supplements, I have some great resources at the bottom of the screen in the footer widget. There are links to great recipe resources, fitness and nutrition resources.

      I’m not too sure if those brands are totally vegan, but a few good things to look out for are gelatin, whey and casein, the latter two coming from milk and the former coming from the rendered bones, hooves and cartilage of dead cows, pigs and horses. None are necessary for nutrition and all are pretty vomit-worthy, I think.

      Peta has a good list of “secret” animal ingredients hiding in foods and such disguised as confusingly complicated names like carmine (grinded up insects — used for red pigment and coloring) and castoreum (from beaver anal glands — used in perfumes and other similar products). You can view their entire list here:

  4. Oh, I like this! I’ve been slowly giving things away – just unloaded a whole pile of leather purses (the former me was a purse addict) to charity along with a lot of leather shoes. It felt good. Thank you for the ideas!

    1. Oh, man, I just now remembered some cute leather purses in another closet, where I rarely go. A little black number, and a navy patent-leather purse — okay, to Goodwill we go again.

  5. It was hard to part with a lot of my non-vegan clothing items. Leather, feathers, even a silk shirt (almost all of which was vintage). But I had to do it because I just didn’t feel good wearing them anymore, I didn’t WANT to wear animal exploitation.

    That said, a lot of my stuff was worth quite a bit to resale shops, and since I lost about 20 pounds when I went vegan, I could use the store credit I got to buy new/old pants that actually fit me! Win.

  6. I gave it all away! At first I kept some expensive wool sweaters in my closet, but couldn’t bear the thought of wearing them again and so they had to go too. I don’t really think it matters what option people choose, as long as you don’t buy animal products again. Because that’s the whole point, right? But the thought of wearing leather, old or new is disgusting to me now. It’s as if I found out that it’s made of human baby skin.

    I love that last line about not letting your possessions own you.

    1. I agree. As long as we’re not contributing to more suffering, that’s what matters. And personally, I just can’t stand the thought of wearing someone’s skin. I’ve been so far removed from that it’s just such a strange thought to me now that I used to think that was normal. Ick!

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