Saturday, January 5, 2008

Look before you leap

Somehow, Laura and Andy convinced me to join in on Vegan Week ... but that was before I knew what I was getting into. When they asked me, I thought it would be difficult, but not impossible. I don't eat hamburgers. I don't drink milk. I don't eat eggs. I do eat chicken, and lots of it. But what's the point of going vegan for a week if you don't have to give up something?

Then they told me I couldn't wear anything that was made with animal products and I couldn't use anything that had been tested on animals. That left me sitting in my bathroom floor for about an hour last night, laptop in hand, reading labels and researching companies to determine how much money I would have to spend to make this experiment a success.

Here's some of what I've learned so far ...

1. Mary Kay and Merle Norman are my new best friends. Both companies have policies against animal testing and, so far, I haven't found any obvious animal-derived ingredients in any of their products. Maybelline and Revlon also have several vegan-friendly options.

2. I will have to wear glasses for the next seven days. Bausch & Lomb, the company that makes my contact solution, conducts extensive animal testing. (Apparently, a few vegans will make an exception for B&L because the company also invests million in animal testing alternatives.)

3. Vegans should learn to live without chapstick. I was trying to decipher the tiny print on my 9th tube of chapstick when I finally found a brand that did not contain beeswax or lanolin — Mary Kay's Lip Protector Sunscreen. It's not technically a chapstick, but it will have to work.

4. Cheap shoes are good shoes. After going through every shoe in my closet, I found four pairs of vegan-friendly shoes — three of which are sandals or flip-flops. The most expensive pair of shoes I will be wearing this week cost me less than $20.

Vegan Week officially begins tonight at midnight. I'll be posting updates daily to let you know if I'm surviving.