I’m a vegan. In simple terms, it merely means I don’t consume animal products. And the topic could end right there.
However, being a vegan means more than that for me.
I can’t just go out and buy a vegan alternative and never think twice. I wonder how the making of that product impacts the environment. The coconut industry and the palm oil industry are massive and these 2 ingredients are in a great deal of vegan products.
I’ve struggled with using cow’s butter versus non-dairy butter ever since I became a vegan. I’ve jumped from one back to the other. And I’m debating it once again. Why?
Because of the orangutans.
I’ve learned that although a product may be vegan, it’s not always friendly to the planet or the animals that live on it.
Orangutans could face extinction in the next 20 years!
In my opinion, that would be incredibly sad. They’re highly intelligent creatures who construct elaborate sleeping nests each night. They spend most of their time in trees. They can live 30 years or more but do not reproduce until around 14 or 15 years of age. Females have an 8 year interval between births!
We need these beautiful animals to live long and happy lives! If they die young, they’ll eventually all be gone.
I’m a strong believer in, and supporter of, the organic industry. I have no doubt it led to my eventual interest in becoming a vegan. So when I Google a particular product, let’s say coconut palm sugar, and the website of that product offers NO information on safe manufacturing practices, I’ll stop using that product. Or I’ll email them directly and ask questions.
It’s like Skin Essence Organics, http://www.skinessence.ca, a Canadian company that makes and sells skin care products. Any company can say they don’t test THEIR products on animals and that’s great. But the real question is whether or not the companies they buy their ingredients from do any animal testing. Skin Essence Organics does not purchase products from companies that do animal testing. I asked.
The other company I was looking into couldn’t be sure.
Needless to say, I didn’t go with the other company. I try to be responsible. It’s difficult. It’s also necessary.
And that’s why I struggle with non-dairy butter. The brand I prefer has palm oil in it. Organic cow’s butter made here Canada is 2 ingredients, cream and salt. No rain forests were clear cut because of it. No orangutans, or cows, were harmed because of it. The non-dairy butter I like has 11 ingredients and I’m just not satisfied it doesn’t in some way harm the orangutans.
Until I have 110% assurance, it’s back to cow’s butter.
Coconut is a tough one. I use it in baking. I make coconut butter with it. I use coconut oil. I use coconut palm sugar. I drink coconut water. But I worry about it’s production impact on the environment as well. It’s such a HUGE industry! It has to be having a negative impact. And of course it is. There are too many people who don’t care about anything but the almighty dollar.
What seems like a simple subject becomes very complex. Maybe I can pretend I’m allergic to coconut. Are the products I replace it with any better?? Sometimes I wish I didn’t consider these things. I haven’t always. It’s evolution I suppose.