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The Pittsburgh Vegan Meetup Message Board › Q&A on becoming vegan

Q&A on becoming vegan

Lisa B.
user 7545566
Pittsburgh, PA
Post #: 1
Hi! I'm a new vegan and could use a little help. I'm hoping that someone can recommend some vegan products. I need to find products like make up, skin care, hygiene, etc. I have heard of a few brands and found some on Pangea's website but I don't know which ones to buy. I would really appreciate your help. Thanks!
Beverly B.
bevybun2002
Pittsburgh, PA
Post #: 33
I have Smashbox eye shadow, eye liner in the creme verision, and foundation. Its all awsome stuff but expensive too. I bought them at the Sephora store at the ross park mall in north hills. Actually they sell a few other things there and also Urban Decay which is another good brand and looks really cool too. I also heard revlon but may contain bug ingredents I think, and also wet and wild I buy if I'm in a hurry and poor. U can alway look at veggieboards.com and do a search or ask the people there.
Lisa B.
user 7545566
Pittsburgh, PA
Post #: 2
Thank you for your recommendations! I really appreciate your help. I like how Urban Decay marks their vegan products. I'm going to look into that brand.

When I researched Smashbox I found that they use Carmine, Beeswax, and Honey in their cosmetic formulations. They don't consider insects to be animals (just mammals). They do have some vegan products but they don't seem to be marked like Urban Decay. You may already know about this but I thought I should mention it just in case. I found this information on a message board so I don't know how reliable this is but I thought you might want to know.

I have been using Estee Lauder for 15 years so this is a huge change for me. Do you know of any good quality, purely vegan cosmetic companies that have a skin care product line too? Am I asking too much? :) I also need hair care and hygiene products. Any ideas? I really want to switch to brands that are totally vegan if possible. There are so many brands listed online and so much conflicting information that my head is spinning.

Thanks again for your response!
Michael H.
MichaelHobson
Washington, PA
Post #: 295
Pretty much all of our family's hair and skin care products are from JASON http://www.jason-natu...­

I'm pretty sure they have a selection of JASON products at Whole Foods and the co-op, but not being in Pittsburgh any more we find enough of a selection at Wal-Mart and Walgreen's for most of our needs. We got lucky one day last month when we stopped in K-Mart to look at kiddie pools, they were closing out their JASON shampoos and lotions, we stocked up for at least a year and only paid about $3 a bottle.

As far as I know JASON doesn't use any animal or insect ingredients and doesn't test anything on animals.
Stacey B.
bandana.mama
Clarion, PA
Post #: 29
I like JASON, but find that it's not that great on my hair. I have had good luck with "Nature's Gate" product line. They make a great Henna-based shampoo and conditioner that makes my hair very soft. I've found that NG recently changed packaging/bottle type and have found the older bottles to be discounted down to like $4 a bottle at two local healthfood stores.

I use Tom's of Maine toothpaste too.

Shanti,
Mama Stacey
Stacey B.
bandana.mama
Clarion, PA
Post #: 30
I am new and am interested in feedback to guide me...
How long have you been Vegan?

Almost two years for me, a little less for my 5 year old.

Why did you decide to go Vegan?

I started to find dairy really repulsive. I had been a vegetarian for 10 years and had recently watched the video "Earthlings". I started to read more about it and just started trying some recipes. I found them to be delicious, more so than dairy-based.

What are beginners staples that I can buy at the store?

I have found it helpful to have a good supply of varied vinegars [rice, red wine, apple cider], alternative sweeteners [maple syrup, organic cane sugar, agave nectar], spices [turmeric, cumin, sea salt] as a base. Other essential ingredients for me have been soy flour, nutritional yeast flakes, EV olive oil, ground flax seed and soy yogurt. Almost all of these things can be found at any major grocery store. The yeast and yogurt you might have to hunt out a health food store for. The other items depend upon what you like to eat. Lots of whole grain rice and pastas, vegetables, fruits, a few different kinds of tofu and some basic meat-alternatives like Boca burgers and veggie "crumble".

How do you handle family and social functions and deal with people who don't understand or who aren't supportive?

Personally, I stand my ground, but don't make an issue out of it. I give short answers with a chuckle or a smile. When they ask why I'm not going to have a burger, adding that "it's lean", "it's organic", or my favorite, "it's natural", I simply repeat that I don't eat meat. Answering the occasional follow-up "Why?" depends on you. I always say "Meat is cruel and unhealthy. My plate is full enough without it."

I'm lucky to have a family who will actually keep boca burgers on hand for me and my son at cookouts and who actually request my vegan pasta salad and vegan taco dips. :) But it take many years of staying the course and not swaying or shrugging off my beliefs.

Any insights as to how the transition went for you . obstacles, triuphs unexpected positives/negatives.

I was actually amazed at how easy the transition from vegetarian to vegan was. I found it easiest to switch by replacing a few dairy items a week with Tofutti brand alternatives, faux cheese blocks and soy based dairy products. This helped to make the transition seem do-able. After awhile I began to make my own sour cream and tofu-based mayo.

I will admit, that I have had a few brief affairs with eggs or cheese [1 month or so at a time], but am generally vegan. I find that my affairs are triggered by a lack of available substitutes in the area, as I move often. I am also bound by the almighty food-stamp, which is not always accepted at small healthfood stores. Which means that when I run out of something, it's a bit of a struggle to swallow the checkout bill with cash I should be paying bills with.

However, every time I stray, my body tells me about it. I find myself feeling sluggish, hoarse, my conscience screaming.... Although some may be able to do it overnight, I've found this to be a journey for me and my son. Along the way we've also converted to organics as much as possible. And to save cash, we've planted an organic garden which has yielded us over a dozen heads of organic lettuce, a sinkfull of organic roma tomatoes and cucumbers too!

It takes time. It takes time to learn a new way of cooking. It takes time to learn how to answer the onslaught of questions. It takes time to adjust to the taste, although being vegetarian first did help me out a lot there. It takes time to understand your health, the environment and how its all related.

Shanti,
Mama Stacey
Sally
Strawberry_Sal
Pittsburgh, PA
Post #: 253
I use some Body Shop products for make up (though L'Oreal bought them recently, so it does create a bit of conflict - though the BS line has vowed to stay true to their ethics, even if their new parent co is a violator), as well as Aveda. I use Aveda and Pureology hair products (I'm a bit high maintenance there because I was a hairdresser so I'm picky). Didn't know about Urban Decay - will have to check that out as they have some really fun, funky colors (Body Shop and Aveda make-up is nice but they can be a bit sedate wink).

Sally
Lisa B.
user 7545566
Pittsburgh, PA
Post #: 4
Thanks, everyone! This is some great information. I really like the look of JASON. They seem to offer a large variety of products. I'm also going to look into Nature's Gate and Aveda. It's great to get some tips from a hairdresser. smile This info should get me started. Thanks again!
Lisa B.
user 7545566
Pittsburgh, PA
Post #: 5
I have another question for all of you. I am living in the Chicago area right now waiting for my house to sell so I can move back to Pgh. I have been reading through a lot of the discussions on the message board and it looks like most vegan friendly places are on the east side of the city. Is this correct? I will be looking for a place in Pgh soon and could use some advise. I travel A LOT for work so I figured that I would stick to the west side of the city to be near the airport. However, it would be nice to live near all of these vegan friendly places I'm reading about. I don't want to sit in traffic for hours in the morning while trying to make an early flight so I am concerned about being on the east side and driving through the city. Can you tell me if there are any vegan friendly places (restaurants or stores...) on the west side? If I did live on the east side would the drive to the airport be as bad as I think it would be? It's been about 5 years since I've lived in Pgh and even then I didn't spend much time on the east side. Any advise??? Thanks!
Michael H.
MichaelHobson
Washington, PA
Post #: 302
The east side is definitely where it's at for culture of any kind, especially the vegan kind. Squirrel Hill, Regent Square, Bloomfield, Friendship, Point Breeze, Lawrenceville, East Liberty, Highland Park etc. are some of the more awesome east end neighborhoods. The majority of vegan, vegetarian and veg-friendly establishments are in the east end including Dozen Bake Shop, Quiet Storm Coffeehouse Restaurant, Maggie's Mercantile, East End Co-op, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Abay Ethiopian, Bangkok Balcony and many many more.

The west end on the other hand you have Mad Mex and Chipotle, or Chipotle and Mad Mex, so many choices. If you live in the west end, plan on driving to the east end for pretty much everything a vegan could want. Sure, the airport will be convenient, but pretty much nothing else. I lived in Squirrel Hill for over a year and worked right near the airport in Moon Township the whole time. The morning commute during rush hour usually only took about 20 minutes. Getting home was another story as I was stuck in line for two tunnels, even though I didn't actually have to go through the second one, and the same route home took 45 minutes to an hour.

The nice thing was though, that when I got home that was it. I didn't need to drive anywhere else. I could walk to pretty much anything I could need or want and a quick bus ride could get me anywhere else. My girlfriend who worked in Oakland, rarely drove anywhere at all. She took the bus to work and back most days, a 10 minute ride, and walked the 3 miles on nice days. Almost everything else was within a ten minute walk of our front door.

One family, members of our group, bought a townhouse on the northwest side and now find themselves yearning for east end convenience. They end up driving to the east end on a regular basis to meet their family dietary and cultural needs. Peronally, if I was still in Pittsburgh, I wouldn't want to be anywhere but the east end of the city. (Ended up in Washington, PA for a variety of reasons, none of which involved dietary or cultural convenience. confused )
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