Often I think that half the battle in life is discovering where you draw the line. Boundaries are a pretty tricky thing in general. This vegan thing entails much boundary setting, because there is so much that vegan living entails.
For instance, do I eat a product that does not contain animal product but is produced in a facility that also manufactures milk on the same equipment? Am I still a vegan if I chose to eat those products that may have shared manufacturing equipment with juice from a cow? Seems crazy right? But, it is a pretty valid question in the vegan community. Or how about the concept of sharing a kitchen with an omnivore... Am I still a vegan if I use a cutting board and knife that has been used to cut a steak?
These are both questions of definition. In my opinion it is up to each individual to draw the line where they feel is most appropriate for them, based on their values and beliefs.
In my house, I buy food if it does not contain animal product on the ingredient list. It is not necessary for an item to be "certified vegan" for me to put in my shopping cart. Part of this is due to practicality with two kiddos, partly due to financial reasons, but mostly due to the fact that I really don't feel bothered by eating food that is made on equipment that is shared with animal product. All of my kitchen gadgets (minus my food processor) have been used on animal product. I was not about to go out and buy all new stuff. And personally, I think I would be a little off-putting and inhospitable to any guests in my house (or my husband) if I told them that they could not use my stuff to make their animal product food. These are just two examples of where I "draw the line."
Most recently I discovered a new line in the sand. Since "going" vegan I have found myself trying much harder to minimize my carbon footprint and take more care with what I put in and on my body. I guess I realized that I really want to live a long and non-polluted life. Make the most out of the time God gives me I suppose. With this in mind I decided to try a non-aluminum antiperspirant. Well, I couldn't find one, so I got a deodorant from the health food store and have been using that for the past three months. It was going well, no major complaints from any of my friends or family regarding a stinky, pitty, smell. I thought hey, I could do this non-antiperspirant thing.
... And then it got warm. Summer time kind of warm. I found myself dreaming of the days when my pits wouldn't get all slobbery and gross in my tee-shirts. In fact, every time I went to the store I would eventually wind up in the deodorant section, salivating over all the delicious antiperspirant smells.
Last week I broke down and bought an antiperspirant, even though I still had some of Tom's deodorant left. Yep, I caved to the concept of vanity. I just couldn't live life feeling stinky and sweaty. At least not in the summer months.
My line has been drawn.
Of course there are people out there that would tell me in time I would grow accustomed and never look back, but I am not willing to find out if that is true for me. It just doesn't mean enough... to me.
Once I came to this conclusion I could tell I made the right decision. I have no residual guilt when I slather on my antiperspirant in the morning. In fact, just the opposite. I kind of feel silly that I even tried to go without. The one thing this experience taught me about boundaries is that sometimes you have to cross a boundary to figure out just where exactly your boundary lies.