Vegan advice: Can I keep using non-vegan products I already have?

VeganAdvice_small.pngAre you experiencing a vegan dilemma? Need advice on anything vegan? Send your questions to georgia@successfullyvegan.com (subject line: Vegan Dilemma).

Read more questions and answers at our Ask me anything VEGAN advice column.


Q: Hello, I am recently vegan and still have a load of VPA whey protein isolate left over and was wondering how bad would it be to still have that? If the only non vegan part of my diet was the WPI. Thank you. - Whey'd down

Dear Whey'd down,

This issue comes up in various ways for a lot of new vegans. We all have stuff left in our pantries and wardrobes that no longer fits in with our new vegan lifestyles. And sometimes it can seem like a waste, and disrespect to the animal who gave their lives, to just throw things away.

Your approach to what you do will most likely be based on why you are going vegan. If you are going vegan for health reasons you might not want to continue consuming animal products anymore, so ditch the whey protein. If you are going vegan for ethical reasons, you might reason that it is OK to eat something that you already bought.

The decision, of course, is completely down to you. Going vegan is always a journey, always a process. I think as long as your heart is in the right place and you are committed to your principles then whatever you decide is right for you is perfect. Being vegan is about doing the best you can to be compassionate and mitigate suffering. It is not about being 100% perfect all the time.

Georgia xx

Georgia Bamber is a vegan success coach based in the Southern Highlands NSW. Certified in coaching and plant based nutrition she knows a thing or two about embracing a vegan lifestyle. You can find out more about Georgia and how she can help you at www.successfullyvegan.com.

If you would like to keep up to date with this and other topics, sign up to our newsletter.




Showing 6 reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Rico Nascence
    commented 2019-12-19 23:46:20 +1100
    When you say you know people who are ‘vegan for health reasons,’ how is it you know?

    You disregard the definition of veganism, so on what basis do you say that?

    “They’re vegan because… i have a sense they are… because other people i know think so too…”?

    Again, as the VS make clear, a vegan diet and veganism are two different things.

    People commonly use the term “carbon” to mean carbon dioxide. You’re doing a similar thing, though i don’t think appreciate the difference.

    When you say you know people who are ‘vegan for health reasons,’ what you mean is you know people who’ve taken up a vegan diet for health reasons. They’re no more vegans – unless they act in line with the definition – than carbon is carbon dioxide.

    I’m aware of the health benefits of a vegan diet, but no matter how many benefits there are, unless people adopt the philosophy and practice of veganism, they aren’t vegan.

    “No, extremism doesn’t correlate with truthfulness, rather it precludes the ability to really accept opposing truths.”

    Many people consider veganism to be extreme.

    Therefore, following your reasoning, it must not only be untrue, but prevent people from realising the truth.

    Which would explain why there’s a vastly greater number of non vegans than there are vegans.

    But whether something’s true or not doesn’t depend on what some people’s opinions are, or on a popularity contest, but it’s ‘correlation’ to reality.

    Similarly, the definition of veganism doesn’t depend on your opinions, and being ‘extreme’ has no bearing on whether something’s true or not.

    “Dichotomous in that you’re positing that there is no grey area, instead endorsing an all-or-nothing mindset which is counterproductive.”

    A ’grey area’ exists, but as its name suggests, it’s not morally desirable.

    As Gary Francione says, "“There is veganism and there is animal exploitation. There is no third choice.”

    “Your own assertions are exactly that, counterproductive and dichotomous, likely off-putting rather than on-siding others who may be ‘feeling out the turf.’”

    I presented arguments supported with evidence.

    That said, i accept my views are counterproductive to the idea that veganism means anything you want it to, and that we should encourage people to continue using animal products for as long as they want.

    “There are many different reasons for, transitional durations and paths to achieve the end result of veganism.”

    No, there aren’t “many different reasons for… the end result of veganism.” The defining reason is an objection to animal use.

    There may be a lot of different routes to getting there, but that doesn’t mean we should encourage them.

    Spending 10 years as a slaughterhouse worker, for example, is not something to encourage.

    There may also be a lot of "transitional durations,” but again, that doesn’t mean they should be encouraged.

    Taking 40 years to ‘transition’ is not something to encourage.

    While i’m glad a person taking that long eventually made it, why not encourage them not to waste time, but become vegan immediately, for their own benefit? (Healthwise, morally, spiritually and so on.)

    Many people who regard themselves as vegan don’t take other animals as seriously as they do other humans. While animals are being killed, they tell others to take their time reaching the “end result."

    If human children were being beaten, raped, tortured or killed, these very same people might ‘demand’ that such practices stop immediately, rather than encourage the child abusers to “cut down gradually, until you’re comfortable enough to stop.”

    “Just as with fad diets as opposed to lifestyle changes, you need the time to build confidence, habits and alternatives to ensure sustainability and prevent the pressure and demoralisation of aiming for snap changes with extremely high rates of failure and stress.”

    We’re not talking nuclear physics. People don’t need to study for years.

    It’s just a change. The best way to learn about being vegan is to dive right in and be one.

    People can take all the time they like on a vegan diet.

    Instead, others encourage them to actively not become vegan, not reject animal use right away, but to ’take as long as they need.’

    A common thing in years past was for vegetarians to say, “I thought i was doing the right thing by being vegetarian. No one told me it still meant animal use.”

    Now things have changed and you don’t hear that story as much.

    Instead there’s, “take your time transitioning.”

    “Additionally, the waste and demand of upending half their household products is a ghastly waste of time and resources because it is difficult, overwhelming, expensive and unsustainable.”

    It’s only waste if you regard animal products as legitimate forms of food, clothing and so on.

    In that case, it follows that you can also be vegan and use animal products.
  • Jazzy Doll
    commented 2019-12-15 23:19:13 +1100
    Veganism ‘for health reasons’ not only exists in numerous people I know personally, but is shown consistently in literature- reduced BMIs, cholesterol, cancer/disease risks, inflammation and whatever else. You need only google to find boundless information, Google scholar if you’re looking for peer-reviewed literature.

    No, extremism doesn’t correlate with truthfulness, rather it precludes the ability to really accept opposing truths.

    Dichotomous in that you’re positing that there is no grey area, instead endorsing an all-or-nothing mindset which is counterproductive. Your own assertions are exactly that, counterproductive and dichotomous, likely off-putting rather than on-siding others who may be ‘feeling out the turf’. There are many different reasons for, transitional durations and paths to achieve the end result of veganism. I situate myself firmly behind Georgia, as I think the advice is sound and supportive and fits with the vegan ethos of minimising the harm and maximising your positive impact.

    Just as with fad diets as opposed to lifestyle changes, you need the time to build confidence, habits and alternatives to ensure sustainability and prevent the pressure and demoralisation of aiming for snap changes with extremely high rates of failure and stress.

    Additionally, the waste and demand of upending half their household products is a ghastly waste of time and resources because it is difficult, overwhelming, expensive and unsustainable.
  • Rico Nascence
    commented 2019-12-09 22:36:57 +1100
    I didn’t put any effort into “undermining someone.” I raised issues of fact.

    The purpose of Georgia’s post, i think, was to provide a true, and ideally helpful, answer to the question asked. I presume she genuinely wanted to be helpful, but you can only be so much help if what you maintain isn’t right.

    Thanks for saying my view is extreme: if you want to be as truthful as possible, being extreme is a good thing.

    You didn’t spell out what was “dichotomous” about what i said, so i’m none the wiser.

    If you think what i said was wrong, and there “absolutely is ‘vegan for health reasons,’” you could have provided evidence to support your view, rather than just assertions.
  • Jazzy Doll
    commented 2019-12-09 08:13:18 +1100
    (Responding to the previous comment)
  • Jazzy Doll
    commented 2019-12-09 08:12:27 +1100
    That is a hell of a lot of effort you have put into undermining someone whose principles of veganism do not match your expectations. This post is supposed to be about breaking down barriers to transition, not preaching an extreme and dichotomous abstinence policy. You’re wrong by the way, there absolutely is ‘vegan for health reasons’.
  • Rico Nascence
    commented 2019-12-07 09:02:58 +1100
    Dear Georgia, while your advice certainly fits within ‘Vegan’ Australia’s flexible ideas, the advice you’ve given is mistaken.

    There is no becoming vegan for “health reasons.” If you check the current definition of veganism, The Vegan Society refers to avoiding the use of animals.

    On a broader level, veganism is simply an expression of the rights of other animals.

    Even so, in their 1979 memorandum of asociation, The Vegan Society did acknowledge that you can adopt a vegan diet without being vegan. Veganism and a vegan diet are two different things.

    Yes, decisions are up to individuals, but veganism is not always a journey, not alway a process. I’m sure you’ve heard the term ‘overnight vegan,’ and if you haven’t met any overnight vegans, at least are aware that they exist and aren’t an urban myth (as a little research would verify).

    What does “having your heart in the right place” mean? What is the “right place”? The ‘right place’ is not vegan if it means consciously using animal products.

    You talk about being committed to principles. “Whatever you decide is right for you” may be “perfect” from an individual state of mind, but it’s not a principle. A principle is a basic understanding of reality, and the principle of not usiing other animals has a stark reality: life or use, suffering and death.

    Being vegan is not about “doing the best you can to be compassionate and mitigate suffering.”

    Someone in the RSPCA that routinely uses animal products may feel they’re doing the best they can to be compassionate and mitigate suffering, but they’re certainly not vegan.

    That’s because being vegan is not about being ‘compassionate’ or ‘mitigating suffering,’ but about an objective standard of behaviour that avoids the use of animals.