Why Vegan Alternatives Are Healthier For You

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So what do I define as a vegan home? It’s a space in which none of the furniture or decor is derived from a living being. There is no blood or despair attached to anything in the space. It’s awesome!

When first delving into creating a vegan/cruelty-free home, the easiest way to do it is to swap out your cleaning products. There’s many eco-friendly products available on the market and it takes a few extra seconds reading the label. Your health will thank you for buying the right products that won’t do you harm.

However, the next step to creating a healthy environment for you and your family is to implement vegan interior decor. After-all, your home can hardly be a sanctuary if it makes you sick. Living in a healthy environment is great for your physical and mental well being and using vegan alternatives will enhance the benefits.

We spend 90% of our time indoors and home is the environment you have most control over. However, toxic chemicals make their way into the homes like uninvited guests. Chemicals are all over new furniture, sprayed onto floor coverings and are even those super cozy pillows on your bed. Those chemicals which were absorbed into materials and furnishing unfortunately don’t remain in one place. Instead they are released as gas by evaporation, this process is called off gassing. Have you ever noticed that funny smell when you buy new clothes or a rug even? Our nose is rather sensitive to that ‘new’ smell and we have to wait until it disappears. In the meantime those fumes are floating around in the atmosphere and we’re breathing in all in.

I think we’re all familiar with Formaldehyde (a highly toxic chemical that can inhaled and cause damage to our respiratory system and skin) which rears its ugly head in plywood, carpets, and fabrics. Of course, you’re worst off if you’re sensitive to chemicals. Named sick building syndrome, or SBS, Is a medical condition that sees people suffer from health issues or discomfort from simply spending time in a building. It leaves sufferers with headaches, rashes and breathing difficulties. Not a very pleasant experience to encounter.

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The same can be said for leather which is produced using a myriad of toxic chemicals just for the purpose of keeping it malleable and to prevent it from rotting. Need we remind you leather is the skin of a dead animal. Left on its own, it will rot. Sitting on dead skin is a pleasant thought, no?

Inexpensive leather, for example is constructed from small pieces of leather being stuck to a vinyl backing which contains the nasty chemical Phthalates. It has no business being anywhere near you and your family. It soaks into the skin causing damage to the liver and makes its way into the respiratory system. And if you’re hoping that your children eventually give you a few grandchildren in the future, you’ll want to be aware that phthalates also play havoc with our reproductive system.

The closest our noses and our bodies are to sniffing and touching chemical nasties on leather is probably on our couch and  headboards. Whether you’re having a quick nap or are sleeping at night, breathing in toxins whilst your body is recovering will not do your respiratory system any good.

Organic and vegan friendly alternatives such as linen are like superheroes, very healthy and very suitable to be used throughout our homes. Cotton, hemp and bamboo are also on the list.

We’re lucky to be in living in a time where there’s plenty of healthy alternatives to animal materials for us to use in our homes. While it may seem daunting trying to get your head around what is doing more harm than good, companies are becoming more transparent. VeganDesign.org Certified interior designers can help you seek out new and innovative materials and products and advise you on their suitability too. Green products are an example of products made from natural materials that are non-toxic, so you can breathe easy whether you’re decorating your new yoga studio or revamping your children’s bedrooms.  

It is unknown, in the U.S., how many people are dealing with allergies to wool. Statistics from WebMed Medical Reference indicate that over 30% of adults and 40% of children have allergies. It is likely that if you are allergic to products that contain wool products, such as lanolin, you are more likely to also have an bad reaction to wool fibres itself. Side effects aren’t fun. No one wants to see their face, arms, or hands breaking out in a rash or breathing difficulties.

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If even one person in the household suffers from allergies, it’s very worthwhile for the entire house to be Vegan-ized to help keep that one person safe. Turning to vegan alternatives ensures that everyone is comfortable and allergic reactions are kept to a minimum. This also extends to your guests.

Perhaps your children want to celebrate their birthday at home and invite a few friends over. Your allergy free home means that none of their friends have to be excluded from the invite in case they are reactive to the materials and chemicals in your home.

You’ve not only got to be aware of lotions, make-up and skin creams, you also have to be aware when buying new pillows, throws and bedding, your pet’s bedding and toys included.

Take your pillows for example.  The cover may contain animal products such as leather, suede or wool. The insert may be filled with down and feathers. Like clothing, throws and bedding will have direct contact with part of your body and will cause irritation. While curled up in your favorite blanket watching a movie on Netflix, your body is absorbing the poisons from the toxic blanket. Our skin is porous and absorbs everything like a sponge.

Watch an exclusive interview with renowned photographer, Jo-Anne McArthur, of WeAnimals.org as she discusses the unfortunate truth about the wool industry and sheep saleyards.

One of the worst culprits to flair up allergies is a wool carpet. Besides it not being cruelty free (sheep lead a horrible, inhumane life) you’re not safe and sound by choosing wool and is just as problematic especially for allergy sufferers.  It’s not only a pain to clean up, but you get an abundance of dusty fluff floating around your home. That fluff gathers in the corners of your floors only to be later picked up by your socks and carried into every room of your home. And heaven forbid you wear black! Those wool fibres get everywhere unless attacked with the lint brush. Hands up if you know how time consuming that is! For those who have sensitivities, decorating with animal derived products is definitely a no-no and certainly not an ideal way of creating a sanctuary.

Beware also if you’re considering purchasing an antique rug. Older carpets come complete with a despicable array of toxic nasties, even years later. It only gets worse if you have rugs imported from countries that have no regulations.

Choosing vegan alternative should be implemented in all spaces. Vegan design helps those who suffer from allergies, and is a preventative measure against cancers and other diseases caused by being surrounded by dangerous toxins. Staying healthy is our goal and good health is also lighter on your pocket – being sick is costly. Going vegan is a win in all areas: health, happiness, financially, durability and great energy!!!


London based Jecks Lea is the founder of www.personaabodeinteriors.com . Jecks specializes in designing wellness and vegan interiors. She is VeganDesign.org certified designer.