vegan or not?





First the outfit and then the vegan issue.  This week I'll be styling these Everlane easy chino's.  This is what I wore yesterday.  Ten minutes prior, I was napping on the sofa. A pair of shoes, handbag and sunglasses and I'm ready to go.  Easy.

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So it's high time I cleared up whether I am vegan or not.  People want to know why am I wearing new leather shoes?  So instead of answering all the emails I'll just answer here.  First of all, I'm doing the best I can right now. The stress of the last 2 years is finally setting in.  And that's another post of its own but today lets just chat about being vegan shall we?


Twelve years ago when I started eating a vegan diet I referred to myself as vegan bc that seemed to be what I was but obviously I was not. I wear wool, cashmere, silk and leather shoes.  A true vegan would not do that.  They would not even use 2nd hand leather products or drive a car with leather trim interior.  When I first started I still had a closet full of clothing that did not fit the vegan definition but I kept it all because I wanted to.  When I wanted something I did my best to replace it with a 2nd hand item or if new, something vegan.  But over the last couple of years I loosened my standards and new leather shoes have made their way it into my closet.  It would be easy to blame the stress of the last 2 years on that but I don't want to.  My favorite booties by Madden Girl finally bit the dust so I replaced them with a new leather bootie.  So of the ten or so shoes in my closet, 5 are leather.  The truth is I never was a "real vegan" and I am not now.  I have for 12 years eaten a vegan diet but will now refer to it as just a healthy diet instead bc I don't want to confuse or piss anyone off.  Just want to clear that up and hope this helps.  See you tomorrow.  x

PS - Why don't I answer your burning questions this week also?  Email me or ask in the comments. x

54 comments

  1. I read somewhere that pleather bags and shoes are much more toxic to make and they don’t age well they disintegrate and end up in the landfill. Leather can be used for many years and buying vintage or thrifted items is very “green” wool items if taken care of properly (as you do) are also long wearing.
    I admire your clothing choices. Also Eileen Fisher has a recycling clothing program where they make “new” clothes from those donated back to their shops! I love her ethical approach to fashion.
    Enjoy your posts always!

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    1. thanks for sharing that leslie re eileen fisher recylcling program. everlane just launched today a renew cashmere program. they gave me one of the sweaters and it's so soft. x

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  2. Good morning, Janet!

    You are a beautiful person just the way you are. Please do not let anyone make you feel guilty for anything. To me, you are probably doing better with the vegan lifestyle than 99.999% of everyone that I know, including myself. Actually it is 100%. I am the only person who tries to eat a vegan diet in my family and I am often a failure at that esp. when we go out to eat. I also own the books; How Not To Die, Blue Zones and the Plant Pure Nation Cookbook. Leather that I inherited or if someone gave it to me, I will wear it. If it is in a thrift store and I like it, I will buy it. It is wasteful to me not to wear or use something you already own or that has been donated to a thrift store, etc. After watching the movie "Earthlings" that you suggested years ago, I try not to buy new leather.

    My question for you today is: Will you show us your vegetable garden and talk about how you got your veggies to grow. I am very interested in your homemade dirt and would like to see it!

    Sincerely,
    Debra from SENC

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    1. thank u debra. my father in law now lives in one of the blue zones and it has literally changed his life. i should do a post on that.

      my veggie garden really isn't much and it's pretty much done now. i still have lots of tomatoes on the vines but they are not turning red or just v slowly. i'm also down to one eggplant plant that is struggling. i can take a picture of it but it's just a few containers. the compost isn't much to brag about either but i'll try and photograph that too! x

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  3. Ooh ask janet anything. That could be dangerous, three or four years ago I told you I could understand how you stay so trim as you excercise and ate well but I wanted to know how you keep your boobs so perky! Lolol. My question today is do you ever work as an esthetician, if not wwiukd you like to go back to it, what are your thoughts about skincare in general. (I'm an esthetician).


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    1. oh louise my girls are not perky at all! maybe it's the bra? idk bc to me they look awful. lol
      i quit my job in feb last year when Larry was diagnosed. i've thought of going back but i don't think i will. my general thoughts on skincare is to keep it as simple as possible. for me i won't do anything invasive such as injectables or plastic surgery. my dermatologist gave me an overall peel several years ago bc i had so many pre cancers. it was so painful i doubt i'll ever do that again. plus i believe it was extremely inflammatory and just overall not great. i understand his decision but ouch. i've switched from aveda to osmosis skincare and it's wonderful. i'm always open to new things tho. what product line do you use? x

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    2. Thank you janet (nothing about you is even slightly awful) I work with Aveda the past year, before that Elizabeth Arden Red Door. I cant use 90 percent of any skincare line as my skin is extremely sensitive (gets super dry and flaky, and red) no retinol, no vitamin c, no aha's....I've tried them all.

      Any tips?😁

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  4. Janet, Your outfit sings to my minimalist heart! And I call myself a "minimalist" but I know many would question my definition, just like you've encountered with veganism. I say you do you, and don't listen to people that try to label you. You are doing a tremendous amount in so many ways, solely with your vegan diet. As for wardrobe choices, like you, I've tried to stay away from leather but my feet won't allow it. I almost immediately get blisters on both feet when I wear pleather shoes, guaranteed, and the shoes fall apart quicker.

    D.

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    1. thanks D. i was just telling someone the other day how wearing the everlane boots feel so luxurious. i've never worn such nice shoes. that prob why i find them so comfortable! x

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  5. Yes this is the time to take great care of yourself. The adrenalin keeps you going during the time it needs to, and then disappears like a rug pulled out from under your feet. You're doing what feels right for you and that's the way to go. Be gentle on yourself now.
    Hugs, Mary x.
    thepoutingpensioner.blogspot.com

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  6. I truly understand you when you say the stress of the last two years is finally settling in. Be kind and gentle with yourself, for however long it takes.
    I appreciate this topic! About three years ago, I became an active volunteer with our local humane society and as time has gone on, I no longer feel good about eating meat from a humane standpoint. Then there are the environmental concerns. Recently, my doctor has recommended statins as a preventative measure against heart disease not because my cholesterol(s) are particularly bad, but because my age (64) skews the equation. I balked, because statins come with other issues that I'm not interested in. A little research and a plant based diet seems like it might be the answer (along with other lifestyle changes). So, I've been working my way in that direction and have reduced my meat consumption by about 75% at this point. I have come up against the "labels" and it IS confusing, counterproductive and does tend to piss some people off. I would like to say I will eventually be totally plant based, but time will tell. That is enough to think about at one time, and I feel good about my efforts.

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    1. thanks for sharing marla. we do the best we can, that's all we can do! x

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  7. I love your honesty & transparency regarding the vegan diet. I am not vegan or vegetarian, but I don't eat much meat. Living alone I just find I don't want to cook it...always looking for something simple & hopefully healthy. I do eat meat & love a good burger, but what I do eat isn't from a big manufacturer & always organic. I think my mantra is to try not to be rigid about anything. I believe that if we do, then that thing becomes our "religion" so to speak. I just try my best to live a healthy lifestyle all the way around. Many times I fail, but I also get it right at times.

    I am almost 74 & can run circles around most women 30 years my junior. I have high energy & always must have some kind of project going. Gardening is my first love & offers plenty of exercise on my property, but in the winter I do lots of organizing & woodworking projects. My woodworking skills are pretty minimal, but I love doing it. So far I'm on no prescription meds & will work hard at keeping it that way, but if I need something & other choices fail, I will take them.

    I think it is always a problem when we try to jump through other people's hoops.

    Anita ~ the cabin on the creek
    ...all if grace!

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    1. such great advice anita. esp to not be so rigid. i have to constantly remind myself of that. x

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    2. Anita, I love everything about your reply! I aspire to be you some day. If there is one thing our world could use right now, it is less rigidity!!

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    3. "I think it is always a problem when we try to jump through other people's hoops." Anita, you are so right. And Janet, wear and eat whatever you please and ignore people who would be so persnickety. Fake leather shoes are gross and horrible for your feet from a hygiene issue. Leather is a by-product of all of that beef production out there. I suppose the hard core "vegans" would prefer that it get thrown away? And no, I do not eat beef, or pork for that matter, and haven't done so for the last forty years. But I carry a leather bag, wear a leather jacket, and wear leather shoes and boots, and unapologetically so. I appreciate your blog so much, Janet, and it is a highlight in my inbox. You do you!

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  8. I thought vegan was not eating animals or animal products like milk, cheese, eggs, etc. so i learned something new. I'm allergic to all dairy including beef and eat very little chicken and fish. And only organic.
    My question for you is how are your sons and grandchildren? It's so very hard to lose a parent or grandpa. My heart goes out to all of you. 💕

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    1. honestly they are all broken hearted. we all are. we just never thought this would happen bc he was so fit. x

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  9. First of all, Janet, Congratulations the birth of your new granddaughter! Your daughter in law is so beautiful ... In remember that wedding, WOW!

    My question(s): How are your sons? Do you see them and the grandchildren often? Is your father in law nearby? I remember when you and Larry lived with him for a while. xo

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    1. thanks sue, she is stunning. our entire family is devastated over losing larry. even my 4 yr old grandaughter asks me why pops had to die. i see them often and my father in law lives close by now in loma linda - a blue zone city. x

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  10. Janet I find it hard to believe that anyone would criticize how you eat or live your life, especially now. To me being vegan means being more compassionate to all beings and to our planet. I try to eat a plant based diet as much as possible, but sometimes the best choice isn't clear. if a family member cooks a special meal for me and it contains animal products, some might say it was a moment for education but I know in my heart this would be hurtful and not the kindest response. and today I was at a local farm where i do purchase eggs. the farmer told me that one of the hens had something wrong with her foot so his wife brought her inside. she now enjoys sleeping on an old robe along with their much loved rescue kitty. so I will continue to buy and eat the eggs. and to me it is better to but ethically produced leather shoes from a company like Everlane then to wear fake leather made of chemicals and by people who well may have been exploited. I could go on of course. we all try to do the best we can, to be compassionate to all beings to the best of our abilities and circumstances.
    Love, Darby

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    1. thanks darby but i want to be clear no one was unkind in their asking. i knew the subject would come up and frankly i'm glad it did so i could be clear and honest. how sweet of them to bring the chicken inside to heal! x

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  11. hi - do you ever drink alcohol? If so how often per week on average? thanks so much! Jennifer

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    1. hi jennifer, how are you? i rarely drink. i guess maybe 1x/month or less. usually when i do its a small glass of wine with girlfriends. x

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  12. Janet, You are gorgeous. Sending you hugs. Blessings, xoxo, Susie

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  13. Honestly I like everything you write about ! However I did like the Blue Zone book and would love to hear about your father-in-laws experiences. As I age I eat healthier. It makes a difference in how I feel. Please take care of yourself and a big thanks for continuing to blog.

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    1. thanks connie. i get the blue zone newsletters and love them. it's so funny that he wound up there. i would never have guessed it. it's been a blessing for him and me to be close now. x

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  14. Some questions have been asked already that I am wondering about as well: how your children and grandchildren are doing and your father-in-law, whether you see yourself returning to work (and believe me I understand an "absolutely not" answer), whether you drink alcohol. I have a couple to add: do you still use olive oil as a moisturizer or have you switched to something else? do you do other exercise besides walking and yoga (weights, possibly, or ?) I do have a comment about alcohol. I've never been a drinker. I would have an occasional glass of wine or mixed drink and when I say occasional I truly mean that - just every once in a while. After I lost my son, I turned into a drink every day person - sometimes two (never more than that). It just took the edge off somehow. It helped - taking the edge off. One day - after three years - I realized I wasn't having a drink every day anymore. It just stopped. I still have an occasional drink, but that's it.

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    1. i would prob be a bigger drinker if it didn't interrupt my sleep so much. lol i like the first sip or 2 of wine and that's it really. i still use olive or jojoba oil on the body after my bath. sometimes esp in the spring and summer if my allergies are bad i will use it on my face. i've switched product line from aveda to osmosis skincare and love it. i walk and do yoga pretty much daily. i rarely take a day off. x

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  15. My husband and I have removed animal meat from our diet but still eat cheese, eggs, and fish. My personal trainer, whose diet most influenced my change, calls her eating plant based. I think it's the perfect term for how we eat. I'd like to eventually eliminate dairy products and even eggs, but realistically I don't think it will happen. My breakfasts are similar to yours and I enjoy getting ideas for simple, healthy meals from you. Thank you again for sharing!

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    1. yes the new buzz wording for diet is whole food plant based or wfpb. good luck with all the changes you've made and you never know, it may happen?! x

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  16. I support you in doing what works best for you. We live in an incredibly judgmental, critical world. We need to give one another a break and be more accepting of differences. Carry on Janet 👍♥️

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    1. thanks mom. i love typing that lol. i need to give others breaks and be kinder too. x

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  17. Janet, you have the most kind, thoughtful readers. I am comforted reading these comments and they aren't even directed to me. Carry on being you. Joyce

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    1. you are so right joyce. i have no idea why any of you put up with me! this blog is nothing without you guys. x

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  18. Hi Janet,
    I'm a little late to the party so most of my questions have been answered.
    However, I was intrigued by your comment about your father-in-law's life being changed by his move to a Blue Zone (Loma Linda). Do you think it is because of lifestyle changes he has undertaken, or is it because he is closer to family?
    Would love to hear more. Thank you for all the wonderful posts. I continue to keep you in my prayers. Judy

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  19. Janet- I think you are fabulous! You don't really owe us (or anyone) an explanation on your diet or clothing choices. The older I get, the less I care what other people think. I am so very grateful for the inspiration you have provided me over the years. You have taught me so much about living within (and below) my means, preparing simple yet tasteful meals, and decorating in a calm/ beautiful/ purposeful manner. The one question I have always wanted to ask you: what kind of house did you live in before moving into your cottage? Did you always live in a minimalistic way?

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  20. Hi Janet. I'm always excited when I see you've posted. You inspire and encourage me to try every day to be the best I can be without being too critical or too lazy. I'm so blessed that you continue to write from your heart when I can't imagine the heartache you are living with. I tried to comment on your previous post but it wouldn't hold. I wanted to tell you that I bought the birds and flowers midi dress from GB&J Baker and have loved it. It feels like a nightgown to wear and can go anywhere. I smiled when you said here that 10 minutes before taking this photo today you were lying on your couch. Last week a clerk at "Winners" asked me if I was going out for a nice dinner when I had just put shoes on and come out straight from my kitchen. Such a fabulous wardrobe item. Thank you for being you. You are precious. xo karen

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  21. Hi Janet, so wow your FIL moved to Loma Linda? I have been wondering what happened to him since he was way up in Utah. My dad and step-mom were Seventh Day Adventists so I know all about Loma Linda and the vegetarian lifestyle that goes with it. (dad and step-mom did not eat any red meat and cheated on occasion with chicken, I had to eat many "soy burgers and hot dogs" yuck. Dr. Oz did an episode about the Blue Zones on Oprah many years ago...Loma Linda was one of them.
    Linda
    xo

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  22. Hi Janet I am loving these outfits with the chino pants. I guess there are very strict vegans who would never wear leather or wool or silk, I was in the dark about that until last year when we went to a vegan festival and my hubs and I were both wearing vintage tweed jackets and that apparently is a no-no. You inspired me many years ago to consider becoming a vegetarian and I haven't eaten meat for over two years and won't go back now. I avoid dairy but still eat eggs sometimes and also fish occasionally. But I will use my leather bags and shoes and continue to buy them because I usually buy them used anyway. I also inherited a fur coat from my dear mother in law that I restyled so the fur is on the inside for warmth, it reminds me of her so I couldn't get rid of it. She used to wear it over her tennis outfit to the grocery store.
    I guess we all just try to make good choices but using things we have rather than buying more or new is sensible I think. Your style is so enchanting because of your mix of vintage I think! Also because you are a beauty.
    I'm happy to read you were having a nap because you must be bone tired and rest is all you can do. You've been through so much the last couple of years. Thanks for sharing your style and thoughts with us xxx

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  23. Sheep and Cashmere goats are not killed to get their fleeces. Shearing is NOT cruel... so wool / cashmere should not be a point of debate

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    1. I wondered about that as well. Maybe it's a matter of using products that came from an animal?

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  24. Janet, thank you for your respectful candor.
    With it you inspire.
    The great loss I experienced was not of a spouse but a grown child. Different yet the same i expect at this time when the numbness and exhaustion wear off and a new reality begins.
    It seems within your nature to reach out, generously inform, seek the best path . . . all of these interactions/inclinations will sooth and heal while being worthy of your effort for all of us whom you engage. Please continue your good works for all of our sakes and yours.
    oooxxx

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  25. I read your blog because I enjoy your home and what you have to say. Your art simplicity inspires me. Why on earth people feel they have the right to judge or be critical of what you choose to wear, eat or drink frankly irritates me. If someone does not like what they read hear there is an entire internet waiting for them elsewhere.I will continue reading here.

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  26. You eat a vegan diet, you live a simple lifestyle. All that seems really admirable and sufficient to me.

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  27. I would love to see a bit of favourites in your closet! You have such good taste and love how you style your clothes.

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  28. It seems like your diet and lifestyle are intentional, healthly and simple which are all very admirable and without Larry, I imagine there are some very long days to get through. When I first saw the Madewell leopard print mules that you showed us, I thought the same question as some of the other readers so thanks so much for clarifying. The shoes are adorable but the material (calf hair) prevented me from buying them. We all do the best that we can and I applaude your kindness and openess with all of us readers. I, too, am inspired by your lovely nature and always enjoy reading your blog. Thank you for sharing.

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  29. I want to thank you for taking the time to share your life. Every time I see that you have a new posting in my email I get a little rush of excitement. I have just recently retired and relocated and it helps immensely to see how other down-to-earth women find their way through life's challenges.

    www.polkadotsandpillowlace.blogspot.com

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  30. Thanks, Janet,
    I was curious about this. It's difficult finding non-leather shoes that wear well.

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  31. Janet, you look chic and put together. Yet comfortable enough for napping - perfect!

    I've been eating a mostly vegan diet since 2005. "Mostly" vegan in the early days, when non-vegan baked goods and an occasional pizza would sneak in. I would call myself WFPB now. I eat whole plants, no processed foods, sugar, oil, salt, or baked goods. It works for me - I've lost weight and maintained the loss for the first time in my adult life. I do wear leather, love my down comforter and knit with wool, and that's okay.

    Thank you for being you, and sharing that with us. I love every post.

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  32. Okay, so I have just come from a cooking class tonight. The instructor said that a vegan diet is a moral decision, a plant-based diet is a health decision. I thought this was a perfect definition of both, and thought about this post when I was in class. By the way, it was a "Plant Based Cooking" class. Lots of fun and informative, too.

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kindness is never out of style.

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