I became a vegetarian based on animal rights and the ethical concerns of eating animals. I was a vegetarian for 2 1/2 years before transitioning to a vegan. I thought I was doing enough and doing my part to alleviate the suffering animals endured. Then I learned about the dairy industry and realized I could do even more to help end the suffering. Consuming dairy cheese was my last hurdle, but I switched to vegan cheese instead of dairy. I had already stopped drinking dairy milk, or cow nectar as my husband calls it. After starting my studies with IHE just a few months after becoming a vegan, I learned how our food system affects more than just animals. So, just because something (food, clothing, etc.) is vegan, it doesn't mean it is entirely ethical. For example, there are many vegan chocolates available, but not all are ethically sourced. Some are sourced using slave labor. I also started to learn how all of my daily actions are tied to so much more than I realized. Even though I do not eat, wear, or use products with animals in them (or support companies that test their products on animals), I also base my daily decisions on how the individuals that make the food/products that I buy and use are treated. As well as trying to ensure that the materials and chemicals used in producing said products did little or no harm to the environment, waterways, and local communities.