This post may be a little TMI so don't say I didn't warn you...
One of the interesting things about re-jigging your whole lifestyle is that while you may get used to checking the labels on everything before you buy it relatively quickly, the stuff that you already own seems to just escape your attention.
It was this way for me for my contraception (the pill). I'd been on the same type of pill for approximately 4 years when my doctor gave me a packet of a different type with a prescription to match if I felt like changing. And we all know what I'm used to doing with packets... reading the ingredients! I was surprised to discover that this pill contained lactose in the ingredients list. So when I got home I checked the pill I normally used: lactose. WTF? Why is milk in fucking everything?!
I didn't really give a whole lot of thought to it after that as there wasn't much I thought I could do about it, until one day I was cruising my favourite vegan forum and found a thread about contraception. One poster said she was vegan but that she needed to be on the pill to avoid becoming pregnant and there wasn't much she could do about the fact that one of the ingredients was lactose. Needless to say, I understood her point of view at first. But my logic seemed kinda twisted once I read another post. This person was claiming that to be aware of the animal products contained in medication and to take it anyway was not only hypocritical and lazy, but voided any claim to veganism. You can't be vegan in every way except for the pill, she was saying. You may as well be vegan in every way except for the chocolate. And I realised she was right. If I didn't at least try other avenues of birth control, I just wasn't vegan*.
Where am I going with all of this? I've recently bought and nearly finished reading a wonderful, enlightening book called Taking Charge of Your Fertility. This book covers intimate details of the female reproductive system and provides the reader with information to avoid or plan pregnancies using the Fertility Awareness Method, which is more reliable than the Billings or Rhythm Methods, and is all-natural, so very good for vegans or just health-conscious people who are fed up with the constant side effects and risks associated with various current birth control methods.
Now that I'm adequately educated, I'm finishing my current pill packet and will be starting the FAM as soon as it's done. I'm really excited to learn as much as I can about my body but also to be ridding myself of artificial hormones and animal products. Yay!
*This is my attitude concerning medication such as contraceptives. There are exceptions to every rule, and medication such as those prescribed for mental illness are just one example. I will post later with my thoughts on this subject.