Vegan Shopping Guide Part I

For any committed vegan, buying cruelty free products is a must. Clothes and makeup and skin care are all important to have been made cruelty free. No leather, no fur, no wool, no animal by products. Some may argue that synthetic materials are more damaging to the environment, but this is certainly not true. Raising animals for leather and fur and wool and feathers and etc will always be more damaging. The amount of food needed for these animals is significantly large. Also, livestock run off is one of the main causes of eutrophication or “dead” spots in bodies of water. Leather and other similar products are their own business, the leather doesn’t come from animals already killed and used for meat or the like as some may like to think. Be educated on what you put on your body and in your body!

Here are some wonderful websites and stores to fill all your vegan shopping needs:

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1. LUSH is great. They have natural face cleansers, body wash, deodorant, henna hair dye, makeup, perfume and more. They list all the ingredients and give information on them on the product description page. Lush is awesome, however, some products do contain SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) and things like that but most of them don’t. Just check out the ingredients and read the reviews and find out what works for you! They have a lot of great smelling products and just overall good quality products. Another thing that’s cool is they put a sticker of the person’s face who made your product and it says “so and so made this on 1/1/12 and gives you a date of when the product is fresh until. They offer a bunch of vegan options and product labeled with V means they’re vegan. They also do not test on animals and have done campaigns against animal testing.

2. Yes To is another great skincare brand! They use natural ingredients and also do not test on animals. They have face wash, moisturizer, sunscreen, lip balm, and different products for different types of skin. My favorite is “soothing” cucumber. I’ve used several different cleansers and moisturizers from Yes To and I always loved how fresh they felt and how subtle and clean they smelled!

3. Vegan Cuts is cool because it’s a website with awesome deals on all sorts of vegan products: food, shoes, clothes, skin care, tea, you name it. I’ve gotten several cool things from vegan cuts like berryplus laundry detergent, a shirt from compassion co. and even a 14 day detox kit that was more than half off.  They have different deals often and all the products are great. They also have a points system where you get a referral link and the more people that sign up through your link, the more points you earn towards the shop.

4. Lulu’s vegan shoe section is pretty cool. A lot of online shoe stores are starting to offer sections completely dedicated to vegan shoes, Lulu’s is one of them. They have boots, flats, heels, all the shoes you could need. The shoes pictured above are Rocket Dog Timber Chocolate Brown Faux Fur-Trimmed Boots and they’re super cute and perfect for winter!

5. Another brand that offers vegan shoes is Saucony. If you’re looking for some great vegan workout or running shoes, look to Saucony. They get awesome reviews about how comfortable they are and they have options for both men and women. All the color choices are great and not only are they cruelty free but they  look super cool.

6. Mooshoes is a store dedicated to vegetarian shoes but also has  belts, wallets, and clothing too. Mooshoes has a variety of both men and women’s shoes and offer a bunch of different brands and styles of shoes to choose from. The shoes pictured above are Case Boot in Brown From Big Buddha and are great boots to match with any outfit.

I’ll add some more sites to this vegan shopping list sometime soon with more clothes and beauty products and also sites with food too! Let me know if you have any great vegan shopping guides, websites, stores or products that you think should be featured!

Reasons to go Vegan

Being a vegan myself and running my own vegan lifestyle blog, I feel the need to make this post about veganism itself.  If I can make even one person just consider veganism or vegetarianism by visiting my blog, I’d be so incredibly happy. Even going vegan or vegetarian one night a week makes a bigger difference than you could ever imagine. First of all, let’s start off with the definitions of vegetarian and vegan for those unaware: a vegetarian is someone who follows a plant based diet (no meat) but still eats eggs, dairy, etc. A vegan is someone who abstains from all animal products, no meat, no dairy, no honey, no leather, etc.

I can think of a million reasons to go vegan, but here are just a few:

1. For the animals. Millions of animals suffer everyday by humans for humans. Whether it be at factory farms, the zoo, sea world, the circus, in rodeos, in labs, dog fights, for leather, for fur, etc. Animals are abused. Being a vegan means you’re standing up to this abuse and refusing to take part in all these cruel and unusual practices and forms of entertainment. We have so much fresh vegetables and plant based foods available to us. Why eat animal products? We have so many forms of entertainment available, why use animals for entertainment? Look up vegan videos, documentaries, undercover exposé, books, articles, statements, testaments, etc. You will learn a lot!

2. For the environment. A lot of the world’s water goes to the production of livestock. Most of it is used for the irrigation of feed crops for these animals. Feed crops that they do not eat naturally and for the most part, cannot digest like corn and soy. Not only is water a factor, but also pollution. The mass amounts of animal waste (that is full of antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, etc) adds “dead” spots to local water supplies by triggering eutrophication. All the land used to feed livestock could be land used to harvest crops for hungry humans. Healthy cows and healthy pigs living in a free range farm as companion animals would be able to fertilize the land without harmful chemicals and without causing detrimental environmental effects. Mass production of abused and drugged up animals, however, only causes environmental destruction.

3. Veganism is healthier. The meat today is not like the meat humans used to eat hundreds of years ago (especially the meat in fast food). Animals are fed hormones and pesticide laden foods that they don’t naturally ingest. By eating meat, you are also at risk for certain diseases that can be carried by livestock. Finding organic fruits and vegetables is a lot easier these days than finding organic meat and grass fed / free range livestock. Since humans are not natural meat eaters, meat takes a long time to digest. We don’t have the naturally occurring enzymes that break down meat like carnivores do. Eating less meat, and eating more vegetables is good for your digestive system. There is also a myth out there that you need meat to be healthy, which is just not true. If you don’t believe me, look up the countless vegan athletes out there (Brendan Brazier, Carl Lewis, Fiona Oakes to name a few). Also, dairy and meat cause high cholesterol levels, acne, and even obesity. It is well known that eating too much red meat is bad for your health, and it is also well known that eating too much eggs and cheese can skyrocket your cholesterol levels. Animal products are very tied into heart problems. When you skip out on a cheeseburger or a fried egg & bacon sandwhich, you’re doing your entire body a favor.

4. You don’t need animal products. With each passing day, there are more and more vegan brands, products and options out there for you. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is the ultimate option, but there are also plenty of mock cheeses, burgers, and other meat products. You can go into any grocery store and pick out a nice box of veggie burgers easily. Not to mention that there’s vegan mayo, cream cheese, yogurt, ice cream and milk. Why use cow’s milk when there’s hemp, coconut, almond, rice, flax, and soy milk? These options are also healthier for you and each different one has it’s own wonderful benefits. You can still have burgers, pizza, and ice cream. There are vegan versions of everything. Can’t find it at your grocery store? Check the internet, you can find all sorts of things that aren’t offered at your local grocery store. Even if you don’t want to use these fake meat products, there are so much fresh produce available to us these days. You can find exotic fruit like mangoes and you can crack open a coconut and have fresh milk, even if you live in a suburb. Not to mention all the wonderful nuts, seeds, and beans that are available to us also. Hundreds of years ago, people had to survive on what they could grow, raise, and scavenge. Now, every food you can imagine is at your grasp.

Imagine a world where cows and chickens can roam the wilderness again. Where no animal has to live in complete fear and agony. A world where obesity levels are down, heart problems are down and cholesterol problems are down. A world where plenty of people have jobs farming, growing, educating, healing, saving, nurturing, and doing what they love.

Don’t get me wrong, I know there are plenty of people who love meat. I know a vegan world is completely far-fetched. I will promote veganism for as long as I live. I don’t care about opposition, I care about education. I want people to know that veganism is wonderful and rewarding! I have felt amazing ever since going vegan and I cotinue to feel wonderful. I know this post isn’t perfectly organized, but I really want people to find out more about veganism. Do some research yourself, you’ll find out a lot. Read both sides of the argument, find out how you feel.

I am not a doctor, so I cannot prescribe any kind of diet plan to you. Know what works for your body and know what your limits are. Know your food allergies and know what you can’t tolerate. Any questions about your health or about whether you should eat certain foods or not, contact your doctor or nutritionist or health specialist. All I can do is promote and educate!

If you have any comments, questions, opinions, feelings, anything, please tell me! I’d love to hear your experiences with veganism, animal activism, food, etc!!

Rabies Vector Species & General Wildlife Information

Today was a sad day. A group of young people brought in a perfectly healthy and wonderful little bat and they truly wanted to help it. They found it in a parking lot on pavement and didn’t know what else to do so they brought it to the Wildlife Rehab facility I work at. However, they were uninformed about dealing with wildlife and this healthy and vibrant bat had to be euthanized. They touched a rabies vector species with their bare hands and since bats are such a risk it had to be immediately put down so it can be tested for rabies. This is one of the saddest parts of volunteering where I do. Because of the fact that so many people are uninformed or ill-informed, innocent and otherwise healthy animals have to die. It’s also terrible for the people trying to help because they brought it in and they just truly did not know the right thing they should have been doing.

Working at a Wildlife Rehabilitation center has taught me a lot. A lot of the things I’ve learned I would have never learned otherwise, I know this. But the public needs to be informed of so many things when it comes to wildlife! I am so very passionate about animals and their well being and there are truly some great humans out there for wanting to help wild animals. However, some of the things people think they are doing to help are actually hurting the animals. Here is a list of general things to know about dealing with sick, injured, or abandoned wildlife:

1. Find your local wildlife rehabilitator and contact them. The best thing would be to take it to them directly and not interfere. If you can’t get to a rehabilitator right away, ask them what you should do in the situation you’re in and what you can do to help the animal. Do not go directly to the internet unless the site is a government site or the website of a wildlife rehab. I cannot stress that the best thing to do would be to give the animal to someone who knows what they are doing. If there is no wildlife rehab nearby call the ASPCA, the game commission, etc. Get in contact with someone who knows what they’re doing.

2. Know the rabies vector species of your area. For example, the rabies vector species of Pennsylvania are raccoons, bats, foxes, coyotes, skunks. Any animal can contact rabies, but these animals are a danger and you should never touch them with your bare hands. Always wear gloves when handling these animals and handle them as minimally as possible. I cannot stress this enough. If you touch a rabies vector species there is a very high chance the animal will have to be put down to be tested for rabies because in the State’s eyes your health is more important than an animals, and rabies will kill you.

3. Do not try to rehab an animal on your own. It is illegal. You can be fined up to one thousand dollars per day per animal if you’re caught. It is also bad for the animal. Wild animals are not domesticated animals, your house and your human food is not the right thing for them. I know people want to help and think they’re doing the right thing when they take in a wild animal but it is really best to let them be in an environment where they can be with others of their own species and be fed the right food and have minimal human contact.

4. Educate yourself and others on wildlife, your local rehabilitators and other local facilities, rabies, other diseases carried by wildlife and learn the correct way to help benefit wildlife. Spread the news you’ve learned. Help others prevent the spread of rabies and also help others help animals.

To learn more about rabies go here:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002310/

To find local rehabiliators go here:

http://www.nwrawildlife.org/content/finding-rehabilitator

And for more information on what to do when you’ve found an animal go here:

http://www.nwrawildlife.org/content/help-ive-found-animal
Please, please, please share this information! I want people to be informed so that less animals have to die, more people can help, and less people and domestic animals have to worry about rabies. Share this on your blog, share it with friends, pass it on. You’d be doing both humans and wildlife a favor!!