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:

1.  2.3. 

4.5.6.

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!

How to Lower Your Laundry Impact

Being sustainable and green in all parts of your life is how to really make a difference. Recycling and re-using is a start, but there is so much more you can do!

There is a product I’ve recently come across that I love! It’s called berryplus, and it’s a wonderfully natural laundry detergent that not only does not use harsh chemicals, but the packaging is also very “green”. Your normal laundry detergent comes in a big plastic bottle, and you choose the amount you put in. Whenever I did laundry, depending on how dirty it was I would just pour an amount in. For really dirty stuff, I’d put in a lot. Berryplus has little capsules that have the right amount of detergent all ready to go. I didn’t even think about how much I was using, and what kind of chemicals were in the detergent. Now I buy all my body wash, shampoo, and face care stuff natural and free of chemicals and parabens. For some reason I never really made a laundry change until I saw this product. I did think about it sometimes, but I never acted on it. At the moment, I still live in my parents house so I just use whatever detergent they would buy for the convenience. Here is an article that where berryplus was tested and compared to other detergents.

Other steps you can take are to consolidate your laundry, air dry clothes when possible, and use cold water when washing. By consolidating your laundry, you are saving time and also making washing clothes more efficient and easy. Organize what you need to wash into undergarments, whites, etc.  Berryplus works well with cold water, and encourages you to use cold water. Cold water washing saves energy, and “According to the US Department of Energy, as much as 90% of the energy used to wash clothes in a conventional machine is used for heating the water” (*). Air drying clothes obviously cuts down on dryer usage and overall water and electricity usage!

Overall I really like it! I tend to have a lot of laundry and being able to cut down on plastic, chemicals and my overall footprint is a good feeling. Vegan cuts even has a deal for berryplus on their website along with a bunch of other wonderful vegan products!

Raw Foods

A tart I’m working on and chocolate cashew cream

I’ve been feeling so inspired by raw foods lately. I first heard about raw foods when browsing through vegan blogs on tumblr and the like. Then I found a couple of raw foodists on youtube and checked out some of their testimonies and other videos. My first thought was, “this is crazy. Completely raw?” I, of course, was totally unaware of the vast world of raw food. All I could think of was a world without pasta and cooked veggies. I did a little research, I didn’t dig too deeply into thought because I just really didn’t know what it was all about. I thought it was kind of crazy to be honest. Months later, my mom being the nice lady that she is was doing some research on vegan restaurants in the area and found a particular cafe only about 20 minutes from our house. Not only was this cafe vegan, but it was raw vegan. They offer monthly cooking classes there and the one they were having that month sounded too good to resist to me. We signed up for a class.

After that class, I’ve never felt the same about cooked food. Always in the back of my mind, I think, “I could be eating raw.” I just don’t enjoy grains or baked goods they way I used to. I’ve learned so much about the world of raw foods, I feel so enlightened. There was this whole other world of food I was totally missing! I’ve taken two other classes since then at the same place and I plan to take another. I’ve gotten some incredible recipes. I was also inspired to go to the library to pick up some cook books by Ani Phyo (who is awesome, by the way). Now experimenting with raw foods is an entirely new adventure.

I honestly do feel the difference between energizing, living foods and cooked, overly starchy foods. Raw foods emphasizes raw vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, pickled and fermented vegetables, and fresh herbs and spices. I’m going to feature a lot more raw recipes on my blog so anyone can experience the benefits of raw food! I’m going to experiment with salad dressings, desserts, dehydrated goods, breads, etc. I’ve already made a pretty delicious raw fruit dip made of cashews, coconut oil, dates and some other delicious and nutrient dense foods.

I’m not ready to give up all cooked foods yet, but raw foods is definitely going to take over the majority of my diet!

Let me know how you feel about raw foods. Have you experienced any benefits? Have you never heard of raw foods? What do you think about raw foods? Do you prefer cooked over raw, raw over cooked? Tell me anything, or ask me anything!

vegan carob peanut butter waffle sandwhich

This recipe is soo simple. It makes an awesome breakfast and it’s something a little different from traditional waffles. I used to love making peanut butter waffle sandwiches with frozen waffles and this is a great alternative with a healthy (and chocolate!) vegan alternative with organic peanut butter and bananas.

Recipe:
1 cup whole wheat flour (I used buckwheat)
1 tsp baking powder
3 tablespoons carob powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp maple syrup or agave
1 cup coconut milk or other milk of choice (almond, rice, soy, etc)
2 tbsp oil (I used liquid coconut oil)
3 tbsp cacao nibs
organic peanut butter
1 banana
more cacao nibs
you’re also gonna need a waffle maker
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and then pour in the coconut milk, the oil, and maple syrup or agave and stir. Add in the cacao nibs and stir until it all comes together into a batter. Spray your waffle maker and drop about 2/3 cup of batter on the waffle maker (may vary depending on how big your waffle maker is). After you get a nice beautiful waffle, cut it in half and spread the desired amount of peanut butter on one side and add banana slices and cacao nibs.
Chocolate and peanut butter are two of my favorite things. You can really do a lot with this recipe. You could add vegan chocolate chips instead of nibs. You can use almond butter or cashew butter and you can even just eat the waffles with a little syrup or whatever!
I know the pictures aren’t great and there aren’t a lot but these are just pictures I already had on my phone and the one was from instagram! If people are actually interested in any of the recipes in the future I will definitely take more time and effort into photographing them.

Yummy green smoothie

This is a recipe for a great green smoothie to jumpstart your morning. I like to have smoothies like this for breakfast or sometimes as a snack after a workout.

Recipe:

1/2 cup coconut water

1 cup water

1 loosely packed cup of organic spinach

1 loosely packed cup of lettuce of your choice

1 banana

1/2 pineapple

1 tsp of agave or maple syrup

1/2 tbsp of hemp powder

1 tsp of flax seeds

Just add all this to your blender, blend until smooth and enjoy! You can add more or less of any of the ingredients listed or add in other fruits or vegetables to really make it your own ❤