Monday, February 21, 2011

What made you do it?

This past week someone asked me if I remembered what it took to finally make me decide to switch to a vegan diet- to finally eliminate all dairy and eggs from my already vegetarian diet.

I definitely do. 

I remember allowing myself over Christmas vacation to watch some videos and learn all I could about factory farming. I had already read a little bit about it before going vegetarian, but I went even more in-depth over my Christmas break. I knew the videos were going to be difficult to watch, but I also knew that I had to do it. I had to finally see where my food was really coming from. I won't lie - they made me cry. But they also made me wake up and say to myself, "I cannot contribute to this industry any more." Sure, there ARE some small farms out there who DO treat their animals well, but sadly, they are not the farms that supply meat, eggs, and dairy to my local grocery stores, Costco, or any of the stores I buy my food from.

I decided to post the videos here with hopes that maybe even one person will allow themselves to watch them and make even one small change (such as buying almond/soy/rice milk instead of cows milk or trying out Meatless Mondays.) I know I keep saying this, but I WISH I would have watched these when I was 20 years old instead of 40. 

I used to say to myself, "I love animals too much to watch videos like that." 
Now I know I should have been saying, "I love animals too much and that is why I need to watch these videos."

As painful as they are to watch, they are necessary to open your eyes to where your meat and dairy TRULY comes from. It is NOT the happy cow on a happy farm, like the commercials show us. There are not wide open pastures like the packaging of the meat shows us. Yes, at one time I did believe that the cows, chickens, turkeys, and pigs I ate lived happy lives on wide open farms and died painlessly and humanely for my nice neat package of meat. I feel so terrible for ignoring it before, so all I can do now is try my best to educate even just one make even just one tiny change.

This video is narrated by Alec Baldwin and is called "Meet your Meat" 

This video is narrated by and stars Paul McCartney.

This video (click this link)  shows how much suffering chickens
used for Mc Donalds food endure
(please think about this one the next time you want to order chicken nuggets, chicken sandwiches, salads with chicken, egg mc muffins, etc.)

**If you just want to READ about the issues and not watch the videos, Farm Sanctuary has some wonderful education pages found here. also has some great educational resources to read.

Please remember, even just choosing to go meatless for just
one day a week  can make a difference!

Let me know if you decide to make any small changes. I'd love to hear about them! :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

This makes my heart smile

I have been reading a lot and learning a lot about Farm Sanctuaries lately. When I win the lottery someday, I would love to put money towards an existing sanctuary and work there. Maybe I would even open my own, but I would have much to learn before going in that direction.

I have watched this video quite a few times. Susie is an inspiration to me and just watching how the animals follow her to their new pastures makes my heart smile!

Farm Sanctuary is a wonderful organization that started in 1986 to bring awareness to the cruel practices of factory farming. They have rescued thousands of animals and have educated so many people about where their meat/dairy. We adopted a turkey from there last year and plan to support them again this year.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cruelty Free Products - Household Cleaning - a New "Method"

It was sad to find out that big companies STILL feel the need to animal test when there are alternatives available.This is an area that I am constantly improving on, since I keep finding things that I use that are owned by the naughty companies. I don't beat myself up or throw things away - I just finish using it, choose a new brand the next time I buy it, and move on. Just from writing this blog and visiting the websites below opened my eyes to new things to think about in the future.

Johnson and JohnsonUnilever (they own lots of products like Dove, Axe, Helmanns, Lipton, Knorr, Bertoli, Slim Fast, and many more) Proctor and Gamble (Tide, Crest, Covergirl, Clairol, Nyquill, Charmin, Bounce, Febreeze, and many more)  Arm and Hammer, Kimberly Clark, and others - basically all of the products that are heavily advertised and easy to find in supermarkets and Costco, Sam's Club, etc. still do conduct unnecessary animal testing.
Clicking on the links will show you the products those companies sell. The product itself might not be animal tested, like toilet paper, but if you don't want your hard earned money going into the hands of animal testers, there are lots of great cruelty-free companies to buy from. Remember to check when in doubt.

Household cleaning products were pretty easy for me, since I found an affordable line of cruelty-free products that has been a slam-dunk across the board. I have tried other brands, but keep coming back to Method for lots of my household cleaning supplies.

My new favorite dish soap - love the scent (sea minerals)

Refill for my hand soap in bathroom and kitchen. Environmentally friendly - I don't have to keep recycling the old plastic pumps.

Le Scrub for the bathroom. Smells like eucalyptus! Plus, the best part is that you don't feel like you need to use a face mask when cleaning the bathroom.

For the toilet...

 These are awesome for quickly wiping down the bathroom sink area...smells like eucalyptus mint!

Laundry detergent. I love that it comes in Free and Clear. Also available in different scents.

Multi Surface - I use this one at school alot, too.

I LOVE this - smells like almonds!

This does work great for cleaning wood -and smells yummy!

For school - I give these to the kids to wipe their desks down. (Or if a kid gets snot all over their hands after blowing their nose.)

For windows, I use a vinegar mixture (vinegar and a little water. You can even add a few drops of dishwashing detergent if you want.)  I never had problems with streaking, but if you do, here is a solution.

I also have a bottle of this just because it smells so good:

For stain removal AND hand sanitizing, I found this little gem at the Whole Foods check out. I bought it as a pocket hand sanitizer, but found out that it works great at stain removal, too! No need to carry Shout wipes anymore!

So, as you can see, my favorite product is Method. It is priced well, readily available at Target, and smells really good! They also sell many more items such as cleaning wipes, hand sanitizers, kids shampoos and soaps, granite cleaners, stainless steel cleaners, dishwasher soap, baby diaper lotion, leather cleaner and much more! At Target, look for their "Natural Cleaners" section and their "Natural Detergent" section. It was tough for me to find the area at first, but luckily some Targets keep all the Method products together. You can also order them online.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cruelty Free Products - Bathroom and Beauty

One of the things that started my whole journey was a simple question asked by my husband in one day as I was joking about having to buy Oil of Olay eye cream...
"Did you know that company tests on animals?" 

I thought that nobody tested on animals anymore. I thought that was a thing of the past. They don't still do that!  Didn't all the animal rights organizations and PETA take care of that years ago?

I was so dumb. I was really dumb. (For real.)

So, I began researching.
I realized that MOST of the products I had in my house were either tested on animals or made by companies who still test on animals. So, I made the decision to try my best to not support the companies who still do test (even if the product itself is not tested on.) Much harder than it seems since so many household and beauty products are owned by the naughty companies, but I am slowly getting the hang of it. For example, I thought that I was doing well by buying Toms of Maine toothpaste until I realized that they are owned by Colgate. Ugh. So, even though Toms ITSELF is not tested on, my money would ultimately go to the bad guy. Not where I want my hard earned cashola to go.

I have been transitioning all of my household and beauty products to cruelty-free choices as much as I can since last May. As I use up the last of certain products, I find cruelty-free alternatives to replace them with. A great resource for me has been Leaping Bunny. They even have an easy to use  Compassionate Shopping guide to search your favorite products and see who the bad guys are. I even have their IPhone app on my phone for easy reference.

I will start with the the beauty products in my bathroom that I use and enjoy, then I will do another post on my cleaning products and makeup.Maybe it can inspire some people to change even just one product they buy :)

Hand soap - I use Method pump soap in Lavender (and Unscented for hubby,) which luckily can be found at Target and even has nice, cheap refill bags.

Air Spray - I used to love the Method Lemongrass and Lavender spray until they discontinued it. Now I use the Orange Air Therapy. I buy this at Trader Joes.

Toothpaste: Kiss My Face Anticavity. Sometimes when I need my Vanilla fix, I will use Jason's Powersmile Vanilla Mint, too. Both of these I buy at Whole Foods or

Face Cream: I had been using Oil of Olay or Dove moisturizers before, but now I use DeVita's Perfecting Time (available at Whole Foods)
Face Soap: I have used Dove bar soap to wash my face for as long as I can remember. Since Unilever is one of the worst companies when it comes to animal testing, I have had to say goodbye to Dove. :( My new face soap of choice is Kirk's.

Shampoo: My life has been made much easier since finding out that Paul Mitchell was cruelty-free. I use his conditioner and detangling spray (my hair has always tangled like a 4 year old.) I like to use different shampoos - right now I am using the Nature's Gate Lavender. 

Sometimes for fun I'll go with the Kiss My Face Mistreated duo. I like the smell.

Speaking of hair, for Hair Color my absolute favorite product is Naturtint. I never feel like I am putting chemicals in my hair like I used to before. It doesn't burn or stink. And the color lasts :) I could seriously color my hair everyday and be happy, but I don't have to with this product. It is not listed on leaping bunny, but from all that I have read about it, I feel safe with it until I read otherwise. It's made in Spain's Phergal Labs. This can be bought at Whole Foods (make sure you wait until it goes on sale) or through for much cheaper.

Body wash: Another product that I love to have a few to choose from each day. Right now my 2 favorites are Shikai Vanilla (or Coconut when I want to switch it up...)
 ...and Kiss My Face Lavendar and Lily (yes, I love lavender!)

Body Lotion: I had a bunch of Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy Lavender lotion that I was using up. On the back it says, "Never Tested on Animals" but that could mean the finished product ONLY. It doesn't necessarily mean that some of the components weren't tested. It is not listed on the leaping bunny site as being cruelty free, so after its done, I will be switching to a Nature's Gate or Whole Foods brand lavender lotion.

Until it's done....

then I switch to this...

I also love the body lotions, hand soaps and body washes from Hugo Naturals (Whole Foods and

Now, I am far from perfect. My eyes are very sensitive, so for my contacts I am still using CibaVision to clean them and saline for a rinse. I did find this product to use in the future, but my eye doctor wanted me to stay status quo while I am clearing up an eye issue:

Shave Cream: I am still using up the last of my stock of old stuff, but when I am done, I plan on trying the Kiss My Face products.

Deodorant: I bought a shitload of Dove when it was on sale a long time ago and I'm on my last one. I am nervous about finding a good cruelty-free one, but once I do I will let you know!

Toilet paper: I try my best not to buy from the nasty companies by getting my TP from Trader Joes whenever possible. is a great place to buy some of these products at a discount!

*Just FYI - companies do not have to carry the leaping bunny symbol ON the product for it to be cruelty free (that is an extra step companies take for marketing.) As long as the company is LISTED on the leaping bunny site, it is a cruelty free product :)

I think that is it for my bathroom products (if I forgot something, I will add it.)
Next up....
household cleaning products and makeup!