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January 12 2017

18:33

Veganized Lashes: The Ultimate Vegan Mascara Guide

My daily makeup routine consists of clear glowing skin, eyebrows on fleek, winged eye liner, and long healthy thick eye lashes. Unfortunately, even in this day and age, many commercial makeup brands still use animal based ingredients in their products and test on animals.

Luckily for us, other makeup brands are stepping up and producing high quality mascaras that are great for your lashes and kind to animals.

Here is my review of 10 fashionable vegan mascaras that will have your eye lashes looking completely fabulous!

Va-Va-Voom: Mascaras that are Dressed to Impress

Arbonne

Arbonne is a vegan certified, non-toxic, beauty company. I mentioned Arbonne before in my article about the 5 must try vegan cosmetic brands, so of course their “It’s a Long Story” mascara would end up on my list.

Consistency and suitability: Definitely not for the “natural look” type of girl – but if you love a black dramatic eyelashes look, then “It’s a Long Story” mascara is for you! The wand is almost rectangular shape so getting those smaller lashes could be tricky, but it is wash resistant and long wearing, so it is defiantly worth trying.

Arbone is made in the USA, but ships worldwide.

Too Faced cosmetics

Too Faced cosmetics is a cruelty free makeup brand that is “unabashedly pink and feminine with a playful wink”.

Consistency and suitability: Too Faced cosmetics aims to put the fun factor in their makeup, and with their top selling mascara named “Better than Sex” it is definitely on the right path. Their mascara box is hourglass shaped just like the wand, and every part of the experience of using this mascara reminds me why I love being a woman! The formula is thick and I found that it did everything it says that it will. Define, lengthen, and add volume. “Better than sex” I’m not quite sure, but one of the best mascaras I tried? Definitely!

The company ships in the US and internationally to selected countries. To shop at the Too Faced Amazon store, click here.

Lily Lolo mineral cosmetics

Lily Lolo is an award winning natural vegan cosmetic line. Their “Best Natural Mascara” won the 2015 Natural Health International Beauty Awards, and it is one of Petit Vour’s best sellers; after trying their new vegan formula I can see why!

Consistency and suitability: Lily Lolo’s mascara has a tapered wand, doesn’t clump, and gives me that bold dramatic look that I love.  The fact that the line is vegan and natural is a wonderful added bonus. Plus this mascara is organic. If you love Too Faced “Better than Sex”, but want a natural all vegan brand, Lili Lolo is for you!

Natural Beauties: Natural Look Mascaras

Ecco Bella 

Ecco Bella is a cruelty free organic makeup and skin care line and their mascara is made with natural clay and flower wax, hence its name, “FlowerColor”. Their mascara comes in black and brown, is water resistant, and has a handy mirror in the container.

Consistency and suitability: The “FlowerColor” Mascara has a standard wand with wide bristles so that it holds just enough to layer on a hint of color. Perfect if you like the natural look! The formula is thinner so it won’t clump after several layers and would work well for sensitive eyes or for young girls who are first getting into wearing makeup.

Ecco Bella is made in the USA, but will ship worldwide and offers a 100% money back policy. Their mascara is also available on the Ecco Bella Amazon store

e.l.f. cosmetics 

e.l.f cosmetics is an affordable vegan cosmetics line with products at around $5 – perfect for the cost conscious vegan.

Consistency and suitability: e.l.f makes several types of mascara, but the one I tried was their “Volumizing and Defining Mascara” which only costs $2 and happens to be their best seller. The formula of this mascara is thin so it goes on clump free even after several layers, but I wouldn’t call it volumizing. Also their packaging is not durable, so I would be mindful of that if you are prone to dropping your makeup. I do love how black their Jet Black color goes on and if you like black without a dramatic effect, this would be great for you.

e.l.f cosmetics are made in the US, but will also ship to Canada and the UK, and has an Amazon store.

Flirty Girls: Mascara for Flirty Lashes

Ere Perez Natural Cosmetics

Ere Perez is a cruelty free Australian owned cosmetics company that offers natural makeup, which is great for people with sensitive skin. They carry three types of mascaras, and I was able to try their “Volumizing Waterproof Mascara” (the only natural water proof mascara on the market according to their website).  

Consistency and suitability: The Ere Perez “Volumizing Waterproof Mascara” has a tapered wand for those perfectionists out there who like to make sure they are able to coat ALL of their lashes. And yes, it is indeed waterproof, so make sure you are stocked with a natural oil (such as coconut, almond, or jojoba oil) to help with removal. I do have to mention that this mascara seemed to dry out faster than the other brands, so clumping could be an issue if you like to use multiple layers.

This brand has an international Amazon shop and storefronts across the Australian continent. It offers free shipping within Australia, and also ships abroad.

Marks & Spencers 

In many ways, Marks & Spencers is to the UK what Target is to the US, the place to shop! They carry everything from clothes and food to home goods and they also carry their own line of cruelty free make up. Although their total makeup is not vegan, M&S do carry four mascaras that are: “Autograph Neverending Lashes Lengthening Mascara”,” Autograph Amplified Lashes Volumizing Mascara”, “Autograph  Aqua Proof Water Resistant Mascara”, and their “Autograph High Definition Lashes”.

Consistency and suitability: I tried their “Neverending Lashes Mascara” and I have never tried a mascara brush of this type before. It is so thin and long, and because of this it is able to coat every single one of your lashes. This mascara is perfect for those of us with naturally thick lashes, as it looked great on my top lashes, but clumped up on my bottom ones.

This company does not ship to the US, so if you live in the UK or are visiting there, be sure to stop by.

Cate McNabb

Cate McNabb is another great cruelty free natural cosmetics company. They offer mascara in regular and mini size, which is great for traveling or if you are the type whose makeup expires before you are able to use it all.

Consistency and suitability: Like Ere Perez, the Cate McNabb “Volumizing Mascara” also comes with a tapered wand and a thicker consistency which is perfect to add volume and color. However, despite its thick consistency, this mascara does not clump easily, as I was able to put on several layers without clumping lushes.

Cate McNabb products are made in the USA (free shipping on all US order!), and ships internationally.

Antonym

Antonym Cosmetics is a cruelty-free eco-luxe makeup line that offers certified natural and organic makeup and vegan makeup brushes. They carry one mascara, called “Lola Lash”.

Consistency and suitability:  This mascara has a curved wand with wider bristles so it is perfect for those with straight lashes. It will definitely give you volume, but easily comes off with water so be careful if you plan on running in the rain or crying at a really good movie. On a side note, I love that their compacts cases are made from sustainable bamboo. So chic and environmental friendly!

Antonym is developed in the US, manufactured in the EU, and ships internationally.

BWC

I can’t talk about vegan makeup without talking about Beauty without Cruelty. Per their website, BWC was founded “in 1963 in England by the trustees of BWC Charitable Trust, an animal welfare organization. Its goal was to manufacture and distribute natural, color cosmetics that were NOT tested on animals (as was the norm) and did NOT contain any animal ingredients.”

Consistency and suitability: I was able to try out their “Full Volume Mascara“, however, they also sell “Ultimate Natural” and “Waterproof brands”. Their “Full Volume Mascara” has a standard wand and does add some thickness and volume, but it is very wet so make sure you leave time between coats to allow it to dry properly to prevent clumping.

BWC products are available on their US website, their UK website, and on Amazon.

I love that more cosmetics brands are realizing that beauty doesn’t have to hurt animals and I am looking forward to the day when all makeup brands are vegan. Until then I’m happy to support these vegan and vegan-friendly brands, and I invite you to support them as well.

We hope you found our vegan mascara guide helpful. Here’s to long and luscious, cruelty-free lashes!

 

The post Veganized Lashes: The Ultimate Vegan Mascara Guide appeared first on The Vegan Woman.

February 02 2016

21:00

The Best of Vegan Chocolates You Can Buy Online

No matter how many times I “give it up”, there’s no getting around the fact that I simply love chocolate. Dark chocolate, white chocolate, with caramel, almonds, peanut butter, you name it.

In my chocolate quests, I’ve found that although many local grocery stores are becoming more hip to the notion of veganism and fair trade chocolate, it’s pretty hard to find gourmet vegan truffles and the likes of vegan fudge or pralines in local shops.

So, I’ve decided to team up with my great friend and founder of The Vegan Woman, Sivan Pardo Renwick, to share my love of gourmet vegan chocolate and present you with the ultimate vegan chocolate guide.

Our Top Gourmet Vegan Chocolate Brands

Booja Booja: v egan chocolate truffles

Lead taste tester: Sivan

Booja Booja does organic vegan chocolate truffles to perfection. Over the years, I have tried several flavors from their truffle collections, including my favorite Almond and Sea Salt Caramel Truffles, their oh-so-pampering Banoffee Toffee Truffles (which are currently only available in their truffle selection box no.2), and their nutty Hazelnut Chocolate Truffles.

The truffles are made up of a creamy, melt in your mouth, pampering center, wrapped up in a dark chocolate outer shell sprinkled with rich cocoa powder.

The Booja Booja Hazelnut Truffles on the left and Rhubarb truffles on the right. Get the truffles via our Amazon link. Image courtesy of Booja Booja.

The Booja Booja Hazelnut Truffles on the left and Rhubarb truffles on the right. Get them via Amazon. Image courtesy of Booja Booja.

 

The Booja Booja truffles come in colorful boxes and various selection combinations, so you can choose a box of your favorite flavors, or simply try out a selection box to introduce yourself to their various truffles.

Vegan Valentine’s chocolates from Booja Booja: Although Booja Booja doesn’t offer specialty Valentine’s truffles, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t be impressed with one of their collection boxes, or a festive Booja Booja Vegan Champagne Truffles box…

The Booja Booja gourmet selection box. Get the gift box via our Amazon link. Image: courtesy of Booja Booja.

The Booja Booja gourmet selection box. Get the gift box via Amazon. Image: courtesy of Booja Booja.

 

Premium Chocolatiers: v egan chocolate truffles, chocolate candies and chocolate bars

Lead taste tester: Beverlyn

Move over Fannie May! Premium Chocolatiers have taken charge in the gourmet chocolate department with a wide selection of decadent, suitable-for-vegans treats, from truffles to peanut butter cups and caramel-nougat bars. My taste buds were definitely treated to their assortment of truffles a couple months ago, and while I am generally a giving person, I found these hard to share!

The Premium Chocolatiers truffles have a perfect outer shell (including one with milkless white chocolate); and they had me savoring every bite. I guess if I had to choose one, oh who am I kidding, if I had to choose a few, they would be the rich Coffee Truffle with a deep dark chocolate center, the Grand Marnier (with the yummy white chocolate shell), and the Salted Caramel that perfectly harmonized sweet with salty.

The Premium Chocolatiers vegan truffle collection. Get it via our Amazon link. Image: courtesy of Premium Chocolatiers.

The Premium Chocolatiers vegan truffle collection. Get it via Amazon. Image: courtesy of Premium Chocolatiers.

 

Vegan Valentine’s chocolates from Premium Chocolatiers: Premium Chocolatiers offer a variety of options for Valentine’s Day, including Heart Truffle Boxes (regular and large), as well as heart shaped lollipops and strawberry cream filled semisweet chocolate hearts. Word to the wise, you’ll want more than you think!

The Premium Chocolatiers Valentine's gift box. Get the gift box via our Amazon link. Image: courtesy of Premium Chocolatiers.

The Premium Chocolatiers Valentine’s gift box.Get the gift box via Amazon.Image: courtesy of Premium Chocolatiers.

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Hotel Chocolat: vegan pralines, puddles, buttons and slabs

Lead taste tester: Sivan

While Hotel Chocolat is not a vegan brand, it offers exquisite vegan chocolates of various shapes and forms, and during holidays, like Christmas and Valentine’s, it also offers seasonal chocolate creations that aim to please vegan hearts across the globe.

My all-time favorite Hotel Chocolat concoction is without a doubt the Gianduja Bombe Selector, a nutty vegan praline that simply melts in your mouth. However, the Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Slab and the Pistachio Crunchers have also been known to make quite a few appearances in our home.

The Hotel Chocolat vegan pralines on the left and Hazelnut slab on the right. Image courtesy of Hotel Chocolat.

The Hotel Chocolat vegan pralines on the left and Hazelnut slab on the right. Get them here. Image courtesy of Hotel Chocolat.

 

Vegan Valentine’s chocolates from Hotel Chocolat: While Hotel Chocolat offers a few variations of vegan dark chocolate hearts, I think its All Dark Collection wins for Valentine’s chocolates, hands down.

The Hotel Chocolat vegan gift box. Image: courtesy of Hotel Chocolat.

The Hotel Chocolat vegan gift box. Get the gift box here. Image: courtesy of Hotel Chocolat.

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Nicobella: vegan chocolate truffles and chocolate snacks

Lead taste tester: Beverlyn

Nicobella is a socially conscious company that aims to share its message of plant-based, cruelty free living through its delicious dark chocolates! What’s more, Nicobella makes a conscious effort to use recycled materials wherever possible, actively raises awareness (and funds) for animals in need, helps support local animal shelters on a regular basis, and educates its reader-base on the benefits of a plant-based diet.

I had the pleasure of trying an assortment of Nicobella’s dark chocolate truffles, which were pure, melt-in-your-mouth, dark chocolate lusciousness! Out of the bunch, the Cocoa Bliss with its velvety smooth richness, Cinnamon Turmeric Spice Truffle that leaves your taste buds with a hint of invigorating spice, and incredibly unique Sunflower Butter Banana especially stood out.

The Nicobella Blueberry Almond truffles on the vegan truffle assortment on the right. Image courtesy of Nicobella.

The Nicobella Blueberry Almond truffles on the vegan truffle assortment on the right. Image courtesy of Nicobella.

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Vegan Valentine’s chocolates from Nicobella: Nicobella will be featuring special Valentine’s Day items on its website starting February third, and will also be partnering with Yo Soy Candle and Zen Teas to offer a special tea and chocolate vegan Zen Set.

The Vegan Woman followers – pick up a 5% discount code to Nicobella by entering the code veganwoman05 at the checkout!

The Vegan Woman VIP members – you get a 15% discount code! Details of our Nicobella Giveaway are coming your way!

 

Natasha’s Raw and Living Foods: raw vegan fudge, truffles, chunks, and dark chocolate

Lead taste tester: Sivan

Natasha’s Raw and Living foods does various types of delicious, high quality, sugar-free, rich and pampering chocolates, from fudge to truffles and dark chocolate. I tried a selection of these chocolates this past Christmas, and let me tell you, I was wowed by the uniqueness of flavor.

All of Natasha’s fudges and truffles are super creamy and rich, and also have the look and feel of boutique vegan chocolates that were individually made. My favorites are the Brazilian Cinnamon Truffles, the Raw Goji Fudge, and the Raw Fudge with Almond Mylk and Chai Spice.

Natasha's Raw and Living Foods raw vegan Goji Fudge on the left and raw cacao hearts with goji berries on the right. Image courtesy of Natasha's Raw and Living Foods.

Natasha’s Raw and Living Foods raw vegan Goji Fudge on the left and raw cacao hearts with goji berries on the right. Image courtesy of Natasha’s Raw and Living Foods.

 

If you have less of a sweet tooth, and prefer dark chocolate over the sweet and creamy truffles and fudge, you should be aware that Natasha’a dark chocolates are very dark (like none that I have tried before), and unlike the fudge and truffles, would probably not be suitable for children. Also, if you try the dark chocolate, you should know that all of Natasha’s chocolates are vegan, apart from one dark chocolate variation (which contains bee-pollen).

Vegan Valentine’s chocolates from Natasha’s Raw and Living Foods: Natasha’s special Valentine’s offer is the Raw Cacao Hearts with Goji berries. However, her Raw Fudge Collection Box and her Raw Goji Fudge Love Box can make beautiful gifts as well, on Valentine’s and year round.

The Vegan Woman VIP members: You get a 5% discount code! Details of our Natasha’s Giveaway are coming your way!  

 

Creek House Patisserie: vegan chocolate truffles

Another non-vegan brand that offers vegan chocolate and is receiving great reviews is Creek House Patisserie. You can find Berry Berry, Chili Mango, Dark Espresso, and Orange Coconut flavors amongst their truffle offerings.

While I unfortunately couldn’t get my hands on a box prior to this review, they look very promising, and so I decided to add them to our list as our wild card. If you decide to order, just be sure not to get confused with the Creek House Classics (their dairy chocolate line).

Creek House Patisserie vegan truffles. Get them via our Amazon link. Image: courtesy of Creek House Patisserie.

Creek House Patisserie vegan truffles. Get them via Amazon. Image: courtesy of Creek House Patisserie.

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The Vegan Woman VIP members: You get a 15% discount code to try these out! Details of our Creek House Patisserie Giveaway are coming your way! .

That’s all for our guide to vegan chocolates! I think it’s fair to say that our taste buds were the clear winners throughout this journey into the world of gourmet vegan chocolate, but luckily yours can be, too!

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below and let us know what your favorite vegan chocolates are on Valentine’s and year round.

 

Beverlyn Baer

Beverlyn Baer

Guest Post by Beverlyn Baer

Beverlyn is a lover – of animals, life, food, laughing, movement, adventure, contemplation, musical journeys, continuous learning and finding the beauty in seemingly small and mundane elements of life. She is an avid traveler and seeker of new experiences, and shares her love of yoga and cruelty free, nutritious and delicious food wherever she goes.

Cover image: courtesy of Premium Chocolatiers, Hotel Chocolat and Booja Booja.

We have included some affiliate links in our vegan chocolate guide. Please feel free to use them to help support us.

 

The post The Best of Vegan Chocolates You Can Buy Online appeared first on The Vegan Woman.

January 17 2016

17:41

Green Period: 4 Eco-Friendly Vegan Period Products that Will Change Your Life

In most cases, when women go vegan, we think about changing what we eat. Then we turn our attention to makeup and clothes.

But have you given any thought to making that “time of the month” more health-conscious and environmentally-friendly?

What’s so bad about regular period products?

According to the website Healthy Women, the average woman uses about 10,000 sanitary products in her lifetime. Products that end up in our landfills or as trash in our water system, hurting sea animals and wildlife in the process.

The average woman uses about 10,000 sanitary products in her lifetime. Products that end up in our landfills or as trash in our water system, hurting sea animals, wildlife, and our health.

The average woman uses about 10,000 sanitary products in her lifetime. Products that end up in our landfills or as trash in our water system, hurting sea animals, wildlife, and our health.

In addition to damaging the environment, the chemicals in most commercial products have the potential to cause serious health problems to women. Our skin is our largest organ and also the thinnest, which means that toxins found in most commercial sanitary products can easily permeate the skin in and around the vagina.

In Huff Post article, Women Beware: Most Feminine Hygiene Products Contain Toxic Ingredients, Dr. Mercola highlights how “conventional sanitary pads can contain [chemicals to] the equivalent of about four plastic bags”!! Furthermore, the clean white look of commercial sanitary products usually comes from the use of chlorine bleach.

4 Healthy, vegan and eco-friendly solutions for your period

Luckily there has never before been so many products in the market for safe, nontoxic, and environmentally friendly period products. Below I discuss some of my favorite vegan and eco-friendly period products and my experiences with a few of them.

1. No Chemicals, Cotton Pads and Tampons

If you are looking to limit your contact to toxins, the easiest switch is to change to a natural all cotton product such as Veeda. Veeda carries a line of 100% cotton pads, liners and tampons that contain no chemicals, synthetics or dyes. Their liners and tampons are sold in a recyclable cardboard box and their pads are wrapped in Biofilm, a biodegradable wrap that breaks down in 6-12 months. Just be aware that if you use applicators with your tampons, Veeda’s are made of plastic, albeit BPA-free and with an offset program to minimize the environmental impact.

Veeda Cotton Pads and Tampons: Veeda carries a line of 100% cotton pads, liners and tampons that contain no chemicals, synthetics or dyes. Get them via Amazon.

Veeda Cotton Pads and Tampons: Veeda carries a line of 100% cotton pads, liners and tampons that contain no chemicals, synthetics or dyes. Get them via Amazon.

Other perks to this brand are that the price is comparable to commercial brands, they offer free shipping to anywhere in the US, and they are stocked in well-known and accessible commercial stores. Veeda sent me some products to try and, as a long time commercial tampon and pad user, I have to say I was most impressed that they did not irritate my skin like other brands. Since they are 100% cotton, they felt more comfortable than commercial products, had a comparable absorption level, and the adhesive on the pads kept them in place better than other all-natural brands I have tried.

Veeda cotton tampons: Just be aware that if you use applicators with your tampons, Veeda’s are made of plastic, albeit BPA-free and with an offset program to minimize the environmental impact. Get them via Amazon.

Veeda’s cotton tampons: Just be aware that if you use applicators with your tampons, Veeda’s are made of plastic, albeit BPA-free and with an offset program to minimize the environmental impact. Get them via Amazon.

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2. Reusable Cotton Pads

Reusable pads are pads you wash, dry, and reuse. Companies such as Glad Rags offer organic cotton pads that are also free from irritating synthetics and chemical gels. These pads come as a set of three pieces (a holder and two inserts) in various patterns and colors which you can customize to suit your needs depending on how heavy your period is. And since you wash and reuse the pads instead of throwing them away you not only save money, but you also tremendously reduce your impact on the environment one month at a time.

Glad Rags reusable period pads: organic cotton pads that are also free from irritating synthetics, and chemical gels. Get them on Amazon.

Glad Rags reusable period pads: organic cotton pads that are also free from irritating synthetics, and chemical gels. Get them on Amazon.

The price point may initially seem expensive, but the longer you use them the more economical they become. I didn’t manage to get comfortable using these outside the home. Although I am very comfortable with my period, carrying the used clothes pads during the day until I come home from work did not appeal to me at all. What I did love however was that these felt as comfortable as wearing plain underwear, and, since these are washable, I never have to worry about being out of pads when “Aunt Flow” comes to town.

Reusable period pads by Glad Rags: use, wash, dry, and reuse. Get them on Amazon.

Reusable period pads by Glad Rags: use, wash, dry, and reuse. Get them on Amazon.

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3. Menstrual Cups

Perhaps the product that causes most apprehension is the menstrual cup – but you needn’t worry. Menstrual cup is a silicon cup that you insert in and position in the lower part of your vagina, just past your pelvic bone. You can wear it up to 12 hours while it collects and holds your menstrual blood, then you just remove, empty, wash and re-insert.

Menstrual cups are growing in popularity with brand names such as Lunette, Iris Cup, Moon Cup and Diva Cup popping up online and in stores. Lunette, whose cup sells in over 40 countries, sent me a model 2 size to try. With two sizes available (model 1 for women with light to moderate flow, are younger, or have not experienced intercourse; and model 2 for a normal or heavier flow and for those who have given birth vaginally) you can choose which best suits your needs.

Menstrual cup is a silicon cup that you insert in and position in the lower part of your vagina, and which you can wear up to 12 hours while it collects and holds your menstrual blood. Get it on Amazon.

Menstrual cup is a silicon cup that you insert in and position in the lower part of your vagina, and which you can wear up to 12 hours while it collects and holds your menstrual blood. Get it on Amazon.

What I liked best about the cup was that I could insert it in the morning, wear it all day (without even feeling it was there) then empty it when I got home in the evening. There is minimal waste since the only thing that you’re disposing is your blood, which is great for the environment. The only advice I offer is that it may take you some time to learn to insert and remove the cup properly. Be patient, make sure you are using the size cup that’s right for you, and in the meantime wear a backup liner in case of leaks.

Lunette Menstrual Cups: Insert in the morning, wear all day, then empty when you get home. Get it on Amazon.

Lunette Menstrual Cups: Insert in the morning, wear all day, then empty when you get home. Get it on Amazon.

A menstrual cup can cost between $15 to $40, depending on the website of purchase and the brand. For the cheaper prices purchase via Amazon and remember, one cup can last years, so treat it as an investment!

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4. Period Panties

Although I wasn’t able to get my hands on one to try, I must give an honorable mention to Thinx. Thinx are literally period panties! According to the brand, these panties can be worn alone and keep you feeling clean and dry with some styles absorbing up to two tampons’ worth of menstrual blood. You can also wear them as a backup.

Thinx are literally period panties! According to the brand, these panties can be worn alone and keep you feeling clean and dry with some styles absorbing up to two tampons’ worth of menstrual blood. You can also wear them as a backup.

Thinx are literally period panties! According to the brand, these panties can be worn alone and keep you feeling clean and dry with some styles absorbing up to two tampons’ worth of menstrual blood. You can also wear them as a backup.

Just be aware that this new product is high demand. As I am writing this sentence they were backordered one month, so it might take you a while to get your hands on a pair.

Want to enter for your chance to win some of these green period products? Join us on The Vegan Woman’s Facebook group for more details!

Think green period

Women will have their period every month for about 30 years of their lives. That is a lot of waste in our landfills and water, toxins in our body and money out of our pockets. These companies are a few of many who are looking to make our periods more healthy, eco-friendly and cost-effective. Support these brands and make your period friendly for us all! 

The post Green Period: 4 Eco-Friendly Vegan Period Products that Will Change Your Life appeared first on The Vegan Woman.

December 31 2015

07:00

Vegan in Chicago – A City Guide

Chicago is one of my all-time favorite cities. Though I was born and raised outside The Second City, my dad went to grad school in Chicago and I have been experiencing its beauty since before I could walk.  Chicago offers the best of both worlds – you can enjoy the excitement of non-stop city life in a huge metropolis, while also feeling the kindness and authenticity of people around you. Chicagoans aren’t jaded, and neither is Chicago’s delicious vegan food! Here is my guide to some of the most delicious cruelty-free eats (and drinks) in the Windy City.

Vegan and vegan-friendly places to eat in Chicago

Rangoli: the most delicious and authentic vegan-friendly Indian food outside of Little India

I heard a lot about this amazing restaurant from online reviews and articles. I am Indian myself, and have been visiting and eating in Devon Street (Chicago’s ‘Little India’) from early age. Rangoli, however, is located in Humboldt Park, and is absolutely the best Indian food in the city without having to drive all the way north to Devon Street!

When I looked at their menu online, I nearly screamed and jumped out of my seat, realizing they serve a dish called Gobi Manchurian! I last ate this dish when I was visiting family in India and I haven’t been able to find anywhere in Chicago that makes it properly since. It’s a fusion of Chinese and Indian flavors; a semi-fried cauliflower dish with crispy herbs. It’s the perfect blend of spicy and sweet – do yourself a favor and order this if you haven’t already! The menu also has tons of vegan appetizers and mains. Be sure to try a few different items and share with friends.

Eat (your pizza) off beat at Dimo’s

The location I am referring to (there are two) is the Wicker Park (6 Corners) location, which has vegan pizza slices daily. This place is awesome! In addition to the classic variety, they do unusual toppings such as a vegan Philly cheese steak, vegan mac and cheese and even a vegan s’mores slice! Definitely go here if you want to eat outside the box!

Two Vegan Slices at Dimo's Pizza. Image: TVW.

Two Vegan Slices at Dimo’s Pizza. Image: TVW.

The slices are bigger than your head, really cheap and not at all greasy. Be sure to ask for a FREE cup of their homemade vegan ranch as a yummy condiment for any slice you choose!

Head to Fritz Pastry for the best vegan brunch and bakes

This vegan place does amazing vegan doughnuts, cakes, and pastries. The owner even makes her own vegan Pop Tarts! Come here for the most amazing vegan doughnut you’ve ever had in your life (the size of your head!) and a filling and hearty brunch with friends! I got a vegan ‘soul bowl’ breakfast here, which was made up of biscuits and gravy, vegan cheese, potatoes, tofu and red peppers.  It was so delicious and really hit the spot; it was also a super unique take on breakfast, which I loved!

Vegan Soul Bowl Brunch at Fritz Pastry. Image: TVW.

Vegan Soul Bowl Brunch at Fritz Pastry. Image: TVW.

Wormhole Coffee = my favorite funky little café

An old-school TV showing Super Mario Brothers, 80s and 90s memorabilia on the wall and a huge replica of the De Lorean (Vintage Back to the Future replica car) adorn this eclectic little café in the heart of Wicker Park. While I’m not a coffee person, I’m in love with their rich, vegan hot chocolate! If you are a coffee person, you can find everything from vegan-friendly lattes, to espressos and unique, seasonal drinks. I love coming here to work, relax and catch up with friends.

Vegan Hot Chocolate at Wormhole Cafe. Image: TVW.

Vegan Hot Chocolate at Wormhole Cafe. Image: TVW.

This place also carries pastries from Fritz (see above), so if you are craving something sweet, you’re in luck, because they have lots of vegan options! One of my favorites? The vegan Twinkies!

Upton’s Breakroom

If you know and love Upton’s Naturals, you will love their awesome 100% vegan café attached to their headquarters in Chicago. When I first visited, I got the vegan bacon mac and cheese, a chocolate vegan soft serve, and a dark chocolate and lavender.

Vegan Bacon Mac & Cheese at Upton's Breakroom. Image: TVW.

Vegan Bacon Mac & Cheese at Upton’s Breakroom. Image: TVW.

The mac and cheese was a pleasant surprise – it’s not your typical, run-of-the-mill vegan mac. It’s got a distinct flavor that’s absolutely delicious! The dark chocolate and lavender cookie was to DIE for. I love all things chocolate and all things lavender so I pretty much knew this cookie was made for me!! Ooey gooey, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. And last, I had the chocolate vegan soft serve! The only other place that has vegan soft serve is Chicago Health Foods, so be sure to treat yourself to this when you go!

Go to Urban Vegan for their famous Orange Chick’n

There’s only one way to describe the Orange Chicken: Holy Flavor Explosion! Please, Veg-Heads of Chitown, do yourselves a favor and go to Urban Vegan immediately and order the Orange Chick’n – it is quite possibly the BEST Thai dish I have ever had! The breading, the orange glaze sauce (which actually comes with fresh oranges in it) and the flavor and texture of the soy “chicken” were all beyond perfection! Best. Dish. Ever.

This vegan restaurant also offers a huge assortment of curries, noodle dishes and authentic Thai desserts. They only use high quality steamed black rice in their dishes so you get even more nutrients in your already tasty meal! P.S. Be sure to try the deep-fried banana dessert and vegan Thai iced tea!

The sexiest juice you’ll ever drink at Owen + Alchemy!

This is the sleekest juice apothecary you will ever find! I first saw their products and juices at the local Dose Market and thought their packaging was just as beautiful as a skincare product. They put so much time and energy into every single thing they do here and it really shows. I also love that it is part juice shop and part apothecary, with herbal blends you can get for different requirements such as immunity, calmness, healthy digestion, etc. They have the classic juices here, such as their green juices, but also a lot of seasonal and unusual juices, such as one with sweet potato which I found interesting and delicious.

Turmeric Shot at Owen + Alchemy. Image: TVW.

Turmeric Shot at Owen + Alchemy. Image: TVW.

They have recently come out with raw vegan smoothie bowls which are INSANELY delicious, nutritious and filling! Owen + Alchemy seriously sets itself apart from any other juice place I have been to ever.

Vegan groups and vegan events in Chicago

Vegan groups

If you are looking to meet up and associate with fellow vegans, whether by attending vegan holiday meals, going to vegan potlucks and volleyball events on the beach along Lake Shore Drive, or other social opportunities, Chicago has you covered!

Groups like Vegan Chicago Meetup, Chicago Veg Meetup, and the Vegan Chicago Facebook page are a great place to start when finding vegan communities in Chicago. There is so much support and great advice in these groups, and I myself have made many lifelong friendships by attending events which have been held through these groups!

Annual vegan events

Annual events such as the Chicago Veggie Pride Parade and the Chicago Veganmania festival are wonderful places to take action against cruelty to animals. Both events grow each year and bring lots of attention to the plant-based lifestyle. Chicago Veganmania festival features countless talks by vegan activists and influencers from local, national and international levels, as well as food demos, and food samples from vegan and cruelty-free restaurants. The parade, which takes place in downtown Chicago, is also a great spot to get to know local vegans and businesses that you can enjoy year round.

Veganmania Chicago Festival. Image: TVW.

Veganmania Chicago Festival. Image: TVW.

As you can see, Chicago has lots to offer us vegans, from delicious food, drinks and cafes to a thriving vegan community; and as our community keeps growing, I am constantly meeting fellow, compassionate veg-heads! It’s incredible to be a part of it all.

Cover image: TVW.

The post Vegan in Chicago – A City Guide appeared first on The Vegan Woman.

December 24 2015

07:00

Understanding Meat Eaters, Creating Change: Interview with Dr. Melanie Joy, Vegan Activist of the Month (Video Included)

Why do most people not only continue to eat meat but also defend the habit despite the knowledge that it’s destroying the ecosystem and causing harm to their bodies? Why do non-vegans continually discredit and even persecute vegans whose intentions are to cause the least amount of harm possible to animals and the environment? Why do vegans often have such a difficult time convincing omnivores to even consider veganism; a diet and lifestyle that’s been shown to be the most beneficial to both our bodies and the planet? 

If you’ve ever asked any of these questions then Dr. Melanie Joy’s work is for you. 

Dr. Melanie Joy, internationally acclaimed speaker, author, and president and founder of Beyond Carnism. Image: Image: courtesy of Dr. Joy.

Dr. Melanie Joy, internationally acclaimed speaker, author, and president and founder of Beyond Carnism. Image: Image: courtesy of Dr. Joy.

Changing our understandings, defining the issues 

Dr. Joy wears several hats – she’s an activist, an internationally acclaimed speaker, an author, and president and founder of Beyond Carnism, a charitable organization dedicated to exposing and transforming carnism. 

Carnism is the invisible belief system that conditions people to eat certain animals. It’s why most people in the West will enjoy steak from a cow but are horrified at the notion of eating a dog or a cat. Delving deeper into Dr. Joy’s work and unraveling carnism into its various components can not only answer the above questions but can also give us much insight into the psychology of why people eat meat. This understanding may serve as a helpful first step in assisting meat eaters in making their transition into veganism. 

Interview with Dr. Melanie Joy 

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Joy, learning of her “accidental” journey into veganism, and discussing how her theory of carnism is an essential tool for vegans to understand meat eaters and assist them in making their transition to a cruelty-free lifestyle. 

In the last part of the interview, we also had the chance to talk about an interesting and rarely discussed concept of vegans experiencing trauma caused by exposure to animal exploitation, and how this can affect the ability of some activists to continue their efforts.

 

Further exploring Dr. Joy’s work 

If you’re interested in learning more about carnism pick up the book “Why we Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows” and visit Dr. Joy’s site Carnism.org.  

You can also read the article she mentioned in the interview, “Speaking Truth to Power” or watch her talk on sustainable activism.

Dr. Melanie Joy's Why we Love Dogs Eat Pigs and Wear Cows book cover. Click here to purchase the book via our Amazon link.

Dr. Melanie Joy’s Why we Love Dogs Eat Pigs and Wear Cows book cover. Click here to browse or purchase the book via our Amazon link.

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Below you will find Dr. Joy’s Ted talk, Beyond Carnism and toward Rational, Authentic Food Choices, followed by her lecture Carnism: The Psychology of Eating Meat.

 

 

If you’d like to support Dr. Joy’s organization, which has brought carnism awareness to over 40 million people in 27 countries, you can make a donation at her website Carnism.org. From now through June 20, 2016 grassroots donations are being doubled by a generous matching grant, so your gift can have twice the impact for a sustainable vegan movement.

Thank you Dr. Joy for taking the time to speak with us and for all the wonderful work you do to promote veganism and to help end animal cruelty. We are proud to have you featured as one of our highlighted activists, and hope many others will be inspired by your work.

Dr Melanie Joy Vegan Activist of the month

Cover image: courtesy of Dr. Melanie Joy. Modifications by TVW.

The post Understanding Meat Eaters, Creating Change: Interview with Dr. Melanie Joy, Vegan Activist of the Month (Video Included) appeared first on The Vegan Woman.

December 17 2015

07:00

10 Ways to Veganize Christmas and New Year’s

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” Coming together with family and friends, giving and receiving gifts, making resolutions for the New Year and – if you are anything like my family – eating and drinking until we are positively stuffed!

When I first became vegan, I felt sad and stressed around the holidays. I didn’t understand how everyone could continue to joyously celebrate and carry out traditions that were unkind to animals in so many ways. Over the last few years, I have come up with some ways to veganize Christmas and New Year’s so that I can still enjoy the holiday season; so in the holiday spirit, I thought I’d share these traditions with you, in the hope that you can use them to have a fun and cruelty-free holiday too!

1. Decorate your house and tree with veganism in mind

Decorating the Christmas tree and house or apartment is one of my favorite parts of the whole holiday season. It’s easy to make this experience vegan-friendly, because it (usually) doesn’t revolve around a meal or gifts.

Surprise your family with a vegan themed ornament, or create your own festive decorations that honor animals to hang around the house.

Vegan ornaments can be a fun touch to your Christmas decor. Click here for vegan ornaments on Amazon via The Vegan Woman's partner link.

Vegan ornaments can be a fun touch to your Christmas decor. Click here for vegan ornaments on Amazon via The Vegan Woman’s partner link.

Whilst decorating, I like to set the mood with holiday music and treats. This is a great time to “test drive” a new vegan dessert recipe you’re thinking of serving at Christmas, or try a new vegan holiday drink.

2. Plan out your day

Where will Christmas be this year, at your house or someone else’s? If you are a guest, does the host know that you are vegan? Will the meal be vegan, vegetarian or neither? Knowing all the details and preparing yourself mentally can help make for a smooth Christmas.

I have found that coming up with a game plan as a family ensures a happier and less stressful day for all. Start an e-mail thread or Google Doc where everyone can contribute ideas for the menu and activities. Not only will you personally feel good knowing you are adding vegan touches to the festivities, but this way everyone gets to bring their own special ideas to the day as well.

Shop for vegan friendly presents. Image: Shutterstock.

Shop for vegan friendly presents. Image: Shutterstock.

3. Shop for vegan-friendly presents

Whether you like to shop for a gift for everyone, or your family has a Secret Santa tradition, there is a vegan-friendly present out there for everybody!

Purchase a membership to a farm sanctuary or sponsor a farm animal in a loved one’s name. If a family member is thinking of adopting a companion animal, give a gift certificate to the local shelter or humane society. Buy cruelty-free cosmetics, lotions, candles, or clothing. Give the youngsters of the family books, movies, or toys, with positive animal messages. Purchase or create a vegan cookbook for a family member that has enjoyed many of your recipes. Find a vegetarian or vegan restaurant where your loved ones live and treat them to a gift certificate. Bake your own vegan treats for family members with a sweet tooth. Buy vegan chocolates, clothing or other merchandise from an animal welfare organization’s gift shop.

A new tradition that my mom started is ordering vegan chocolate caramels from Farm Sanctuary. Your loved ones can enjoy a decadent treat while helping farm animals – a win-win!

4. Prepare a vegan Christmas menu

Depending on your family’s traditions, and your preferences for food, some like to keep menu items very traditional (i.e. vegan “ham”, mashed potatoes, pudding, and fruit cake). I personally like to shake things up and try new things each year. For instance, last year I brought a vegan gnocchi dish and chocolate peanut butter balls.

Some of my favorite borrowed recipes include:

For appetizers: Hummus, Spinach and Artichoke Dip, “Devilish Potatoes

For mains/sides: Mushroom Risotto, Squash, Portobello, and Spinach Casserole, Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa

For desserts: Christmas Cookies, Vegan Cheesecake, Vegan Ice Cream

Don’t forget beverages can be delicious, too. Offer to bring vegan hot chocolate for the kiddos or supply the fixings for a vegan Hot Toddy. If you prefer alcohol-free drinks, prepare a tasty vegan fruit punch or mocktails for all to enjoy.

For more vegan food inspiration, feel free to check out The Vegan Woman’s recipes section.

Add your special touch to the holiday. Image: Shutterstock.

Add your special touch to the holiday. Image: Shutterstock.

5. Add a special touch

Think of a way to add your own special touch to the holidays. There are so many ways to personalize Christmas with cruelty-free finishing touches that everyone can enjoy!

Come up with a music playlist so that your family has some great background tunes. Get lots of vegan candies and pass them around to the kids. Treat everyone to a vegan liquor, or if you’re not hosting, bring a vegan bottle of wine, vegan chocolates, or a holiday playlist that you think your host would enjoy.

6. Plan fun activities that don’t revolve around food

Some of my favorite traditions and holiday memories don’t include food at all. (Not to say that you can’t snack while enjoying these activities!)

Set aside some time for games with your family. Some of my favorites include Cranium, Apples to ApplesCards Against Humanity (after the kiddos have gone to bed!), and good old fashioned Charades.

Another favorite pastime is watching holiday movies with everyone. This is also a fun tradition for Christmas Eve, or New Year’s Eve, if you are staying in. Some of my favorites are Home Alone, Love Actually, Elf, and It’s a Wonderful Life. For more kid-friendly options, try Frozen, A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Santa Clause, and Polar Express.

There are many ways to promote veganism - choose the ways that work for you!

Volunteering together can be a great way to bond and spend meaningful time together. Image: Shutterstock.

7. Volunteer at an animal shelter or visit a sanctuary

Get your family on board for a fun day out in the holiday spirit with a special meaning.

Pick a day around the holidays where your family or friends are available and volunteer together at a shelter or visit animals at a farm sanctuary. This activity will allow you to bond, working side by side doing something meaningful, and it will warm everyone’s hearts to be around animals and spreading the Christmas love!  You might find everyone enjoys themselves so much it could even become a new Christmas tradition for you.

8. Make cruelty-free New Year’s plans

Whether you are going out or staying at home, make sure you have everything you need for your Vegan New Year. Image: Shutterstock.

Whether you are going out or staying at home, make sure you have everything you need for your Vegan New Year’s celebrations. Image: Shutterstock.

Whether you plan to go out on the town or like to stay in on New Year’s Eve; whether you will be with a big group of people or a smaller group, plan ahead to be sure you have all of the cruelty-free things you need to celebrate.

If you plan to go out for the evening, enjoy your vegan dinner before you go out, or make a reservation at a vegan or vegan-friendly restaurant ahead of time. If you are staying in or entertaining, come up with a tasty vegan dinner menu with some awesome vegan appetizers. Find a vegan champagne and play some fun board games!

Don’t forget to have some yummy vegan breakfast fixings in your house for New Year’s Day!

9. Pick a New Year’s resolution that aligns with your values

When you’re coming up with your resolution(s) for the New Year, why not choose a vegan focus? Set goals for healthier eating, or challenge yourself to use all vegan-friendly products, cosmetics, clothing, and other items this year. Design an exercise plan for yourself, plan a vegan vacation, or purchase a membership to a meaningful vegan organization. There are countless ways to veganize your New Year’s resolutions – come up with a fun and creative one that works best for you!

How to Help Others Go Vegan

Start the new year with helping a friend or a family member go vegan. Image: Shutterstock.

10. Help a friend or a family member to go vegan

Do you have friends or family members who are interested in going vegan? The New Year is a great time to make a fresh start with compassionate, healthy and positive decisions. Why not suggest a vegan program to assist them in attempting to go vegan in the New Year? Send them a link to a free online program like the 22+ Vegan Challenge or purchase a program or consultation to help set them off to on their new beginning in the most positive way!

One more tip: keep track of what worked and what didn’t

Maybe it’s just me, but by the time the holiday season rolls around each year, I inevitably find myself scrambling for recipe, gift or planning ideas. Keep a holiday journal for yourself so that next year you can remember what was successful, and what didn’t go over so well. Write down your New Year’s resolution, and keep track of how it goes for you. This way, you will hopefully feel even more prepared and confident to veganize your Christmas and New Year’s traditions next year!

Wishing a Happy Holiday and Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.

 

The post 10 Ways to Veganize Christmas and New Year’s appeared first on The Vegan Woman.

December 10 2015

07:00

Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition: Review of the T. Colin Campbell Plant-Based Nutrition Course

As someone who has been deeply immersed in the vegan world for the last four (almost five) years, I have been exposed to an abundance of information regarding the health dangers of animal-based foods and the health benefits of a whole-food, plant-based diet. Still, I was genuinely surprised by the new understanding and re-affirmed confidence I gained by taking the T. Colin Campbell Plant-Based Nutrition Course.

I have been asked by many of The Vegan Woman followers whether I recommend the program and whether I feel it is suitable for various purposes. So I decided to put together a review that consists of five reasons I would recommend the course, including some pointers that will help you figure out if this program is right for you.

Sivan Pardo Renwick, the founder and director of The Vegan Woman, holding her Plant-Based Nutrition certificate from eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. Image: TVW.

Sivan Pardo Renwick, the founder and director of The Vegan Woman, holding her Plant-Based Nutrition certificate from eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. Image: TVW.

5 Pointers to help you decide whether to enroll in the T. Colin Campbell Plant-Based Nutrition Course

1. The content

While much emphasis is given in the course to Dr. Campbell’s protein research, The China Study, understanding nutrients, and the correlations between nutrition and health/disease, I was pleasantly surprised that the course also offered a wider scope of understanding and topics. These included fascinating lectures that supported the main theme, including:

  • The psychology and physiology of poor eating choices (the reasons we lose our bearings in the food pleasure trap).

  • The way research is funded, what shapes public policy and what shapes the information the public is exposed to.

  • Understanding food labels and how to read and truly comprehend what they mean.

  • The environmental impact of our food choices.

I found that the lectures not only provided great information, but also challenged certain perceptions that I had, from how widely nutrient density in our food may vary to newfound realizations about nutrition in general – and my own nutrient consumption specifically – including the role that carbohydrates, fats and protein play in my diet. With that said, you should be aware that this is NOT a clinical nutritionist training program, and although this course offers continuing education credits for health professionals, and plenty of nutritional knowledge – some of which we can all hope will one day become part of mainstream nutritional and medical curriculums – you should not expect the course to cover nutrition and various nutritional aspects as a whole.

2. Top-notch lecturers

Another aspect I greatly enjoyed was the variety of lecturers in the program. The course is mostly taught by Dr. Campbell, with many guest lecturers, including leading and notable physicians Dr. John McDougall and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, and experts such as professional Ironman triathlete and fitness expert Brendan Brazier and climate scientist Dr. Bruce Monger.

Some of the lecturers of the plant based nutrition course. Image: courtesy of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.

Some of the lecturers of the plant based nutrition course. Image: courtesy of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.

The majority of the lectures and speakers were new to me. However, I found that even with lecturers and talks that I had already been exposed to, listening to them in the structured context of the course – with the opportunity to discuss, explore and clarify topics with the courses’ teaching assistants – gave these lectures an added value and clarity.

3. Analytical tools

One thing I totally didn’t expect to gain from the course, but which ended up being one of my most important takeaways, were the analytical tools taught through various readings and exercises. 

We live in a world where new research and studies are being published almost every day. Their sometimes contradicting and sensational claims can leave people highly confused. The public follows trends and tends to believe media publications without thorough examination. The analytical tools gained in the course allow students to properly examine supposedly reliable studies and articles through a series of questions and examinations. In the end, they are easily able to tell if an article is of any merit or if it is just another marketing twist weaved from an unreliable study. The reason I love this aspect of this course so much is because of the self-reliance and confidence these tools cultivate, which will empower students in their daily lives for years to come.

4. Demographics and suitability

If you are wondering whether you have the proper background to benefit from this course, you might be surprised to learn that the course is taken by a wide range of people from various backgrounds. The course can be taken for continuing medical education credit, so doctors, nurses, health and nutrition coaches, and the general public were among my classmates. This mixture of backgrounds and perspectives allowed for some truly interesting discussions.  The difference in backgrounds was never an issue, as each student could take the course at his or her own pace within the timeframe given and discuss topics directly with the teaching assistants as needed. 

What is important to note, though, is that if you are an ethical vegan, you might find this course difficult to go through, due to the many references to animal testing in Dr. Campbell’s talks. What kept me going in those difficult moments was the realization that while many people are motivated by ethics in their decision to go vegan, a tremendous number of people who have gone vegan thanks to Dr. Campbell’s groundbreaking work, have done so solely for the enormous health benefits of a whole foods, plant-based diet which his research shows.

5. The technicalities and the support

It might seem strange, but I can’t conclude my review without mentioning the technical side of the course. This topic ranges from dealing with the administration to the online platform to the supportive structure and outstanding course instructors.

From the administration standpoint, I found the program to be impeccably organized, with the course syllabus, discussions, registration details and all needed information readily available and easily accessible. When I needed to extend the duration of the course (take the three parts of the course with a two-week break in between), the administrative staff made it easy and were very accommodating. The platform used to carry out the course was very user friendly and accessible, as well.

And lastly, a word about the course instructors: They accompanied the students throughout in a professional and impressive manner, offering outstanding feedback and responsiveness to questions and assignments. I think students who take the course stand to learn almost as much from the instructors as they do from the lecturers.

Career opportunities

I hope my review has assisted you in figuring out if this course is right for you. As more and more careers call for plant-based diet experts I believe programs like this will become in high demand.

As a vegan lifestyle expert who promotes veganism and the vegan lifestyle, leads workshops, and guides individuals, groups and online communities through their transition to veganism and plant-based diets, I found that the course was a great step in my career development and in my continuous efforts to provide those I guide with the most up-to-date knowledge and motivation to enhance their vegan lifestyle choice.

Holiday SaleDiscounted course rate

For those of you interested in enrolling, the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell are offering 15% discount on this course throughout December 2015.

Click here for the discounted rate and enrollment details.

The post Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition: Review of the T. Colin Campbell Plant-Based Nutrition Course appeared first on The Vegan Woman.

December 03 2015

07:00

Top 10 Vegan Cocktails for the Holidays: the Recipes that Will Keep a Smile on Your Face

The holiday season can be tough. Between all the running around, gift shopping, getting the house, the food, and yourself prepared – things can get quite hectic. Let’s face it, many of us could probably do with at least one cocktail this time of year…

That is why I rolled up my sleeves and surfed the net to bring you the top 10 vegan cocktails out there. Cocktails that will keep you and your guests smiling… Ready? Here goes!

Top 10 Vegan Holiday Cocktails

Cocktail #1: Vegan Mulled Wine

It’s just not Christmas without mulled wine, my husband explained to me when he first introduced me to this drink. And indeed, for many amongst us it just isn’t Christmas unless you enjoy this warm spiced drink at least once. This Vegan Yack Attack cocktail is a Halloween variation of the traditional drink, which can easily be turned Christmassy and festive!

Key ingredients: red wine, apples, oranges, cloves.

For the full guest post recipe by Vegan Yack Attack, see The Vegan Woman.

Vegan Mulled Wine 

Cocktail # 2: Homemade Vegan Irish Cream

Now how about this vegan “Baileys” for a comforting and creamy cocktail? This rum-based Irish Cream cocktail is the perfect classic touch to impress your guests this holiday season!

Key ingredients: Rum, Kahlua.

For the full recipe, see The Vegan Woman.

Vegan Irish Cream 

Cocktail #3: Sparkling Fruit Punch

Don’t let this bubbly punch drink fool you. The original recipe by The Vegan 8 doesn’t have even one drop of alcohol! To make this punch boozyly amazing, replace the sparkling water with sparkling wine… Enjoy!

Key ingredients: strawberries, blueberries, lemons.

For the full recipe, see The Vegan 8.

Sparkling Fruit Punch 

Cocktail #4: Old Fashioned Cocktail

This bourbon-based cocktail has the flavor and the style! I love the presentation of this cocktail, and for me, bourbon just has the word Christmas written all over it.

Key ingredients: bourbon, Angostura Bitters.

For the full recipe, see it doesn’t taste like chicken.

 Old Fashioned Cocktail

Cocktail #5: Non-Alcoholic Vegan Glühwein

A warm drink to be enjoyed by the young and old! This non-alcoholic drink is a variation on the traditional German mulled wine. Treat the family without uncle Joe getting too tipsy…

Key ingredients: grape juice, pomegranate juice, orange juice.

For the full recipe, see Lands and Flavors  

NON ALCOHOLIC GLÜHWEIN

Cocktail #7: Warm Pumpkin Spice Cocktail

Pumpkin season seems to be synonymous with holiday season, and this warm and creamy pumpkin spice cocktail has the perfect holiday look and taste! Served warm, it has that extra oomph to make the perfect Christmas drink! Talk about capturing the holiday spirit in a glass!

Key ingredients: pumpkin spice coconut milk, rum, cinnamon.

For the full recipe, see May I Have that Recipe?

vegan pumpkin spiced cocktail 

Cocktail #8: Pomegranate Gin Fizz

While this vegan cocktail is perfect as a summer refresher, to me its color just says Christmas! This one is for the gin and pomegranate lovers – how lucky are we that this gorgeous cocktail combines the two?

Key ingredients: pomegranate, lime, gin.

For the full recipe, see Elephantastic Vegan.

Pomegranate Gin Fizz 

Cocktail #9: Maple Spiced Hot Toddy

Nothing says winter more than a hot toddy, and this maple spiced, bourbon based toddy has that perfect wintry aroma, thanks to its combination of beautiful spices.

Key ingredients: bourbon, cardamom, black tea.

For the full recipe, see Healthy Slow Cooking.

vegan hot toddy 

Cocktail #10: White Peach Sangria

I don’t know a single person who can refuse sangria. This recipe’s super rich combination of white wine, brandy and sparkling water gives this vegan cocktail a special fizzy and complex taste, which coupled with its fruity aromas, is an absolute delight!  

Key ingredients: dark chocolate, vodka, espresso, orange juice.

For the full recipe, see Vegan Family Recipes.

White Peach Sangria 

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to get tipsy! Just remember, alcoholic drink labels can be quite confusing and sometimes incomplete. If you are not sure whether that tempting bottle is cruelty-free, try contacting the manufacturer or consult a vegan alcohol guide such as Barnivore: The Vegan Beer, Wine and Liquor Guide.

Have a happy, relaxed holiday! And if you’re drinking, please drink responsibly.

 

The post Top 10 Vegan Cocktails for the Holidays: the Recipes that Will Keep a Smile on Your Face appeared first on The Vegan Woman.

November 19 2015

07:00

The Tastiest Vegan “Baileys”! [Vegan Irish Cream Recipe, Made with Rum]

Do you ever find yourself craving that Baileys taste from the days before going vegan? If the answer is yes, then this vegan Irish Cream recipe is what you’ve been looking for! Meet my specialty homemade “Baileys” – still a little bit naughty but completely cruelty free.

This vegan cocktail is rum based, where traditional Irish Cream is usually made with Irish whiskey and cream. It’s perfect for those evenings when you just want a sweet and creamy alcoholic treat and will also impress your guests!

Please note that while this cocktail is incredibly tasty and super comforting, it is also quite strong, so you can use half measures of the spirits or add more soy milk if you want it less alcoholic. 

Vegan Irish Cream Recipe. Image: TVW.

Vegan Irish Cream Recipe. Image: TVW.

 

Vegan Irish Cream Recipe

Makes 1 serving 

Ingredients:

1 shot of Kahlua

1 shot of rum (I use Captain Morgan, but you can swap for another vegan rum of your liking)

1 cup vanilla flavored soy milk (the “vanilla” part is crucial!)

6 ice cubes

Vegan Baileys ingredients, left to right: 1 shot of rum, 1 cup of vanilla soy milk, 1 shot of Kahlua. Image: TVW.

Vegan Baileys ingredients, left to right: 1 shot of rum, 1 cup of vanilla soy milk, 1 shot of Kahlua. Image: TVW.

Preparation:

In a tall glass, mix the Kahlua and rum.

Add the ice cubes followed by the vanilla soy milk.

Mix well, serve cold, and enjoy!

To create “layers” – start by pouring the vanilla soy milk on the ice cubes, then add the Kahlua, and finish with the rum. Make sure to mix before drinking!

Vegan Baileys recipe. Image: TVW.

Vegan Baileys recipe. Image: TVW.

Vegan Baileys recipe. Image: TVW.

Vegan Irish Cream recipe. Image: TVW.

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The post The Tastiest Vegan “Baileys”! [Vegan Irish Cream Recipe, Made with Rum] appeared first on The Vegan Woman.

November 17 2015

07:00

How I Found Love at the Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge

Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge is a special place. You can feel its heart when entering the refuge, as founder Lenore Braford greets you with a warm, welcoming smile. There’s a sense of peace and easy living at this sanctuary, although taking care of the animals and dealing with daily tasks can be far from simple.

Expressive Personalities, special relationships and love stories abound on this 20-acre haven. When they are not stressed and can relax and bloom in a natural habitat, animals are able to form strong relationships with each other. As such, one or two love stories have been realized at the refuge.  The story of Henry and Henrietta is a perfect example. 

Love at (almost) first sight

Henry the rooster, at the Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge. Image: courtesy of the Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge.

Henry the rooster, at the Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge. Image: courtesy of the Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge.

I loved meeting Henry. He called to me from a far off corner when I entered the barn, and continued to call until I finally reached his enclosure and paid him the undivided attention he felt he deserved. He was clearly someone to go after what he wanted! Feathers fluffed and head back, Henry was thrilled to be noticed. His mate, Henrietta, who was eyeing us from a cautious distance, proved to be far more reserved and aloof than her man. 

Though these two lovebirds are inseparable now, their courtship started off a little shaky. Henry arrived at the farm before his mate, surrendered by a kind woman who purchased him as a baby chick, believing he was a hen, and eventually ended up sponsoring him at the refuge. Henry was anxious to settle down and was overjoyed when Henrietta arrived.

Henrietta was found wandering around in a parking lot and was brought to the refuge for a chance at a better life. She, however, was less than pleased with her new mate and demanded a proper courtship.  In fact, she immediately flew next door and decided to live with Apollo and Tony, two rescued turkeys. They welcomed her into their duo and the three would roost each night, with Henrietta in the middle.  Poor Henry.  He would bring all of his treats to the fence for her, dancing and showing off rooster-style, but for months Henrietta remained unimpressed and appeared perfectly happy with her turkey buddies. Then, slowly, she started paying more and more attention to his advances, visiting Henry at the fence and strolling its length.  Finally, one morning, cupid struck. Henrietta flew over to be with Henry and they have remained devoted mates ever since.

Sweet Henrietta was found wandering around in a parking lot and was brought to the refuge for a chance at a better life. Image: courtesy of the Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge.

Sweet Henrietta was found wandering around in a parking lot and was brought to the refuge for a chance at a better life. Image: courtesy of the Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge.

 

Henry’s survival story is unique and he is a rare, fortunate rooster. As a chick, he was labeled as a hen, a common error made by the workers who swiftly sort male and female chicks from a conveyor belt. As a male chick, he would have been killed soon after the sorting process. Destruction of male chicks is a worldwide practice. They are either thrown into meat grinders while still alive, electrocuted or suffocated one top of one another in large trash bags.  This is the fate of 250 million male chicks born to hens in the U.S. egg industry each year. Henry got very lucky.

A lovebird bromance

Louie, Andi and Jordan: another farm love story, of the Three rescued Amigos. Image: courtesy of the Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge.

Louie, Andi and Jordan: another farm love story, of the Three rescued Amigos. Image: courtesy of the Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge.

Another farm love story, of sorts, is that of the Three Amigos: three rescued turkeys who are, as their moniker suggests, a united trio.  For Louie, Andi and Jordan, life at the refuge is a far cry from the factory farm setting in which they were born.

For factory farmed animals – which make up roughly 99% of all animals raised and slaughtered in the United States – life is bleak and violent. They are packed into dark warehouses so tight they can barely move, sometimes as many as 10,000 per building. As the turkeys mature, all their natural instincts are disregarded, including roosting or even spreading their wings. These factory farmed turkeys are bred to grow much faster than their wild turkey counterparts, causing them to suffer from heart and circulatory disorders, as well as painful foot and leg deformities. These marginalized birds are slaughtered at around 4 – 6 months of age.

Turkeys form deep friendships and emotional bonds. They are intelligent and sociable animals and love human attention. As I witnessed with Louie, Andi and Jordan, they will sit quietly while being snuggled and petted. Likewise, they are quick to reciprocate and will dance, prance and fluff their feathers for your enjoyment. Fortunately, these three handsome amigos get to spend the rest of their footloose and fancy-free lives at this lovely refuge.  Every turkey should be so lucky.

Sending love from afar

A visit to Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge is medicine for the soul, leaving one humbled, grateful and nourished from the love the animals so selflessly bestow. This truly is a place with heart.

Paige with some of the inhabitants of the Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge. Image: courtesy of Paige Dixon.

Paige with some of the inhabitants of the Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge. Image: courtesy of Paige Dixon.

 

But whether you are able to visit the refuge or not, be sure to send your love to some fortunate chickens and turkeys that were saved from slaughter this Thanksgiving. You can do so by visiting and supporting your local farm sanctuary, or even sending your love from afar, by sponsoring a chicken or a turkey from the refuge as part of the vegan Thanksgiving spirit.

Many refuges have a sponsorship program, and you can even sponsor Henry, Henrietta, or one of the ’Three Amigos’ at the Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge, using this link.

May you have a compassionate Thanksgiving, filled with love!

Cover image: courtesy of Paige Dixon

Paige DixonGuest Post by Paige Dixon

Hello!  I’m Paige. I live in Chapel Hill, NC with the two loves of my life: my husband, Don and my canine son, Finn.  I have been a vegan for about a year and half and it has been an amazing journey; by far one of the best decisions I have ever made. I’m passionate about all things vegan, and high on the list are animal welfare, food and fashion.  My kitchen is my sanctuary and I love creating delicious, nutritious vegan dishes for family and friends.  

 

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July 09 2015

06:00

Toxic Beauty Book Review

There are few books that I have read in my life that I would classify as ‘life-changing’. Few books that have caused me to immediately set into motion actions that would change the course of my life. One of these books is Toxic Beauty: How Cosmetics and Personal-Care Products Endanger Your Health… and What You Can Do about it

Backed up by science 

The Hundred Year Lie by Randall Fitzgerald. Image: Book cover.

The Hundred Year Lie by Randall Fitzgerald. Image: The Hundred Year Lie book cover.

Toxic Beauty was co-written by Dr. Samuel Epstein, a professor of emeritus of environmental health at the University of Illinois-Chicago, and Randall Fitzgerald, an investigative journalist. Epstein is known for his contributions in the field of avoidable causes of cancer and is the chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition. Fitzgerald is the author of the book The Hundred-Year Lie: How Food and Medicine Are Destroying Your Health, which takes the reader on a journey of toxins, chemicals, and the longterm health risks that you may come into contact with, even when simply using your daily lotion and lipstick. He also gives suggestions on safe, synthetic and certified organic products that consumers may use as alternatives to the toxin laden products. 

“We are all playing Russian roulette with toxic-laden cosmetics and personal-care products that we apply to our skin, and to the skin of our infants and children, everyday,” warns Dr. Epstein.He details the use of endocrine disruptors, carcinogens, and chemicals known to cause birth defects as ingredients that are knowingly and willingly used in our personal care products. Products that you will recognize as household names. Products that you or someone close to you has most likely used. 

A parent’s concern 

Toxic Beauty: How Cosmetics and Personal-Care Products Endanger Your Health… and What You Can Do about it. Image: Toxic Beauty book cover.

Toxic Beauty: How Cosmetics and Personal-Care Products Endanger Your Health… and What You Can Do about it. Image: Toxic Beauty book cover.

I had been on a plant-based diet for about a year when I first read this book, and my son was about a year old. I knew about animal testing and did my best to avoid products that were tested on animals, but after reading Toxic Beauty, I became an avid reader of ingredient lists and refused to purchase or use any products that contained the toxic ingredients discussed in the book. I vividly remember, after reading the section on children’s products, going through all the labels on all the products that I was using on my son at the time and throwing out the ones that contained those toxic ingredients. Shockingly, all the products that I had received for free from the hospital and as baby shower gifts had to be thrown out. This was the start of my toxin-and cruelty-free mission. 

An ethical approach 

At this point, most of us are aware that just because a product is labeled natural or non-toxic, it does not automatically make it vegan. Animal byproducts – like honey, for example – are often labelled as “natural ingredients”, but as we know, they are neither vegan nor ethical. Also, just because a product is labelled natural or non-toxic, does not mean that it has not been tested on animals. So while Toxic Beauty suggests many non-toxic brands, I cannot confirm that all these brands are in fact vegan, and therefore I cannot label Toxic Beauty as a vegan book. With that said, this book is a definite must-read for vegan women.

As vegans, we are aware that what we eat has a direct effect on our health, and that what animals are fed has a direct effect on them, on the people who choose to eat them, and on the environment. What we also need to become aware of are the ways in which we introduce harmful ingredients to our families, our companion animals, and ourselves, and this book enables us to do just that.

Epstein cautions: “Unbelievably, the FDA has recklessly failed to protect us from toxic ingredients in cosmetics and personal-care products for the last six decades. What’s more, the mainstream industry has remained criminally indifferent to the dangers of their products. In sharp contrast, European regulations ban all products containing toxic ingredients.” It is time that we become aware of all the facts, so that we can protect ourselves and our loved ones, and just like with veganism, make informed decisions. I warmly recommend this book as a great place to start.

Cover image: Toxic Beauty book cover.

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July 07 2015

06:00

The 2016 Vegan Cruise of Holistic Holiday at Sea

Yes! The Vegan Woman has been invited to join the vegan cruise of Holistic Holiday at Sea for the third year in a row!

Those of you who have been following our previous posts about this beautiful vegan vacation know that our last two experiences on this Caribbean cruise have been a true delight. With an incredible lineup of leading physicians, top-notch vegan chefs, and health and nutrition experts, I am more than ecstatic to be one of the presenters on the 2016 vegan cruise, filling the vegan lifestyle slot.

What to expect as part of the 2016 Holistic Holiday at Sea experience

This vegan cruise has been running annually for 13 years, and each year the number of guests grows, with last year’s group reaching an impressive 1,800.

Myself and husband Scott at the welcome party: There are ample opportunities to socialize with like minded people so make sure you come to the social events the program offers. Image: TVW.

Myself and husband Scott at the welcome party: There are ample opportunities to socialize with like minded people so make sure you come to the social events the program offers. Image: TVW.

This means you will have ample opportunities to meet and socialize with like-minded people. So if you book, make sure to join in on the social events that are offered as part of the program (like the vegan ice cream party, the vegan sushi social, and — if you are single – the vegan singles evening. I personally know a loving couple who met on this cruise).

Where will the cruise sail to?

Using the luxurious facilities of the MSC Divinia ship, the 2016 vegan cruise will set sail on Feb. 27 from Miami, Florida, and will dock at the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas.

Early Bird Rates

What lectures and classes will the program include?

The 2016 program boasts a truly remarkable lineup of presenters who will lead various onboard lectures, cooking workshops, workout and fitness sessions, and Pilates and Yoga classes. If I were to highlight some of the presentations and classes I’m especially looking forward to, my list would have to include:

  • So looking forward to attending the lectures of the health and nutrition hero, Dr. Neal Barnard. Image: Courtesy of HHAS.

    Looking forward to attending the lectures of the health and nutrition hero, Dr. Neal Barnard. Image: Courtesy of HHAS.

    Lectures by the founder and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Dr. Neal Barnard. His kick-start and secret addictions lectures are an absolute MUST for anyone looking to truly understand the benefits of a plant-based diet. Those of you who deal with diabetes will also greatly benefit from his fascinating and empowering lecture on diabetes management.
  • A series of MUST-HEAR lectures by internationally acclaimed physicians, Dr. Michael Klapper, Dr. Michael Greger, and the China Study author, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, who this year will be joined by his two sons, Dr. Tom Campbell and Nelson Campbell, as well as his daughter-in-law, Kim Campbell, in a series of lectures spanning the medical benefits of a plant-based diet to practical plant-based recipes and discussions about the need for a plant-based, grassroots, national movement.
    • Work out sessions, Yoga, Pilates, meditation, and other health and fitness classes on-board the cruise ship. Image: courtesy of HHAS.

      Work out sessions, Yoga, Pilates, and more. Image: courtesy of HHAS.

      Yoga classes by Alese Jones. Fitness classes and presentations by leading vegan athletes and professional competitors such as vegan bodybuilders Robert Cheeke and Derek Tresize; Sessions with the founder of No Meat Athlete, Matt Fraizer, and with physique athlete, Marcella Torres.

 

The Vegan Woman will be there too!

I’m truly honored and excited to have been asked to be a presenter for the second year in a row. Filling the vegan lifestyle slot, I will be lecturing on two topics:

Difficulties in Going Vegan and How They Can Be Overcome, in which we will explore both food-related and social-related difficulties new vegans face and offer fun and practical solutions.

How Can I Spread a Message of Compassion and Good Health?, in which we will explore simple but effective ways in which each and every one of us can promote ideas of compassion and good health both in everyday life and online.

Come meet The Vegan Woman on the vegan cruise

Booking this cruise for the first time? Mention The Vegan Woman to get $50 on-board credit :)

So if you are planning on joining the 2016 cruise, be sure to stop by and say hello! I’ll be absolutely delighted to see you at one of my lectures.

Also, if you are joining the cruise for the first time, don’t forget to mention The Vegan Woman when you make your booking to claim a $50 on-board credit!

Is the cruise 100 percent vegan?

Two final notes for my dear, fellow ethical vegans: You should be aware that while our group will be very large, and while the organizers of the cruise commit to serving 100 percent plant-based foods throughout the cruise for our group, there will be other vacationers onboard who are not part of our group and are not vegan. This means that although we will dine in separate sittings, there will still be occasions in which you might come across non-vegan foods, such as if you choose to dine in the buffet areas or when you lounge in communal areas across the ship.

You should also be aware that while many of the presenters on the cruise are also ethical vegans, some are solely advocates of a plant-based diet, and this may or may not be reflected in their presentations.

Learn more

If you would like to learn more about the cruise, don’t forget to explore my detailed reviews of the 2014 and 2015 cruises. You can also watch the video below, and visit the Holistic Holiday at Sea website.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

2016 vegan cruise

Cover image: Shutterstock. Modification: TVW.

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July 04 2015

06:00

How to Be an Efficient Vegan Activist Without Burning Out

Whether you’re a new vegan or have been vegan for a while, no doubt you’ve had very strong feelings of wanting to help ease the plight of animals exploited and abused by humans.

Particularly compassionate vegans can stretch themselves thin as they strive to help in as many avenues as possible. Unfortunately, burning the candle at both ends in an attempt to help the animals inevitably leads to complete burnout, in which case you’re unable to lend a hand to any animal, let alone your fine self. Because nobody with the intention to help should suffer a burnout, here is a list of six efficient ways you can help our furry, feathered, and scaly friends without going off the deep end.

1. Choose your focus wisely

Initially, you may be confronted with the question of “where to start?” Image: Shutterstock. Modification: TVW.

Initially, you may be confronted with the question of “where to start?” Image: Shutterstock. Modification: TVW.

Initially, you may be confronted with the question of “where to start?” Animals are being mistreated in a variety of industries, from entertainment to cosmetics and drug testing to the food industry and even the pet industry.  I know – you want to help. Everywhere. But don’t let your compassion for the animals override your self-compassion; sleep, my dear vegan friend, is not optional, so you need to choose where to exert your efforts.

There are countless possibilities when it comes to helping animals and promoting veganism.  So if you don’t want to spread yourself too thin, it’s better to focus on one or two things that truly resonate with you and do them the best way you can. For example, if there is a specific campaign with which you would like to get involved or a specific cause that truly hits home, you could find ways to focus on those. Another way to go about it would be to volunteer with a specific organization whose work you admire and let them lead the way.

2. Be realistic with how much time you can devote to activism

Go over your weekly schedule and add up the hours of down-time you normally have. Now, decide how much of this time you are realistically willing to devote to helping out.

Are you really willing to give up Friday wine nights with the ladies in order to devote more time to animal activism? If so, great! If not, that’s OK, too. Or maybe you could get creative and turn your Friday nights into a combination ladies night/help the animals night, wine optional. Which brings me to number three…

3. You don’t have to go it alone

You don’t have to go it alone: being active about your veganism alongside other vegan activists, can offer significant emotional support. Image: Shutterstock.

You don’t have to go it alone: being active about your veganism alongside other vegan activists, can offer significant emotional support. Image: Shutterstock.

This applies particularly if you’re an extrovert and prefer being around people. Spending time with like-minded people who understand you, and being active about your veganism alongside other vegan activists, can offer significant emotional support.

These days, there are countless avenues to meet other vegans and find ways to collaborate with them toward raising awareness for animal rights causes. Also, as more and more people go vegan, more volunteer opportunities to help the animals are popping up — and they often involve working closely with other lovely vegans. You don’t have to be alone in your efforts, and combining forces with others allows each of you to capitalize on your own strengths and help each other out with challenges.

4. Know your strengths (and weaknesses)

 Know your strengths and weaknesses, and use them to be efficient, and to avoid burnouts. Image: Shutterstock.

Know your strengths and weaknesses, and use them to be efficient, and to avoid burnouts. Image: Shutterstock.

Repeated attempts of doing something you don’t have the skills for can lead to a lot of frustration. Wouldn’t it be more efficient to invest your energy in vegan activities that won’t lead to frustrations and burnouts?

So before you embark on an active endeavor, it’s a good idea to take inventory of your strengths and in what areas you can best apply yourself. For example, if you’re particularly outspoken, then a more active role might be suited for you. If you’re more reserved and introverted, a more behind-the-scenes role would be best for you. If you cater to your strengths and do things you like, you will be better able to spend more time engaging happily and comfortably in these activities.

5. Listen to your body — and your heart

This seems like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by how many people continue to work when they are overtired or are beginning to feel burned out. Image: Shutterstock.

This seems like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by how many people continue to work when they are overtired or are beginning to feel burned out. Image: Shutterstock.

This seems like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by how many people continue to work when they are overtired or are beginning to feel burned out. You probably know a vegan or two who have been active full force for a very long time, well beyond their emotional and physical limits, only to totally burn out and take a long (sometimes even permanent) break as a result.

If you want to be consistent and effective for the animals, you have to be attentive to your physical and emotional needs. If you’re feeling tired, rest. If you’ve been working around the clock and still don’t feel like you’ve done enough, rest anyway. Breaks and breathers are essential for future productivity. If you are feeling emotionally strained from being exposed to all the horrors animals go through in the various industries, take a break and look at ways to mentally nurture yourself. A drained and tired you will be functioning less than optimally – and that’s not ideal for helping anyone.

6. Remember why you’re doing this

Remember why you’re doing this. Image: Shutterstock.

Remember why you’re doing this. Image: Shutterstock.

There’s no getting around it: Bearing witness to the way we treat animals is enough to drain the life out of most openhearted souls. It makes us sad and angry. It makes us want to yell at the people who are mistreating animals and those who financially support them. It stresses us out and makes us feel like we’re not doing enough. It may even cause us to feel hopeless.

When we experience such intense negative emotions, our activism may come from a place of resentment toward those inflicting harm on the animals we wish to protect. However, if we step back and reflect on why we are engaging in activism, it becomes obvious that it stems from our compassion and our care for the animals, and not from our resentment of the perpetrators.

Reminding ourselves that our actions originate from a place of compassion, care and love, rather than hate and anger, will help us stay grounded and centered, and we will not be as likely to be swept away in a current of negative emotions. Acting from hate and anger will no doubt cause us to burn out faster, whereas when our deeds come from a place of compassion, we will be able to work for longer, be more joyful, and be much more effective.

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is a burden too great to bear.”  — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Cover image: Shutterstock. Modifications: TVW.

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July 02 2015

17:48
06:00

Happy Vegan Fourth of July: Five recipes in Red White and Blue

Happy Independence Day to our USA community members and all those who are celebrating today.

If you are looking for some vegan style inspiration for this Fourth of July, you have come to the right place!

Here are five, red white and blue vegan Fourth of July recipes, from some of our favorite bloggers, to help you celebrate and impress, the compassionate way:

1. Strawberry-Blueberry Tapioca Parfaits

Susan Voisin of Fat Fat Free Vegan Kitchen shows us how to make a tapioca dessert with a twist, in this low fat patriotic dessert composed mainly of tapioca, strawberries, blueberries and almond milk.

Fourth of July Strawberry-Blueberry Tapioca Parfaits by Fat Free Vegan. Click here for the full recipe on the Fat Free Vegan website.

Fourth of July Strawberry-Blueberry Tapioca Parfaits by Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. Click here for the full recipe on the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen website.

 

2. Berry Stuffed Breakfast Cupcakes

Why wait for dessert when you can start Fourth of July with these Berry Stuffed Breakfast Cupcakes made with Spelt flour by Chocolate Covered Katie

Fourth of July breakfast cupcakes by Chocolate Covered Katie. Click here for the full recipe on the Chocolate Covered Katie website.

Fourth of July breakfast cupcakes by Chocolate Covered Katie. Click here for the full recipe on the Chocolate Covered Katie website.

3. Fourth of July Flag Cake

It’s a cake, it’s a flag, and it will fulfill your festive needs this Fourth of July. Plus that coconut whip frosting topped with summer berries is absolutely drool worthy. Thank you Kathy Patalsky of Healthy Happy Life for this awesome recipe! 

Fourth of July Flag Cake. Click here for the full recipe on the Healthy Happy Life website.

Fourth of July Flag Cake by Healthy Happy Life. Click here for the full recipe on the Healthy Happy Life website.

 

 4. Red, White, and Blue Fruit Terrine

Looking for something on the lighter side? This fruit terrine by Susan Voisin of Fat Free Vegan Kitchen will have you set with its holiday colors and summery taste. Agar is the perfect ingredient to gel it all together.

Red, White, and Blue Fruit Terrine by Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. Click here for the full recipe on the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen website.

Red, White, and Blue Fruit Terrine by Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. Click here for the full recipe on the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen website.

 

5. Berries and Raw Vegan Cream

If you like keeping things simple, then you would love this idea by Gena Hamshaw of Choosing Raw. Simple honest goodness in this strawberry – blueberry mix with a homemade cashew cream. 

Fourth of July Berries and Raw Vegan Cream by Choosing Raw. Click here for the full recipe on the Choosing Raw website.

Fourth of July Berries and Raw Vegan Cream by Choosing Raw. Click here for the full recipe on the Choosing Raw website.

 

Happy Independence Day!

Cover image: Fourth of July Strawberry-Blueberry Tapioca Parfaits by Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.

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June 30 2015

06:00

Meital Ben Ari and Adit Romano, Founders of Freedom Farm Sanctuary – Vegan Activists of the Month

Meet Israeli native Meital Ben Ari and Adit Romano, the founders of Freedom Farm Sanctuary, a first-of-its-kind establishment that will combine an animal sanctuary with a museum and educational visitors center.

Meital and Adit met through their volunteer work at Vegan Friendly, a not-for-profit vegan organization dedicated to making life for vegans in Israel accessible and enjoyable. Soon after they met, Meital visited Sasha farm sanctuary in Michigan where she encountered farm animals living the lives they deserve, and realized the dire need for a similar sanctuary back home.

Adit Romano and Meital Ben Ari: friends and co-founders of Freedom Farm Sanctuary. Image: courtesy of Freedom Farm Sanctuary.

Adit Romano and Meital Ben Ari: friends and co-founders of Freedom Farm Sanctuary. Image: courtesy of Freedom Farm Sanctuary.

Upon her return to Israel, Meital learned that her friend, Adit, had already started looking into the idea of establishing a local farm sanctuary. They met up to discuss this possibility, and soon after they began putting their mutual vision for the sanctuary into motion.

Honoring a rescued calf

Freedom Farm Sanctuary is named after Freedom, a rescued calf that had his legs broken in the birthing process, deeming him useless to the veal industry. This injury spared Freedom a short and horrible life. He was rescued and given a chance to recover with the help of physical therapy. But living in his rescuer’s back yard wasn’t safe. Farm animals kept in back yards in Israel are in danger of being stolen.

Freedom now has a temporary home where he happily lives with a couple hundred donkeys. He will be relocated to Freedom Farm Sanctuary once it is up and running, together with Maayan, a calf who was rescued after being found in the middle of a road, probably after falling off a truck, and other lucky animals who escaped the meat, eggs and dairy industries.

Adit on the left, and Meital, on the right, with rescued calf, Maayan. Image: courtesy of Freedom Farm Sanctuary.

Adit on the left, and Meital, on the right, with rescued calf, Maayan. Image: courtesy of Freedom Farm Sanctuary.

Why is it important to have this type of sanctuary in Israel?

About four to five percent of the Israeli population is vegan, and one out of seven people are vegetarians. It might take a while to find someone who does not know what veganism is, so it’s surprising that there are no local sanctuaries for animals rescued from the agricultural industry.

Freedom Farm will be Israel’s first sanctuary for farmed animals. There are already 800 volunteers in line, and a generous contributor — who is willing to match donations dollar for dollar — who have gladly signed up to help the farm prosper.

A farm that is more than a farm

In addition to the farm, Meital and Adit are also planning to build a restaurant, an auditorium, a small veterinary hospital, and a museum.

The museum will educate visitors about current practices in animal agriculture, farm animal reproduction, and the types of facilities farm animals live in. There will be a display of tools used to control and slaughter animals, and an historical display of the use of animals as commodities. In addition to the ethical aspects, ecological and health impacts of using animals for food will also be discussed by the sanctuary’s educational staff and guides.

Connecting animals and humans

Freedom Farm Sanctuary’s Facebook page states that “the farm will serve as a ‘heaven on earth’ and will grant the opportunity to approach and spend time with the animals, listen to lectures, participate in workshops and witness the mighty and grating differences between these animals and their ill-fated brothers.”

Meital and Adit believe that when people are educated and truly understand the plight of individual animals, they will be inspired to change their own lives. When animals are “far from eyes” they will also be “far from heart”, Meital says.

This notion expressed itself in Meital’s own life three years ago after she went vegan. She swiftly began to add vegan friends onto her social media accounts because she felt she needed to see images of animals in the various industries to remind her on a daily basis of what the animals go through.

Being the first isn’t always easy

Although both Meital and Adit come from business oriented backgrounds (Meital comes from a professional background of economics and management, and Adit is an entrepreneur in the field of marketing and commerce), they still find the project quite challenging: Because Freedom Farm Sanctuary is the first of its kind in Israel, new rules and regulations need to be established with the government and stumbling blocks have arisen.

But it has all been a labor of love, and I believe Meital and Adit when they say it will be a lovely and loving place.

“Despite the various difficulties we are facing, we are blessed to be constantly surrounded by moving displays of support from various directions. We definitely feel that Freedom Farm Sanctuary is the right project at the right time.” Says Adit.

The sanctuary is anticipated to open in the coming year. If you would like to donate to help grow the Freedom Farm Sanctuary, please visit their donation page, and contribute to their success.

Meital Ben Ari and Adit Romano, founders of Freedom Farm Sanctuary, which will open next year in Israel. Image: TVW.

Meital Ben Ari and Adit Romano, founders of Freedom Farm Sanctuary, which will open next year in Israel. Image: TVW.

 

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June 27 2015

06:00

Israel’s Largest Slaughter House Shuts Down and New Mexico Farm Workers Faced with Criminal Charges

Two serious victories were recently made against the meat and dairy industries, exposing extreme levels of abuse towards animals and raising much needed awareness. In Israel, the largest slaughter house has been temporarily shut down by the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture pending enquiry, while in New Mexico, four dairy farm workers have been charged with a total of nine counts of criminal cruelty to animals. In both cases, actions were taken following undercover investigations lead by animal rights organizations.

Criminal charges on the account of animal abuse

Following a brave undercover investigation conducted by the American animal rights organization, Mercy for Animals, which exposed extreme animal abuse, four New Mexico farm workers employed by Winchester Dairy have been charged with a total of nine counts of criminal cruelty to animals.

The secret video footage shows horrifying, inhumane abuse, including (but not limited to) workers viciously kicking and punching cows, stabbing them with screwdrivers, violently whipping them in their faces and bodies with chains and metal wires, and dragging “downer” cows who were too sick or injured to stand with a tractor while workers shocked them in the genitals with electric prods. You can watch the footage here but before you hit play, please be aware that it is extremely cruel.

Undercover footage from Israel’s largest slaughter house

In Israel, a shocking undercover investigation of one of the country’s largest slaughter houses made it into the national news. This brought about the decision to shut it down until the various issues exposed in the investigation have been dealt with.

The investigation was led by local animal rights organization, Anonymous for Animal Rights. They exposed various acts of horrendous abuse routinely committed by the slaughter house workers, some of which included using electric prods on the animals’ faces to shock them into moving from one place to the other, beating lambs, and killing animals one in front of the other so that they can clearly see what is going on. One of the most surprising findings of the undercover investigation was the fact that calves and lambs, after having their throats slit, still got up and tried to escape from their tormentors. This raises serious concerns regarding the cruelty of Jewish slaughter; many voices are now being heard in Israel, asking how it is possible that such cruelty still receives the ’kosher’ stamp. To see some of the footage from the investigation, click here; again, please be aware that the images are highly disturbing.

Repercussions

In both Israel and New Mexico, law enforcement was presented with the video evidence immediately after it was recorded, along with an official complaint, outlining the obvious violations of anti-cruelty-laws. However, it is not just the individual workers who are to blame in these cases—there has long been a culture of cruelty present in factory farms and slaughter houses. The larger companies are responsible for creating clear and defined boundaries around what actions are considered abusive, and ensuring swift and severe consequences when those boundaries are violated.

A serious concern we should be aware of

It is clear that the temporary shutdown of the Israeli slaughter house and the charges against the New Mexico farm workers would not have happened if it was not for the undercover investigations and footage that the animal rights organizations have produced. Sadly though, there is one black cloud on the horizon, which could create a barrier to all of these valuable efforts:

The ‘ag-gag’ laws are anti-whistle blower laws that have been pushed forward by the meat, egg and dairy industries through legislators, lobbyers and politicians across the USA. If these laws are passed, undercover filming and photography on factory farms without owner consent would become illegal. This will allow the industries to press criminal charges against animal rights activists who expose abuse. This will, of course, pose a huge threat to the work of animal rights activists, who rely on these methods to obtain evidence in order to press charges against abusers, and also as a tool for raising awareness.

Furthermore, a successful legislation of these laws in the States could be a catalyst for these laws to be introduced in other countries around the globe, like Israel and New Mexico, making undercover investigations and accomplishments such as the ones we have seen in the last two months, virtually impossible.

If you live in a state that currently has or is attempting to push ‘ag-gag’ legislation, please call or write to your state legislatures voicing your concerns. We cannot stay silent – the animals need us.

Cover Image: Shutterstock. Modification: TVW.

The post Israel’s Largest Slaughter House Shuts Down and New Mexico Farm Workers Faced with Criminal Charges appeared first on The Vegan Woman.

June 25 2015

06:00

Vegan Bug Repellents: Surviving the Summer Bug Bite-Free

Ah, summer, the sun, the picnics and of course the beach! And then there’s the fun of dodging pesky insects, my least favorite summer pastime. For me there’s nothing worse than a night spent trying not to scratch mosquito bites when all I want to do is to SCRATCH MOSQUITO BITES! Add to that the constant scare of West Nile Virus and other insect transported diseases and it’s enough to make you want to stay inside.

Alas, dear Vegans, fear not!! For I have compiled a list of tips to keep you outside and bite free so you can truly enjoy your summer.

1. DIY vegan bug repellents

Catnip, peppermint, citronella and cinnamon oil do great at keeping the bugs at bay. Image: Shutterstock.

Catnip, peppermint, citronella and cinnamon oil do great at keeping the bugs at bay. Image: Shutterstock.

A great way to stay clear of bites is to make your own vegan bug repellent. Emma, from Backpacking Spirit, has a great insect repellent recipe that is cheap, easy to use and natural. Her recipe uses essential oils, specifically lemon eucalyptus oil, as essential oils have been shown to mask the scent of humans that insects find so appealing. Catnip, peppermint, citronella and cinnamon oil are also great at keeping the bugs at bay. Backpacking Spirit is not a vegan blog, but it is all about traveling. So if it works for Emma as she travels the world it should work for me at my weekend picnic.

If you feel like you need something a little stronger, you can try the Vinegar of the Four Thieves Insect Repellent from Wellness Mama. Supposedly this bug repellent recipe was used by thieves during the Black Plague to keep them from getting sick as they robbed the dead.  Whether or not that’s true, it’s a great story to tell as you are sitting around the campfire roasting your vegan marshmallows, NOT being bitten by bugs.

2. Ready-made vegan bug repellents

Ready-made bug repellent: California Baby natural bug repellent.

Ready-made bug repellent: California Baby natural bug repellent.

If you don’t want to spend the time making your own product you could always purchase a vegan bug repellent, and your best bet is finding them online.

My tried and true favorite, California Baby’s bug repellent, is a vegan product manufactured by a vegan-friendly company. I’ve used this product on my son every summer since he was born, it smells like lemon, works well, and I feel comfortable spraying it on him.  I’ve used it during a walk in a forest preserve one summer and came out bite free.  Coming from a person who insects feel especially attracted to, this is saying a lot!

3. Other natural solutions

If you don’t want to bother with constantly spraying yourself with bug repellent while you are enjoying your picnic at the beach then you can try some other options. Eliminating standing water around your location is a good place to start, since standing water attracts insects. But you can also try sticking whole cloves in halved limes and placing them around your table, or using a citronella candle. Last and certainly not least you could try eating garlic.  However, this last advice should be used with caution: while garlic may repel insects it may repel humans as well! 

Have a beautiful bite-free summer!

Image: Shutterstock.Modifications: TVW.

The post Vegan Bug Repellents: Surviving the Summer Bug Bite-Free appeared first on The Vegan Woman.

June 23 2015

06:00

Vegan Quinoa Kimbap Recipe (Video Included!)

Kimbap. If you’ve never ventured to Korea, it may not be a food you’re familiar with.

Unlike its cousin from Japan, maki sushi, kimbap has remained mostly off the radar, especially in vegan food circles. This is partly because kimbap, in its most basic form, is far from vegan with staples like ham, egg, and odeng (a type of fish cake) rolled into the rice and seaweed sheet.

With a little innovation, however, it is quite easy to prepare vegan kimbap, and even take it to the next level. Enter quinoa kimbap with its purely vegan fillings and the light nutty taste of quinoa in place of dense sticky rice. It’s truly enough to make you want to say mmmm bap.

The following recipe and video will help you achieve your very own vegan quinoa kimpbap 

Vegan Quinoa Kimbap Recipe

(Yield: about 3~4 rolls)

Recipe Ingredients

½ cup uncooked quinoa

5~6 sheets of roasted seaweed (nori or kim)

Vegan quinoa kimbap filled with veg and avocado. Image: TVW.

Vegan quinoa kimbap filled with veg and avocado. Image: TVW.

For the filling

2 cups raw spinach

1 medium sized carrot

½ a red pepper

½ a medium sized cucumber

½ an avocado

sesame oil for frying

pinch of salt

Sauce ingredients*

1/3 cup tahini

1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

*Alternatively, simply use ½ cup of humus for the sauce.

Vegan Quinoa Kimbap Preparation

Cook the quinoa according to package directions. If you have time, do this well in advance so the quinoa has time to cool. If not, place it in your freezer while you prepare the other ingredients, or alternatively, use 1 cup of leftover quinoa from your fridge.

Prepare the veggies: Slice the carrots, red pepper and cucumber lengthwise to make long strips. Meanwhile, boil the spinach for a couple minutes and drain.

The veggies in kimbap usually come cooked but it’s up to you if you want to fry the carrots and red peppers in sesame oil or leave them raw.

Mix the spinach with 1 tsp sesame oil and a pinch of salt. Set all your veggies aside on a plate.

Now, make the sauce: Mix all the sauce ingredients together – tahini, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil – until smooth, adding water if necessary to thin out the sauce if it becomes too thick.

Add the sauce to the cooled quinoa and mix well.

Place about 1/3  cup of the quinoa mixture onto a single nori sheet and spread evenly, leaving about 1½ inches of space at the end of the sheet.

Now place your veggies on top of the quinoa in layers about 2 inches from front of the sheet. You can mix and match as you like, or just put two or three veggie strips in the roll.

Now you’re ready to roll. It’s not necessary to use a sushi roller as the quinoa sticks nicely. Just take the front of the sheet and roll it over top of the veggies keeping it nice and tight. Tuck the front end under the veggies, if possible, and continue to roll to the end of the sheet. Dip your fingers in water and pat the end of the sheet onto the roll so it sticks.

Brush some sesame oil onto the roll and with a sharp knife cut the roll into pieces about an inch wide.

Vegan Quinoa Kimbap perfection. Image: TVW.

Vegan Quinoa Kimbap perfection. Image: TVW.

Cover image: TVW.

The post Vegan Quinoa Kimbap Recipe (Video Included!) appeared first on The Vegan Woman.

June 20 2015

06:00

5 Ways to Connect With Other Vegans

Did you recently switch to veganism? Are you struggling to connect with like-minded folks that can relate to your new lifestyle choice? At first, veganism can feel incredibly isolating; as if you are the only one with the blinders off. A lifestyle switcheroo is never easy, especially when you go from mainstream to alternative. But the transition can be made much smoother if you have a community of vegans to support you. 

When I first transitioned to veganism in my early 20s, I felt like a ‘weirdo’. All of a sudden, I set myself apart from the pack and found myself alone with a new and exciting (albeit daunting) lifestyle. I have been a vegan since early 2008, and in the last six-plus vegan years, the Internet has been a wonderful way for me to connect with other vegans. In fact, I currently work from home for a small vegan company, and write for several online vegan publications. The advent of the Internet has made connecting with like-minded people possible, and I have utilized it over the last several years to my advantage. 

Below are five ways to connect with other vegans in real life and online: 

Facebook isn’t just for status updating. There are plenty of Facebook groups where you can connect with other vegans and make friends. Image: Shutterstock.

Facebook isn’t just for status updating. There are plenty of Facebook groups where you can connect with other vegans and make friends. Image: Shutterstock.

1. Facebook groups 

Facebook isn’t just for status updating and profile stalking. There are plenty of Facebook groups worth sifting through if you are looking for some vegan friends. Making online connections has the ability to create feelings of intimacy and connectedness, even if group members are not located in the same geographic location. Facebook is a great place to get your feet wet if you are a little shy, too. After a successful online connection, you can graduate to real life meet-ups.

2. Host a vegan potluck 

Throw a vegan potluck: Not only will you be able to connect with other vegans, but you can also swap recipes and get ideas for new vegan dishes.  Image: Shutterstock.

Throw a vegan potluck: Not only will you be able to connect with other vegans, but you can also swap recipes and get ideas for new vegan dishes. Image: Shutterstock.

As soon as you meet a few sage and established vegans, ask them to bring some of their vegan friends over to your place for a potluck, an informal dinner party where everyone contributes a dish. Not only will you be able to connect with other vegans, but you can also swap recipes and get ideas for new vegan dishes. You can even do a themed potluck where everyone brings a raw vegan dessert or a Mexican inspired vegan dish. Throw in a fun dress code and you’ve got yourself a perfect party! 

Meetup.com is a great resource for local vegan hangouts. Image: Meetup logo.

Meetup.com is a great resource for local vegan hangouts. Image: Meetup logo.

3. Vegan meet-ups 

Meetup.com is a great resource for local vegan hangouts. Just enter your location and search for a vegan group near you. You may have to travel a little bit, but potential vegan friends are worth the trip. If there are no vegan meet-ups near you, don’t be afraid to start one. Take the initiative if meeting like-minded individuals is important to you. What do you have to lose? Nothing. You just stand to gain a group of vegan friends. 

4. Veggie dating sites  

If you are single, why not sign up for a vegan dating site? Image: Shutterstock.

If you are single, why not sign up for a vegan dating site? Image: Shutterstock.

If you are in a relationship, this one is not really for you. But if you are single, why not sign up for a vegan dating site?

Even if sparks don’t fly, at least you’ll be open to possibilities and friendships that may result from your willingness to put yourself out there. Be warm, be welcoming and be your fabulous vegan self. Who wouldn’t love you?

5. Hangout at Vegan Hotspots

Vegans predictably hang out at places like your local juice bar, vegan restaurants, meditation groups, yoga studios, environmental groups, farmers’ market, animal shelters, animal activist groups and co-op. It’s not guaranteed that everyone frequenting these places will be vegan, but the chances that you will run into an animal-loving, plant-passionate person are much higher than at your local supermarket or fast food joint.

Pop into one of these establishments this week and be extroverted and outgoing. You never know whom you will run into. Your next vegan best friend could be in line behind you waiting for an organic green juice or coconut milk latte.

Cover image: Shutterstock.

The post 5 Ways to Connect With Other Vegans appeared first on The Vegan Woman.

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