It’s a good day all around, this post marks my 100th post since I started this blog in September 2012. I’m feeling all kinds of love and support! Thanks to all of you. Today I got twitter follows from Forks Over Knives, Dr. McDougall and a Hospital!?! I also got featured on the brand new site, Choose Veg. Feeling happy and blessed. Here’s a look back at 99 posts, in no particular order.
Category Archives: Vegan Household
A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from Film Director Julia Grayer asking me to review her movie, “Chow Down” on my blog. It’s not often I get an email from a film director (okay, so this was the first time). I was flattered and more than happy to take the time to share this review with you.
The Usual Suspects:
The Story Line:
Three very sick patients adopt a plant-based diet in order to overcome their serious health issues. I want you to watch the film, so I won’t give you the outcomes (you can guess it’s gonna be good, eh?) Let’s just say the evidence that diet can reverse disease is overwhelming to the affirmative.
Here’s some obstacles to eating plant-based that are brought up by characters in the film. I don’t feel like these obstacles were adequately addressed or solved when the film finished, to the point that those who watch the film may not be willing to give a plant-based diet a try. I thought you might like to chime in with me regarding these ideas:
1- Eating a Whole Foods Plant Based Diet is hard/doesn’t taste good/and is limiting.
I eat a greater variety of foods and prepare more flavorful meals then I have ever done in my life since adopting a plant-based diet. If it doesn’t taste good, you’re doing it wrong.
2- It costs too much.
Maybe. I admit I spend more on groceries now than I used to. However, the additional amount I’m spending costs me far less than the monthly medications I used to have to take. It also costs less than health care for cancer, heart disease or diabetes.
3- I can’t do it because I don’t have a support system.
Bull. Even if you don’t personally know anyone else following a plant-based diet, you can get online and find support groups. Hey, I even belong to two on facebook. Dr. McDougall and Dr. Barnard also have fantastic plans for starting out.
4- My family won’t eat a plant-based diet with me.
Um, my family does. Yours can too. Start with plant-based reproductions of the meals you’re used to eating. Help to educate your family about the benefits of eating a whole foods plant-based diet. My family begs me for green smoothies and even my youngest will eat most anything I prepare. We’re in it together and we love it. It may take some time, but your family can love it too.
Watch the Movie and Join the Conversation:
Lucky has a Giveaway for your dog!
It’s been a week since our first shipment of V-dog arrived! From day one, it was clear that Lucky preferred V-dog to his other up-market brand dog food. Hardly a surprise since most commercial dog food is greasy and smelly. V-dog smells fresh, because it is! He loves the breath bones too (we love them even more, his breath is totally fresh after eating them)! More importantly though, adjustment has been easy and Lucky hasn’t experienced any gastrointestinal upset or problems with the switch!
Since V-dog was kind enough to send us 2 five-pound bags of dog food to review, we want to share with you. I was gonna give the second bag to one lucky winner, but what’s the fun in that? I know lots of you want to try it. So, we are breaking up the second bag to send out samples to the first
10 20 comments here that request a sample! If I get more requests than that, we’ll see what we can work out Requests only for followers of this blog within the U.S. please.
Update: I’ve received far more than 20 requests and cannot accept any more. Sorry!
Why switch to V-dog?
As a long-time vegetarian vet, I’m often asked whether I feed my pets meat. I’m never certain whether it’s an honest question or an attempt to trip me up. It’s similar to being asked, “If you don’t eat meat, where do you get your protein?”
My protein comes from the same place the animals people eat happen to get theirs — plants.
Can Your Cat or Dog Be Vegetarian or Vegan?
The simple answer is that dogs can do just fine on a carefully balanced vegetarian or vegan diet, while cats cannot. Sure, you can try to work around the whole cats-are-obligate-carnivores thing by supplementing certain synthetic amino acids, but it gets tricky — not to mention dangerous to the cat’s health.
So the answer is yes for dogs, but no for cats.
The comment that I most often hear after I state that dogs can be fed a vegetarian or vegan diet is that canines do better on a meat-based diet. Again, I’m not going to argue. There aren’t any studies that I’m aware of that have compared longevity and disease occurrence in dogs who’ve been fed meat versus canines on vegetarian diets.
Interestingly, one of the world’s oldest dogs, Bramble, who lived to a reported 27 years old in the U.K., was never fed an ounce of meat by her strictly vegan owner.
Still not convinced? Check out the ingredient list above. It’s human grade people!
After lots more research, this particular article really pushed me over the edge: Article used with permission from V-dog:
Vegetarian Diets Can Be Healthy for Dogs
The final convincing: one of my Facebook friends, Veterinarian Dr. Michael Roth (Veggivet) mentioned to me that he feeds his own dogs V-dog.
There are other vegan dog foods on the market, but V-dog is the only fully vegan dog food company. To learn more about their company, please visit their site here.
….and I’ve got no doubts your dog will eat it, love it and thrive on it!
Update: I’ve received far more than 20 requests and cannot accept any more. Sorry!
Something special arrived on my porch yesterday. I wasn’t going to talk to you about it til’ January, but I can’t help myself. I’ve been plant-based now for nearly a year. Our Portuguese Water Dog, Lucky, is part of our pack. Since we changed our diet as a family, inevitably, he’s wanted to change his. He’s started to turn up his nose at his (upmarket brand) dog food. He steals loaves of freshly baked whole grain bread. When I open the crisper door of my refrigerator he cries for an apple. He’s been known to sneak off with a whole bunch of bananas if they’re left on the counter-top, later I find the peels (expertly peeled) in my back yard. I suspect he needs to go back to dog training school, but I also suspect he doesn’t really like his greasy smelly commercial dog food much. Who can blame him?
Look at that smile! We had to use our “leave it” command to get him to not gobble these up while I was taking the photo.
The owner of V-dog generously offered Lucky a couple bags of dog food and some treats to try out and for me to review my dog’s response here. Lets just say the response was overwhelming. As soon as I cut one of the bags open, he was right by my side. To my surprise, the food didn’t smell unpleasant at all like other dry dog food does. I offered him a few pieces as a treat. Gobble gobble, my kids came home from school and wanted to test it out on him too. Gobble gobble. For dinner that night I mixed 1/3 V-dog with 2/3 of his other commercial food. Guess what? He somehow sorted the bits and only ate the food from V-dog, leaving the other dog food behind in the bowl. I all ready know he’s a convert.
For those of you who think I’m nuts (I’m sure even some of you vegans do!), next week I’ll be presenting you with evidence as to how dogs can thrive on a plant-based diet and how commercial dog food is full of yucky stuff. Indeed V-dog meets all the national nutritional standards that traditional dog food does. The label is 100 times cleaner though. In fact, it’s so clean that they say their dog food is human grade… So I ate a piece. It tastes like an unseasoned lentil loaf or a vegetable type cracker…
I’ll let you know how Lucky is doing with it and I’ll be doing a GIVEAWAY to some of you who may be interested in transitioning your dog too. Check out V-dog’s website for more details. Stay tuned for another Giveaway tomorrow!
Um, yeah, this non-toxic cleaning spray does exactly what you think it does, It cleans up human/pet poo, pee or vomit. It cleans said substances off carpet, upholstery, hard floors and even walls (yes, my toddler was a poo painter for a period of time). This solution is perfect for homes with babies, toddlers, and pets. A similar store-bought solution (pet clean up spray) can set you back $5-$10 bucks. This solution should cost you no more than a dollar to make. The best part? It really disinfects and completely eliminates odors and bacteria. Believe me, with potty training a toddler and house training a puppy in the last year I know what I’m talking about. For those of you without small children or pets, don’t click the close button on this post, this is also a great all-purpose cleaning spray. I love to clean my kitchen counter tops with it.
- 1 C. hydrogen peroxide
- 1 C. distilled water
- 1 t. baking soda
- 20-40 drops high quality lemon essential oil (don’t skimp here, we’re talking about poo, and lemon oil is a powerful disinfectant, deodorizer and bacteria killer)
- few drops of a natural liquid dishwasher soap
Lucky, Portuguese Water Dog – 13 weeks old
Method: Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle, put the spray cap on and shake to blend. Using clean cloths (or disposable cloth baby wipes) remove as much of the offending matter as possible. Saturate area to be cleaned with the VaPOOrize spray. For hard surfaces you can wipe the area clean straight away. For carpet or upholstery: let absorb for a few minutes to really disinfect. Scrub area with (multiple) a clean cloths or disposable cloth baby wipes, I really like the Costco brand for these type of emergencies. Repeat the process if necessary until odor and stains are completely gone. Let area dry. When completely dry, vacuum to restore nap to the carpet.
Disclaimer: this solution has never EVER bleached or discolored any of my carpet or upholstery, but please test this spray in an inconspicuous area on your carpet or fabric to verify colorfast-ness.
Compassion Couture is a one-stop online boutique for high quality, fashion-forward handbags, shoes and accessories that are both vegan and eco-friendly. The site exclusively offers products by companies that place a strong emphasis on producing their goods in a sustainable and ethical way. From sexy pumps to casual boots to chic bags, this is the one place a girl can splurge guilt-free! Just in time to treat yourself for the Holidays!
To enter the Giveaway, simply click on the link below and you’ll be directed to the Rafflecopter Giveaway Gadget
click here: a Rafflecopter giveaway
The Giveaway will run through November 27th and I’ll announce the winner on the 28th!
p.s. you don’t have to wait until the giveaway is over to shop there, Compassion Couture has a huge sale going on right now. Check it out!
CONNECT WITH COMPASSIONATE COUTURE:
I’ve been making my own cruelty-free cold process soap for over a decade, I love it because I know exactly what’s in it and it’s super moisturizing to my skin. I also love giving out soap as neighbor Christmas Gifts each year, it’s an inexpensive gift that is full of homemade love.
Wanna join me?
The equipment you need:
An accurate kitchen scale, 2 glass or stainless bowls (not pictured above), a wooden spoon, a stick blender, Soap Mold (a rectangular glass container is used here), 3 or 4 tupperware containers of various sizes for measuring lye, oils and water into (not pictured above) Plastic Wrap, Candy making thermometer (not pictured above), Long Chemical Resistant Gloves, dishwashing variety gloves will do fine in a pinch, cuff them to catch any soap that could run down your arm) and Safety Goggles.
Get ready: Put on your gloves, safety goggles, tie your hair back if it is long. Wear a long sleeve shirt, pants and closed toe shoes.
The safety equipment and long clothing may seem silly, but lye (or caustic soda) is a chemical that WILL burn your skin (it’s the primary ingredient in drain cleaners), and can cause blindness, so PLEASE USE CAUTION.
Ready? Lets make soap!
Now for the ingredients. I’m giving you a super simple recipe that will make a mild and moisturizing soap with really good lather. PRETTY PLEASE use a kitchen scale, soap MUST be made by measuring by weight, not volume!
Somer’s Simple Soap
1 lb test batch, if you’ve never made soap, I suggest starting with this smaller batch.
makes four 4 ounce bars
- 6 oz coconut oil (170 grams)
- 10 oz olive oil (283 grams)
- 3 to 4 oz distilled water (85-110 grams)
- 2.23 oz. (or 62-63 grams) lye
- 2 t. organic or therapeutic grade essential oil (I use all kinds, but lavender and citrus oils are my faves)
Once you’ve made the test batch above successfully, go ahead and make a 5 lb. batch following the same method as below (but with new measurements and use bigger containers all around).
5 lb batch
makes twenty 4 ounce bars
- 30 ounces coconut oil (1.875 lbs or 850 grams)
- 50 ounces olive oil (3.125 lbs or 1,417 grams)
- 25 ounces distilled water (1.5 lbs or 709 grams)
- 11.5 ounces lye (326 grams)
- 1 ounce essential oil of your choice (or a blend)
I buy my lye at my local Ace Hardware Store, It is getting harder and harder to find, so if you have trouble, you can also source it here. Do not use Drano, Liquid Plumber or any other type of lye formulation that is not 100% pure lye.
Put a small round tupperware container on your kitchen scale, then turn it on, this will allow it to start at a zero weight without adding the weight of your container to the total weight. Pour distilled water slowly into the container until you have 3 or 4 ounces of water in your container.
Add distilled water to glass or stainless bowl. Turn off your scale and put a different small tupperware container on the scale (not the same one you used the water for, you don’t want any lye touching water at this point). Turn it on and CAREFULLY weigh the lye. I like to measure the weight of the lye in grams for the greatest accuracy.
Slowly Pour the lye into the water, this is (literally) best done outdoors with your free longsleeved arm covering your airways so you don’t inhale toxic fumes.
Stir quickly so the lye crystals don’t solidify at the bottom of the bowl
The temperature of the water at this point can be over 150 degrees (sometimes it even boils). So set the bowl cautiously aside with your gloved hands AND some pot holders.
Get your oils ready to measure
Using the same method as before, but with a clean container, Slowly add 6 ounces of the coconut oil to your tupperware (if it’s not all ready liquid, warm it up briefly for easier measuring).
DO NOT TURN OFF OR ZERO OUT THE SCALE THIS TIME, Immediately add the olive oil until it reaches a total weight of 16 ounces or 1 pound
Now heat the oil in the microwave in 15 second intervals until it reaches a temperature between 100-120 degrees farenheit. You can also heat the oils briefly on the stove-top (in a pot of course).
Next, check the temperature of the lye. If its anywhere between 100-120 degrees, you are good to go. If it’s still too hot, give it another minute or so to cool down. As long as the lye and oils are somewhere between 100-120 degrees they’re within an appropriate range for mixing and starting the trace process.
Put the oils into a glass or stainless bowl (I used my 4 C. glass measuring cup) and Carefully pour the lye into the oils.
Now stir briefly with your wooden spoon (or in my case, wooden spork thingy). Then use the stick blender to bring your soap to trace, trace is the state where the oil and lye water are thoroughly combined. It will thicken, not quite as thick as pudding, but like a stirred custard.
Soap is fully traced when it can support a drop (you will see the outline of the soap drop and it won’t disappear). This should take less than 5 minutes with your stick blender on high speed and this particular recipe.
At this point you can add your essential oils or leave the soap unscented. Just pour in a teaspoon or two of essential oil per pound of soap you are making and give it another whiz with the stick blender til fully incorporated.
I used a glass rectangular container, but even a shoe box or drawer organizer will work.
Soap can form a weird ash layer when curing sometimes so I make a little soap burrito and cover it all up with plastic wrap to prevent the ash layer from forming. It doesn’t make for the prettiest soap, but hey, I’m not selling it.
Put soap in oven or microwave (weird I know) and close the door. You want to protect it from drafts and give it a nice cozy place to incubate. It will get really warm and go through several phases, including a gel phase while incubating. This is NORMAL. Just leave it undisturbed for 24 hours.
Now your soap is ready to cut! Just pull the plastic wrap off it and go to it! The photos of cut soap are from a 5 pound batch.
I like using the cute crinkle cutter Erika gave me for my birthday.
Let soap cure for a week or two before using. Longer cure times will result in a firmer longer lasting bar, which is great, if you can stand to wait! Oh, and if I get my coconut oil on sale (like I always do) this soap costs less than a dollar per bar to make, which is a slam dunk compared to the fancy bars at Whole Foods.
If you’d like to formulate your own soap recipes, I suggest you visit The Sage Website for their lye calculator, and their Soap Blog for more detailed instructions and ideas. The Sage is also an excellent and affordable place to purchase soap-making supplies including soap molds, essential oils and fixed oils. You can go as extravagant as you like or you can keep it simple which is more my style.
A word about essential oils in soap-making: vanilla will turn the soap brown, peppermint will burn your naughty bits if you use too much (I suggest 1/2 t. or less for a batch this size) and cinnamon essential oils will not only burn your skin, but will also cause your soap to seize solid in the bowl. So stick to the basics I only use essential oils as I find fragrance oils to be artificial and cloying (same goes for artificial coloring) I’ve tried natural colorants but in the end, I always go back to plain soaps, bonus that they are also the least irritating. (FYI, lavender buds and most other herbs turn brown and will look like dead flies in finished soap).