Is there meat in my wine?

I came  across this post on my search for animal free wines, did you know that animal products are being used for making wine? YUCK! I am not only passionate about animals and the earth but I do LOVE my wine,  so for me this post was extremely helpful. To my knowledge there are many BC wines that do not use animal products, I will conduct a search to give you a list of local BC wines that are animal free on another post.

Is there meat in my wine (Via Vino For Veggies)

The author is Jon “VanVino” VanOeveren, Jon is a government budget analyst aspiring to become a vegetarian food and wine innovator. I think he is on the right track. Thanks Jon “VanVino”

This may seem like a ridiculous question, but actually not all wines are vegetarian and even fewer are vegan.  How is this possible?  Aren’t wines made with fermented grape juice? Why are wine makers throwing animals is our tasty beverages?

Well, there isn’t actually meat in the wine, but a number of animal derived products are used for fining a wine.  Fining is the process of adding a reactive agent to a wine to reduce or remove soluble particles thereby clarifying the wine.  Common products used to fine wines include following:

  1. Gelatin – derived from bones (not vegetarian) or (Vegan)
  2. Isinglass – derived from the air bladder of a sturgeon (not vegetarian or Kosher)
  3. Casein – protein derived from milk (vegetarian, but not vegan)
  4. Egg Albumen – derived from eggs whites (vegetarian, but not vegan)
  5. Bentonite – a clay-like material (vegan friendly)
  6. Dried Bull’s Blood Powder – an old school method, banned in the US and EU, but still used in some Mediterranean countries (just gross)

Fortunately, only trace amounts, if any, of fining agents are left in a wine.  During the wine making process wines are racked, which means that the wine is poured from one barrel to another leaving sediment and fining agents behind—consider it an industrial scale decanting.

Unfortunately, in the US, wine makers are not obligated to label their wines as vegetarian or vegan friendly.  So how do you know if your wine is Veggie friendly?  Here is a simple guide:

  1. Look for unfined/unfiltered wines.  This style of wine is becoming more popular as a natural and purer form of wine making.  They also are vegan friendly since no fining agent is used in the wine.  Just be prepared that your wine may be cloudy and throw sediment.  To minimized the sediment in your glass you can decant your wine or set the bottle upright an hour before drinking to let the sediment settle to the bottom.
  2. Drink red wines. Red wines are often filtered (a process that does not involve animal products), but less likely than whites to be fined because clarity is less of a need in reds.
  3. Drink wines from smaller producers. Smaller producers are more likely to make unfined/unfiltered wines.  Larger producers tend to make wines for the mass market, which demands a clearer wine without sediments.  Many consumers mistakenly believe that sediment and cloudiness in wines is a flaw.
  4. Organic and biodynamic wines do not mean Veggie friendly wines. Organic and biodynamic labels only indicate how the grapes were grown.  These wines can still be fined with animal products.
  5. Ask you local wine merchant. Your local wine shop should have an idea of what wines are vegetarian or vegan friendly.  If not, you may need to find a new wine shop that does.
  6. Use internet guides. There are websites that have lists of vegan and vegetarian friendly wines.  Two good sites are Barnivore and this vegan wine guide.
  7. Follow Vino for Veggies wine reviews. I’m going to make an effort on future posts to list whether the wines I review are vegan/vegetarian or not.  Often times this requires contacting the winery directly and hoping you get a response back.

I will admit that I’m not very diligent on this issue in my wine purchases (I know it makes me a bad Veggie).  However, I believe I should be clearer on the Veggie friendliness of the wines I review for my Veggie readership.

Questions for my readers:  Do you care if your wine is veggie friendly?  What if there is no trace of animal fining agents left in the wine?  Please leave your responses in the comment section below.

Best Lip Balm EVER!!!

The Scentuals Peppermint twist lip conditioner is addicting! I have retired any lip gloss, lip stick, or balm I have been using in the past and before I leave the house I always look for my Peppermint twist lip conditioner.  This local B.C, Canadian product has inspired me to try more from the Scentuals line.  I’ll keep you posted! It keep’s my lips moisturized, minty fresh and free of any chapping or drying. Purchased at Choices. Click here for testimonials on Scentuals products.

NOTE: This product does contain beeswax, so it’s not VEGAN friendly, something I didn’t notice prior to my purchase, I usually read the ingredients. I’m writing them to ask that they re consider using beeswax and to produce a beeswax free product for the future.

Click here to find out why we should be conscious of our use of bees and beeswax for products and food.

Tempeh Bacon Tomato Sandwich

Tempeh Bacon that is. Today I discovered the delicious taste of maple flavoured tempeh, what is tempeh you ask, tempeh is a cooked slightly fermented soybean that’s formed into a patty, similar to a very firm veggie burger.

Although tempeh is made from soy, it has a unique taste and is mildly flavorful on it’s own, unlike tofu. If you aren’t fond of tofu, tempeh is also very high in protein and calcium, as well as beneficial isoflavones, but tastes nothing like tofu. Tempeh has a textured and nutty flavor. Although tempeh may be new to the west, tempeh has been eaten in Asia for hundreds of years.

I purchased the maple flavored tempeh from Choices Market, the picture on the box sold me. I was grilling it up and  it smelled a whole lot like bacon! I toasted my bread, pan grilled my tempeh, sliced my cucumber and tomato, broke off  a few pieces of spinach and topped it off with a bit of salt and pepper to finish the job. Perfection!

I can’t remember what bacon tastes like it’s been so long. I’m going to say this did a pretty good job in flavor and for those of you looking for a replacement while you are transitioning or for those of you wanting to just cut back I think you might be surprised, It was really good in my opinion.

Remember when you are making changes or are just trying to cut back, you are not going to find identical replacements for foods, you can however find the taste for the most part. You have to get used to the new tastes and textures. Also your piece of chicken or steak is not good on it’s own, it’s the sauce you put on it that gives it taste, it’s the same with everything else too.

Guaranteed not to clog any arteries give you heart disease or promote high cholesterol or cancer. I’ll be buying this maple flavored tempeh again. Most definitely delicious.

The Dairy Alternative

I have had a lot of friends ask me lately about dairy alternatives, since I’m sure there are lot’s more people looking for alternatives I thought I woud write a short blog post on your options for dairy alternatives.

For every dairy product, there is a cruelty-free alternative. Choosing alternatives for cow’s milk offers you lower fat and calories and also contains no cholesterol. In addition in your choice to go dairy free, you choose in avoiding casein , did you know that dairy products don’t provide your body with calcium, in fact milk products deplete your body of calcium contributing to osteoporosis. Not to mention the in-humane reasons to avoid dairy. With todays options it’s so easy to avoid dairy.




Soy, rice, hemp, or any nut milk like almond can replace cow’s milk in any recipe. Soy and rice milks are available in a variety of flavors including plain, vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry.  For desserts, try using almond, oat, or coconut milk.

For whipped cream, try Rich’s brand nondairy whipping cream, beaten until stiff peaks form. You can find it at most specialty stores like Whole Foods, Choices, Capers. If they don’t carry it ask them to bring it in for you.

For buttermilk, combine one cup soy milk and one tablespoon vinegar.

Silk brand creamer makes an excellent coffee creamer.



For your baking needs you can buy EnerG egg replacer from choices. whole foods, or even Safeway. Want  eggs for breakfast? try a tofu scramble, Oprah likes it too!  or try my fave Tofu eggs benny



There are plenty of convenient alternatives to cheese

Vegan Gourmet Cheese Alternative by Follow Your Heart brand comes in mozzarella, nacho, Monterey jack, and cheddar flavors and contains no casein (a milk derivative). You’ll find it in natural food stores or online at

Daiya Cheese, also a good brand and it melts, again containing no casein.

Parmesan cheese, try Soymage vegan parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast flakes. nutrition yeast flakes are good in soups and stews or add to cream soups. I know that Choices carries a vegan parmesan but I can’t think of the name.

Try making your own nut cheese, great for parties.



Tofutti brand makes a wide variety of soy cheeses, including nondairy cream cheese, as well as vegan sour cream and ice cream. The sour cream is better than the cow milk version in my opinion.



Cottage cheese or ricotta cheese can be replaced with crumbled or seasoned tofu. To turn your tofu into feta try following this recipe , Feta Cheese Recipe from



Vegenaise is an excellent alternative to mayonnaise.



Earth Balance can be used in place of any recipe that calls for butter or margarine, or try it on it’s own.



Try Silk or Whole Soy brand vegan yogurt alone or in a recipe.



There is a wide variety of vegan ice cream available on the market. Try Soy DeliciousSoy or Rice Dream or Tofutti, my favorite brand is Larry and Lunas Coconut Bliss.



You can easily replace a cream sauce with nuts, cashews work best. Never heard of making cream sauce with cashews? Click here for the recipe.


My Top 10 Lady Products of 2010

Beauty products at their best, good for you, natural, earth friendly and not harmful to any animals!


Earth Science Skin Care

A-D-E Creamy Cleanser
I like all of these products but by far my favorite Earth Science product is the A-D-E Creamy Cleanser. Use to cleanse even the most delicate skin. This unique formula made from natural fruit oil cleansers is ideal for removing makeup or sunscreen from all skin types, including oily skin. Rich in Plant Sterols and vitamins A, D and E , leaves my skin feeling clean, moisturizer and glowing. Sold at Choices Stores


Brevelle Juicer

There is nothing better than beauty from the inside out. Juicing has so many benefits. Juice and purée in one machine. This commercial-quality juicer has a second disc that purées soft fruits for 100% fruit smoothies.

Gets the most juice out of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, from delicate berries to crisp apples.


Natures Gate Shampoo

The thing I like the best about this product is the smell. This shampoo is mild on my colored hair and in my opinion a better option than the regular store brand items that not only are tested on animals but are not harmful to the environment. Natures Gate mild shampoo is perfect for hair in need of extra moisture or hair that has been depleted by chemical processing.

Using Organic Chamomile and Marshmallow
Extracts combined with Aloe Vera to moisturize, this shampoo not only smells good but it will nourish and help smooth ends. Panthenol (Vitamin B5) helps protect hair against breakage leaving hair looking healthy with renewed shine and vitality. Sold at Choices Stores.


Chandrika Soap

There is something so simple and organic about this soap, again the smell is divine and it leaves my skin extremely smooth and soft. Founded in 1940, called Chandrika Ayurvedic Soapwhen it was not a fashion to call products ‘Ayurvedic.’ ‘Chandrika Soap’ is made with pure vegetable oils such as purified Coconut oil, Sandalwood oil, and Patchouli oil; it does not use any animal fat or products. ‘Chandrika Soap’ is not tested on animals. I’m totally addicted! Sold at most health food stores.


Toms Toothpaste

I love the minty freshness this tooth paste offers, it’s not sweet like reg tooth paste another benefit in my opinion but the perfect balance of mint and clean. Toms Of Maine has no hidden chemicals and it natural and pure made with propolis & myrrh. Contains Xylitol to help prevent plaque build up and myrrh for a healthy feeling mouth. Made with natural ingredients without anything artificial. This product does not contain saccharin; artificial sweeteners, preservatives, colors, or flavors; or animal ingredients. Tom’s of Maine products are tested for safety without the use of animals. Sold at any drug store or health food store.


bwc Mascara

(Beauty Without Cruelty)

Beauty Without Cruelty Black Ultimate Natural Mascara gives Lancome a run for its money! Trust me, I’ve tried a lot of mascaras and none have compared. Beauty Without Cruelty Ultimate Natural Mascara adds color and definition, separates and defines each lash with long-lasting colour while adding full volume. Also available at Choices Yaletown.


ZuZu Concealer

This ZuZu concealer by Gabriel cosmetics rocks! I have never found anything as creamy and smooth as the Zu Zu concealer. Extremely gentle great for sensitive skins, comes in 4 shades. The coverage is amazing and the products is cruelty free.  Of course I like all the products they make but this one stands out over the rest by far. Available at Choices in Yaletown.


Ombra Aromatic Foam Bath Eucalyptus

I can’t even remember how long I have been using this product that’s how long I have been using it! STUFFY NOSE?  Eucalyptus Extract Foam Bath with its natural eucalyptus oil provides comfort to the respiratory system. This bath is especially beneficial when suffering from colds, even allergies, as it is comforting and gets rid of that stuffed up feeling by opening up the sinuses. I even use it in the summer. No matter the season Ombra leaves me feeling refreshed,  after a long day of skiing, playing volleyball or just a long day at work this works wonders. No animal testing is done, the packaging is environmentally friendly and the contents biodegradable. Sold at Shoppers Drug Mart.


Aveda Sun Care For Hair

If you travel a lot like me and you spend a lot of time in the sun then you are going to love this product. Aveda Sun Care is the perfect hair saver. A lightweight, water-resistant UV defense mist that forms an invisible screen to help protect hair from sun exposure for up to 16 hours, to minimize color fadage, damage and dryness.


Hurraw Lip Balm

All natural, organic, vegan and raw

A friend of mine gave me Hurraw lip balm as a gift and I am loving it, its great for those days when you just want a little something on your lips, it’s moiturising and smells yummy! Hurraw carries 16 diffrent flavors. Not avail in Vancouver yet but you can order online.





Toxic Beauty

Beauty is everyone’s concern, from Botox on your lunch break to express facelifts and eyelash extensions, but do we really know what were putting on our bodies? We talk so much about what we consume  but I believe it’s so equally important to tell you about what’s in some of your products.

Many people will argue that products containing these toxic ingredients (and oh so many more)  are safe because the harmful effects only occur in large quantities.  However it doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that if you are using products that contain certain ingredients for years, that the toxins can and will build up in your system. Some faster than others. But regardless of that, why take the risk? Why not just live as healthy as you can without all the added chemicals.

Here are just a few of the toxic ingredients found in items you use everyday like shampoo, soap, lip balm, lotions, sunscreen, and toothpaste.

  • Propylene Glycol: Used in anti-freeze and found in make-up, lotion, deodorant, sunscreen, and shampoo. Causes skin irritation. Is a carcinogen. It is also an endocrine disruptor and a neurotoxin.
  • Parabens (Butyl, Methyl, Ethyl, Propyl): Found in toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, styling products, lotion and many others. Parabens are endocrine disruptors and Neurotoxins as well.
  • Titanium Dioxide: Is an effective window cleaner because it degrades anything it touches. Toxic to respiratory and immune system. Linked to cancer, asthma, allergies, and organ toxicity. Found in sunscreens. Titanium Dioxide is the main ingredient in most mineral makeups which are often tagged “natural”. These nanoparticles are more dangerous than the liquid form because they can be inhaled directly into your lungs.
  • Zinc Oxide: Mutates skin cells, and is an endocrine disrupter. Found in sunscreens and is also a main ingredient in mineral makeups.
  • Aluminum: Toxic heavy metal. Neurotoxin. Linked with cancer.
  • Toluene: Made from tar. Found in fragrances and nail polish. Causes organ damage.
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS): Chemists use SLS to split cells open labs. We put it on our heads in via shampoos and toothpastes! Also found in bubble bath solution and mascara. It is a very strong skin irritant.
  • Petrolatum, Paraffin, Mineral Oil: Found in lip balms and lotions. These ingredients interfere with your body’s own natural moisturizing mechanism. Ever wonder why your lips are mysteriously addicted to lip balm? This would be why.
  • Phthalates: A plasticizing ingredient directly linked to birth defects. Found in nail polish, and cuticle treatments. Toxic to the environment, respiratory system, immune system, nervous system.
  • Flouride: Found in toothpaste, mouthwash, breath fresheners. Is a neurotoxin, toxic to organs, aids tumor formation, endocrine disruptor.
  • Artificial Fragrances: Can cause asthma. Found in perfumes, lotions, shampoo.
  • Diethanolamin (DEA or TEA): Causes allergies, skin irritation, and toxic to immune system. Found in sunscreen, moisturizers, foundation, hand cream, soap.

I leave you with some resources to help you learn more about the products you use everyday.

Environmental Working Group – Learn about this fascinating group that is working hard to spread information and to bring about a change in the cosmetics industry.

The Cosmetics Database – courtesy of the Environmental Working Group. Search any product or ingredient for a full rundown of its harmful side effects.

Ecomii -Deciphering Product Labels

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics – Incredibly informative and up to date information.

Suggested Reading:
Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry

Toxic Beauty: How Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Endanger Your Health And What You Can Do about It

Try products from Aveda, Lush, Body Shop, Earth Science (I use this) and Kiss My Face , Jason (A personal Fave) even products from your drugstore. St Ives and Ombra are great!


Talk Dirty


You go to the store and you stand there looking at the rows and rows of cleaning products, the green cleaning products always catch your eye but  you always reach for your old standby. Like me you know the products are chemical ridden but unless you do your research you have no idea how terrible these products actually are.

So what does green really mean? biodegradable, cruelty free, and septic safe. Ok so why should I give up my products to buy green? I don’t even have a septic tank! Well for certain you know that it wasn’t squirted into the eyes of any cosmetics-tester rabbits and we’ve covered that the chemicals used are not going to corrode your septic tank, and even if you don’t own a septic tank those chemicals are going somewhere. Wouldn’t you rather know the products you’re using are going to eventually become one with the earth again?

One thing you should do is to always read labels carefully. If a product is marketed as ‘natural’ don’t just accept it – check the labels and it’s contents. If you don’t recognise some of the ingredients, look them up online. Yes, this process can be time consuming, but it’s also well worth it if you want to protect the planet and save some animals. The truth is that while some products do contain natural ingredients, they also include synthetic chemicals that are unhealthy.

Well that sounds good! So what ones should I use? I like Method it smells good, I can inhale it when I clean, my dog can lick it and not get sick! not that he does, but he could. Just sayin. You get the picture. Best of all, it works.

Other trusted brands are Seventh Generation, Vip, Green Works, and remember Simple Green? well it’s still around and its still simply green. So next time you go to reach for that old stand by cleaning product, give green a chance.

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“Cheese” and “Coconut” together at last~

Ok not really together, but here are two products on the market that I am totally digging!

Daiya”Cheese” and Coconut Bliss Bars!

Daiya “Cheese” if there is one thing that is difficult to give up when you’re making a change from Vegetarian to Vegan it’s cheese. I agree the soy products just don’t cut it no matter how hard you try. Daiya taste like cheese, cooks like cheese, melts like cheese and tastes good. Daiya is plant based but not soy and comes in cheddar or mozza, I’ve used it on veggie nut burgers, casseroles and even eggplant parmesean well more like eggplant mozzarella but it was delicious. If you are a lover of cheese then for sure your are going to love Daiya. Give the poor factory farmed animals a break and do your part by making healthy diet changes, go Daiya! Sold at Choices, Whole Foods and Capers.

Coconut Bliss Bars! Wow these little suckers are tasty! Made from coconut milk and sweetened with agave.  Did you know that coconut fat actually stimulates metabolism “Umm ya” and no you should not eat the whole box in one sitting.

Coconut gets a bad wrap for being high in fat but did you know that it’s good fat? Unlike other fats, MCTs do not need to be broken down and can be used immediately by the body as energy; it’s the ideal fat for people who commonly have trouble digesting fat, such as those with a slow metabolism, colitis, and hypothyroidism. Did I mention coconut fat actually stimulates metabolism? Are you loving these bars yet?

(MCTs) are  identical to those in human breast milk, coconut milk also has similar germ fighting and heart-protective properties.

Ok, so now that you know that they are not only good, but good for you. I suggest you give them a try! I’d even go as far as saying they would beat out the creamiest ice cream on the market. Bliss Bars come in chocolate and coconut or try a tub there are so many flavors. Purchased at Choices.

Looking For A Great Gift? Skinny Bitch

Ok I LOVED Skinny Bitch. I can see why it was a New York Times best seller. I couldn’t put it down. After I finished reading it I went out and purchased a copy for each of my girlfriends. Already being a vegetarian and all about healthy ethical eating, this book opened my eyes even further. Skinny Bitch gives you the inside scoop to all the consumer lies that are being told. Skiiny Bitch goves you the skinny on what’s really in your food.

The writing is hysterically funny and witty. If you’re a guy don’t feel left out, there is a Skinny Bastard written for you too.

Stop being a moron and start getting skinny! “If you can’t take one more day of self-loathing, you’re ready to hear the truth: You cannot keep shoveling the same crap into your mouth every day and expect to lose weight”

Authors Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin are your new smart-mouthed girfriends who won’t mince words and will finally tell you the truth about what you’re feeding yourself. They will guide you on making intelligent and educated decisions about food.

This book makes a great gift for any lady or man (Skinny Bastard) under $15.00. Even if you don’t want to be a vegan or vegetarian you want to be healthy right?


Sustainable Agriculture Wine By Cono Sur – Vineyards & Winery

I love this wine, its high on my recommendation list. First of all it’s organic, it tastes like a really pricey bottle of wine and it’s cheap at 15.00 a bottle you can not give it a try. The trick is (DECANT FIRST)


The wines from our Sustainable Agricultural range are made with grapes in conversion to organic agriculture, certified by BCS Öeko Garantie GmbH. This means they are grown through organic practices, but are within the three years period required in order to be certified organic.

The farming of these wines was devised specially to make an efficient use of renewable resources, protect the environment and cause minimum impact to the surrounding ecological system. The growing and elaboration of these wines is in line with best sustainable agriculture.

Sustainable Agriculture Wines | Cono Sur – Vineyards & Winery.