Ethical Shopping “Ethical Dilema”

Ethical shopping

I shop a lot, I love fashion but I still struggle with leather vs pleather or any alternative ethical material, don’t get me wrong I would happily choose a more ethical product if they actually made a fashionable one. I’ve seen other people wear cool pleather jackets, and I own the coolest pleather bag, so why can’t I seem to find more?

 This includes shoes, bags, belts and jackets. I don’t deny that I love the idea of a vegan lifestyle and when it comes down to my choices I do pretty good for the most part. I choose ethical products, ethical food and try my best at ethical clothing. The first stage is awareness and I am really trying. I really am.

I’ve seen some really great non leather materials out there, I even own some, even so that my very snotty fashionable friends actually thought my non leather bag was leather. So tell me this, why can’t these manufactures just copy the styles of some of the cool shoes, bags and belts out there and make non leather versions? Like these from Nine West, I love these boots but I just couldn’t bring my self to buy them. In the back of my head all I can see is some poor cow giving it’s life for my fashion addiction. This is such a struggle for me. It also was a shock to find out how lambs are treated for wool. It’s all very distrurbing.

If you go high end there’s Stella McCartney her stuff is great but wow it’s expensive! No thanks! I’ve been know to spend some cash but come on! I did recently find some great ethical boots at Nice Shoes and I have to say I am loving them! They also carry these  fantastic runners . Most of my non leather bags I find at Urban Outfitters. If you know of any great stores or links to online ordering please let me know. I just ask that you don’t suggest pleather Doc Martins, I’m over the 90’s! but there they are on every ethical shoe site!

Nice Shoes 3568 Fraser Street (between E 19th & 20th) Vancouver, BC  604-558-3000

Urban Outfitters 830 Granville Street Vancouver, BC V6B 2C9 604) 685-1970

Eco Product Review “PLASTIC”

I come across a lot of very cool products and this one by Pela reminds me of why it’s so important to educate people on the usage of plastics. I attached this video from their site:

Plastic even though recyclable doesn’t make the list of  the most eco-friendly material. Plastic bottles rank right up their for the most anti eco-friendly materials out there including plastic bags and plastic containers. If you eliminate the scourge of bottled water, you will be eliminating one of the biggest problems facing our environment. —Charles Moore, founder, Algalita, and discoverer of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The production of plastic not only hurt’s the health of people in the factories producing it but also to the people living in the small towns around the factories.

Plastic containers leach chemicals into the water we drink, foods that we eat and containers our food that we buy comes in, even worse when we heat foods in plastic containers and plastic wrap in the microwave  we are releasing toxins into our food. Plastic containers show evidence of chemical release even when not heated.

The problem is plastic is still used just about everywhere, it’s harmful to the environment, it takes centuries to break down and when it does, it separates into tiny toxic particles that contaminate the ground and water, ending up in our streams, oceans, rivers and drinking water. Know your numbers. If you’re buying something that comes in plastic, check the bottom for numbers that tell you the plastics are recyclable in your area, like #1 and #2. (See the City-by-City guide to learn what can be recycled in your city.)

Environmentally  the usage of plastics is devastating, especially for animals; tiny pieces of plastic are consumed by fish, and those fish are eaten by humans this is causing widespread harm and health concerns. On top of that, land animals who eat it have been found dead by suffocation as plastics become lodged in their stomaches and throats. Some have even been found with plastic rings caught around their necks causing them to choke. This includes, fish, birds, small animals like rabbits and marine life including sharks, seals and turtles.

It’s known that plastics cause cancer,  thyroid issues, neurological issues the risks are everywhere. Please click here to read what the Canadian Cancer Society say’s about plastics. A highly informative way to educate yourself about plastics is by watching a documentary called Tapped. Tapped examines the role of the bottled water industry and it’s effects on our health, climate change, pollution, and our reliance on oil.

So yes plastic is made from oil. By using less plastic you help to preserve our natural resources. Plastic is cheaper than organic materials such as stone, glass, and solid metal. Therefore, manufacturers cannot help but to use plastics but we must make better choices if we strive for a healthier future.

If you know of any great non plastic companies out there please feel free to share them with me, I’ll put them on the blog.

Meals From Mars

As a vegetarian it sometimes feels foreign like I’m on another planet when discussing the all to popular question”To eat or not to eat animals for food.” While vegetarianism has been practiced for over a thousand years in some countries, it is a relatively new concept in the West. And so, with the question cropping up more and more , I thought I would share with you the questions I get asked most often. “What’s wrong with eating meat?”

For me it’s comes down to this. “I object to the consumption of meat because it is the flesh of another being, obtained through her slaughter, without her consent.  The food we call “meat” — more accurately, the body parts of pigs, chickens, cows, and other beings — is unnecessary in a human diet and is too much a product of exploitation for me to condone its use.”

Food is a very personal thing for many people, and as members of a culture raised to view the corpses of other animals as food, it can be daunting to imagine a life without those bodies on our plates.  I agree that there is definitely a period of adjustment we have to go through when we eliminate animal products from our diets.  However, once that period of adjustment is over I gaurantee you will find that I you don’t miss it.  Not even a bit. I swear!

I know the reality is we can’t educate overnight, people are still going to use animals for food, clothes and exploit them for entertainment and science, however we can reduce this suffering and reduce the consumption of products by sharing our thoughts and opinions as well as making more informed product choices. I am not telling you how to live your life, but I am asking you to reconsider your thinking process. Reducing consumption has huge benefits not only in reducing suffering but also benefits in health and environmental impact.

“I was meat free for a while, but I felt tired all the time because I didn’t get enough protein.”  In saying that I belive people are open to the change, unfortunately they revert back. This is a statement I hear a lot This makes me wonder what the reality of that process was for that person making the choice,  I wonder did they do enough research in their meal planning?  Did they get the support from their families and friends? Somehow society failed to support them but with the right tools it’s easy, healthy and has long term benefits.

Protein can be obtained through a variety of plant-based sources.  (Beans, lentils, soy protein, nuts, grains) all contain a healthy amount of protein.  I am not a nutritionist, and you should speak with one if you have specific concerns, but there are a number of great resources are available, especially on that wonderful tool called google. If you are really serious then have a proffesional meal plan for you. The Vegan Project is a good start if you live in Vancouver, BC. If you don’t, research something local in your area. If you can’t find anything, contact me and I will find some great resources to get you started.

What will happen to all the animals if we don’t eat them?  Animals are currently bred and raised specifically to be slaughtered and eaten (or otherwise exploited by humans). The same that would happen to giraffes, caterpillars, rhinos, wolves, seagulls etc… they will live out their lives in an environment that allows them to thrive in a sustainable way.

God put animals on the Earth for people to eat. I don’t practice any organized religion, so I don’t feel qualified to respond to this question. I do however feel that something can’t be right if one “god” is saying respect all living things and another is saying animals are our food. Makes you wonder?

I don’t eat red meat. I only eat chicken. Chickens are still exploited by humans for their bodies and by-products.  They deserve just as much consideration as other animals, and I do not endorse using those animals without their consent.

People have been eating meat for thousands of years! People have been doing many things for thousands of years that are unnecessary today.  We can live healthfully and happily on a vegetarian diet, and by doing so, we ensure that other animals live healthfully and happily as well.

The way animals are treated in agriculture is terrible. I always buy humane, free-range, organic meat, dairy and eggs. Those methods of food production are also problematic, unfortunately.  Any system in which animals are being farmed for their body parts or their by-products is ultimately using those animals without their consent, and thus is not consistent with an ideal of non-exploitation.

How can you justify spending your time helping animals when there are so many people who need help? I think people and animals living under oppressive systems deserve equal consideration, and they all need allies in their struggles for equality.  In fact, I devote much of my time to helping both human and non-human animals.  Choosing to avoid meat consumption helps to keep actions in line with the goal of a world free of exploitation and oppression.

Animals are better off being raised on farms than living in the wild where they face predators, disease and starvation. Animals in free-living situations are not being forced to do anything they do not want to do.  I oppose subjugation and exploitation, and animals being raised for food, clothing, entertainment, or science are being used without their consent.  I would prefer that they were living free and able to make their own choices.

 I believe in the circle of life. I believe in non-exploitation.

Animals kill other animals for food, so why shouldn’t we? We have the choice to live happily and healthfully on a diet free of animal products.  Some animals do not.

Don’t dairy cows need to be milked? Cows only produce milk to feed their young.  In order to continually produce milk for human consumption, they are kept in a continual cycle of pregnancy.  This is traumatic and oppressive, and I choose not to drink cow’s milk so I do not support that system of oppression.

What are your thoughts on organics? “Organic” does not mean anything in terms of animal liberation; it simply refers to the food that animals are being fed.  While organic food has many positive qualities, it does not mean that animals are not being oppressed.  “Organic meat” and “organic dairy” still require that animals are kept in cages, exploited and oppressed, and used without their consent.

I hate PETA! I don’t like them either. I think their campaigns are disrespectful and hurtful to both human and non-human animals. They make everything good look like a force of change, I think that there is a better approach than bombarding people with an argument, it’s better to have people experince the process and make their own decisions. Being a vegetarian is a healthy living choice. It’s a choice to respect the lives of animals as well as embraces the responsability in protecting the earth.

If you have a question about plant-based eating please write me a comment and I would be happy to reply. If I don’t know that answer I’ll go find it for you.


2 cups packed fresh basil
2 medium cloves of garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup raw pine nuts
2 tbl of fresh lemon juice
1 tbl of fresh lemon zest
2 heaping tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoons sea salt
4 medium zucchini

Run the garlic through the chute of the food processor. Add the basil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and oil and process until smooth. Add pine nuts and nutritional yeast and process being careful not to over process the nuts. Set the pesto aside. Peel 4 medium zucchini, and put through a spiral vegetable slicer or spirooli. Place the zucchini “spaghetti” on paper towels to dry. Put dried zucchini strands in a serving bowl, mix together with  lemon basil pesto and serve.

NOTE: You can get buy a spirooli at Organic Lives (Vancouver, BC) to make your veggie pasta, I’ve also seen them in cooking stores.

Green Clean

You don’t have to give up shaving or chain yourself to a tree to be environmentally friendly. The decisions we make every day as consumers can make a big difference.

Canadians have not been given all the information about the products they buy and are completely unaware of what’s in them. Take personal care products, for example. The average adult uses nine personal care products a day, containing a total of 125 chemical ingredients, many of which most of us can’t pronounce, never mind assess their safety. Check out my post on Toxic Beauty.

While the beauty industry likes to add so-called natural ingredients to its products, such as ginger and ylang ylang, “the truth is you’re drenching your lips, cheeks and hair in a largely untested and lengthy list of petroleum-derived, genetically modified, carcinogenic or animal- (even whale-) derived ingredients.”

There are approximately 10,500 chemical ingredients stirred into the personal care products that line shelves, neither Canada or the U.S. requires much testing for these products. We look to our governments to keep us healthy and Canada has not been a leader in these things. Europe has been ahead on this, getting rid of carcinogens in beauty products, the United States started catching up after bio-monitoring the population and finding that we are carrying a soup of chdemicals in our blood and breast milk.

You can however go to the health food store and find lots of great toothpastes, beauty products and cleaning products that are free of chemicals but you also have to keep in mind that not everything at the health food store is chemical-free. It’s a bit of a wild west, so you want to be a little bit dubious in what’s out there. Read the labels and ask a sales clerk to what products have the least amount or next to no chemicals.

Let’s face it we love killing bacteria, well at least manufacturers have us convinced we do, the problem is many of those products we are using contain triclosan to help us do it. This disinfectant can prompt the growth of resistant bacteria; what’s more, it can turn carcinogenic. Use vinegar instead (and remember that not all bacteria is harmful!).

Please inform yourself: not only can cleaning products keep their ingredients a secret, but they can label themselves organic, natural, non-toxic and biodegradable without any actual certification. If you’d rather not use household cleaners like vinegar, baking soda or Borax, definitely choose trustworthy green brands like MethodSeventh GenerationDr. Bronner’s and Begley’s.

Well that’s my thoughts on products, it’s a win-win in my  opinion, you stay chemical free and anything that goes down the drain wont be polluting our earth. You can also feel good to know that no animals were tested on. Who doesn’t love that! Happy shopping and cleaning, let me know if you find any great products out there.

Spork Online Vegan Cooking Classes!

Spork online is  my favorite online cooking site. Spork online makes a great gift for anyone currently seeking to eat healthier or looking to reduce their meat consumption, it is even a great site if you are already vegan. Spork online has a variety of recipes, even for the most picky of palates. This site makes a great gift for your self or someone else looking for an answer  what do vegans eat?

Spork Foods is a Los Angeles-based gourmet vegan food company owned and operated by sisters Jenny and Heather Goldberg. They offer in-person cooking classes in Los Angeles (, in-home healthy eating consultations, and recipe development, as well as on-line cooking classes (

Their love of food started at a young age, when they experimented with recipes in the kitchen with their parents and grandparents.

Jenny and Heather feel like twins, separated by three years.  They both studied Environmental studies in college, and decided then and there to go vegan – forever.

Since their love of cooking was so deeply ingrained, they resolved that becoming vegan would not stand in the way of creating recipes with amazing taste, texture, and flavor.  Jenny soon started veganizing all the girls’ childhood favorites, and their friends would always appear at the door, hungry.  The natural next step was for Jenny and Heather to work together and create Spork Foods and now Sporkonline!

Their recipes are easy to re-create and are sure to impress even the most avid meat eaters! They want you to use these recipes with pride, and show people how incredible, colorful, satisfying, and uplifting food can be.

Jenny was trained at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Food and Culinary Arts in New York City and has over five years of professional cooking experience. Her perfume is the scent of freshly baked cinnamon rolls or garlic and onions, depending on the menu for class.

Heather has a decade of experience in the environmental non-profit world and makes a morning smoothie that is so delicious it would make anyone happy to start their day!

Together, as sisters, they put their love and care into all the recipes they create.  They hope you will get as excited about vegan food as they do!

Raw Berry Crisp

Via Whole Foods


6 cups mixed berries, such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and sliced strawberries
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, more or less to taste depending on sweetness of berries
1 cup raw pecans
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


In a (7- x 11-inch) dish, toss berries with maple syrup. Put pecans, walnuts, dates and cinnamon into a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Scatter nut mixture over berries and serve immediately, or chill until ready to serve.


In Defense of Food

In Defense of Food

On the ferry on route from Tofino to Vancouver last weekend a girl who is standing directly behind me says;  I’m going to get the “All Aboard Breakfast” this consists of two fried eggs, bacon and sausage with a side of white toast. I’m used to being surrounded by what I call misinformed meat eaters, I say this because I am certain with the right knowledge they might consider choosing alternately. It’s when she follows up with this statement that really got me thinking; “don’t get the scrambled eggs they come from a box on these types of establishments” As I stood there I realized that the vast majority of people out there are clearly lost in a sea of misinformed food choices, clearly the “All Aboard Breakfast” is a healthier choice than eggs from a box!

I thought about this a lot over the weekend, she has no clue that her fried eggs are most likely coming from a factory farm? from sick chickens living in horrific conditions? Full of  a antibiotics and other stuff that has not even entered her vocabulary yet. Or the meat she was about to eat has no nutritional value. She was about 27. It’s scary to think how misconstrued her food knowledge is. Whats even more scary is the vast majority of the population are not only just as misinformed but most North Americans thinks this way. What I mean by this is when they think they are  making the healthy choice they can’t be further than the truth.

We have somehow forgotten what real food is and stopped caring about where it is coming from. This transition makes sense considering the breakdown of the food over the years described in Michael Pollens book “In Defence Of Food” this book could not have popped into my life at a better time.

This lively, invaluable book — which grew out of an essay Pollan wrote for The New York Times Magazine; assails some of the most fundamental tenets of nutritionism: that food is simply the sum of its parts, that the effects of individual nutrients can be scientifically measured, that the primary purpose of eating is to maintain health, and why should eating require expert advice, he says, experts often do a better job of muddying these issues than shedding light on them.  Serving their own purposes to create confusion.

Pollan states: “Don’t eat things that your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize. Avoid anything that trumpets the word “healthy.” Be as vitamin-conscious as the person who takes supplements, but don’t actually take them. And in the soon to be exhaustively quoted words on the book’s cover: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants”

A very small percentage of people know that eating animals is bad for your health and the environment, there is no such thing as “Happy Meat” or “Happy Dairy”and the more I learn the more I realize the majority lacks this knowledge. It is not only about the animals welfare anymore it is about our health and our environment too.

Our purpose as lovers of animals, earth and food advocates are to find alternate ways of getting this message across to the majority, this book does an excellent job in explaining the process of our food in North America and how this is a direct link to our declining health. Governments, lobbyists and advertising agency’s are the biggest influence to the public, our public health has its hands tied when informing us about what is actually healthy and what you should actually be eating. In Defense of Food does an excellent job in explaining how misleading and misinformed we are.  Well that’s my two bits. Read below to learn about Micheal Pollens book “In Defense Of Food”

An Eater’s Manifesto (About the book)

Food. There’s plenty of it around, and we all love to eat it. So why should anyone need to defend it?

Because most of what we’re consuming today is not food, and how we’re consuming it — in the car, in front of the TV, and increasingly alone — is not really eating. Instead of food, we’re consuming “edible food-like substances” — no longer the products of nature but of food science. Many of them come packaged with health claims that should be our first clue they are anything but healthy. In the so-called Western diet, food has been replaced by nutrients, and common sense by confusion. The result is what Michael Pollan calls the American paradox: The more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we seem to become.

But if real food — the sort of food our great grandmothers would recognize as food — stands in need of defense, from whom does it need defending? From the food industry on one side and nutritional science on the other. Both stand to gain much from widespread confusion about what to eat, a question that for most of human history people have been able to answer without expert help. Yet the professionalization of eating has failed to make Americans healthier. Thirty years of official nutritional advice has only made us sicker and fatter while ruining countless numbers of meals.

Pollan proposes a new (and very old) answer to the question of what we should eat that comes down to seven simple but liberating words: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. By urging us to once again eat food, he challenges the prevailing nutrient-by-nutrient approach — what he calls nutritionism — and proposes an alternative way of eating that is informed by the traditions and ecology of real, well-grown, unprocessed food. Our personal health, he argues, cannot be divorced from the health of the food chains of which we are part.

In Defense of Food shows us how, despite the daunting dietary landscape North Americans confront in the modern supermarket, we can escape the Western diet and, by doing so, most of the chronic diseases that diet causes. We can relearn which foods are healthy, develop simple ways to moderate our appetites, and return eating to its proper context — out of the car and back to the table. Michael Pollan’s bracing and eloquent manifesto shows us how we can start making thoughtful food choices that will enrich our lives, enlarge our sense of what it means to be healthy, and bring pleasure back to eating.

Pollan’s last book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, launched a national conversation about the North American way of eating; now In Defense of Food shows us how to change it, one meal at a time.

The 5 Reasons People Choose To Eat Plant Based

There are numerous paths that can lead a person to start eating plant-based. You can ask 10 different people and although you may find similarities in their stories, eating plant-based is a very personal decision.

1. Health and Nutrition

Many people who choose plant-based are drawn to  the long-term health benefits of eliminating artery clogging and disease-accelerating animal products from their lives. Some specifically turn to a plant-based diet to improve their health and well-being and eventually adopt the lifestyle because of the numerous negative impacts of animal agriculture on animals and the planet.

2. Environmental Protection

If you haven’t noticed the mainstream rise of the green movement in recent years, you must be living under a rock! As the impacts of accelerating climate change have become more widely known, the need for us to take steps to curb the destruction of our precious planet has become abundantly clear. Industrialized animal farming is a huge factor that is contributing to environmental degradation the facts are so compelling that anyone seeking to live a more sustainable or eco-friendly lifestyle cannot help but question the impact of their food choices on the environment. Similar to those drawn in by the health argument for veganism, once people learn about industrialized animal farming and the horrific treatment of animals in factory farms, embracing the animal-free lifestyle beyond their plate becomes a logical next step.

3. Morality

Long before the health and environmental benefits were brought to the forefront of the argument in support of adopting a plant-based cruelty free lifestyle, people have been going plant-based solely for moral reasons. Anyone who admires or adores animals has probably (at some point in their lives) questioned whether there is any difference between the animals they care for and protect and those that we breed and kill for food. Some of us find a way to justify this clear disconnect, citing physiological, historical, cultural and other reasons why we are meant to eat and use animals. While others realize that these amount to nothing but excuses and that the only sensible first step that anyone who loves animals can take is to not eat them. This easily transitions into the broader realization that no form of animal use is morally justifiable and that we shouldn’t be wearing them or using them when animal-free alternatives exist.

4. Social Justice

Anyone who is opposed to injustice in the world, should pause and think about the fact that we breed and kill billions of animals on an annual basis, just so that we can eat them. People who passionately believe that the world would be a much better place if we all learned to look past our differences and embrace the common ties that bind us will eventually have to confront the injustice we inflict on animals for our pleasure, convenience and entertainment. If you oppose racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination based on class, sexual orientation, physical appearances or abilities, then veganism can be looked upon as a natural extension of the belief in equality. This doesn’t mean that humans and animals are the same in every way and animals need to enjoy the same rights as human beings. What this means is recognizing that animals do not exist solely for us to use them as a means to an end.

5. Logic

I don’t mean to imply that all the other paths to eating plant-based are not logical ones. However, many people turn to plant-based food because of a combination of all the above factors. They turn to this lifestyle choice as the most meaningful step one can take against institutionalized systems of exploitation of living beings, to do something positive for their health, the environment and to live in a manner that reflects their ethics. Eating plant-based is a logical choice because it is good for us, for animals and the planet. If you respect life, you should not directly or indirectly participate in the exploitation of life; if you respect nature, you cannot support industries that contribute to the destruction of our natural world, and lastly, if you value your own existence, you wouldn’t want to consume products that can have a detrimental impact on your health. It’s that simple, and you don’t need elaborate theories, complicated moral reasoning and a billion scientific facts to help you arrive at eating plant-based as the solution.

Ultimately, the path you choose to get to plant-based does not matter; what truly matters is you begin the journey and stay the course!