Easy Ways you Can Help!

The number of issues out there negatively affecting our environment, animal welfare and our own health, can seem overwhelming at times. Many feel like their actions will not make a difference, but that is simply not true. Everything and anything you do goes toward a society that is more responsible and less reliable on convenience.

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I have put together a list of really easy fixes that can make a big difference and probably won’t change your life much at all. Today we are looking at reducing your plastic footprint.

I know one of the “R’s” we are taught is to recycle and yes it does have some value, but understand that 91% of all plastic is not recycled and ends up in landfills and waterways, including our oceans. We are now producing 300 million tons of plastic each year and of that, over 8 million tons is being dumped into our oceans. Worse still, is about half of the plastic produced is used one time only!

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Here are some easy ways to reduce your plastic use:

  • Carry with you - reusable straws, chopsticks, fork, knife and spoon. I keep mine in a cloth pencil case in my purse.

  • Be sure and ask for NO straw or disposable cutlery when you are eating out.

  • Always carry a reusable shopping bag. There are some that fold up quite small. Over 500 billion plastic bags are produced each year and they have a “working life” of about 15 minutes.

  • Buy and use a reusable water bottle and coffee cup.

  • Avoid excessive packaging when buying fruits and vegetables. You don’t need your carrots or apples in a plastic bag.

  • To help avoid excessive packaging with all groceries, stock up at your local bulk food store and bring a reusable container like a mason jar to fill up. Also, if your favorite product does use way too much packaging, email, Facebook or Instagram them and ask them to cut back. Companies will listen.

  • Ditch the Ziploc bags and use glass containers instead.

  • Swap out your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo brush. Over 50 million pounds worth of toothbrushes end up in our trash. They both need to be replaced at the same rate but the bamboo will biodegrade after 6 months.

  • If you live in a country that hasn’t banned micro-beads, make sure your cosmetics do not contain them.

  • Over 2 billion plastic razors are thrown out each year. Switch to a metal reusable razor and ditch the plastic for good.

  • AND FINALLY, every time you make any type of purchase give it a look over to see how much plastic it contains or is wrapped in, then decide whether or not the item is worth the millions of years that the plastic will spend on this earth. Choose wisely and companies will have no choice but to get on board or if not, to get thrown out with the trash.

Save a Life - Adopt A Turkey This Thanksgiving

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Celebrate turkeys as friends - not food. You can make a difference in an animals life by making a modest donation to Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary. Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary is located just outside of Stratford, Ontario. Cedar Row is a place of hope for animals rescued from abuse, neglect and slaughter, happening on meat, milk, and egg farms. Hundreds of farm animals including pigs, cows, goats, sheep, donkeys, rabbits, turkeys, chickens, ducks and geese, have been rescued since the sanctuary was established in 1999. 100% if the funds received, go directly back to the animals.

Over 300,000 million turkeys are killed in Canada and the United States each year for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

They’re intelligent animals who enjoy having their feathers stroked and who like listening to music, with which they’ll often loudly sing along. In nature, they can fly 55 miles an hour, run 35 miles an hour, and live up to 10 years. But the story is very different for turkeys on factory farms: They’ll be killed when they’re only 3 to 5 months old and, during their short lives, will be denied even the simplest pleasures, such as running, building nests, and raising their young.

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! See the Food section of my Blog for some great plant based recipes, and DONATE to a turkey or farm rescue like Cedar Row!

Less Waste This Easter

Over 8,000 tonnes of waste is generated from Easter Egg cards and packaging every year! We have to do better this year. Here are some easy things you can do to bring that number way down.

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One of the easiest and most important things you can do is to buy your Easter treats from a bulk food store (bring your own reusable bags). Choose either foil wrapped candies or unwrapped treats. There are beautiful wooden eggs available for you to stuff full of the kids treats. Mason jars and reusable bags work great as well. If you are going to buy from your grocery store, look for foil wrapped items with as little packaging as possible. And for those of you who have the time and talent, nothing says love like homemade treats.

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All Easter baskets should be reusable. Buy a nice one that can be used for other things during the rest of the year. Skip the plastic shreds, the paper ones look and work just a good, or you can skip all together!

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Egg dyeing: There are tons of tutorials on line for amazing natural dyeing techniques. Did you know that regular dyes are tested on animals?! You can even use kitchen scraps to come up with some great dyes.

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Enjoy this great time of year but remember we need to look after tomorrow as well.  Happy Easter!!

Starting Your Plant Based Lifestyle

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If you are thinking about changing your lifestyle to include being vegan, you have made a great choice! We have some steps to help make the transition easy!

First thing is there are no hard and fast rules. You need to make changes in a way that works for you. Don't view a plant based lifestyle as the finish line, but as an evolving process of mindful eating and living. I can tell you that you will eventually lose all cravings when it comes to eating animal products. I can also tell you, you WILL get enough protein, and you WILL be asked this question for the rest of your life.

Many people go vegan overnight and if that works for you – great. But for a lot of you, baby steps work best. You can start off by making small changes to your everyday meals. Here are some ideas but always make sure whatever plan you chose, it works for you.

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During your first week, you can try switching up your breakfast meals to plant based choices. Tofu Scrambles, Nut Butter and banana toast, avocado toast and protein packed smoothies are all quick to prepare and delicious. Our website has tons of easy recipes. Adding either nut or coconut milk or vegan cream replacements to your coffee is another easy one. There are great butter replacements in the grocery stores or you can use coconut oil. Try to source out ingredients that don’t contain unsustainable palm oil.

Next, you can start adding plant based lunches. If you can switch them all up at once that’s great. If not, change up your weekday lunches and leave the weekend meals for later. Smashed chickpea and avocado wraps, vegan pesto pasta, instant vegan miso soup, and quinoa veggie bowls are all super easy to make, are packed with protein and are tasty. There are plant substitutes for almost everything out there. So if you are craving mayo on your wrap, your grocery store probably stocks vegan mayo-if not, ask for it.

Looking up new plant based recipes to try will give you some inspiration and help you when you go grocery shopping. While you are researching new recipes, take a look for local restaurants who offer vegan choices.  When you are eating out, most restaurants will accommodate your requests for a vegan meal, so if you don’t see something on the menu just ask.

And as far as the protein question goes, here is your answer - rich sources of protein are found in all types of plant based foods including beans, soy products like tofu and seitan, quinoa, nuts, seeds, nut butters, lentils, non-dairy milk, green peas, oatmeal, hummus, hemp seeds, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, bananas, nectarines, nutritional yeast and wild rice…. As you can see there are tons of ways to add protein to your plant based diet.

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Remember that living a plant based life isn’t just about your food choices nor is it a “diet”; it is about living a healthy life while causing the least amount of harm to animals and our environment. You need to find your reasons for choosing this lifestyle and remember them if and when you think you might stray. Once you learn the real affects animal products have on your health and the environment, it will be an easy choice.

 

 

Give the Finger to Animal Testing

What we allow, is what will continue.

The exact numbers of animals that are tested on worldwide is difficult to nail down, but the estimates are in the hundreds of millions. We can't expect changes to occur unless each of us are willing to make real changes. If enough of us boycott products that are tested on animals and support those who don't, companies will have no choice but to change. Animal testing on consumer products is outdated. We have the technology to put safe products on the market and it is time to end the needless suffering of millions of animals each year.

Today's Cruelty Free Product is toothpaste. There are several companies out there who offer cruelty free and fluoride free options. They can be found in your local health food stores, at many grocery stores and almost always on-line. Jason is one company that does exactly that. In Canada, The Green Beaver Company has a great selection of cruelty free products. 

Your choices DO make a difference as we speak with our dollars. Collectively we have all the power to make a difference.

Cruelty Free Shampoo and Soaps

Each year, more than 100 million animals—including mice, rats, frogs, dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, monkeys, fish, and birds—are killed in U.S. laboratories for biology lessons, medical training, curiosity-driven experimentation, and chemical, drug, food, and cosmetics testing.

The Live Clean® brand was created with a simple vision: to create high-performance skin and hair care products that celebrated beauty while honoring the earth. None of their products are tested on animals, they are free of harmful chemicals, and their plant based ingredients are sourced locally. The are available in stores everywhere. Click here to find a location near you. You can also purchase them on Amazon. 

Please make a difference in an animals life and chose cruelty-free products.

Today's Cruelty Free Product

Eco Max - In Canada

An environmentally responsible company producing cruelty-free cleaning/laundry products. One of the first Canadian manufacturers to register their environmentally friendly cleaners with EcoLogo. You can buy on line here or find them at your local supermarket in the organic section and they are quite often on sale.

Method Products - USA

Method is a cruelty free company who consider the past, present and future implications in everything they do. Again you can shop on line here or find them in your local grocery store. If they don't carry these products, ask them too. Your dollars speak volumes.

Just One Change Makes A Difference In An Animals Life

We destroy their habitats, we hunt them for trophies to hang on our walls, we put them through tortuous testing just to have another choice of laundry soap or mascara. We cram them into impossibly small enclosures and force feed them corn, antibiotics and hormones. We dump our garbage into the oceans and poison their homes. We wear their skins, cut off their horns and fins. We lock them in zoos and aquariums and pay to see them perform at circuses after they have been beaten into submission. We are destructive, cruel and selfish and it needs to end! We MUST makes changes in our lives to protect the animals of this earth and stop this disgusting behavior now!

Here are a few easy steps YOU can take to help put an end to the horrendous treatment of the animals we share this planet with:

- Only buy products that are NOT tested on animals. This is very easy to do. DId you know that most of the cleaning products out there are tested on dogs whose feet never touch the ground their entire lives? There are tons of sites out there listing these products. Here is one.  

- Stop wearing leather and source cruelty free and socially responsible brands. Again it is easy to google this and find them. Here is a short list.

- One of the biggest impacts you can have is to become vegan or at least vegetarian. If you believe this is too much for you to do all at once, begin by picking two days a week to eat a vegan or vegetarian meal. Here is a bunch of great recipes to start you off. You will feel better and you will save countless lives.

 - Use egg replacements or buy ONLY pasture raised eggs. Cage free and free range are only marketing terms and mean nothing when it comes to the treatment of the animals. Here is one you can try.

- Speak out!! Sign the petitions, share information. Go to Facebook and Instagram sites and tell companies that you will NOT accept their treatment of animals any longer. Tell everyone and anyone who will listen that is not okay to hunt animals for trophies, it is not okay to lock dolphins and whales up in small tanks, it is not okay to beat elephants into submission so someone can ride them!

- STOP visiting zoo's, aquariums and circuses who use animals for entertainment. Without your money they cannot exist.

- Make sure your sunscreen is reef safe and clean up after yourself when you visit beaches and waterways. Here is a safe sunscreen. 

- There are millions of animals locked up in shelters and rescues - Adopt don't shop! Put the breeders out of business, and hopefully we can put the shelters out of business too.

- Teach our children to be respectful of ALL animals. 

We can no longer be complacent! It is up to us to give our voices to those who have none. We all need to be better versions of ourselves, and we need to do it now!

Consider This... Corn

One of the hottest topics out there is GMO’s-Genetically Modified Organisms. Are they healthy, are they needed, and are they safe? It is a massive and controversial subject that can be pretty difficult to sort out. Today I am only going to talk about corn since most of it is Genetically Engineered, and is done so ONLY to withstand the billions (yes billions) of pounds of pesticides we drown this and other crops in. So rather than ask if you think GE corn is a good or necessary idea, why not Consider This… 

How many pesticides and herbicides do you like in the food you eat and the food you feed to your family or your pets? I am going to assume that most of us would say none. The logical answer might be to stop eating corn altogether and therefore eliminating all those nasty chemicals. Unfortunately that is not the case, not even close.

If we are what we eat, then most of us should be walking cobs of corn. You would think that the assortment of food available to us (over 50,000 various products) would serve us with a genuine variety, but that is not the case.

Corn is the main diet of the cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, lambs and even salmon, tilapia, and catfish. Our eggs, milk and cheese all come from animals that are fed mostly corn if not exclusively. An easy answer here… become vegetarian or vegan, don’t eat corn and presto- no more corn chemical soup, right? It will help for sure but this is not entirely the case. 

Corn is in your canned fruit, prepared soups, beans and your morning waffles and cereal. It is in your salad dressings, hot sauces, syrups, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, relish, margarine, peanut butter, jams and gravies. Your cakes, cookies, candies, chewing gum, potato chips and doughnuts all contain some form of the yellow stuff. Even the shine on your cucumbers and apples comes from a wax made from corn. Thirsty? Your beer, sodas and even your glass of wine - corn and more corn. Of the average 50,000 food items in your supermarket more than 40% contain some form of this genetically engineered vegetable.

Grow your own food, don’t eat meat and skip the yellow cobs? You will still find yourself surrounded in corn. It is in your vitamins, toothpaste, diapers, cleaners, trash bags, batteries and matches. Magazines covers and produce shipping containers are coated with products containing corn. Even the supermarket itself has been built with products made from corn and don’t forget about your cars, it is in your gas tank as well.

Not such an easy fix: It is a difficult ingredient to avoid, but the best you can do is to read the ingredients of the products you buy, choose organic when you can, cook your own food and eat mostly greens. Avoiding meat does cut out a lot of corn, not to mention all of the other health benefits. If you have the option, grow as much of your own food as you can. You would be surprised at how little space it takes to grow food.

 

Shopping Local This Holiday Season

Where you decide to shop this holiday season could have a major impact on both the economy and our environment.

Consider This... Shopping locally cuts down on processing, packaging and transportation waste, leading to much less pollution!

Your independent retailers and restaurants generally stock a greater percentage of locally produced goods, meaning less fuel consumption, and these goods typically will come from smaller scale farms, factories, artists and producers. As well, local and independent companies are much more likely to reuse materials. 

These businesses are usually owned by people who live in your area and are more invested in the community’s future. A great deal of the money you spend with them stays in the community. Best of all, studies show that local businesses support non-profits by 250% more than large ones.

If you don’t like the idea of becoming a “clone town” filled with the same retail and fast food chains as the next town, then consider spending your money locally this holiday season.