Posted by: hoppybottoms | September 21, 2011

“Awwww…”

How could you not want to visit the zoo after seeing these…

Cuteness Overload

What a great way to end the day!

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Posted by: hoppybottoms | September 20, 2011

National Wellness Week: Living Wellness

As someone who is not only a counselor but a member of the population concerned with the overall wellness of everyone (sometimes to a fault…), I thought it was important to let everyone know (now that it is almost Wednesday) that it is National Wellness Week!

I would love to say that I am this incredibly informed person who is aware of all national days, weeks, and months but the truth is I saw a sign on the subway last week and thought…”Hey, I should look that up!”

SAMHSA- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is sponsoring it’s first ever National Wellness Week (September 19-25) as part of National Recovery Month (who knew?). Now, I CAN honestly say that I am aware of SAMHSA. I am on their listserv because there was a time when I thought I wanted to be a campus substance abuse counselor and overall, I have an interest in issues of addiction. As many of you may know, when you start joining listservs and blogs (like this one) you then begin to lose interest because you receive too many e-mails and updates. So, I lost interest in my SAMHSA listserv announcements because my inbox was just flooded with announcements from all of my interest groups. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have found this out on the subway one morning when I was too tired to read the NYT on my Kindle. If you follow the National Wellness Week link above you can search for activities in your area and things that are happening nationally for this special week. It is new so it seems like the pickins’ are slim but I am sure as the years go by it will get bigger and bigger.

Anyway, Wellness is an important and holistic term that I enjoy and feel is part of my personal mission statement. My wellness and the wellness of others (as a counselor, friend, and caring human being), is what I strive to maintain and improve everyday. This isn’t just about exercising, eating certain foods, or quitting smoking. It is about stepping back, taking a look at yourself as a whole and discovering a deeper understanding of what it means for you to feel good, all the time. Please read the 8 Dimensions of Wellness from the SAMHSA site for a better understanding.

For me part of this has been my veganism but it is not limited to my love of animals or my food choice. My personal wellness sometimes means I have to decide to break away from my To-Do List, not answer an e-mail, sleep in, exercise…you get the point. Sometimes, it is as simple as making your work environment a pleasent one to be in or getting rid of those papers that have been piling up on your desk. It is easy to forget about being “well” but eventually ignoring it catches up with you.

Please comment and tell me what you do to maintain your personal wellness!

OK. Now, I am going to go put my e-mail in the box that says “Sign up for wellness updates”…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: hoppybottoms | September 1, 2011

Back from the Funny Farm!

Did you miss me? Sorry I haven’t blogged in awhile I have been out of my mind busy. But, I am back by popular demand (or by the demand of one friend who prefers to use my blog as a distraction from her school work).

On August 5th and 6th I visited the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY. There is also one in California.

The Farm Sanctuary has a simple mission: save abused, “downed,” and abandoned farm animals- don’t eat them.

This trip was a birthday gift from my very loving and absolutely non-vegan husband.

At the sanctuary visitors can actually go in the barn with animals. I hugged a cow, I pet a goat, I saw how big a turkey REALLY is, and how cute a piglet is, it was possibly the most amazing experience of my life.

This particular weekend at the Farm Sanctuary was the  Hoe Down, which is a weekend long event when visitors can camp on site, and attend workshops about factory farming, global warming, living vegan, and life on the farm. These were just a few of the presentations and workshops; for two full days, different people gave educational presentations. Food was served, everything was vegan. No animal products were allowed on the farm out of respect for the animals; awesome. Almost everyone was wearing shirts, shorts and sweatpants that said “vegan.” It was an unbelievable experience.

It cost $150/ a person but that price included three meals each day and a cocktail hour on Saturday. We were permitted to camp on the grounds and we had access to the farm, and all of the workshops. Also, free yoga both days.

Unfortunately, I only got to attend two workshops but you should check out the list of presenters and look them up, anyone would benefit from what these people have to say. Authors were also signing their books- I got Most Good, Least Harm: A Simple Principle for a Better World by Zoe Weil.

Honestly, it felt so wonderful to be in a place where everyone was as respectful of life and living as I was (many of them even more so). There were also vegetarians who attended and I happened to bring 3 carnivores with me (although all animal lovers)…they just had to deal with it. And I think that they would all say that I had a good time.

I will say that some of the food that was provided was sub-par. Some stuff was delicious but a couple of the meals just didn’t cut it. One thing they served for breakfast was Amande yogurt with granola and fruit on the side. I have enjoyed Amande before but it was a reminder of how good it really is. Even the non-vegans in my crew enjoyed it. It is definitely my favorite yogurt substitute…try it (so far I have only been able to find it at Whole Foods)!

I wish that I lived closer to the farm because I would go there frequently to volunteer. My plan is to go back in November to celebrate (NOT EAT) turkeys. Here is the information about this event (which can be found on the Events page of their website)

November 19, 2011 CA Celebration FOR the Turkeys
November 20, 2011 NY Celebration FOR the Turkeys
At Farm Sanctuary’s annual Celebration FOR the Turkeys at our New York and California Shelters, guests are invited to visit with cows, pigs, chickens, and other rescued residents and participate in our beloved Feeding of the Turkeys ceremony, where turkeys are offered a feast of pumpkin pie, stuffed squash and cranberries. Guests on both coasts will also indulge in a delectable vegan holiday meal of their own and be inspired by presentations from special guests. Stay tuned for more details and registration information

There is also going to be a conference in Washington DC about factory farming and the environment. It is the last weekend in October and truthfully, if I could find a couple of people to go with, I would 100% do it…any takers?

Now, I am going to show you some pictures. If these don’t melt your heart, you clearly have no soul.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Sorry, I can’t get my hyperlinks to work. But if you want more info about anything use google (or ask me)!

I would love to plan a group trip back…

Or volunteer with their NYC chapter reaching out to people, which I may contact them about soon.

 

Hopefully, I will be back to writing a little more regularly…

 

Posted by: hoppybottoms | July 25, 2011

Weddings on Earth, Part II: Engagement Party

Tuesday’s post coming to you late Monday night…how is that for punctual?

So, now you are engaged and you want a nice backyard party to celebrate. Great! But can we keep it earth-friendly and avoid extravagant costs?

The answer is simple: YES! If you are willing to take on some DIY projects and do a little research, an eco-friendly (ecological and economical) party is a piece of cake.

Here is the first (and really the only) simple step: RENT

Buying costs a ton of money and is the cause of massive amounts of waste. Renting is a great way to save money, time, and minimize the amount of garbage produced. I’m not saying that renting is cheap; I am saying it can be more affordable.

What you can rent:

Tables and Chairs: or borrow them from friends and family. That is the cheapest way to go. Sometimes, it can be difficult to find tables and chairs that are exactly the same size and shape when you borrow from people. However, it is the perfect excuse to put your decorating skills (or those of your bridal party and family) to work and come up with cute ways to work in the different table shapes and sizes. Experimenting with different centerpieces and colors is a great, simple way to add some decorative flair without trying too hard.

Table Clothes and Chair Covers: Start picking out colors!

Tents: You never know what mother-nature has in store…

Sternos and Trays: If you have your party catered, these items are usually provided by the caterer. If you are cooking on your own (wow!), you may want to consider renting these items.

Plates, cups, cutlery: If you don’t want to use paper goods because it breaks your hippie heart (and I’m with you, I’m not mocking), but you don’t have enough of the good china for your 100 person engagement party, then consider renting tableware. There are lots of companies that do it; they deliver and pick up so your work is minimal, and you don’t throw away an obscene amount of paper goods at the end of the day.

Centerpieces: If you aren’t into DIY projects but you want kind centerpieces, try renting!

A simple Google search or trip your local party store would probably be a good place to start looking for rental companies. You may also want to ask the companies how they feel about helping the environment. Do they use an organic dry cleaner for their table clothes? What materials are their products made from? Etc.

Eco-Friendly Rentals:

 This rental company in California is pretty groovy: DISHGrace  

Another CA rental company dedicated to being as Eco-Friendly as possible: Blue Water Party Rentals

If anyone knows a NY based eco-friendly rental company please post their information!

If you aren’t so keen on renting, consider purchasing as many recycled and recyclable items as possible.

Start here: http://www.greenpartygoods.com/

Your local stores may have items also. Just the other day while I was watching a woman break the scanner at the self-checkout at Stop and Shop (it literally caved in after she tried to scan her bag of oranges several times by banging them  on the scanner), I noticed a display of 100% recycled decorative plates, cups, and napkins. I didn’t read the label thoroughly but the idea is that these things are accessible.

Some more ideas:

Were you thinking of the small details- like  napkin rings?

Here is a great DIY idea for Napkin Rings…in a nutshell.

Eco-Friendly DIY Centerpieces (this applies for weddings as well): You can rent bowls and vases or borrow from family members. Then you only have to pay for the flowers! Try to get organic flowers…am I pushing it, yet?

 Here are some ideas 

Simple Vegan Candle Centerpieces

If you are into composting you can be super duper earth friendly and get your party items from here: Branch 

If you want some creative inspiration just ask me…I love coming up with ways to re-use items and decorate without being wasteful.

 

Happy Planning, my Environmentally Conscious Friends! 🙂

Posted by: hoppybottoms | July 25, 2011

Book Review: In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

The speed at which I am going through my summer reading wish list is disappointing. It has been slow for a few reasons: 1) I have 3 jobs that take up my time 2) I read books that weren’t on the list 3) I was reading In Defense of Food, and it took me forever. Below is my review which will hopefully give you a better understanding of why it slowed me down so much. Now that I have finished the book and review is complete, I can continue on with my summer reading list; hopefully a little more quickly.

 

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan

 

I chose to read this book because I wanted to educate myself about food. Attempting this vegan lifestyle can be challenging, not just for me but for the people in my life; They want to understand where I am coming from and how what I am doing can possibly make sense.

I had heard of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, also by Michael Pollan, but was warned by my friend Marisa (who you met here) that it was incredibly dense, packed with information, and kind of turned the reader off from food altogether. She did not recommend it. Then, I came across this other book that seemed shorter and maybe not so intense. I thought it would be a good way to educate myself because it isn’t about being vegan, it is about being a conscientious consumer of food products.

 

Here we go…

 

For starters this book is also PACKED with information. I honestly thought my head might explode.  It starts off by reviewing what he is calling “The Age of Nutritionism:” The idea that as a country we feel that the determination of what is good for us should be left to the scientists and nutritionists. However, he further explains that ever since we as a culture have been obsessed with this “healthy eating” idea (or Orthorexia: people with an unhealthy obsession of healthy eating. Google it.) and since we handed the food reins over from mom to nutritionists we have indeed gotten  fatter and sicker. He gives lots of scientific research examples and also discusses how the government has had the ability to control what we eat, many times risking our health for economic stabilization. This is a topic that is very hot (and very true) right now, and I believe that there is a museum exhibit at the Smithsonian that focuses on the same topic.

 

“The low-fat campaign coincided with a dramatic increase in the incidence of obesity and diabetes in America.” (pg. 58)

 

His reflection on the idea that we have managed to take the cultural and sociological need for food out of our thinking is indeed enlightening. After reading this, I realized I too am guilty of such a thing and am glad it has been brought to my attention. Family dinners at the table are few and far between and many times are not so much family dinners as a bunch of different meals, thrown together by different people, many of whom are sitting in front of a television or computer while eating. And why should I feel guilty when I want cake on my birthday? Cake is meant for celebration! The problem is we are so obsessed with the latest trend that the food industry has brainwashed us with, that we forget that there is a way to live and enjoy food.

The following comments from the book refer to a study he discusses throughout the book: “a third of us believe that a diet absolutely free of fat-a nutrient, lest you forget, essential to our survival-would be better for us than a diet containing just “a pinch” of it. In one experiment he showed the words “chocolate cake” to a group of Americans and recorded their word associations. “Guilt” was the top response. If that strikes you as unexceptional, consider the response on the French eaters to the same prompt: “celebration.”

 The French eat fattier foods, and yet are thinner and HEALHTIER (less prone to things like Diabetes and Heart disease) than we are…

 The next section of the book goes on to describe “The Western Diet and the Diseases of Civilization.”

 A group of Aborigines who had settled and adapted to a western way of living had as a group developed type two diabetes after changing to a western diet. A nutrition researcher had them return to their home “in the bush,” and return to the way they lived and ate before. In seven weeks, the diabetes had either greatly improved or completely disappeared from the members of this tribe. The point being this: we have to stop focusing on picking apart what is wrong with the diet one nutrient at a time, and consider in the context of life.

 “The human animal is adapted to, and apparently can thrive on, an extraordinary range of different diets, but the Western diet, however you define it, does not seem to be one of them.” (pg. 100)

 This section goes on to discuss the idea of being overfed and undernourished:

 “The Overwhelming majority of calories Americans have added to their diet since 1985-the 93% of them in the forms of sugars, fats, and mostly refined grains- supply lots of energy but very little of anything else.” (pg. 122)

 Our diet moving from leaves to seeds (kale to soy, for example) is also an important piece of information that is reviewed. Mostly because leaves provide us with vitamins, nutrients, and all the other stuff we keep buying a million different products to make sure we have. Eat greens daily, eat seeds less, and there will be less vitamin deficiencies and nutritional issues.

 “Gyorgy Scrinis, who coined the term “nutritionism,” suggests that the most important fact about any food is not its nutrient content but its degree of processing. He writes that “whole foods and industrial foods are the only two food groups I’d consider including in any useful food ‘pyramid.’” In other words, instead of worrying about nutrients, we should simply avoid any food that has been processed to such an extent that it is more a product of industry than of nature.” (Pg. 143)

 The final part of the book, which was the most interesting and applicable to life, “Getting Over Nutritionism,was that point at which the author revealed the rules by which he lives by when it comes to food. Below were my favorites items from his list but it is not all inclusive (read the book if you want the whole scoop).

 

1)      Eat mostly plants – see he isn’t a vegan (or vegetarian) but he recognizes that eating plants is the easiest way to stay healthy.

  1. Vegetarians are less susceptible to most of Western diseases and less likely to die from Western diseases
  2. We can live without meat but we can’t live without plants. Every nutrient in meat with the exception of B12 can be found in plants.
  3. “…Eating meat in the tremendous quantities we do (each American consumes an average of two hundred pounds of meat a year) is probably not a good idea, especially when that meat comes from a highly industrialized food chain.” (Pg. 166)

2)      You are What You Eat Eats Too– another words what the chicken who laid your egg ate or the cow from which your burger came from ate, has a complete effect on your body.

  1. Eat grass-fed. Animals who eat a diet based mostly on seed (which unfortunately most do) get sick, which effects the products that they produce (dairy, meat). Most farms now use seeds because there are so many animals, and such high demand and soy beans and corn are cheap. Read labels. It is for your own good, not just some strange hippie idea about what we should eat.
  2. “Free Range”: doesn’t necessarily mean anything. “Pastured” and “Grass finished” or “100% grass fed” are what you are looking for on labels. “Grass fed” can be misleading, make sure it says 100%.

3)      Eat Like an Omnivore– introduce new species to your diet. This doesn’t mean “eat meat.” It means that vegetarians shouldn’t just eat broccoli and spinach. Introduce different “plant species into your diet as well. Eating different plants (and yes, even different animals), can open you open to lots of new nutritional options for your body.

4)      Eat Well Grown Food from Healthy Soils– Usually this means organic. But the author points out that there are healthy soils that have not been certified organic for whatever reason. This is why it is important to know where your food is coming from.

  1. Also, “organic” doesn’t automatically mean healthy. As he so cleverly points out: “Organic Oreos are not a health food.”

5)      Eat Wild Food When you Can– Everything is better straight from nature. This means wild animals and wild plants. But remember many species (plant and animal) are endangered, so be careful we don’t want to completely deplete them. This is particularly true of fish. Yes eating wild as opposed to farm raised fish is better, but our fish population is quickly diminishing.

6)      Regard Non-Traditional Foods with Skepticism- Natural is better than processed, most food innovations are processed.

7)      Pay More Eat Less–  I am true believer in spending money on good food. My husband not so much. I would rather spend extra money on food I know is better for me, is grown somewhere that I can support (and possibly even find), and that has been raised properly. Michael Pollan points out that the more nutritious the food, the less you will eat so it will somehow balance itself out.

8)      Eat Meals- Eat at the table. Eat with your family. Stop snacking. Eat vegetables with dinner (and breakfast and lunch, too!). You get the idea.

9)      Eat Slowly- Food should be an enjoyable experience. Also, the slower you eat the less you eat.

10)  Cook and if You Can Plant a Garden- I don’t think this needs an explanation.

 

 

I would recommend this book. But if you are someone who easily gets turned off by facts and figures you may want to skip to the last section when he discusses the items from the list I just gave.

 

The take away from this book: Stop buying junk. If it comes in a box, it has probably been processed beyond recognition. Stay on the outskirts of the grocery store. Read labels. Remember, food is about culture, and family, it shouldn’t be associated with guilt and unhappiness. If we stick to eating “food” like plants, whole grains, and fruits, rather than the junk that comes in packages we will be healthier, happier people.

 

4 out 5 Stars

 

Posted by: hoppybottoms | July 20, 2011

“Naturally” Clean: Skin Care

I finally finished my face wash, this meant one and only one thing find a new animal friendly product to add to my earth friendly product collection.

I was shopping at Target when I remembered that I needed the face wash, and I was unsure if I was going to be able to find anything that fit my criteria in such an affordable store.  

I combed the shelves, passing over products that I knew couldn’t possibly be animal friendly. I looked at a few that I was unfamiliar with, they weren’t great either. But then, I saw it, a clear bottle with green writing (this is how companies like to indicate that a particular product is “earthy” – it usually works on me) from non other than, Neutrogena.

Neutrogena Naturals - Pure, natural skincare with real resultspicture from neutrogenanaturals.com

This new line of products, that I believe was just released this winter or spring is called Neotrogena Naturals. I was hesitant. It is easy to call yourself natural, and make yourself appear natural, but in all reality be filled with disgusting chemicals tested on animals.

I read over the ingredients- the first good sign – there were only 10 and they were clearly labeled. Second good sign- I could almost pronounce most of them! Wow!

Final good sign- the list labels where most of the ingredients were derived from: water, coconuts, palm kernel, white willow bark (this is the important one according to the bottle), and guar bean. All natural stuff.  The other two ingredients: fragrance and Sodium Benzoate are not plant derived.

The bottle also clearly states that the product is 90% natural and not tested on animals. Given that it was the price of a regular Neutrogena product and not outrageously priced like other “natural” products you might find, I decided to give it a go. I like staying within my budget and being conscious about what I am buying at the same time.

I love it! It feels good on my skin, it smells good, and I think it is doing what it is meant to do which is keep my priceless face clean 🙂

Today, I did a little more research on the product line. Starting on the Neutrogena Naturals website. There is a lot of really great information; Including a Q & A that answers my favorite question “Are these products vegan?”

The answer is: some are vegan, all are vegetarian, and none are tested on animals. Also, they use a lot of recycled materials for packaging. Thumbs up for me.

Of course, I didn’t stop at the Neutrogena website, it is their product after all!

No More Dirty Looks a website (and a book) dedicated to giving out information about beauty products and researching ridiculous claims about things being “natural” did their own research and review. They found that overall the products are natural, however, Neutrogena was shady in answering questions about fragrance and a couple of other ingredients. Their Verdict: Definitely cleaner than most, but not the cleanest and certainly not all natural.  You should read the review (and the rest of the stuff on their site, it is quite informative)!

Given what seems to be a high standard of ingredients and a thoughtful development of the product, I am going to continue using it. It is economical and earth friendly in a very realistic way. It is almost impossible to go “green” with everything but starting with being more conscientious about what you are buying and using on your body is a great big step in the right direction.

Personally, I can’t afford to spend a ton of money on products (like for instance $19 on vegan body wash– strange, not sure who would do that…maybe someone who had a giftcard?), it just isn’t in the cards for me. BUT I do want to be friendly to the earth, the animals, and most importantly my body. So, I am going to continue to search for products that are affordable and meet these criteria. Hey, I’ll take 90% Natural over 100% synthetic ANY DAY!  

So far, I have only tried the Purifying Facial Cleanser but at some point I would like to try the purifying pore scrub. And when I run out of my $9 Vegan lip balm (I only bought it because I had a gift card!) I may replenish with the Neutrogena Naturals lip balm. According to No More Dirty Looks the lip balm is 100% clean and natural. My only concern is that it has beeswax in it (exactly why I don’t use Burts Bees)- which according to the Neutrogena website comes from bees that were treated humanely- I will see how I feel when the time comes.

Try it out and tell me what you think!

Posted by: hoppybottoms | July 14, 2011

What’s in Your Water?: Tap v Bottle

It has been way too long since I have posted and I apologize!

People have been arguing since the beginning of time…or at least since the beginning of the great invention of bottled water- which is better: Tap or bottled water?

There are all sorts of arguments for and against tap water. Those who think that bottled water is better, usually feel this way because they assume that the water in the bottle must be filtered (and many will say it just plain ole’ tastes better).

Those who prefer or don’t mind tap water think that there is nothing wrong with it and it tastes just fine.

Much opinion is based on location, obviously, since some water is definitely better than others. All taps, were not created equally.

The same goes for bottled water; they are not all created equally.  Many or most or at least some are just tap water in a bottle. (One example is Aquafina. It is produced by the Pepsi Co and it is just local community water- you can decide if that is worth $1.50…)

There have been movies made, books written, and campaigns against bottled water for years. So why am I bringing it back, you ask??

Yesterday, I received my 2010 Water Quality Report in my mailbox. I just read through it, the most important fact I am taking away is that according to the report The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and my township are “concerned about lead…although most homes have very low levels of lead in their drinking water, some homes in the community have lead levels above the USEPA action level.” YIKES! 

This reminded me that last year there was a memo slipped under my door letting us know that the drinking water could have high levels of unsafe pollutants, or something to that effect. It made me very grateful for the fact that I do not drink tap water.

Clearly, my town has some issues to deal with…

The report gives contact information for water testing, to see if my apartment is indeed one of those homes with high lead levels in the water. Thanks, I guess.

Growing up on Long Island there were lots of rumors about the water being unhealthy and leading to comparatively increased levels of breast cancer in women on the island. Now, I don’t know if that still is or ever was true, but it was certainly enough to stick with me all of these years.

There was a time when I depended on bottled water. When my husband and I first moved in together, we were very broke (not much has changed in that department),  and we would search through the weekly circulars to find the cheapest pack of 24 or 30 water bottles.

At some point I realized that the amount of money and plastic we were wasting was absolutely ridiculous.  We decided to get a filter for our tap, it just made economic and environmental sense. Now, 3 apartments, and 5 years later we have a Brita Filter. I know people also question the effectiveness of the filter, but for me I wanted a cleaner taste and a little piece of mind.

Now, knowing what the specific problem with my community water is, I decided that I wanted to make sure I have made the right filtration choice. It seems that I have: read here (Livestrong) and here  (Lead Action News) for information about Brita’s effectiveness in removing lead from water

It isn’t perfect, but I’ll take it.

I mentioned that one of the reasons I decided to switch from bottled water was waste; and bottled water is definitely a big contributor to garbage in this country (and others). Please watch this video  and click on the accompanying links on the page to find out more about the consumerism, capitalism, and WASTE tied to bottled water. (this one is good too)

I almost always carry water with me; in a reusable bottle. I buy bottled water ONLY when I am in a bind. I will say, that I am still weary of public fountains and public tap water. I am OK with tap water at restaurants, maybe because I can’t see exactly where it comes from but other tap water, well I am not quite comfortable with yet. That’s why I bring my own filtered water with me! And you should, too!

If you haven’t already, get your local 2010 Water Quality Report. You can find more information about obtaining it here on the EPA website.

Don’t you want to know what you should be protecting yourself from?

Buy a reusable bottle!

Posted by: hoppybottoms | July 8, 2011

A “Sprinkle” of Surprise in My Day

 Friday’s are going to be restaurant/vegan food review days on theveganweddingplanner blog 🙂

Last Monday, June 27, a new person joined the staff of my tiny little office.

She found out that my birthday was Tuesday and that I was vegan. On Thursday, she surprised me with vegan, Red Velvet Cupcakes f rom Sprinkles in NYC.

I had, of course, heard of Sprinkles before but somehow I never got there in all my dessert travels in NYC. Crumbs was my cupcake joint of choice in NY and a tiny little place called The Petite Cafe, was my pre-vegan cupcake joint of choice in NJ (if you are not vegan and you live anywhere near Nutley, NJ, you MUST go The Petite Cafe). 

She handed me the bag and inside were 6 LARGE Red Velvet Cupcakes. Immediately, I went on the Sprinkles website to see just what was in these so-called “vegan” cupcakes.  And if the red “Vs” on the cupcakes weren’t convincing enough, the ingredients were; They are legit. Check out the ingredients here

I had it for breakfast (see vegans can be completely unhealthy and irresponsible too!).

I bit in, the cake was moist and just the right amount of sweet, it tasted JUST like a regular red velvet cupcake. The icing was moist, sweet, rich, and had the same texture as any other frosting on a red velvet cupcake. I could not believe how good it was. I was in shock. The cupcake just melted in my mouth with every bite.

Later, I had someone else try one, and they said “Wow.” and “I taste coconut.”

I hadn’t really thought about it but when I had another one later the coconut taste was definitely there. It makes sense, since they are made with coconut oil, and it really makes it yummy. I would say that the coconut taste is probably the only thing that makes it a little different from a non-vegan red velvet cupcake.  For those who don’t like coconut, I wouldn’t let this stop you from trying it. It isn’t overwhelming.

I give this cupcake a 5/5 on the vegan food ratings scale. I ate them for 4 days (I mean I am a pig and all, but they were huge and I couldn’t finish 5 in one day) and every day the cupcake tasted just as good as the day before.

Hats off to Sprinkles and thank you to my new co-worker!

 

Posted by: hoppybottoms | July 7, 2011

Kitten Tossed From Moving Car!

Last night, a friend asked me if I heard about the kitten who was thrown from a moving car on the Verrazano Bridge. I hadn’t, but I couldn’t believe that someone would do that.

Really? Why did that seem like a good idea to someone? Did they think it would be a funny story to tell their friends? Or maybe they just didn’t want the kitten? Well, in that case, throwing it out of a moving car on bridge certainly makes the most sense.

Thankfully, the 5 week old kitten, now named Verrazano, is doing fine. Someone from animal control actually witnessed the incident and stopped to save the poor little thing. He is very cute, very tiny, and very lucky.

And quoting from a text message from my friend Marie, “…I wish the person who did it got caught. And we got to throw them from a moving car.”

I agree.

Read about it and see pictures here: Verrazano Kitten

Posted by: hoppybottoms | July 6, 2011

Meat Free=More Earth for Me

Wednesday’s blogs are going to be focused on the environment; what is changing, why it is changing, and how we can live in a more earth friendly way.

I spend a lot of time writing about food. This blog was after all, inspired by my transition into veganism. Today, I went to the Farm Sanctuary website to purchase my Hoe Down tickets, and I noticed a little video. A video that reminded me that in being kind to the environment we have to also consider what we are eating. As a matter of fact, it can be very difficult, if not impossible to separate the two.

Jason Schwartzman, narrates this short 5 minute clip about what to eat. It is quick, and I think realistic as to how people go throughout their day.  There are allusions to factory farming although there isn’t a lot of detailed information within the video.  I actually think this makesit more watchable for people who can’t handle too much information about things like that. The video isn’t preachy at all, it is encouraging having meat free meals, not a completely meat free lifestyle.

 Factory farming and pigs (no way to live) picture from scienceprogress.org

However, at the bottom of the page for the video is a brief run down of the facts about factory farming.  Read them. I don’t think people understand what is going on and that is fine, but just take a glance. It isn’t just that the animals are being hurt. If you are one of those people who think that we were meant to eat meat, that’s your prerogative. The problem is that the demand for meat gives farmers reason to keep animals constantly reproducing and reason to chop down trees. Then these unnaturally born animals, like cows for example, need to survive and graze the land. And leaving aside that the grass is generally full of pesticides because it needs to continually grow to feed the cows, it also means that the grass and the soil are depleting! Forests are being knocked down so that animals, who are born and raised strictly to provide us with meat, can graze and so that grains can grow to feed them.

cl-ivpetsangel-ivil.tripod.com

This is all about SO MUCH MORE than just saving animals from being killed (although, in my opinion that is enough) it is about the fact that the high demand for meat is KILLING our planet. My suggestion is to have at least one if not 2 or 3 “Meat-less” days each week. Less meat is consumed, less demand, less harm to the earth over time. You don’t need to be vegan, you just need to be vegetarian-curious occasionally. There is a spot to “Pledge” a meat free day or month…do it and then let me know! Comment on the blog. I would love to hear about it. Maybe we can start a “Meat Free Wednesday” movement…

Think about it.

(I came across a lot of really disturbing photos while I was looking for a picture to put on the blog- the pictures of the cows and pigs on here- well let’s just say I went easy on you. I am almost in tears after some of the pictures I just saw.)

Cheers! To Environmental Wednesday’s here on theveganweddingplanner blog.

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