Book review by EvG team member Margie Spurrier:
Have you ever wondered if animals have intelligence or if they are capable of feeling emotions like empathy, grief or depression? Have you wondered what makes humans unique compared to all other animals? If so, then "Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed" by Marc Bekoff is a book you should be reading right now.
Candace deserves recognition as being the most zen member of the Eco-Vegan Gal team - her passion for yoga, meditation and natural healing is incredibly inspiring. It is also an important part of her animal rights activism, as this inner peace is crucial to staying calm during her research and social media outreach. Here is Candace's story of what brought her to veganism and the important work she does for and with others:
My name is Candace and I live in Flagstaff, Arizona, but was raised in California. I was vegetarian for 12 years and have been vegan for almost 4. My motivation to become vegetarian then vegan was and is for animals. Of course, a nice benefit of being vegan is that it's a much healthier lifestyle, though it is easy to eat an unhealthy vegan diet. I traveled to Switzerland, France and Italy and managed to eat vegan there, I'm very proud of that; it would have been easy to give in, but being vegan runs very deep within me. I love to cook, one of my favorite challenges is to make a non-vegan recipe vegan.
I'm pretty intense about animal rights, if you're my Facebook friend you are constantly reminded of my passion with my posts. I know it can be a downer, but we can not look the other way.
When I'm not working at the clinic that I manage, I teach yoga, meditation and sound baths, as well as offer reiki to cancer patients at the cancer center. I'm currently working on starting a nonprofit called The Peaceful Revolution Project, where I work with the under empowered using meditation and yogic teachings. I also have a Facebook page for fun, where I post food adventures, etc.
Candace's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal article: "One of my favorite posts on the Eco-Vegan Gal is "Is Palm Oil Vegan?". It's is a reminder that the vegan movement is a work in progress and we can't become complacent. Its easy to think you have reached the highest point of your journey as a vegan, but it's no only about eating healthy its also about conscience living, and making sacrifices.."
Follow Candace's journey:
Book review by EvG team member Rachel Curit:
Most vegans are familiar with the concept of farm animal sanctuaries, where abused and neglected beings find peace and happiness for the rest of their lives. Many of us don't spend our days kissing pigs and massaging sheep while simultaneously mucking stalls and doing office work. For those of us not able to see the transformation of "broken beings [becoming] whole again," there is "Animal Camp: Reflections on a Decade of Love, Hope, and Veganism at Catskill Animal Sanctuary" by Kathy Stevens, Founder and Director of Catskill Animal Sanctuary in Saugerties, New York.
One of my favorite things about running Eco-Vegan Gal is meeting amazing people and fortunately it happens all the time, especially through social media. I can't remember exactly when or how I was introduced to Sally of Pure Snickety, but it happened via Twitter and it only took a few messages from her for me to feel good vibes. I've really enjoyed following her journey and I know you will too - I am thrilled that she wrote this beautiful, in depth piece to share her story:
"I am so honored to be chosen as Eco-Vegan Gal's Viewer of the Month! As with many things that have taken place since I started Pure Snickety, she contacted me at the perfect moment. I have recently decided to commit to being vegan and she has been one of the biggest influences in this decision.
I have preferred animals to humans my entire life ;-). I have always had a deep connection to the animals I was raised with and around. There is just something amazing and unique in the unconditional love they give. I suffered abuse from someone I loved and trusted throughout my entire childhood. I believe that was the basis for my forming such a deep love and appreciation for animals and the kindness they have in abundance.
I chose to be a vegetarian without really thinking about it. I simply did not like the look or taste of meat, so eating vegetarian came natural to me. I would eat a kosher hot dog smothered in ketchup on rare occasions to satisfy others, but I always felt sick to my stomach the next day. My digestive system clearly did not like meat either. As I have suffered digestive issues most of my life, this was just another reason to avoid meat. It was after I became a vegetarian that I learned about the horrors that take place on factory farms. I saw bits and pieces of undercover videos, always turning away or closing my eyes in response. It broke my heart and soul every time something like that crossed my path. I was unaware of how widespread the abuse in such farms was and still is or that it extended to dairy farms as well.
As I grew older, my choice of foods became very limited as I began making food for myself when my mother went back into the workplace. I became a very picky eater and largely dependent on processed, microwave foods. Not surprisingly, my health issues continued and became worse as I aged. I was diagnosed with acid reflux and irritable bowl disorder in my early 20's. Unfortunately, this only made my diet worse as I began avoiding foods that irritated my digestive system. Acidic foods that I love, like tomatoes and citrus fruits, were chosen less and less frequently. I have become caught in a cycle of sickness that is directly related to food and stress.
While getting my degree in web development, I was introduced to the healing powers of essential oil. As I loved mixing things as a child, the idea of mixing oils to create a lovely scent that can also heal really appealed to me. I was instantly hooked! My husband teases that I am always mixing things ;-). I began using oils for my health related issues. As a result, I started learning about all the ingredients that go into beauty products today. I was very shocked to find animal ingredients and synthetic chemicals linked to cancer in almost every products out there. This lead me to the decision to create my own body care products using essential oils. When one of my products lessened a friends eczema symptoms, Pure Snickety Vegan Body Care was formed.
Why did I create a vegan business when I am not vegan? Simple, I did not see why animal fat and other animal derived ingredients were necessary to moisturize or clean my skin. I also thought that it was extremely hypocritical for a company not to test on animals, yet have ingredients that involved animals in any way. What I didn't know is that this personal decision would change my life.
When launching Pure Snickety's products on the market this past September, I discovered a large online vegan community. I learned so much, so quickly, that it was a bit overwhelming. I was shocked to learn that something as simple as sugar was processed with animal bone ash. I was horrified to learn that my favorite foods, cheese and butter, came from conditions just as abusive as meat farms. I began learned more about GMO's and gluten. I had to really face the way I was treating my body and animals by doing something as simple as eating. I went through a period of feeling helpless and ashamed. That is, until I found Whitney of Eco-Vegan Gal.
Whitney has been very influential in showing me "how" to be vegan. She is friendly, honest, true to herself, and most importantly, kind and compassionate to those who are not yet vegan. She, and others like her, have taught me that in order to be compassionate to animals, I also need to be compassionate and patient with myself. The importance of this life lesson cannot be put into words. I am forever grateful to those who played a part in this "ah-ha" moment.
Now, two months into Pure Snickety, I am ready to make the change from vegetarian to vegan. After my first ever surgery this Thursday (Nov 1st), my lifelong dream of becoming a mother is closer than ever. Thanks to the vegan community and starting my business, I am keenly aware of how unhealthy my diet is. Honestly, I would not be happy with myself if I continued to eat the way that I do now while pregnant. I want so much for my potential child, growing up without abuse and health issues are top on that list. If you would like to offer guidance, please, please, please do so! You can find my "I Want To Be Vegan" 1 & 2 posts on my websites blog.
My favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video is a message to Jasmine, and others like her, who feel that they are all alone in being vegan. I do not live in a community where veganism is commonplace. All but my oldest stepson are committed meat and/or dairy eaters and the closest Whole Foods is an hour drive from my home. I can relate to Jasmine and appreciate Whitney taking the time to give encouragement and advice to those who rely on the online vegan community for support."
FAQ: What To Do When No One Else You Know Is Vegan
Eco Vegan Gal Fan $2 Charity Discount: (Code: EVG)
My business is so new that any income I make goes straight back into repaying start-up costs and creating new product. However, I want to bring something positive to the community. It isn't much, but I am donating a dollar for every purchase made with Pure Snickety to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. As a special thank you to the vegan community and Whitney, I have set up a coupon for Eco-Vegan Gal fans during the month of November that will make that one dollar donation two dollars! The coupon code to receive $2 off which, will be donated to BFAS in December is: EVG
About Best Friends Animal Sanctuary:
At the heart of Best Friends is the Sanctuary, where, at any given time, about 1,700 animals are turning their lives around, receiving the medical help they need, and getting love and acceptance to help them overcome their past. While searching for their forever homes, they live in a scenic, healing environment among human and animal friends.
The Sanctuary lies on 3,700 acres of beautiful western landscape, surrounded by 30,000 additional acres that are leased from the federal government. Nearly 30,000 people visit every year to meet the animals and tour what has become the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals. Learn more about the Sanctuary.
Sally & Pure Snickety Online:
Main Site: http://puresnickety.com
Main Shop: http://shop.puresnickety.com
Backup Blog: http://puresnickety.wordpress.com
I was deeply saddened when the blogosphere and social media world released information about Bob's Red Mill donating money to OHSU, a facility that is known to do animal testing. I recently interviewed Bob Moore and had posted the video just days before this happened. However, I was unsure how to react and felt that there must be more to the story - it didn't seem like Bob would knowingly give money to a place that did this kind of testing. Along with many other bloggers, Tweeters, and Facebook users I communicated my feelings to the company and even touched base with one of their team members via email, who seemed very disturbed by the situation. Well, the waiting paid off - Bob published a letter tonight on the company website explaining his decision and the Dean of OHSU responded as well. Here are the highlights:
April 2011 was intense as far as vegan controversy goes:
- April 1st was the day most people found out about the CEO of Go Daddy killing elephants
- On April 11th the press announced that Natalie Portman stopped being vegan during her pregnancy
- April 14th was the day vegans expressed outrage over VegNews' use of animal products in their vegan magazine and website
- On other days I read articles disapproving of Kathy Freston and Tal Ronnen, and on Twitter I was asked to explain why I support Jamie Oliver when he uses meat and dairy on his show
- And just a few days before the month started I had some heavy conversations about vegans being offensive to non-vegans
If you've been watching the news and/or following social media trends, you've likely heard about the Go Daddy scandal. In summary, Bob Parsons, the CEO of the most popular domain name and website host company, killed an elephant in Africa and bragged about it on his blog. Animal activists are outraged, many people are alarmed, and lots of Go Daddy customers are closing their accounts - including myself.
As I write this post, there's a cool party happening in L.A. to celebrate the launch of the new book Meat Is For Pussies by Cro-mags vocalist John Joseph. Unfortunately I'm missing it because I'm out of town, but I've heard rave reviews.
Last night while dining at Candle Cafe in NYC, I saw a copy of the book with the word "pussy" covered up by a bunch of grawlixes. I thought that was pretty funny because I'm not offended by the title. Though I rarely use profanities, I'm usually not bothered when other people say them - it's just part of the language sometimes. In the case of this book, I'm glad the word "pussy" is used because it is attention grabbing. Much like "Skinny Bitch", people will pick up this book and want to read the description or first page. Or, if offended, they'll talk about their feelings to other people, which gives it more publicity; it really can't go wrong in my opinion.
Robert Cheeke and I had the pleasure of attending the Farm Sanctuary Hoe Down and we had a fantastic time. It was my first time at the sanctuary and it was a wonderful reminder of why I'm a vegan. We also had the opportunity to interview many of the speakers, including Biz Stone, Will Tuttle, and Gene Baur. Gene is the president and Co-Founder of Farm Sanctuary, and in this interview he speaks about the history of the organization, advice he has for people who want to reduce animal suffering, stories of lives changing at the sanctuary, how you can support them, and internships on the farm.