Three years ago a fellow green blogger and friend of mine mentioned she was attending a festival called Lightning in a Bottle (LIB). I had never heard of it, but her coverage on the event really sparked my interest; she had me when she described it as "Coachella for the greener" and "Burning Man with an eco-twist". Last year I was invited to attend to do press coverage and I was deeply disapointed I couldn't make it, so this July I'm determined to go and share my experiences with you! If you're looking for an inspiring escape from the day-to-day, here's why you should join me at the 9th annual positive and uplifting experience instead of waiting for my video documentation.
Not only is it Celiac Awareness Month but it's also Food Allergy Awareness Week! Does that mean that celiac's is more important to all the other food allergies? Hmmm... Anyways, to celebrate I want to introduce to a new company making wonderful gluten-free baking mixes: Zema's Madhouse Foods. The founder took her health, fitness and ADHD perspective to combine ancient whole grains with superseeds chia, hemp and flaxmeal into delicious creations. Each mix is kosher, Non-GMO Project Verified, and free of refined sugar and the top 8 allergens. And yet there's so much inside - in fact, for most recipes all you need to add in is wet ingredients like milk and egg alternatives of choice. Fill your kitchen with Cinnamon-Oatmeal Apple Muffins, Multigrain Pancake & Waffles, Cocoa Teff Pancake & Waffles and Rosemary-Millet Focaccia & Pizza Crust - Zema's sent me the latter two to try and here's what I thought:
I met Kylie when she applied to the EvG Apprenticeship Program - I was instantly impressed with her online presence and can-do attitude, but her sweet personality really touched my heart. She is incredibly passionate about veganism and I love her story about making the transition, as well as her husband's journey to plant-based living. Bonus: the photo of her with Buttercup from Gentle Barn is just so darn cute!
My name is Kylie. I am 34 years old living in Los Angeles with my husband and two rescue dogs, Henry & Willow. I started my vegan transformation just over two years ago. I had a couple of extremely inspiring friends who were vegan and I admired them immensely for a couple years before I realized it was silly to just look up to them when I could join them! I gave myself a challenge: go completely vegan for one week and see how it went. By day 3 I felt noticeably better, lighter in body and mind. At this point the term vegan to me was strictly dietary. I didn't think about all the animal by-products that were in the beauty products I was using and the clothing I was wearing. In that first week I also started reading and researching. I read The Kind Diet and that was a great starting point to open my eyes into what it truly means to be vegan. As I sat there with tears pouring down my face, soaking the pages of the book I knew that I could never go back to the way I was living. I could no longer ignore what was really going on in the world.
Being vegan is a constantly evolving journey. Everyday I learn something new and try my best to make ethical and eco conscious decisions. Luckily, there is a huge vegan community in Los Angeles and online. I have met so many amazing people who share my way of thinking and I get excited when my omnivorous friends tell me they are going vegan. It took my husband a full year of me being vegan before he made the switch (and I didn't even have to beg him, he did it all on his own!). Now the two of us love discovering new vegan places to eat around L.A. and it's great to have a partner in crime ;-)
In my spare time I like to blog about my experiences as a vegan and make things for my online shop Fabulously Fierce. I love unique home decor,
so my main focus is on that, but I do make some embroidered clothing as well. Having a creative outlet keeps me sane (most days)!
Kelly's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: Eco-Vegan Gal has been such a great source of information for me as well. Her positivity and knowledge are so inspiring. Whenever I have a question about certain products or what I can do to make smart choices for the environment or just need a little mental boost, I know I can find it in one of her videos! Since I'm not the best at taking care of myself and tend to lose motivation to exercise, I especially love her video "How to Reach Exercise Goals and Make Them a Priority Every Day":
If you're reading this chances are you pay close attention to your lifestyle, especially when it comes to food. You're likely passionate about buying and preparing healthy and cruelty-free meals because it makes you feel good inside and out. You're being extra selective about what goes into your kitchen cabinets, but what about what's underneath and on your sink and in the laundry room? The products you use to wash your dishes, clean your clothes, and scrub your household surfaces have a big impact on your health. Their ingredients can get on your skin and into your lungs through the air, thus it's very important to use all natural, non-toxic brands. Plus, as an eco-vegan you'll want to make sure the products are plant-friendly and cruelty-free, right?
"If conscientious consumption means we avoid contributiong to suffering, palm is clearly problematic." ~ Mark Hawthorne
My vegan lifestyle is a continuous evolution - I'm constantly learning something new about food, nutrition, the environment, ethics, politics, etc. No wonder many people find veganism intimidating - there's a lot to consider! When I first went vegan I looked at it very simply - I didn't eat any products that came from animals and I could verify this by looking at labels, seeking out vegan certifications and avoiding the obvious (meat, dairy, leather, silk, etc). But as I became more passionate about the lifestyle and made it my career to inspire and educate others on the topic, I realized that there's a lot more than meets the eye. Some may find this overwhelming, but I believe that if we take things step by step and strive to be informed, we can each develop a well-rounded perspective on our personal choices. A perfect example is palm oil - in this article I explore this confusing and touchy subject, and offer some suggestions on how you can keep your purchases as ethical as possible
We live in face paced world that is obsessed with technology. Most of us, in the US at least, are eager to get our hands on the latest and greatest gadgets, even if the model we currently own is in perfectly fine condition. Though I have the same compulsion, I work hard to restrain myself - example, I've been lusting after the iPhone 5 but my 4S serves me well (enough). As you'll see in this video, I waited through many generations of Apple mobile devices before I upgraded (and even felt a little guilty for buying a new one). So what did I do with my first generation iPhone and previous cell phones? I sold them through a recycling program - it was easy, I made a little money, and I felt great about doing so, and you can too.
Are you a blogger who's looking to take your site to the next level? Would you like to build up your resume with social media and office management work? Do you want to learn more about healthy and green living, for your personal and professional life? If you have a few hours to spare each week, I've got an opportunity for you! Things are getting really busy over at Eco-Vegan Gal and I could really use some help. If you're looking to become more proficient around running a website, take your social media presence to the next level, create engaging video content on YouTube, snap engaging photos of food and products, and get free eco-vegan swag - apply for the EvG Apprenticeship Program!
One of the best parts of running Eco-Vegan Gal is meeting people virtually. I receive some really sweet digital correspondence from amazing people around the world, and it's always touching to hear their stories. On my birthday this year Amanda sent me a sweet note on Facebook to let me know that I inspired her to go vegan 2 years ago - her words brought me so much joy and I was really interested to hear more about her story. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Hi! My name is Amanda. I am a 30 year old vegan, and I live in Connecticut. I have always loved animals and have been lucky to have them around me my entire life. A few years ago, I started to become more interested in cooking and nutrition. And was learning more and more about what is in our food and where it comes from. I had been curious about vegetarianism for a while and in September 2010 I decided to try giving up meat (except for fish) for a month, or maybe until that Thanksgiving, and then see how I felt. I only knew a handful of vegetarians then (and I definitely didn't know any vegans). That night, I turned to Google. I think I googled "vegetarian" and I came across the Peta video "If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls, Everyone Would Be Vegetarian"... Well that shocked me to my core.. I hadn't cried that hard in a long time. I already knew that it wasn't right to be eating animals, but I didn't know how horribly they are treated. I also didn't know all the other issues that come from the meat/dairy/egg industries (environment, world hunger, etc) It and a few more videos I watched, left me disturbed and appalled. And I knew after that I could never eat meat again. A friend of mine recommened that I read Skinny Bitch. I went to the bookstore across the street the next day and read that book in about a day and a half. I continued to eat fish once in a while and was probably 99% vegan at home. Going out, I was still consuming some dairy and eggs.. Pretty much out of laziness or "convenience". I guess I was leaning into it.
I didn't officially go 100% vegan until December 2011. Another friend of mine was curious about my veggie lifestyle, so I lent her Skinny Bitch, and told her about some videos to watch. The next day, she told me that she threw out all of the animal products in her house and wanted to go vegan right away! Well, I jumped right on board with her (it's a lot easier with a buddy) and never looked back! And brought a few more friends with me since then :)
Since I've been eating more healthy plant-based whole foods, I've felt great! I used to get sick all the time. Now I hardly ever do! My nails started growing so much stronger, so I stopped biting them. <--Yay! I have more overall energy. It has been better for my skin (dairy is horrible for skin). This year I started working out and building muscle. Which is awesome. And it has actually really helped with my depression, which I have had since a teen. No drugs for me! While I do believe it has to do with what we put into our bodies, I also think living a more compassionate life helps your overall well-being. I could go on and on and on...
I love food! I consider myself to be a "foodie", and I love to cook. Despite what many people may think, there is soooo much variety in a plant-based diet. I have so many vegan cookbooks, that I need to get a bigger bookcase before I get anymore. As much as I enjoy trying other people's recipes, I love to experiment in the kitchen and just throw things together. Some of the best things I have eaten came from doing just that. I love to share what I make/eat on Instagram and Facebook. A lot of my friends (mostly non-veg) tell me I should start a blog.. so I have been thinking of doing that. I would also like to get more involved in animal activism. I know that by not purchasing products that come from animals, or are tested on animals, and by boycotting anything that exploits/hurts them (circus, zoos, puppy mills, etc) are all great ways to help animals.. But I would like to be more physically involved.
Going vegan was the best decision I have ever made and I wish I did it sooner! :)
A couple quotes I'd like to share:
"If we can live happy and healthy lives, without causing harm to others, why wouldn't we?"
-Jenny Brown, co-founder of Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary
"Don't do nothing, because you can't do everything. Do something. Anything."
The internet (especially Google and YouTube) is so great for the veg-curious! Or anyone who wants to know where our food comes from and what goes into it. There is a quote I've seen a few times (don't know who said it) "In the age of information, ignorance is a choice." And I believe that is true. The information is out there, people! I was shocked and elated to see how many YouTube videos there were on veganism! All you have to do is type "vegan" into the search bar and at least one of EcoVeganGal's videos show up. (she has almost 500.. and that's just on her main channel.. she has at least 3 others-- WhatAVeganEats is also a great one!) I don't remember the very first EcoVeganGal video I saw, but I do know that I came across one, and just kept watching more of them, and subscribed to her channel. Whitney has a video for pretty much anything eco or vegan you can think of, as well as ones about just living a happier life. I truely believe that she genuinely cares about your well-being and wants to share with you all of the wonderful products, companies, books, and people that she discovers. Thanks to Whitney, I found out about Kris Carr, Happy Herbivore, vgirls|vguys, and other YouTube favorites: The Vegan Zombie and the lovely Shelley Williams, just to name a few. And those people brought me to others and so on.. I had no idea how many of us there are. It is so nice to know that there are all of these other inspirational, compassionate people out there and that we are not alone in this.
Amanda's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: I had a hard time choosing a favorite EcoVeganGal video. I enjoy her product reviews, because she is so honest and does them with integrity, but one video that is speaking to me right now is a bit different from that. The Importance of Living from the Heart:
One of the most intimidating and challenging aspects of being vegan is handling conversations with people who aren't vegan. These chats can easily swing from calm and understanding to debate-like, with each person defending their food choices. I spend a lot of time pondering and researching the best ways to handle oneself in these situations, and have offered up my opinion in several videos (see below). Below are are some more tips to help guide yourself through these tête-à-têtes.
The Eco-Vegan Gal and Guy shirts have been so much more popular than I ever imagined - thank you for all of your support in buying and requesting them! I'm currently very low in stock, but due to the amount of questions about them recently I've started a form to collect the interest in one place. Once I receive enough requests I will place an order and notify those interested about how to officially order one. Hopefully this process will happen within the month.