Category Archives: Greener

Harmony Acres Soap Company

Standard

You’ve heard of a #latergram on instagram, but is there a #laterpost on wordpress? Let’s say there is. Cuz this is a #laterpost but still so worth it.

A little while ago, we got these awesome vegan bath and beauty goodies from Harmony Acres Soap Company. They’re a small, family-owned business located in North Carolina. When they learned that skin absorbs 90% of what you put on it, they took matters into their own hands and began developing their line. They have a policy of integrity and consistency with no synthetic ingredients.

harmony1_lr

We sampled four of their delicious products: Lemongrass Lotion, Sweetgrass Body Butter (no longer on the website) and two scents of soap~ Appalachian Spring and Grapefruit de Pink.

Of all four items, we LOVED the lemongrass lotion. It’s beyond bright and refreshing, and as an unexpected bonus, it seemed to repel bugs when we were on the patio all summer. The lotion was light and clean, and it absorbed smoothly. Both of us were big fans of the soaps as well. The Grapefruit bar was the perfect way to wake up every morning – zesty and cheerful. The Appalachian Spring bar was earthier but not to the point of being overly masculine.

Harmony Acres Soap Company has expanded a lot since we bought our goodies. They now have a line of canine products, baby products, lip balms, natural deodorants, face moisturizers, beard oils, and outdoors-y stuff like poison ivy remedy.  A few of their items contain honey, so you will need to read ingredients. For the most part though, Harmony Acres Soap Co. has a LOT of very unique and effective vegan bath and beauty products. You can get the entire line by visiting their website. Happy scrubbing!

Advertisements

The Dirty Hippie’s 5 Year Veganniversary or, How I Became More of a Man

Standard

You may think that being a vegan man is not that “manly”, but I beg to differ.  Doing what is right, instead of what is easy, is manly. While everyone who goes vegan does so for their own reasons, I want to share my story. It starts nearly at the beginning of my life, with a deep love of the Earth.

Starting at a very early age, we’re talking elementary school, I embraced the environment.  Faced with the eminent doom of the Earth portrayed by the 1980’s environmental movement, I convinced my parents to recycle.  I was interviewed on TV in 5th grade talking about ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.  To this day, I am a poster child of the three R’s!

Despite my best efforts, I have seen many of those gloomy predictions from back then come to fruition.  I have been in the environmental movement at every stage in my life. In my teens, I practically lived outside in nature. I grew up on 127-acre land trust and was an active Boy Scout, eventually becoming an Eagle Scout.

Eagle Scout

Getting my Eagle Badge.

My love for nature and the natural world developed during this time and I established a strong connection that only grows as I age.  Everything I do personally and in my business is based on being mindful of the Earth.  I recycle, compost, collect rainwater, use cfl/led bulbs, drive a hybrid, use energy efficient appliances, conserve energy, buy local, grow my own vegetables and fruit, subsidize wind energy, buy recycled products, re-use, etc. etc.

Compost

Compost from the Dirty Hippie’s garden.

“The boy who is going to make a great man must not make up his mind merely to overcome a thousand obstacles, but to win in spite of a thousand repulses and defeats.”  Theodore Roosevelt

One fateful day 5 years ago I was simultaneously reading Skinny Bastard and watched Forks Over Knives – on the same day.  The environmental facts portrayed in both were all I needed to see/read.  And this was way before Cowspiracy brought vegan environmentalism to the masses. I was shocked to find that everything I had done previously, (recycling, hybrid driving, etc.)  paled in comparison to the impact of eating animals.  I could not unlearn the things I discovered, nor could I turn my back, as so many people do, after discovering the horrors and devastating impact of animal husbandry.  I immediately went vegan in an effort to increase my environmental activism tenfold.

“You can tell the greatness of a man by what makes him angry.” -Abraham Lincoln

Interestingly enough, I was already vegetarian at that point.  I had first stopped eating meat at home since my wife (girlfriend at first [the Bohemian Girl!]) was vegan.  I still occasionally ate seafood out, but liked that less and less.  I remained vegetarian for about 7 years, with my last holdout being cheese.  (sound familiar??)  I loved me some cheese and could literally eat a grilled cheese every day.

Grilled Cheese

Daiya Grilled Cheese – often served with garlic or tomato slices as well…

About the same time as my vegan coming out, I discovered Daiya cheese.  It was because of my beloved Daiya grilled cheeses that I had not a care in the world giving up dairy.  That coupled with learning about the “acceptable, legal levels” of blood and puss allowed in cow milk and cheese. Bleh! Now there are myriad vegan cheeses on the market and even more recipes for making your own.  Any kind of cheese you loved with blood and puss can be made vegan.  I hope for your sake you are googling “blood and puss in cheese” while reading this.  To say you don’t like vegan cheese is just like saying you don’t like animal cheese because you don’t like brie.  There are  as many options in vegan cheese as there are in dairy cheeses.  My favorite homemade vegan cheeses include blue cheese and Somer’s smoked gouda.

Daiya

Daiya Cheddar Shreds – the vegan cheese that saved the grilled cheese!

Giving up cheese is hard; it will be hard for you because you are chemically addicted to it.  Eating it releases chemicals in your brain similar to opiates.  But you can do it, if you are a real man (or woman).

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” -Helen Keller

Looking back, I feel like more of a man now than I ever did before.  For several reasons but not the least of which is that I simply chose what was right over what I wanted.  The longer I went without meat, cheese and dairy the less I wanted it anyway.  The less I ate meat in the first place, before I even went vegan, the less I liked it.  When I hear people say “I could never give up cheese”; or “I could never stop eating meat”; “I don’t eat that much meat”; or “I love eating meat”; all I hear is the echoing voices of addicts saying; “I love cigarettes” or “I don’t drink that much” or any number of excuses that other addicts –and I -have said in the past when the truth of the situation had not settled in.

“Money doesn’t make a man.  Muscles don’t make a man.  Tattoos don’t make a man.  Character is what makes a man!  Let a man’s character be his currency; that will tell you what he’s really worth.”  -Tony Gaskins

The environmental numbers are astounding.  51% of greenhouse gases come from animal agriculture.  FIFTY-ONE PERCENT.  How can anyone, man or woman, read that statistic and ignore it?

If you think that animals are not sentient beings who suffer and feel pain just as you, an animal, do, you are lying to yourself.  Just look into the eyes of the dog or cat companion you love and transfer that love to any and all animals.

If you are fat, sick or nearly dead and think that what you eat doesn’t matter; you are lying to yourself.

So, if you can reduce your risk for nearly every major disease in modern society, lessen your impact on the environment and save the lives of billions of innocent, sentient beings all by going vegan, how can you not?  I couldn’t keep eating animals or their excretions, I had to go vegan.

“The man who achieves makes many mistakes but never makes the biggest mistake of all – doing nothing.” Benjamin Franklin

You may think that being a vegan man is not that manly, but I beg to differ.  Doing what is right, instead of what is easy, is manly.  Eating animals is easy, so easy.  Almost anyone can do it.

Hunting on any level does not impress me; saving lives impresses me.  Because it is hard.  I know killing animals is easy because I myself have done it.  When I was younger I wanted to be Daniel Day Lewis in The Last of the Mohicans and hunt and eat animals like the Mohicans did.  It was learned behavior and sometimes it takes a lot of guts to realize that the behavior that you have lived by and know to be right, is actually wrong.  I felt remorse every time I mimicked that behavior and did not continue it.  I know that every human being that hunts starts out feeling this way and overcomes the remorse by numbing themselves to it, blocking out compassion from their lives.  Losing compassion is how we all ignore the horrible things that happen for us to eat animals.  Every day that you go without consuming them, you feel lighter than the last.  Not only do I feel healthier than I ever have before, I feel more aligned in my soul.  I feel compassion for the world around me.  It is a world that desperately needs more compassion.

Besides, with amazing plant-based meats on the market, like Beyond Meat, no one needs to eat inhumane or unsustainable animal products anymore. Just try Beyond Meat. Or  Gardein or Upton’s. You’re going to love it and feel better about yourself and the world. You no longer need to kill or abuse animals or the Earth for protein.

When I look at animals, I look at them the way I would my dog companion.  Each one has a personality, feelings, emotion and I connect with them in the same way.   Two of the best friends I have known were  my rescued greyhound, Lochrima (who passed on 5-1-15), and Mabel, an 850-pound pig friend that currently  lives at Burleigh Animal Sanctuary.  Mabel and Lochrima  had a lot in common – both love(d) bellyrubs, both love(d) when I bring them treats and both come running when they hear my voice.  Animal cognition goes much farther than most people realize.

Lochrima and Mabel

Me with Lochrima, three days before her passing earlier this year; Me with Mabel the pig, who I still enjoy regular visits and snuggles with.

If you think you need to kill animals or drive a big truck or be a bodybuilder to be a man than you are likely lacking the character of a real man in the first place, and seeking to replace that emptiness and lack of confidence.  If you drive a big truck around with a dead deer strapped to it to prove you are a man, you have just announced to the world, “I am not a real man and have to do this ignorant and archaic shit to make up for it.”

But don’t take my word for it. Man up and go vegan.

“What makes a man are his deeds, his responsibilities and his reactions… These things are also what makes a man a monster.”  Shannon Delany

On the radio in Annapolis, MD!

Standard

Recently, the Bohemian Girl (aka as Rissa) was honored to be interviewed on Annapolis Green Radio for their show on “Eating Thoughtfully” – basically it was a show about how diet affects the planet.  You can still listen to the show online, even if you can’t tune into Annapolis 99.5FM – it’s preserved on the internet forever!

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 8.56.09 AM

Rissa shared the interview with Lori, director of Sister Eden, where so many of our fun vegan recipes and eco-crafts find their home online. Thanks to Eliva and Vic, hosts of the Living Green show on WNAV for having Lori and myself in to talk about diet and the environment – it was super fun (though I was nervous), and hope your listeners enjoy the program!

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 8.56.18 AM

The Gratitude Tree Craft Project

Standard

You can make a centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table – using free leaves, a stick, a wire coat hanger and twisty ties. For real. All you need is a little imagination, and these simple materials become a gorgeous Gratitude Tree: a reminder of all that your family is grateful for as you dine together on November 27th.

GratTreeA_lr

The directions for this easy project are cross-posted over at the Sister Eden blog. It’s super for kids, grown-ups, couples and grandparents in families of all shapes and sizes. Everyone can collect and press leaves. Everyone can add what they’re grateful for.

GratTreeC_lrThere are only a few technical parts – like pressing leaves and making the base.  Click over to the Sister Eden post and get the instructions and get started today! You’ll need to collect pretty leaves first, and dry them in a heavy book.

GratTreeBThe real fun begins when you start writing what you’re grateful for. You may get going and find you run out of leaves! Which is a wonderful problem, to have so many good things you’re thankful for!

Wishing you many blessings for a wonderful holiday and may your Gratitude Tree be filled with good wishes, love and excellent health~

Easy Bird Feeders

Standard

As it gets colder, our outdoor friends are looking for food and could use a little love from you, if you are so inclined!

Experts are still out on whether or not wild birds and critters like squirrels and rabbits need/benefit from supplemental feeding from people in cities and suburbs. But my own personal feeling is that since there’s not much to forage in the way of seeds, nuts, fruits, bugs over the winter, that maybe my wild friends could use a little extra chow. And it’s always fun to feed them, since we get to see them visit the feeders, and we can admire their beauty and cuteness.

pinecones_lr

On the Sister Eden blog, we recently posted directions on how to make lots of different kinds of feeders. Above, the pine cone with peanut butter and seeds is the simplest way to go. Chances are, you have everything in your kitchen already to make a feeder like this.

paperrolls_lr

Paper roll feeders are also really easy to make and just about anyone can put one of these together, so it’s a great project for small children. You need three items: a cardboard paper roll (toilet paper, paper towels, gift wrap); peanut butter (or nut butter of choice); birdseed.

Peanut butter jar and soda bottle feeders are only slightly bigger projects. They require the container, something to make a perch from (dowel, stick, wooden spoon, etc.), a wine cork and twine – as well as bird seed.  Both also require a knife to cute holes, so it’s better for older children or adults. These projects can be easily made into bird house, as well – just a few different adjusments and you can make shelter for small birds for the the winter.

 

pbjar_lr

twoliter_lrBe sure to visit our longer cross-post on Sister Eden for full instructions to make these easy, inexpensive, upcycled bird feeders for your outside friends this winter! Also, be sure to check the links on the post, so you can see what kind of seeds birds and wildlife in your region like best.

ExpoFinds: Ollois Dairy-Free Homeopathy

Standard

Homeopathy is a system of medicine where in like-cures-likeand has been in practice around the world for almost two centuries. For a variety of reasons, homeopathy is considered controversial, however, my personal experiences with homeopathy have been really positive. My only personal complaint about homeopathic remedies is that they are in lactose tablets – which means dairy and non-vegan.

But now, Ollois, a French company, is now making dairy-free homeopathic remedies in sugar pellets instead of lactose pellets. (These are tiny, by the way, it’s not like eating a piece of candy – so you don’t have to be concerned about too much sugar.)

OLLO

Photo from Ollois Website

Ollois currently makes 45 vegan-friendly, dairy-free remedies for digestive upset, pain, skin troubles, stress, sleep disorders, ear/nose/throat, women’s issues and cold/flu maladies. You can log on and use Ollois’ chart to determine which remedy might be best for you. However, that said, we have had best success using homeopathy under the supervision of a trained homeopathic practicioner. In the Baltimore area, I trust Dr. Emily Telfair – she has taken great care of me over the years and is very sensitive to vegans. So if you want to work with Ollois rememdies, try to find a great practioner like her that will be aware of specific vegan needs.

ollo3

Photo from Ollois Website

 

We found Ollois homeopathic remedies at the Natural Products Expo East. We haven’t needed to try any yet – thankfully – but when we get to try them, we will post an update. It’s very exciting though, to find vegan homeopathy!! Thanks Ollois!!!

 

ollo2

Logo from Ollois Website

ExpoFinds: Virginia’s First Tea Farm

Standard

Tea is like the elixir of life around here. It is not unusual for me to consume 6 to 10 cups of tea every-single-day. No joke. My only moment of guilt with my green tea is that it travels sssoooooo far to get to me here in Baltimore. Until recently, I thought tea only grew in China and India. Turns out, tea also grows in the USA.

Virginia’s First Tea Farm was founded on the belief that nature’s way is the best way. Their tea is grown in Virginia! Seriously, I was amazed to find this out! I can get locally grown TEA? And in addition to matcha drinking tea, they also make personal care and cleaning products that harness the power of green tea.

These cleansers are effective, restorative, and kind to our bodies and the planet. Green tea’s anti-viral, anti-bacterial properties make it an ideal ingredient in household cleansers, while its antioxidants and anti-inflammatories enrich skin and hair with unique nourishment and vitality.

We got to try the Green Tea Castille Soap for face & body, as well as the Peppermint Shampoo-and-Conditioner All-in-one and their Grapefruit Shampoo-and-Conditioner All-in-one. The soap lathers up beautifully without being to drying or filmy. And the shampoo left our hair curly and soft. Love it!!!

greenteasoap_lr

 Virginia’s First Tea Farm products are American-made, all-natural, fully vegan and never tested on animals.  You can buy them online and feel great about it – they are natural, hard-working and grown in the USA – as well as vegan and cruelty-free.

Did we mention, they also make black tea soap, almond soap, dish detergent and laundry detergent?? Yep, Virginia’s First Tea Farm is not wasting any time – their awesome teas and tea products are out there and ready to save the world – one sip (or scrub) at a time! Glad we found this company at EXPO – we are going to be regular customers!!

ExpoFinds: Primal Pit Paste

Standard

Did you ever wonder what was in your deodorant? We did – and what we found as appalling. But then the “natural” alternatives left us smelling like, well, dirty hippies. Most of them just don’t work and leave you super stinky.

At EXPO we found Primal Pit Paste. It’s a natural deodorant and it WORKS! Yes, really, it’s TRUE! You can actually use a natural deodorant and not smell rank!

primalpitpaste_lrWe first heard about Primal Pit Paste when they did an offer on Vegan Cuts. The products are handcrafted from organic and natural ingredients. You could eat this stuff!  This is not an antiperspirant, but you would not know it because it keeps you dry. It is important to sweat and release toxins. Most deodorants and antiperspirants not only keep the toxins in by preventing you from sweating, but they are designed to absorb into the skin. And what are you absorbing? Aluminum and parabens, to name just few harmful chemicals linked to Alzheimer’s and Cancer. YUCK!

Primal Pit Paste comes in both jars and sticks and there are loads of scents to pick from. We tried lavender, orange creamsicle and unscented from EXPO. On the website, we also saw spice, lemonade, pumpkin and lemongrass. The company also makes lip balms. body powders, scrubs, and moisturizers.

Want to try this healthier deodorant for yourself? Buy online from their e-commerce store. It’s really a great gift for yourself and everyone you care about – nontoxic deodorant that works perfectly! Go for it.

Join the Cowspiracy…

Standard

On Thursday September 11, the new documentary film Cowspiracy: the Sustainability Secret will have its Baltimore opening. This movie, in a nutshell, reveals what animal agriculture is doing to the planet we all share. This is not a movie about health food. It is not (for the most part) about animal cruelty. It has a mission to show and prove that people’s rampant desire to eat animals is damaging the Earth for all life – humans, animals, sea life, even plants. Want to see a trailer? Check this link.

Animal agriculture effects every part of the environmental crisis: water supply, deforestation, climate change, species extinction, ocean dead zones, wildlife habitiat, clean air. And more. Still want that ham sandwich? Maybe YOU should watch this film, then – especially if you want the Earth to be livable for future generations! Time to open your mind to the what the UN and Oxford University, among others already have established as fact (Do you really think you’re smarter than the scientists at Oxford? C’mon! Who is reading this blog? Stephen Hawking?)…

cowspriacy1

COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary following an intrepid filmmaker as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today, and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it.

This documentary will be as eye-opening as Blackfish and as inspiring as An Inconvenient Truth. By the way, did you know that both former Pres. Clinton and former Vice Pres. Gore have embraced a vegan diet? If they can do it, so can you – politics aside. There are plenty of politically conservative people who want to continue living on Earth, too. 🙂

cowspriacy2

The film will be playing at AMC Owings Mills 17, 10100 Mill Run Circle, Owings Mills, Maryland 21117 at 7:30pm. Tickets are still available and 99 seats remain (101 are sold as of this writing). It’s only $11 and money well spent! Bring friends, family, greenies, environmentalists, conspiracy theorists – anyone you can! Spread the important message of Cowspiracy! To sweeten the deal, the Baltimore connection for Cowspiracy, Chris D., has door prizes including Land of Kush gift cards, iTunes gift cards and for the grand prize, a donation to your favorite charity. Thanks Chris – that’s very kind! Get your tickets on the Tugg site now, folks!

Are you in the Washington DC area? There’s a screening of the movie there on September 23rd at 7:30pm at Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20004. So far 64 people are going to this showing, and 55 more tickets must be sold, so get going, Washingtonians! Here is the Tugg event for DC. This showing is $15 per person and Landmark theaters carry vegan popcorn, tater tots and cookies in the concession stand.

Not in the Baltimore/DC area? Visit the Cowspiracy site for more info. Or the Facebook page, which lists different showings, happening all over the county. DVDs are also available for pre-order and will be out on November 6th. Which means you can get 20 copies and give them out for holiday gifts.

Mark your calendars and now, more than ever, get on board with saving the world!

Meat Out 2014 & Easy Salsa Pasta Salad

Standard

MeatoutlogoWe’ve been herbivores around here for years. So it doesn’t seem complicated to us, the concept of going meatless for one day. However, we’re in the minority. Approximately 1% of Americans are vegan and an additional 3% are vegetarian. But the veggie-loving lifestyle is growing. The popularity of Meatless Mondays has been increasing. And the MeatOut is an annual event devoted to spreading the word about how awesome the plant-based life can be!!

MeatOut has been around a while. Formerly known as the Great American MeatOut, it was started in 1985 by the good folks at FARM. The idea is to set up a booth, get some flyers – basic grassroots stuff – and try to convince people to go without meat for one day. This simple act will save thousands of animals’ lives and make an environmental impact as well. On the MeatOut website, new pledges can sign up and get encouraging emails, meal plans and info about health, animal rights and climate change

We’re proud supports of MeatOut and hope you will check out their website and spread the word – cuz the Big Day is tomorrow, March 20! Try it – see if you can go with no animals on your plate for one day. Yea, it might be a change. But change is good – it keeps your brain active and challenges you to grow emotionally & spiritually. Why not get those benefits while you do good for so many other causes? It’s a win-win-win-win.

The wonderful folks over at Sister Eden asked us to create a simple pasta recipe for this occasion that anyone could make. We were equal to the task and came up with Easy Salsa Pasta Salad. This tasty lunch or dinner recipe travels well, is good warm or cold and can be made gluten-free if you use brown rice pasta (we like spirals, but any shape will work). You can use canned, frozen or fresh veggies. And the toughest part of the entire process is boiling and draining the noodles!!

SalsaPasta_lrNow you have a crazy-easy way to get going for MeatOut. Click over to Sister Eden and grab the recipe. You might even have many of the ingredients on hand. Make this simple meal, and you have lunch or dinner all squared away for the MeatOut. Need more ideas? Have a healthful breakfast of oatmeal made with water – drizzle with maple syrup and enjoy with an apple or banana; for lunch the Easy Salsa Pasta Salad; and at dinner time, make veggie burgers or beans and rice with veggies. Eating out for dinner? Go Chinese or Japanese – there are loads of meatless options, and they’re delicious! Oh and – there are loads of recipes on this blog! Click the “Munchies” link above for a listing of all the recipes we’ve ever posted.

Happy MeatOut!