Beauty Without Cruelty

Being vegan is not necessarily just a characterization of what you put into your body, but also on it.  There are a variety of harmful chemicals that we apply to our skin in our makeups, lotions, soaps and other beauty products, and many of them are derived from animal sources.  Also, before many of these products are approved for testing, they are tested on animals, who are subjected to the physical effects of these toxic substances before humans are.  I  could spend quite a long time talking about the various examples of animal cruelty in both the food and health industries, but instead I am going to talk about a company, Beauty without Cruelty that markets its products as 100% cruelty free, meaning that none of them have been tested on animals. PETA-Cruelty-Free-LogoIf you check out their site, you will see that they have a wide variety of entirely vegan and cruelty free color cosmetics, hair, skin, and body care products. Not only are they good for the animals who they are sparing being tested on, but these products are also free from synthetic and engineered fragrances, parabens, and several other chemicals that are harmful to our skin. Because I wanted to show how being vegan isn’t just about what you’re eating, I decided to give this brand a try – they were even nice enough to send me one of their lip glosses free to review for you!

540v00Because lip gloss and chapstick is so easily absorbed into your lips, and often taken into your mouth when you talk and eat, I am more picky about what kinds I use.  I’m also big on natural looking make up, so I decided I’d try their neutral Apricot Shimmer shade.  I think that it’s not as dark as it appears in the picture, and a bit more shimmery, but I didn’t have a problem with that.  It matched my natural lip color quite well, giving it an added shimmer.  The consistency is not super glossy, which I also like because it stayed on longer than something wetter might have.  Also, I’m not a fan of super-shiny lips.  I brought it along with me on a week long camping trip (that’s where I’ve been all this time X: ) and found that it didn’t make me look over done for the setting.  The tone matched well with my Physician’s Formula nude palette, so if you use similar colors in your eye make up, then this lip gloss matches perfectly.  While this one is great for every day use, they also have it in six other shades – perfect for any occasion.

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 If you’re interested in using your buying power to support cruelty-free products that are also healthy for your skin and body, give Beauty Without Cruelty a try.  Their items are a little bit more expensive, but for the quality product you are getting, they’re definitely worth it.

Raw in Real Life

Being raw in my room is easy enough – I am in charge of what’s in my fridge, my pantry, and ultimately what I eat.  However, I know I am not alone when I say that being raw, even vegan, outside of the home can be challenging.  One of my professors and his wife have been vegans for 25 years, but when they travel they eat vegetarian because it can be too hard, and expensive, to maintain a vegan diet on the road.  Yesterday was my first real experience trying to eat raw in public.  My research group went out to lunch before visiting a county health official. One of the professors recommended a Dominican place, so that was where we went.  I was a little nervous about what I could eat, but when the professor I was working with asked me if I would be able to find anything (he knows I’m a vegan), I said most likely, because in most situations I have been able to tweak some option on the menu to fit my needs without causing a scene.  For the most part, any of my eating out experiences have been with friends and family who know that I am a vegan, and who are kind enough to choose places that have foods we all can eat. When we walked into this small ethnic restaurant in the heart of the city, my fears quickly became reality.  The man standing behind the deli counter began to stir up different pots of meat, listing us our options – oxtail, goat, pork… I had contemplated getting a RAWREV bar from the vending machine at school in case I couldn’t find anything, but I couldn’t have predicted this.  So, my turn came and I almost guiltily admitted to the server ‘I am a vegetarian.’  platanosfritos6

In situations like this one, or when I am visiting a friend’s house for dinner, I often call myself a vegetarian – the one rule I will not break.  If somebody’s mom orders cheese pizza for dinner, I will eat it.  I am fortunate enough that occasionally adding dairy or eggs into my diet does not make me ill – for my sister, who needs to eat strictly vegan for digestive reasons, it’s not that simple.  Also, I have found that in my area, there are some people who are confused about what a vegan can and cannot eat. Once, a girl tried to give me chicken noodle soup, which would make no sense even if I said I was only a vegetarian.  At this restaurant, I was hoping that he might know of something I could eat that was at the least, meat-free.  Luckily, he had some rice and beans behind the counter, and was kind enough to cook me a sweet plantain.  I had never tried plantain before, and apart from being fried in oil, they were sweet and delicious! In the end, I was able to eat vegan, only temporarily sacrificing my raw tastes for one meal of the deal.

I think that this post helps to explain exactly what I mean by vegarawatarian.  Maybe some people would disagree with me that allowing this degree of flexibility in my food choices makes me a vegan, and rather classifies me as a ‘mostly vegan’, or not even one at all. In my mind, as long as the food I am eating on a regular basis makes me feel good, does not make me feel restricted in my social life, and shows others that I am willing to be flexible (so they don’t avoid asking me to do things with them – it’s happened before!), then I feel completely satisfied with my lifestyle.  Over and over again, we see things like ‘Diets are not one size fit all’ and I agree with that completely.  For some people, a vegetarian lifestyle is all that is doable – and that is great!  Others choose vegan for their own reasons, and some choose raw because they are willing to commit to that lifestyle.  It all depends on what works for you, and I find that being a vegarawatarian is the healthiest, and easiest way for me to live. I will say that on a day to day basis, when I am not with friends or eating out, I eat almost 100% raw.  Because I am new to this lifestyle, I want to commit to it as completely as I can so that I can learn the benefits and options before I decide to commit as completely as I did vegetarian.  If a few months from now, I’m cooking my quinoa rather than sprouting it, or baking a batch of vegan cookies, I won’t say I’m no longer raw – I’ll just continue to consider myself vegarawatarian.