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  • The Ultimate Vegan Halloween Candy Guide

    The Ultimate Vegan Halloween Candy Guide

    Candy and other sweet treats are a historical staple for an awesome Halloween celebration. Fortunately we live in a time when there are plenty of cruelty-free sweets are available, so vegans do not have to miss out on the Halloween festivities. Here are a few examples of yummy treats that happen to be cruelty-free.

    Cocomels

    Cocomels offers a variety of flavors for its coconut milk caramels. And if you are looking for a darker flavor try their dark-chocolate-coated caramels.

    Unreal

    Unreal offers a delicious line of vegan candies including almond butter cups, peanut butter cups, dark chocolate peanut butter cups, crispy gems, peanut crispy gems, and dark chocolate coconut bars. These vegan treats are a great subsitution for their non-vegan counterparts Reeses Cups, M&M’s, and Almond Joy.

    Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups

    Justin’s is an organic candy company that offers all the flavor of a delicious, dark chocolate peanut butter cup without any of the cruelty.

    ACCIDENTALLY VEGAN TREATS

    Smarties

    Smarties are 100% vegan. They are also gluten-free and allergy friendly.

    Nerds

    Every flavor of Nerds is vegan-friendly and yummy.

    Chick-o-Stix

    This crunchy combination of peanut butter and coconut has always been accidentally vegan.

    Skittles

    Before 2013, Skittles were not a vegan candy because they contained gelatin derived from animal ingredients. After a recipe change removing the gelatin, however, Skittles are now a delicious, vegan option.

    Hubba Bubba

    Almost every flavor of Hubba Bubba bubble gum is vegan. The Bubble Blast Gum flavor is the one to avoid.

    Swedish Fish

    Swedish Fish are vegan because they do not contain gelatin, egg albumin, or beeswax that many non-vegan gummy candies contain.

    Jolly Ranchers

    Jolly Ranchers come in a variety of delicious flavors, all vegan-friendly. There are also Jolly Rancher lollipops if you prefer eating candy on a stick.

    Fun Dip

    Have a fun time after the trick-or-treating is done by dipping an edible candy stick into a packet of flavored sugar with this all-vegan treat.

    Airheads

    Most flavors of this chewy, taffy candy are suitable for vegans. Try Original Airheads, Airheads Bars, Airheads Gum – White Mystery, or Airheads Xtremes. Flavors to avoid are Airheads Bites, Airheads Xtremes Sourfuls, Airheads Gum (except White Mystery), Airheads Gummies, and Airheads Soft-Filled Bites, as their core ingredient is gelatin.

    Dots

    Dots Original and Tropical Flavored gumdrops are gelatin-free and, therefore, vegan-friendly.

    Jujyfruits

    Fruit-flavored Jujyfruits are another gumdrop option containing no animal products.

    Now & Later

    The traditional flavors of Now & Later candies are all vegan. The chewy flavors and new varieties, however, are often non-vegan.

    Cracker Jacks

    At first glance Cracker Jacks may seem to be filled with dairy but instead of caramel this yummy popcorn treat is coated with vegan-friendly molasses. It’s not only delicious but molasses also contains several trace minerals that are good for you, too.

    Sour Patch Kids

    These tasty sour gummy candies are a great vegan treat. They contain no animal ingredients so they are a great addition to any trick-or-treat haul.

    Twizzlers

    Twizzlers licorice whips are vegan friendly, containing no animal-derived products. And since they come in a variety of flavors they are a good addition to any Halloween celebration.

    Charm’s Blow Pops

    Charm’s famous bubblegum-filled lollipops are a great cruelty-free Halloween treat.

    Dum Dums

    Dum Dums suckers are vegan and allergy friendly.

    Zotz

    This vegan candy has a sour, fizzy center, perfect for Halloween fun.

    Brach’s Lemon Drops

    Lemon Drops are a classic that also happens to be vegan.

    Cry Babies

    These famous candies may be super sour to the taste, but they are still vegan and cruelty-free.

    Atomic Fireballs

    Atomic Fireballs are tasty, cinnamon jawbreakers. They do not have animal ingredients and are considered vegan.

     

    QUESTIONABLE INGREDIENTS

    A few ingredients in Halloween candies are questionable as they may or may not come from vegan methods. These ingredients appear in quite a few sweets that would otherwise be considered vegan. More strict vegans often avoid these non-vegan ingredients just in case.

    Refined Sugar

    Refined sugar is questionable because determining the refinery method is not always possible. Some companies use bone char to refine their sugar, meaning that ingredient can no longer technically be considered vegan. Ingredient labels will not specify the company’s preferred refining method, and it may be challenging to determine which refining method a company uses in your candy of choice. For this reason, many vegans avoid any form of refined sugar.

    Palm Oil

    Palm oil is vegan on its own, but many vegans avoid it due to the methods used to obtain it. Acquiring palm oil can damage natural environments, and the animals who reside there suffer and lose their homes.

    CHECK YOUR LABELS

    As with any food, it is essential to read labels to confirm that they do not contain animal-based products. Some ingredients vegans should be on the lookout for are gelatin, Carmine color, and confectioner’s glaze.

    Gelatin

    Gelatin is an ingredient in many bright-colored candies, but it comes from discarded animal skin, tendons, cartilage, ligaments, and bones.

    Carmine Color

    Carmine color is a red dye derived from crushed cochineal bugs.

    Confectioners Glaze / Shellac

    Confectioners’ glaze or Shellac is a shiny product that can be found in a number of hard candies that is made from insect excretions.

     

    Even though Halloween is meant to be spooky and scary that doesn’t mean your treats should be. There are plenty of vegan options available to keep your Halloween festivities fun and cruelty-free. Sometimes it takes a little effort to read labels and do your research, but the more you learn, the easier it becomes.

  • Packing in Healthy Protein on a Vegan Diet

    Packing in Healthy Protein on a Vegan Diet

    How will you get enough protein if you do not eat meat?

    But, where do you get your protein?” is a question that every vegan hears on a regular basis. It is a common misconception that meat is the only viable source of protein. We have been misled for decades by advertisement campaigns and government food pyramid charts to believe that meat is the only viable source of this essential macro-nutrient. However, protein is already in many foods we encounter daily. It is easy for a vegan diet to fulfill daily protein needs without powders or supplements.

    The average person needs about 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily to prevent protein deficiency. For example, a 150-pound person would require approximately 54 grams of protein daily. (0.36 x 150 = 54)

    Fortunately for vegans everywhere, nature supplies us with many meat-free protein options. Some are edible and healthy in their raw form, while others require a bit of processing. Either way, it is relatively easy to meet any daily protein requirement when eating a plant-based diet.

     

    COMPLETE VEGAN PROTEINS

    Twenty amino acids, nine essential and 11 non-essential, all work together to make up protein. Non-essential amino acids are those that the body can manufacture for itself. Essential amino acids, however, must be obtained through the foods we eat. A food that contains all nine essential amino acids is called a “complete protein”. The following is a short list of plant-based complete proteins.

    Spirulina

    Spirulina is a form of algae that is often called a vegan super-food. It is a complete protein because it offers all nine essential amino acids. A tablespoon of Spirulina has 4 grams of protein. Spirulina powder can be mixed into any liquid, such as smoothies, or sprinkle some on your salad. It can also be used as a healthy green food color substitute in most recipes.

    Nutritional Yeast

    Two tablespoons of nutritional yeast, or deactivated yeast, contains 8 grams of protein. It offers all nine essential amino acids and is therefore considered a complete protein. Nutritional yeast is an excellent additive in vegan dishes.

    Hemp Seeds

    A three-tablespoon serving of hemp seeds provides around 10 grams of protein. Hemp seeds are a delicious addition to salads, pasta dishes, or even your breakfast smoothie for that extra protein boost.

    Tempeh

    Tempeh’s chewy texture and nutty, earthy flavor make this a popular ingredient in many vegan dishes. One cup of this fermented soy product packs 34 grams of complete protein.

    Flax Seeds

    Mix this versatile grain into your favorite recipes, or sprinkle a little on your salad. However you choose to enjoy them, flax seeds will add 1.9 grams of protein per tablespoon.

    Chia Seeds

    Chia seeds are another healthy product that packs plenty of complete protein. Two tablespoons supply 4 grams of protein.

    Soybeans/Edamame

    Soybeans are a staple of the vegan diet. Just one cup has 29 grams of complete protein.

    Tofu

    One cup of tofu, also known as bean curd, has 20 grams of protein. Its subtle flavor makes it a great ingredient in numerous dishes as it quickly absorbs flavors.

    Bulgur Wheat

    Bulgur wheat is a cereal grain used in soups, salads, and pilaf. It is a good substitute for rice or quinoa in many different dishes. Just one cup of bulgur wheat contains six grams of protein.

    Amaranth

    Amaranth is an ancient grain packed with nutritional value. It is also gluten-free. One cup of amaranth has 9 grams of complete protein.

    Farro

    Farro is whole-grain wheat similar to barley. This grain is the perfect addition to soups or salads. A fourth of a cup of farro has six grams of protein.

    Quinoa

    Another great super-food to add to any pantry is quinoa. It is highly nutritious. One cup of quinoa offers 8 grams of complete protein.

    Barley

    Barley is another healthy cereal grain with many nutrients, including complete protein. One cup of cooked barley has 3.5 grams of protein.

    Pea Protein Powder

    Pea protein is technically a complete protein. It does contain all nine essential amino acids but only has a small amount of methionine+cysteine. Pair it with dried seaweed, Brazil nuts, hemp seeds, chia seeds, or oats to make it a complete protein. A one-ounce serving of pea protein powder has about 22 grams of protein.

    ALMOST COMPLETE VEGAN PROTEINS

    Many other plant-based foods have plenty of protein even though they are not “complete proteins.” There are so many plant-based protein options that it would be hard to list them all. Most of the following foods have at least eight of nine essential amino acids. It is easy to pair them together to create a whole protein.

    Seitan

    Seitan is a protein-rich food created with vital wheat gluten. One ounce of Seitan can provide 21 grams of protein.

    Pumpkin Seeds

    Pumpkin seeds have 20 grams of protein per serving. You can eat the whole seed or use pumpkin seed powder as an additive.

    Lentils

    ½ cup of cooked lentils has 12 grams of protein. Most people pair them with rice to create a complete protein dish.

    Kidney Beans

    ½ cup of kidney beans has 7 grams of protein. Pair them with nuts, hemp seed, or wild rice.

    Mung Beans

    Mung beans are very versatile and a great addition to your vegan diet. A half-cup serving contains seven grams of protein.

    Cannellini Beans

    Cannellini beans, also known as white beans, have 8 grams of protein per ½ cup. Many vegan recipes use these beans as a low-fat substitute for cashews.

    Black Beans

    Black beans pair great with grains. One cup has 15 grams of protein.

    Sunflower Seeds

    Sunflower seeds make a delicious snack. They can also be used in a variety of vegan recipes. One ounce of sunflower seeds has 3.4 grams of protein.

    Almonds

    One ounce of almonds has nearly 6 grams of protein. Enjoy them on their own, or add them to your favorite recipes.

    Lima Beans

    One cup of lima beans has 12 grams of protein. They make a perfect side dish.

    Chickpeas / Garbanzo Beans

    Another great protein to incorporate into a vegan diet is chickpeas. One cup has a whopping 14.5 grams of protein.

    Sesame Seeds

    Three tablespoons of sesame seeds have 5 grams of protein. They complement beans and legumes well, as sesame seeds have the amino acids most others lack and vice versa.

    Green Peas

    Green peas are another delicious side dish with 7.9 grams of protein per cup.

    Wheat Berry

    These whole wheat kernels can be baked into bread, added to salads, or ground for flour. A fourth cup has 4.5 grams of protein.

    Oats

    This highly nutritious cereal grain offers a fast and easy way to eat healthily. Three-fourths of a cup has 4.4 grams of protein.

    Rice

    Rice pairs well with various dishes, making it an easy addition to any meal. One cup of rice has 4.2 grams of protein.

    Pairing Proteins

    As with any way of eating, variety is vital to give the body everything that it needs. Vegans will have no trouble meeting daily protein requirements when consuming a wide variety of protein-rich, plant-based foods. Do not rely solely on a single food for protein intake when there are so many options to choose from. Pairing delicious plant-based foods together create complete proteins while offering delicious meal options.

     

     

  • World Day for Farmed Animals 2022

    World Day for Farmed Animals 2022

    The 39th annual World Day for Farmed Animals is just around the corner. Since 1983, October 2 has been a designated day of mourning for the countless animal lives lost to slaughter. WDFA is a day to remember and memorialize those senselessly slaughtered, innocent beings who end up on dinner plates. It is our opportunity to draw attention to the suffering and inhumane conditions these animals endure during their short lives.

    GETTING INVOLVED IN WDFA EVENTS

    Between 65-70 billion animals are killed for food each year on average. October 2 is an opportunity for animal lovers to come together and make a statement on the animals’ behalf. Something as simple as passing out leaflets or setting up a table at an event to disseminate information can create change for farm animals. Surveys indicate that 93% of consumers disapprove of the mistreatment of farm animals. Activists campaigning on behalf of farm animals can show the public the true extent of injustice these animals endure so that they can make more compassion-fueled decisions.

    On World Day for Farmed Animals, activists hold educational events, demonstrations, and protests throughout the United States and other countries. This year, in-person events are happening in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, California, Oregon, Florida, Minnesota, and numerous virtual events.

    Art by Lindsay Lewis | instagram.com/linzanddex11

    FAST AGAINST SLAUGHTER

    Perhaps the most accessible activity to participate in on World Day for Farmed Animals is taking the Fast Against Slaughter pledge. On October 2, we stand in solidarity with farm animals past, present, and future by refusing food ourselves. Participants can take the Fast Against Slaughter pledge on the World Day for Farmed Animals website. The website also shares tips for fasting safely. After taking the pledge online, participants can share their photos and stories on social media with the hashtag #FastAgainstSlaughter.

    IOWA WDFA PROCLAMATION

    Joining World Day for Farmed Animals for the first time this year is Iowa, the Hawkeye state. Governor Kim Reynolds signed the proclamation into effect on September 2, 2022. The Iowa World Day for Farmed Animals proclamation is especially significant as Iowa’s 5,400 hog farms supply approximately 1/3 of the nation’s hogs. Iowa is also the 12th largest dairy producer in the United States, with about 1,200 dairy farms.

    “This year, proclamations requests have been sent to all U.S. Governors and I am particularly honored that Iowa has recognized World Day for Farmed Animals. My father was born in Rockwell City,” said Eric C Lindstrom, Executive Director of Farm Animal Rights Movement. “I am quite familiar with the economics of agriculture in Iowa and knowing Governor Reynolds supports WDFA is very encouraging to our mission.”

     

    Photo by WeAnimals Media | http://www.weanimals.org

    FARMED ANIMALS ARE STILL LEGALLY ABUSED

    This year’s WDFA is particularly meaningful since, during the 39th anniversary year of WDFA, nearly all farmed animals are still raised in “factory farms,” where they are caged, crowded, mutilated, mishandled, drugged, and denied their natural needs. Despite these statistics, surveys indicate that 93% of consumers disapprove of the mistreatment of farmed animals.

    • Most farmed animals never see their first birthday.
    • Because male chicks do not lay eggs, they are ground alive or suffocated. Their sisters are crammed together in small wire cages. Many starve to death because they cannot get to the feed trough.
    • Ducks are force-fed with tubes in order to give them fatty liver disease for foie gras.
    • Young pigs spend their six-month lifespan in crowded pens after being torn from their mother at birth and mutilated with no anesthesia.
    • Mother pigs spend their lives in metal gestational stalls giving birth to litter after litter of piglets, only to have them repeatedly stolen from her.
    • Each year, dairy cows are artificially impregnated, so they will continue to produce milk. They never have the opportunity to nurse the calves they give birth to yearly. The dairy cows are milked daily by machines while they mourn the loss of their calves.
    • Female calves are destined for a life identical to their mother’s, while males are often slaughtered for veal at a young age.
    • Many farm animals spend their final days starving and thirsty on their journey to slaughter.

    GOING VEGAN FOR HUMANITY, TOO

    The animals are not the only creatures whose fate is at stake. Humans are also affected since meat consumption causes many health issues. Numerous studies have shown that consuming meat increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer.

    In addition, animal agriculture poses many dangers to the environment. “Animal agriculture is a leading cause of global warming and is responsible for more water pollution, topsoil depletion, deforestation and wildlife destruction than all other human activities combined.”

    Animal agriculture contributes directly to global warming by releasing greenhouse gases into the air. Forests are burned to create pasture for the animals, generating carbon dioxide. During transport to slaughter, the trucks and other carriers use fossil fuels. Methane and nitrous oxide comes from cattle’s digestive tracts and animal waste cesspools.

    The farm animal industry furthers water pollution by dumping pollutants such as animal manure, fertilizers, soil particles, and pesticides. Dumping toxic waste promotes the growth of harmful algae, depletes oxygen, kills fish, and even smothers fish eggs.

    Animal agriculture also plays a significant role in deforestation. Forests are clear-cut and burned. “This is a major loss because trees provide wildlife habitats, keep topsoil in place, replenish groundwater aquifers, absorb carbon dioxide, and stabilize climate.”  When the land is no longer suitable as pasture, it becomes animal feed croplands. Rain or melting snow carries off topsoil. The land eventually becomes barren.

    The oceans are also suffering from animal agriculture. Large scale fish breeding farms are popping up across the world and polluting our oceans. Fish are crammed together into small spaces which promotes disease and suffering. Industrial fishing boats are clearing the seas of fish while other ocean beings are killed by getting caught up in nets or discarded fishing gear.

    World Day for Farmed Animals is a yearly opportunity to join forces and speak up for the animals who cannot speak for themselves. Visit www.dayforanimals.com to find ways to contribute, and remember to take your pledge to Fast Against Slaughter for October 2, 2022.

     

  • Creating Change Through Grassroots Activism

    Creating Change Through Grassroots Activism

    As animal rights activists we are all on a mission to make the world a better place for animals. And one of the best ways to be successful with our mission is to present a clear, precise message. There are a variety of ways that activists choose to present messages. Some of these methods include social media posts, photography, demonstrations, petitions, rallies, and offering informational handouts at events.

    Grassroots Activism

    The early days of the animal rights movement began with grassroots activism and the methods used helped the movement expand for decades to come. Since the late 1970’s activists have used picketing, large rallies, information tables with handouts, and pressure from wealthy donors to drive change for animals around the world.

    The past few years have been difficult for grassroots activism with the Covid pandemic forcing most of society indoors. But as in-person demonstrations and tabling events begin to make a comeback, the need for informative leaflets and brochures for your group or organization will also increase. To spread the word about animal rights and veganism, your organization will want high-quality handouts that people will want to take home and share.

    Making High Quality Animal Rights Content

    Creating high quality content or sourcing content from a credible source is imperative for changing hearts and minds about animal rights and veganism. Content drives a design so be sure to start with well-written, concise content to drive your message home. Keep the design consistent with your brand and limit the number of fonts to keep the content easy to read.

    Here are a few suggestions for creating high quality handouts:

    • Include QR codes printed on the handout linking back to your website
    • Keep the design consistent
    • Limit the number of fonts used
    • Use a color pallet generator to help with a harmonious design
    • Use high quality images for designs
    • Utilize free image sources like Pexels.com and WeAnimals Media
    • Take advantage of easy design tools like Canva or Adobe Express
    • Source from eco-friendly companies like NextDayFlyers who offers a wide variety of options and sizes for your printed pieces
    • Take advantage of bulk printing discounts but only order as many as needed for your organization

    Spread Your Message

    In addition to handing out brochures and leaflets, posting them on bulletin boards in public areas such as coffee shops, restaurants, libraries, supermarkets, co-ops, laundromats, and apartment buildings is another way to spread your message. The brochures are also great additions to any outgoing mail. Remember to always ask permission from the owner or manager before posting a leaflet to make sure that it stays posted. Some businesses will even allow you to leave a stack of leaflets near the exit for people to grab on their own.

    Looking for more opportunities to get involved in the animal rights movement? Animal rights organizations offer volunteer opportunities, and these provide a platform for your own activism. To sign up to volunteer for FARM, please visit farmusa.org/volunteer.

     

  • Self Care in the Animal Rights Movement

    Self Care in the Animal Rights Movement

    Fighting for animal rights, witnessing the daily atrocities inflicted on animals, speaking out for those who have no voice; these things and more can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. Yet these are the things an animal rights activist faces every day.

    Animal rights activists witness an unending stream of horrors that other humans force upon animals raised for food, raised for their fur, or experimented on in labs. The list goes on and on. These sights and sounds will resound in the mind forever. Many compassionate people fighting for the lives of innocent animals are tortured by the things they have witnessed.

    These things can take a devastating toll on a person, so it important that activists do not forget to take care of themselves as well. Keep reading to see a few suggestions for ways to practice a little self-care so you can continue to be a healthy, effective voice for animals in need.

    DECOMPRESS

    It is important to take time for yourself every day. Even if it is only a few minutes, take a moment to breathe and relax. Do some yoga. Take a hot bath. Have a glass of wine. Read a relaxing book.

    Choose the thing that will help you unwind and step away from the stress of the day-to-day, if only for a little while.

    EXERCISE

    It is a scientific fact that exercise is not only physically beneficial, but also mentally and emotionally beneficial. Exercising releases endorphins that make you feel good and contribute to concentration and mental clarity. It is also a great outlet for all of that bottled up stress.

    Here are a few suggestions to get some light exercise while giving your mind a break:

    • Take a walk around your neighborhood.
    • Travel to a local park with friends or companion animals.
    • Join a local gym or sign up for a fitness class.
    • Find a local farm animal sanctuary that offers yoga or other classes with rescued residents.

    CONNECT WITH LIKE-MINDED INDIVIDUALS

    Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. Make connections with individuals who value and share your beliefs. Make time for fun and relaxing activities with your friends. It is always comforting to know you are not alone in your fight for the animals or your life in general.

    One option to find like-minded individuals is to join an animal rights social media group and find new friends in your area.

    EAT RIGHT

    Yes, we have heard it thousands of times. We are what we eat. Many people assume the words vegan and healthy are synonymous, but this is not always the case. We are lucky to live in a time where there are plenty of vegan junk food options to go alongside the healthy ones. But living on junk food alone is not good for physical or mental health.

    Focus on healthy vegan choices for your daily meals and try to limit the junk food. You will thank yourself later. A well-balanced, nutritious diet is essential to your body, your mental health, and your emotional well-being.

    TALK TO SOMEONE

    There is no shame in seeking help when you need it. Find a therapist that you are comfortable with and let it all out. Don’t be afraid to share your feelings and experiences. They are there to listen and to help you process those feelings and experiences so you do not drown in them.

    If a therapist is not for you, perhaps one of your close friends would be willing to take on the role of listener. Sometimes, all we need is to get a few things off our chest to lighten the load.

    There is also online support like FARM’s Interconnected vegan monthly support group where you can discuss animal rights with like-minded individuals and a vegan therapist, April Lang.

    “This animal advocate support group is for anyone who cares about non-human animals and is struggling living in a world of institutionalized animal abuse.  Whether your issues are with your family, friends, co-workers, or just the world in general, this group will provide you with a safe space to discuss your challenges.” ~ April Lang, LCSW SEP | Facilitator

    FOCUS ON THE VICTORIES

    It is easy to get discouraged by the daily losses you encounter when you have a passion for animals and their well being. They can be overwhelming and they will chip away at your mental and emotional health. That makes celebrating every victory, no matter how small, even more important. Give yourself permission to smile when you have a little win. Even the smallest victory makes a difference.

    TAKE IT ONE DAY AT A TIME

    Sometimes all you can do is focus on the day at hand. Do not let yourself get bogged down with the weight of things to come. Focus on what you can do today to fight for the animals. Tomorrow may bring something completely different, but you will deal with that when tomorrow gets here.

    TAKE A BREAK

    The fight for animal rights is never ending, but your personal limits are not. It is OK to give yourself permission to step away from the cause for a little while if you need time to rest and regroup. When you step back into your role as protector and advocate, you will do so refreshed and ready to fight.

     

    GET A HOBBY

    Time spent on activities we love and enjoy is never wasted. Our favorite hobbies are not only fun and entertaining, they can also be therapeutic. Participating in low-stress, interesting activities outside of your work gives you opportunities to relax, unwind, and de stress.

    PRACTICE SELF CARE EVERY DAY

    Taking care of yourself is a required step if you want to be an effective advocate and caregiver for animals. Much like the flight attendant tells you to don your own oxygen mask before trying to put your child’s mask on them. If you pass out, you will be in no position to help your child. The same applies to fighting for animals.

    It is easy to put aside your own needs when you are intently focused on caring for someone else’s needs. Neglecting yourself may seem like an easy fix for your time crunches, but it will wear you down in the long run. Your quality of mental and physical health will suffer as will the quality of care you are able to devote to the animals who so desperately need you. So take time for you. Do what is necessary to keep yourself happy and healthy so you will be able to fight your best animal rights fight every day.

    What are your favorite self-care tricks? Share your ideas in the comments.

     

     

     

     

     

  • Speciesism: Exploitation and Prejudice

    Speciesism: Exploitation and Prejudice


    What is Speciesism?

    Speciesism is “the assumption of human superiority leading to the exploitation of animals.” The term was coined in 1970 by psychologist and animal rights advocate Richard Ryder, who described speciesism as “a prejudice or attitude of bias in favor of the interests of members of one’s species and against those of members of other species.”

    In short, humans generally consider themselves the dominant species and, therefore, more important than the animals we share this planet with. Because of this, we believe we have the right to use animals in any way we see fit, be it for food, fur, or research. We even regard certain animals as more important than others. How else would we have decided that a cow is for food and a dog is for companionship?

    Speciesism allows us to disassociate ourselves from the suffering of animals. If our needs or desires are more important than theirs, then there is no question of whose interests come first. Our thirty minutes enjoying a savory steak is worth more to us than the life of a cow. Their lives are considered insignificant.

    Why is Speciesism Prevalent?

    From birth, humans condition each other to view or rank species by importance or significance. Humans regard some species with compassion or care; others are not considered worthy of our time. We learn what animals are “for” in relation to our needs. We learn that some animals are friends, some are food, and some are just pests that are disposable. Children learn that their needs and desires come before the interests of any other species.

    These beliefs allow us to set aside our kindness and conscience. They cause us to neglect the “Golden Rule,” which is to treat others as we want to be treated. We are told from an early age that it is wrong to mistreat others, but speciesism lets us off the hook by telling us our wants and needs are the only priority.

    These beliefs can also spill over into our interactions with other humans. “Studies increasingly suggest that people who support animal exploitation also tend to endorse racist, sexist, and other prejudicial views, which furthers the beliefs in human supremacy and group dominance to justify systems of inequality and oppression.”

     

    Sentient Beings Deserve Peace

    “Regardless of the differences between species, it is clear that all sentient beings are equal in their capacity to feel pain.” Humans and animals have a deep-seated desire to live, avoid pain, and lead a long and happy life. An animal may have a different idea of what defines a happy life, but that does not mean their life is not essential. Human and animal lives and happiness are not identical, but they are equally important.

    Animals have their desires and personalities. Their intellect may not always match a humans, though some come amazingly close, but intelligence is not the determining factor of worth. An infant may not display their mental abilities, but we still value them and acknowledge the need to care for them. The same is true of animals. They cannot defend themselves or speak up for themselves, but they are still important and valuable. They deserve our respect and care because they are living, feeling, sentient beings like us.

     

    Solutions to Overcome Speciesism

    Our responsibility as animal advocates is to reject speciesism and cultivate compassion instead. We should speak kindly and respectfully of other species. We should refer to animals as “he/she” instead of “it.”

    We can also reject speciesism with our daily life choices. We can refuse to buy from companies that participate in animal testing and withhold our support from charities or organizations that fund animal experimentation. A vegan diet is, without a doubt, the most compassionate choice for animals. Additionally, we can choose animal-free clothing, products, and entertainment. There are plenty of options that do not exploit animals

     

    World Day for the End of Speciesism

    August 27, 2022, is the eighth annual World Day for the End of Speciesism. Animal rights organizations worldwide will host events to bring attention to speciesist discrimination and demand complete protection for animal interests. Some are online. Some are in person. If there is no event near you, perhaps you can announce an event of your own.

    We hope our voice and example will reach others and spread compassion. When you view all creatures as worthy of life and happiness, it becomes much harder to mistreat, kill, or exploit them.

     

     

  • 2022 Vegan Guide to Taco Bell

    2022 Vegan Guide to Taco Bell

    It is not always easy to get a quick and easy vegan meal when on the go. In 2022, there has been an explosion of new vegan fast food options, which is exciting, though these options are not always available nationally or permanently. As new fast-food chains dabble into offering vegans one or two options, one fast-food chain has continued to expand its veg-friendly menu all over the country. Take a break to plan lunch and enjoy this 2022 vegan guide to eating at Taco Bell.

    AVA-CERTIFIED VEGAN INGREDIENTS AT TACO BELL

    Customizing your vegan order doesn’t need to be just about removing meat and dairy. There are a variety of plant-based Taco Bell add-ons and sauces to level up your Taco Bell experience. With a bit of imagination, creating the ultimate vegan Taco Bell meal is easy. Here is a list of the vegan-friendly options to add to your favorites:

    VEGAN TACO BELL ADD-ONS
    • Black Beans
    • Jalapeno Peppers
    • Lettuce
    • Onions
    • Potatoes
    • Refried Beans
    • Seasoned Rice
    • Tomatoes
    VEGAN TACO BELL SAUCES
    • Breakfast Salsa
    • Diablo Sauce
    • Fire Sauce
    • Guacamole
    • Mild Sauce
    • Red Sauce

    Now that we have explored all the add-on options for ordering Taco Bell, it’s time to drool over some vegan-friendly items on the menu. Here are some of the items that vegans can order cruelty-free food from Taco Bell.

     

    Taco Bell
    Taco Bell

    VEGAN BREAKFAST OPTIONS AT TACO BELL

     Taco Bell is renowned in the vegetarian and vegan community for offering a ton of plant-based options except when it comes to breakfast. At least we have one item to tide us over while we dream of a vegan egg, sausage, and cheese burrito.

    Hash Brown

    The Taco Bell hash brown patty is AVA Vegan Certified, so if you are looking for a quick breakfast snack on the go, give it a try.

     

    Taco Bell

    VEGAN LUNCH/DINNER OPTIONS AT TACO BELL

    Now it’s time to move on to the good stuff, where Taco Bell separates itself from most other fast-food chains. Here are most of the options available for lunch, dinner, and the previously infamous fourth meal.

     

    Taco Bell

    VEGAN BURRITOS AT TACO BELL

    Bean Burrito

    The classic bean burrito at Taco Bell comes with cheese, refried beans, red sauce, diced onions, and chopped tomatoes. It isn’t vegan right off the menu because of the cheese but ordering it fresco style will veganize this classic.

    Cheesy Bean & Rice Burrito

    Something named cheesy bean and rice doesn’t seem like an excellent vegan menu item, but with a few clicks, it can become one. Ordering the Cheesy Bean and Rice burrito fresco style will get you a burrito filled with beans, rice, and tomatoes. If you like a wetter burrito, add a side of red sauce to your order or have them throw some on your wrap.

    Fiesta Veggie Burrito

    The Fiesta Veggie Burrito is one of the latest additions to the Taco Bell veggie menu and one of our favorites. When ordered fresco style, the veganized Fiesta Veggie Burrito includes black beans, tomatoes, seasoned rice, guacamole, and fiesta strips. For those who love a spicy burrito, add on some jalapeno peppers and Diablo sauce to give it a kick.

     

    Taco Bell

    VEGAN TACOS AT TACO BELL

    Crunchy Taco

    There is nothing more classic than a crunchy taco from Taco Bell, and vegans have three different crunchy taco options to choose. Ordering the crunchy taco fresco style will remove the cheese and add tomatoes, but you will still need to substitute the ground beef with either black beans, refried beans, or potatoes.

    Soft Taco

    The soft taco is another easily veganizable Taco Bell classic. Like the crunchy taco, vegans can substitute the meat with potatoes, black beans, or refried beans. Don’t forget to ask for fresco style to remove the cheese and add tomatoes.

    Spicy Potato Soft Taco

    A dollar can’t get you much nowadays, but it can get you a Potato Soft Taco from Taco Bell. Ordering the classic Spicy Potato Soft Taco fresco style will remove the cheese and chipotle sauce while adding tomatoes. The spicy part of this burrito comes from the chipotle sauce, but you can still make it spicy by adding jalapeno slices and spicy sauce.

     

    Taco Bell

    VEGAN SPECIALTY ITEMS AT TACO BELL

    Black Bean Chalupa Supreme

    The Black Bean Chalupa Supreme is an online exclusive offered in the Taco Bell mobile app, but even in-person orders can get this item with a bit of customization. Suppose you order the Chalupa Supreme in person; substitute refried beans, black beans, or potatoes for the meat. No matter how you decide to dine, don’t forget to order the fresco-style option to remove the cheese and sour cream.

    Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme

    Are you looking for a handheld, vegan-friendly lunch that’s easy to grab on the go? Look no further than the fresco-style Black Bean Crunchwrap. This folded grilled tortilla includes black beans, lettuce, tomato, and a crunchy tostada shell. Try add-ons like red sauce, rice, and jalapenos to fill out this plant-based Taco Bell favorite.

    Veggie Mexican Pizza

    The Taco Bell Mexican Pizza returned to the menu this year, though it’s taking another vacation from the menu right now. Taco Bell will be bringing it back soon, and when they do, we will be ready to veganize this delicious classic. This past release was the first time the chain offered a veggie version, and with the fresco style, you can easily make it a vegan Mexican Pizza.

    My Cravings Box

    Making your dollar go further is easy with the $5.00 My Cravings Box that now offers vegan-friendly choices. Choose a Black Bean Chalupa or Black Bean Crunchwrap for your specialty item, a Bean Burrito, Crunchy Taco, Soft Taco, or Spicy Potato Soft Taco for your classic item, and Cinnamon Twists for your side, and customize them all to be fresco style.

    Nachos BellGrande

    The Nachos BellGrande is the perfect Taco Bell item to share with family and friends. Customize the nachos by substituting the meat with extra refried beans, black beans, or potatoes. Remove the sour cream and nacho cheese sauce and add in extras like seasoned rice, red sauce, jalapeno peppers, lettuce, or onions.

    Veggie Power Menu Bowl

    Ditch the tortillas without missing out on the flavor. If you’re craving a vegan bowl full of seasoned rice, black beans, lettuce, guacamole, and tomatoes, the Power Menu Bowl is a perfect choice. For bonus points, top this bowl off with some jalapenos, red sauce, or potatoes.

     

    Taco Bell

    VEGAN SIDES AT TACO BELL

    Black Beans

    As vegans, we love our beans. This simple side is flavorful and the perfect addition to any meal.

    Black Beans & Rice

    This small bowl of seasoned rice and black beans is vegan, so there is no need for customization or changes.

     

    Taco Bell

    VEGAN DESSERTS AT TACO BELL

    Cinnamon Twists

    Cinnamon Twists are a Taco Bell classic. Lucky for us, vegans, they are also delicious. These crispy churro-inspired snacks always leave you wanting more—no judgment here for ordering more than one pack.

    Mountain Dew Baja Blast Freeze

    Many freezes at Taco Bell include a non-vegan confectioner’s glaze, but the Mountain Dew Baja Blast is vegan-friendly, so there’s no need to skip out on this one.

    Finding vegan options at fast food restaurants isn’t always easy, but the future is bright. Every day there are new menu items and products to make choosing a cruelty-free lifestyle easier. Let us know your favorite vegan Taco Bell order in the comments.

  • Common Misconceptions About Veganism

    Common Misconceptions About Veganism

    It is easy to feel misunderstood as a vegan. Many people cannot tell you the difference between a vegetarian, a vegan, or someone gluten-free. People make assumptions or believe misconceptions about anything they do not yet understand & the vegan lifestyle is no different. Here are a few common misconceptions about veganism:

    VEGANS DON’T GET ENOUGH PROTEIN

    Contrary to popular belief, meat is not the only available source of protein. Many vegetables, grains, nuts, beans, & more contain plenty of protein without the inherent health downfalls meat-based proteins can carry. With the right number of calories, a vegan can easily get all the protein they need.

     

    VEGANS DON’T GET ENOUGH CALCIUM/ YOU CAN ONLY GET CALCIUM FROM DAIRY

    Like protein, calcium is in various vegetables, nuts, grains, soy, and more. In addition, some food products are calcium-fortified, like cereals. Once again, vegans can get all the nutrients they require by consuming various plant-based foods. The same is true of all nutrients needed by the human body. We don’t need to use animals to extract calcium from the plants they eat so dairy is not only scary, it’s unnecessary.

     

    BEING VEGAN TAKES AWAY YOUR FAVORITE FOODS

    Vegan eating is easier than ever, thanks to the ever-evolving availability of plant-based products. It’s easy to find recipes or vegan substitutes for just about any foods you enjoyed in your pre-vegan days.

    Online or local vegan groups are filled with new friends who can offer great recommendations for eating out at local restaurants, cooking vegan at home, or purchasing ready-made products from your local grocery store. There are also apps like Happy Cow that provide users with all the vegan restaurant options in their area.

     

    VEGANS ARE JUDGMENTAL AND PUSHY

    Many vegans are passionate about animal rights and the virtues of a vegan lifestyle, and some may take that to an extreme, but not all vegans are out to convert you. Most vegans are kind human beings trying to live compassionate lives. They are happy to share their knowledge and experiences without judgment.

     

    A VEGAN LIFESTYLE IS JUST ABOUT FOOD

    Some people choose to follow a planet-based diet, while others prefer to follow a vegan lifestyle. The difference is vast. The plant-based diet focuses solely on the food a person consumes. In simplest terms, vegans do not eat any food that comes from or exploits animals. A vegan lifestyle, on the other hand, takes this a step further by avoiding non-food products that may contain ingredients derived from animals or things that have exploited animals in any way. These items include things from clothing & beauty supplies to furniture & automobiles. Most vegans will also avoid things like zoos, as many exploit their animals for profit and house them in less-than-ideal situations.

     

    EATING VEGAN IS TOO EXPENSIVE

    The cost of a vegan grocery trip depends on your dietary choices. You may pay a little more if you prefer fast, processed, ready-made foods. Prices tend to lower, however, as vegan options become more common and competitive. Many are already on par with their meat-filled counterparts as far as price goes.

    If you are more interested in raw fruits and veggies or cooking your vegan meals at home, your grocery bill may be a little less than usual. It depends on your choices, and you will always pay more for convenience.

     

    VEGANS AND VEGETARIANS ARE THE SAME

    This one confuses many people, but it is simple to decode. A vegetarian does not consume meat. No animal had to die for a vegetarian to have a meal. Still, animals are exploited and abused in the process of acquiring dairy or eggs, and their eventual fate is the same as animals butchered for their meat.

    Veganism is not a diet; it is a way of life. Vegans do not consume or use any product that exploits animals. Veganism excludes any item derived from an animal, such as honey, milk, eggs, & cheese. And vegans will also avoid purchasing or using any object created or tested by using animals.

     

    VEGAN LIFESTYLES ARE JUST A FAD

    One of the first things your family and friends may think when you tell them you are going vegan is that you are probably following a fickle fad. Not only is the vegan lifestyle here to stay, but it is also steadily rising in popularity. We may not see it in our lifetime, but plant-based foods will eventually overtake meat-based foods as the go-to option.

     

    EVERYTHING CONTAINS ANIMAL PRODUCTS

    When you’re just getting started in your vegan journey it can feel like every food contains animal-based ingredients or that any item you might want or need involved animal exploitation. Animal-based ingredients pop up in the most unexpected places. You will probably find yourself standing in the middle of a store contemplating why in the world there is milk powder in a seemingly vegan product. It can be highly frustrating, but with some research regarding what ingredients to avoid, it is possible to find cruelty-free products. Apps like Cruelty-Cutter can also help you along the way.

     

    HONEY IS VEGAN

    Honey is not vegan because it belongs to bees, which are living, breathing beings. Bees create honey for their consumption, not ours. In many cases, honey is taken from the bees, giving them a sub-par substitute like corn syrup to survive on. Bee farmers also use cruel methods to keep their hives running, like pulling off the wings of Queen bees to ensure they will not escape. In other words, exploiting bees for their honey cannot be considered vegan.

     

    PLANTS HAVE FEELINGS, TOO

    Studies show that plants do not have a nervous system like animals and humans. They do not have pain receptors. They are not sentient. Their reactions to chemical stimuli or vibrations are not conscious acts but autonomic ones.

    In addition, it helps to remember that farmed animals raised for slaughter consume plants and grains. On average, depending on the animal, it takes between 4-16 pounds of plants to produce 1 pound of meat. Either way, eating vegan saves more plants than a meat-based diet.

     

    BEING VEGAN CAN RUIN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY

    New vegans’ relationships with friends and family can be challenging. Choosing a vegan lifestyle does not have to ruin your relationships, however. Indeed, some families or friends are not supportive. Some will feel threatened by the way your choice makes them have to justify their choices. Others do not want to feel inconvenienced by accommodating food choices. Some are worried you will try to convert them or take away their favorite foods. The best thing we can do as vegans is to live by example and encourage open non-judgmental dialogue. In the end, surround yourself with friends and family who support you and your choices, whether or not they follow suit.

     

    VEGANISM IS BAD FOR CHILDREN

    It is possible to raise healthy children on a plant-based diet. Vegan foods can & do provide kids with all the vital nutrients they need to grow big & strong. As with any way of eating, parents should ensure that their child’s diet has no deficits. That goes for vegan & non-vegan parents alike. Plenty of children living on a meat-based diet are still not getting the nutrients they need from their diet.

     

    VEGANS ONLY CARE ABOUT ANIMALS

    Everyone needs an advocate—especially those who cannot speak for themselves. Farmed animals fall into that category and are no less important than others who meet these criteria. We would not need advocates if everyone could agree on how to treat people and animals. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and people need reminders. Most vegans are highly compassionate individuals raising their voices for those who cannot speak out. That does not mean that they only advocate for animals. Animal rights are simply one of their passions.

     

    VEGANS DON’T AGE WELL

    Many factors play a role in how well a person ages but people who follow a healthy, vegan diet fare far better than vegetarians or meat-eaters. Vegans often look younger, need less medication as they age, and keep a more active lifestyle.

    A healthy plant-based diet can also add a number of quality years to your life. There are some amazing plant-based athletes, advocates, and influencers well into their 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and beyond who accredit their longevity and health to a vegan way of life.

     

    VEGANS ONLY EAT SALAD/ VEGAN FOOD IS GROSS

    No. Vegans do not wander through their lives nibbling on raw carrots and celery all day. Vegan chefs are surprisingly creative, and vegan food tastes amazing. The trick is to try new foods and recipes. You may not love every vegan food you encounter, but there’s bound to be a wide variety of foods you will love.

     

    BEING VEGAN IS HARD

    It can be challenging to begin a vegan lifestyle when you have spent your entire life doing something completely opposite. But challenging does not mean impossible. It does take a significant commitment accompanied by a lot of research and label reading in the beginning, but you will find that it becomes second nature before long.

    There are an abundance of vegan food items popping up in grocery stores, restaurants, theme parks, sporting events, and more. With all of these exciting new choices it is easy being vegan.

     

    LIFE WITHOUT MEAT AND DAIRY IS MISERABLE

    This one is just plain selfish. We may occasionally miss the taste of meat or dairy products, but that does not mean life is over. The longer you stick with something, the easier it becomes. Are a few minutes of meat or dairy worth the amount of suffering or death it requires? In addition, new substitutions come out every day. Some may not taste exactly like the original, but others could fool even the most die-hard meat-eaters. The trick is to try them all.

     

    VEGANS DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT

    It is virtually impossible to maintain a vegan lifestyle without at least the bare minimum of research. Vegans work hard to educate themselves about how their decisions impact others and how to make a difference in the world. If you don’t know any vegan people in your circle of friends there are social media pages or internet groups where you can connect with one and ask them to provide some of their favorite resources.

    As with any topic, plant-based diets & vegan lifestyles are not always initially understood, and there are many assumptions. Open communication is vital to learn more about any subject & lay our misconceptions to rest. However, most vegans are willing to share their knowledge and experience, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

    What other misconceptions have you encountered as a vegan? Let us know in the comments.

  • Ditch Dairy With These 16 Vegan Ice Creams

    Ditch Dairy With These 16 Vegan Ice Creams

    Who doesn’t love ice cream? I scream you scream, we all scream for ice cream…but who really screams for your ice cream? Well, dairy cows and their babies do, and not in a good way. Dairy products like ice cream significantly contribute to the daily cruelty animals suffer on dairy farms worldwide. But lucky for us, there are many delicious, dairy-free ice cream brands to satisfy any ice cream craving. Ditch dairy and try out one of these cruelty-free vegan ice cream options.

    Coolhaus Dairy-Free Choose Your Own Ice Cream Pints

    Coolhaus began in a small, household kitchen with Natasha Case and Freya Estreller. Drawing inspiration from architects and architectural movements helped them create their fun flavor combinations. With ice cream flavors like Street Cart Churro Dough, Chocolate Molten Cake, Bananas Foster, Campfire S’mores, Farmer’s Market Strawberry Cheesecake, and even Milkshake and Fries, anyone can find at least one Coolhaus flavor to love.

     

    Eclipse Foods Vegan Ice Cream

    Want to save the world one spoon full at a time? Eclipse Foods strives to create “a more sustainable and humane food system – with your help.” Alternative protein expert Aylon Steinhart founded Eclipse along with his business partner, food scientist, and James Beard Rising Star Chef nominee, Thomas Bowman.

    Eclipse Foods ice cream uses simple, plant-based ingredients to create a dessert that is “so creamy; even the cows are jealous.” Their six flavor classic line offers mouthwatering flavors like Cookie Butter, Dark Side of The Spoon, Mint Chip, Caramel Butter Pecan, Vintage Vanilla, or Mango Passionfruit. And for more evolved taste-buds, they offer a variety of 19 flavors in the Eclipse Foods Chef Collection, such as Caramel Peach Pie, Sweet Potato & Salty Black Sugar, and Toasted Almond Thyme.

     

    Planet Oat Non-Dairy Frozen Desserts

    Planet Oats is a place where “the entire world revolves around oats.” Oat milk is a great plant-based milk option, and it also makes delicious ice cream. Choose from Planet Oat’s long list of flavors, including Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cookies & Crème, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Mint Fudge Swirl, Vanilla, Coffee Fudge, Blueberry Oat Crumble, or Chocolate.

     

    Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery Vegan Pints

    Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery offers a line of vegan ice creams, both naughty (alcohol infused) and nice (alcohol-free). If you are feeling a little naughty, there are some tempting flavors to try out, like the Pink Champagne Sorbet, Vegan Aviator, or the Vegan Hot Toddy. On the nicer side, they have a wide variety of flavors like Coconut Chai, Coconut Chocolate Fudge, Goji Strawberry, Lady Marmalade, Lemon Poppyseed, Reishi & Chaga, Rose Cream, Sugar Cookie, Tahini Chocolate Chip, Triple Berry Crumpet, or a traditional Vanilla Bean.

     

    Sorbabes

    Sorbabes is “as bold as the two women who founded it”, Nicole and Deborah. This dynamic duo met in 2012 and combined their skillsets in finance and cooking to create their delicious plant-based sorbet bars. Their vegan ice cream bars are unlike anything you’ve ever tasted…this is not your mama’s sorbet. Sorbabes bars are not only vegan, but also gluten free and come in a variety of flavors. Pick up a box of thier bars in Vanilla Caramel Crunch, Mango Coconut Crunch, Strawberry Crisp, or Wild Berry Crisp.

     

    Jolly Llama Dairy-Free Vanilla Fudge Sundae Cones

    Ice cream tastes even better from a cone, and when it happens to be dairy-free, that makes it just perfect. Jolly Llama offers both Vanilla Fudge Sundae and Caramel Chocolate Chip cones. They also carry delicious, dairy-free ice cream sandwiches, some gluten-free, and a selection of Sorbet Pops.

     

    Bubbies Plant-Based Mochi Frozen Desserts

    If frozen mochi desserts are your favorite, Bubbies now offers three flavors of plant-based mochi desserts made with oat milk for you to enjoy. Choose from Alphonso Mango, Rich Chocolate, or Red, Ripe Strawberry. Be sure to look for the terms Plant-Based and Non-Dairy on the labels.

     

    Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy Ice Cream Pints

    Ben & Jerry’s offers a variety of non-dairy ice creams made with either almond milk or sunflower butter, which are all delicious. Their almond milk line-up currently consists of fourteen different flavors, including Cherry Garcia, Caramel Almond Brittle, Netflix & Chilll’d, The Tonight Dough, Phish Food, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, among others. The sunflower butter list has six flavors to choose from, including Colin Kaepernick’s Change the World, Crème Brûlée Cookie, “Milk” & Cookies, Mint Chocolate Cookie, and their two newest additions, Mint Chocolate Chance and Bananas Foster.

     

    Halo Top Dairy-Free Frozen Dessert

    Halo Top makes their amazing, dairy-free ice cream with coconut milk. Try their Chocolate Almond Crunch, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Peanut Butter Cup, or Sea Salt Caramel flavors. They even have a dairy-free version of their Birthday Cake Ice Cream.

     

    Oatly Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert

    Oatly wants to welcome you to the post-milk generation. This cruelty-free company uses its rich and creamy oat milk to create numerous flavors of its dairy-free ice creams. We can’t wait to try their expanding line of ice cream flavors like the Raspberry Swirl, Fudge Brownie, Salted Caramel, Chocolate Chip, Mint Chip, or Coffee flavors, or you can opt for traditional Strawberry, Chocolate, or Vanilla. In addition, Oatly also offers a line of chocolate-dipped ice cream bars.

     

    Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams Dairy-Free Pints

    Jeni’s uses coconut cream to create their lush frozen desserts. Their delicious collection includes Banana Cream Pudding, Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns, Cold Brew with Coconut Cream, Dark Chocolate Truffle, Lemon Bar, and Texas Sheet Cake.

     

    So Delicious Dairy-Free Frozen Dessert

    So Delicious uses various plant-based milks to create their creamy, tasty, dairy-free frozen treats. Try some Snickerdoodle or Bananas Foster made from cashew milk. Consider S’mores or Chocolate Hazelnut Brownie made with Oat Milk. How about almond milk in your Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich or your chocolate-dipped Mocha Almond Fudge Bar? So Delicious even carries varieties created using coconut and soy milk.

     

    Cado Non-Dairy Avocado Frozen Dessert

    Some people aren’t a fan of coconut or do not eat soy. Cado’s non-dairy Ice creams are smooth, velvety, and made with one of a vegan’s best friends…avocado! Try out flavors like Cherry Amaretto, Simply Lemon, Chocolate Mud Pie, or Mint Chocolate Chip, among others. Most of their flavors are also nut-free for those suffering from allergies.

     

    Van Leeuwen Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert

    Van Leeuwen has created a variety of tasty vegan frozen treats using cashew milk and oat milk. Give some interesting flavors like Peanut Butter Brownie Honeycomb, Churros, and Fudge, Cookie Crumble Strawberry Jam, Bourbon Vanilla Apple Crisp, or Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll.

     

    NadaMoo! Dairy-Free Frozen Dessert

    NadaMoo started as a family business in Austin, TX, and continues to be a family business to this day. It all began from people making dairy-free desserts for family, neighbors, and friends but has grown from “passion to professions” into the expanding brand that it is today.

    The ice cream from Nadamoo uses organic coconut milk to create nearly two dozen intriguing and delicious flavors. Traditional flavors like Vanilla and Chocolate to Pistachio Nut, Birthday Cake, and Maple Pecan have no wrong choices here.

     

    Forager Project Cashewmilk Frozen Dessert

    Forager Project is an organic food company based out of California. Their cashewmilk ice cream is not only dairy-free but is also organic and traditionally cultured. Forager Project combines simple, organic ingredients with creamy cashews to create delicious flavors like Vanilla Bean, Strawberry Shortcake, Bittersweet Chocolate, Cookies & Cream, and Mint Chip.

     

    Saving Animals With Your Spoon

    Choosing compassion does not mean you miss out on delicious and flavorful foods like ice cream. There are many cruelty-free products on the market today and many more in development. With a bit of research, you can build a list of plant-based, compassionate ice cream products that everyone will love. Give non-dairy, plant-based vegan treats a try, and let us know your favorites in the comments.

  • A Blind Pigeon’s Flight to Main Street Vegan

    A Blind Pigeon’s Flight to Main Street Vegan

    Birds are often underestimated in their abilities and intelligence. We have all heard the expression “bird brain” to describe mindlessness but the truth is that birds are smart, amazing beings. Their capacity for adapting and bonding is quite impressive and Thunder, the partially blind rescue pigeon, is a perfect example of this.

    ADAIR MORAN AND THUNDER

    Adair Moran, a lifelong vegan, and licensed wildlife rehabilitator is also a professional aerialist and stunt performer. Prior to 2018, her East Harlem condo served as the headquarters for the rehab nonprofit, Urban Utopia Wildlife, which focuses on rehabilitating wild mammals for eventual release. Adair also worked with birds at the Wild Bird Fund and would often take groups of fledglings’ home with her to facilitate their rehab and release.

    Normally, when it was time to release the birds back into their natural habitat, they would all simply fly away. One pigeon, Thunder, had different ideas. He refused to fly away with his group when they were released. Adair took him through another fledgling cycle, but the result was the same. He was not going anywhere. At this point, they paid a visit to the veterinarian.

    The vet discovered that Thunder was blind in one eye. This meant that he would never fly because he could not steer correctly. This also meant that he would never be able to survive in the wild. After failed attempts to find a home for him, Adair decided to adopt Thunder herself. In 2018, however, Adair had the opportunity to take her aerialist and stunt performing skills on tour. This is the point where Adair’s mother, Victoria Moran, came into Thunder’s life.

    VICTORIA MORAN THE MAIN STREET VEGAN

    Victoria Moran, Adair’s mom, has been a vegan for more than 37 years. She is a bestselling author with thirteen books to her credit. Her book, Main Street Vegan, was ranked one of the “Top 12 Vegan Books of 2012” and is touted by some as “the vegan Bible”. On top of her influential career as author, inspirational speaker, and holistic health counselor, Victoria was also named Peta’s Sexiest Vegan over 50 in 2016. In addition, she founded and directs Main Street Vegan Academy  offering training and certification for vegan lifestyle coaches.

    A BLIND PIGEON FINDS HIS FOREVER HOME

    As Adair headed off on tour, Thunder went to stay with Victoria in her home. As the months went by, Thunder made himself at home in Victoria’s world and seemed very happy in his new environment. That’s when Victoria and Adair decided to make her home Thunder’s permanent residence. Though he has a perfect cage, he generally has run of the entire apartment. This means hourly cleaning for Victoria, but she does not mind much. It helps her get her exercise in.

    Living with Thunder has been a learning experience for Victoria and her family. Thunder’s blindness prevents him from flying well. “He has to create a meaningful life for himself without the two things that mean the most to birds: flight and flock.” Thunder’s flock consists of Victoria and her husband, William, their rescue dog, Forbes, and of course his rescuer, Adair. Thunder also receives his share of famous visitors like the vegan actress who portrayed Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter movies, Evanna Lynch.

    THUNDER’S ADVENTURES

    When it is warm outside, Thunder loves to spend time in the courtyard soaking up some sunlight. You can usually find him stealing Forbes’s water bowl as his favorite bird bath. Forbes also must be careful about where he leaves his toys as Thunder has also stolen a few of them for himself.

    When he isn’t playing or exploring, Thunder also thoroughly enjoys Reiki sessions with Victoria’s husband, Rev. William Melton, who is certified in the ancient art form. Victoria jokes that when he is ready for his Reiki session he climbs on William’s knee as if to say, “I’m here for my appointment.”.

    SHARING OUR LIVES WITH ANIMAL COMPANIONS

    “I’ve learned so much about pigeons and how complex their minds and abilities are. They can read mammograms. In World War I, they saved the lives of Allied soldiers through their messaging abilities. The U.S. government considered using them to guide missiles in the 1940’s. Obviously, they should be living their own lives and not working for humans, but their aptitudes are impressive,” says Victoria.

    Most households, especially in the U.S., have animal companions sharing in life’s ups and downs. And as much as most people claim to love animals their love and compassion begins and ends with the type of animals they consider “pets”. Even though society conditions us to see some animals as more deserving of love and protection, the truth is that cows, pigs, chickens or pigeons are just as intelligent and loving as the animals who share our homes.