Where Would We Be Without The Bees?

 Bees are one of the most important insects; they must be protected. We must find a way to save them, and ultimately, save ourselves.

Bees are fuzzy little insects that are one of the biggest contributors to pollination in the world; however, 23.2 percent of honeybee colonies have died over the last winter, causing extreme concern for the future of agriculture. In addition, over the past year, multiple types of bees have been added to the endangered list.

“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” Maurice Maeterlinck said in his book, The Life of the Bee.

Bees and other pollinators account for the production of one-third of the world’s crops, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Concern arose in 2003 after many beekeepers reported missing colonies of bees. This mysterious disappearance of Honeybees became known as Colony Collapse Disorder, and its cause stumped scientists for years.

A Harvard study suggested that the onset of the bees’ extinction was triggered by the use of plant pesticides like Neonicotinoids and Sulfoxaflor.

Sulfoxaflor is a systemic pesticide, meaning it makes the whole plant poisonous. Once the plant absorbs the pesticide, its nectar and pollen become toxic to bees.

Sulfoxaflor was approved in 2013 by the US Environmental Protection Agency, but was challenged in a federal appeal court after increased concern for the dying bees surfaced.

After studies showed its harmful and often deadly effect, the court overturned its approval of Sulfoxaflor in September of 2015.

The court’s decision was significant because it effectively repealed a deadly pesticide to bees.

Helping bees can be an easy thing if everyone contributes to the effort. There are plants like Catmint, Chives, Wild Lilac, and Indigo that one can plant that help create new habitats for bees.  For more information on how you can help ease this, visit this separate article.

It is important to be familiar with our need for bees. They are not our enemy, but more of a tiny friend.

 

 

Being Vegan While Away At School

So, things have been hectic! It’s been a while since we’ve had new posts so I’ve been trying to make a better posting schedule for myself, and while school makes me a very busy bee; it leaves me quite a lot of time for things like this on my days with no classes.

School has been a little more of a challenge than I originally expected it to be. I’m not quite in college, but I’m away at a grooming academy and I’ve been put in a hotel with only a microwave, a mini fridge, and a Keurig. I’ve gotten a lot of questions over the years asking me how I would be able to handle living as a person with low income, with your only means of cooking being a microwave. This was always a very hard question for me to answer and I would do my best (suggesting sandwiches, frozen meals, etc.) but never really understanding the difficulty until I had to go though it myself.

It’s not easy, and being vegan doesn’t make it any easier. But it IS doable! This would be a no-brainer if money weren’t an object. Amy’s and Sweet earth have enough meals to fuel me for a lifetime, but $4-5 dollars a meal, 7 days a week really adds up. With just under $30 to spend a week on food, I can tell you I had to sacrifice a little of my healthy and environmental purity (but not much) this month because when I tell you I’ve been living on processed foods, I mean it.

What made this so tricky is that the staples I live by otherwise are now less accessible to me. Now, you could always go the canned and frozen food route if you have a freezer, but I don’t. The one we have now would possibly hold one narrow frozen dinner box, so this option isn’t viable to me since I also don’t have a car so I need to buy all of my groceries at once when transportation is available and time permits.

So all in all this was a pretty challenging one, but these foods are getting me through it so far.

(Pictured: my “pantry” aka one of the hotel’s drawers.)

– Canned beans (chickpeas, refried pinto beans etc.) > $1

– Canned vegetables (corn, peas etc) > $1

– Rice (premade that you can warm up). A little more pricey than regular rice. I got the packs above for $2.50 but you might be able to find them cheaper

– Soups (Amy’s, Campbell’s vegan varieties etc.) > $3

– Ready meals (Tasty Bite indian food vegan varieties. DOUBLE CHECK LABEL some are just vegetarian. Uncle Bens ready meal varieties like Spanish and vegetable rice) > $3

– Nissan Oriental / soy sauce ramen. (ONLY Nissan. Maruchan Oriental flavor is NOT vegan) > $2 for a 6pck

– Cliff bars $5 for about 6

– Instant oatmeal > $4

The vegetables I don’t do so much only because I don’t have seasonings or sauces. You could also do potatoes since you can microwave a baked potato in no time, and that’s also a very cheap and healthy meal! I always keep some almond milk in the fridge for coffee, but that would also come in handy for cereals! Beyond that I would suggest juices or fresh fruits as well as high protein snacks (dried nuts, trail mix etc.).

Sandwiches will also come in handy. Bagels as well as these are low in effort and tend to be high in servings. Nut butter and jelly sandwiches/bagels as well as vegan sliced meat sandwiches will last long for a relatively low price. They don’t involve any type of cooking and only require simple storage so they’re perfect if you’re low on energy for the day.

All in all, like I said this is a complicated but doable task! Just make sure you’re buying foods that will fill you up. No living off of Oreos and Sweet Chili Doritos in your dorm! Unless you really want to, in which case here are some more accidentally vegan snacks for your 1am test prep indulgence.

And if your circumstances are a little better and you’re just looking for meal ideas as a low income vegan AND you have a stove, check out this article next!

As always; leave us a comment if there’s anthing we should add to make this article better! And good luck on those mid-terms!

Fish Sucks Too

Many people consider fish (or JUST consuming fish) a good choice from an ethical, health and environmental standpoint. They believe fish are healthy to eat, don’t feel pain or complex emotion and don’t take a toll on the environment. So the perfect meat choice for someone who’s not ready to go completely vegetarian or vegan, right?

This assumption is widespread, but couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Sentience

(Mark Bekoff said it first, Fish are not mere streams of readily available unfeeling protein.)

The first argument that may lead you to believe that fish do not feel pain, might be the absence of a neocortex. This is an inappropriate anatomical comparison- we can’t judge another beings ability to process pain because it differs from ours any more than a butterfly can believe humans can’t taste because we do it with our mouths and not feet.

“Evidence from neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and neuropsychology suggests that
the experience of feelings in humans does not depend exclusively on structures of the cerebral
cortex. It does not seem warranted to deny the possibility of feeling in animals… We do not see any evidence in favor of the idea that the engendering of feelings in humans would be confined to the cerebral cortex. On the contrary, based on anatomical and physiological evidence, subcortical structures and even the peripheral and enteric nervous systems appear to make important contributions to the experience of feelings.

Antonio Damasio and Hanna Damasio. Neuroscientists at the Brain and Creativity Institute, University of Southern California.

In fact; a study conducted by Prof. Joseph Garner and Doctoral student Janicke Nordgreen at Purdue University proved goldfish feel pain and discomfort beyond instinctive reflex.

Essentially, in this not-so-pretty experiment; Garner showed that fish put in painful situations reacted differently to fish who were not. Goldfish injected with a saline solution were studied alongside goldfish injected with a pain blocking morphine solution and both were put in painful levels of heat (with safeguards to not destroy tissue).

Although both fish originally responded the same, wriggling at the same temperature; only the fish without the pain blockers experienced a fear response. They displayed wariness of the new object, as well as anxiety. This matches up with earlier observations of fish injected with painful solutions who would rock back and forth on the tank floor, rub their lips against the glass a and stop eating. Both groups of fish injected with pain blockers experienced no such response.

Not only are they sentient in a way that shows they can feel pain, fish are actually very smart and can remember quite far! Not the 3 minutes you might have been told is the maximum time frame they can remember.

In fact, fish have been proven to remember for up to at least 5 months.

Some can even remember faces and pick familiar humans out from strangers. In fact, they can recognize whether a person is someone they know or not in .5 seconds.

They recognize their tanks layouts and will detect a change in setup or a new item.

This goldfish won a world record for being able to remember and perform six tricks such as;

  • Eat from hand
  • Swim through loop
  • Swim through tunnel
  • Limbo
  • Play football
  • Play fetch

There’s Albert Einstein playing limbo!

And there are many others who have been able to teach their fish tricks.

Health

The second misconception is that fish is healthy. While it may be more healthy than other types of meat, I wouldn’t consider it a health food even if we’re ignoring it’s high mercury content. To borrow a few points from my general article on the health affects of meat consumption;

  1. The feeding of infected cow and sheep brains is still legal in the USA. Sources: NCBI; 1, 2.
  2. Even when meat consumption is reduced to only fish, cancer causing IGF-1 levels remain relatively the same. Source: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomakers & Prevention.
  3. PCB’s (Polychlorinated Biphenyls) i.e Instrustrial toxic waste, still found in the environment can be found in fish 1000x higher in levels of PCB’s then the water they live in. They cause skin problems, neurobehavioral and liver damage and cancer in both animals and humans. Source: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
  4. PhIP (found in fish) stimulates breast cancer cells, also making them invade healthy cells more than estrogen itself even when PhIP is in low concentrations. Source: NCBI
  5. Fish, regardless how it’s cooked, seems to be directly related to endometrial cancer risk. Source: NCBI

So you’d do better replacing your fish with vegan versions of seafood; even if you don’t think fish are friends!

Environment

If you’re interested in saving our planet, this might be the most compelling reason to cut fish out of your diet; the ocean is suffering immensely due largely to overfishing. While it may be easy to dismiss this as “just” a cause of overfishing and not fish consumption itself; we must remember that we cannot feed 7 billion humans the sadly still recommended 3+ servings of fish a week without overfishing. There is too much demand to meet that supply.

  1. 90% of all large fish have disappeared since we introduced industrial fishing techniques in the 1950’s.
  2. 38.5 tons of sea life (40% of all catches) is discarded; this is called by catch.
  3. “Sustainable” fishing isn’t all that sustainable.
  4. Jellyfish population is steadily increasing and the ocean could soon become egregiously overpopulated with them, which would be catastrophic.
  5. 2 trillion sea animals are killed annually.
  6. The ocean could be completely empty by 2048.
  7. Fisheries averaged $27 billion in subsidies in 2003.

These facts are all brought to you by the short film linked above, Losing Nemo, by the makers of Blackfish. Here are their sources which are all PDF files.

Some more facts to remember about the affects of meat consumption:

(Cowspiracy [Directed by Leonardo DiCaprio] holds a lot more sources for these in PDF format)

So whatever your reasoning for giving up fish, please consider it! Here are some vegan swaps and recipes to make the transition a little easier if you’re a seafood fan.

Worried about Omega-3’s? No problem!

  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Algal oil (EPA & DHA)
  • Hemp seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Perilla oil

Experts say as long as you get enough ALA, you don’t have to worry about EPA and DHA from non vegan sources. And if that’s not enough to ease your mind, there’s nothing wrong with supplementing; after all, meat eaters supplement more than vegans and vegetarians combined.

If this article makes you want to go vegan, try it! Good luck ❤️🐟

Vegan Tattoos

In a society built on monetizing the suffering of animals- a lot of things you would expect to be vegan, are not. Unfortunately this includes some tattoo inks! The black ink is mostly the problem, since most types contain bone char. Other problems are gelatin and glycerin, and some other colored dies also contain shellac and pigment from beetles. Lucky for those of us who have/or would like to have tattoos in the future; a lot of tattoo shops already use vegan inks or you can request them to be used.

Some vegan friendly tattoo inks include: 

  • Eternal
  • Starbrite
  • Skin candy
  • Stable color
  • Fusion ink
  • Kuro Sumi
  • Dynamic
  • Intenze

(I myself have my tattoos in Eternal ink)

There are a few other problems you may run across which the bite sized vegan has went over in detail here, but this is meant to be a quick outline so I will list some alternatives to all of it down below as well!

Skin lubricant (Usually petroleum jelly or vaseline, which is iffy)

  • Hustle butter
  • Shea butter
  • Jojoba butter
  • Olive oil

Soap (To clean the area)

Dr. Bonners and Myers come to mind! We have a whole article on vegan soaps here.

Razor (Glycerin (moisturizing) strip isn’t vegan)

  • Preserve brand razors are vegan friendly

Transfer paper 

  • Stencil stuff
  • Reprofx

Aftercare

  • After ink
  • Black cat
  • Lush dream cream
  • Tattoo tonic

And there are a LOT more! Emily posted a whole list of vegan inks, lubricants, soaps, aftercare items, AND vegan tattoo shops! So check that out and check out these cool vegan tattoos, send us in yours if you want to be put in the article! Special thanks to Jona Weinhofen for letting me put him in here 🙂

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Eco-Atkins

Carbs especially complex carbs aren’t bad for you, no. But there are some people who still can’t really ingest them or choose to avoid or limit them for a variety of reasons that range from health reasons to weight loss. 
When you think of a low carb diet, you probably think of Atkins. As you can see from a list of some of the acceptable foods it is a diet very high in meat and other animal products. Because of this, going vegan or vegetarian on this diet will be pretty challenging- but it can be done!

The diet is called Eco-Atkins. There have been case studies on it that have shown that it’s entirely possible to thrive on the Atkins diet as a vegan, though there will be added difficulty if you are allergic to nuts and soy, as these will be significant sources of your protein along with beans and legumes.

On Eco Atkins, 31% of your calories will come from protein, 43% from fat and a low 26% from carbs compared to a mere 10% on the regular Atkins.  You’ll probably want to keep track of something like that on CRON-O-METER or a similar service to make sure.

Proteins- Nuts, beans, couscous, barely, soy, high protein vegetables ect.

Healthy fats- Omega 3 fatty acids, vegetable oils, avocados, nut butters, seeds, olives.
Carbs- Whole grains, fruits, veggies, oats.

But no starchy veggies!

This is what a day of Eco-Atkins looks like from the Archive of Internal Medicines 2009 study of the diet:

Breakfast: Oat bran with unsweetened soy milk and nut bread / Tofu scramble (sunflower oil, extra firm tofu, sweet red peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, hazelnuts)

Lunch: Yves veggie chicken burger, nut bread, tofu salad

Dinner: Pearled barley / Stir-fry (Tofu, mushroom, eggplant, onions, sweet red pepper, broccoli, onions, cauliflower, oil)

Snacks: Orange, cashews, strawberries, almonds, peaches

And if you’re really serious about sticking to the Atkins plan, as a vegan it’s been recommend you start at phase 2
Have any questions or feedback about the diet? Contact us and tell us how it goes!

Cheap Vegan Makeup

This is for all the vegans who still enjoy wearing makeup, but don’t want to spend loads of money on high end products!
 

e.l.f

  • All of their makeup is vegan
  • However, some of their brushes are not vegan.

 

Colourpop

  • Not all of their products are vegan, but they have a list of their non-vegan products here.

 

BH Cosmetics

  • Again, not all of their products are vegan. You can browse through all of their vegan products here.

 

Wet n Wild

  • Most of their products are vegan. Here is a list of their vegan products.

 

Eco Tools

  • 100% vegan makeup brushes, and cheap too!

 

Ardell Lashes

  • 100% vegan drug store false lashes

 

GOSH

  • There’s a large range of vegan products available that you can find here.

 

Jordana

  • They now have a new website including a list of their vegan products! Check them out here.

 

Milani

  • They have some vegan-friendly products which are listed here.

 

Pixi

  • A more natural brand with a list of their vegan products here.

 

As always, double check the ingredients in the products you’re buying to ensure that it is 100% vegan. Sometimes, what a company classifies as vegan may no actually be vegan. Now, have fun with makeup without the expense or the cruelty!

 

Vegan Pizza

Cheese is typically the hardest thing to give up when going vegan, and pizza is an iconic dish that incorporates cheese. So, here are many ways to enjoy eating pizza while vegan! You’ll definitely fall in love with pizza all over again.
Delivery

Papa Johns:

  • The sauce & dough are already vegan, so just omit the cheese!
  • They have a wide variety of veggie toppings to include on your pizza
  • Their garlic, BBQ, and buffalo dipping sauce are completely vegan. You can even ask for BBQ sauce on your pizza.

Domino’s:

  • The original sauce is vegan, but only the THIN crust is vegan.
  • Of course, they have loads of veggie toppings
  • Add some extra flavor with these vegan dipping sauces: Garlic Dipping Sauce, BBQ Sauce, Kicker Hot Sauce, and Sweet Mango Habanero Sauce

Little Caesars:

  • The original sauce and original crust are both vegan
  • Lots of veggie toppings, as always!
  • You can even place a special order of the Crazy Bread without Parmesan cheese, and don’t forget the Crazy Sauce!

Pizza Hut:

  • The regular or sweet sauce
  • The Thin’N’Crispy and Hand-Tossed crust are vegan
  • Veggies!!
  • The dessert pizza crust is also vegan

And, if you’re feeling a bit fancy, you can always add on your own vegan cheese and pop your pizza’s back in the oven until it melts.

Restaurants

Mellow Mushroom:

Mellow Mushroom has Daiya vegan cheese. This restaurant is a personal favorite of mine. My order is: regular crust, olive oil and garlic sauce, Daiya cheese with mushrooms, spinach and fresh avocado on top in case any of you want ideas! Their full vegan menu can be found here.

California Pizza Kitchen:

Although, they do not have Daiya cheese, their pizza is still good and very tasty when you load up on veggies. Their full vegan menu can be found here.

For a more detailed list of restaurants that may be near you, click here.

Frozen

Daiya:

  • Daiya is an all vegan brand that specializes in cheese. They have a variety of different frozen vegan pizzas.

Amy’s:

  • Amy’s also has a variety of vegan pizza options. However, not all of their pizzas are vegan.
  • Vegan frozen pizzas: Non-dairy cheese pizza (rice crust), Roasted Vegetable Pizza (no cheese), Vegan Margherita Pizza (with Daiya cheese), Spinach Pizza (rice crust).
  • Amy’s also specifies whether an ingredient is vegan or not within the ingredients.

Tofutti:

  • Tofutti’s Pan Crust Pizza Pizzaz is vegan.

Tofurky:

  • Tofurky’s frozen vegan pizza’s are: Vegan Cheese Pizza, Pepperoni Pizza, Italian Sausage Pizza

Whole Foods:

  • Roasted Vegetable Pizza (with rice crust or whole wheat crust)

 

You can, of course, make your own dough and buy some vegan cheese if you want to go the homemade route. All you have to do is google ‘vegan pizza crusts’ and thousands of results will pop up! Enjoy your cruelty-free pizza 🙂