The reason that my January post ended in a photo of my hands in dishwashing gloves was because I toiled too much over what could have been a time-appropriate New Year’s resolution post. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, which is why I didn’t want to put in writing that I was “going to start doing this” and “stop doing that.” I just wanted to make some changes and it happened to be the start of the New Year.
Many of these changes have had to do with making concerted efforts to purchase environmentally-friendly and cruelty-free products, recycle more, limit waste, and further refine my diet. As an evolution of helping local wildlife and supporting the environment in which we all have to live, they seemed to make sense and just felt like the right things to do.
Clean ‘Em with Kindness
Late last year, a friend mentioned on Face Book that she was happy to find a drugstore-brand vegan shampoo. I had already eliminated almost all animal-based food from my diet, so it got me thinking more about vegan and cruelty-free products. I quickly discovered that there are SO many cruelty-free home and personal care products available that there was no reason why I couldn’t make a switch. Searching for any number of cruelty-free products and vendors of common household items has revealed a wealth of resources and people who make spreading the word about compassionate and responsible consumption their life’s work. I have a lot to learn but I’m having fun doing the research.
Can one person make a difference? As part of the collective whole, yes, I’d like to think so. These are just a few sites that help keep me in the know:
- Ecorazzi – “From celebrity efforts on humanitarian issues and the environment to spotlighting charitable organizations and healthy living trends – our goal has always been to highlight the work being done to make the world a better place.”
(Pssst…if you find images of Ian Somerhalder pleasing to the eye, he seems to get good coverage on this site. Just saying.)
- mother nature network – “Just as your world encompasses many different aspects—your family, your health, your lifestyle, your business, your community……AND your planet—so too does MNN.“
- The Little Foxes – “compassionate fare + cunning vegan style” by Ashlee Piper
- My Beauty Bunny.com – “My Beauty Bunny (TM) focuses on finding the best in beauty from companies who do not test on animals. We are not a strictly vegan blog, but we do have a vegan section. We are positive that once you go cruelty-free you’ll never go back.”- Founder & Cruelty Free Beauty Expert, Jen Mathews
- Go Cruelty Free – “We are the international standards and certification body for the movement to end animal testing for cosmetic, personal care and household cleaning products.”
- Vegansaurus – “Vegansaurus is a vegan lifestyle guide. It is definitive/arbitrary.”
Since I have further modified my diet in recent months, I struggle at times to find new recipes that sound good and are within my culinary skill set (which is very limited). I happened upon a picture of a sandwich on Instagram that looked delicious. There was no cooking involved, stacking the odds in my favor of getting decent results. Joel is usually a good sport about trying new dishes I find online, but I’ve had several recent recipe fails, so I was losing my kitchen cred. Might this sandwich help get me out of the slump of making meals we could enjoy together?
I asked Joel to try out my new recipe for a sugar snap pea sandwich. The male, who would never ever elect to have a pea sandwich, immediately calculated the risk/reward of his answer to his female. “OK” he weakly replied as his face went a bit slack. Tepidly, he took a bite. “That’s not bad.” (chew chew chew) “That’s not bad.” He agreed, rather convincingly, that it was something he’d be willing to have again.
I’m no mathematician but I’m pretty sure that two “That’s not bad’s” equals one “Good.”
Here is a link to veganyackattack’s photo and recipe on Instagram. (I omitted the sprouts and added a bit of avocado.)
“Give Peas a Chance” seemed too obvious.
Keep Calm and Feed the Birds
Over the past few years, I’ve ‘liked’ many social responsibility sites and animal welfare organizations on Face Book as well as started following bloggers who seem to beat to the same drum. It has exposed both some of the best, and in my opinion, some of the worst of humanity. I make myself dizzy with indecision on what to do sometimes when I’m feeling bewildered, confused, and helpless by how I should be part of the solution. So many of us want to do the right thing but we’re just not sure exactly what to do or how to do it. Stop eating animals? Sign online petitions? Buy cruelty-free laundry detergent? Is THAT really enough? I read articles about how people repeatedly go above and beyond the duty to rescue, reuse, recycle, and produce in humane and sustainable ways, so I get a bit overwhelmed by it all from time to time figuring out what to do.
I recently came across this post “Just Be Kind and Do Your Best” from “This Vegan Life” that really resonated with me. Do your best. (Bonus: There is a pretty bird drawing in the blog banner.)
When heavy life stuff that feels so out of my control plagues my mind, there is no better therapy for me than to do my best at giving food and fresh linens to orphaned and injured wild birds at the rehab center.
All kinds of happiness happening here.
I’m not terribly distressed that I’ll be eaten by someone larger than myself from day to day, so I also enjoy putting food and water out on our deck for the locals. I’d like to think it eases their little birdie stress over finding food while not becoming food. Selfishly, I really just love to watch them go about their business.
Cruelty-free cosmetics, loads of legumes, reusable tote bags, online petitions, squawking baby birds, and drums of sunflower seeds. The journey continues.