Talk to y’all in the middle of July! 

Hey guys! How’s everyone’s summer going?? I figured I’d let you all know that I won’t be posting for the next month because I have been traveling with Farm Animal Rights Movement on the 10 Billion Lives Tour! I originally had the super naive idea that I’d still post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but we’ve been in Texas for only 4 days and already I have realized that I’m going to have zero time to do anything other than eat, sleep, and work!

(Btw, check out where I’m living for the month! Yes, it’s just as tiny on the inside as it looks!)


Also if you follow the 10 Billion Lives Tour Instagram, you may see me pop up every once in a while 😉

So have a great June and July, and I’ll talk to you guys soon!!

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Interview with Liz Pachaud, factory farm undercover investigator/amazing human being

Hey folks!

Sorry for the absence! How have you guys been? What’s new??

I have been crazy busy this week getting ready to travel with Farm Animal Rights Movement on their 10 Billion Lives Tour! I wanna tell you guys about the tour and what work we’re doing and such, I think I’ll throw a post together about the tour for Friday! But regarding today’s post…

I am more excited to share today’s post than I’ve ever been during Conveniently Vegan’s (3 month!) run. GET. EXCITED!

So, when I first started working at Lagusta’s Luscious, my boss Lagusta told me about her friend, Liz, who did undercover investigations for a large animal protection organization. She said that she worked on a number of factory farms, and was wired with cameras and microphones during her entire time doing undercover investigations. She said that she even had to eat meat in front of her other employees to not look suspicious, along with a number of other things she had to do to hide the fact that she was actually working undercover and filming her entire employment. From her work as an undercover investigator, Liz received the Hidden Heroes award from Mercy For Animals, which was present to her by Moby and Joaquin Phoenix ( ❤ ).

After hearing about Liz, I couldn’t stop thinking about what Lagusta had said. The whole story just stayed with me in my head for days. Imagine even stepping foot in a factory farm, let alone having to work in one? Imagine being that courageous?!

I recently had the absolute pleasure of meeting Liz, so clearly I HAD to ask if I could interview her. Honestly, if there is one person in the entire world that I wish I could have a conversation with and pick their brain, I really think it would be her. So clearly I was very excited to talk to her about her undercover investigations.

Liz is relatable as hell. Whether you’re vegan or don’t even know what the word vegan means, chances are you are going to relate to most of her beliefs. It’s very clear that she believes in the good in all people, and I think that is a really, really great thing.

One thing that is so amazing about Liz is that she is extremely open-minded towards those who do not share the same ideas as her, particularly about veganism. As much as I admire people who stick to their guns and keep a strong mind as to what is right to them, you gotta admire someone who has such a strong set of morals, yet can see eye-to-eye with someone who does not share those same set. It just makes them all the more relatable!

So enough dilly dallying, let’s jump into this!

M: When did you go vegan and why?

L: I’ve been vegan for almost 10 years, I went vegan on my 22nd birthday actually. I was vegetarian for 4 years, from 18 to 22, and that was mostly for health reasons, and because I had been a little bit exposed to it as a culture and it just felt kind of right. I didn’t really explain it or judge it very well, I just did it and it worked fine for me. I actually used to tell people when I was a vegetarian, “Yeah, but it’s not because I love animals, I’m just doing it for health reasons,” I was an asshole! When I became vegan, it was because I had met someone, which is the biggest influencer of people, especially people that you want to date. So I had met this guy and I was so into him and he was like “I’m vegan and here’s why,” and he gave me the book Animal Liberation by Peter Singer and we watched the movie Earthlings in the same week and I was like okay, alright fine. And there is no going back, you know? I couldn’t turn off what I had seen or what I had read. And it just made sense, it clicked, I was actually really embarrassed. I was like “I cant believe I didn’t realize this sooner.” You can’t do that to yourself though, that’s a waste of time. So I went vegan for the protection of animals 9 and a half years ago.

M: How did you find the opportunity to work undercover?

L: I attended a conference, actually, a conference that was at in Portland in 2010. It was a short-lived conference called Let Live that was done by a group of really rad activists in Portland, and it only happened for a few years, which was unfortunate because I think it was one of the better animal rights conference that we ever put on as a movement. Really fun, really passionate group of people, and the last year that we did it was a year that the Director of Investigations of the organization I ended up doing investigations for gave a talk on their work. It was kind of like a state of the union for their investigator program. I’ve been aware of them for a long time and I had been intrigued by investigations, but I always thought that they were not for me and that I wasn’t going to be ready or it was a different language than the one that I was used to. It didn’t seem like something I could do, and then something about the circumstances in that room, something about the way they presented this work, I realized like, oh, this is just a job. People can actually do this. People do do this, and they don’t do it for high-minded ethical priorities. People do this as a job everyday thanklessly without receiving any medals or awards. It kind of clicked together a bunch of that stuff for me about how my activism doesn’t have to be so precious. It also helped me realize that my body is of itself a tool, and that I might have a very short window to have the impact that I would like to have, and if this is my window I’d better take it.

At the end of that talk, they made this funny little slick remark that just said “We’re always hiring!” and I was like yeah, I bet you are. So I approached him later and I told him that I was interested. At that point, they had never hired a female investigator. I was their first female investigator, not the first one ever in the field, but the first one for that organization and so there was, for me, some really intriguing options in that role. I think that it just became a natural fit. I knew that I wanted to work for them because I thought that they were getting the best results out of their investigations. I really respected their programming and their media strategy. And it just felt like a really good match. They really wring everything that they can out of every media opportunity. Every investigation, every single opportunity that they have to put photos in front of people and message it correctly is one that they’re going to take, which is what helped me feel safest with my work.

M: What was your first day as an undercover investigator like?

L: Of the investigations that I released, the most notable one was of a large factory hog farm, which was the Fourth largest hog producer in the country and the largest in the state of Iowa. I had worked other jobs before then, but this was probably the most significant of my initial investigations for the material that I gathered.

That first day going to work didn’t stress me out, I felt really confident. I had this sort of enthusiasm and clarity about my purpose there. I got through the first couple hours largely okay. It’s a lot all at once, the sense that you walk into, like the impact on your senses that you walk into immediately. It’s so intense. The smell, the sounds, the sights, the newness, the people. It’s all a lot. In that first morning, my job was over on the farrowing side. In gestation pig farms there’s two sides: there’s the gestation side with the pregnant pigs who live in gestation crates for their pregnancies, and then when they come to term they are moved over to the farrowing side where they actually give birth to piglets. The piglets live in these crates with the moms for 20 days or so and then the piglets are shipped off, and in that 20 days is when all of the worst crap happens to them. They get castrated if they’re male, they get tail docked, they got a ton of vaccinations and antibiotics, and then they get moved away to the next facility. So my job was over in farrowing to “take care of” a couple of rooms of those piglets and moms, which meant also dealing with prolapses from pregnancy and dealing with mothers who wouldn’t nurse, usually because they were infected or in pain, etc.

So on that first day, I made it through the first couple of hours, and then I was learning how to do the tail docking on the piglets, and these are like 2 day old piglets, tiny tiny. You hoist them up by one of their back legs and you take a pair of shears, like garden shears basically. It’s pretty dull, pretty old for the most part. And you just clip and tear the tail off through the cartilage. Tons of blood comes out, and then you flip them up in your hand and you give them a little shot of iron and then put them back. So they go back in there screaming and bleeding. I remember the first one I had to do on my own, I was holding this pig and he was screaming his head off, he’s going absolutely berserk, and the moms are freaking out, all the sows are just going out absolutely insane. When I went to cut the tail off, I could feel the crunch of the cartilage like vibrate through my hand, and I went completely dizzy. I became nauseous, and I did it but in my head I was like “oh my God am I going to throw up?” and I actually fake said that I had to run to the bathroom. I was like “I’m having an emergency.” I think that I was like “It’s a feminine emergency and I gotta run to the bathroom, I’ll be right back,” and I booked it to the restroom.

I just sat down on the floor and just put my head down and just breathed. It took me probably 10 minutes before I felt like I wasn’t going to throw up again and before I could go back. So I gathered myself and I went back, and the rest of that day just got worse from there. We did huge amounts of vaccinations, which is a really intense process and very physically active, but also really terrifying for the piglets. Then we did castrations, and you know castrations are done without anesthetic, and they are really, really brutal, really violent operations. I saw prolapses, I saw piles of dead and dying piglets, and by the time I got to my car at the end of the day, I couldn’t make it out of the parking lot before I started crying.

First I called my boss and I was driving down the road and I’m like “okay, okay, okay, okay.” I just needed to vent and be supported and I was having a freak out. His response was exactly what it should have been, it was very professional and very cool. He was like “Yeah, I really hear you. It’s really hard. Can you go to work tomorrow?” and I was like “Give me a night to get over it, let me relax and I’ll let you know.” But then I called my mom and I was at this point sobbing, and I had to pull over because I couldn’t drive my car. I’m sobbing and I’m like dry heaving, just all of these awful sad moans, and I called her and I was like “They cut off their tails, and they’re castrating them, and they’re screaming and the moms are separated from their babies,” and I’m sobbing and I’m like “It’s all for fucking bacon!” I was just screaming that and my mom was right there with me. She was like “oh I’m so sorry.” She just knew, she knew how to comfort me.

So I put myself together and I went home to my hotel room, and I watched my footage from the day and cataloged it. I woke up the next day, and all that sadness crystallized into like a laser focus. I was like “fuck yeah, I’m coming for these pigs.” So it’s a difficult question because I think it’s a little bit of a blissful ignorance before you enter the field. The funniest part about that is that I was working at an egg Farm in Iowa, and it was time for me to leave that job. I was leaving and I was trying to figure out what my next move was going to be, and I remember passing this truck of piglets. I think I even have a photo that I took out of my car window. It’s like little guys, two of their noses together can fit through one of the holes in the truck. I remember just passing the truck and slowing down so I could so I could drive by them, and I remember saying “I’m coming for you, I’ll be there soon,” and then 2 weeks later I got the job at the hog farm.

M: What was it like wearing a wire and camera? Were you scared that anyone was ever going to find them?

L: I wasn’t super worried, mostly because no one’s really looking out for it, at least for me. I really got lucky. I took advantage of the fact that I was a woman and that there was so few female investigators at the time. I’ve trained more since then, and certainly more people have come even after that which is great, but I think I really took advantage of that sweet spot which was nice. I was cautious, but I was pretty nimble most of the time. That stuff is verbal and comes across in your attitude as well, and I was pretty good at that. I went through a lot of training. I went through a massive amount of very intense, very tedious, perfection inducing training from one particular investigator who has been doing this for almost 15 years. He’s one of the most talented, easily the most influential person in the movement I would say, for the investigations. We just did drill after drill after drill.

The most stressful part for me was having to trouble shoot when there were technical issues, which happened a lot. The wires are delicate, the instruments are not perfect. We have come a long way for sure, but part of having to be good at your job in the field is being comfortable and confident to troubleshoot your way through a camera malfunction. And that was always pretty stressful but again, it’s like with training and preparation, everything seemed to pretty much work out. The investigations that I released used a lot of still photo, so pretty frequently I was carrying a still camera disguised as something else. There were two memorable occasions when I almost lost them, one time in a manure pit and another time on the floor of the locker room. Those are the only times where I was like “I’m fucked,” but thankfully it never happened. There were some pretty frustrating days where I would reach the end of the day or my camera would malfunction or my spare battery wouldn’t be working, and there would be photos that I needed to capture that I would get home and realize that they didn’t get recorded. Or at the time even, I’d be realizing “oh fuck, this is the one time this particular event is going to happen and I can’t record it,” and that’s it.

M: What was your everyday procedure like?

L: It’s pretty much the same grind every day. It starts early, farm work,  so usually it’s getting up between 4 and 5 AM. Making coffee, having breakfast, checking my equipment. I checked all my connections, I’d do a little test and check on my computer, record a little bit. Then getting all my gear ready and getting dressed takes like 40 minutes sometimes, just depending on what I’m carrying and what I’m shooting with. So doing all that and then typically driving  35 to 45 minutes, and then working 10 to 12 to 15 hours. So working very long days, and then coming home to my hotel room, then taking a shower, logging in all of my footage, like uploading all my footage on my hard drive, logging minute-by-minute witch is a pretty intense process. It includes a lot of linguistic description of what you’re actually seeing and who’s actually in the frame and what you might be hearing off camera and things like that minute-by-minute. Uploading it and charging all my gear for the next day and testing it again, and maybe if I have time, eating dinner in my hotel room, which was usually like whatever I could to microwave. Going to bed and starting over everyday.

M: What were your coworkers like? Were you friends with them?

L: Oh absolutely, I mean everyone is a human being. Everyone is just there, working towards the same goal. Everyone is just trying to go to work and have a quality of life, and go home and maintain that quality of life. I found more kinship with the people I worked with than I expected, and more than sometimes I found in the vegan community, for sure. Whether or not we have ideological differences, everybody there was working pretty much the same goal, which was to live in a way that allows them a little bit of comfort and some peace of mind. It’s so easy to pigeonhole farm workers that you see in these videos as demons or ignorant or callous and unfeeling, but they were all largely free of malice. They weren’t necessarily the most compassionate or careful or loving people, certainly I would say that, but I rarely encountered what I would consider malicious behavior towards animals that was sadistic. Most of the time, people were just doing the job that they thought had to be done.

I get the mental separation that occurs there, because I had to live it. Even I, towards the end of it, was like “Oh yeah, cutting tails off? Sometimes ya just gotta do that.” It really indoctrinates you, mentally. There’s a chain that says everybody has to eat, animals are food, this is how you produce food, this is my job. There’s a very cyclical chain that I can understand people adhering to it. I don’t excuse it as an ethical behavior, I understand the indoctrination, so to that extent, yeah I didn’t demonize the people that I worked with, and in fact, many of them I became friends with.

There was this one guy at the hog farm who would bring me candy every day. He would stop at the gas station on his way to work and pick up like a Snickers bar or some M&M’s or whatever. So charming. Really, really lovely. I actually worked with more than a few gay people, I worked with a lot of women. It was more diverse in the workplace than you would imagine.

Certainly things happened on farms that are representative of the shitty things that happen in our society as a whole, for sure, in terms of oppression, discrimination, etc., but I really value the time that I spent with the people at most places, because it gave me a more humanistic view and a more well-rounded view of the issue that we’re dealing with. It’s not helpful to scapegoat these workers because you know who’d scapegoat them are the executives at those animal agriculture companies.

The next case I worked for was for a leading poultry manufacturer, and the case that I worked for them actually led to cruelty charges and led to a criminal investigation. In that investigation, at the trial that we went to, the executives for the poultry manufacturer actually testified on behalf of the prosecution, meaning executives testified against their own employees saying “This isn’t what we do, you are in the wrong, our procedure is safe, do X, Y, and Z,” even though everybody in the room knows that it’s bullshit. Everybody knows that those guys aren’t just out there doing that work for their own benefit. They’re not doing it because it’s their idea of a great Tuesday afternoon, they’re doing it because somebody asked them to get the birds on the fucking truck. That was particularly offensive to me, but I hold people accountable for their individual actions, but I hold the culture more accountable for influencing the ways of that behavior. A lot of the workers are immigrants of color and people who are told that if you want to participate in society, this is your entry point, and it’s not our fault that your entry point is at the absolute lowest bottom rut. I think that there’s an animalization of those workers that is similar to the way that we treat non-human animals. Warehousing people in closed off communities, dramatically limiting their access to greater parts of civilization and culture, and then excusing ourselves for the responsibility to elevate them to a higher status.

M: Still on the topic of your co-workers, do you still talk to them?

L: No, not at all. As nice as it is, when the investigation is over, it’s over. The only people that I was still ever in touch with were the people that we prosecuted at the poultry manufacturer, and I had to see them again because we went to trial together. I went to trial against them, more specifically, but no. So far I haven’t ever seen or been contacted by anyone.

M: Do they currently know that you were undercover?

L: Yeah, when you leave abruptly, people pretty much figure it out. When you leave and then they’re like “What happened to Liz?” and then like three weeks later there’s an investigation there, they always know. If there was ever a case that I hadn’t released any footage from for some reason, I just had to leave and we didn’t have anything to release, then I could see people just being like “ oh, weird, bye girl” but that never happened.

M: Did any of your coworkers ever show any signs of not exactly loving the work that they were doing, or was it more of a let’s not talk about it kind of thing?

L: Definitely the latter. Nobody wants to do their job, everybody is like “Man, this blows but this is all we got.” For a lot of people it’s a “good job.” The job that I worked at the large factory hog farm was one of the highest paid jobs I’ve ever had in my entire adult life! I seriously swear to God, and I had excellent health insurance, I got bonuses every month for how many extra pigs we pushed out the door. It’s not all that bad. I hesitate to be quoted saying that, but some of those larger companies can afford to pay people a little bit more than you might get working at McDonald’s.

I’ve actually never worked in a slaughterhouse, I’ve only worked on farms. I’ve been inside slaughterhouses, but I’ve never worked the line on one before. It’s hard to get hired as a woman in that job. It’s physically really demanding and it’s pretty gruesome, and there’s usually a pretty male-dominated culture there. That being said, my experience doesn’t even begin cover the wide swath of experiences of other investigators, especially men who have been exposed to much more dangerous and perilous conditions than I was. The jobs that I had were all categorically awful, but nothing that I would consider beyond the pale of what humans should be expected to do. Even though the days were long and conditions were really awful, I still got a paycheck.

There was one farm that I worked at that refused to pay overtime, and refused to offer breaks after a certain point. That one was pretty awful, but they had already been embroiled in a legal battle against their employees so we didn’t even bring it up, because we knew that they were already getting attention for it.

M: How many farms did you work on in total during your undercover investigations?

L: I worked at 4 farms for one organization, and then I had done a little kind of freelance before then, but not for an organization. It’s kind of funny to think about it, but that was my little window, you know, when I was done I was really done. I thought I was going to go back home and kind of nest a little bit and wait it out and wait to feel like myself again. I did a little bit of one-offs, I would go to livestock auctions and I did a bunch of training a bunch of investigators in that time, but I never got that feeling. I never got back that bravado that you needed to walk into a place and occupy two identities at the same time.

M: Speaking of two identities, did you use your real name?

L: Oh yeah, cause we got hired legally. I used my real name, my real identification, all my real tax information, my real job information. It was all done legally. Part of the other reason that I really love working for the organization is that part of the strength of our work comes from the fact that they operate legally at all times, without question, because we have to be able to come to the table at that level. We can’t afford not to.

M: Lagusta had told me that your coworkers treated each other as family, and would bring meals to share with everyone. What was it like having to eat meat in order to not look suspicious?

L: There were only a couple of times I actually felt grossed out, and those times were mostly because the meat that they were serving came from the farm that I was working on. The entire idea of it just kind of turned my stomach a little. Overall, these are big Latino cultures that work on these farms, so they’re very matriarchal. The women take care of the group to a great extent, so a lot of times it was women bringing in food to share, shrimp ceviche, tamales, all kinds of stuff. It was always homemade, and it was always offered to everybody. Even when there wasn’t a group lunch that someone would bring, when you were sitting around tables in the break room, everyone would offer their food, and you’re expected to offer as well. And you’re expected to take. It’s rude, it’s really rude not to participate. Again, everyone is just trying to maintain a quality of life. Which is why when this guy started bringing me candy, I wasn’t going to say, “What’s on the ingredient list?” I was gracious. I was like “thank you!” And I really meant it! I really genuinely loved that gesture from him. There was a lot of food sharing, and a lot of camaraderie.

The most memorable time that I felt uneasy about the food was this pork tamale that a woman had brought in to share with everyone when I was working at the factory hog farm.  It was partially the fact that it was pork and I was surrounded by the smell of hog feces at the time that it was being presented to me, but also that the bite that I took just wasn’t very good! It needed salt, it needed seasoning, it was dry, it wasn’t even really worth it! I hate to even put it in those terms but it wasn’t even delicious! I was getting this authentic tamale, and it wasn’t very good. It was bullshit! But, I did always remember and appreciate those instances.

There was a caretaking from those women that I took with me. And a great deal of and the men, who felt very protective of me, and I felt that way of them too. There was a guy who came to work one day and he told me that he had just had a fire in his apartment, and his boyfriend was home at the time trying to deal with it the aftermath. He was trying to explain this to me in Spanish and he had burned his hand trying to get the fire away, and I was like “are you okay, do you need to go to the hospital, what’s going on?” and he was like “no I’m fine.” But it was a really serious burn, a pretty gnarly event and I could tell that he was a little shell-shocked. He wasn’t really being forthcoming about the state of his apartment I was like fuck, I really want to help this guy, but you can’t get involved. But yeah, we were in it together, there for each other.

M: Did you find your experience undercover to be harder or easier than you anticipated?

L: Both I guess. The part that was actually harder for me was the isolation of living in hotel rooms for a year, and living in the middle of nowhere isolated from my family, my friends, and my community. Normally I’m a pretty solitary person, I feel really good about being alone, I prefer it. But the absence of routine started to drain me more than I expected. I have traveled for long periods of time, but after a year I just remember feeling like I was jumping out of my skin a little bit.

In other ways, it was easier and I was shocked at how quickly I became accustomed to really horrific events, really gruesome stuff. Stuff that stopped making me flinch. I was shocked at how easy it was to separate my mind from my emotions, or my soul from my body. That’s the switch that gets flipped when we’re kids. Kids love animals so much, kids are naturally really compassionate, compassionate to the point where sometimes killing a bug is going to make them cry. Kids are really empathetic creatures, and we kind of berate that out of them, especially in terms of diet, in terms of the food that we give them. We divorce them from the idea that your food is an animal. Kids are naturally funneled into this area where these are the ones we pet, these are the ones we eat, these are the ones at the zoo, etc. When I became vegan, I remember thinking that I was giving myself permission to flip that switch back the other way. I saw animals as a whole entity of creatures that were deserving of empathy and caretaking and compassion and all the rest. Working undercover, even though going into the field was spurred by that compassion that I felt, was the first thing that cleaved those parts of my brain again. As soon as I was in the field, I was like “oh yeah, it’s a job, this is what I do.” That’s again why say I completely understand why, but the people working in those facilities, that’s not the most shocking part of their day. It’s not the most horrific thing they’ve seen.

M: I guess that is also partly your brain just coping with everything that is going on.

L: Oh definitely, it was part of that for sure. I think part of me knew what made me so good was that I was stone cold. I think that might have also bled into my personal life in some ways, especially since then, made me a little bit inaccessible. But if that’s the trade-off, I’ll be fine, I mean truly.

M: Do think you have changed since your experience?

L: Yeah, I’m a lot less precious. I’m a lot less sensitive, honestly. When I was a younger vegan, I was much more “either you’re vegan or you’re not, either for us or you’re against us.” I was really hard-lined, and working undercover allowed me to see the grey areas a lot better in a way that has made me a much better person, but also made me a lot less tolerant of younger hard-line people. I’m not old, I’m 31, I’m not so fucking jaded, but I really have low tolerance for people who feel as though it’s this way or it’s this way. It’s not reality, to me it indicates the person’s complete failure to comprehend the real world, and that is not a political movement that we can build on. We have to build from compromise, we have to be able to meet people halfway. These farm workers? They don’t like what they’re doing either. They’re a massive population that maybe we can mobilize. Why aren’t we reaching out to them meaningfully? I just feel like we’ve refused the common ground so often in a way that has really held us back, and I think that’s what I’ve become better at since working undercover.

I think because of that attitude, there are other vegans that probably wouldn’t respect me as much. I’m not horrified at a barbecue, I don’t need a trigger warning to see a hot dog in a grocery store, I don’t cry at videos that I see. And again, I think some of that’s good, and some of that is probably not that great. Some of that probably makes me a person that’s not that great to relate to. I just can’t be any other way anymore.

M: Do you have anything else that you would like to say about your undercover work?

L: I would absolutely encourage everyone to do it. I really do. Everyone who thinks that they have something to contribute, at least look into it and see if you’re a good candidate because we need people. Investigations are some of the most crucial weapons that we have right now. I said this to Jasmine from Our Hen House, I think investigations are one of the most relevant things we can do right now, and I hope that through that work we can make them irrelevant. Now is the time to be doing that. Also, everyone lighten up. It’s really dire right now, and it feels that way a lot, but I feel like we’ve already lost if we’re consumed by grief all the time about the state of the world. I stopped being that person that on Mother’s Day posts photos of cows and calves together. I stopped being that person. Even though I worked at a poultry manufacturer over Thanksgiving, I don’t think I would ever be that person again that posts a picture of a turkey on Thanksgiving and a turkey in a sanctuary, because we are not helping people by shaming them.

There’s a great quote from this journalist Lindy West that I really like, and she said “You can’t hate someone for their own good,” and I truly believe that. I think that we should be implementing that as a movement as greatly as possible. We should be a movement of yes. That’s honestly, I think, the only way to reach real human beings who have good hearts. Everyone’s heart is good, everyone’s heart, for the most part, is in the right place. We just might disagree on the logistics of how to get there, but maybe we can at least have better discussions. Also, I have stopped even telling people that I am vegan. I stopped being the vegan friend that everyone knew and I was more of just “Liz” and they got to know me for me, they got to know who I am and then they found out I am vegan. I would just be like “oh it’s for me, do whatever you want.” Being someone’s secret vegan friend has been the best the biggest impact I could have ever had, I swear to God. It’s crazy. Once people get to know you and they’re like, “oh you’re cool” and then you hit them with this thing that’s unexpected and they’re like, “I wouldn’t have thought that this person would be this identity because they don’t talk about it.” It makes it a little mysterious, and a little intriguing. I encourage that, and I encourage dating people that aren’t vegan.

 

 

How seriously great is Liz?

I admire her ability to be so realistic, open-minded, and relatable. I told her during our interview that I thought it was funny that she say’s she doesn’t find herself to be relatable for others, because I personally think her set of beliefs are more relatable than most people’s. If you guys wanted to see her receive the Hidden Heroes award, here is a video from the awards ceremony below:

Liz currently owns Honor Society Coffee, which is a wholesale specialty coffee roaster in Seattle, Washington. (Check out her stuff, the packaging is gorgeous!)

So how did you guys like Liz? Isn’t she just the best? Plus, she has done SO MUCH for the animals, both through her undercover investigations and her attitude on veganism as a whole.

We need more Liz’s in the world fighting for the animals!

Have a great day everyone and talk soon 🙂

 

 

 

 

Friday means that it’s party time folks, and Gardein’s on the menu!

HAYOOO happy Friday y’all! To celebrate this sacred day, I wanna tell you guys about my absolute favorite brand of frozen vegan food. (Is brand the right word..?!) The vegan food brand that will have my heart 4ever is…

Gardein!

I am SO passionate about Gardein products. How could I not be though?! All of their products are so unique and pretty much to die for. Have you guys heard of Gardein before?

Just gonna throw this out there before I continue, I am quite aware that these are not the healthiest vegan options out there. I don’t eat them for nutrition, I eat them cause they’re fun! Just like someone on an omnivorous diet would splurge (does splurge work when talking about eating something that isn’t the healthiest?) on frozen meat products, like chicken fingers, us vegans can do that too with Gardein!

Alright so now that I’ve gotten “they’re not the healthiest” out of the way, I have to commend them on the purity of their ingredients. For a freezer section food, I can pronounce and understand all of the ingredients, which is something I can’t say for many other types of frozen food products. While you certainly wouldn’t only eat Gardein if you are dieting, they ain’t bad for ya either! Plus, everything in moderation 🙂

One thing that I love about Gardein is that they include a little recipe on each bag. For instance, the bag of crabless cakes that I have in my freezer has a crabless tacos recipe on it. Cute and easy! ALSO, their website has even more recipes. They have some goooood ones too, lemme tell ya.

So let’s get down to it, here are the Gardein products that will forever live in my heart:

(BTW: click on each product and it’ll direct you to their website where you can learn more!)

Turk’y cutlet

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My boyfriend Jon and I LOSE it for these turk’y cutlets. They are EVERYTHING you could ask for and more. The gravy is so amazingly seasoned that I maaaaaybe would drink it if presented the opportunity. These are so perfect on their own, and also are amazing on a Thanksgiving sandwich. What’s a Thanksgiving sandwich, you ask? It’s Italian bread with cutlets, gravy, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. It’s perfection. 

#1 favorite Gardien product out there ❤

Mandarin crispy chick’n

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This chick’n is GREAT. I love it alone because the chick’n get so deliciously crispy, and the sauce is really great. They’re so good that I just want to enjoy THEM alone, ya know? BUT! This chick’n is also amazing with veggies as a stir fry.

Mini crabless cakes

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So, these are a really big deal. A really REALLY big deal. When I saw these in the store I thought “they’re probably good, but how good can they really be?” They’re as good as you could ever imagine in your wildest dreams. They are so amazing that Jon and I binge ate them for a week when we first discovered them. From what I remember of crab cakes, they were alright, but these are just on a whole other level. If there’s one thing you do today, it should probably be eating these crabless cakes.

Seven grain crispy tenders

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These were the first product that I ever tried of Gardein’s, and I was not disappointed. They’re superb on their own, but my favorite way to eat them is on a sandwich with avocado and Just Mayo. YUM!

Meatless pizza pockets

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These are just tooooo cute, and they are also scrumptious as ever. The cheese is a really nice tasting cheese, and who doesn’t love food in a pocket?! Win/win.

Chick’n sliders

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I just tried these for the first time recently, and I was pleasantly surprised! I think I’m the only person on the planet who’s not impressed with the idea of sliders. Little burgers? No thanks. I prefer my food large and in charge. But these sliders were really really great! I like to eat them with some added lettuce and my spiced up mayo recipe.

Sweet and sour porkless bites

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These are CUTE. They are precious little porkless bites, and I just love that no pigs were harmed in the making of them. So this particular Gardein product comes with a crazy amount of sauce, so it’s def nice to throw some veggies in there with them. I once made them as is without any veggies, and there was so much sauce that the bites were almost like sitting in a soup. But, I do appreciate some extra sauce to cover my veggies!

Chipotle black bean burger (gf)

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This burger is a winner. It’s gluten free, and they’re a QUARTER POUND each. These are some biiiiig guys, I gotta say. They are SO delicious too. They’re great chopped up in burritos as well, their seasoning is perfect for that!

Beefless ground

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One word: EMPANADAS! Jon is a genius and created his own empanada recipe, using the beefless ground as the base. I LOVE it when he makes empanadas, he’s such a good cook and they are to. die. for. My mom makes sloppy Joe’s with this as the base, and they are so good as well. Come to think of it, I’m going to text her for her sloppy Joe recipe right now! I’ll share it with you guys soon 🙂 Jon’s mom also made stuffed mushrooms with this for me once, and I was loving it.

Meatless meatballs

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I went through a biiiiiig meatball phases 2 years ago, starring Gardein’s meatless meatballs. I love these so much. They’re so amazing in sauce, but I also just love them plain, that’s how delicious and flavorful they are. Pretty sure I used to eat these plain for breakfast…. let’s keep that on the down low though.

Beefless tips

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Another thing that my brilliant boyfriend thought up was using these beefless tips in a Philly Cheesesteak. We used freshly baked Italian bread, beefless tips (without the sauce), sautéed pepper and onion, and Fieldroast’s Chao cheese. TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, yet it somehow was, true!

Golden fishless filet

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These are another Gardein product that I could go on for DAYS about. These fishless filets are way better than I ever remember regular fish filets tasting. The fishy flavor comes from algae/seaweed, which is my jam, so they’re really quite lovely. The breading is also super buttery and the “fish” is very flakey and juicy, just like reg fish fillets are. They NAILED it with this one.

So my life recently changed when I decided to make fishless tacos with these filets. I followed Gardein’s baja fishless tacos recipe, and WOW was I in for the best “fish” tacos I could have ever hoped for. The aioli in their recipe is TOOOOOO GOOD. SO GOOD. INCREDIBLE. I can’t hype it up enough. (Just a note, I followed every part of their recipe except for the wine pickled onions. I never really felt like I had the time to make them, but ever other part of the recipe I stuck to. If you do make the pickled onions, let a girl know how they are!)

BBQ porkless pocket meal

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Again, pockets are great. I have taken these on-the-go many a time, and they’re really just amazing. The taste is deeeeelicious, so there’s no going wrong with these pockets.

So that’s it for my favorite Gardein products!

What are your favorite Gardein products? Are there any that you love that I didn’t throw on this list?

Have a great weekend everyone! I hope it’s filled with lots and lots of Gardein ❤

 

A gift from the heavens… Rite Aid brand

Hey hey!

How are you guys doing today? What’s new?

Lately I’ve been feeling really adventurous, beauty product wise, and have loved exploring the isles of my local Rite Aid. It such an amazing place to be!

As I mentioned in my guide to shaving post, Rite Aid brand doesn’t test on animals. Rite Aid brand has both their own products as well as “knock offs” of so many of those brands that do test on animals. They are made of the exact same ingredients, yet state that they are “not affiliated with ___ brand” and are way cheaper! If you ever find yourself at one of those gloriously huge Rite Aids with a million different beauty products, you usually can find a Rite Aid brand knock off for most of the products that do test on animals.

How LOVELY.

So today, I wanted to throw together a lil colab of all of my favorite Rite Aid brand products!

Facial Care

Makeup

  1. Pink Grapefruit Foaming Acne Scrub. I’m sure we’ve all seen Neutrogena’s commercials for their grapefruit wash line, well here it is in all its cruelty free glory! Works like a dream ❤
  2. Pore Cleansing Strips. I. LOVE. THESE. SO. MUCH. Seriously though, these work so well! Have you guys ever used pore cleansing strips? They work amazingly, and are also reallyyyyy fun to use!
  3. Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover. This makeup remover has been my GO TO for years. Have you ever used a makeup remover that doesn’t work too well and you end up rubbing some eyelashes off? Well this one works super well and also smells nice and clean!
  4. Oil Blotting Sheets. Okay who else swears by these? They’re strong enough to make your face look nice and matte, but gentle enough that you can use over your makeup. I know Clean and Clear makes a version of these, and I was always tempted to try them but didn’t want to buy them cause they’re tested on animals, so I was so happy to see these appear at Rite Aid a couple of years ago!
  5. Oil-Free Acne Wash. So this is the knock off for Neutrogena’s oil free acne wash, and man does it WORK. It worked a little too well for me though, so I had to stop using it. I got a facial this past December, and my esthetician told me that the facial cleanser I was using was way too harsh. I don’t use it any more, but if you’re someone who doesn’t have as sensitive of skin as I do, use this!!
  6. Positively Glowing Daily Moisturizer. This moisturizer is a knock off of Aveeno’s Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer, and it’s just as lovely as it sounds. (Also, doesn’t Aveeno strike you as a company that wouldn’t test on animals? I know that has nothing to actually do with whether they conduct animal testing or not, but they just seem like they’re all wholesome and organic, when in reality they are owned by Johnson & Johnson, who is known for doing a largeeee amount of animal experimentation.)

Sick Day!

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  1. Daytime Severe Cold & Flu Relief Maximum Strength. Dayquill is pretty much a must for me when I have a cold and also have to go to work. Thankfully Rite Aid makes a cruelty free version! I also always get this in liquid form as opposed to liquid-gel form because the gels have gelatin in them.
  2. NightTime Cold & Flu Relief. Just like Dayquill is a necessity for me during the day, Nyquill is a definite must have at night. All the cold relief without the animal testing cruelty!
  3. Medicated Chest Rub. I SWEAR by this stuff when I’m sick. I don’t use it on my chest though, like most people do. I apply it to my nose when it’s super chapped from being blown too much! The smell helps to clear my sinuses, and the vaseline-esque jelly helps soothe my chapped skin.
  4. Maximum Strength Severe Congestion Nasal Spray. Nasal spray, oh how you are my SAVIOR. I never used nasal spray up until about 2 years ago, and now that I have, I never want to have a stuffy nose again in my life. I’ve heard this stuff isn’t the best for you, but hey, I get like 1 cold a year, my nose can handle it!

Stuff for yo body!

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  1. Lavender Epsom Salt. I am a bath person, and these epsom salts are just lovely. Lavender is by far my favorite scent, so there’s really no way that a bath with these epsom salts can go wrong.
  2. Light Sesame Formula Moisturizing Body Oil. BODY OILS ARE THE BOMB. I can’t say it enough, I’m all about that oil! Plus who doesn’t like a gentle sesame fragrance?!
  3. Men’s 5 Blade Razor, 12 cartridges. As I told you guys in my shaving post, I use men’s razors. I recently decided to switch over from disposable razors to the ones where you just change the heads of them to minimize the amount of plastic that I was throwing out. 5 blades, woohoo!
  4. Petroleum Jelly. Ever since I was in 7th grade, I have been religiously applying vaseline/petroleum jelly to my eyelashes before bed every night to promote strong, healthy lashes. I’m so used to this ritual that I can’t fall asleep unless my lashes feel super moisturized! Psychotic or just concerned about long lashes…you choose.
  5. Ball of Foot Cushion. I love these foot cushions so much. They’re perfect for heels, because the ball of your foot is where all of the pressure falls when wearing heels.
  6. Cotton Swabs. The only thing I use q-tips for are for cleaning up my makeup, so these are my go-to’s! Plus, they’re rainbow!
  7. SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen Lotion. For some reason I’ve always had trouble finding sunscreen that is cruelty free, so this one is pretty much a no brainer as to why I ❤ it.
  8. Nail File . While I’m sure most nail files are not tested on animals, the brands that make them usually do! Something about the shape of the handle and the length of the file makes this nail file my FAVORITE. I have one of these in every purse, and a handful just laying around the house. I don’t like to trim my nails, I just file, and this nail file is perfect for that.

Hair

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  1. Scalp Itch & Dandruff Relief. Okay this stuff is key when it comes to my hair regime. As I admitted when we talked about dry shampoo, I only wash my hair once a week! Contrary to what you would think, your scalp actually gets dryer the longer you don’t wash your hair for. Even though your hair gets oily, your scalp can get super itchy and dry from not washing your hair enough. This serum is PERFECT for people like me who don’t like to wash their hair every day, but are prone to dry scalps. It’s also great if you have psoriasis on your scalp, which is what I have! You just squeeze some out onto your scalp and feel immediate itch relief, it’s amazing.
  2. Coal Tar Shampoo. So I have psoriasis, and regular dandruff shampoos don’t work for me cause that’s not what I have. Coal tar shampoo on the other end is everything I could have ever asked for and more. I have heard that even if you have a super healthy scalp, it’s still good to use a dandruff/ psoriasis shampoo every once in a while because it sort of renews your scalp.
  3. Rosemary & Mint Sulfate-Free Color Protecting Moisturizing Shampoo. Rosemary and mint. Need I say more?

Teeth

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  1. Premium Waxed Floss. As you can probably tell, I’m a little anal about the specifics of my beauty products. This is the ONLY floss I use because it doesn’t split in between your teeth mid-floss.
  2.  Alcohol Free Vivid Mint Fluoride Mouthwash. I’m a biiiiiig fan of mouth wash. I used to brush my teeth like 7 times a day (no joke, I just like a clean mouth!) until my dentist told me that my gums were receding because I was brushing too much. Oops. So now whenever I wanna brush my teeth but I’ve gone over my daily limit of 3 brushings, I use mouth wash! Spoken like a true addict…
  3. Cavity Fighter Toothbrush. I’m alllllllll about that soft toothbrush life. After being told that my gums were receding, I decided to only use soft toothbrushes for the rest of my life. Not that I was ever using the hard ones, but it’s still good to make sure you’re sticking to a nice soft one!

So there ya have it, my Rite Aid Brand go-to’s! Whoever said shopping cruelty free clearly never did their research, because it is soooo easy. Too easy. I wish it was a little harder, actually, so I could stop spending so much money on products…

What are you favorite Rite Aid brand beauty products??

Have a great night guys! 🙂

 

 

A homeopathic guide to a sassy, healthy vagina

Hey guys!

How was everyone’s weekend?

So we’re about to get real intimate, but for good reason!

First things first, this is a post for all my ladies out there! If you are a man, feel free to continue reading, but I really don’t think you’ll get tooooo much use out of today’s post. (ALSO: Dad, if you’re reading this, feel free to stop now. Thank you for always supporting me and reading my posts, but consider today your “get out of reading Meredith’s blog” day.)

Anywho! Today I wanted to talk about an issue that is very important to me, and that issue is  “feminine health.” Specifically, taking care of your vagina! Even more specifically, vegan homeopathic yeast infection remedies. 

If there is one thing you don’t know about me yet, it is that I am an expert on getting rid of yeast infections. Both homeopathic and not, I know the ins and outs of yeast infection remedies (because I have tried them ALL!)

Us women are taught to not speak about our vaginas unless it is in a sexy, clean way. NEWS FLASH PEOPLE, we all entered this world though a vagina, and it most definitely wasn’t “pretty.” But that’s literally the way of life, and as women we should not have to hide or feel the need to be secretive about any hoo-ha problems that we’re having.

Now I totally understanding wanting to be private about those sorts of things, but there is a difference between wanting to keep those things a secret, and feeling like you have to keep those things a secret.

I am a very open person, and it seriously pisses me off that a lot of women feel that they can’t talk about certain health problems because they’ll be judged or sound un-lady like. The amount of women that I know who have suffered silently for years with numerous vaginal problems is astonishing. We need to stop feeling ashamed about our bodies! Again, I’m not saying we should weave our vaginas into every single conversation we have (although that would be hilarious!) but we shouldn’t feel ashamed to talk about a problem we’re having.

Since we are the gender that has to take birth control into our own hands, a lot of health problems can arise, which can be quite inconvenient for us women.

So here’s the deal. I went on birth control pills a number of years ago. Before going on the pill, I had never had a yeast infection before and proudly had a very healthy vag. A couple of months after going on the pill, I started to get yeast infections that would go away with medication, then come right back. I went to countless gynecologists trying to find a cure for my problem, and not a single one could help me.

Until, I met my current gyno, Dawn. If you live in the New Jersey/New York area, SERIOUSLY consider seeing her. She changed. my. life. 2 of my best friends even started going to her too, and we all swear that we’ll never go to anther gynecologist in our entire lives.

That’s because she listens. All of the other gynos I was going to weren’t listening to me. All they did was prescribe me Diflucan, which is pretty much like asking for another yeast infection. Do noooooot take Difulcan. It rids you of your current infection, but then makes you way more likely to get another one. No thank you! Towards the end of my Diflucan usage, I was taking 5 at a time because they no longer did anything for me in smaller quantities, and then I would get a yeast infection 10 times worse the next week. Woohoo!

Also, Monistat. Stupid, horrible, torturous Monistat. Who here hates Monistat as much as I do? It not only didn’t work for me, but also felt like a big spider was inside my abdomen scratching around making me feel like I wanted to CLAW. IT. OUT. Dramatic, but taking Monistat literally made me feel like a mad woman because it’s such an irritating medication! Hate it.

From all the gynos that I saw, I had been told I may have diabetes, I may be allergic to semen (?!) , I may have herpes, and countless other unbelievable diagnoses (all of which proved to be false.)

So while I was dealing with these constant yeast infections, I did some research on how to get rid of them the non-conventional way, why we get them, how to keep them away for good, etc. and learned that I was getting them because of my birth control pills. BC has a lot of hormones, and these hormones throw off the balance of our bodies, causing some undesirable things to happen. I tried about 7 different forms of BC pills, yet none did the trick for me.

After trying many, many, MANY things to rid me of my yeast infections, Dawn and I decided that an IUD may just be the trick for me, and I dropped my pills once and for all. My IUD has been a GODSEND and got rid of my yeast infections asap, proving that it was the estrogen in the pill that really messed with my body.

But how did I rid myself of the countless infections I got while still on BC? With a little help from the internet and a lot of help from Dawn, I tried a lot of different remedies.

The crazy thing is, pharmaceuticals did not work for me. And sometimes, they made things worse. I don’t know if you can fully get my “vibe” through my blog, but I am not someone who lives homeopathically/organically/pure and naturally in all the aspects of my life. I am not afraid of chemicals, and never had much against OTC medicine. But, I kid you not, they really don’t stand a chance when it comes to homeopathic yeast remedies. All bodies are different, but my body responded a million times better to the homeopathic remedies I tried than it did to the pharmaceuticals I was prescribed. But that’s just me.

So, I present to you, the vegan, cruelty free, homeopathic yeast infection remedies that have worked for me/ have worked for others but not my stubborn, resistant body! HA.

Gentian violet

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Gentian violet has been the SAVIOR of my 20’s. I’m serious. If there is one non-living thing that I have to thank for my happiness, I’m so serious when I say that it is gentian violet. So what is this miracle substance? Gentian violet is “an antiseptic dye that has been in use since 1890.”

So basically, this stuff is a really potent (is that the right word when describing dyes?) purple dye that has antifungal properties. It is super safe to use, so safe that you can use it in your baby’s mouth if they get a thrush infection, which is a yeast infection in the mouth. (Google “gentian violet thrush baby,” you won’t be disappointed.)

This is the one that I buy. Dawn told me to always buy a 2% solution, like this one is, so make sure to buy 2% if you are going to invest in some gentian violet!

So how do you use gentian violet for a vaginal yeast infection? It’s very simple, but can be REALLY messy if you don’t keep everything super organized and clean. I like to do this in the shower (when it’s off, not on!) So here’s the deal: first off, you need to get yourself some OB-GYN swabs. Pretty sure these are the ones I bought when I made the initial bulk purchase. Pretty funny thing to order away for and have delivered on your doorstep! So you’re gonna want to dip the swab into the gentian violet bottle until the majority of the swab is covered in the dye. Then, you apply it to your infected area. Dawn has told me that when she applies this to her patients, she only applies it to the infected area. If your yeast infection is more external, only apply it to the outside of your vag. If you have an internal yeast infection, insert the swab inside you and apply!

I actually keep my gentian violet with me wherever I go (long-term travel wise.) If I’m staying at my parents house for a few days, you better believe I have my little purple bottle of gen-vi with me. I haven’t gotten a yeast infection in probably half a year, but it’s just habit I guess. Better safe than sorry!

Boric Acid

Boric acid is another homeopathic remedy that I have tried. Boric acid did not work for me personally, but I have a friend who said it cured her of her yeast infections, so I had to include it in my list for you guys! Boric acid is an interesting one, it is actually used to kill rats which is something that I don’t particularly love… (Rats are awesome! Leave them alone!) It also is toxic if taken orally, but if inserted vaginally can rid you of yeast.

So the way I got my hands on some boric acid was through my gyno and a specific pharmacy that specialized in medication mixing. Something about the boric acid that I needed had to be mixed with something, so I had to seek out a specific pharmacy that could do that. They put it in little gel (veggie based!) capsules and those capsules are inserted vaginally 3 times daily for 2 weeks. It was supposed to rid me of my yeast infections for good, but it did no such thing. If you are dealing with constant yeast infections though, this one is def worth a try!

Coconut Oil

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❤ Ah, dear coconut oil. How I love you so much. ❤

The first time I ever used coconut oil was actually to treat yeast infections! I read that it has antifungal properties, so I ran out ASAP to grab myself some. For me, it is not strong enough to rid me of an infection, but it is a lovely vaginal moisturizer if you’ve been using other harsh products, like boric acid.

Tea Tree Oil

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Tea tree oil has absolutely worked for me, but the persistence of my birth control canceled out any of the progress that the tea tree oil had. Tea tree oil is strong, so if you’re going to apply it topically, I would recommend mixing it with a carrier oil, preferably coconut oil! A coconut/tea tree oil mixture is like a super remedy, and smells amazing also!

Apple Cider Vinegar

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Apple cider vinegar is another favorite of mine. Along with (trying to!) take “shots” of it daily, I use it for so many other things as well. ACV is great for vaginal health, because it basically resets your pH and helps get rid of yeast. Whether you drink it or apply it to your vagina, it does great things for your body!

A Hair Dryer

So this one may be a little out there, but it works! Dawn once told me that many of her patients are “best friends with their hair dryer” and I know why! Yeast thrives in moist, warm environments. If you blow dry your vagina for a minute or 2 every day, the hot air can kill the yeast and also make your vag super dry, hence creating an environment that yeast does not thrive in.

There’s a warning with this one though… I think I went a little too balls to the wall with this “remedy” and burned myself! Not a blistering burn, but it was an uncomfortable situation. So don’t go crazy with your hairdryer like I did!

Probiotics

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Probiotics are SUPER important for our bodies. They’re so good for digestion, and also keep your yeast count in check. We have yeast all throughout our bodies, but probiotics magically have a way of riding our bodies of the unwanted yeast.

The only thing to watch out with probiotics though is to make sure that your probiotic is dairy free, and in a veggie capsule. The pic I linked above is a probiotic suitable for vegans!

Garlic

Garlic is great for curing infections because of its antifungal properties. Both if eaten orally or inserted vaginally, garlic can do wonders. I’ve heard of people making garlic “tampons” and inserting them, but I don’t know why but I was never too keen on the idea. Not sure why because I was game to try everything else, but not garlic.

I do LOVE roasting garlic and eating it as a spread on toasted bread tho!

Water

Drinking lots of water can be beneficial when trying to get rid of a yeast infection. It by no means will cure you of your infection, but it’s crucial when keeping a healthy bod!

Cotton Underwear

While this isn’t a “remedy” exactly, it is a key part to keeping a healthy vagina, especially when dealing with yeast infections. Synthetic, non-breathable materials are so suffocating and creating a really bad environment for your vagina, so always stick to cotton undies. And don’t wear any at all when sleeping, give your vag a break!

Things to Avoid

Sugar is the number 1 thing to stay away from when dealing with a yeast infection. Sugar is the devil when it comes to a healthy vagina, so if you’re consuming lots and lots of sugary sweets and suffering from yeast infections, drop those sweets for a bit and see if that helps you.

Carbs are also good to stay away from for the most part. Some carbs turn into sugars during the digestive process, so carbs are also sadly a no-no when dealing with a yeast infection as well.

Beer is also a good one to steer clear of for a while, because of its high yeast content.

(Sugar, carbs, and beer are like my 3 favorite food groups, so I feel for any of you reading this and groaning to yourself that you can’t indulge.)

Avoid BC pills if possible! Like I said above, they absolutely murdered my vagina’s health, so I would recommend looking into other low-estrogen forms of birth control.

Glycerin-based lubes are a big one to avoid as well. Glycerin is very similar to sugar, which yeast thrives on. Just use coconut oil instead!

Antibiotics are also notorious for causing yeast infections, because they kill both bad and good bacteria, making your body vulnerable to other infections. I recently got my wisdom teeth out, and knew I would have to take antibiotics. The morning of my surgery, I did a gentian violet application, and the antibiotics did no such harm on my vagina. It’s a trick that I swear by and will never take antibiotics without doing!

So that about sums it up! Can you tell that I’m crazy passionate about keeping a healthy vagina, not to mention killing the stigma that women shouldn’t talk about their vaginas?!

PLEASE contact me if you are suffering from constant yeast infections. I am here for you, and would absolutely love to help!

Also, don’t be ashamed to talk about your vagina problems! We’re all human, and part of being a woman is having a vagina, which can cause problems from time to time. Own it ladies!

Have a good night ladies (and gents too if you’re still with us)! Talk soon! ❤

 

 

 

Near and dear to my heart… cauliflower wings!

Hey guys!

So today’s post is going to be a little spicier than usual because…

We’re making cauliflower wings!!!

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I LOVE cauliflower wings. SO much. I could make them for dinner every night if cauliflower wasn’t so damn expensive when it’s not in season!

My boyfriend Jon and I decided to try out the whole cauliflower wings “trend” last September. We found a couple recipes that we liked, merged them to make our own, then got cooking. We were both BLOWN AWAY with how delicious and amazing and life-changing these cauliflower wings were that they have been a fun dinner staple ever since.

Plus, they’re sooo easy to make. Delicious yet extremely simple? Check plus in my book!

I’ve had cauliflower wings before that are pretty much just steamed cauliflower with hot sauce. Steamed veggies? Boring. I am nooottttttttt down with that.

The reason why I like the way that I make my cauliflower wings so much is that they’re breaded but they’re not fried, so you get that good crispy breading without all that oil. Plus, there’s something healthy feeling about them. I don’t know how to describe it, but they’re one of the few meals that makes me feel like I’m both indulging and eating clean at the same time.

I also almost always feel like what I’m eating (if it’s breaded) would be better fried. This is one of the few times that I feel like only the oven will do this meal justice. Plus, it’s the healthier option!

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So the recipe that I’m posting below is a chipotle-seasoned cauliflower wing one. You can use whatever hot sauce flavor that you’d like though! Jon and I like doing a mix of both chipotle and regular hot sauce because it adds a delicious smoky flavor, and also isn’t as spicy if you used just straight up reg hot sauce.

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower
2 C flour
2 C soy/coconut/almond/any other non-dairy milk that tickles your fancy
2/3 C Chipotle Tobasco sauce
1/3 C regular hot sauce (I love Cholula!)
2 T melted vegan butter
3 t garlic powder

  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F.
  2. Mix the flour, garlic powder, and soy milk until smooth. This will make a thick batter, you want it to be thick enough that it’ll create a good breading on your cauli-wings, but not tooooo thick that you can’t move a fork through it without exerting effort. (Weird thing to write in a set of recipe instructions!)
  3. Break your cauliflower into wing-sized pieces. I personally love big pieces of cauliflower (which are pictured in my photos) where as Jon likes smaller ones. Whatever you can see yourself liking more, do that! One lil tip tho, I like to go with the cauliflower’s natural shape. A head of cauliflower naturally has little sections that if you break off, are super round and not all flat on one side cause you chopped it in half with a knife. I like to keep mine round and natural feeling!
  4. Toss your cauliflower in the batter, and place on a baking sheet/pan covered in parchment paper. (You neeeeed to use parchment paper, or else the cauliflower will stick and the breading will come off when you try to scrape it up! True, sad story…) Make sure that the pieces are not touching, cause if they are they will bake together and become a uni-cauliflower!
  5. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the breading is starting to turn golden-brown. I like to let mine get crispy, so sometimes I even leave them in for a half hour.
  6. While the cauliflower bakes, mix the melted butter and the hot sauces in a large mixing bowl until combined.
  7. When the cauliflower looks crispy enough, take them out of the oven and put them in the large bowl with the hot sauce mixture. You want to evenly coat them with the hot sauce, and I have a technique that I prefer to use! I used to just use a spatula to mix it all around, but it was super clumsy and didn’t work too well. My new technique is to place a bowl of equal size upside down over the bowl filled with cauliflower, and shake, kinda like you would with a salad to get it evenly dressed!
  8. Place the hot-sauced cauliflower pieces back on the pan with the parchment. If there’s any leftover hot sauce, I like to spatula it back onto the cauliflower wings before I put them back in the oven, to keep them nice and juicy! Bake for 5 more minutes, or until the hot sauce starts to make a delish sizzle noise. Take them out of the oven, toss again if there’s still any sauce in the pan, and you’re good to go!

I LOVE to pair these wings with my spiced up mayo sauce. The combination is absolute. perfection.

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So there ya have, some cauliflower wings! How do you guys make your cauli-wings?

Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

 

How do you guys feel about the Harambe shooting?

Hey guys!

So unlike most days when I say that I’m excited to discuss the day’s topic, today is quite the opposite. Today I want to talk about the shooting of Harambe, a gorilla from the Cincinnati Zoo.

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First off, I’ll spare you all the deets cause I’m sure you all have been reading up on the situation as much as I have. Google the Harambe shooting though if you haven’t because it is def a good zoo altercation to know the facts on.

I want to keep today’s post (semi) short and sweet, because I want this post to be more of a conversation than just me talking and you reading. I want to hear what you guys think about the sitch!

So basically, my feelings on the whole Harambe shooting consists of 2 parts.

Alright, I’ll sum it up first: Part 1. I understand that they had to do something to save the boy, they very clearly had to save him. BUT, I do not agree in the slightest with shooting Harambe. So this leads me to Part 2. ZOOS SHOULD NOT EXIST. 

I am not talking about sanctuaries. Those are very different. I understand the whole species conservation/ taking care of animals that are unable to live in the wild because of an injury of some sort, but keeping a capable wild animal in captivity is SO. WRONG.

I really hate that some people are zoo enthusiasts yet they claim to be animal lovers. I do not hate the people for saying this, I hate the lies that zoos tells the public. When it comes down to it, they are corporations trying to make money off of the captivity of wild animals, and more often than not they do not care about the welfare of their animals.

No animal choses to live at a zoo, and I bet if they did have the right to make choices for themselves, they sure as hell wouldn’t choose to live in captivity on a different continent than where they are naturally supposed to live. It’s a pretty unnatural concept when you think about it!

While the video of Harambe and the boy is hard to watch because a little child is being whipped around, there’s another reason why I realllyyyyy cringe while watching it. Harambe is literally in a cement pit, which is clearly not his natural habitat. Imagine living your life in a cement pit, not being able to get out, as people watch you from above? That’s enough to make any human go completely bonkers. Now imagine being an animal and having no way of communicating or figuring out why you are stuck in this cement pit day in and day out? It’s no wonder zoo animals show INSANE signs of psychosis!

So I would get it if he went a little crazy and was trying to hurt the boy, because he’s stuck in a cement hole as people scream at him from above. BUT! He wasn’t even trying to hurt him. Jane Goodall, the animal rights goddess herself said “it looked as though the gorilla was putting an arm round the child.” Many other animal experts and even eyewitnesses have said that it appeared that he was trying to protect the boy, and that he was also confused because people were screaming their heads off at him!

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So not only was he not trying to hurt the boy, but he was actually trying to protect him! He even was holding hands with him at one point. University of New England animal behavior expert Gisela Kaplan said that “If he was going to attack he would’ve warned him first. The first thing they do is charge and beat their chests and as far as I know that didn’t happen.” So basically, he wasn’t hurting the boy and was actually trying to protect him, and didn’t show any signs of violence.  It seems like the “zoo experts” who made the decision to shoot Harambe need some more training in animal behavior…

If you watch the video, he is clearly SO confused! This poor guy is just trying to protect this child, holding him and looking back and forth quickly at people, and then he gets shot! I understand that the child was in danger, but Harambe was innocent. This just further proves that we should NOT have zoos. Making money off of the captivity of wild animals? Seriously, whoooooo thought of that?

Also, I really wonder how the boy felt? Okay, so I know he’s only 4 but little kids really have a good instinct when it comes to animals. Yeah, he had to have been scared because he was being dragged around, but I wonder if he felt like Harambe was trying to protect him?

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I was talking with my boyfriend yesterday about this whole situation and zoos in general, and we both were saying that even as kids, we felt zoos were super weird. The whole concept feels very fake wildlife Utopia… I don’t know, they feel creepy, like there’s some weird secret going on or something. I don’t like it.

Who remembers Jambo? Not to be mistaken for the word Cady from Mean Girls uses to say hello, Jambo was a gorilla who protected a child who fell into the gorilla enclosure he was living in. He stood between the child and the other gorillas, protecting him, and even rubbed the child’s back as he lay unconscious. This situation with Jambo is universally known as the situation that made people realize that gorillas do not have violent natures.

I am not speciest, so I do not believe that any animal should live their life in captivity. But gorillas? It has so obviously been proven how incredibly intelligent they are, and then to exploit them for our benefit? Disgusting.

What are your thoughts on the Harambe shooting? Do you know of any other situations of animals showing protective behavior over injured children? I wanna hear what you guys think!

RIP Harambe ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤