Great Gluten-Free Books

Ahh ok so here it is, some of my top picks for educating yourself about your body and the world you are living in, especially when it comes to eating gluten-free. You won’t look at food the same after reading this stuff.

1. In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan

In Defense of Food

I would suggest this book for a beginner when it comes to great health books.

Michael Pollan also has another book that is suitable for legit beginners, meaning you think Mickey D’s is cool because it tastes good. This book is called Food Rules and is relatively short and easy to read.

This book, however, In Defense of Food, is a pretty intense account of how modern society has lost the true meaning of food and how we can get it back. Michael Pollan suggests that we eat food, not too much, and mostly plants.

Why? Guess you’ll have to read it and find out, foodies.

2.  The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan

The Omnivore's Dilemma

This one of many great health books takes you on a crazy journey of Michael Pollan’s attempt to eat three very different meals: modern human’s meal, a meal that is bought from organic and local grocery stores, and finally, a meal that he solely creates himself (including getting his own salt from the ocean himself… seriously).

His journey is incredibly detailed and somewhat heartbreaking (mainly to see how far our modern diet has fallen from our ideal diet, and consequently, how far our health has fallen).

This book was a little tough for me to get through; it was just hard to hold my interest after about 2/3 of the way through. But definitely worth the read, I can’t believe Michael Pollan did so much research and work for this account.

3. The Gluten Connection, Shari Lieberman

Gluten Connection

This book changed my life, although I realize it won’t seem nearly as awesome to people who either don’t have a problem with gluten or people who don’t realize they have a problem with gluten.

This is the book that made me realize that gluten was truly making me sick. It’s a pretty fascinating book among the many great health books that talks about why gluten makes people sick, how it makes people sick, and it provides details and other accounts of many people and illnesses that the gluten-free diet helps.

It also talks about why dogs shouldn’t eat gluten and also provides some beginner gluten-free recipes. I would really recommend this book, even if you have no problems whatsoever with gluten, just because it’s fascinating and heartbreaking to see just how much food affects our health.

4. The Optimum Nutrition Bible, Patrick Holford

Optimum Nutrition

This book is among the great health books as good for knowing, or at least trying to know, what your optimum nutrition should be, including vitamin and mineral intake, which is essential for proper health.

It also talks about why gluten is potentially bad for everyone, advocates for you to stop smoking, and digs its heels in on the importance of vitamin C.

His research and advice have been great assets to my personal health journey; hopefully, you’ll find this book simultaneously overwhelming and helpful (sorry, but it is a little overwhelming).

5. Gluten is My Bitch, April Peveteaux

Gluten is my Bitch

I had a lot of mixed feelings about this book, but I’m putting it on here for the recipes and fun of it.

I have mixed feelings about it because for someone who going gluten-free saved (meaning me), this book is from the perspective of someone who perceives that going gluten-free is an ailment and has ruined her life.

She only appears to be gluten-free because she absolutely had to be or she’ll experience terrible symptoms as she has celiac disease. But, I did love the recipes (especially the nacho one, which I made with dairy-free cheese, of course, and has been a staple in my house for years now) and her humor is great and the writing was entertaining. Worth a read!

6. Delight Gluten-Free Magazine

Delight

I really enjoy this magazine, although technically not categorized among the great health books.

I find the articles helpful and the recipes are amazing (albeit complicated on occasion…) It’s great for people who have limited diets and experience symptoms of food intolerances, as its fancy recipes make you feel like you are special and its articles assist with things like what could be causing your migraines (gluten, duh) and how to get kids to eat gluten-free without making it too healthy (is there such a thing?).

Anyway, these are just a few books that have shaped my journey into natural health and are worth the read if you’re gluten-free and wondering how best to take care of your body!

Is Gluten Bad for Everyone?

So is it? Is gluten bad for everyone?

Gluten Bad?

Me back in spring of 2009, when I shaved my pits, had no arm tattoos, and thought gluten was all fun and games.

Oh, and I love how those signs say “Better For You” in the background. REALLY?

Short answer: no. My answer: possibly.

Some people have negative reactions to gluten. Others do not. When considering is gluten bad for everyone, consider that the reason for this probably has to do with a combination of genes, your immune system, and the kind of gluten you are eating, and maybe even where you live.

What Is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. And it doesn’t have to be whole wheat. That white all-purpose flour you use is chock-full of gluten.

Gluten is what makes bread dough sticky and well textured. Certain kinds of breads and other bread products have more gluten than others. For instance, bagels are reckoned to have one of the highest gluten contents of all bakery products.

Gluten Today is Different

Let’s be honest: gluten today is not the same gluten it was 200 years ago. This is why you’re probably considering is gluten bad for everyone. It’s just not.

It’s processed differently, making many of the nutrients in it unavailable to our bodies or nonexistent, and giving rise to hordes of people who have an adverse reaction to the protein.

What Gluten Is In

Gluten is present in but not limited to: pasta, bread, cookies, cakes, soups, sauces (soy sauce!), dog/cat food and treats, cereals, oatmeal (doesn’t contain gluten itself but is likely contaminated with it through processing), pretzels, etc.

It’s in so much stuff that it’s kind of amazing people are wondering is gluten bad for everyone.

How Being Intolerant to Gluten Works

A lot of people are eating gluten and feel “fine”. I put fine in scare quotes because some people think they feel their best only because it’s all they’ve ever known. They don’t know that they can feel better. And then you have some people eating this who are really sick like I was years ago.

Gluten sensitivity, gluten intolerance, and celiac disease are considered to be responses that are auto-immune in nature. What this means is that the body attacks itself in the presence of this protein (gluten).

The body can attack any part of itself, meaning it could be the cause of irritable bowel syndrome, ADHD/ADD, lupus, acne, migraines, autism, bipolar depression, schizophrenia, dermatomyositis, and more.

For me, my body attacked my muscles in the presence of gluten. I was eating gluten for about 16 years and was totally “fine” until one morning in June 2007 I woke up to some minor muscle pain. In 5 days, I was crippled and could not walk. I was in a wheelchair at age 16. Read the full story here.

This sounds bizarre, but this can happen with food allergies, and you need to understand that it can happen. Your body can be totally cool with gluten for years and years, and then one day, it can develop an autoimmune response to it, sometimes seemingly overnight (like in my case).

The same goes for other potential food allergens, which is why many people are wondering today if gluten is bad for everyone.

So some people may have a problem with gluten and not even know it. Have an out of control child? Try eliminating gluten. Have IBS? Again, try eliminating gluten. You could go get tested, but I’ve found the best way to know for sure, due to tests being rather inconclusive due to a variety of reasons, is to just cut it out and see if you see a difference.

If you are going to go gluten-free, you need to do it 100%. You cannot just eat gluten “sometimes”. This is not how it works. You need to be 100% gluten-free for at least 14 days and up to 30-90 days in order for this to work, or to see any difference.

Who Reacts?

I think it’s entirely possible that while not everyone may have an adverse reaction to gluten, many people are living with the consequences of having a gluten sensitivity/intolerance/celiac disease and don’t even know it.

So instead of thinking is gluten bad for everyone, think about whether or not it’s bad for you. Get tested or go gluten-free to know for sure.

I would definitely encourage you to do this if you are experiencing some painful/odd health symptoms and your docs can’t figure out what is going on, or they think they know what is going on but they put you on meds that don’t help. I would extremely encourage you to do this if you are living with an autoimmune disorder such as lupus, dermatomyositis, eczema, Crohn’s disease, etc.

My Gluten Reaction

After what happened to me, I think trying the gluten-free diet for at least two weeks would be beneficial for everyone who thinks that they could feel better.

But of course, I’m biased. The only way to know is to decide for yourself what would be best, not just is gluten bad for everyone.

People ask me if being gluten-free is hard. I say, “Well, it’s easier than chemo.” I was on and off chemo for nearly five years after being misdiagnosed with an illness that gluten was causing.

Where to Find GF Stuff

There are so many gluten-free options out there.

Many restaurants have gluten-free pasta and pizza, if you’re still into cheese (which I’m not). People are understanding that many people have issues with gluten, which is why people are thinking is gluten bad for everyone.

Grocery stores, even ones that are non-specialty now, carry many gluten-free breads and cookies. For me, I don’t like to replace all the things I used to eat back in my Oreo days with gluten-free alternatives.

Why? Because it’s expensive, mostly disappointing (you’ll soon find out why; it’s hard to make healthy flour alternatives taste and look good), and not exactly healthy.

I prefer to eat mainly vegetables and feel good. Plus, you shouldn’t be eating all that sugar!

Gluten FAQ

What is the difference between gluten sensitivity, gluten intolerance, and celiacs?

Gluten sensitivity: a mild form of gluten sickness. People who have a gluten sensitivity may have little or no symptoms from eating gluten. This could stay the same for years, or it could turn into…

Gluten intolerance: a bad form of gluten sickness. People who have gluten intolerance will almost always experience negative symptoms. These could range anywhere from severe unexplained muscle pain to autism. Again, this could potentially stay the same if you keep eating gluten, or it could turn into…

Celiac disease: the most severe form of gluten sickness. People who have celiac disease cannot eat any gluten at all or they will be really sick and experience severe symptoms. This sickness could have symptoms ranging from stomach problems to migraines to skin or muscle problems. The most common symptom is stomach discomfort.

Are gluten and wheat the same thing?

Technically, no. All wheat contains gluten but not all gluten contains wheat. Gluten can be present in wheat, barley, and rye. Wheat has gluten in it, but gluten does not have wheat in it, if that makes sense. If something says “wheat free”, this does NOT mean it is gluten-free! You need to read the labels carefully!

To further complicate finding gluten-free items, you need to understand the definition of gluten-free according to the FDA, because these products can still have small amounts of gluten in them that the body can react to.

Why doesn’t my doctor know about this?

We shouldn’t blame the docs, necessarily. They’re certainly not thinking is gluten bad for everyone. They are trained to treat your ailments with pharmaceutical products. Most of them are only required to take 1-2 nutrition classes (if that) throughout their entire medical education. Plus, they are making some cash monies by pushing pharmaceutical products on you.

Ultimately, you need to educate yourself about your health and you need to decide what is best for you.

Of course, you can consult with your doctor, but don’t let them tell you what to do with your body. They are there to advise and treat you, but they won’t look at food as the first cause of your ailments when they really should. I have firsthand experience of how wrong this can go.

Should my pets be eating gluten?

Depends on your pet.

Some dogs and cats, like people, do fine with gluten. Others have a lot of problems with it including allergies (dark eyes, constant itching, seizures, etc.), poor stools (bloody, loose, constipation, etc.), hyperactivity, lethargy, etc. The list can go on and on.

If your pooch is experiencing any type of health problem (think arthritis or gastrointestinal issues), eliminating gluten might be a good idea. The problem is, most grocery stores carry shitty dog food and cat food brands like Purina and Friskies. You need to go online or try a different store to get quality food that’s gluten-free.

Does alcohol have gluten in it?

Depends on what kind. Beer, yes. Wine, whiskey, vodka, rum: no.

Surprisingly, most alcohols are gluten-free. Beer is a big no-no except for gluten-free beer. But even liquors that are made with barley/malt, like whiskey, are gluten-free because the gluten is processed out in the distilling process. Interesting!

I tried going gluten-free and didn’t notice a difference. Is it possible that another food is causing my symptoms?

Absolutely. Dairy, corn, and soy are more of the big allergens. Dairy is a big one for causing acne due to the hormones in the milk. Everyone’s body is different. It’s going to take some work to discover what’s best for you.

Remember, you didn’t actually “try” to go gluten-free if you didn’t give up 100% of gluten for a period of at least 30 days.

Should I be worried about foods being “contaminated” with gluten if I am gluten-free?

Depends how sensitive to gluten you are.

If you have celiac, you need to be worried. You probably shouldn’t even be eating in restaurants that have gluten in the kitchen.

If you have gluten sensitivity/gluten intolerance you might not even notice if you eat french fries that have been cooked in the same oil as wheat flour. It just depends on your body.

For me, I won’t use the same knife or cutting board that had wheat bread on it, or the same spoon to stir pasta that’s not gluten-free. But I’m down to have those french fries.

So which form of gluten sickness do you have?

I believe I have a gluten intolerance. I have never been tested for gluten intolerance for various reasons, among them being:

1. I was super sick when I realized gluten was making me sick, so I immediately stopped eating it.

2. Tests can be inconclusive, especially blood tests (I know this from being a former phlebotomist). Stool tests are the most accurate tests for gluten sensitivity/intolerance/celiac disease.

What if I have other questions?

Feel free to contact me, but there’s a ton of information out there via books and the Internet. You can also see an herbalist or nutritionist. Your doctor may not be so educated about gluten-free, but this will depend on your doc. Stay tuned for my next post about foodie literature, including some gluten-free staples!

Why Local Eggs Are Better: A Visual Comparison

Why are local eggs better? Let’s take a look, shall we?

2 Eggs

What is the difference between these two eggs? Anyone?

Ok yeah, the colors. Also the size and shape. These are things that you can see in the picture.

The things that you can’t necessarily see in the picture are the more disturbing things.

The Shells Are Different

The egg on the left’s shell is thin and brittle.

The Yolk Is Different

The egg on the left’s yolk also contains more cholesterol, because it was from an unhealthy chicken who was fed things that she was not supposed to eat. She also didn’t get any exercise. This chicken was probably contained in a cage that she could not even turn around in.

The Life of the Chicken Was Different

EVEN if the package says “free-range”, the United States’ standard for free-range ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

For instance, the U.S’s free-range policy states that the chickens must have been allowed access to the outside.

What does this mean? As one of my favorite journalists Michael Pollan says, it means that for the last two weeks of their life, the chickens are allowed access to a little door on the side of a giant barn that houses thousands of chickens restricted to tiny cages. This door is opened for the last two weeks of their life, and the chickens are allowed outside (outside meaning a tiny fenced-in area that has a dirt ground).

Problem is, by that point, the chickens have lived their whole life in a tiny cage in a dark barn. They probably know their life is bad, but they have no idea what is on the other side of that door and they aren’t particularly eager to find out.

Cage-Free Is Not Better

“Cage-free” eggs also tend to be another marketing scam.

Most of the time this means that the chickens live in severely confined spaces where they are more prone to disease due to being on the ground and in contact their own feces and other chickens, who are probably sick too.

This is sad, right? This egg could have been purchased at any supermarket in America.

So what about the egg on the right?

The egg on the right’s shell is firm and hard to crack. The chicken (who I saw) lived a life outside on the ground, pecking away at grass and bugs. This chicken was occasionally chased by a walking 18-month-old or a small dog. She lived her life with other chickens and was lovingly put in a safe, comfortable barn every evening to protect her from foxes and raccoons. She did not eat genetically modified food. She was not sick. She was never in a cage.

Why Local Is What You Want

The egg on the right is a local egg and belongs to a true free-range chicken, aka LOCAL chicken. Why are local eggs better?

1. You know where they came from.

2. You are eating healthier, lower-cholesterol, natural yolks with more beta-carotene.

3. You are not supporting those sad tortured chickens in tiny cages managed by industrial farms out for a profit.

4. You reduce your risk of getting sick from those nasty commercial eggs.

Finding local eggs can be difficult depending on where you live.

Finding healthy local eggs is even more of a challenge.

How do you know that the person who owned those chickens wasn’t feeding them genetically modified grains, antibiotic feed, or Wonder bread? You just have to ask questions, or better yet, go and see the farm for yourself.

If they have nothing to hide then they shouldn’t deny you access. Most people would be happy to give you a tour if they know you are eating their chickens’ eggs and therefore supporting their existence.

Finding local eggs was very easy for me when I lived in Pennsylvania. Finding local eggs is very difficult for me where I live now.

You can find natural food stores but beware of industries trying to masquerade as healthy, friendly companies. There’s a market for this, people. There’s a reason that gluten-free products and Whole Foods are so expensive–because there is money to be made from people who are trying to eat better.

Your local eggs should come directly from a farm (meaning YOU get them directly from the farm, not Whole Foods) or from a small local store that carries eggs from local farmers. The farmer’s name and contact information should be directly on the carton. And don’t be afraid if these cartons are mismatched or seemingly from Giant—farmers recycle donated egg boxes to save themselves from having to purchase any.

Commercial eggs completely gross me out now and I don’t trust the United States Department of Agriculture to tell me what’s good and what’s not when it comes to eggs.

Cooking the Eggs

Let’s have a look at the inside of these eggs, shall we?

I was so grossed out by this commercial egg that I couldn’t even bear the thought of putting it in my beloved cast iron. I had to borrow a Teflon pan to cook this sucker

Commercial Egg

Looks like a normal, American egg, right? And it is! From a sick hen who was not allowed to live a natural life and confined to a cafe. Look at that bright yellow yolk. And then compare it to this:

Farm Egg

Can you see how much darker in color these yolks are? Natural, really healthy chicken yolks from local eggs are very dark orange. That’s because they are chock-full of beta-carotene and other healthy vitamins.

Naturally lower in cholesterol, these eggs have really firm yolks that are difficult to break and they tend to stick together after they are broken. Look at them after I broke the yolks (because I can’t stand my yolks runny!)

Farm Eggs Yolk

And then let’s look at our disgusting commercial egg after the yolk has been broken and the Teflon has fried it to a crisp:

Commercial Egg Yolk

Eww, it just runs right out of there. The egg’s shell is brittle, the yolk and egg white are thin and runny, and the yolk is bright yellow. Sounds like a pretty sick hen to me. No way was I putting that in my cast iron.

So obviously I made two of the local eggs because they are delicious and healthy so I ate them. I am very sorry for wasting this commercial egg, I figure if the chicken went through all that suffering and sickness to provide this one egg, I should eat it right? But alas, I cannot.

Do a little bit more thinking the next time you buy your eggs. Lots of unhealthy chickens depend on your purchases. You can make a difference if you stop buying! You’re one person, but so am I! Together we can influence, educate, and change. Buy local eggs!

Why to Use Cast Iron: It’s Your New BFF

If you’re into cooking food, you might be considering why to use cast iron.

With other non-stick options like Teflon, why would you ever use cast iron?

cast iron

What Is the Problem With Teflon, Exactly?

Teflon is just another name for a synthetic chemical, which is processed with other chemicals to make your non-stick surfaces.

These other chemicals are supposedly not present in significant amounts when the finished product is done.

(And we should all thoroughly trust the government to regulate what’s a “significant” amount of toxic chemicals and bleach in our stuff, right? Right.)

So.

These chemicals break down in high temps and get into your food, and therefore, in your body. They are carcinogenic.

You ESPECIALLY need to stay away when the pan is scratched, because then the literal particles of Teflon and its fun gang of chemical friends are going into your food/mouth.

You need to throw these things out immediately if they are scratched (and even if they are not scratched, but baby steps, right?)

So Why to USe Cast Iron?

I was introduced to cast iron the same summer I was introduced to coconut oil so you can bet my summer was filled with fun adventures of getting used to all the perks of the cast iron and using the hell out of that coconut oil.

And, it was also filled with a ton of nachos and refried beans, thanks to a recipe out of a gluten-free book called Gluten is my Bitch by April Peveteaux, which was, coincidentally, also given to me that summer for my birthday.

ANYWAY. So, why to use cast iron?

  • You can use it on the stove or in the oven.
  • You do not have to wash it. At all. (Ok so you can wash it sometimes and maybe you even should when you cook meat in it but who am I to say?)
  • It holds temperature really well, although it takes a bit more time to get heated up.
  • You can do weight workouts with it when you’ve misplaced your dumbbells.
  • You can club people with it and there’s a possibility they may not return from unconsciousness. Which comes in handy when you live alone in a cabin in the woods.
  • It does not have nasty harmful chemicals in it that will give you cancer.

I first learned that I didn’t have to wash cast iron when I actually washed it and it rusted. I had to refinish it several times after that. LEARNING CURVE.

It’s easy to refinish a cast iron once you’ve royally screwed over your pan, so don’t worry. Another awesome reason about why to use cast iron. It’s virtually indestructible.

You just need some steel wool and some oil or fat. Cast iron does not need to be washed. I wipe mine out with a cloth when I’m done. Then again, I am also not cooking raw meats in there or commercial eggs which may have campylobacter or salmonella.

So, if you’re cooking these things in a cast iron, you might want to use just a little Dr. Bronner’s to rinse it out. You’re allowed to use a little dish soap, but only if it’s not tested on animals.

Cast iron holds heat really well, so after it’s heated up you need to turn that temp down to low most of the time. And don’t try and pick it up without a cloth or a potholder when it’s hot! Ooo baby.

Doesn’t Food Cooked In Cast Iron Stick?

Actually, if it’s been properly seasoned (oiled) and maintained, it doesn’t stick at all. A great reason why to use cast iron.

You DO need to use more oil than a Teflon pan, though. If you are not using enough oil, your food will stick.

To get the stuck food out, use kosher salt or your metal spatula.

Don’t soak it! Water and cast iron do not mix well (it’s ok to add water to the pan when cooking but it may alter the seasoning a little, making it more likely to stick).

There are a ton of tips and helpful sites out there to assist you with your first cast iron. Don’t be afraid! You should be afraid of getting cancer, not some silly heavy pan.

Where to Buy and Prices

You can get a medium-size cast iron for as cheap as $9.99 at T.J Maxx. I also found a big cast iron that I use when I’m cooking for more than one person at a flea market in Virginia for $10.

They do sell new ones for quite a bit of money, though. For your first one, I wouldn’t spend that much. Try to find something cheaper so you can experiment and you won’t feel entirely heartbroken if you’ve ruined it. Look and you will find when considering why to use cast iron.

NOTE: I’ve heard recently that commercial cast iron pans are sprayed with some type of chemicals to make them “seasoned”. I haven’t looked into this claim yet because both my cast irons have been so damn seasoned over my years of use that I’m pretty sure any chemicals have burned off. But check it out before buying…

I’m Not Into Cast Iron—What Else Can I Use?

There are other alternatives out there. You can use ceramic. Supposedly ceramic is cool. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet because the non-stick nature of it reminds me of Teflon, even though I know it’s NOT Teflon.

You can also use copper and stainless steel, but be aware these metals may be made with other metals and get into the food too. Look for high-quality stainless steel.

Glass and Corningware seem ok. I’ve also heard that the type of iron used in the cast iron pans is not great for the body either as the body doesn’t absorb it the same way as it would an organic iron.

Confusing, right? As long as I’m not using Teflon, I feel ok.

So there you have it. Give cast iron a try. These pans are cheap, virtually indestructible, and make amazing dishes that crisp like no other. Why would you ever go back to Teflon when you could have one of these gems?

10 Reasons to Exercise (Or, Why I Got an $80 Ticket for Canoeing)

Like you needed more reasons to exercise.

But no really, you do. How many of you exercise on the reg? I can’t even raise my hand for that one! Exercise is so important to our health but so few of us do it.

Get your motivation on! Here are ten reasons to exercise.

1. It Makes You Feel Great

Physically, emotionally, spiritually. Go out there and burn off some steam! Long distance running is my passion because I can go as fast or as slow as I like, any time of year, and can meditate or listen to music while I do it. Enjoying some great scenery can be another of the great reasons to exercise.

2. It Makes You Look Great

It tones so many parts of your body, and I love waking up to sore calves from a five-mile run or sore arms from a weight workout. It reminds me that I am alive, healthy, and strong.

3. It Can Boost Reproductive and Sexual Health

Regular exercise can do wonders for your monthly cramps in addition to your libido. Check your diet and vitamin intake to ensure that you are getting all the nutrients that your body needs also. If you need any more reasons for exercising—men, it keeps things exciting down there!

4. It Keeps You Healthy

Regular exercise can add years on to your life, keep your blood pressure normal, your metabolism up, and keep your joints and bones healthy. Also, sweating out those toxins is great for your skin. It keeps your heart strong (because your heart is a muscle, but you smart cookies already knew that).

5. It Helps You De-Stress

No doubt about it—one of the best reasons to exercise can be the ultimate stress reliever. Whatever I’m worried about before the run fades after the first mile and is definitely gone by the fourth. I feel so much better afterward.

6. It Gives You Time to Connect With Yourself

Being in the moment and experiencing your body, the way it moves, the way you breathe, the sensations you feel like the wind on your face or the crispness of the air, all of these things ground you: one of the best reasons to exercise. You’re here. You’re a person. Be here.

7. It Gives You An Opportunity To Connect With Other People

So, if you’d prefer to be a recluse, that’s cool. But I will say, after living in a cabin in the woods for two years, that you need people interaction.

No matter how much you dislike people, being stuck on an island like Cast Away is just not appealing after a certain amount of time. And as we’ve all seen, Wilson will float away.

So get out there and wave to people and say hello. These simple interactions mean a lot. For you and them.

8. It Makes You Want to Eat Better

You go for a run, and then, to Arby’s. Wait, WHAT? No no no no no no NO! I had an ex who did this. He claimed that it didn’t matter what calories you ate, you just needed calories. This is a huge lie!

One of the great reasons for exercising is that it motivates and inspires me to feel even better by eating great food. Quinoa, local eggs, organic blueberries and almonds, organic spinach, these are all great foods for runners.

Pamper your body; it’s doing so much for you!

9. It Helps Relationships

You can get that time to yourself if you need it, or, go with your significant other if you guys need more time together.

It also helps with relationship conflicts. It helps to clear your mind and soul, and when you can clearly see, you can clearly make decisions. Keeps you stress-free and feeling great, so less time and energy for fighting!

10. It Sets Great Future Habits

 Hey, I could very well be dead tomorrow. Which would be fine, but, in the event that I live to be like 80 or something, it’s nice to know and be reassured that I am doing good things for my body now, therefore good things will come later.

Also, my schedule allows time for exercising now. It may not at certain points in the future. It’s good to have the exercising habit already established so that you don’t have to “start” again. You merely have to continue.

Cautions About Exercising

Exercising is not without its risks!

Beware of What’s Going on Around You

It’s fine if you want to listen to music, headbang, daydream, punch the air, or whatever else you want to do while you are exercising, but please be aware of your surroundings.

Don’t let a tree branch take you out during kayaking. Don’t let a creepy perv come up on you in a white van and pick you up while you are running (it HAPPENS, people!). Don’t let some old woman accidentally slip a fart out with her butt in your face during yoga.

Pay attention to what is going on.

Be Safe

This is a big one to incorporate when you’re considering reasons to exercise.

I personally never leave the house unarmed when I go running, no matter what time it is. I always have a knife or a taser on me. (Sometimes I take pepper spray, it depends on how I’m feeling that day. Usually I feel like cutting some bitches.)

But it’s not always about being armed, it’s about paying attention to things and being prepared for the worst.

Adhere to Regulations

Ok, so I know very well that I can swim in four feet of water.

I also know very well that I can stand in four feet of water.

But this did not stop me from getting an $80 ticket from a river cop for canoeing without a life vest in a four-foot section of a river in Pennsylvania (those PA cops, man. They do their job).

Make sure that whatever you’re doing, it’s cool with the local authorities when considering reasons to exercise.

This is me in that same canoe on that same river on a different day hoping I don’t get pulled over again, ha. Does that orange thing count as a life vest?

Minimize Exercising on Busy Roads

This isn’t just a safety thing, it’s a lung health thing too.

Think about it—you’re running or biking, you’re breathing hard, and you’re passing hundreds of vehicles that are pumping out free radicals in your face.

You do not want to be breathing the exhaust of all those cars.

It’s basically chemicals going into your lungs. Diesel exhaust is carcinogenic, people. Don’t demean the good thing you are trying to do for your body with a bad thing like breathing free radicals.

Minimize or eliminate this practice.

Try Not to Go In the Dark

Exercising in the dark is dangerous. There is more of a chance that cars will hit you, deer will hit you (happened to a friend of mine), and huge bugs will fly into your eyes (this happened to me on a run at the end of summer; my eye was jacked up for the next two days).

I’m sure you amazing people already have really healthy exercising habits, right? Not to mention tons of reasons to exercise. Remember not to push yourself too hard. Be gentle with yourself and your body. Know yourself and your limits. But get outside and do something fun (and safe)!

Things That Just Make Me Really Mad Around the Holidays

I hope everyone had a nice holiday. I enjoyed mine with the exception of the occasional moment of suppressed rage, aka holiday anger management.

While I encourage everyone to speak out about things they see that are not right or things that bother them or traumatic events they have gone through that they no longer wish to be quiet about (or were never quiet about in the first place), I do acknowledge that there are moments when you must suppress your rage for the hope of something better.

Why must we do this? Why are there moments when we keep our mouths shut? I believe that there is a time for everything. Just as there are moments to scream, so are there moments to be still. Although I do really love this quote from Russian writer Nadezhda Mandelstam:

“I decided it is better to scream. Silence is the real crime against humanity.”

Sometimes silence isn’t a crime but a choice.

But here’s the part where I scream.

And here’s what makes me really mad around the holidays.

I Made Food and You Complained While You Ate It

Yesterday, Ian and I made gluten-free/dairy-free/sugar-free organic pumpkin spice doughnuts.

We used organic dates and hot water to make a puree which substituted the sugar. People really enjoyed our doughnuts, but upon eating them at dessert, one table member remarked that since they contained no sugar and weren’t fried, then they weren’t really doughnuts because they didn’t contain the staple ingredient of sugar nor did they go through a frying process.

Um… yeah. Is that not my doughnut that you are shoving into your mouth right now?

So I kept my mouth shut. Or rather stuffed with doughnut. Because I thought those things damn well looked like doughnuts and tasted like doughnuts. And frick if those things didn’t contain added sugar or weren’t fried.

These are other doughnuts we made that are GF/DF, but you get the idea.

Must we do these things to our food?

While I won’t apologize for attempting to bring something organic yet yummy to the table that everyone could eat, I also won’t be responsible for disputing relations between myself and my boyfriend’s family.

Cue in holiday anger management, because this was a moment of suppressed rage. Because I loved those doughnuts and was proud of them, and I hate being quiet, but I also love a good drama-free holiday.

There’s Literally Nothing I Can Eat

I’ve been gluten-free for years. I’ve been dairy-free for years. I’ve had a family for years.

My extended family does not understand my food allergies at all. They do not make one single dish that I can eat, therefore dictating that I bring my own food.

I have zero problems with bringing my own food, except for the fact that people usually make fun of whatever it is that I bring.

It’s like they forgot that I was in a wheelchair before I stopped eating gluten.

I don’t complain. It just makes me mad. Please don’t make fun of my food. I enjoy it. My boyfriend enjoys it. Stop judging my decision to eat healthier and not be in a wheelchair.

Families Can Just Be Super Annoying

This is my brother and I swear I love him, but sometimes he just makes me really mad.

Hint: he’s usually the one making fun of the food (this is us at Easter a few years ago).

Why is it that families can be the most offending of people? It doesn’t matter if it’s my family or my boyfriend’s family, it just doesn’t make sense. I’m like, shouldn’t you be a stranger or something?

Unfortunately no, these people and I are somehow all related.

Here are just of the few things that happened during the holiday that made me mad:

  • my grandmother tells me I need to grow my hair out yet again.
  • for “Secret Santa” I got my cousin’s name, the same one who blew past me on the road in his diesel truck while I was running and I choked on the fumes.
  • the fact that everyone is eating about five of the top allergens in the world all on one plate in one meal at one sitting.
  • the fact that most of those people don’t even know what the top allergens are.
  • when someone told me that my work at a homeless shelter is probably depressing (oh, yeah, because YOU have totally worked at a homeless shelter before).
  • when someone assumes that I am vegan.
  • when someone gives thanks for the turkey who “gave it up”. And then I say out loud, “unwillingly”.

That last one wasn’t suppressing rage or handling holiday anger management well. Or, only mildly. But you get the idea. Family!

Is It Time to Scream Yet?

You need to decide for yourself when to deal with holiday anger management. These moments will not be the same for everybody.

The same could happen if you are in a relationship. I am by no means advocating being quiet about things that bother you in a relationship, or in any other sector of your life for that matter, which is why these are called “moments” of suppressed rage rather than “lifetimes.”

But around the holidays, it could be argued that holiday anger management will become more relevant in your life.

So prepare yourself to do some peacekeeping after you label all the food on the table with little signs such as: “was tortured on the reg” next to the ham, “came from infected udders” next to the mashed potatoes with butter, and “contains up to 90% pesticides” next to the green beans.

Oh, and don’t forget to label the gifts that were tested on animals. Your relatives will want to know that for sure.

10 Foods You Should Never Eat (Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You)

Let’s have a conversation about foods you should never eat.

Everyone is talking about food these days, it seems. Do this diet, avoid this food. Bash Gwyneth Paltrow for saying she’d rather die than feed her children Cup-A-Noodles.

You agree with her, right?

Besides examining Cup-A-Noodles, let’s look at a few foods that I will, with good reason, advise you to avoid. Here are 10 foods you should never eat.

1. Artificial Sweeteners

Splenda. Equal. Sweet’N Low. Truvia.

Think these are natural? Read the ingredients.

Then look those ingredients up, because you won’t know what they are.

Basically, just avoid anything that says “Sugar-Free”, “Low-Fat”, “Light”, or “Diet”. These products remove sugar or fat but then bulk up on sodium or artificial sweeteners to replace the flavor.

Artificial sweeteners have been linked to cancer and are definitely among the top foods you should never eat. Want something without added sugar? Eat an apple.

2. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

Ah, the fun that is GMOs.

This food could be anything from Tostitos (corn and soy are the biggest producers of GMO crops) to cheese.

Why cheese?

Because the cows that you get your milk from are getting GMOs too (they are unnaturally fed corn, which is why they are sick and on antibiotics, which is why YOU will get sick and end up on antibiotics).

GMOs are in almost everything, which makes it hard to put on the list for foods you should never eat.

Genetically modified food is huge in the United States, but don’t let that be your reason to buy it. The DNA of the food is artificially altered and it’s going into your body. Your body has been processing normal, real food for thousands and thousands of years.

Genetically modified food may look like real food, but the fakeness of it will corrupt your body’s health and end up in your baby’s bloodstream.

3. Non-Organic Produce

I do love organic food but don’t quite consider it to be as luscious as the food you grow yourself.

I view it as the lesser of two evils because they’re still using pesticides on it, they just aren’t the same pesticides that they’re using on non-organic food.

Plus, I hate the way non-organic apples look shiny, like some poor girl’s lips in a Cover Girl commercial (can you say animal testing? Someone please tell Taylor Swift that she’s advocating for animal suffering). That’s not natural.

Organic food also tastes better—bananas, apples, spinach, blueberries—and current regulations prohibit GMOs if it’s organic. It’ll spoil sooner, but it tastes like food is supposed to taste and FYI, rotting food is completely natural. You shouldn’t be putting anything into your body that won’t eventually rot.

4. High Fructose Corn Syrup

But you love it! Right?

It’s in sodas, candies, ice cream, sweet tea, and bread. And there’s more where that came from.

Not only is this GMO (corn, people!) but it’s also a revamped way of making sugar. Manufacturers can use less high fructose corn syrup than sugar and achieve even more sweetness.

The problem? It’s totally screwing with the way your body processes insulin. Hello, diabetes.

5. Sick Animals

Eating sick animals is as simple as picking up a package of hamburger meat at your local supermarket. So put this on your list of foods to never eat.

Where did it come from?

What kind of life did it live?

Was it sick; was it on drugs or hormones?

And even more importantly, what did it eat?

Because you are what you eat. If you’re picking up meat at the grocery store, even if you’re purchasing organic meat or grass-fed meat, consider what it ate, how it lived and died, and what part you play in it.

Local meat is way better.  But be sure to find out just how local it is before buying.

6. Farmed Fish

Again, this just isn’t natural. This is like a children’s book of “Which One Doesn’t Belong?” Imagine a series of farm animals and your child points to the fish and says, “That one! The fish doesn’t live on a farm!”

Well, now it does, Junior.

Farmed fish is unhealthy. They typically live in small areas with lots of other fish, therefore being prone to disease and bacteria. They are also fed… guess what, GMOs.

In what world did fish ever eat corn?

The world in which fish became one of the things on your list for foods you should never eat. Go fishing and do the dirty work yourself, or, if you don’t have time and are still trying to pack in that omega-3, buy wild fish at the store or market.

7. Sugar

Wow, you’re surprised to find this on here, right?

You’re saying, “But you said to avoid artificial sweeteners, not real sweeteners!”

Relax, my friends. I will introduce you to some alternatives that will be your buddies until you put added sugar on your list of foods to never eat for good.

Refined sugar is in cakes, candies, bread, salad dressings, meats, soups, and countless other things.

Try these other options that are less taxing on your body and health:

  • Agave nectar (sweeter than sugar with a lower glycemic index!)
  • Honey
  • Unrefined sugars like coconut nectar or raw organic sugar
  • Maple syrup (REAL maple syrup, NOT Aunt Jemima! She steered you wrong, girl)

Many people argue that sugar and sugar and our bodies process it the same. I would disagree with this, as apples contain fiber that helps your body absorb it over a period of time. This differs from candy where your body gets an instant sugar high.

Swap out refined sugars for more natural ones until you’re ready to kick added sugar and all its toxic effects for good.

8. Artificial Colors, Flavors, and Preservatives

Your body never ate these in the millions of years since humans have been here, so it has no idea what to do with them.

So these are in the foods-you-should-never-eat pile. Just don’t eat them and save yourself a trip to the toilet.

Examples include vanillin (in Hershey’s chocolate), aspartame (in Light Yoplait Yogurt—I told you about the “light”, people!), and BHT (also used in lighter fluid, and, in your frozen chicken nuggets).

9. Hydrogenated and Partially-Hydrogenated Oils (And Refined Oils)

These oils have been heated up to extreme temperatures so that they resemble a material akin to plastic.

Classic example: the hydrogenated oil in Jif peanut butter.

These oils are not naturally occurring at these temperatures and are not healthy when heated to this point. Stick to natural peanut butter and check your other snacks and processed foods for hydrogenated oils.

Other refined oils such as canola oil are often made from GMO crops as well, something we want to avoid.

They can thicken the blood and do other nasty things to your body. Foods you should never eat, meet Jif!

10. Processed Foods

You totally knew this was coming. If it comes in a box, it’s probably not ok, so these are among the foods you should never eat.

If it won’t rot at some point in the near future, it’s probably not benefitting your health. Stick to the produce section of your grocery store, and if you want to splurge, go for organic fresh fruit or organic dark chocolate.

Or, if you really must, eat healthy 90% of the time and then have your damn Cup-A-Noodles on the side.

Eating healthy is not that hard. Yes, of course, it’s an adjustment. However, it’s an adjustment that’s a huge investment to your health and will make you feel better. You’ll also be supporting a healthier planet and world by not buying toxic substances and then putting them into your body. Happy eating! 🙂

Your Introduction to the Menstrual Cup

Welcome to your introduction to the menstrual cup. It’s about to get real.

Did you know that feminine care product brands such as Playtex, Kotex, and Tampax test on animals?

I know what you’re thinking—how the hell do they test tampons on animals???

Actually, they test the amount of bleach on animals. What, you didn’t think those white tampons and pads were actually natural, did you? That they came from trees all nice and white? No, sorry. Those mothers were bleached. And you are shoving them up your vag.

I know, right?

Tampons also contain a known carcinogen byproduct, increase your risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and your risk for Toxic Shock Syndrome, a serious illness which a model recently lost a leg to.

Get rid of those chemicals! There are natural brands of tampons and pads that you can buy if you really want to, including organic cotton ones.

But I don’t use tampons and pads anymore, not since I found out about the menstrual cup.

What Exactly Is the Menstrual Cup?

Some of you may already know what a menstrual cup is. I had no idea what it was until I started looking up alternatives to conventional pads and tampons.

The deal is, it’s a small cup that you insert into your vagina that catches your flow rather than absorbing it. Some say this helps to ease cramps. The cup, when inserted properly, should not leak at all.

Fascinating, right? My first menstrual cup was The Keeper, which is made of natural rubber latex.

It Fits Better Than Tampons

Menstrual cups come in different sizes. You may think this looks large, but it’s actually quite small and not difficult to insert after a couple tries (you fold before insertion).

Sizes vary by age, whether or not you have given birth, and personal preference. This menstrual cup is the smaller size for women who have not given birth vaginally. Unfortunately, this cup didn’t work for me. I could not get it to stop leaking and the stem was really long. Some women trim the stems depending on how long they need them to be.

The position of the menstrual cup will be slightly different in every woman’s body. When I was first looking at menstrual cups, I thought, “I’m going to be the most natural hippie ever and not shove silicone into my body, so I’m getting the natural rubber.”

I used this menstrual cup for almost six months and just never got the hang of it. They say that it takes women an average of three periods to master the menstrual cup. For some women, it only takes one. For some, it could take longer (ahem, me).

The menstrual cup requires you to become familiar with your female anatomy. This was great for me because I had no clue what was really up down there. It’s great to be knowledgeable about your body so that you can better care for it.

You Can Pick the Material You Want

After finding out that the natural rubber latex just wasn’t working, I got my second menstrual cup, which was the LadyCup.

The LadyCup is made of medical grade silicone. These cups are much more comfortable to insert and get in and out of your body in my experience. They come in cute colors and the stems are shorter and have grips on the stem, which helps a lot when removing.

As you can see, they have air holes to create the seal. There needs to be a seal created in order for the menstrual cup to work.

For the LadyCup, I got the bigger size because it’s based on age. The menstrual cup needs to be inserted in a specific way and there are a ton of tips and folds that you can do to get it to work properly.

Whether you choose to go totally natural or get a silicone cup, it’s for sure healthier than tampons. I actually went through two more menstrual cups (a smaller LadyCup and finally the Lunette) before finding my perfect fit.

It Takes Time to Get Used To

I’ve been on my adventure with the menstrual cup for several months now and it’s been a fascinating, albeit frustrating, one.

It takes time to get the hang of this but when it works, it’s like magic. Here are just a few benefits of using the menstrual cup:

  • You insert it and you’re good to go for 12 hours
  • You can run, swim, pee, poo, do whatever you need to do with it in
  • When it’s in properly, you don’t feel a thing.
  • It’s more eco-friendly
  • No more trips to the store for tampons!

Didn’t tampons and pads take time to get used to? The menstrual cup will too. You will love it once it works and you’ll definitely love not exposing your vagina to carcinogenic substances.

How to Clean Your Cup

When your cup is full or if it’s leaking, it’s time to take it out and reinsert it.

But let me stop you before you do this.

First, you need to wash your hands. I like using a castile soap like Dr. Bronner’s. If you don’t wash your hands, you’re putting yourself at risk for a UTI (yes, I got a UTI from not washing my menstrual cup my first summer using it).

After emptying the cup, you need to wash the cup. I don’t care if you just put that thing in, wash it again. Be sure to thoroughly rinse off any soap residue. Then, just reinsert. It’s that easy.

It’s really important that your hands are clean before you have any contact with your menstrual cup, so don’t neglect this step!

Not Liking the Cup?

Ok, I get it. Putting a tiny cup in your vagina is just not for everyone. Here are some alternatives to the menstrual cup:

Get reusable cloth pads. You can wash and reuse these. I ordered cloth pads as a backup on days when I don’t feel like messing with the cup or when my flow is lighter. Flannel is actually a great material to use as it’s absorbent or you can go for organic cotton or bamboo.

Try natural tampons and pads. These would include unbleached fibers. They’re easier to deal with if you’re not invested in the menstrual cup, but wasteful for long-term use, as the average woman has her period for something like 40 years and will use nearly 12,000 tampons.

Check out sea sponge tampons. These are pretty cool. I myself haven’t tried them, but Bree (this really cool girl on YouTube who is something like a menstrual cup guru) has and did a video on them, click on the link to check it out.

Don’t Give Up Too Soon!

If you’re having problems getting your cup not to leak, I would encourage you to check out my guide for getting your menstrual cup to stop leaking. Bree also did a video on that which is super neat and helpful if you want the short (or a more visual) version.

Don’t give up on your menstrual cup! You can do this. Contact the company that made your cup—after going through four menstrual cups, Lunette finally helped me find my perfect fit. You might have to do some experimenting to find what works for you.

Trust me, all this effort will totally be worth it in the end!

The Verdict

I really love menstrual cups even though they can be frustrating when getting used to them. They give me a way to avoid animal testing, be more in touch with my body, and be friendly to the earth.

So ladies… happy menstrual cup shopping. There are so many different brands to consider! I do hope you’ll give this a try, as it’s safer for your body, there is no known risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, and it’s so much more convenient for you and the planet.

Cost wise, the cups run anywhere from $20-$40 and last for 10 years. Can you buy boxes and boxes of tampons and pads for $40 in ten years? DOUBT IT.

Embrace your womanhood and check out the menstrual cup; you can pick your favorite color, have it shipped to your door, and get familiar with your body all in the privacy of your own home. What have you got to lose?

5 Reasons to Avoid Animal Testing That Will Help Create a Better Planet

If you’re looking for reasons to avoid animal testing, you’ve come to the right place.

Animal testing kills 100 million animals each year. Before you begin to say that these animals would overpopulate the planet if left alive, let me assure you that many of these animals are specifically bred for animal testing purposes.

Not only is animal testing inaccurate and unreliable, it’s completely unethical. Animals like those in the pictures you see here are tortured so you can have mascara that won’t make you go blind or perfume that won’t cause skin rashes.

It’s not just the cosmetics industry—cleaning products, pharmaceutical drugs, even food is tested on animals. There are so many reasons to avoid animal testing. Here are five of them.

1. It Saves Countless Animals

These are just a few of the animals that are used in animal testing:

  • Rabbits
  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Birds
  • Monkeys
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Hamsters
  • Mice

When you stop buying products that support animal testing, you are saving these animals from a life of pain and torture. Imagine your dog or cat being injected with a carcinogenic drug just so researchers can see what happens.

Look at what happens to innocent animals who are subjected to toxic substances so we can enjoy things like makeup, cleaning products, and drugs.

animal testing

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to feel like I’m responsible for that. The truth is, you’re responsible every time you pick up a tube of Crest toothpaste, spray your house with Febreeze, or put Neosporin in your grocery cart.

Anything that you buy at a supermarket has been tested on animals unless noted on the packaging. Here’s how it works: companies are not really about marketing the fact that they’ve tortured puppies and kittens and monkeys to bring you this “wonderful” product that they’ve made. So, if the product has been tested on animals, it won’t say anything about animal testing on the packaging.

You can stop being a supporter of the millions of animals that are suffering right now because you didn’t know what else to buy besides Tide.

2. Help Create a More Sustainable Planet

If the company or product does not test on animals, they’ll brag about this fact on the packaging.

Know why?

Because not testing on animals costs a lot more than testing on animals, so the product will be more expensive. Ever wonder why some of your favorite products are so cheap compared to the “natural” brands? It’s because your products have been created at the expense of animals suffering.

Your purchases have an impact on the planet. When you choose to avoid animal testing, you’re not only saving animals but helping to create a more positive planet.

Of all the reasons to avoid animal testing, helping to create a healthier planet is undoubtedly one of the most significant. You can invest in healthier products instead of toxic chemicals that are polluting the earth. You’ll eliminate unnecessary breeding of animals for torture.

You are an essential part of stopping the cycle of animal testing. The more products you buy from companies that test, the more of a supporter you are.

Stop being a supporter. Look at the reasons to avoid animal testing. You can create a better world by making more informed decisions.

3. Be Healthier

If the ingredients in the products we use were natural to begin with, animal testing would not be necessary.

Think about it. If something needs to be tested on animals before you come into contact with it, don’t you feel a little weird about that? The world would be a simpler place if we just used natural products to begin with.

Instead of using lotion filled with toxic artificial fragrance and hormone-disrupting parabens, why not use coconut oil or shea butter? Instead of taking a pharmaceutical drug for blood pressure, why not just eat garlic? Instead of using toxic perfume, why not just use essential oils?

One of the best reasons to avoid animal testing is that you can be healthier by making better choices.

4. Feel Better

Buying (or making your own) products that have not been tested on animals can be challenging.

However,  making your own products can actually be really fun and cultivates self-sustainability. It requires some researching and lots of label reading but compared to how you feel when you find out that you’ve been supporting this industry for years, it feels as light as a feather.

Feel better about what you support and what you put on your body as well as in it. When you’re not taking drugs, chances are you’ll feel better. When you’re not inhaling toxic chemicals, you’ll probably breathe easier.

When you’re looking for reasons to avoid animal testing, consider that you’ll feel better once you stop supporting this industry and choose better, healthier products.

5. Invest in Better Research

There are other methods we can use to ensure our products are safe.

If it’s fine for a mouse it must be fine for a human. Right?

This is not a logical train of thought. Yes, mice and humans are both mammals. However, we share different DNA. How could a creature other than a human dictate whether something is safe for humans?

When you stop supporting animal testing, you help invest in better research. This includes more ethical means of testing if dictated to be necessary, such as in vitro testing. Shouldn’t we use human cells if we’re doing human research?

For those who would argue against the reasons to avoid animal testing by saying that dog eye drops or medications require a dog, think again. Most medical ailments can be treated naturally. For those that can’t, we could utilize alternative testing methods rather than making the animal suffer.

What You can Do

Think you’re not torturing animals?

If you live in the United States and pay taxes, you’re actually contributing about $16 billion towards unethical animal experiments through government-funded research.

Also, if you use any of these products, you’re supporting the animal testing industry with cold hard cash:

  • Windex (anything from SC Johnson tests on animals)
  • Loreal
  • Febreze
  • Dawn
  • Vaseline
  • Lysol
  • Arm & Hammer
  • Snuggle
  • Tide
  • Rimmel
  • Maybelline
  • CoverGirl
  • Noxzema
  • OxyClean
  • Nair
  • Orange Glo
  • Trojan condoms
  • Clorox
  • Glad
  • Pine Sol
  • Soft Scrub
  • Speed Stick
  • Colgate
  • Palmolive
  • Softsoap
  • Murphy’s Oil Soap
  • Band-Aid
  • Bengay
  • KY
  • Neosporin
  • Neutrogena
  • Garnier
  • Purell
  • Kleenex
  • Cottonelle
  • Huggies
  • Kotex
  • Pull-Ups
  • Playtex
  • Lancome
  • Dolce & Gabbana
  • Gain
  • Head & Shoulders
  • Gillette
  • Listerine
  • Crest
  • Mr. Clean
  • Old Spice
  • Puffs
  • Secret

This is not a comprehensive list. This list goes on and on. For a more comprehensive list, check here. For a list of companies that don’t test on animals, click here.

When you’re looking for products that have not been tested on animals, you need to look for a label that says, “Not Tested on Animals.”

Some products say they are “Cruelty-Free”. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they have not been tested on animals. It could mean that they still test but consider their animal testing techniques to be “humane”. You should always question and ask the company if you need to!

Also, some companies are “parent” companies, meaning bigger, more unethical brand names such as Unilever own brands that would otherwise appear to be ok such as Seventh Generation.

It’s a jungle out there, am I right?

But you can do this.

Let’s consider the reasons to avoid animal testing next time we make a purchase. It’s so important for our health, our planet, and our animals. Thank you for considering the reasons to avoid animal testing!