Do You Really Know What’s Been Done to the Animals You’re Eating? Take This Quiz!

Today I’ve been feeling depressed about the meat, egg, and milk market in America. I can’t speak for other countries, but this industry in America is really messed up.

But just how depressing is America’s meat, egg, and dairy industry? Think you know what’s happening behind those closed “barn” doors that the “farmers” won’t let you see?

Let’s take a little quiz to see how informed you are, you educated thing.

Animal Industry Quiz: What Happens to the Meat, Eggs, and Dairy before We Eat It?

Disclaimer: may be depressing.

1. Before pigs are killed, they are:

a) given a farewell hug, then their throats are slit

b) Ushered into a room with other pigs, where they all are shot

c) stunned with a taser, thrown in a giant tub of scalding water, then skinned (they may still be alive at this point)

2. Male chickens do not lay eggs. What happens to the male chicks after they are born in the egg industry?

a) they are sent to happy local farms where they will become roosters and peck away at their hearts’ content

b) sent to another farm in the meat industry where they will be raised with hormones, then killed for some American family’s dinner

c) they are ground up alive

3. Veal is some tasty beef (I’ve never had it, but I’ve heard this). What happens to veal before you pick it up at the store?

a) the baby cow has played happily in a field with its mom

b) the baby cow lived on a giant factory farm with other baby cows, being fed unnatural grains before it was slaughtered

c) the baby cow was tethered to a post in a dark stall all by itself where it never saw daylight or moved much, and then it was killed

4. Male cows are neutered in the meat industry. How is this process accomplished?

a) with anesthesia, a vet comes to administer this and remove the testicles

b) without anesthesia, a qualified individual simply cuts off the testicles and stitches up the area

c) without anesthesia, someone ties a rubber band around the testicles to cut off the blood flow. The testicles turn black and then fall off

5. How are female cows able to keep producing milk?

a) female cows just naturally produce milk all the time

b) they are injected with hormones to keep them producing milk

c) they are impregnated time after time by having sperm injected into their vaginas. Immediately after they give birth, their calves are taken away to farms where they will be injected with hormones, raised for meat, and slaughtered at a young age

6. A specific breed of chicken has dominated the meat industry. Why was this chicken bred?

a) it tastes better

b) it looks better

c) people in America want chickens with bigger breasts, so the chickens are bred so their breasts grow so big that many of them cannot walk

7. When pigs are transported to the slaughterhouse, they are:

a) put in sturdy cages so they don’t fall or hurt each other

b) put into trucks where they have room to lay down and are given water and a snack

c) packed into trucks so tightly with no food and water for many miles; many die from heat exhaustion or freeze to the side of the trucks, where, if they are still alive upon arrival, they are cut off the side of the truck and their skin is removed

8. What happens to chickens at the slaughterhouse?

a) they are given baths before their throats are slit

b) they are gassed to death

c) hung upside down by their legs and dragged through water with electricity run through it, which paralyzes them, and then their throats are slit while they are still conscious. Although, some of them miss the blade and end up being dumped in scalding hot water still fully conscious

9. Cows at the slaughterhouse are:

a) comforted before they die

b) get their throats slit and someone is there to ensure that every cow dies quickly

c) they are shot in the head with a bolt to stun them, their throats are slit, and they are dismembered. Some cows are not properly stunned or do not immediately die after their throats are slit, and they are dismembered while still conscious

10. Egg-laying chickens:

a) sit on pillows while laying their eggs

b) are in individual cages where they don’t have much room to move

c) are so tightly packed in cages with other chickens that they do not have room to move or clean themselves. With cage-free chickens, they are usually packed the same way on the floor where the spread of illness is more likely and they still do not have room to do much

I’m going to make this super easy for you guys: the answer to all of them is c.

Shocked? You shouldn’t be.

This stuff is happening right now all over the country. If you guessed c for most of them, then you’re well informed and know your stuff, and hopefully, you aren’t still buying commercial meat and dairy and eggs.

The great thing about this is that you DON’T have to stop eating meat, eggs, and dairy to stop supporting this industry. You just need to get local meat, eggs, and dairy. This means that you need to find small local farms where the farmers are actually farmers and they let you see and pet the cow and other animals.

This food is also so much healthier for you too as usually, these local farms let their cows and chickens eat natural food such as grass without shoving unnatural GMO grains down their throats.

Finding local farms is not easy, depending on where you live. And when you do find them, you’ll need to make sure the animals are happy and healthy before you choose to support them by buying their meat, milk, or eggs.

It’s ok to be depressed about this stuff but don’t be angry or depressed without reason—act on this! Stop buying commercial meat, milk, and eggs and pack on the veggies!

4 Reasons Why I No Longer Own a Smartphone (Yes, I’m Serious)

Yes, I’ve gotten rid of my smartphone. For good.

Yeah, I got the iPhone. And yeah, I got rid of it. Why?

1. I Didn’t Want to Be Accessible

The iPhone made me accessible.

I was no longer a lone ranger, as it were. I couldn’t get lost. I was suddenly, with this device, always found and always in touch.

If you called me during dinner, there I was. If you called me during school, there I was. If you called me while I was walking down the street, there I was. Not that I actually answered the phone at any of these times, but you get the point.

It was suddenly there with me everywhere and as I got older, when someone needed something, I was just a phone call away. No guessing. No frustration. No appreciation. I was there.

I decided I wanted to stop being there and start being here.

2. I Wanted To Stop Being Rude

The iPhone made being rude very easy.

I was able to check my e-mail from my phone, and suddenly every e-mail became so important that I had to check it right then. I noticed that I’d be texting a client when I was hanging out with my boyfriend.

I was getting calls and texts from exes who wanted to see me. I was receiving calls from my boss asking me to come in early. And yes, as horrific as it is, I’ve been that person who didn’t see the red light because they were looking down at their phone.

I was able to Google directions instead of being lost. I was able to look up an item or a restaurant or a question on the Internet right there, wherever I was.

It was so easy. It was so convenient. It took the wonder out of life. It took my attention away from the people I was actually with. I wanted to stop being rude and start being attentive.

3. I Wanted To Be Healthier

What really pushed me to get rid of my phone—besides the midnight text messages and Victoria’s Secret e-mails and mouthing to my boyfriend while we’re cooking dinner “I have to take this” when a call comes in—was the fact that the cell phone was likely affecting my health.

Preliminary studies show that cell phone radiation affects the brain. Although we’re not exactly sure how yet, some research points to tumors. Basically, the longer you use your phone and the closer it is to your head, the more you’re exposed to changes in brain cell DNA.

That made me feel like having a phone in this way, this overly-accessible, convenient, brain-damaging way, wasn’t right.

It was hindering my natural life experiences. I no longer actually learned how to get out of the city, I had Google Maps to show me. Then I forgot the way as soon as I was on the right road home.

I didn’t need to try and find a phone to call my boyfriend on; actually, I didn’t need to have an actual conversation with him at all, because I could merely text him. I didn’t need to talk to my clients or friends or parents. They were all a text message away. We’re so technologically advanced that we took the voices out of a conversation.

How is that possible?

So I got rid of it. Had my service shut off and “wiped” the phone clean, and sold it.

4. I Desired a Simpler Life

I wanted to be free of my phone and all the attachments and distractions it brought with its pretty, bright screen and Wi-Fi capabilities.

I now have a flip phone for emergencies that I keep in my car with the battery out so that signal isn’t constantly coming within several feet of me.

I talk on a landline, which is apparently the only safe way to talk on a phone (sorry, wireless phones are a no. They need to actually be plugged into the wall), and I email. But who knows what that constant Wi-Fi signal is doing to my brain?

Technology has been taken too far to the point that we’re all obsessed with it. Technology in the form of a  smartphone was taking away from me being present for my life. I was always, more or less, focused on the phone.

Shouldn’t I be focused on life?

Something just isn’t right about our smartphone culture. You should be paying attention to the world around you, embracing nature and learning how to talk to people and have manners without some device that only makes the checking line slightly less awkward. Forgive me for sounding like a hippie, but seriously. We are missing out on being human.

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)!

4 Legitimate Reasons to Stop Being Speciesist Right Now

The word speciesist comes from speciesism, which is the assumption that you as a human are superior to animals.

This assumption has led people to do awful things, including animal testing, factory farming, and keeping wild animals in captivity.

Being speciesist separates you from the innate connection you share with the world. You and every animal, plant, and other life forms have something in common—you share life together on this planet.

Here are four legitimate reasons to stop being speciesist.

1. Animals Have Feelings

If you’ve ever had a pet, you know that animals have feelings.

They feel pain and sorrow. They feel excitement and joy. Many thrive with companions, others love to be solitary. You don’t need to be a scientist to recognize and understand that these majestic creatures feel.

Animals feel scared. They feel threatened. They feel happy and loved. Although you can’t always communicate to an animal how you’re feeling with words, you can by your actions.

2. We Are Not Superior

Ok seriously, how are you superior to some of the most beautiful and intelligent creatures on this planet? This turtle has been around for 150 million years and can hold its breath for five hours.

Your ancestors existed for what, 6 million years and you can eat a Big Mac? Big woop.

How can we be superior to other life forms when we all share the same life and planet? When you become conscious of the life that you are, you realize that you are superior to nothing and to no one. You are one with all life. We are not superior.

3. Become Conscious of Your Impact

When you stop being speciesist, you begin to understand more about your impact on the world.

If you are not superior, you must be the same. If you are the same, then how can you show such disregard for a life that you share with other species?

Recognize that others are impacted by your presence. The planet is impacted by your presence. Forget about being better or more or superior, be one. Realize how huge your impact is and what a difference you can make simply by shifting your worldview and making a conscious choice not to support animal torture.

4. Create a Better World

You don’t need to be in a position of power to make an impact.

For example, the food you buy. Where is it coming from? Is it from places that treated their animals with love and care? Is it from a place that began dismembering the animal before it was even dead?

The purchases you make have a huge impact on the planet. The realization that you are no better than other life forms changes the way you perceive and interact with the world. We can make a better world when we stop being speciesist.

Are You Speciesist?

Since we have a right to be humans, animals have a right to be animals too. Even bugs. Are you speciesist? Let’s find out:

  • Do you discriminate against other life forms that you perceive to be lower than you?
  • Do you smash beetles or spiders when you see them for no reason?
  • Do you never stop to pick up worms when they absently crawl onto pavement and sidewalks after a healthy rain?
  • Do you buy products that were tested on animals?
  • Do you think it’s totally fine to torture and kill animals for the sake of pharmaceutical products?
  • Do you believe that animals were made for people?
  • Do you believe it’s ok for animals to be used for entertainment purposes?

If you answered yes to four or more of these questions, you are probably speciesist. Being speciesist is being prejudiced against other life forms.

Why should we treat animals differently? Why should we discriminate against different kinds of animals?  People also have a right to their opinions, but consider how you impact others and the planet.

Give animals a little leniency. Be aware of your behavior as well as the animal’s behavior. I get that some people have had bad experiences with animals that they testify to. I’m just saying that we shouldn’t be so quick to judge and we should love and accept all animals and creatures without smashing them upon first sight or assuming they’re aggressive without giving them a chance.

Wouldn’t you do the same with people?

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!