Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Run the World

Or at least try to in these shoes! If you are looking for a vegan and environmentally friendly shoe, you can't really get any better than Brooks Green Silence shoes.  At first glance they are a little quirky compared to the standard ultra white running shoe with a splash of colour here and there.  I know I am not the only runner who has picked shoes solely on their accents colour.  I have also had some pretty nasty bouts of Plantar fasciitis .  Those two are not related, and I am sticking to that.

The main vegan concern in running shoes is often the glues.  They are rarely vegan and manufacturers will often use the cheapest available to them.  So while the components of the shoes are easy to identify, the glues are a bit trickier.  Brooks use of water based adhesives is a guarantee that any vegan can walk (or run) away happy with.

Key Green Features:

  • The world's first-ever biodegradable midsole for running shoes

  • 75% of the shoe’s materials are post-consumer recycled

  • Biodegradable insole and collar foams

  • Laces, gillies, and reinforced webbing are 100% post-consumer recycled

  • Water-based adhesives are used throughout

  • All dyes and colorants are non-toxic

  • Packaging is 100% post-consumer recycled

As soon as my current shoes hit 500k I am ordering a pair! Now just to narrow down my colour choice.
What shoes do you run in?? Do you try to pick Vegan or eco-friendly models where possible.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

The great egg debate

I answer a lot of questions on my eating choices from friends, family and coworkers.  It comes with the territory of being a vegan.  But sometimes I get questions that stump me and I give fuzzy logic replies.  One of those comes with our cities discussion over rewriting the bylaws to allow residents to raise their own laying hens.  I have been asked "would that be vegan?".  I usually reply, Vegans don't eat any animal products so the easy answer is no.  But the question has me thinking.  If I had my own hen would I eat her eggs? Wouldn't it be better for the environment than say, a processed soy product??

There is quite an interesting discussion on the Vegan forum on a similar topic: eating the eggs of rescued chickens.  I side most clearly with this response:

First, there's the issue of whether eating eggs from rescued hens is vegan. I think we all agree that it clearly isn't. However, the second question addresses whether or not eating these eggs corresponds with the ethics behind veganism. Here is where I feel the issue could be open to debate. If you feel that non-interference is an important aspect to veganism, then you may be feel eating any eggs is unethical. However, if you feel that no-harm/reducing animal suffering is the underlying ethics of veganism, then you may feel that while the consumption of these eggs is not vegan, it isn't unethical either.

The non-interference aspect was new to me, but I suppose it is the same belief behind some of the issues with honey.  I eat honey.  Not directly in tea or in my own baking, but I am pretty sure I have had it in other items inadvertently.  I guess this makes me less vegan, or perhaps not vegan at all.

This leads me to a new discussion on why we need the labels anyway.  See how one question can lead into a hot debate with even my own internal thoughts. While I am not condoning my own less than perfect choices, I do believe that Veganism is about acceptance.  And the constant labeling of our dietary choices is really a disservice to the broader goal to spread the ideology that many of us support.  I would love to hear your thoughts on the egg question! And please, let me know how you approach the continuum of veganism and vegetarian diets.  I mean why have we become a culture that feels a need to describe our eating habits like "I'm a lacto-ovo vegetarian that sometimes eats fish but only if it's sustainably farmed".  Really?!

Enjoy the last night of your weekend!


Saturday, 25 February 2012

Coming clean about un-clean eating

I eat about 80% clean.  Sometimes more, sometimes less.  And by that I mean I try to eat whole, unprocessed foods with minimal additives etc.  There is more about that in this post.  I thought it might be a good idea to share some of my less than perfect food choices.  While I think balance is important, I have felt guilty lately indulging in these foods.  Maybe that is a good thing, but I want everyone to know upfront that I have my vices, and it's probably a good idea to get everything out in the open before they pop up in a post ; )  So here it goes...

The things I need to let go:

  1. I drink too much coffee.  My barista knows that I like a tall soy coffee misto with SF cinnamon dolce, extra hot.  Actually everyone in my office building might know my order.  At least I am predictable right??  This is one of the things I need to change.

  2. I also drink diet pepsi (hangs head in shame).  I know, I know! So bad for me and the environment.  But I actually am in the process of cutting it out completely (AGAIN).  I have shifted to Zevia to transition.  It's not pretty with the headaches let me tell you.  What scares me is I think it might be more aspartame withdrawal than caffeine.

  3. Whenever I go to the grocery store with the bulk bins I buy a bag of those pretty, shiny, wasabi rice crackers.  You know the ones? They have sea-weed wrapped around them and are likely full of all kinds of bad things including MSG.

The things I am ok with:

  1. Dark chocolate.  In particular endangered species dark chocolate with mint.  I LOVE it, but only buy it for special occasions because I will demolish the king size bar in one sitting.

  2. Barbara's Cinnamon Puffins.  Me and J eat them as a snack sometimes, and while not the healthiest cereal choice, I feel they are a better option than microwave popcorn that has a shelf life longer than my own.

  3. Hummus.  While not unhealthy per se, it probably shouldn't be it's own food group.  For some reason I will never tire of hummus and carrots.

Those are just a few that I can think of off the top of my head.  Do you have any less than healthy food habits that you would like to share?? I certainly won't judge!

Shopping on a Snow Day

I am from Canada, Alberta to be exact.  Which inevitable means we get snow days.  Today is one of those blustery days when it's just not worth venturing outside in the car.  I might bundle up to walk to the store later, but for now I am killing some time reading and window (or computer screen?) shopping online.

As part of my quest to become more green and eco conscious, I am trying to avoid my usual shops and online stores.  I am also trying to make purchases matter more and have instituted a new 'get one give one' rule.  This way when I make a purchase, I consider what I am replacing, what I can donate etc.  While not perfect, it is a good first step for a girl who loves to shop and finds it really hard to turn down a good deal.  The gap 40% off clearance sales racks are going to miss me.

I have also stopped all inbox notifiers of group sales a la groupon and dealfind and instead added VeganCuts to my Facebook page so I see what's new when I'm checking in on all my friends happenings.  EthicalDeal is another great one that features local green companies in your own city.

Actual stores are tougher.  H&M has a COnscious Collection coming out in April that looks promising (if you consider only the  clothing line).  I am in love with this adorable dress.

One of my all time favourites ASOS has an amazing Green Room that features brands with 'environmental and social ethos'.  It includes clothing, shoes and skin care.  Think Toms, and People Tree.

Matt & Natt have their new Spring 2012 line online too.  As usual they never disappoint! I am loving the grass-green hue.

That's all for today! Enjoy your Saturday however you choose to spend it!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Our Simple Wedding: Part 1

Welcome to the first of many wedding planning posts.  As we began to plan our special day we knew two things for certain: we wanted to keep it small, and we wanted to hold it locally.  Let me tell you what I have found.  The wedding planning business is a monster and it is easy to get sucked in to the commercialism of what should be a very simple day of exchanging love and vows surrounded by your family and friends and great food.  I was quickly overwhelmed by the amount of waste and needless spending.  While eloping seemed like an attractive option, we both really wanted our families present and had to appreciate that traveling to some far off locale is just not within everyone's means.  Not to mention the carbon footprint to even get there!!

Here is what I have chosen so far:

  1. Location location! - Our wedding will held literally across the river from our condo at a heritage house on campus.  The fee for the space goes back into the heritage fund and our guests get to enjoy the old age charm of the space.

  2. Eats - we looked at a lot of options and settled on a cocktail reception.   Mainly because I hoped there would be less waste and we can specify to a lot of tastes and favourites.  It is also a great way for me to sneak in Vegan items without people really knowing.  You know, my sly way to walk around after and say "yes, weren't they delicious! And Vegan too!"

  3. Drinks - I plan to get organic sodas and place them in old stainless washing tubs filled with ice.  Because we are buying our own alcohol we can source organic beer and wine, and even a local brewery for the beer.

  4. Invites - we are going with postcards on recycled card stock  to minimize paper waste and will ask for a phone call or email RSVP.

  5. Cookie Bar - Even thought it is probably a bit over done now, I loved the idea of a candy bar.  But instead of loading our guests up with high fructose corn syrups I am opting instead for a vegan cookie bar.  Watch the blog as I try out cookie recipes over the coming months!

  6. Favours - we agreed to go with a charitable donation but want a keepsake too so we are printing off little cards with the charity name and details in case guests want to make a future donation on their own.

That is all we have for now but watch this space for more detailed posts in the coming months.  Please share with me your ideas and inspiration! Right now I am on the hunt for vegan shoes in a teal or jade colour.  I may let up on that wish though ; )

Happy Friday!