Saturday, April 30, 2011

☆ What's Going On: Animal-Testing: Pointless & Medically Enviable ☆


Before you go off grumbling about this article simply being another rant from some crazy vegan, allow me to shed some light on the subject and perhaps open your eyes to the unnecessary and cruel world of animal testing...


We test on animals for everything, from the medical cures we deem "necessary" to the ingredients in beauty products. The torturing of animals for our supposed benefit is endless. Most people will argue that animal testing saves lives and that without it we would live in a world with rampid disease and illness. But ninety-four percent of animal testing is done to determine the safety of cosmetics and household products, leaving only 6% for medical research. The reality is this; Testing on Animals is utterly pointless and unnecessary. Animal testing is a waste of our tax-dollars, medical research, and unneeded suffering and deaths of innocent animals. And it is a fact that most medical researchers and doctors simply cannot disagree with.

Cosmetic Testing:

There is possibly nothing more vain than the testing of animals for cosmetics (except perhaps the fur industry). It is an act of cruelty for what? So your eyelashes can be miles long? So that preservative in your moisturizer can be used over something natural? My thoughts are that if your cosmetics need to be tested on animals before human use, then perhaps it is time to reconsider whether you really want to slather up that junk on your skin every day anyway.  

Perhaps part of the misconception is the thinking that those animals are just sat there with their lashes swiped with mascara or their fur washed with shampoo. No, that would be a huge misconception. Those animals are strapped down, poisoned, burned, and blinded. 
A common eye irritancy test is the Draize Test, done on rabbits in which their heads are locked in stocks so they can't move, their eyelids are clipped (preventing them from being able to blink), and chemicals are poured into their eyes. These poor rabits are left to suffer for Weeks through the burning and irritation of these chemicals. They bleed, get ulcers, and their eyes are destroyed. Some even break their necks while trying to escape their stocks.  
Whole Body, Short-term Toxicity, Skin Penetration, Skin Irritancy, Eye irritancy, Skin Sensitization, Phototoxicity & Photosensitisation, Mutagenicity, Carcinogenicity, Reproductive Toxicity, Teratogenicity and Finished Product Testing are all common tests performed on animals. And you can imagine that these are all done in horribly inhumane manners and without pain-killers. 


The sad part is that there are so many alternatives to test these chemicals than using animals as test subjects. Manufacturers can now drop a chemical onto a donated human cornea instead of burning away the cornea of a rabbit's eye. Human skin cultures can be grown and ordered for irritancy testing. And, again, if an ingredient in your cosmetics needs to be that extensively tested, you probably shouldn't be putting it on your skin. What these tests really serve is beyond me, considering the majority of beauty products on the market contain harmful carcinogens, cause respiratory problems, and are known-irritants anyway. There is also already enough existing safety data, and the in vitro alternative testing option, that make animal testing for cosmetics completely unnecessary. 


Medical Testing:

Most people don't like the idea of testing on animals for cosmetics, but almost everyone will insist upon the importance of animal experimentation for medical research. After all, finding a cure for HIV or cancer are pretty important causes. 
It would be nice to live in a world where diseases could be cured and our lives could be healthier, where things like cancer and parkinsons and AIDS were no longer a worry. Sadly, animal testing is not the road to that magical world. In fact, animals have proven to be horrible test subjects all together. And you may be surprised (I know I was) and horrified (I most definitely was) that much of this supposed "medical testing" is far from productive, helpful, or even evidently useful or medically relevant. In fact, most of it is downright pointless and ridiculous. And that's your tax dollars, I may add, that go towards these baffling and pointless tests. 
For instance, did you know that via the National Institutes of Health (NIH), you paid for an experiment that discovered that mice don't need to be electrocuted to run on a wheel? Mhmm, you heard it, that received federal funding. For real. 

Okay, so I'll start by pointing out that the animals that we test on are NOT Humans (alarming I know), but this is an important factor to be considered when their DNA is not the same as ours. This makes them terrible test subjects as their bodies are so different than ours that it is simply not an accurate or effective way to test how a drug or disease will affect our human bodies. The results can never be trusted definitively. 
Even Chimpanzees, whose DNA is ninety-eight percent similar to ours, are not always reliable. That two percent can be a significant difference in how a disease progresses through their bodies. For example, in a chimp's body, HIV doesn't progress to AIDS like it does in humans. 
There are so many other examples of the inadequacy of testing on animals versus the effects on humans. Like how an equal dose of a particular pesticide can be high enough to kill an entire human family but be perfectly safe for monkeys. Or that sheep love arsenic; penicillin kills guinea pigs but is inactive in rabbits; aspirin kills cats and causes birth defects in rats, mice, guinea pigs, dogs, and monkeys; morphine, a depressant in humans, stimulates goats, cats, and horses. The contraceptive pill causes blood clots in humans but has the opposite effect in dogs. Mice don't get the same types of cancer as humans do, yet they are still used for cancer research. And this is really just scratching the surface. 

Taking a healthy being from a different species, giving them some condition that they would not normally ever contract, keeping them in an unnatrual and distressful environment and trying to use the results of such a study for human beings is just absurd. Even the simple notion of taking a human being and putting them in a distressful environment totally changes the results of a study, so how is experimenting on extremely psychologically distressed animals not going to invalidate the results of such a test?  


Less than 2% of human illnesses (1.16%) are ever seen in animals. Over 98% never are. At least 50 drugs on the market cause cancer in lab animals. They are allowed because it is admitted that animal tests are not relevant.

The other sad factor is that all this research is often not for noble causes like it should be. People may be sad to hear about some of these tests done with the money they are generously donating to find a cure for some illness that touches someone close to them. An example of this is the maternal deprivation tests done on baby chimps; done in the name of AIDS research! The studies are done to show the importance of maternal attachment, in which researchers rip baby chimps away from their mothers and study them while they are in isolation. These baby chimps are sometimes given a stuffed "mom" to act as a surrogate in place of their real moms. The babies are so traumatized that they have been seen clinging to these surrogate "moms" even if the "mom" stabbed them with spikes. This is all done just to prove that maternal figures are important. You know, because we can't just blatantly see the importance of maternal attachment ourselves, by watching humans in real life. No, we have to do studies to explain why and how and to what degree. 

More examples of ridiculous Experiments done on Animals that are utterly pointless:

Again, I will remind you that most of these tests are done in the name of cancer research, to find a cure for AIDS, or some other illness. These are Your tax dollars, donations, and other government funding at work.

  The scientific community has wasted $20 million taxpayer dollars exposing animals to drugs for a variety of arbitrary and pointless tests, including...

  A research facility in North Carolina received over $71, 000 dollars to feed cocaine to primates. The project was dubbed "Monkeys Getting High for Science."  

  In 1998, labs used chimps to test ecstasy, when it was already considered to have no medical benefits and had already been tested on humans. The results from this test? Ecstasy causes long-lasting brain damage. Duh.

  The federal government is still giving money to vivisectors to find out over and over again that drugs and cigarettes are still bad for you.

The Inhumane nature of Animal Testing:

People often just don't want to hear what is going on in the world of Animals, including Animal Testing. It is not surprising to most the unfortunate and inhumane manner in which these experiments are performed. However, I am here to ellaborate regardless. 

These animals are kept in tiny cages unsuitable for wild creatures where they are burned, shocked, poisoned, isolated, starved, forcibly restrained, addicted to drugs, and brain-damaged for the sake of science and the "benefit of humankind." No experiment is prohibited and the animals litterally have no rights, no matter how painful or trivial the experiment may be. And, remember, pain-killers are not required either. 

Many of these animals are bred specifically for animal experimentation (much in the same manner as factory farming). Many more of these test-subjects are taken from animals shelters, meaning those cats and dogs that were abandoned on the streets. 

Once the experiments end, and the animals have served their purpose in the lab, their bodies are so damaged, tainted and impure and can't be used for further experimentation so are therefore killed. There is no happy ending. And sometimes animals used in lab experiments aren't intentionally killed, such as the thirty monkeys that died in a Nevada lab because an employee left the heater on. Such instances are not rare either since animals have no rights and the penalties for such inhumanity and negligence is really just a tap on the wrist at best.  

Worldwide, at least 22 animals die every second in labs. In the UK one animal dies every five seconds.

There is no Need for Animal Testing and it is utterly and completely Pointless...

Even when we do experiment on animals, human tests still need to be done regardless. 
The FDA has noted that 92 percent of all drugs that are shown to be safe and effective in animal tests fail in human trials. And as for that small percentage that do get approved for human use, half will be relabeled because of side effects that were not identified in animal tests. 

If testing on animals was actually reliable and accurate then prescription drugs would not be the 4th biggest cause of death in the USA. 


The simple reality remains that most experiments done on animals are not relevant to human health. They do not contribute meaningfully to medical advances. In fact, many of these experiments are undertaken out of pure curiosity and don't even pretend to hold promise for curing illnesses. The only reason people are under the strong misconception that animal testing is necessary and actually helps humans is because there are strong dollars going towards the media, experimenters, universities and lobbying groups to have you believe animal experiments lead to new cures and have contributed to past medical advances. This misconception has been strongly debunked even within high-esteemed medical groups. 

At the end of the day, there shouldn't be any need for testing to be done to begin with. There are tons of natural herbs, foods, and products that are already known to help our bodies and contribute to good health. Eating healthily, taking care of our bodies, not subjecting ourselves to nuclear fallout, radioactive materials, pesticides, and other pollution, toxins, and chemicals, would litterally end many of today's health problems. This herb will help you, but no, let's try if this hexaphtalatemiaijaijija-unpronounceable chemical will help instead. What, it causes health problems? Well let's toss it onto the market anyways.  

There is simply no actual Need for subjecting animals to horrible experimentation. We could safely end animal testing altogether without sacrificing or changing any of today's supposed medical advances. There already exist so many alternative methods for studying diseases and testing products, and that are actually relevant to human health and the human body. At least 450 methods exist with which we can replace animal experiments. These effective, affordable, and humane methods include things like cell and tissue culture (in vitro), genomic, and computer-modeling techniques as well as studies of human population, volunteers, and patients--and remember, human-testing needs to be done even if animal testing is done prior. There has been far more progress in the medical industry done on alternative studies than there has ever been done by testing on animals. And the deeper you look the more obvious this becomes. If animal testing worked then cancer numbers wouldn't be getting higher, disease and illnesses wouldn't be getting worse, and (again) prescription drugs would help us instead of kill us. 

The reality is blatant: You do NOT have to choose Experimenting on Animals to find a cure for any illness or disease. 
It is scientifically enviable.  


Extra Material to watch:

If you can stomach it, here is some extra material to view. I know that I have a hard time watching these sorts of things, I am so in love with animals that watching the insane amount of cruelty reduces me to tears. However, if you still have doubts whether Animal Testing is useful or "humane" then I recommend watching the following:


And of course, watch the movie Earthlings. 

TAKE ACTION:

Send a letter to National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins asking him to step up and lead where others have failed by creating a policy that takes real steps to eliminate the use of animals in experiments that will bring that number to zero, in addition to providing training opportunities for non-animal experiments.




Money talks. Get loud with your cash. Check for the animal-friendly Leaping Bunny symbol  on products from cosmetics to household cleaners, or make your own non-toxic cleaning supplies. You can also check out PETA's caring consumer database for a list of which companies and products are animal-friendly as well as alternatives to products manufactured by companies that do test on animals. 

Sign this Petition Telling the NIH to Make a Plan to End Animal Experiments: 

Take a minute to speak up for lab animals by contacting Obama through the Office of Public Liaison on the need to move away from using animals in research. It’s time for the new administration to pull the financial plug on cruel and wasteful research.

If you're looking to donate to a charity then you can visit the Humane Seal for a list of organizations that use progressive non-animal research methods for a number of causes from cancer and Alzheimers disease to trauma treatments and substance abuse. You can also search their site for a specific cause. 

 
And AAVS (American Anti-Vivisection Society) for more campaigns, take action, and information on animal experimentation. 

You can also put as much pressure as possible on both the EPA and FDA to stop their "required" animal testing. 


Together, we can end Animal Testing forever. One of the most important things you can do is to Spread the word and become educated on the matter, let others know that animal experimentation is medically irrelevant and wasting your tax dollars. Speak up and give a voice to animals needlessly suffering in labs. 







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Thursday, April 28, 2011

☺ Being Someone You're Not is a Waste of the Person You Are!☺



Pretending and trying to be something you're not, something that isn't true to You, is a waste of Who You actually Are. Be You! Because no one else is going to do it for you. 
Stop caring what others think or say and embrace every part of who you actually are. Be free and open to be You. 
Step out of your Comfort Zone and be yourself. It may sound like a strange concept that one would have to "step out of your comfort zone" to be one's self, but we have spent a lifetime wrapped up in a society that is constantly telling us What to be, How to Act, how not to act or be, and to basically Not be You. Conform, stay silent, stay sleeping, stay dumbed down. Be a clone, a robot, a drone. We are made to believe that acting out of accordance with what society tells us makes us "different" and that we should not be "different." This is positively silly because we are All different, we are Individuals; meaning we are not all the same. To try to fit into society's perfect little package and limited ideals is an insult to your own intelligence and Who you Are. Society actually teaches us to be unhappy, so that we try to fix our unhappiness with "things," and so I ask; who wants to be unhappy? Certainly not I and I don't think that you should want to be either. Act the way that makes you Happy. Let loose, step over that line society has drawn. Go ahead, be shameless, act "out of line." Be the Unique and Amazing Individual that you Are. And never sacrifice who that person is for anything or anyone. Don't let others tell you how to be, who to be, and who not to be. 
Don't let others tell you what you "should" be doing with your life and your future. Do the things that make you Happy. Live the life that You choose to live. Never be ashamed, embarrassed, shy, reluctant, or "held-back" to do all the things you want to do and act the way that you would like to act. Enjoy yourself, your time, everything that you do. Stop caring what others think, it really doesn't matter. Half of those people you will never even see again, so why do we allow their opinions or strange looks to deter us from our desired course of action and behaviours? Be free to act and do the things that you choose, from the small, seemingly insignificant, to the massive life-choices. Don't be afraid to be yourself and to go against the narrow-minded ideals that we've been taught is "normal" and "right." Never sacrifice who you are because someone else has a problem with it. Those who matter will love and accept every part of your quirky and unique personality. Those who have a problem with it are not worth the time of day. They are just miserable with their own conformity so pay them no mind and don't take it personally as they are just facing their own problems--or refusing to face their own problems. Live for Your Self. If you actually be the person that you Want to be then you would literally astonish yourself with the amazing potential that would open up in your life. You would actually be Living for You. And that is an amazing gift.  



All you have in this world is You, the Here & Now, and This Life you've been given. Embrace every part of it and live it the way that You desire. When you live this way then you are living to your fullest potential and in accordance to the natural laws of You. Don't waste another second of your time trying to be someone that you are not. 
Be foolish, shameless, free, happy. Be You right now. 

Never apologize to anyone for Who You Are. You have a beautiful soul, so feel good and feel comfortable Being Who You Are. Wanting to be someone you're not is a waste of the person you are. Give yourself the gift of being joyfully and unabashedly You. Be Yourself and No one else. You are an amazing gift to the world, don't limit yourself by not being You.


Peace and Love!




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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ⓥ Vegan Kitchen: Tofu Balls Ⓥ


These are so absolutely ridiculously delicious! I've brought these to potlucks before and people just eat them right up, even the avid meat-eaters and tofu-weary folk! It is a fairly simple recipe, easy to make and only takes about 30 minutes total. They go great in spaghetti sauce, as a side dish, in subs and wraps, or as a great "turkey" replacement for all of those big festive dinners (like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and so on)--drizzle some vegan gravy over top and I'm in complete heaven!   

I snagged this recipe up from "La Dolce Vegan" cookbook and changed a few little things to my liking. So if you fall in love with this recipe, I highly recommend that you go pick yourself up their cookbooks, like immediately! ;) 


Tofu Balls:

1 cup Tofu (best if its firm but I often use regular and it works just as good), mashed or crumbled
1/2 cup Rice Flour (or other flour)
2 tbsp Tahini (or nut butter)
3 tbsp Tamari
1/8 cup Parsley
1/2 tsp dry Mustard
1/4 tsp ground Black Pepper
1/4 cup flour for coating
2 tbsp Olive Oil


In a large bowl, stir together the tofu, 1/2 cup flour, tahini, tamari, parsley, mustard, and pepper. Place 1/4 cup of flour onto a plate and roll 1/2 tbsp of tofu mixture into a ball and coat with the flour. In a frying pan on medium heat, fry tofu balls in oil until browned all over. Makes approx. 10-14 balls.  

~ my cheesy Tofu Ball "Sub" ...actually a wrap ;) ~

Enjoy!





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Monday, April 25, 2011

☺ Inspirational: Motivational Mondays!☺


So this Monday may be a holiday so many of us might not be feeling the usual Monday "blahs" ...that's FANTASTIC! Now keep that Happy Attitude all week long!! 

 Hug a Tree! Keep Earth Day going all year long, appreciate nature! Go on, Hug a tree, you'll feel awesome! I do it alllll the time. Sometimes I will see a tree and simply MUST stop to hug it. Spread the love ;)  
 Everything Happens for a Reason. Remember this and carry it with you always. Have faith. There is a lesson in everything that happens in life and a journey that keeps on moving.
 Got with the Flow... Don't resist life, just ease up and go with it. Life is much easier when you go with the flow instead of resisting everything.
 Spend Time with Family... It was a lovely Easter Weekend and so we are reminded to spend time with family and loved ones. It's important and often under-appreciated. Love your family, get close to them, enjoy their company and share the love.  
 Be the Bigger Person: Because you can. Everyone is going through something. All you can do is control what you do, so be the bigger person, lead by example. 
 Be Selfish. Do something entirely for yourself. We are too often told to not spend time on ourselves and to not be selfish, but it is important to do things for yourself. So go ahead, be selfish, do something for You!  
 Cherish the Small Things... They often go overlooked so remember to stop and appreciate all the little things in your day and in your life.  
 Go Green! In honor of Earth Day, try to green your home and life as much as possible. Consciously move towards a greener lifestyle, it will make you and the Earth feel better. I promise ;) 
 Plan Outside Activities. Get back in touch with Nature and get away from "nature deficit disorder." Spend as much time outside as possible. Reconnect with Nature, reconnect with your Self! :)

And, as always; SMILE!!!!! Have a fabulous Monday and make the most out of your Week!!! 

Peace & Love,
xo
~Bianca  



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Sunday, April 24, 2011

☆ What's Going On: Separation from Nature ☆


In every sense imaginable, we have made "Nature" our enemy. Mankind has created this notion that, not only are we above nature, but we must defeat and conquer it. This thinking would imply that we can live without it. We cannot. Sorry to burst that bubble. Mankind has placed itself upon a pedestal of which we are everything and the world is ours to control, conquer, manipulate, and destroy, and there will be no consequences for our actions. There are in fact dreadful and deadly consequences but we will continue to ignore this matter. Why? Because we have been taught to trust and believe that technology can save us from anything. 

We have forgotten the love. Let's find that love again. Not all hope is gone, not by a long-shot. We can certainly be Happy again and love nature again and have blissful beautiful wonderful fantastic lives. Better lives than we are living right now. By a long-shot. 

We have been conditioned to believe that we need to be protected from the natural world, when really it needs to be protected from Us. We have lost respect for the natural world when we should be opening our eyes to its wisdom, to respect, recognize and understand that wisdom and use it to help us instead of having it work against us. In this way of thinking, we have thrown our survival and our happiness out the window--in the form of garbage and litter and pollution and angry anti-social thinking. Science and technology are the answer to everything and so we continue to push away and detach ourselves more and more from the natural world. We have lost harmony with the planet and in doing so push ourselves closer and closer to the brink of destruction. I'm not just talking about the destruction of our home, of Mother Earth, I'm talking about ourselves, our mentalities, our beings, our Happiness. In today's day and age, the only thing we need saving from is the technology that got us into this mess in the first place. Pollution, cancerous chemicals in our beauty products, islands of plastic in our oceans, clear-cutting forests that filter our air, pesticides and fertilizers contaminating our soils and food; it all amounts to one rather obvious conclusion; the way we treat our planet is no different than the way we treat ourselves. 

We have been made to believe that the Earth is evil. That the soil is dirty and so we must be squeaky clean with cancerous anti-bacterial soaps and sprays that rapidly diminish our health. God-forbid should we play outside in the dirt and soil, it's evil and gross and will get our brand-name clothing messy. Stay inside where it's "comfortable" and where technology will save you and give you unending convenient distractions away from the natural world, numb your mind and make you miserable. And let's not forget those animals, those possessions and accessories of ours, filthy little things that don't have feelings or emotions. 
The further we disconnect ourselves from nature, from the natural world, the more miserable we become. The less we are actually Living at all. 

Children these days are said to be suffering from "nature deficit disorder" in which they no longer experience, explore, and enjoy the gifts of the outdoors and nature, and instead are lost to the enclosed world of electronics. Nature has become a stranger to them, much as it has to us. They don't know what fresh air is, what being immersed in nature feels like. They don't climb over rocks, discover the living creatures under their noses, or appreciate the beauty of a tree or an ocean. Because of this, it is no wonder we do not care for our planet, how can we when we don't even see it anymore? Children, and even adults, these days have lost the pleasures of swimming in lakes and oceans, of camping in the wilderness, of enjoying a bike ride, of climbing a tree, walking in the sand, going for a nature walk or hike, observing the birds and animals and insects. We must teach our children, by example and exploring with them, that nature is beautiful and wondrous and more important than a video game or the internet or television program. 

"This is a problem because the way we treat the world around us is a direct reflection of our values and beliefs. Compare the way we treat another species when we believe it is our biological kin rather than just a resource, commodity, or opportunity. The way we see the world shapes the way we treat it, and we will only protect what we know and love."

Let's face it; we are living in some fantasy world, immersed in the illusion that we are actually "content" with our "stuff" tucked away from nature and life. People are becoming increasingly anti-social, and, as humans, we are extremely social creatures. We rape and pillage the earth without regard, consume without thinking for two seconds where it was made and what resources were exploited. We treat animals like unwelcome beasts, whether it's an animal behind bars or the spider that just crawled into your home. We fear nature, from the soil to the living creatures, instead of loving, embracing, being in harmony with, and living amongst it. There is too much money to be made off of destroying the planet instead of preserving it. Which is why we are made to believe it is evil. What then when there's nothing left? Well in this fantasy world we don't need to think about that! Remember, there are no consequences, right? Hopefully you can see that this way of thinking is seriously flawed. It is getting us into deeper environmental turmoil and making us all unhappy beings when we could be prancing around with smiles on our faces playing in the sunshine and grass.
  
We cannot manipulate the world to our perfected liking. Playing God has only brought us further disaster. We cannot control nature, and in attempting to do so we are disrupting the careful intricate natural balance that doesn't need to be tampered with at all. Nature works for us, giving us real food, fresh air, and renewable resources. Humankind can never replace what Earth does naturally for us. We should not be afraid of the natural world, for it brings us balance, beauty, and happiness naturally. Is it not "infested" with animals and creatures. It is not "wild." It is not "savage." It is beautiful, tame, and so intricately perfectly connected to everything--including ourselves. It does not need "fixing." Our way of life needs fixing. We just need to reawaken to what we already know and feel but have long forgotten. We need to get our hands dirty, play in the soil, hug a tree, grow our own food, swim in its waters, observe animals in nature instead of as prisoners behind bars. We need to reconnect with Mother Earth and return to the natural way of things. Any true wisdom will tell you that true unblinded Happiness comes from letting go of this separation to the natural world and to return to it and be in harmony with it instead of being against it. Money does not buy happiness. Exploiting the Earth does not feed happiness. It is a lack of appreciation, of not being in the Here & Now and not accepting Things As They Are that is causing all of our problems and our depressed states of mind. 

Break free from this backwards way of living. Reconnect and appreciate and enjoy and love this world around us. Teach your children to love and respect their planet and the creatures and life that exist here. Teach anyone you can to love the natural world, to live among and in harmony with it instead of making it our enemy. In the end, it's all we really have and all we'll ever need. 

Take time out of your every day to be outside, to feel your bare feet in the grass, soil, mud, ocean, or lake. See and experience and explore all the joys that the real world has to offer. Give back and it will return that love to you. 

Get lost and find yourself. Reconnect with Nature. Reconnect with your Self. 

Peace & Love,
xo
~Bianca  


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Friday, April 22, 2011

☯ What's in My Closet; Zosimos Botanicals! ☯

This Earth Day I am all too happy to share with you another  wonderful cosmetics company I discovered during my thorough hunt for safe, vegan, and earth-friendly products. Allow me to introduce you to Zosimos Botanicals... 

Zosimos Botanicals is a lovely Green business that handcrafts their line of mineral makeup and skincare products in small batches using gentle plant-based raw materials that are also chemical-free and toxin-free. And, oh oh! ...their make-up is made in their 100% Wind Powered studio! :) They also pack their orders in reused packaging, they give back to communities, and use suppliers that use sustainable harvesting practices and organic ingredients. They also have a really easy way for fellow Vegans to check out which of their products are vegan and which are not (which I'm pleased to say, the vast majority are). 

First, I have to share my favorite product of theirs; their "Natural Black Eye Pencil". Words cannot express how much I love this item! Eyeliner is one of my make-up must-haves so this product has made me an extremely happy chicky. I have found that so many "natural" eyeliner pencils either don't show on your skin or else have some chemical in them of which I do not approve. Zosimos' Eyeliner pencil is a dream come true! It's a beautiful deep matte color that goes on smooth, holds all day and actually shows! It's soft, smudges and blends great if you so choose or makes a solid smooth line as well. Super bold and sexy! Absolutely love love love it! They also have a ton of other eye pencil colors to choose from and, from such a positive experience with the black, makes me want to try many more. The other liner I just love is the cream shadow of "Natural Black." Apply it with an eyeliner angled brush and you have a beautiful solid black liner. 


I've had the pleasure of trying several of their eyeshadows, both powdered and cream-formulas. They are beautiful and subtle, perfect for that more "au-natural" look or bold statements. I'm a big fan of soft colors and browns and Zosimos has so many to choose from that I want them all. Their "Branch" and "Bronze" are two favorite brown-shades, couple these with the eyeliner pencil and the "Black Shimmer" powder for the smokey undertone and you can create the perfect classy and sexy smokey eye look. The greens of "Avocado" and "Kelp" are both wonderfully subtle but incredibly eye-catching and flirty. Another favorite is the soft hue of "Blackberry" to which my 3-year-old sister was dazzled by; "your eyes are purple!" she exclaimed enthusiastically, looking as if she wanted to match. I'll wait to share that with her once she's much older ;). The cream-formulas are wonderful as well, heaven in eye-shadow form. They go on super smooth and feel light on my eyelids. "Fools Gold" in the cream formula is a beautiful and bold shade that I love with the "Natural Black" cream shadow as a liner and the Eye Pencil to highlight the inner eyes. 
For both the cream and powders, Zosimos has "mini pinch" trial options as well, a great and easy way to try out tons of different colors and pick out your favorites! 
I also just love "Tigerlily" in the powder shadow as a cheek highlighter or blush, just powder on a tiny pinch and blend it in. Beautiful! 
Next on my list to try is their Eye Shadow Sticks! 

Their concealers are another dream-like product. I am not one with much experience when it comes to concealers. I've fortunately gone through the better-part of my life without needing them, however with a recent move to a new climate my skin has been less friendly so I am grateful for this product. The ones I have tried are the cream-formula "Pot Concealers" which I have been rather enjoying. Of course, I hadn't thought of using a primer underneath and since my skin is quite dry, I find they look a tad dry on my face, as with all concealers. My quick fix has been to add a little facial-moisturizer as I apply them and it fixes it right up! They don't actually dry out my skin either, on the contrary I find that my skin always feels super soft while wearing them and even once I've washed my makeup off at the end of the day. Truely wonderful products! These are also available in mini-sizes so that you can give it a try first. And if you're unsure of which shade to purchase, they have several "tools" for comparing right on the website and if that doesn't work their staff is also extremely helpful.
I am interested to try the powder-base "Mineral Foundation" and the primer in the future. 

Lips lips lips. They have some wonderful colors for lipsticks, lip and cheek tints, lip balms, lip pencils, and, my favorites, lip gloss. They are lovely on the lips and have some bold and fun color while still maintaining that subtle flirtiness all at once. My favorites? The lovely red hue of "Garnet" and the soft pinky-plum of "Black Cherry." 

I hate that heavy feeling you sometimes get with makeup, no matter how much or little you are wearing. I love love Zosimos because their makeup feels light and wonderful on my skin. As mentioned, at the end of the night when I've washed it all away, my skin still feels amazing, even better than the start of the day. Just goes to show that you don't have to sacrifice gorgeous beauty products to be healthy! 

As a whole this company is simply amazing and I highly recommend them! Customer service is fabulous, the staff are super friendly and helpful and quick to respond to questions. They have so many more products to choose from as well! Tons more makeup products, skin care, body care, soy candles, perfumes, hair care, and more that'll entice you into checking out their website. Oh! And they also have Bamboo Vegan Cosmetic Brushes! :) 

So what are you waiting for? Order your Zosimos products today! :)  

Peace & Love
xo
~Bianca 



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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ⓥ Vegan Kitchen: Morning Protein-Packed Smoothie Ⓥ


My absolute favorite way to start my morning is with a lovely workout followed by a 5-minute shower and then BREAKFAST! :) 

I absolutely love smoothies and starting your morning with fruit is one of the best treats for your body. The other great thing to start your day with is protein. So, my smoothies are a protein-packed treat that always leave me licking the very last drops out of my mug (yes I drink my smoothies out of mugs).

Currently I am in love with this recipe, absolutely delicious and the cinnamon adds a lovely flavour. 

Protein-Packed Smoothie:

1 Ripe Banana (frozen makes the smoothie thicker and colder)
½ - 1 cup Frozen Blueberries
¼ cup Tofu (it doesn't matter what type really but soft works best)
2-3 tablespoons Hemp Protein Powder (or any other protein powder)
1 tablespoon Peanut Butter (or other nut butter)
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon 
1/2 cup Rice Milk (or other vegan milk)
1/2 cup Water

Throw all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until creamy smooth. Add less or more water/milk if you want your smoothies thinner or thicker. And voila, a fabulous way to start your morning! Plus if you're on the go then pour it into a travel mug and off you go! 






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