Tuesday, 4 December 2012


Hello Everyone!

This blog will be shutting down in the new year. HOWEVER!

Come to my new site www.the-countryvegan.com 

Let everyone know! I am excited for you all to catch up on the exciting things.

Plus! Giveaways!

Stay Tuned!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Who Said Beauty Cannot Be Cruelty Free?

The cosmetic industry is probably one of the biggest industries that tests their products on animals and even use animal bi-products. We all know by now that a lot of companies such as Johnson & Johnson as well as Proctor & Gamble own thousands of brands that we use on a daily basis. From infant baby lotions to anti-aging creams, these two mega companies are testing their numerous products on animals.


With the technology that we have today, why are we still testing shampoos, eyeliner, mascara, body lotions and contact lenses on bunnies, cats, dogs and other animals. Last time I checked, I don't have a tail and fur so why are the products we are using on human skin being tested on animal fur? Why are we still making makeup brushes out of squirrel tails and horse fur and why is mascara still being made out of bat poop? (yes, ladies, that is what mascara is made out of). 

We have become so caught up with the media telling us what we need to be beautiful that we are consuming animals to no end. We are buying covergirl, aveeno and the millions of other products because the big cosmetic giants are paying the most for advertising. 

People then say, well there are no alternatives to these products... which is a load of hooey! Check out my good products section and even PETA's website for lists of products that don't test on animals.

I myself do not use products that have been tested on animals. I used up what I had (yes I was a consumer of those products). I stopped using the products because really, who wants to lather up on chemicals in the first place? If these companies "HAVE" to test on animals to make sure it's safe for us to use... quite frankly I would rather not put this stuff near my eyes, lips and heck on my skin at all.

What products do I use... LUSH (boys, they have products for you too). From shampoo, to soap, to hair dye, to lotions to now their new line of makeup, my makeup bag is filled with their products. Not to mention eco-friendly makeup brushes made from bamboo and SYNTHETIC hairs. 

My new products

There are alternatives to the big brands. People just need to make informed decisions when they are purchasing cosmetics. This being said, you don't need a lot of makeup if you are having a healthy diet. My skin has never been better because of the foods I put into my body.

Please, help animals, buy cruelty free cosmetics.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Eating in vs. Eating out

Alright, lately I have seen the benefits of eating in vs. eating out. I recently got a new job and I HAD to force myself to make my own lunches because where I work there is honestly NOTHING around to get food (except for vending machines that have nothing but bad foods for you). I have always worked in the food service industry where I never had to worry if I forgot something to eat because food was always accessible, but now I really need to be prepared.

Now I need to make my lunch otherwise I will starve all day, and no one wants that. In the two weeks of my new job, and eating in all the time, I have noticed how much my body has changed and how much I have no inclination to buy "fast food". Not only is fast food not as healthy, but it is also it is very expensive.  

I went to the grocery store and spent over $80 on food. Given that I am vegan, it was pretty much ALL on fruits and veggies. Here is my shopping list:

  • Bananas (12)
  • Watermelon (1/4)
  • Grapefruit (8)
  • Navel Oranges (8)
  • Green Apples (3)
  • Red Apples (3)
  • Carrots (bag of baby carrots - organic)
  • Celery (1 bunch)
  • Broccoli (2 heads)
  • Orange Pepper
  • Green Peppers (2)
  • English Cucumber
  • Mixed Lettuce (big container of mixed spinach, arugala, iceberg lettuce and romaine) 
  • Collard Greens (2 bunches)
  • Asparagus (roughly 3 lbs)
  • Limes (3)
  • Lemons (2)
  • Hummus
  • Tortilla Wraps
  • Quinoa (2 boxes)
  • 2 Packages of Gardein (mushroom and tomato basil)
  • White Beans (2 cans for easy meals)
  • Alfalfa Sprouts
  • Kombucha
  • Fresh Mint
  • TEMPEH maple bacon (honestly, to die for) 
  • Fresh gluten free veggie bread 
 Now, you can see where my money went! I can make so many meals out of this. This week was a little extravagant because I bought a couple of speciality items but it was so worth it. It seems like a lot of food but now I need to be prepared for all my meals and snacks for the day because I do not have access to food otherwise.

In the short 2 weeks, I also noticed how healthy I feel. I pack lunches that make me feel good after I eat them. The fact that I have food in the house also makes me more inclined to eat at home. It's so easy to go pick something up that's fast, but when you have the food, why would you go out of your way and spend more money when you can come up with something creative. You can still eat quite unhealthy while being vegan. If all you do is eat out, you will notice your body saying: "oh no, not this again". My body lately has been craving raw food (hence all the fruits and vegetables I bought).

Listen to what your body is telling you because it can be saying a lot more than what you are picking up on. Mine has been saying "drink water, eat raw foods, do yoga and sleep" and I have been doing just that!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Things to help you make the transition to Vegetarian/Vegan

Hey everyone!

People have been asking me how I managed to become full vegan, let alone give up meat entirely. This post is for everyone who has been flirting with vegetarianism and veganism and wants to know where they can go to get support, what are some of the products I use, my inspirations and some of the things that really made me say "it is time for me to become vegan".

The first step I did to get to this spot in my life is RESEARCH!  I bought many cook books, how to books and I did a lot of internet browsing. My social circle felt that by me going vegan, it would be unhealthy. To this day, I still get the "Oh, come on... drink some milk, have a piece of chicken.... it's good for you". People seem to not understand my motives. By doing all this research and fully understanding how to do things without getting sick. I bought a lot of books to help me get started. Vegan cookbooks not only give you awesome recipes, but they also give out information and tips to do the transition smoothly. These books include;
The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone
Becoming Vegan by Davis Melina
Everyday Happy Herbivore by Lindsay S. Nixon

Doing research made me become more aware of what was actually in my food. Then I saw the movies. Nothing changes your appetite than seeing images of animals being tortured for human consumption (Food Inc, Earthlings and PETA videos). This is what really made me become vegan. I cannot use animal products or things that have been tested on animals because I cannot get the images of those animals out of my head.

And then, I got sick. Turns out, you can be a bad vegan. I was not eating the proper nutrients to keep my body going. I assumed that if something was vegan then it would be good for me. Turns out, if you do not eat right (whether or not you eat meat or don't) if you do not have a balance in your diet, you can get severely sick. I was hospitalized with what they thought was my appendix about to erupt. It was my body's way of saying "eat healthy". My parents were concerned and told me it was because I was not eating meat that I was getting sick. They mentioned this to my doctor who, flat out said, "no, I actually recommend a vegan lifestyle" Hallelujah!  My doctor gave me some pointers and told me to balance my diet and I will be good.

Now you might be asking, 'ok, but how does this help me?' My best advice is to research and explore. Try new things. Experiment with your food. Don't eat out. Have vegan dinner parties...

Here is how I managed to maintain this lifestyle:
1. Throw Everything Out! This means, if you think you will be tempted by something that is unhealthy, not vegan or something that you know is bad but still use it, throw it out!
2. Keep a food journal. This helps so you can see what you're eating and if it's balanced. If you notice you are only eating french fries or vegan cupcakes, then maybe you should alter your diet.
3. Join forums and groups. There are tons on Facebook and scattered all over the internet. If you are like me, you might be the only vegan you think exists out there, so getting support via the net is a great way to stay focused!
4. Learn to love cooking. It is so easy to enjoy food if you like the process. Whether it's growing your own food or just love cooking, this helps you get involved with the food.
5. Find specialty foods that you LOVE. People think our diets are restrictive, but it seems like the vegan/health section of the stores are constantly growing. My personal fave specialty food is Kale Chips. Absolutely delicious!
6. PLAN YOUR SHOPPING! Always make sure you make a grocery list. For your first Vegan grocery shopping, you will probably buy a lot. Try and buy staples such as quinoa, spices, beans, rice and so on, so you can make meals fast. Bulk food stores are great when buying staples like beans. This being said, buy local and organic as much as possible.

Here are some of the stores I shop at to help you guys find some cool things
1. Farmer's Markets (buy local, fresh foods)
2. The Natural Food Pantry
3. Noah's (Toronto)
4. Farmboy
5. Loblaws

I hope this helps a little. Feel free to message me at thehippievegan365@gmail.com for any questions or topics you'd like me to cover. If you want recipes, tell me what kind you'd like.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Urban Farming...the way to solve many urban problems?

Now that the weather has FINALLY become warm here in Ottawa, I am seeing more and more vendors at our farmer's markets and even more and more people flocking to the garden centers to buy some plants for their backyards. This made me think... are people FINALLY getting the idea that we can actually buy local produce and we can even grow it themselves???

With the rising cost of food, gas and even with the recent jobs cuts across Canada, we can make the argument that something in our urban centers needs to change how people consume food. Instead of running to McDonald's with your kids because the food is "cheap" (not to mention, it is cheap in all nutrients also) try running to the farmer's markets to get some nutritious, delicious and CHEAP food!!!

In Ottawa alone, I can think of 4 major farmer's markets (ByWard, Parkdale, Main and the newly relocated Bronson/Carleton market). These are the ones that people know MOST about, however there are so many more. There are several more in the outskirts of town if one feels adventurous... such as North Gower Farmer's market and even some of the Shouldice Farms locations and many just outside of Barrhaven off of Prince of Wales and Woodroffe.

There is one that I have recently discovered and would like to explore more and that is Miller Farms and Market (www.millersfarmandmarket.ca). Once I explore this place more (by the way, they have hayrides for the kids if you want to make it a day in the country to help get your kids more in touch with what they eat). In the fall, you can go get some fresh apples and enjoy the harvest.

One thing I have noticed is the disconnectedness we as a society have with food. We just go to the supermarket or fast food place, get whatever we want, then go home. If people were to really think where their food came from, then maybe more people would be vegan...

This raises the question: why don't our own food? Many people do grow some produce and herbs at home, but many people still aren't doing this. I think everyone should because the cash return you get on your home grown fruits and veggies is astonishing! For every dollar you invest in your garden, you get $6 return in fresh, organic produce! This being said, it is sad to say that people still aren't doing this because it does take up time and space and in the city, many people might not have either.

HOWEVER! Have you noticed all the community gardens popping up all over the downtown core? There are several in the downtown core such as the one on Lyon close to Nepean as well on Isabelle. Community gardens are becoming increasingly popular because it allows people to pick a natural space in the downtown core and allows them to invest and make it sustainable. Not to mention, it allows people to connect with their food as well as other members in there communities.

I think if more people grew their own food they would be more inclined to eat healthy and not run to the restaurants. Not to mention, you will actually taste what some foods are suppose to taste like (aka, tomatoes from mexico in the winter do not taste like the tomatoes that come from my garden in the summer). Even if you have limited space, you can still garden in pots (tomatoes, strawberries, herbs, beans...) and even that will help you save at the grocery store, especially if you use what you grow frequently.

Remember, even if you can't grow your own food, please, please, PLEASE buy local and organic as much as you can. Canada is very unique when it comes to local products because when they are in season, you pretty much only find Canadian produce at the stores. Farm Boy is a great place to shop because it only has the essential products you need in your diet. Try the farmer's markets, try growing yourself, but ultimately, get involved in the community where you food is coming from. You will appreciate where your food comes from more if you know more about it.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Ottawa VegFest 2012

Hello Everyone!

Today I went to Ottawa's VegFest. It was so cool to see all the vegan things Ottawa has to offer! Some of these places I NEVER knew existed here in my city! Not to mention, there's even a vegetarian association! Here's some things/places I found out about today:

The National Capital Vegetarian Association (NCVA): is an Ottawa association that promotes the plant based lifestyle. They are the ones who put on VegFest today. They promote local vegan cuisine, plus organize special events and expos on vegetarianism. One thing I found really cool, is if you sign up for their membership ($20 a year) you can get discounts at local businesses that support vegetarianism and veganism. You can also volunteer to help them out also. (www.ncva.ca)

One of the companies I found about is The Gypsy Kitchen and The Gypsy and Company Vintage Boutique. A new place I discovered that sells vintage clothing done by local artisans as well as a vegan friendly restaurant. Really looking forward in trying their food :)  (www.gypsyandcompany.ca)

Another place I found out about today was  Simply Raw (www.simplyraw.ca). It's a new restaurant that is opening sometime in May where they will be offering supplies, programs, health coaching, workshops and to make things better, they are also a juice bar and have take away. Looking forward to trying this place when it opens and even take advantage of their classes!

I even found a Vegan Catering service called N&E Soulfoods (www.nesoulfoods.com). The offer 100% plant based food, as well as gluten free options. They will even deliver if you order enough.... but you call ahead and pick up your order... pretty awesome! Plus they cater events.

Speaking of delivery...
Ottawa has delivery services that will deliver fresh food right to your house! I will definitely take advantage of this ASAP!!!!
First place is Bryson Farm based out of Shawville, Quebec. They grow over 2000 varieties of heirloom veggies and deliver them weekly, year round! They are OCPP/Pro-cert certified. (www.brysonfarms.com)
Second is called Our Little Farm (www.ourlittlefarm.ca) and they too, deliver veggie baskets weekly or bi-weekly. They are also based out of Quebec, 44 kilometres outside of Ottawa in L'Ange Gardien. It is certified Organic, which is epic! They are also at Main Farmer's Market (223 Main ) on Saturdays and Parkdale Market (@Parkdale/Wellington) on Thursdays.

Other companies that were represented today were LUSH, Zen Kitchen, The Table, Simply Meditation, Paradis Vegetarien, Credible Edibles, Vega One, Equiterre, Raw Vitality and a lot of local farms and information booths that had PETA pamphlets.

I am sooo excited to get to know all of these companies soooo much better. For those living in Ottawa, PLEASE support local places like these! A lot of them are new and small and need our support. Given that I didn't know half of these existed in Ottawa... things like VegFest really do help these companies to get more attention.

Who knows, you might all see The Hippie Vegan next year!

Friday, 27 April 2012

Vegan Wine???

I recently had the pleasure of finding some vegan wines. Who would have thought that wine could not actually be vegan friendly?

Today I went to the LCBO (In Ontario, we have to buy alcohol from the LCBO and beer from the beer store because of severe liquor laws in this province), and I asked the question: do you have vegan wines? The first person who I asked was like "what's vegan...do you mean organic?" I had to explain to him what vegan is then he was like "wow, I have never been asked this question before". He then brought me to the "wine specialist" who was awesome. He explained to me that a lot of wines use dairy and egg products in their process...


That's right, some do use dairy and eggs, which makes them totally not vegan friendly. As well as a type of filtration, which can also be not vegan friendly. He did not know of any that were vegan at the store, but he knew someone who did so he went and called that person. He came back and said he knew of one that they had...we go over and on the label it said that it contained dairy and eggs... making this "vegan" wine not vegan. Then he did something amazing... he and his coworker GOOGLED vegan wines and we found a whole bunch.

This is the awesome site we found: http://www.barnivore.com/wine#  which can look at vegan wines, beers, liquors...

We found out that there are a lot of wines that ARE vegan friendly, yet they do not label it. Given the great lengths we went to to find this wine, I think that if the wineries want to get into another market, they should in fact, label their wines.

The one I bought is Big House White, by Underdog Wine Merchants. I am looking forward to tasting this wine because, although I do not drink much, it is nice to know that there are some vegan friendly alcoholic options out there.

I have heard a lot about frog pond farm being vegan (post 2001), which I'm excited to try because it is a Canadian wine. Always trying to buy local is important, even with wine.