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Author: Nate

I’m a blue-collar, no-frills, vegan cable guy trying to show the world
how health is not just relegated to those that can afford it, or for the
typical health nut. My cholesterol was once at dangerous levels, life
defying levels, and I made the change to a plant based diet. I started
running, quit smoking cigarettes and now, in my 40’s, I am in the
best shape of my life. The bonus is, it doesn’t cost what you think it
is, all it takes is commitment to a new lifestyle and giving a care about the world around you.

7 Top Vegan/ Cruelty Free Deodorants

Vegan and cruelty free products are seeing a huge demand recently not only for food products but for clothing and health care products such as deodorants/ antiperspirants. There have been natural deodorants for some time now as the worry about aluminum exposure (right or wrong) has people concerned enough to not use products containing it. As the vegan movement grows, though, people are asking for more products that are not tested on animals or containing animal products.

This list of deodorants I’ve compiled are all vegan and cruelty free. A couple may have aluminum and I will point out which. I’m not going to get into a debate or talk about the risks of aluminum, you can do your own research. I try to minimize the amount of chemicals my body is exposed to so after this test I will put the aluminum one’s to rest. I did test them so that way I could fairly comment on whether they work or not as far as combating odor and curtailing sweat. Again, you decide whether or not you want to use them.

Do you use a vegan deodorant? Which one is your favorite? Comment below the article!

SCHMIDT’S : Schmidt’s has been around for less than decade. Quickly though, the company grew because the products work. Schmidt’s was founded by Jamie Schmidt in 2010 and the recipe for her deodorants were formulated in her kitchen. Recently, much to the chagrin of some users, they were purchased by Unilever. I’ve been testing out the activated charcoal and magnesium and really like it. The scent is very refreshing and doesn’t feel like it is overpowering after applying. It goes on easy enough although you have to hold it to your skin for a couple of seconds to soften it a bit. Good thing is you don’t have to slather it on too much, just a couple swipes and you are good to go. I have found that if I put more than a couple of swipes on it does irritate my skin a bit and i have had a small rash from time to time.

This is an aluminum and paraben free product with all natural ingredients such as:

  • Maranta arundinacea (arrowroot) powder
  • Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
  • Cocos Nucifera (coconut) Oil
  • Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter)
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (fractionated coconut oil)
  • Euphorbia Cerifera (candelilla) Wax
  • Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil
  • Magnesium hydroxide
  • Carbo activatus (activated charcoal)
  • Natural fragrance
  • Tocopherol (vitamin E; sunflower-derived)

I really liked this product and will surely try out other scents too see if the minor irritation is exclusive to the activated charcoal.

You can find Schmidt’s at https://schmidtsnaturals.com 

HERBAN COWBOY : Founders of Herban Cowboy, Luke and Lisa say about the company, “We wanted to create personal care products that are both healthy and have minimal environmental impact. We believe small changes in our everyday routine, like switching a can of aerosol shave cream to a recyclable tube of natural shave cream, can collectively have a long-term dramatic benefit to human health and our environment.” With an almost mythological like founding, Herban Cowboy has a full set of grooming and personal care products.

I tested out the unscented deodorant. It was one of the first sample I received for this test. I stopped applying any deodorant at all for a couple of days and luckily they were not stinky days, for my wife and kids sake. I started using this shortly after and was impressed on the very first day. This glided on well and really only needed a pass or two. Anything more than that and I felt like it was too oily and was darkening the pits of my lighter shirts.

That said, it worked. Most of these deodorant tests were done under duress. Whether that was a workout, on a run or through a whole day of cable guy work; I put this stuff to the test. Herban Cowboy came out on top of most as it not only keep my stink free but kept a good amount of sweat at bay. I work ten-hour shifts so the limits were truly tested here and passed with flying colors. On runs and during workouts, I sweated my normal amount but again, the stink was kept to a minimum. I’d really love to try a fragrance stick, I have a felling I’d really like it.

This is an aluminum and paraben free product with all natural ingredients such as:

  • Propanediol
  • Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
  • Aqua
  • Sodium Stearate
  • Oryza Sativa (Rice) Starch
  • Ethylhexyglycerin
  • Zinc
  • Rosemary Leaf Extract
  • Parsley Extract
  • Sage Leaf Extract
  • Allantoin
  • Silver
  • Bisabolo
  • Citric Acid

I’m really interested in checking out more scents as well as the rest of the Herban Cowboy products. I think the shampoo and conditioner are next on my “must try” list.

You can check out there website at https://www.herbancowboy.com for stores online as well as brick and mortar that carry the products.

NORTHCOAST ORGANICS : These guys have an interesting story; the fact that they are a mom and son team makes it even cooler. Their story starts when the son, Nathan, decided after many years of using deodorant that it was time to start. He didn’t want to just use deodorant for the sake of keeping him stink free but to do it with the least amount of ingredients and to do it as natural as possible. That still holds true today and the formulas are all the same 5 ingredients, plus whatever essential oils are used for fragrance. To top it off, the ingredients are so organic and safe that you can eat them! Yeah, you can eat your deodorant! I wouldn’t make a meal out of it, of course, but god forbid you get it in your mouth you don’t have to run to poison control.

These guys sent a bunch of different samples so I got to try more than a couple different fragrances. The one I enjoyed most was the Douglas Fir, maybe it’s because I was testing it during Xmas season? I don’t know but it smelt great. When I applied it, similar to Schmidt’s, you have to hold it to your skin for a couple of seconds to warm it up. The shea butter (or carnauba wax) in this make it really hard and if you try to apply it before it warms, and you have hairy man pits, it’ll pull and hurt  a bit. I feel like this one might have lasted the longest as far as “protection” goes and I didn’t have to reapply when I came home from work after a 10 hour day.

This is an aluminum and paraben free product with all natural (organic) ingredients such as:

  • Coconut Oil
  • Carnuaba Wax
  • Arrowroot
  • Shea Butter
  • Baking Soda
  • Essential Oils (for fragrance)

You can check out their site at http://northcoastorganics.us and order online. What makes these guys different is they have a “$2 Deodorant Club” where you prepay $24 for the year and every quarter they send you a new deodorant. When you price these bars individually they are over $10 so joining the club saves you big $$!!

Fed up with deodorants that had harsh chemicals and irritated her sensitive skin, Jess grabbed her kitchen mixer and start formulating something that not only keep her skin feeling good but made her feel fresh. Using a variety of essential oils, activated charcoal and other natural ingredients she was then satisfied and had her friend, and future business partner, Sarah test it on a trek in South America. It held up and they moved forward with Piperwai.

They’ve kept things as simple as can be and made one stick and one jar of their deodorant, both with the same fragrance. I did have a preference when I compared them and that’s the jar. I have never used a deodorant that you have to spread yourself that is not stick form. I felt like I had more control over how much went on when I applied it and I knew I got it all over my pits. The stick was nice as well, but like others, had to be warmed against skin to spread on. I felt like Piperwai irritated my skin the least, it actually didn’t at all.

Cool thing that I just learned about these guys, they appeared on Shark Tank and reached an agreement with one of the sharks.

This is an aluminum and paraben free product with all natural ingredients such as:

  • Tapioca Starch
  • Coconut Oil
  • Water,
  • Shea Butter
  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Rosa Centifolia Flower Water
  • Witch Hazel Extract
  • Cacao Seed Butter
  • Tocopheryl Acetate
  • Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract
  • Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract
  • Magnesium Hydroxide
  • Activated Charcoal
  • Essential Oils: Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Eucalyptus Radiata Leaf/Stem Oil, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Leaf Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Peel Oil, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Oil, Cymbopogon Citratus (Lemongrass) Leaf Oil, Melaleuca

You can find Piperwai at https://www.piperwai.com and order direct from their website.

pHresh : The story of pHresh is much the same as the previous companies, owner Hilary wanted to create a product free from contaminants that was not only safe for herself, but for her family and friends. She has created a variety of deodorants from sticks to cream to a roll-on in a variety of fragrances for men and women.

One of the big claims with pHresh is that some of the products are long-lasting and should protect you for 24 hours. Like I said above, I tested most of the products pretty harshly. I applied before running hard miles, before an 1 1/2 hour weight session and HIIT training. The fact is the stuff held up! Again, like the others deodorants tested, you had to hold this on the skin before applying.

That said, this stuff was hard and took a fair share longer to warm up. I easily tore some hairs of trying to spread it the first few times and that did not feel good at all.

One major ingredient difference between pHresh and others is that they do not use baking soda, as they claim if causes rashes. I’m not sure if it was the baking soda, but after testing a couple of the others I did have a slight rash that did eventually go away, with pHresh I did not.

This is an aluminum and paraben free product with all natural ingredients such as:

  • Fair Trade Certified Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)
  • Fair Trade Certified Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa Butter)
  • Maranta Arundinacea (Arrowroot) Powder
  • Fair Trade Certified Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil
  • Magnesium Hydroxide
  • Oriza Sativa (Rice Bran) Wax
  • Vegetable Glycerin (NON-Palm)
  • Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla ) Wax
  • Alpha-Glucan Oligosaccharide
  • Essential Oil Blend
  • Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil
  • Triethyl Citrate
  • Sodium Caproyl/Lactylate
  • Vitamin E.

You can find pHresh at http://honestlyphresh.com or search for them on Amazon.

Jack Black : Having one of the largest selection of products, exclusively for men, Jack Black claims to be the little guy in a neighborhood of “behemoths.” That is true as companies like Unilever and more can easily price out competitors. It’s amazing though that Jack Black has such high prices then. This product is by far the most pricey of them all at nearly $20 a bar. I get it, with quality comes a higher cost but that’s pushing it.

How does the product work? After a couple of applications my skin was super rashed and it felt like my skin was burning every time I put this stuff on. It’s a shame too because I really liked the scent. I wonder what is in it that caused the burning. I did a bit of research and it’s possibly that propanediol could be the culprit or the glycerin which are not in any of the other deodorants that I tried out. Regardless, it did not feel good.

This is an aluminum and paraben free product with all natural ingredients such as:

  • Propanediol
  • Water
  • Glycerin
  • Sodium Stearate
  • Silica, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch
  • Zinc Ricinoleate
  • Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract
  • Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil
  • Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil
  • Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
  • Juniperus Communis (Juniper Berry) Fruit Oil
  • Rosemarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil
  • Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil
  • Menthol
  • Abies Balsamea (Fir Balsam) L. Mill
  • Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil
  • Methyldihydrojasmonate
  • Dihydro Pentamethylindanone
  • Allantoin
  • Sucrose Cocoate Polyglyceryl-3 Caprate

You can visit their website at https://www.getjackblack.com to check out their wide range of men’s products.

EO : EO’s plan from the beginning was to create a family business that meshed with their lifestyle rather than creating separation. They believed that by having cohesion between work, family and friends they could create a sustainable lifestyle that allowed them the free time to “love life and live clean.”

The ingredient list on EO is the shortest of them all. Rather than being a bar or roll-on, which is probably why all the other stuff needed to be there, as a spray they keep things to a minimum. Out of all the deodorants, I had to apply this more often than not. It worked really well for everyday use but if I got more active than just walking around I started to notice a little body odor and needed to reapply after 4-6 hours. That didn’t bother me to much as I really liked the smell of these. The ethanol ingredient scared me a bit but after some research it seemed like it was safe enough to use and I didn’t experience any irritation at all or burning.

One night I overcooked something and there was a bit of a burned stink in the air. Besides household cleaners, I didn’t have anything to freshen the air. Even though EO’s purpose is not as an air freshener, I used it and it worked amazing in a pinch!

This is an aluminum and paraben free product with all natural ingredients such as:

  • Organic Ethanol
  • Purified Water
  • EO Essential Oil Blend [Organic Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Organic Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Organic Geranium Maculatum Oil, Organic Vetiveria Zizanoides Root Oil, Organic Cedrus Deodara Wood Oil, Organic Cananga Odorata Flower Oil, Organic Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil]

You can find EO online at https://www.eoproducts.com where they list stores nationwide that carry their products.

Do you use a vegan deodorant? Which one is your favorite? Comment below!

Who’da thunk it?

You’ve all seen this meme more times than you can count, right? I know I have. Today though I saw it and wanted to write some things down about it; more specifically on how not only am I surviving but how I am flourishing while being vegan.

Now, I’m not going to boast about how awesome I eat, because to be honest, I’m a junk food vegan a fair share of the time. That said, having cut out animal products from my food my body has done some amazing things. At 43 I’m doing things I didn’t think were possible.

When I first started this I had really high cholesterol issues. In the first year alone I dropped my overall cholesterol by just under 70 points. I did not take any medications, I just ate better. I started exercising and started completing events I never dreamed of.

I was a smoker for nearly 25 years! I quit after my first year vegan and my lungs are healing rapidly. I run all the time and have no breathing issues. Sometimes if I run a bit to hard I do get wheezy but that’s what 25 years of tar and chemicals will do to you.

Don’t smoke kids!

About 6 months ago I started a weight training program. Throughout my entire life I have always had issues putting weight on and keeping it on; my metabolism is like a teens even in my forties! My goal was to get to 150lbs (I started at 142lbs). I’m not that tall ok, 5′ 5″ and 150 was a lofty goal for me. I presently weight just under 160lbs!

I didn’t do it with any animal protein or products.
Let me repeat, I did not consume any animal protein!

How am I still here?

Plant based foods have all the nutrition you need, including the ever elusive protein! Typically in a day I have oatmeal for breakfast. 1/2 cup of dry quick oats has 5g of protein, 27g carbs and 3g fat. That’s pretty decent, it’s not an abundance but you can add stuff to it like hemp seeds which have an additional 10g of protein in three tablespoons. Even adding 1/4 cup of soy milk add 2g more. That’s nearly 20g of protein, whoah!

I prep my lunches for the work week. Some examples of prepped meal are Jerk Tofu & Rice, Lemongrass Chickpeas w/ Quinoa, Miso Tempeh Chili, Andouille Sausage Jambalaya and much more. The protein in most of those are 20g or more. Dinners have a similar profile and at least 20-30g of protein.

Here’s a typical day (on the left, click for a larger version) when I was on the program and eating to gain. You will see a protein shake, and I did that to supplement what I couldn’t eat while at work. I work ten hours a day in my work-van, it’s helpful to supplement for me, not everyone has to do that. I also take a multi-vitamin in the morning and again, while lifting, was taking creatine.

If you look past that stuff I was still getting over 2,000 calories a day from food.

The point is, I’m alive and kicking. I’m smashing my goals and gaining, not losing.

Right now my training has changed and I’m on a running program so I’m not looking to add any more muscle; if anything I’m looking to trim down some of the weight while keeping the muscle. I do have two days I still use weights but 5 days a week are now spent running.

The awesome thing about being vegan is that I can tweak the foods I eat to reflect the training I’m on. For instance, my oatmeal every day now has 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of turmeric for inflammation. While I still use a protein shake for recovery, most of the other foods I eat will be to benefit the training. Can you do that and eat animals? Sure but you are eating animals and there’s a whole host of issues with that health wise and more importantly, with ethics.

No animals need to die for you to thrive.

You can get the nutritional needs your body requires being vegan.

Do your research and “eat like you give a f*ck!”

Simple Mac & Cheese

For the past week my wife has been asking me to put together a mac and cheese casserole and it was about time that I get around to it. I always mean to write down the recipe and never do; until this one. It came out awesome and my wife AND kids went back for seconds.

This is a simple recipe, you don’t need to go crazy and pre-soak or have any more skill than I, and that’s limited. So here’s what you got to do.

Preheat over to 350º

Get some water boiling for the squash, add squash and bring back to a boil, turn down to a simmer once it’s rolling.

Pan cook the tempeh bacon then dice up. Set aside.

Once its soft, spoon it out of the water and add to a blender.

Put macaroni in the water you just boiled and cook as per the package.

Add all the ingredients below minus the tempeh and 1 cup of the cheddar shreds, you are going to use that later.

Blend well

Once it’s nice and creamy, put in the pot that you have the pasta (which should have been drained by now).

Add the tempeh bacon and mix well.

Pour into a 9×12 casserole dish and top with the other cup of cheddar shreds and sprinkle some paprika on top.

Bake for 30 minutes and serve.

1 package macaroni
1 package tempeh bacon
2 cups butternut squash
1/2 raw cashews
3/4 cup of unflavored soy milk
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 cups cheddar shreds
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper

Accountability Post Revisited

I posted something very similar to this on via my Facebook page and wanted to add it here (with some embellishment) to not only announce it here, but to share the link for this project.

In February of 2019 I turn 45.

I’ve had this thing the past couple years (since turning 40) that I attempt some ridiculous physical goal. In 2015 I attempted (DNF’d after 20 hours) the Winter Death Race put on by Peak Races in Pittsfield, VT. I finished my first 50k (TARC Summer Classic) trail race in 2016.  In 2017 I didn’t do anything super crazy but I did two Ragnar Relay races; one on the road in PA and another in trails in Wawaynda, NY.

In the Spring of 2019 I am going to run from the Sagamore Bridge to Provincetown, the full length (65ish miles) of Cape Cod!! It’ll be my first 100+k run!

I just received my training plan and start preparing for the Vegan Power 50k TODAY! I can’t wait to get back out there and run.

I’m working out how supported it’s going to be, as well as having some pacers join me on different sections. Since I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago I have had a bunch of people reach out to want to be a part of it.

I’m going to start reaching out to some companies I believe in and see if we can’t agree on some sponsorship opportunities. I’ve already had my first one courtesy Jess Ryle over at Vegan Outdoor Adventures; I am more than appreciative for her support! If you would like to sponsor/ support me get in touch. I will be adding a gofundme soon to cover some expenses and to raise money for causes I believe in; this is a great opportunity to spotlight those so look out for that soon.

If you want to know more, look at the menu above and click where it says “Run Across The Cape” (or just click that link)




Review: The Grandpa Soap Co.

My wife nailed it this xmas with a variety of gifts. She got me an air fryer, a small meat slicer for making deli seitan, some clothes and a bunch of other great stuff. In my stocking though she put some hair products that I have never heard or tried before.

I’ve been trying to find something that will stand up to shampoos like Head And Shoulders or other medicated dandruff shampoo and of course be cruelty free and vegan. This is a bit of TMI but I have a dandruff/ dry scalp issue and nothing, I mean NOTHING, has ever worked except for the H&S.

Until now.

In my stocking was a tube of Witch Hazel shampoo and some Pine Tar conditioner, both products made by The Grandpa Sopa Co. The products are not only cruelty free but the ingredients are vegan as well. I know that sounds redundant, but there are companies that will list one without the other. For instance, these guys have a buttermilk shampoo that is obviously not vegan, but they claim is cruelty free. Semantics aside, these products have been great.

I wanted to wait a couple of weeks to share my opinion on them. To be honest, if I stop using my old shampoo for less than a week the flakes come right back. I have not seen any yet and am amazed. My hair feels super clean and I feel great knowing that I not using products made from or tested on animals.

The Pine Tar conditioner has a scent that’s very “woods like.” Almost smells like I’ve been hanging around a campfire for a few hours and the smoke has attached itself to my hair. I feel like I should have a big ass beard and a backpack and be on a hike. Alas I cannot grow a beard and it’s cold AF to be out there hiking right now. The Witch Hazel smells nice and I can tell it’s doing it job because it tingles a bit, but the smell of the conditioner over powers it in the end.

Anyway, I’m very excited to try out some more products from these guys.

“How Can You Sit Down And Eat Your Mother?”

I’d been thinking of how to start this article for a while as it’s something I’ve already written about but I felt like adding some commentary. I also stumbled on some great talks by teachers that tackle the idea of veganism and Buddhist practice and I really wanted to share them and some quotes.

In Tibetan Buddhism it is believed that all living beings at one point or another were once your mother. This concept has some validity if you believe in rebirth. Since the universe is infinite and sentience is held by all living beings that have a central nervous system, having been born and reborn over and over it only makes sense that at some point anyone could have been your mother. I can explain more if need be, or provide a link to more info, but I think you get the idea.

That begs the question, so why go ahead and eat them?

I came upon a series of 5 videos on YouTube titled “I Don’t Eat My friends” by respected Tibetan Nun, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo. She lays out a compelling argument, from a Tibetan Buddhist perspective, on why not to eat meat. She also touches on the all beings having been our mother theory, you can view in the video I linked.

There are also videos by another respected Tibetan teacher, Matthieu Ricard. Of course his videos solidify the beliefs and teachings of Tenzin Palmo.

The venerable Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh has had quite a bit to say about it. As mentioned in the other piece I wrote, Plum Village (the center he oversees) went vegan in 2007. You can watch a video where he was asked about veganism and why it’s better than vegetarianism. I’ve included a brief quote below.

“We don’t want to eat eggs, and drink cow’s milk, and eat cheese anymore because raising cows and raising chickens creates a lot of suffering.

If you have seen the suffering of the chicken, the suffering of the cows, you would not like to eat chicken, eat eggs, drink milk, or eat cheese anymore. It seems the system has been contaminated.

So to be vegan is not perfect but it helps to reduce the suffering of animals.”

Seung Sahn, founder of the Kwan Um School of Korean Zen, has had a bit to say about eating meat. In the “Compass Of Zen” he goes on to say:

“If we want to understand ourselves and help all beings get out of suffering, we must first understand where this world’s suffering comes from. Everything arises from our minds. Buddhist teaching shows that everything comes from primary cause, condition, and result. This means that some primary cause, when it appears under a certain condition, will always produce a certain result. So what is the reason for so many beings appearing in this world, and what is the result of it? Why is there so much suffering, and why does it seem to increase every day? Perhaps the most important reason for such a dramatic increase in the amount of suffering in this world is the increase in the amount of meat-eating that humans do. Before World War II, human beings did not eat so much meat. In Asia, people have always generally eaten meat only on special occasions, perhaps only twice a year, on one of the major holidays. Nowadays, Asians eat meat sometimes several times a day. The same has been true in the west for generations. This century has seen a very big increase in the amount of meat-eating on the planet.”

I find that interesting. If karma and it’s consequences are to be believed then this makes all the sense in the world. The more suffering that is caused, the more suffering is created.

While the Buddha did not specifically say one way or the other, he did not condone eating meat. His justification was that as long as it was not killed for the consumer, or the monk, than it was ok to eat. I’ve read about the three hand rule which basically means the meat has to pass through three hands to the consumer and it’s believed to not have any karmic consequence. I call bullshit!

To be honest, this sounds like a cop-out. As much as I hate to say it, one of the most well-known Buddhist teachers, the Dalai Lama, eats meat himself all the while telling others to eat vegetarian. Similar to what the Buddha said, the Dalai Lama has been quoted as saying, “it is all right to have meat of dead animals, not those slaughtered or purposefully killed for meat.” So I guess that means roadkill is ok? Or if you stumble upon a dead squirrel out in the yard? Again, this sounds suspicious and not something a “bodhisattva” should get behind.

What’s interesting on the whole is that the very first precept in Buddhism is not to take life or cause harm. I don’t know about you but that certainly sounds like a vegan thought to me.

What do you think?





Try Vegan in 2018

More than likely if you are here visiting this website than you are already vegan. If not, let me welcome and challenge you to try going vegan.

Each January becomes Veganuary and is your opportunity to see just how easy it is to choose health, wellness and most importantly; compassion towards animals.

For more info go to https://veganuary.com/

If I can help in any way, you can also e-mail me any questions to vegancableguy@gmail.com