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Ragnar ADK 2018: The Impact

PREFACE: This is the second part of my race report, you can view part one at http://vegancableguy.com/ragnar-adk-2018-the-race/

To say this race was a success wouldn’t be the half of it. This race was amazing not only for the running and camaraderie but for the advocacy. Every race we get the usual “but bacon bro” calls and my team had someone tell us how his team would be “Carnivore Power.” Even though we had some of those comments this one felt different, at least for me. People seemed more open to approaching us and questioned how we were all so fast. They were greeted with kindness from each and every one of us.

I believe wholeheartedly that we represented the movement in the best way we could. There was no militancy or condescension. There was plenty of cordiality, thoughtfulness and informed restraint. That said, there was one defining moment for me and those of you on the team already heard Peter speak about it after the race, but for readers I’m going to explain what happened.

One of the exchanges was at a farm. Not just any farm though, a full-blown working dairy farm; King Brothers Dairy. You can imagine how disheartening it was to roll up on this place and know what was going on. While the workers were happy to walk around and talk about how “kindly” their animals were treated, the fact is that no matter the amount of subterfuge, the cows still don’t want to be forcibly impregnated, have their calves taken away and then be painfully milked for the pleasure of human beings. We all know the cycle continues until they are of no use and then are sent to slaughter. The males have no use from the get go so they get placed in small crates; veal crates.

Peter and I walked over to the side of one of the buildings and noticed a calf was walking around. We both looked at one another kind of perplexed. We wondered if it was maybe some sort of mascot that was allowed to roam, but we quickly figured out it was a crate escapee when we saw the crates just behind him. He was walking around frantically looking toward a spot where some older cows were. Those cows were knee-deep in water and were tied by a rope to a bar; obviously they weren’t allowed to roam either. The calf started walking toward us and got really close to Peter before he turned around, took a couple of steps and let out a heart-wrenching bellow. A chorus of bellows followed coming from the crates as the other babies started crying out for their mothers.

I was overwhelmed with emotion.

My heart was aching.

I have never EVER witnessed anything like this before.

Quickly some farms workers came over and corralled the calf and took him away. I will never forget that moment. I’ve of course seen the videos of this stuff and have been disheartened by them, but to witness it goes beyond that. It was real and it was raw; I will never forget the sound those babies made.

Now onto something a bit more lighthearted…

Our Sunday celebration was once again held at Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary.  We shared pizza, stories and tons of love with the animals of the farm. It’s always amazing to me how settled in the animals are. Considering the fact most come from abusive situations or from factory farms or even from the Kaporos ritual, their trust in humanity is still there.

Peter, Gabby and all the volunteers do such a great job caring for these animals. Whether the animal needs rehabbing, veterinary care or just a hug they get everything they need there on the sanctuary. The animals are unconditionally loved and are treated equally and fairly. They live out their lives in an environment that is worthy of their lives.

After such a debilitating experience at the dairy farm, it was nice to decompress and see what vegan activism and advocacy can do. I left the farm feeling good about the weekend but also wondering what can be done to help close places like that dairy farm down. No baby, regardless of species, should be forcibly taken away from their mothers so another species can steal their bodily secretions.

The most logical answer is to go vegan; it’s that simple. There are so many different kinds of milks to drink that do not cause any harm. I prefer soy but others like almond milk. Maybe you like oat milk, or hemp milk. Hell you can have flax milk if you like or even coconut. The fact of the matter is this, you don’t need to drink the bodily fluids of another species when you can drink plenty of other products. For one, you are not a baby cow and that stuff doesn’t belong to you in the first place.

Go vegan!

Please enjoy these photos (below) from the celebration at Tamerlaine and if you can please donate to them by going to their site at https://tamerlainefarm.org/donate/

 

 

Ragnar ADK 2018: The Race

PREFACE: I decided to break this post up in two. It got very wordy and I had so much to say. This post is specific to details about the running of the race where as the next post has to do with some other stories that are more relevant to the impact of the team and experiences we had outside of running during the race. I hope you will read and enjoy them both.

I love Ragnar races! I look forward to them every year. I had no intention of doing one in 2018 though especially after running Vegan Power 50k and then going to Wanderlust Stratton with my friend Pete. Those two events ate away my race time, so a Ragnar was not necessarily on my radar.

About 5 weeks before Ragnar Adirondacks was scheduled I got a message from my friend/ teammate, Jess Ryle. Seems someone dropped and they were having issue finding a fill in. I hadn’t run since VP50k but after working out schedules and stuff, I made the commitment to go to upstate NY and run ADK with Strong Hearts Vegan Power once again and got back to running.

Five short weeks later it was time to get my stuff packed and head out to Glen Falls, aka Tent City. A bunch of us were planning on camping out at Jess and Andrew’s house the night before the race that way we were only 25 minutes from the start line. I decided to make a stop in Albany to not only support one of our sponsors, Berben and Wolffs, but also to try them out because we don’t have stuff like that on ole Cape Cod. I was able to get some seitan buffalo wings, which I devoured on site and a cubano panini for later. Wow, the food is so good. If you are ever in Albany and are looking for vegan grub you won’t be disappointed.

The next morning came quick and we found ourselves in Saratoga Springs at the start line. Everyone found their vans and teams they’d be running with. Running (SHVP) gear was handed out and we all started moving our packs, food and whatever else we were going to need into the vans we’d be living in for the next 24+ hours. Things seemed pretty seamless, I mean heck, this team has been doing this for a bit now so it was like a well oiled machine.

Our first team was headed out at 8am so we all made our way over to see them off. Their was a team to start 8:30am, my team was at 9:00am and our last, and fastest team, the ultra team went off at 11am. My van was the second out of our team so we went off for some breakfast “sandos” (sandwiches) at Healthy Living. We then shot over to the next major exchange where van 1 would meet up with us and it’d be our turn.

We had a great van of people. Marie was our van Captain, driver and van mom. The run grunts were Trish Ann Novelli ( Ragnar vet, an amazingly fast and inspiring woman), Peter Nussbaum (co-founder of Tamerlaine Farm Animals Sanctuary and leg grinder), Steve Reddy (Equal Vision Records owner, krishna hardcore icon and mile crusher), Jonathan Reith (volunteer medic for the Kurdish Peshmerga and all around badass) and myself. This crew has some experience and more grit than We figured it out and the average age of our van was 45; needless to say we took on the moniker of Strong Heart SENIOR Power and started hashtagging our photos on social media with #aarp and #wherearemyreaders.

Fast forward to my first run which was 6.7 miles with 457 feet of elevation gain. That’s not a ton of elevation but considering my training ground is the flat lands of Cape Cod, it slowed my pace a bit. I got this leg done in just over an hour (1:05 and change) and passed off to Trish. Before our next legs were to start there was supposedly some bad weather moving in and Ragnar put a halt to all running for a bit. This was kind of bothersome as nothing ended up happening minus some downpours, but who hasn’t run in the rain before.

Anyhow, Marie got the next batch of runs going after bombing down a hill and killing her 2.2 mile run. She passed off to Steve and unfortunately for him, he got the worst of the weather and was soaked within minutes. Being the positive guy that he is, he cranked it out though and didn’t complain one bit; Steve is one tenacious dude. Peter cranked out his leg, Jonny smashed his and then I was up for my minuscule 1.9 mile night run.

Back it up a bit….

I’ve never been the strongest or fastest runner, I’m just the most bullheaded and won’t stop unless I’ve injured myself hence the reason I hadn’t run in months before this. That said, I’ve never had many “kills” during a Ragnar. As a matter of fact, I think the most I ever got during an event was 2. You read that right! I’m normally the guy that other racers can count as their “kill.”

Definition of a kill: Simply, it’s when you pass someone during a leg and they never pass you back.

During my first leg I had 5 kills and was shocked. So here I was just starting my second leg, the shortest of the three, and I was thinking there was no way I was going to outdo 5 kills in 6.7 miles.

I ended up getting 6!

WHAT?!

We kept on going from there and got into our third, and last, legs to run. My run was just under a 5k but had some elevation and ran parallel to the High Falls Gorge on Whiteface Mountain. I had not done a ton of mileage so far, but the lack of running before ADK and not being able to train on real hilly terrain was taking its toll and I felt very sluggish. About 1/4 of a mile before the end of the run I looked behind me and saw another runner creeping on me. Normally I’d let them pass and be done with it but I was not letting this one kill me. I was so close to the end and I didn’t want to be killed in front of my team or their team. I dug as deep as I could and sprinted toward Trish to pass her the slap bracelet.

That runner never passed me!

Trish brought it in and we were done.

Our finishing time of 28:02:08 gave us 20th place overall and 11th in our division. All of our Strong Hearts Vegan Power teams placed within the top 20 and our Ultra team placed 3rd overall and 2nd in their division.

Thank you to all the admins of the team for putting this all together, the work you put in is priceless and appreciated.

Thank you to Jess and Andrew for graciously offering up their home for the guests of tent city.

Thank you to our sponsors Hurraw! Balm, Outdoor Herbivore, HippieCakes Vegan Bakery, Berben and Wolff’s Vegan Delicatessen, Rock Hill Bakehouse Cafe, Raul’s Mexican Grill, Tofurky and Vegan Outdoor Adventures.

Thank you Strong Hearts Vegan Power for making me a better person, I love this team and can’t wait to see you all soon!

 

 

Compassion on the Mat?

I debated writing this article for a few hours yesterday before deciding to start writing it; 24 hours later here are some simple thoughts.

Many of my friends practice yoga and some are even yoga teachers. Some are vegan, some are not. And on both sides of that, people are of course passionate about the beliefs they hold. I’m not looking to argue or offend, just looking to put some perspective on an issue I don’t think is conducive to one of the basic tenets of yoga; ahimsa. I’m not trying to preach, I’m honestly curious to understand the rationale behind this; read on.

I’m new to yoga myself and am still learning and adjusting to the ideas behind it. From what I understand, yoga is not a religion as much as it is a mindful practice; but three major religions (Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism) do pull from some of the ancient sutras (texts). As an unaffiliated Buddhist, I know a fair share of the teachings, again, most of them are the same or slight variations of one another. The “Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” list 5 yamas, or ethical ideals in which to live. The very first, and this is important, is ahimsa. Simply defined, ahimsa means non-violence or not harming sentient beings. So, maybe you see where this is going.

That said, I was in a class yesterday and the teacher talked about their vacation and how their family had gone down to a horse racing track and joked about the money they lost; however minuscule the “bet” was. There was chuckling among the yogis in the room, not from my mat though as I was confused and a bit let down.

I put the word bet in quotes because I’m not really sure what was being bet on. I understand gambling, I’m not that daft. The purpose is to choose the horse that finishes first; I get it. But peeling back the layers and looking at the whole situation, where is your bet money going? Who does it benefit and what does that have to do with yoga class?

I’ve been following a group called “Horseracing Wrongs” for a while now and they’ve said what I had intended to say in a much more eloquent manner:

“To those who wager on horseracing, we implore you to reconsider. And ultimately, you hold all the cards – no more bets, no more races; no more races, no more kills. And – no more abusing unformed bodies; no more extreme, relentless confinement; no more whipping; no more drugging and doping; no more buying and selling and trading and dumping. No more auctions, no more kill-buyers, no more transport trucks, no more abattoirs. No more maiming, destroying; pain, suffering. No more.

In a landscape that abounds with other gambling options – casinos, lotteries, real sports involving autonomous human beings – hasn’t the time at long last arrived to let the racing horse be? You, the bettor, have within the capacity for mercy. We ask only that you exercise it. Please. For the horses.”

I’m not trying to nitpick, or try to say this teacher is a bad person, I just don’t see the use for this type of talk in a space that is supposed to be filled with grace, compassion and loving-kindness. I really like this teacher, I go their class each week because they teach in a way that helps me understand the motions and poses. Will it deter me from going back? I don’t think it will, but maybe I will try to talk to this person and bring it up in a passive way that is kind to both of us, and to animals affected by the lack of ahihmsa in this situation. Maybe not, we shall see.

I know some folks may say, “well that’s what they do on their time and they are free to choose to do whatever they like.” While I find that to be true and agree, again we go back to basics and look at the sutras; don’t we? That’s where it all starts and without a foundation that is truthful and unwavering how can this not go unchecked?

I despise militancy and I apologize if this comes off that way. I’m just finding more and more holes in traditional religions and practices that are supposed to start and end with non-violence yet ingest animals, wear animals or bet on animals that die of a variety of conditions being forced to run around and around in a  circle for the pleasure of a human being looking to make a fast buck.

I get it, you believe it’s your choice and you can eat, wear and do whatever. I can tell you that karmic energy is still created ingesting that suffering, ingesting that fear. When you find peace on your plate, you find peace in your soul.

I’m curious how you would handle this situation?

*** featured image borrowed from Horseracing Wrongs

Vegan Potluck #1: Success

Wow, what a night!!

Tonight could not have gone off any better. For some time now I have seen a lack of “vegan community” here on Cape. There are pockets and groups, but I always seem to hear about them to late or it doesn’t work out for my schedule. That said, I thought I’d try my hand at setting something up.

I contacted Keith Stigura, the owner of Green Lotus in Hyannis, MA. A while back Nate, the previous owner, had let someone else host an event or maybe even put it together himself. Anyway, I felt like it was time to put one together so I got a date from Keith and started working some social media magic. I reached out to friends, friends of friends and a few other Facebook groups, as well as flyering at some of my favorite places. It worked because tonight we had between 40-45 attendants and it went off without a hitch.

Well, a tiny hitch as I’m not very verbose nor am I a talker. I’m a bit socially awkward if you meet me in person. So I could have made some announcements, I could have raised my voice and thanked everyone for attending. Alas, I did not.

A couple of tips to make the next one better were pointed out and I will grow with each new event. Speaking of which, I am starting to work on that! As I said, to those I spoke with, I hope to hold one each season. I think anything more than that and it becomes over-saturated and people will stop showing up. Maybe I’m wrong but I know when I was in a band if we played every month people just didn’t care anymore.

Again, thank you to Keith from the Green Lotus for graciously hosting us, I cannot thank you enough! Thank you to Rory from the Organic Market for the fabulous kale caesar salad. And thank YOU fr attending and making this a success. I met so many great people and I can’t wait for the next one!

If you want to find out about the next one, join the Cape Cod Vegan Potluck Events page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/capecodveganpotlucks/

Below are some pics I took as candidly as possible.

Book Review: Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook

In a genre of books that has a plethora of choices, it’s sometimes hard to stand out from every other cookbook. There are a variety of ways to do that though. For one, you can get two of the most recognizable cooks and vegan activists together. Victoria Moran, the founder of Main Street Vegan Academy pairs with JL Fields, the author of a variety of cookbooks such as “Vegan Pressure Cooking” and “The Vegan Air Fryer’ come together for “Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook.”

I’ve been listening to Victoria’s podcast, The “Main Street Vegan” for a couple years now and have been cooking from JL Fields’ cookbooks for the same amount of time, especially the air fryer one as I just finally bought an air fryer a few months ago. Needless to say, I’ve been a fan of both. So how do you make a book better than having just two recognizable people? You add a bunch of folks from the Academy itself, including a couple of friends of mine; Britt LoSacco and Danielle Legg.

What’s great about this book is these are really down to earth recipes and anyone can cook them. If you have questions there are little “coaches corner” tips that help you along. You will have the confidence to prepare a dish not only for your family to try but you will be making dishes to bring to the next potluck event. There’ even a chapter specifically for those events titled, “The Social Vegan.” At the end of the month I’m hosting a potluck so I’m thinking the “Sprouted Garbanzo Bean Hummus” on page 70 sounds pretty righteous!

“Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook” is not just a cookbook though, but it breaks down a ton o the common misconceptions of veganism and the movement. From debunking myths that veganism is expensive or complicated to activism and even how some vegans are shamed for the shape of their bodies; it’s a myth that we are all rail thin!

If you are new to veganism and are looking for a book that is helpful and welcoming, you’ve found it here. If you are looking for simple appetizer recipes, you’ve got it. Have a busy lifestyle and just want to add some stuff to a crock-pot and get on with your life? Yup, you’ve got that here too.

You can get the book at Amazon or head to the publishers site, Ben Bella Vegan for more information.

Naked Pea Protein

As alluring as the name may be, this doesn’t mean to just drop trow and read this because that might be a tad weird; for you that is. I mean who sits behind a computer and reads a review of some pea protein while they are naked?! Not me!

All silliness aside, I’ll be up front and say that I was sent a tub of this for review purposes, that doesn’t mean my review will be slanted one way though. That said, I don’t have much bad to say about this stuff.

The fact that the ingredient list only has one ingredient is pretty damned amazing. Most vegan protein powders have a ton of different stuff in them, most also have a boatload of sugar. This stuff came at a great time for me though as I’m trying my best to cut out added and processed sugars.

After runs and workouts I’ve been blending two scoops of Naked Pea Protein, some frozen fruits/ veggies, dates and water. The one thing I will be perfectly straight with you all about is the fact this stuff has no flavor; at all. But that shouldn’t come as a shock as it says unflavored on the container. With the fruits and veggies added you get a nice clean flavor, and the dates bring some sweetness, and that I can appreciate.

Wondering what the basic macro profile looks like? Well here it is…

  • 2 grams of carbs
  • .5 grams of fat
  • 27 grams of protein
  • 120 total calories

Besides the great macro profile, the cost to serving ration is insane! It contains all of the essential amino acids and weighs in a 5.7 grams of BCAAs per serving as well.

This stuff is super easy on the stomach. I get bloated with some of the other proteins out there and it’s not the case here; its very easily digestible. It mixes well which probably has a lot to do with digestion as it’s not clumpy.

I’m hoping to use this in an energy ball recipe soon and will post that when I do.

All in all, minus the taste, this stuff is super legit and I’d happily recommend to anyone who is not only vegan but is allergic to all the other stuff like whey powders because, well, they are not baby cows.

But you already knew that.

Check them out at https://nkdnutrition.com/products/pea-protein-powder

ps. Make some room in the cabinet for this stuff, the tub is merely gigantic!! Again, value!

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Avocado Pudding

I’m trying to cut out added, and processed sugar and it sucks; bad! I just want a cookie or something, maybe some ice cream?!? AAAHH!!

I needed a way to satiate the craving and the other day my wife made an avocado pudding for a dinner at her Dad’s that was stupendous!

This time I wanted something extra in it so I added peanut butter and it’s amazing! The only sugar that is in this stuff is the sugar from the peanut butter, and that’s minimal as it’s all natural. The Bee Free Honee doe have cane sugar in it, but again, it’s not anything extra like most recipes.

Try it and let me know what you think!

You’ll need…

2 ripe avocados
2 tbsp all natural peanut butter
2 tbsp Bee Free Honee
1/4 cup raw cocoa
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup soy milk

Put it all in a blend and let it run until it’s smooth enough for you. Chill for 30 minutes and serve with some crumbled peanuts on top!

Attention Cape Cod Vegans!

I have been working, for what seems like an eternity, to put together a potluck event here on Cape Cod. Besides finding a venue, finding a location that is central to all Cape Codders was one of the biggest challenges. That said, I also wanted to have it hosted at a place that shares the same passion that we do.

SUCCESS!

I want to thank Keith Stigura, owner of The Green Lotus, for agreeing to host this event. The details are this”

DATE
Friday, April 27 at 5 PM

LOCATION
Green Lotus Cafe
349 Main St, Hyannis, Massachusetts 02601

If you plan to attend, you can check out what everyone else is bringing by going to the event page on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/events/180809705888897/

If you have any friends or family in the area please let them know about this. I am hoping we can make this a seasonal event, or even more often if it is a success. I think it’s important to start connecting with other folks that share our common passion for veganism, and while it’s not prevalent on Cape Cod, there are lots of us. Let’s get together!

Feel free to share this digital flyer (below) I made as well!

Any questions? E-mail me at vegancableguy@gmail.com

 

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 $$!!


PIPERWAI : 
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!”