Connecticut Residents: Ask Your Legislators to Support Statewide Fur Ban!

Connecticut is leading groundbreaking efforts to save animals who needlessly suffer and die for the whims of fashion! A new bill would save a countless number of fur-bearing animals from excruciating deaths if passed, and we need your support to get it enacted into law!

Just months ago, California became the first state in the nation to ban fur sales, which reflects the growing intolerance for animal cruelty and an upswing in the demand for animal-friendly apparel. Now, we have the tremendous opportunity to phase out the use of stolen animal skins in Connecticut! Please urge your legislators to support a statewide ban on fur!

Connecticut animal advocates are joining the efforts of others working to create compassionate cities and states across the country, including the cities of Portland, New York City, and Minneapolis, to prohibit the sale, trade, and manufacture of animal fur products. This ban would apply to clothing and accessories that contain fur.

To produce a fur jacket, trim, or accessory, fur-bearing animals are held hostage on fur farms, where they are deprived of space, socialization, and everything wild animals need to thrive. To preserve their coats, coyotes, chinchillas, foxes, mink, rabbits, and other fur-bearing animals are often anally or vaginally electrocuted, which kills them from the inside out. They may also be bludgeoned to death or skinned alive. The onlooking animals wait in terror for their turn, and the brutal process continues. Furs from dogs, cats, raccoons, rodents and other animals are often undisclosed or intentionally mislabeled by manufacturers, and fur products are often preserved with carcinogenic chemicals.

The inherently cruel fur industry is on its last legs. Designers from all over the world, including Gucci, Prada, and Michael Kors, have pledged to ditch fur. Giant retailers including Macy’s, Inc. and Bloomingdales, have also announced that animal fur will no longer be sold at its stores or online in 2021.

What YOU Can Do:

Most Connecticut residents do not support the brutal fur trade which needlessly profits from the misery and torture of innocent animals. We must urge the state senators and representatives to support a statewide ban on the sale, trade, and manufacture of new animal fur products by making a phone call or two and then sending our letter with your personalization.

1)   Call. Please call your state senator and state representative by entering your full address at idausa.org/findmyrep and then choosing the Connecticut tab to find the identity and contact information of your district’s legislators.

When you call, you can say: 

 “Hello, my name is (name), and I’m a resident of (hometown/city). Please support a ban on the sale, trade, and manufacture of new animal fur products in Connecticut, and ask your colleagues on the Environment Committee to raise the bill!” 

2. Volunteer. Interested in volunteering? Email julie@idausa.org to find out how you can take action to ban fur in Connecticut!

3. Write. Please personalize and send our letter to your legislators by visiting: https://www.idausa.org/campaign/wild-animals-and-habitats/fur/latest-news/connecticut-residents-ask-your-legislator-to-support-statewide-fur-ban/

Compassion Fatigue and Mental Health

So, this blog is a departure from my usual product reviews and activism. As I sit here in Starbucks enjoying a green tea, I feel compelled to speak on a very personal, yet common topic: Compassion fatigue and depression.

With all of today’s technology, virtually anyone, anywhere can be a vegan activist. You can be a keyboard warrior for animals on social media, you can produce hard-hitting documentaries exposing animal cruelty, you can write petitions and blog posts, you can march on the streets, or simply share posts! ANYONE can be an activist, meaning EVERYONE can make a difference.

To do these things mentioned above, the main ingredient needed is compassion! Compassion for the cows who suffer on meat and dairy farms, for the chickens who have the beaks sawed off and are crammed into filthy overcrowded facilities, for the piglets who die on the floor of CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) or have their heads bashed on the concrete because they don’t meet the criteria of a profitable pig.      

After being made of aware of the abject cruelty and violence committed against animals, the realization that all of these horrors are committed or supported by humans can be difficult to swallow. It can also be difficult to acknowledge that until you went vegan yourself, you were also part of the problem.      

Your grandparents eat meat and dairy, so does your significant other, your best friend, your neighbor, so what now?!      

The most important thing you can do is present veganism in a positive light! After all, it is a movement based on respect and compassion for all life… what’s not positive about that? What you DO NOT want to do is shame others for not being on the same level you are. You need to meet people where they are. Most likely, they grew up seeing endless advertisements for meat and dairy and fully believe that animal products are necessary to be strong and healthy (the meat and dairy industry spends billions to convince us – it is not our fault!). It is natural to get defensive when everything you’ve been told your entire life by family, friends, and the media is challenged, and ultimately, false.

So, how do you share veganism in a positive way? Lead by example! Cook and share some delicious vegan food! Watch documentaries together, have productive conversations, show them how easy and fulfilling veganism can be!      

When communicating with people who are not able to accept the truth behind the foods they consume, you can be bombarded with negativity. It is not a personal attack (or shouldn’t be), it is merely people protecting what they have been brainwashed to believe and most likely, they are trying to rectify in their minds the cruelty they have been supporting their entire lives. This is actually a good thing and a step in the right direction! Keep engaging them and show them that veganism is easy, accessible, and delicious! You will be surprised what a bite of a delicious vegan burger or cheese can do!      

Back to the original point of this post – Whether you’re an activist or you work FT for an animal protection organization like I do, constantly hearing about, watching, and witnessing atrocious crimes against animals can take its toll on your morale and spirit. It can also be overwhelming when people cannot see the cruelty of their ways or they flat out refuse to change. Over time, the feeling of defeat and disappointment can become something called “compassion fatigue.”

I am not a mental health professional, but I do suffer from depression and have since a young age – long before I became vegan or an activist. I will always be vegan and I will always fight for animal rights in some capacity! So… I have come up with a few ways to deal with mental health issues to continue my important work! *Please seek professional help if necessary!

It is important to practice self-care and to join or build a community with similar interests. If you need a break from activism, take one! Animals needs us, and we can only do our best work if we take care of ourselves! Spend a day, a week, a month, a year to refocus and recharge! Spend time in nature, try a new hair color, go exploring, volunteer, have fun! Remember to give yourself credit for all of the work you have done. It is not easy! To find like-minded people, try Meetup.com to start or join vegan groups in your area, or find groups on Facebook. There are tons!      

Like I said, I’ve dealt with life-long depression. Compassion fatigue made it even worse. In the same vein as self-care, it is so important to surround yourself with supportive people – including your living environment – who have your best interest and well-being at heart. People who will check in on you, make sure you’re alright, and offer words of encouragement and support because they truly care. People who can recognize when you’re feeling low and will make an effort to make you feel valued and included. If you do not live in that kind of environment (I didn’t), please do whatever you can to change it. Even if it seems impossible.

If you know someone dealing with depression, the best thing you can do is to let them know you care. They are most likely feeling isolated, misunderstood, and lonely. Send a text, give them a call, a hug, invite them out… they may not respond, but your words and efforts can mean the world to someone who is suffering. Just a few seconds of thoughtfulness can be the difference between life and death.

When I was finally able to leave (a few seconds of bravery can radically change your life), I started practicing self-care and allowing people to see the real me. You can too. YOU are worth it – to the animals, the world, and to me! You deserve a beautiful life. We ALL do! If that’s not the very essence of veganism, I don’t know what it is!

OK! I want to throw an offer out there to all of my vegan warriors! If you are experiencing compassion fatigue or depression for any reason (even if you’re not vegan), you can reach out to me at vegantreasurehunter@gmail.com or on IG @VeganTreasureHunter!

If you are feeling overwhelmed or feel like you want to hurt yourself, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/ to chat with someone!

You are important. You are not alone. You are loved.

Happy Mother’s Day to All!

This Mother’s Day, I ask you to not only think about your own mom, but to think of all the mom’s on this planet that love their children. Whether you’re taking your mom out to brunch, you haven’t seen your mom in awhile, or even if they are no longer living, there is most certainly and undeniably a natural bond between mothers and their babies.

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This Mother’s Day, consider the grieving diary cow that had her calf stolen from her only moments after given birth. Think of the mother goat that was slaughtered for meat and didn’t get to see her babies grow up. Think of the mother sheep that witnesses her children’s wool being ripped from their skin… the mother pig that watches her piglets waste away in filthy cages or get smashed against concrete for being “too small.” Think of the baby chickens that will miss out on a life with their mom and are ground up alive only seconds after being born.

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All Mother’s love their children. All beings want and deserve to be loved. A cow, a pig, a chicken, a deer… they are no different than us.

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This Mother’s Day, please open your heart and mind and consider going vegan. Feel free to check out my Instagram @VeganTreasureHunter or send me an email at Vegantreasurehunter@gmail.com if you’d like some help! You can also check out my Resources page to learn more!

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The All Around Vegan Box – A must have for all vegan foodies and activists!

Before we get started, yes that is Bubbles in the feature image!!!

Company: All Around Vegan

Product: March 2018 All Around Vegan Box  (order now to get this month’s box!)

Review:

I love this subscription box.

End of review.

Just joking… but seriously, I love this subscription box for so many reasons! If you missed my previous review of the All Around Vegan Box, you don’t know what you’re missing!

Unlike other vegan subscription boxes that make you choose between bath and body, beauty or food products, the All Around Vegan Box comes with Lifestyle products, Nutritional products, Bath & Body products, and Activism Products. It is perfect for vegans that love trying new foods and new ways to learn and grow as activists. This box is also perfect for those that are transitioning into a vegan lifestyle… I mean, what’s better than getting a box full of vegan stuff at your door every month?!

So, what’s in the March box?

First, we have some delicious Carrot Oat Mini Cookies from Partake Foods.

They’re vegan, gluten-free, nut free, and soy free… I know what you’re thinking… “Yeah, they’re probably “flavor-free”, too.” Well, buddy, you’re wrong! These crunchy little cookies are packed with flavor! Cinnamon, carrot and oat make this cookie taste like a crispy little carrot cake, and I’m here for it!

Next, we have every vegan’s soulmate. NOOCH! That’s right, this month’s box includes Frontier Co-op’s Nutritional Yeast Flakes!

If you’ve never had nutritional yeast, drop what you’re doing, leave work early, drop the kids off at the babysitter, do what you gotta do and go get some. Better yet, just order this box! Anyway, I put nooch on veggies, pizza, popcorn, potatoes, salad, pasta, rice, you name it! It has a wonderful cheezy flavor and makes everything taste oh-so-good! I love that this little jar is perfect for taking with me. Hey, you never know when you’re gonna need a little nooch. You think I’m joking. I’m not. This stuff is awesome.

Next up, are the gimMe Organic Toasted Sesame and Sea Salt Premium Roasted Seaweed snacks. I’ve had these before and they’re definitely a unique and healthy snack! The sea weed is thin and crispy and packs a punch of salty flavor. They’re gluten-free, non-GMO, and certified organic. If you’re looking to spice up your snack game, you’ll like these!

Up next, is the Mint Valley Seed Co. Mustard Microgreens Growing Kit! How freakin’ cute! I was planning on growing some herbs in my kitchen for quite some time, but you know… life. This kit comes with all you need to grow little mustard greens in your home, and they’re ready to eat within a week!

Next up, is Happy Pits Sweet Orange All Natural Deodorant!

If you’re familiar with natural deodorants, you know that they either don’t work or they work pretty well but can really irritate your skin. This deo is aluminum and chemical free, and contains coconut oil, shea butter, arrowroot powder, baking soda, and organic tea tree oil. Arrowroot and baking soda keep you dry, while coconut oil and shea butter moisturize and give you “happy pits.” Now, if they could only make “Happy Hair” because my curls are looking pretty rough lately!

Last, this box included:The Modern Savage written by James McWilliams. The author “pushes back against the questionable moral standards of a largely omnivorous” while revealing “the scope of the cruelty that takes place even on the smallest and – supposedly – most humane animal farms.” “McWilliams advocates for the only truly moral, sustainable choice – a diet without meat, dairy, or other animal products.” Well, this sounds like the perfect book for activists and those that are interested in learning! *I’ll add an update once I’ve read it all!

The Bottom Line

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the All Around Vegan Box is my favorite subscription box! You get delicious foods, lifestyle products, bath and body products, and activism products… What more could you want?!

I don’t know of any other box that will help your pits smell great, give you reading material to add some more wrinkles on that big old vegan brain of yours, let you grow your own mustard greens, and gives you delicious snacks and nooch!

As you can probably tell, I highly recommend this box! Head on over to their website to check out their different subscription options!

Guest Post: Vegan Kitchen Magick Chili Recipe

Chili is the perfect meal to make when the weather starts getting cooler and you want something healthy! Check out this recipe below from Deborah, the fantastic creator of Vegan Kitchen Magick! You can also follow her on Instagram @vegankitchenmagick and Facebook to see all of her delicious recipes! Thank you, Deborah, for sharing this recipe… I know you all will enjoy it!

Guest Post:

I am really excited to be sharing my favorite chili recipe with Julie here at The Vegan Treasure Hunter! I love her product reviews so was thrilled when she asked me to write a guest post!

My grandpa loved chili, and we ate it a lot when I was a kid. He always kept cans of chili in the pantry to heat up for a quick snack or meal. Homemade chili is so much better than anything from a can, though, and it is really easy to make! This recipe makes a big batch of 14 bowls. You can cut it in half if you want to, but the chili freezes beautifully and it is so handy to have for quick meals when you don’t have time to cook. I divide the chili into portions and freeze them individually, and I always think of my grandpa when I heat up a bowl! Here are the ingredients you will need to make your own:

Vegan Kitchen Magick Chili Recipe

Ingredients 

  • 2 15.5 oz cans Pinto Beans
  • 2 15.5 oz cans Black Beans
  • 2 15.5 oz cans Kidney Beans 
  • 1 28 oz can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 28 oz can Diced Tomatoes
  • 480 g (2 c) Chunky Salsa
  • 65 g (3 TBS) Molasses
  • 42 g (3 TBS packed) Vegan Brown Sugar 
  • 8.4 g (1 1/2 TBS) Cocoa Powder
  • 360 g (1 1/2 c) Water 
  • 28 g (2 TBS) Oil
  • 360 g (3 c) Chopped Onion
  • 270 g (3 c) Grated Carrot 
  • 180 g (1 1/2 c) Chopped Celery 
  • 120 g (1 c) Chopped Green Bell Pepper
  • 24 g (2 TBS) Magickal Seasoning Blend
  • 35 g (2 TBS) Roasted Garlic 
  • 36 g (4 TBS) Taco Seasoning 
  • 1 13.7 oz bag Gardein Beefless Ground
  • 1 12 oz package Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo

Directions 

1. Open all of the cans, but do not drain them. Add the tomatoes and beans (including the liquid) to a large soup pot. Add the salsa and stir to combine. Cover the pot, and start heating it over medium heat. Stir every five to ten minutes.

2. Whisk the molasses, vegan brown sugar, and cocoa together with the water. Set the mixture aside for now.

3. Cook your vegetables while the tomato and bean mixture is heating up. Heat the oil in a large pan, then add the onion, carrot, celery, and bell pepper. Toss to coat with the oil, then stir in the Magickal Seasoning Blend and cook for ten minutes.

4. Mash the roasted garlic, then stir it into the vegetables along with the taco seasoning. Cook for three more minutes.

5. Add the reserved liquid and loosen any bits that are stuck to the bottom of your pan. Mix together and cook for three more minutes.

6. Add the vegetable mixture to the pot with the tomatoes and beans. Stir well. Cover the pot again, and bring the chili to a boil, stirring every five to ten minutes. (It should boil pretty quickly so you may not need to worry about stirring during this step.) Once it is boiling, reduce the heat and put the lid back on a bit offset. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring every 15.

7. While the chili is coming to a boil, prepare the Gardein beefless ground and Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo. If you cannot find these brands, substitute another minced faux meat product. (You can also leave them out and add two cans of chili beans instead.) Add the beefless ground and the Soy Chorizo to the pan in which you cooked the vegetables. Cook together for several minutes, then set the mixture aside to cool. Do not add it to the chili yet, or it will get mushy.

8. After the chili has been simmering for 45 minutes, add the prepared “meat” mixture (or two cans of chili beans) and stir to combine. Cover the pot again with the lid offset. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Your chili is done and ready to serve!

Do not drain any of the cans. Add the tomatoes and beans (including the liquid) to a large soup pot. Add the salsa and stir to combine:

Cover the pot, and start heating it over medium heat. Stir every five to ten minutes:

Whisk the molasses, vegan brown sugar, and cocoa together with the water. Set the mixture aside for now:

Cook your vegetables while the tomato and bean mixture is heating up.

Heat the oil in a large pan, then add the onion, carrot, celery, and bell pepper. Toss to coat with the oil, then stir in the Magickal Seasoning Blend and cook for ten minutes.

Mash the roasted garlic, then stir it into the vegetables along with the taco seasoning:

Cook for three more minutes:

Add the reserved liquid and loosen any bits that are stuck to the bottom of your pan:

Mix together and cook for three more minutes:

Add the vegetable mixture to the pot with the tomatoes and beans:

Stir well. Cover the pot again, and bring the chili to a boil, stirring every five to ten minutes. (It should boil pretty quickly so you may not need to worry about stirring during this step.)

Once it is boiling, reduce the heat and put the lid back on a bit offset. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring every 15:

While the chili is coming to a boil, prepare the Gardein beefless ground and Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo. If you cannot find these brands, substitute another minced faux meat product. (You can also leave them out and add two cans of chili beans instead.)

Add the beefless ground and the Soy Chorizo to the pan in which you cooked the vegetables:

Cook together for several minutes, then set the mixture aside to cool. Do not add it to the chili yet, or it will get mushy.

After the chili has been simmering for 45 minutes, add the prepared “meat” mixture (or two cans of chili beans) and stir to combine:

Cover the pot again with the lid offset. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes:

Your chili is done and ready to serve!

Enjoy!