why I went vegan

Being that it is WORLD VEGAN DAY and I have this platform, I want to share a little of my story. I grew up being told we needed meat to survive. Ironically, I first turned to a plant based diet for health reasons. I will admit though, having grown up on a farm I saw the whole process. I was so emotionally confused but to be honest, as I got older I felt more numb to it. That sounds terrible but it was all around me. I think there was a hardening of my heart as almost an emotional survival technique. We would get attached to these innocent little beings, we couldn’t help it – they were so cute and so vulnerable. But then we would have to say goodbye and at some point they would end up on our plates, or someone else’s.

Fast forward to me in my twenties….I was in such horrific pain constantly. Doctors had no answers. After several years I started to lose hope I would ever live a normal life. I couldn’t even hold down a job. I came across a doctor who asked if I had ever tried changing my diet. I hadn’t and was so desperate to be free of the pain that I did a complete elimination diet. I hadn’t even meant to give up meat permanently, I just wanted to figure out what my body was reacting to. Within three months of giving up meat though, a miracle happened. I went two of the three months without pain and was continually feeling better. For the first time in almost a decade I was off my pain medication that doctors said I would be on my whole life. When people would say ‘Good for you but I don’t think I could ever give up meat…’ I realized there had to be some sort of addiction involved with eating meat and dairy. And yet, the release from my pain was overriding any of my taste satisfactions. For me it felt like it was a matter of choosing life or death. I had meant to re-introduce meat back into my diet when ‘malnourishment’ set in, but the reactions from the people around me when I was on my elimination diet were not what I expected. I thought I would receive more support and less criticism. I wasn’t joining a cult, I was sick and I just wanted to feel better, but whatever my reason I wasn’t hurting anyone else. It was actually the opposite.

Then I started coming across other vegans. It was like being a little person and thinking you are the only one in the world and then you turn a corner and find this whole village of people just like you. That is when I reached the point of no return. It proved to me that one cannot only survive on a plant based diet, they can thrive. Now I meet vegans everywhere I go. My doctor, the same one who saved my life by encouraging me to try changing my diet, is vegan. My clients who have become my family have decided to go vegan too. The interesting thing about it is that everyone has a unique story behind becoming vegan. Instead of judging them, ask them about their story. For me, I am a truth seeker, and the more I learned about animal agriculture, the more of an obligation I felt I had to do better. It is not about being perfect, it is about compassion and wanting to be a decent human being. I think for a time I learned a behaviour where I could compartmentalize my feelings. But it didn’t feel emotionally healthy, it scared me. I have always wanted to protect the underdog. And yet, my daily actions were going against my core values. Through my experience I have come to believe that when we eat fear and suffering, we become it.

I also realized that my choice of whether I eat meat and dairy is not just a personal choice. It will affect my nephews and my niece. It presently affects the rainforests and the inhabitants of those forests who don’t have a choice, and it affects the millions of people facing water shortages and who don’t have a choice. People are actually losing their lives to climate change and they don’t have choice. I don’t think my personal choice should eclipse everyone else’s. ‘I HOLD THAT, THE MORE HELPLESS A CREATURE, THE MORE ENTITLED IT IS TO PROTECTION FROM THE CRUELTY OF MAN.” {mahatma ghandi}

apply your supplements

Having grown up on a farm I learned about the importance of nutrients in the soil. Sadly, it has been greatly depleted over the years and the same goes for the foods grown in that nutrient-deficient soil. It has always been clear to me that even with the cleanest diet and lifestyle, it is helpful to supplement to keep our immune system strong in times of stress and to enhance the body’s detoxification process. Recently I heard a nutritionist say that it takes several bowls of spinach today to get the same level of nutrients we received from one bowl of spinach a few decades ago. Now that I follow a plant based diet, I also know the importance of supplementing B-12. Being that supplements are an investment, I always wondered what percentage of the supplements that I ingested every day actually made it to where they needed to go. I have had digestive issues in the past due to food allergies, so I have learned a lot about the health of our gut – the ‘second brain’. Those with chronic digestive problems like Crohn’s and Celiac need the nutrients from whole foods so that their body can repair itself. Unfortunately their digestive systems do not absorb nutrients the way they should.

I have received B-12 shots before but who has the time to get to the doctor every week for a shot? I finally decided to work with a naturopath doctor to create a B-12 patch, a D3 patch, a melatonin patch, a menopause/energy patch, a turmeric patch, and an immunity patch. They are located in the WELLNESS area and they not only work really well, they fit into the tiniest clutch, so you can apply them at any time. Personally I find they are especially handy when traveling. When you ingest a pill, absorption is delayed and potency diluted due to the long journey it must take through the digestive system and then you receive the dose all at once. With our IV needle-like wellness patches, the nutrients are time-released and delivered continuously over 12 hours in their most potent form, directly into the bloodstream.

In the last blood test results I had received before starting on these supplements myself, I had been low in B-12. So I was eager to be my own guinea pig and see what kind of difference the SHOT OF B-12 WELLNESS PATCH made in my results. I applied the patch once a week as directed and I will admit, a couple weeks before my blood test, I applied two patches a week for good luck. I did not take any other type of B-12 supplement during this time. When I received my results, I was really surprised. I have done a screenshot of my online chart so you can see for yourself:

That little mark that looks like an A is actually a flag symbol. I was flagged for my B-12 being too high. My doctor did not call me in to talk to me about this as it is no threat to my health. One cannot overdose on B-12, the body will just excrete what it does not need. I am confident that properly designed wellness patches deliver the same results as ingestible supplements, and possibly more! It is also evidence that what we put on our skin is absorbed into our body, and not through the liver first like what we ingest. It is absorbed through the skin into the capillaries and that is a highway to the whole rest of the body. If this were not true, the birth control patch and nicotine patch would not work. The skin is our largest organ and it is like millions and millions of tiny little mouths. We must remember to nourish it and treat it well every day.

cruelty-free could mean animal testing

Since opening HAUT COSMETICS thirteen years ago, I have enjoyed educating people about the importance of toxin-free makeup.  However, I have had the fortune of speaking to all sorts of people interested in cruelty-free makeup, animal testing, and veganism too.

I often hear, “I didn’t know animal testing still existed!”.

After learning that animal testing still exists, the next thing people often ask about is the nature of the tests, and the types of animals that are used in the tests. Well, the animal tests are painful and often fatal and the types of animals used vary.  However, we are all thinking, they are living creatures who feel pain and suffering, therefore the type of animal used really shouldn’t matter.

Unfortunately, specism is real: eat a pig, love a dog, test on a rat, but not on a cat. As vegans we believe that you shouldn’t harm any animal, regardless of it’s cute factor or how it is regarded (or disregarded) by a culture or society, and we would love it if more people felt this way.




So what does cruelty-free really mean?

According to Mission of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals the problem with the term “cruelty-free” is that it is not clearly defined by law, so it can be used to mean just about anything a manufacturer wants it to mean.

In addition to that, most vegans consider products that contain animal by-products, even if they were not tested on animals, as un-ethical and cruel.

The easiest way to know whether your product is both animal testing free and animal ingredients free is if it is labeled as vegan, or comes from a vegan brand.

So when you can’t trust the labels, what can you do to ensure that the products you buy are truly cruelty free?

1. Buy vegan.

The easiest way to know whether your product is both animal testing free and animal ingredients free is if it is labeled as vegan, or comes from a vegan brand.

2. Utilize Youtube and blogs to learn about cruelty free beauty.

Not sure what vegan brands are out there? There are numerous blogs and vlogs that focus solely on cruelty free beauty.   Not only review animal friendly products but they do tutorials that teach you how to use them as well.

Cruelty free Makeup

Just because a product is marked with an animal-testing-free label, does not mean that it’s vegan. Check the ingredient list to be sure.

3. Purchase from trustworthy brands.

When shopping buy only from a company that have proven themselves reputable and trustworthy. Companies with these ethics not only sell good quality products, but they were also founded on the idea that animals should not suffer for beauty.

A great way to get the answers and show that there is a demand for cruelty-free products is to simply contact the companies themselves and ask.

4. Contact the company and ask them.

Whether you are concerned only about animal testing or the use of animal based ingredients as well, a great way to get the answers and show that there is a demand for cruelty-free products is to simply contact the companies themselves and ask.

When asking make sure to not only ask them if they test on animals or use animal based ingredients or by-products, but if their parent company tests on animal or if they hire an outside company to do so.

Your money is your vote, so choose to vote cruelty free. As a vegan fashionista it can be frustrating to know that companies are doing whatever they can to mislead you into thinking that they are something that they are not. Have confidence in knowing that there are many companies that produce great products and do not hurt animals, and you can support them.




how to create a 100% safe, body contouring tan

Before I became a makeup artist I pursued a career in the fitness industry. I was never really interested in being involved in sports growing up but I realized lifting weights agreed with me as there was no competition involved. Learning to discipline my body and work it out daily felt like the most natural thing to do, and with so many benefits. Training my muscles felt meditative to me. It was also very rewarding to be able to help individuals achieve their own fitness goals and to be in a positive, fun atmosphere every day.

As my muscles became more sculpted and defined, having a tan was like the icing on the cake as it accentuated all the contours and helped me see the results of my hard work. I was constantly searching for a tan in a bottle that did not leave me with streaks and an odd odor. I became a self-tanning junkie! Yet, I was never pleased with the ingredients I read on the bottle. And that all-to-familiar smell was not attractive! Some self tanning creams contained ‘parfums’ to mask the smell but eventually it would overpower any kind of added scent. Every formula also seemed to often contain alcohol, which dried out my skin. FInding a plant based self tanning creaming was completely out of the question a decade ago.


I decided if I ever had the chance and if it was even possible, I would create my own self tanning cream that had only nourishing, toxin-free ingredients and still offered no compromise on a beautiful, healthy-looking tan. Upon reading more about DHA (dihydroxyacetone), the active colouring agent in self tanning creams and spray tans, I realized I did not want to risk the long term effects of this ingredient just to have a tanned look. Over the years it has been reported that DHA can wreak havoc on your DNA, especially in spray form. Being that everything we put on our skin can be absorbed into our blood stream, the risks to me greatly outweighed any beauty benefits.

Yet, I missed having that tan in a bottle at my fingertips. Although it is now known that too much sun can accelerate aging, a tan to me is like the ultimate body bb cream with SPF coverage. It diffuses hyperpigmentation, cellulite, scarring, stretch marks, and creates a smooth, leaner look. So once I started creating my makeup line, I wasted no time in creating my own plant based, toxin-free self-tanning cream. I have tweaked it a little over the years with some newly discovered food grade ingredients but most importantly I am proud to say it is 100% DHA-FREE.

The active tanning agent is a natural sugar from a berry and the result is a more golden, less red/orange tone than the DHA version creates. Without the DHA, the tan takes a little longer to develop so I recommend applying it a day before you are wanting your tan to show up. Exfoliating before your first application will create more intense colour and applying a hydrating body oil or moisturizer daily will extend the life of your tan. To build on the colour you can apply two days back to back or wait a day to see if it is dark enough and then apply a second application on the third day.

Our HAUT CARAMEL TAN has no odor and no added synthetic scent, only skin-loving ingredients that are safe enough to ingest. ALSO! We have just launched our +EXTRA COLOUR option if you need a little more colour than the ORIGINAL provides. Our unique formula is safe enough to use on the face and is also safe for teens and pregnant mamas who would love a little colour. If you have an extra fair skin tone I recommend mixing a little moisturizer with our HAUT CARAMEL TAN as even the ORIGINAL has a generous dose of colour.

caramel tan review

Emmily Banks, an eco-beauty advocate, celebrity makeup artist, and founder of Depths of Beauty recently reviewed our CARAMEL TAN along with a few others! Read what she had to say about it HERE. I recommend storing your CARAMEL TAN in the fridge as the thicker consistency will keep you from applying too much and also keep all the antioxidants more potent. You will find even the 1oz size will go much further. I like to mix a little with my Coconut Cream to my upper forehead, cheek bones, and bridge of nose to create a sun kissed look. What I learned from my experience in the fitness industry is that you can do the same contouring on your body {click photo for reference link}:


interview with Skye


I am very inspired by the women I get to connect with through Haut. Every single one has something unique to give to the world and they are using their gifts to inspire positive change in their communities and beyond. This past week I had the pleasure of interviewing the beautiful Skye Jones, owner of Vegout Boutique in Cochrane, Alberta. Even if you are not in the general vicinity of her boutique, you need to follow @vegoutboutique on social media. Her steps to reaching phenomenal health are not only doable and realistic for all ages, the results are fast and you will feel stunning inside and out (just look at her). I learn something new every week from her Instagram posts. I am also very excited for the boutique to open up online in the next few months as I have a growing VEGOUT wish list!

J: How long have you been living a vegan lifestyle?

S: I’ve been vegan since March 2009.

J: How did it all begin?

 S: I read ‘Skinny Bitch’ by Kim & Rory on a flight to a destination wedding after overhearing girls at the gym mention the name : I didn’t even know what it was about!! The name just stuck as I heard it hours before boarding. It was sitting alongside the magazines at the airport & I read it cover to cover before we landed. For the record it’s easy to be vegan at an all inclusive  🙂 Our holiday was 1week: at the end of the week I was surprised: I’d never felt better!! I never looked back!!

J: You believe in taking the plant based lifestyle a little farther than most. No salts, oils, sugars (SOS) or anything refined. Tell us more.

S: A vegan diet has a huge impact on our health & on our planet!

 A whole food plant based diet reverses & prevents chronic disease & obesity & even more drastically reduces our environmental footprint. Wfpb diet reverses heart disease 99.4% in Dr. Esselstyn latest study. Dr. Greger states diabetes incidence was *not found* in wfpb study. A diet That includes processed foods/salt, sugar & oil  jeopardizes our health & requires processing plants & ingredients such as palm oil that seriously impact our environment & fellow earthlings. Rainforest are being wiped out to support palm oil. Sugar is a nutrient void processed food and once you experience the sweetness of whole food sugars you can taste the ‘flatness’ of processed sugar. Minerals found in salt can be better obtained elsewhere: Dr. Goldhamer has a great video out about this & he also co wrote ‘The Pleasure Trap’ which was key for me in understanding why we crave what we do: it’s natural survival instinct!! Natural world never expected us to have access to Doritos & Chicken burgers though!! Basically wfpb is the best life insurance we’ll ever have, for ourselves and all living creatures. 

J: What do your Alberta family and friends who favor steak have to say about your vegan ways? Any converts?

S: Haha: well I’m sure they wonder about me but I think they can see that I’m happy, strong & have found my passion. I’ve probably had impact greater than I realize. There are many people who have shared their curiosity with me & taken steps & when they share their stories I’m so happy for them!! As far as someone close to me, my mom made a vegan Christmas dinner for our whole family this year & my sister & her husband have gone wfpb within the past 8 mos & have lost over 20lb combined & have improved their health. They weren’t in need of huge weight loss: basically they easily lost all their extra fluff without even trying. They are radiant & strong wfpb advocates now: they served over 20ppl at their home recently, 100% wfpb and had people asking for recipes. Macaroni & ‘chez’, burritos, ‘chez’ ball etc. I’m proud of them & excited for what their future holds.

J: You claim to be 40+ so I have to ask, what is a typical day in the life of Skye? How do you stay looking so incredibly young and vibrant?

S:Haha unfortunately I *AM 40+. I say unfortunately because I don’t feel old! I have tons of energy and I feel Happy!! I like how I feel physically. & I notice a difference mentally too, it’s because I know I’m contributing something positive to my fellow Earthlings by making different choices 🙂 Its surprising how this affects daily perspective!! I work out regularly. Often only 20 minutes. Exercise isn’t necessary to achieve weight or health goals: it’s extremely beneficial!!! But not 100% required!! Dr. Esselstyn gets heart disease reversal from his patients on diet alone, he does not require patients to exercise at all, though he certainly encourages it! 

J: It’s the beginning of 2015 and change is in the air! What wisdom can you share with anyone who is thinking about transitioning to a more plant based lifestyle?

K: ‘The journey of 1000 miles begins with one step.’ Every time you choose a whole food plant based meal you are arming your body to do battle with disease & lightening your environmental footprint. Each bite matters. Cancers that take years and years to develop can be arrested & even reversed. Dr.Campbell states his researchers can ‘turn cancer on & off like a light switch’ by controlling the amount of animal protein their subjects consume. So if you’re someone interested in wfpb – feel free to try it wherever it fits you. Start where you are! Find resources to lean on & learn from & take baby steps. Our health is actually completely in our hands! It’s that simple really.

J: If you could take three Haut products with you to a deserted island what would they be?

K: Do I really have to choose only three?!?! HAUT, I love you. Each and every product. I could go on and on… But if I could only have three:

Glacial Clay Cleanser. I’ve never experienced another cleanser like it. My aesthetician didn’t recommend any of her products to me on my last visit, instead she said she will make a trip to VegOut! She couldn’t believe how moisturized my skin was in our cold dry climate here!! It starts with a good cleanser.

Raspberry Elixir. SPF 50. I could pretty much eat it. & it makes my skin glisten. It feels amazing & it works.

 BB Cream. I want to bathe in it. I can’t see a drop of it on my skin when I use it I just feel like a magic fairy sprinkled younger-dust on my face!! I notice the magic!!! And it doesn’t sit on top of skin or amplify aging. And at the same time it sticks!! Even after a workout it’s still there doing it’s thing. How is this possible?? It’s a gift.

 Basically, I feel like my skin looks 10 years younger because of you HAUT. I’m not saying I’m not aging: I have wrinkles & freckles & life that has happened on these cheeks, but their presence looks gentler & positive & they feel more like happy evidence of life. For anyone new here…You will know what I’m talking about when you experience HAUT. 

 J: Your boutique is open for business! What do you have to offer at Vegout Boutique and what is your inspiration behind it?

K: VegOut has a different perspective! We carry everything from raw vegan treats to kitchen staples including grains, nuts & seeds to packaged vegan-version meals to superfoods to cosmetics, eco-friendly clothes, yoga & gym accessories & gear, small appliances, books, DVDs, lifestyle coaching… We hope to offer locals a health store they can trust & visitors from far and near an example of how modern & effective plant based living is. I invite each and every one of you to come visit us!!! &For those of you who can’t come in person we hope to have our online store up & running in the next few months, keep your eyes open!! 

Hope you are inspired too!

jo xo

vegan model Kaitlin Chapple

We are thrilled to be able to interview Kaitlin, a Canadian model and dancer. She is trying some of our products to see how they hold up on shoots and while performing. We had some questions for this vegan beauty with porcelain skin!


HAUT: You have a beautiful and unique skin tone. Do you ever have trouble finding the right shade of foundation?

K: I sometimes do have trouble, yes. My skin tone is naturally very fair, and often even the lightest shade of foundation is still too dark for me. That’s why I tend to gravitate towards companies like Haut Cosmetics that do custom blends and bespoke services, because they can match unique complexions and skin types.

HAUT: What is your go-to vegan energy food before a photo shoot or dancing?

K: I try to start each day with a smoothie using any fruits and vegetables I find in our fridge. Then I always take healthy snacks with me on a shoot, or to my rehearsals and shows. Usually I’ll have whole food energy bars, fruit and nuts, and coconut water.

HAUT: Why did you decide to live a vegan lifestyle and how has it changed your everyday life?

K: I grew up eating a mostly vegetarian diet, so the eventual change to a vegan diet was very easy. As an adult I evaluated my eating habits and came to realize which foods made me feel the best, and which ones I could live without. Eating a plant based diet has changed my everyday life in many ways. I have a better relationship with food, more energy, better digestion, and a clearer head. I also find that my body is more in tune with what it needs, and my cravings have changed.

Being vegan also makes me plan my meals better, and be more prepared when I go out. My partner and I cook and bake together often, and we always make sure we have easy snacks available at home.

HAUT: What is your favourite Vegan Cafe/Restaurant in Toronto and in Vancouver?

K: In Vancouver, there aren’t too many spots that are entirely vegan, but there are a growing number of cafes and restaurants with great vegan options. My favourite would probably be Heirloom, which is a beautiful restaurant at Granville and 12th. They are entirely vegetarian with most of their menu being vegan, and many dishes being gluten free as well. They serve amazing brunch on the weekends, and their dinner menu is excellent.

K: In Toronto my absolute favourite spot is Tori’s Bakeshop. It’s a cafe on Queen St. in The Beaches, and it has amazing food, cozy places to relax, and really friendly staff. I’ve chatted with the owner and I absolutely love everything she’s doing. The food is all organic, natural, vegan, and incredible. It’s a fantastic spot, definitely check it out!

HAUT: What is you favourite vegan makeup product?

K: Right now I’m really loving my Bio-mineral Foundation from Haut Cosmetics! I just received my first custom blend which matches my skin tone perfectly and has been great for every day wear as well as on camera.

HAUT: What was the best part of your Haut makeup session with Faced Professional Makeup Artistry?

K: I loved all of it! The makeup artist Danielle really delved into what Haut Cosmetics is all about, and we chatted a lot about the ingredients and skin care benefits of the products. I love that both companies really put health and wellness first, and all of the makeup comes from a skin care perspective. Everything is good for your skin and good for your body.

For a little while now I’ve been feeling like I really need to go back to basics, and apply the same principles I apply to my diet, to my skin care. Danielle helped me to revamp my whole routine and pointed out all of the best Haut products for what I need. As a full time model my skin goes through a lot, and it’s definitely time I start nourishing it with organic, vegan, toxin free ingredients.

HAUT: Thank you for sharing!

ABOUT KAITLIN: Kaitlin Chapple is a full time professional model and dancer based in Toronto, Ontario. She has extensive experience in live performance, print, runway, events, film, and television. She has performed across BC, Alberta, and Ontario, and has been published internationally in commercial print campaigns and magazine editorials.



Facebook: facebook.com/kaitlinchapplemodel

Twitter: twitter.com/KaitlinChapple

Instagram: instagram.com/kaitlinchapple



Cover photo (natural headshot)

Image by Pierus Photography 

Hair and Makeup by Kaitlin Chapple


Above photo (edgy, dramatic)

Image by Brandon Hart Photography 

Hair by Joanna Keller

Makeup by Faye Smith




I have always said I am a makeup artist before anything else. However, I think I actually like working in the background mostly now, lovingly creating a product and watching what unique effects another artist can achieve with their talents and my little creation. This means I greatly appreciate and need like-minded individuals on the front lines as makeup artists to represent HAUT. So when I was introduced to a Canadian makeup artist team who wanted to commit to using only vegan makeup in their professional kits, it was hard to contain my excitement. Not only did they show interest in wanting to use HAUT out of the many clean lines out there now, they were exceptionally knowledgeable about the importance of living a more plant based lifestyle. FACED has a beautiful passion to change the world through the work they do. Learning about their positive drive and high standards reminded me of a quote I came across a few years ago; ‘Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change’ (Wayne W. Dyer). I think that having your makeup professionally done on one of the most memorable, special days of your life is a very vulnerable experience. It is important to take the time to choose the right makeup artist. I highly recommend FACED, and not just because they use HAUT and are incredibly talented, it’s the way they see the world, and the importance they have placed on being positive role models, and stewards of this earth. I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to collaborate with FACED to give you more of the HAUT looks and makeup tips you love. Please take the time to visit their website to see the wide range of talent they offer as artists. Here is a little more about Danielle, the founder of FACED:


I came across Haut through word of mouth from a friend of mine – a fellow vegan. She knew that Faced was in the process of researching vegan cosmetic companies to be able to use in our company’s selected products, and through her personal experience of Haut’s products, she inspired me to reach out to Haut when she spoke very highly of the quality of the products and company. The most intriguing part of Haut was their philosophy and the ingredients they used to produce their products. I initially did my research of their philosophy, ingredients, and reviews and immediately I was attracted to the concept of using clay based cosmetics. With first being introduced to mainstream commercial cosmetics while I was training/my early career as an artist, I was conditioned with a bias because that was all I ever knew. With the experience of Haut makeup, it was as if my skin knew, and thanked me for putting something on it that it could recognize and relate to!!  Being a vegan makeup artist is something that I highly value in terms of myself, for the environment, and for the women everywhere who use some sort of product whether it is simply a moisturizer. I highly believe it is our responsibility to shift our focus on the impact that unconscious lifestyle choices has on our bodies and our earth. With a passion in providing women with a proper education on how vegan cosmetics works to advance humanity, women can begin to have a different relationship with their bodies and identities as well. Being a vegan artist allows me to spread the information that isn’t available (or necessarily encouraged) in the mainstream media. ‘I will never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world – indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.’



Dani Schleese

Faced Professional Makeup Artistry

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10 reasons why going vegan rocks

10 totally true (if tongue-in-cheek) reasons why going vegan rocks

1. You can save up for that jet ski you always wanted.
Contrary to what you’ve heard, veganism is affordable. I always get confused when someone tells me that they tried being vegan but found it too expensive. You’re cutting foods out! How can leaving the cheese off your pizza or the meat out of your chili cost more? (Alright, I guess you do have to substitute a few things, for nutrition’s sake.)

I figured those folks must just be eating a lot of faux-meats and processed foods, and thought perhaps that was more expensive. But then I actually looked at the prices: in my grocery store, a 4-pack of veggie burgers is $4.29. A pound of ground beef? Also $4.29. Or course, if you were to buy the ingredients to make your own black bean burgers at home in 15 minutes? About a buck. So basically, eating vegan shouldn’t cost you more, and can cost you considerably less.

If you’re trying recipes with a lot of specialized ingredients (or if you’ve been living on Chef Boyardee up to this point), yes, veganism could be more expensive. But if you avoid faux-foods and instead build a diet around vegetables, beans, fruits, and grains – trust me – you’ll save money.

2. You can scoff at Prius owners like they scoff at Hummer drivers.
The meat industry is an environmental nightmare. The statistics – exactly how much meat production contributes to global climate change – will shock you. Animal agriculture contributes more greenhouse gasses than all forms of transportation combined. The Prius is a nice touch, but driving one while eating meat is proverbially spitting into the wind. The single most effective thing that you can do to fight for the environment is to go vegan.

3. You can stop being a wimp about trying new things.
I’m not just talking about learning to cook with tofu, or getting up the nerve to try the local Indian restaurant. Going vegan teaches you to get creative with even common foods. My friend, who went vegan several months ago, has tried making hummus with every different bean known to humankind. (As it turns out, black-eyed peas make pretty killer hummus.) Before you know it, you’ll be going “Wait, I can make pudding out of the stuff they sprinkle on chia pets? Awesome!” For extra credit, you can join a local organic buying club or CSA, and break out your Google-fu for recipes when confronted with kohlrabi or dragonfruit.

4. You can have more cheerleaders than Bring It On and all its unwatchable sequels combined.
Want 237 new friends? Tweet this to any vegan: “Giving #vegan lifestyle a try. Who has advice?” Before you know it, you’ll have a whole new circle of friends ready to support, encourage, and argue over which is the best vegan free-trade chocolate.

Not on Twitter? Facebook, Livejournal, Blogspot, Meetup… wherever you happen to be online, reach out to the vegan community and be prepared to feel like you just got invited to the cool table in the high school cafeteria.

5. Those better things you have to do with your time? You can do them.
When I first went vegan, Sunday dinner was always two hours early. I was so used to starting dinner at two or three o’clock in the afternoon, and I didn’t realize how much time and effort I would save by cutting out the meat. My mom’s famous soup takes one third of the time to cook when you substitute tofu grounds for the lengthy process of browning, simmering, and shredding the beef. Until you go vegan, you don’t realize how much of your life you waste waiting on a slab of meat to reach a safe temperature to kill all the bacteria!

6. You can celeb-watch and tell yourself it’s not shallow.
You can feel free to fawn like a fangirl (or fanboy) on a wide variety of vegan celebs because – duh! – obviously you aren’t just falling prey to the cult of celebrity, but respect and admire them for their vegan values and advocacy. (Wikipedia even gives you a handy list, sorted by country of origin.) Also? You’re totally free to vocally and vociferously hate on the fur-wearing Kardashians. It’s practically a new sport – soon folks will be organizing leagues.

7. You can become the Chuck Norris of disease-fighters.
Chuck Norris will never have a heart attack; his heart isn’t nearly foolish enough to attack him. Your heart, on the other hand, may not be quite so intimidated. But you can keep it in line with the power of plants. Check out The China Study or the film Forks Over Knives for the research. Studies show that with every veg meal, you’re fighting heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke – without even trying! That’s pretty bad-ass, if you ask me.

8. You can do without either “-or.”
Neither Crestor nor Lipitor, nor any other cholesterol medication is likely to be in your future for the long-term as a vegan – a cholesterol-free diet. (Sure, you might be the freak of nature whose body still manages to produce copious amounts despite having no dietary intake and require medication, but for most folks, cholesterol drops to a healthy level on a balanced vegan diet.) You might also be able to avoid or reverse the need for medications for hypertension, type 2 diabetes, anti-inflammatories, and a whole host of other medicines people take for everyday ailments. How is this different from the previous point? Think about all the potential side-effects you’ll be ditching, and all the money you’ll be saving. One hundred percent of sane people agree, it’s great to be free to say no to drugs.

9. You can help make those depressing Save the Children commercials go away already.
Allow me to demonstrate this with some slightly sketchy math. (I admit, this involves some guestimating.) Stats say the average American downs about 200 lbs of meat, poultry, and fish per year. Cattle consume 16 lbs of grain or soy per pound of meat generated. Chicken consume 2.6 lbs of corn for each pound of flesh. Averaging that out and subtracting a wild guess of 25 lbs for fish (which are not consuming farmed resources), that’s a whopping 1627.5 lbs of grain, corn, and soy that’s being consumed by animals to create your 200 lbs of meat. Very inefficient, yes? If you swap out your 200 lbs of meat for 200 lbs of farmed resources, that still leaves you with over 1400 lbs. At 200 lbs a year, that’s food for seven hungry people.

10. You can attain a state of enlightenment. Not necessarily in a hippie-dippy yoga-Om way.
You believe in myths. That’s not a judgment – we all do. Our world view is defined by the stories we’re told. One myth you probably grew up believing is “Milk does a body good.” The truth, as it turns out, is that the ability to tolerate lactose begins to decline at age 2 (by which age humans would normally be weaned), and that as many as 60% of all adults lack the ability to digest milk products at all. Scientists think that the fact any of us retain the ability to digest it is weird, considering no other mammal does.

When you go vegan, you start to question many of the myths surrounding food. Why do we drink cow’s milk instead of milk from any other mammal? Why not primate milk, since humans are primates? Why do we eat chickens and turkeys, but not peacocks and parrots? How is eating a dog any different than eating a lamb? Why is the government subsidizing the meat and dairy industry, but giving no subsidies to vegetable farmers? Can the government’s nutritional advice then be trusted? Once you open your eyes, you’ll be surprised at what you’ll see.


xoxo jo