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}

mica-free and why

Why did we leave the ‘all-natural’, beautiful Mica frosts out of our makeup? I know that over ninety percent of mineral makeup companies use Mica as their base, especially in their eye shadows, blushes, bronzers and lip glosses. It has always irritated my skin and what is worse, made my oily skin type even shinier. Ugh. So over the years I have done my own independent research on this particular ingredient. Pure Mica is a mineral pulled from the earth in sheets or rock form. Once mica is mined, it is transported to a manufacturing facility where it is processed and treated for a number of applications. Mica is almost everywhere, it is used in literally all paints, used in the processing of metals, lots of crafts use and tons of use in the cosmetics industry.

A surprising discovery I found is that Mica in its manufactured pure form is flat, iridescent (has no color) with very sharp edges. It reminds me of what fine broken glass looks like under a microscope. I do believe that it is the flat sharp edges of mica. existent no matter what size of the Mica particle is used, that indeed is what caused my own skin’s irritation as well as the ladies in my life. We all had problems with itching, burning and redness. I have to say, not only did I not miss it when I stopped using it half a decade ago, I noticed the tones of our products have much more dramatic brightness to them. The Mica seemed to really dull them and create a frosty, 80’s look. I also wonder, if the edges of the mica are sharp enough to tear at the skin and cause irritation, what does it do to our insides when ingested via lip gloss?

For mature clients, which I feel is me included, it is clever to go with Mica-free blends as they are ‘matte’ color and do not create a crepey look to the eyes and lips, or accentuate fine lines. I could get away with the texture when I was in my teens but not anymore. Mica and I just do not seem to get along!


From an ethical stand point, Mica is linked to child labour and even worse, children being trapped and dying in India’s Mica mines (www.hindustantimes.com). The Guardian posted an article online in 2014 (www.theguardian.com) that stated how most of the Mica in cosmetics is mined by children in India’s mines. It is dangerous and illegal. And yet, children are forced to work in these mines as soon as they are able to walk. Some experience snake bites and breathing problems. Some do not make it out alive. It is the darker side of the beauty industry we do not see. Sadly, not a lot has changed in the last two years, as it is difficult for consumers to know where the origin of their Mica comes from.

To make matters worse, there are concerns that Mica products are often tested on animals. So PETA has issued a warning about products containing Mica and their potential animal testing policies (CosmeticsDatabase.com).So I encourage you to turn over the packaging if you are having any kind of reaction to your cosmetics. In minimal amounts it may be cosmetically safe but I decided to err on the side of caution and keep this shimmery filler from contributing to child labor, animal cruelty, and possibly damaging skin’s surface.

With Care,



what is your slavery footprint?

Click here if the video does not play

Questions you could consider asking the brand

  • What do you do to ensure decent working conditions in the factories where your clothes are made?
  • How do you support workers being able to negotiate their own working conditions?
  • Are you confident that the price you pay for your garments is enough to ensure that the workers who make them earn a sufficient wage to support themselves and their family?

Vintage fashion and second hand clothing is also an option

As a consumer you can buy things from second hand stores, borrow, swap, and generally find ways to buy less new clothing. This is one way to slow down the ever increasing speed with which we consume clothing. This approach also pays heed to the environmental problems of clothing waste and over consumption of materials.

However, we don’t propose this as the simple solution to the industry’s problems. Jobs for workers in the fashion industry are a life line for many. We feel it is our job to promote these jobs, but advocate for them to be well paid and secure. Buying less first hand clothing could slow down production, reduce pressure in workplaces, and help improve conditions. But it could also cause job losses for workers who rely on the fashion industry for their livelihoods, and not improve workplace pressure at all. We have no way to measure this effect. {Yes, we know it’s not a pretty picture!}

It is also important to mention the big problem of waste created by the second hand clothing business. It is often the case that second hand clothing, when not sold, is dumped on emerging markets in developing countries, and their local fashion industry is damaged. If and when you support a second hand clothing retailer, it is important to ask questions about their waste and ensure that it isn’t having this effect.

We realize that this is not a very clear answer, but it is all we are in a position to give, right now. The main point is that, as with first hand clothes, it is important to be aware of the possible effects of our actions, also when buying second hand or vintage. Clearly the long term solution to all these issues is that changes in the production process have to be introduced in which respect for workers’ rights are embedded.





eye-brightening tutorial


 b before and after

What a magical difference a little brightening makes when applied to just the right areas on the face. When it comes to brighteners there are a few important details to keep in mind.:

  • The texture should not cake into fine lines and still look fresh at the end of the day.
  • There needs to be both concealing and brightening properties.
  • The ingredients should have skincare and natural SPF properties.

It’s a tall order, I know. I realized as a makeup artist that it is not easy to find a product that ticks off all these boxes.  That is why I decided I had to roll up my sleeves and create my own brighteners for my clients. The BRIGHTENERS were one of my first products because as a makeup artist the right BRIGHTENER gives me superpowers.


“Which brightener should I be wearing to banish my under-eye darkness?”

For almost all light to medium skin tones, from Vanilla to Burnt Almond, our PINK BRIGHTENER is your best choice. We have combined just the right undertones to cancel out darkness. Even though the naked eye only sees the area as being darker than the rest of the face, it is actually a blue-toned or purple-toned darkness. So it calls for just the right tones to conceal and brighten without giving skin a pasty grey effect. If you have a lot of freckles around the eye area, you may find that a mix of the PINK and BEIGE create the best result.

If you are Raw Agave to Cocoa or medium to dark in color and need brightening, our HE’S THE ONE ALOE CREAM TINT mixed with your HDD CREAM SHADE will work like a dream.

The WHITE BRIGHTENER is a must-have for all! Applying just a hint to the inner corners of eyes makes the eyes pop by making the white part of your eye look whiter, clearer and larger. If you are running on very little sleep and have bloodshot eyes in the morning, this one step makes all the difference. You can also add a touch of WHITE to the center of the mobile part of your eyelid, right above lashes, to make eyes sparkle and your upper lashes look longer and darker. With the NEED A LIFT BRUSH, sweep a thin line on the underside of brows after filling them in to create a clean and high brow arch. This gives a natural ‘eye lift’.




Prime Property

The brighteners can have a dramatic effect when applied to the upper eyelid too. Being that darkness in the under eye area is usually much darker, most of my clients miss that they have darkness on their entire eyelid that needs brightening. Once you apply a brightener like WHITE or BEIGE to the upper eyelid, it makes eyes look larger and you look instantly look more awake. It also gives our ALOE CREAM TINTS a truer color when applied over top of our BRIGHTENERS and very little blending is needed. Personally I could not live without my BEIGE as a primer for my favorite ALOE CREAM TINT shades. Even by itself, it gives a pretty ‘champagne’ color to light to medium skin. You may want to use a BRIGHTENER shade that will match the tint you are going to use on the eye lids. For example, If you are wanting to go with VINTAGE ALOE CREAM TINT or AGATE RAW PIGMENT, BEIGE is the best match.

Highlight & Contour brightening

Have you heard of the ‘Banana Highlighter‘ Kim Kardashian’s artist uses to highlight her face? Our YELLOW BRIGHTENER creates the same results but with toxin-free, vegan ingredients. To highlight the cheekbones and brighten on either side of the nose and mouth, the YELLOW BRIGHTENER can equal the ‘Banana Powder’s’ transforming abilities. If you have cool undertones and are extra-fair, A MIX OF WHITE AND YELLOW may be a better option. These areas usually tend to have a bit of redness so the yellow cancels that out and gives a lift to the face at the same time.

Editorial or Stage Makeup Brightening

There is a term among makeup artists called ‘cooking your makeup‘ which is beneficial if you need more dramatic brightening for the camera. We try to keep our ingredients as raw as possible so I like to refer to this term as ‘warming up your makeup’! Try applying your brightener first with your NEED A LIFT and SMOOTH THINGS OVER BRUSH and let your skin warm it up before applying your HDD, BIO-FOUNDATION, and eye makeup. Apply your brightener and then do your hair or answer some emails, then come back to your makeup. This gives an airbrushed look to your brightening. Like this makeup look Jennifer Lopez sported in Maid in Manhattan, this step makes such a dramatic difference that it is essential when doing theatrical-style makeup to enhance the brow bones, cheek bones, nose and chin. Be sure to set your brightening with our BIO-FOUNDATION formula. It is moisturizing, anti-caking, and yet you do not get that midday shine.


Fuller Lips Brightening

You can create the illusion of fuller lips by applying a thin line of YELLOW BRIGHTENER, ever so lightly just outside of your lip line, with your NEED A LIFT BRUSH. Feather out softly. I call this my ‘inside-out lip liner’ because it enhances your lip gloss or balm color, prevents it from going outside of the lip line, and looks 100% natural. To further enhance the size of your lips, add a little more YELLOW BRIGHTENER OR HDD CREAM on both corners of your mouth, almost like you are trying to shorten the length of them. This gives you more of a smiley look, it pulls the face up, and makes your lip line look shorter and fuller. You will be amazed at the results. Again, feather out towards your ears so it is blended naturally into your skin tone.



As much as I enjoy being a teacher, I will always be a student. I never stop learning. I love hearing about others’ makeup tricks and some of the best ones I have learned come from my clients who are not professional makeup artists. Aren’t we all makeup artists though if we practice this little ritual every day? Give yourself the freedom to be creative. Experiment with different makeup brushes for different effects. The key is not to take yourself too seriously and have fun with your makeup.


jo xo





my Mom’s faves


I tell my friends often that my mom has her Masters in life-altering experiences.

Mother’s Day is a special time to let our mothers know how much they mean to us. Every year I feel like I come up short. I think this is because with every passing year I am more overwhelmed and grateful for all my mom has sacrificed for me in spite of her own hardships. One place where we have always bonded is in the realm of makeup. I think something interesting about a makeup routine is that it becomes somewhat of a comforting regimen we try to maintain – even in our darkest days, not just to feel pretty but to feel some level of normalcy when everything else in our life is shifting.

San Francisco girl meets country farm boy…

My mom met my dad at a summer camp. She then moved her life from the heart of San Francisco to the bush country of Northern Ontario so that my dad could pursue his dream of being a bush pilot. Let’s just say the ‘fashionista’ in her had a teensy bit of a hard time being that isolated in the woods. Nine months after they were married there was a terrible snow storm and my mom was informed that the plane my dad had been flying had not reached its destination. Three days of -40 degrees later, the search planes still had not found my dad and any hope he could still be alive was fading. On the third day a man was trying to catch sight of his sled which had become unhooked from his ski doo. He saw the wreckage of a plane on the horizon. He found my dad alive, but barely. Sadly, his passenger had not made it. My dad had broken his ankles very badly upon impact and his hands were frozen solid from the extreme cold. His rescue was nothing short of a miracle and the experience of spending three freezing days and nights on an ice-covered lake gave him an understanding of the fragility of life few can grasp.

My mom spent many long days in the hospital as my dad had his fingers amputated on his left hand and his right hand amputated at the wrist. The doctors fused his ankles with screws to hold them together. They said he would never walk again and he would never be able to fly a plane. He was walking a few months later and within a year he had his private flying license again. Before the crash he had loved painting scenic pictures. His new steel hook made it impossible so he learned to paint with his left hand. As a little girl I never heard him complain. I think my dad’s sense of humor and my mom’s unconditional support and encouragement had a lot to do with my dad adjusting to a new life of no longer having the full use of his hands and feet. In my three siblings and my opinion, it was nothing short of ‘cool’. Our dad was Captain Hook.


“Sometimes you just need to go buy yourself a new lip gloss.”

My aunt gave my mom this advice when she was spending those long hours in the hospital and rehabilitation with my dad. I have always embraced it, literally. However, I guess it is more of a metaphor for some. I think it is somewhat like a life raft for mothers to be able to do something for themselves, especially when they have children at home and are acting as a caregiver for a loved one at the same time. What is your mother’s ‘outlet’? Her flower garden? Trying out a new recipe? Entertaining family? Engaging in one of her favorite activities on Mother’s Day is a way to celebrate her life and feel her presence, even if she is far away or has passed away.

To truly put a makeup product to the test I try it on my mom.

When I started creating my makeup line over a decade ago, my mom was my number one ‘tester’. After being a freelance makeup artist for several years and having most of my clients be over forty years old,  I really wanted to create a line that enhanced the beauty of mature skin.  Growing up, my mom and I would often share a bathroom to get ready. When she did not even realize she was talking out loud about her frustration over not being able to find the right foundation coverage and texture, I was inquisitively listening. It is easy for a young model with flawless skin to wear a product and have it meet their needs. It is a different story as we get older or have problematic skin. So I asked my mom what her favorite products are from my line to this day and why. I hope you have a wonderful day celebrating your mom this Mother’s Day.

1. SKIN ELIXIR  She likes how it plumps up the skin around the eyes and allows the rest of the makeup to apply  smoothly with little blending.

3. HDD CREAM  The coverage of this product is great for rosacea and hyper-pigmentation. It also pairs well with her brightener around the eyes.

2. BIO-FOUNDATION  This product gives extra coverage and holds her makeup in place without looking dry or cakey on the skin.

4. BALANCING MIST  This rosewater mist sets the makeup and is also a wonderful toner. It cools hot flashes quickly too and feels refreshing!






the future of makeup

I have worked in the cosmetics industry for a good part of my life. Yet, I have never enjoyed going shopping for makeup. I always ended up going home with something I did not want. Yes, even as a makeup artist!  I found big cosmetic stores and their displays to be overwhelming, cold, and completely artificially-lit, which to me is like makeup ‘gambling’. Sometimes after just ten minutes I would feel exhausted and totally confused (likely from all the chemical perfumes being sprayed at me). In my head I was always trying to imagine how different that color might look if I could see it in natural lighting. Someone coming to help me just made it more painful of an experience. It was like the blind leading the blind.

I saw the future of makeup shopping shifting…

Some people like to be assisted as much as possible when shopping for makeup. However, as an introvert, I like investigating new things by myself. I revel in it. I become creatively jarred if I feel like I am ‘being sold to’ without my needs being understood. It interrupts the experience for me. Maybe it was all that quiet solace growing up on a farm. When I find myself immersed in consumerism it can instantly drain me like a battery. It makes me want to be back to the cozy log house I grew up in in the woods – or doing endless back flips off my neighbors’ dock into my favorite little mountain lake to clear my head. That little bit of meditation brings me back to my point of writing this. I saw the future of makeup shopping shifting a decade ago when I started my line. I told myself that if I could somehow take the guess work out of picking out shades, it seemed that online makeup shopping would be a more calming, less intimidating experience to someone like me. I liked the thought of it and wanted to be part of it. Also, being from such a rural area, I did not have a lot of choices growing up when it came to natural makeup lines. I still do not see too many ‘truly’ natural lines at the local drug store or supermarket. I wonder sometimes if my skin would have been better in high school had I been able to shop online for toxin-free makeup and skincare.

Some could say shopping online is a scary experience because it is all up to the buyer. Not anymore though. Companies are constantly improving on ‘the experience’.  There is a mens’ clothing company, ‘Jackthreads‘, which has online agents ready to give the perspective and input a male shopper would get from their girlfriend or the patrons at the store. They can also see what their peers are buying or even just ‘wanting’. I, along with many others, like to take the time to read online about real people giving real reviews. Or better yet, the background on the person who started the company. I love a good story. It may not even end up being a product I like any more than what I used in the past. But if I have a clear vision of what the company stands for and what they have been through to get where they are, I want to support them.

Four Canadian Trends

Canadians consumers are increasingly looking for healthy and locally-made products, according to a new study from the Business Development Bank of Canada that identifies four trends shaping consumer behavior. The BDC study released also looks at the increasing importance of the internet in decision-making, with half of consumers conducting an online search before buying. “It’s a look at how consumers perceive value now and it’s important for small and medium-sized enterprises to be aware of these trends to stand out in a crowded marketplace,” said Pierre Cléroux, chief economist for the BDC.

The four consumer trends identified by the BDC are:

  • The buy-local movement: Consumers are shopping close to home, looking for locally made goods and aware that buying Canadian-made may be a better ethical and environmental choice.
  • Rising health awareness: The aging population is becoming more aware of healthy choices in food, cosmetics and ergonomically designed products. Half of Canadians consider the health impact of a product when making purchasing decisions and one-third are willing to pay a premium for healthy products.
  • The desire for customized goods: Consumers are looking to get exactly what they want and new technology makes it possible for them to buy it.
  • The impact of the internet: An increasing amount of research about products is done online, even when consumers don’t buy online. At the same time, online shopping is growing and online reviews are critical.

It’s interesting to hear some of my friends and family say how they could never purchase makeup online. It is pretty much the same feeling I have when I hear someone say they ‘can’t’ give up meat or cheese. I understand how they feel but sometimes I want to beg them to try it. Online shopping can be a warm, personable experience, fun even. When someone who emails me is not sure where to start with buying my products I explain what happens during a makeup consultation online.  At that point they start to realize they are getting customized service they may not receive elsewhere. If they do not have time to do an email or Skype consultation they can do the iCUSTOM BLENDS on their own and they will still be able to get a customized shade match and my personal list of hand-picked colors. I also offer hundreds of samples for anyone who curiously wants to try something out without the investment of a full product. I know that once a product is applied it speaks for itself. And, as my clients know, I love including free samples in my clients’ parcel as a little ‘surprise’.


We are all the same but all very unique. People who find themselves on my website have different personalities, different lifestyles, and different levels of knowledge about makeup, as well as being in different time zones. The best thing for me personally is to have options, so that is what I wanted to offer my clients online – like those ‘Choose Your Own Ending’ books! I want to meet people at their level and give them the most enjoyable, creative experience. We all want to pick something up, feel the texture, smell it. It is instant gratification. However, there can be a different type of gratification. When you have really done your homework on the ingredients it means you know exactly what you are getting, where it comes from, all the benefits etc. Then you wait…and it is like Christmas when you find the parcel on your doorstep a few days later. One thing that we can look forward to in the near future, thanks to Amazon, is same-day and even same-hour deliveries, which will be brought to us by a drone (so very Jetsons!). When you have put some time and thought into a purchase it is called being a conscious consumer. If you are confident you are getting something that is organic, the best quality and healthy for the environment, it is the opposite of buyer’s remorse. It puts the consumer back in the driver’s seat and allows each of us to vote for and demand greener, cleaner products. Here’s to being conscious online consumers and having fun at the same time.





haut 2014 forecast


Thank you for all your feedback this past year! Good and bad, it all matters to me. Life is hard. Growing a business is complicated. Yet, I cannot see myself doing anything except what I am doing right now so I am going to keep going outside of my comfort zone and trying my best. The HAUT BB CREAM is something I was going to bypass to keep the line simple. However, it was what my clients told me was needed and a ‘vegan bb cream’ kick-started a year that was far from dull. We are all unique. There is no one miracle product.  This February it will be ten years since I started HAUT. I am really happy with what the line has to offer as a whole but I am also getting a little excited for a new addition to the line in 2014.


I am also excited to speak to so many women these days who are often more educated than I am on toxins. They are steering their families into positive change – better for our health and for the health of the environment. I had a client come to me in her seventies who regularly goes on her ipad to research a new product or line. She said one product a friend had sold her on and despite the strong smell, it was supposedly safe enough to sit on the face all night. When she researched it she was already reacting to it and then read a review online that the solution was strong enough to remove nail polish.  She actually felt she should try it for herself and sure enough it took off her toe polish easily. We cannot take everything we read as being the truth. When it comes to our health we need to be our own advocates and also support companies like EWG who take the guess work out of ingredients.


I have just enhanced the iCUSTOM BLENDS feature on our website. Up until now it has customized your colour formula for bb cream and foundation. Once you have an even canvas it is really important to give it some color and dimension. When you have gotten your foundation just the right color it makes a dramatic difference to do a little highlighting, contour, and then a little color to apples of cheeks, eyelids and to lips. I have selected some of my favorite tints for each customized formula to give you the most healthy look. I hope this helps you to take a little of the guess work out of makeup shopping.


CLEAN CARE SAYS ‘Using countless beauty and personal care products is part of our daily regime. Most of us start by lathering up in the shower, then applying moisturizer followed by a dash of makeup (and that’s just before we step out the door…).’



jo xo



surviving progress

I will always be a country girl at heart. I am proud to say I have been able to witness intimately what happens in the wilderness between live organisms. For me, growing up on a Canadian prairie farm opened the door to a perspective on life few no longer can find, even if they want to. What I often wonder these days is why more is not being done to curb climate change? Is it just all about corporate profits? I think that a lot of people believe carbon emissions from vehicles and fuel consumption are the main culprits, and that they can buy a hybrid car and rest easy that they’re doing their part.

Except then there’s this:


This quote came from a United Nations report. Not from Greenpeace, not from PETA, and not from Mercy for Animals. The United Nations.

Most people will agree that they’re concerned about climate change, and are happy to see an increasing number of “green” products on the market. We feel good buying the bags made from recycled material, using energy efficient light bulbs, and even driving electric cars. If you were renovating your bathroom, you might feel good installing one of those water saving toilets. So, each time you flush, you use a gallon or so less of water. And you feel good about that gallon of water saved per flush. And then you go off to meet your friends at a bar for a few locally brewed beers, and order a burger. But what if on the menu next to the burger there was fine print stating, “FYI: 1,300 gallons of water were consumed to produce this quarter pound of beef, and on top of that a **** load of methane and CO2 was released into the atmosphere, and oh-also fifty-five square feet of rainforest was used up for it too. Enjoy!”



“We collectively raise, feed, water, kill, and eat over 65 billion animals each year for food. That number again: 65 billion, which is ten times as many people as we have on the entire earth.” -The Wall Street Journal

That’s kind of staggering to think about. We already have a population density problem and here we’re adding ten times the number of farmed animals to the mix. So how is this related to climate change? The bullet points below (all taken from pages 11 and 12 of Dr. Oppenlander’s book, Comfortably Unaware: What We Choose to Eat Is Killing Us and Our Planet) explain:

• Global warming (“climate change”) is caused by the production of methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide, not by carbon dioxide alone.

• Global warming is also caused by destroying trees and vegetation that regulate carbon dioxide and oxygen.

• Global warming is just one small component of global depletion.

• Methane is 23 times as powerful as carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide is 310 times as powerful as carbon dioxide for their global warming potential.

• Forty percent of methane and 65 percent of nitrous oxide produced by all human activities are from livestock.

• Rainforests are the lungs of our planet, producing over 20 percent of the earth’s oxygen.

• Rainforests take millions of tons of CO2 out of our atmosphere and store it in the soil.

• Seventy percent of our rainforests have been slashed and burned in order to raise livestock.

• Fifty-five percent of our fresh water is being given to livestock.

• Over 70 percent of the grain the United States is fed to livestock.

• It takes 10 to 20 gallons of water to produce one pound of vegetables, fruit, soybeans, or grain.

• It takes over 5,000 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat.

• One pound of vegetables, fruit, soybeans, or grain is healthier for you to eat than one pound of meat.

• During every one second of time, just in the United States alone, 89,000 pounds of excrement is produced by the chickens, turkeys, pigs, sheep, goats, and cows raised for us to kill and eat.

• One acre of land, if used for vegetables, grain, and/or legumes, produces ten to fifteen times more protein than if devoted to meat production.

• Over 30 percent of all usable total land mass on earth is used by livestock.

• Over 80 percent of all arable (agricultural) land in the United States is used for or by livestock.

• Six million children in the world will die from starvation this year.

• 1.1 billion people in the world are considered malnourished or suffering from hunger.

There you go. Information like the above is, I think, probably what led James Cameron (that guy who produced the movie Titanic) to say in a video online, “You can’t be an environmentalist, you can’t be an ocean steward without truly walking the walk and you can’t walk the walk in the world of the future, the world ahead of us, the world of our children, not eating a plant-based diet.”

I think he’s right. And I know that the idea of going “vegan” is totally scary to a lot of people, or offensive to people who eat out a lot or are in the restaurant business, and it can also be extra challenging depending on where you live and your resources. That’s why I like that James Cameron used the words “plant based” and it’s why I use those words a lot myself. Eat mostly plants. Ideally, eat all plants. But if that’s too scary or difficult, just work on eating less meat and animal products. Then even less. And still less. It’s good for your health too. And fish? Yes maybe cut way back on that too. When I see people I know instagramming giant platters of sushi they’re about to eat, I want to put the following in the comments section:

“An ongoing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study found that an alarming 100 percent of freshwater fish samples from the United States contain mercury, and a large percentage of certain fish caught from the ocean contain heavy metals and/or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are highly toxic cancer-causing chemicals.”

Add to that the general over-fishing and ocean depletion issue, which is a whole other story. Those Red Lobster commercials on TV promoting the all-you-can-eat shrimp deals really upset me because, “for every one pound of shrimp sold and consumed, more than twenty pounds of other sea creatures are caught and killed in the process.” If only they’d add that to the menu in fine (or not so fine) print. What then? Would people still eat all they can?

I’ve always thought: if only people knew.

In addition to choosing to create luxury, high-performance, natural products, I am committed to using only 100% vegan, cruelty-free ingredients. Our ingredients are entirely and completely free of animal derivatives, and those raw ingredients and the products we create from them, are absolutely not tested on animals. We also choose not to work with companies who do support or produce animal-related products.

The health of our environment, and our responsibility towards it, has prompted me to use sustainable ingredients and practices.

With Care,

Surviving Progress by Harold Crooks & by Mathieu Roy, National Film Board of Canada