Recently Certified Products: July 20-July 27

Here we are for round three of our “Recently Certified” series. As we mentioned earlier, we’re going to start doing a weekly “round-up” of products we’ve certified! That way, you know what has the Certified Vegan logo, meets the standards, and know what cool, new things to keep an eye out for. And there are ALWAYS cool vegan things to keep an eye out for!

In the past week, we’ve certified:

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Sweet Anthem Handmade Perfumes line of perfumes, a gorgeous collection of small batch, handmade fragrances from the PNW that evoke scenes from your favorite literary classics. The story of Juliet, for example, stems from the Shakespearean play (of course!):

A starcross’d love encircled by balmy jasmine sambac flowers, orange blossoms and enchanting spices. Nips of fresh mango and a faintly glimmering sea shore lay the scene and fragrance in fair Verona.

The solid perfumes are beeswax-free and vegan as well, which are on-the-go people should be excited about. Try Phoebe (notes of lavender, maple sugar, and tobacco) and Emily (notes of almond, yuzu, and “honey”), two of our favorites.

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Rawpothecary‘s new “Probitonix” waters. The flavored waters are packed full of probiotics and delicious fruit flavors to keep you hydrated and your belly happy with over 2 BILLION vegan probiotics in each bottle. Check out Rawpothecary’s seed milks, cold-pressed juices, wellness shots and fiber-rich blends as well – all of their products are certified and perfect for a summer cleanse!

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Sayblee Darsale‘s handmade and natural hair care products for curls, kinks, coils and frizzy locs in need of some vegan TLC! The hair products also help to promote hair growth and suppress dandruff, another win-win for those of us with dry, itchy scalps or hair in need of stimulation. We bet the lime scent is also to die for. You can buy the haircare online for at-home use or get treated at Sayblee’s Hair Salon in Miami!

We’re excited about all of these and hope you are too!

Have any products you’d like to see certified? Email the company and tell them to get in touch with us!


Recently Certified Products: July 13-July 20

As we mentioned last week, we’re going to start doing a weekly “round-up” of products we’ve certified! That way, you know what has the Certified Vegan logo, meets the standards, and know what cool, new things to keep an eye out for. And there are ALWAYS cool vegan things to keep an eye out for!

In the past week, we’ve certified:

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Salt Way‘s ENTIRE skincare collection, ranging from body oils to bath bombs, salt scrubs and salt soaps. Salt Way’s products are a natural alternative to some bath and skincare items that use sulfates, dyes, and fragrances. Plus, everything contains himalayan salt, which has been getting a lot of positive press over the past few years for being a great skincare (and edible) ingredient. It’s even been reported that bathing in “pink salt” can stimulate your circulation and soothe sore muscles, so grab a bath bomb and get to soakin’.

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Willow’s Wonders Cookies, two classic cookie flavors (chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin), free from gluten, dairy, egg, peanuts, and soy! For our gluten-free or nut-allergy vegans, these cookies would be perfect for you! The cookies are now being made in a dedicated allergen-free facility, though for our coconut-sensitive vegans, coconut is an ingredient. Other common allergens, however, won’t be found in these surprisingly-moist gluten-free treats! Vegan, GF, refined sugar-free, Kosher…perfect.

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Pleni Naturals is a bath and skin line for baby, toddlers, and children. With wholesome ingredients like fresh raspberries and cucumbers and no toxic ingredients in sight, little vegans will have a blast in the bath–and will be soft and sweet-smelling afterward! Pleni Naturals uses fresh fruits and vegetables to not only soothe the skin, but to also introduce little ones to veggies being, well, fun. Why the focus on these ingredients though? According to founder Allyson,

“Because what we put on our skin goes in our body. And our natural and organic fruit and vegetable ingredients are wholesome, nutritious and packed full of beneficial vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids.”

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– THE BROWN CRAYON PROJECT is another great skincare lines for little ones, although it hasn’t launched quite yet! The line, which is all certified, contains bath products, moisturizers and a hair mist. And the best park about the company? The Brown Crayon Project is the first company to make organic products for all the babies of color out there! We can’t wait for the launch and hope the line meets a need that has yet to be met. You can keep up with their progress by signing up to hear about launch news.

We’re excited about all of these and hope you are too!

Have any products you’d like to see certified? Email the company and tell them to get in touch with us!


Recently Certified Products: July 6-July 13

We think we’re going to start doing product announcements for some cool things we certify! That way, you know what has the Certified Vegan logo, meets the standards, and know what cool, new things to keep an eye out for. And there are ALWAYS cool vegan things to keep an eye out for!

In the past week, we’ve certified:

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Sola Look‘s upcoming liquid-to-matte lipstick in collaboration with Instagram-fav @depechegurl! A beautiful neutral mauve launching this Friday, July 15. Vegan liquid-to-mattes are in no short supply, but we are always excited to see new ones hit the market – especially when they get certified! Christina’s (depechegurl) secret cosmetic project, Cryptic Cosmetics, also has vegan lipsticks that we certified and we cannot WAIT for the line’s reveal.

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Soups by Jus by Julie! You could simultaneously beat the summer heat and boost your antioxidant intake with the Roasted Tomato Gazpacho, which sounds amazing and contains ingredients to help your skin glow all summer long. The other soups look great too, and Vegan Action is currently working with Jus by Julie to get their whole product range certified, from juices to “booster shots.

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Energy bars and bites by Kiwicha Bar! Made from tasty kiwicha (amaranth), almond butter, dates and other goodies, these little guys will help keep you nourished and ready for the day ahead. They’re also definitely travel and hiker-friendly. Founder Leigh created the bars after trekking through the Peruvian Andes and eating kiwicha to keep her going!

“I trekked for days without access to supermarkets, restaurants or cellular phone service. I crossed the treacherous Salkantay pass at more than 15,000 feet.  My local guide fed me kiwicha. He told me it was the secret food that allowed his ancestors to climb the same mountains centuries before. I brought back what I learned in Peru and made Kiwicha Bar!”

We’re excited about all of these and hope you are too!

Have any products you’d like to see certified? Email the company and tell them to get in touch with us!


Recap: 2016 Richmond VegFest

Despite the heat, this year’s RVA VegFest went amazingly! It was the most attended to date, with anywhere from 13-to-14 THOUSAND people stopping by! Between awesome tablers and amazing food vendors, everyone who joined us at Bryan Park last Saturday had a blast.

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Beautiful artwork by Erin Hall, as always!

As the presenter of Richmond’s VegFest, we’re always looking to spice up our table. We tested out a few new things this year and were very happy with the outcome! This year, Vegan Action introduced:

Virtual Reality Technology

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Want to experience it? You can checkout iAnimal here!

We replaced our DVD and tablet pay-per-views of previous years with some more updated technology. With a Samsung VR headset, we were able to show iAnimal to festival attendees, and the technology enticed non-vegan/vegetarians who wouldn’t normally watch such footage to give it a shot! Lots of great conversations about animal cruelty and exploitation were had afterward, and we were able to squeeze 24 people into the headset between recharging sessions. The only cons? The footage, which takes place in a pig factory farm, could be a bit hard to stomach, and having only one headset led to a crowd patiently waiting to use it. We will continue to explore other VR footage in the future, and who knows, maybe we’ll invest in some more headsets! Curious about how animal rights and vegan organizations are using VR technology? Check out our article from a few months back.

A Call to Action

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“As patrons of Wegmans and citizens concerned with animal welfare Issues, we cannot continue to shop at Wegmans until this policy changes.”

Vegan Action invested in 500 postcards that asked for an end of live lobster sales by East Coast grocery chain Wegmans! The postcards were placed at the entrance tent and we left the festival with none remaining. Here’s hoping our call to action will convince the grocery chain that live lobster sales are unnecessary, unwanted and cruel. We hope that, if successful, other grocery stores will also consider ending their sale of live lobsters. Baby steps!

Photo Opportunities

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You can check out other great stories over on our main and local Facebook pages

We snagged some dry erase boards and asked attendees to stop by and let us know why they went vegan or vegetarian! There were lots of great reasons, from not wanting to harm animals to helping recover from disordered eating habits. Though not too many people participated, we think it was a great way for vegans to help inspire each other, build friendships, and of course, keep discussion in the community open and fun! Thank you to those who participated, it was a blast to meet you, talk to you, and learn your stories.

Did you miss the VegFest this year? Fret not! Join us next summer. Maybe we’ll have even more new goodies for you guys.

 


Natural Sins – The UN-Potato Chip!

“All it takes is two ingredients and our Costa Rican way of doing things for us to steal a few potato chip fans,” Natural Sins promises with their new line of Crispy Chips, which contain flavors like pineapple, mango, coconut and even beet! Their statement isn’t false; the fruit, which is sliced thinly and baked until crisp, mimics the classic potato chip, just without the carb-y, starch-y potato. The resulting chips are delicious, inherently gluten free, and of course, a better snacking option, all while being completely vegan (and certified, of course)!

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We agree that these chips are the “UN Potato Chip” and will be reaching for them when the craving for something thin and crunchy hits. Their Crispy Pineapple Chips are even baked with the rind and core; how many can say they’ve eaten a whole pineapple? We can, and we didn’t want to share the bag either!

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The Crispy Coconut Chips were even selected as a Finalist for a sofi Award this year, presented by the SpecialtyFood Association for Outstanding Sweet Snacks. This recognition confirmed that the Crispy Chips are among the Top Three fruit and veggie snacks in the world! You’ll have to try them yourself to see if the claim is true.

Happy snacking and Pura Vida!


WORLD OCEAN DAY

It’s WORLD OCEAN DAY – the perfect time to think about what you can do to make a difference – for the animals, for the environment, for your health – commit to reducing and eventually refusing all single-use products!

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WORLD OCEAN DAY


Vegan Action Visits Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary

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Have you ever spent an afternoon with a gang of baby turkeys? During the summer of 2014, the board of Vegan Action visited Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary, one of the few farm sanctuaries located on the East Coast. The chicks (baby turkeys are actually called poults!) were rescued and brought to Poplar Springs to be cared for among other feathered friends, including a flock of turkey toms and hens, peacocks and peahens, geese, ducks and, of course, chickens. Lucky for these baby turkeys, they were rescued and sent to the sanctuary to live their lives socializing (turkeys are very social creatures!) and running through the fields and forest.

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In addition to the turkeys, we met a flock of sheep, including Adam, one of the most affectionate sheep I had ever met, a litter of young pigs and a cow named Caroline. Located on 400 acres, Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary provides care, rehabilitation, and permanent sanctuary for neglected, abandoned or unwanted farm animals. Poplar Spring staff and volunteers educate the public on farm animal and wildlife issues and promote compassion and treatment for all animals.

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The Maryland-based sanctuary is part of a tradition of caring people responding to the brutality of factory farming. The very land where the sanctuary calls home was once a traditional farm sending many animals to slaughter each year.  In the US, factory farming dominates food production where animals face inhumane living conditions where they require large amounts of antibiotics to stay alive. In addition to the drugs administered to simply stay alive in unhealthy living conditions, the animals are also given drugs to grow unnaturally fast and large. This treatment of animals exists to maximize profits at the expense animal, environmental and human health. According to the USDA data, the number of dairy cows has remained relatively constant over the past five years (approximately nine million) however the amount of milk production has steadily increased during the same time period.

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To find out more about Poplar Spring’s work to care for animals rescued from factory farming, as well as the staff’s commitment to veganism, please visit their website or on Facebook.


Cuckoo for Cocokind!

It appears that the time-intensive 10-step skin routine popular in South Korea has made its way to the United States, promising youthful, healthy and dewy skin. Unfortunately, many of these Korean products either contain animal ingredients (such as collagen and snail mucin) or test on animals, and companies that do make vegan skincare products are hard to find in the states.
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That’s where cocokind, a company we certified around the holidays, comes in!
Cocokind offers an extensive range of organic vegan products that can be used in a 10-step routine, with the whole line containing only natural (and pronounceable) ingredients. Serums, oil cleansers, toners and more are available to leave your skin soft and glowing, making them perfect for those with dry or dull skin. We can vouch for their Rosewater Toner, Facial Repair Serum, and Matcha Moisturizers, which are all aaaa-mazing, and while we haven’t tried their two newest products (yet!), an Organic Ultra Chlorophyll Mask and an Organic Sea Moss exfoliator, they sure do look awesome.
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Thanks, cocokind, for the amazing products and for letting us vegans experience the 10-step routine as well! Want an example of how to incorporate these products into your routine? See our example below!

Cocokind-based 10 Step Routine:

  1. Prepare for your double-cleanse by removing eye-makeup (if you wear it!) with the Organic Eye-Firming Oil. Gently sweep away makeup with a cotton round. This eye oil can also be used as your nightly eye treatment later on!
  2. Time to cleanse! Rub 1-2 pumps of the Organic Facial Cleansing Oil into hands and massage into skin using upwards motions. You’ll feel all the grime coming out of your pores. Wet a towel with hot water and place onto face, allowing the steam to open up your pores, pulling out the oil. Once you feel steamed, use the other side of the towel to wipe any residual oil off. Short on time? Skip the rag and rinse with warm water, then pat face dry.
  3. While cocokind doesn’t have a typical cleanser, we follow up here with a gentle soap, like Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soaps (the tea tree variation would be good for acne!) or a complexion bar by Chagrin Valley Soap. If you have a konjac sponge, use it along with whatever cleanser you’re using! We recently certified Riverlight Naturals’ charcoal sponges, but most konjac sponges are inherently vegan.
  4. Is today your exfoliation day? Using the Organic Sea Moss Exfoliator, get a tiny dab of the powder and wet it with a teaspoon of water (or rosewater). Apply the gel to your face and lather for one minute before rinsing! Pat face dry.
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  5. Not your exfoliation day? What about masks? While sheet masks look more fun, the Organic Ultra Chlorophyll Mask leaves behind less waste – and makes you look a little less like a peely human, too. Mix a spoonful of the mask with equal parts water in your hands, then apply the green goo to your face! After looking like a swamp monster for 20-30 minutes, wash off the mask.
  6. Now it’s time to tone! You can either spritz the Organic Rosewater Facial Toner directly onto your skin, or dampen a cotton ball/pad with the rosewater and swipe! The pH-balanced toner feels amazing and is great for stressed or sunburned skin, so it’s great for hot summer nights.
  7. We’d stick an essence here if we had any recommendations! Have a favorite vegan essence? Let us know!
  8. Are you feeling extra dry? The Organic Facial Repair Serum will be your HG. Try out half a pump unless you need a little TLC, then gently pat into skin until absorbed.
  9. Almost there, promise! Once the serum has absorbed, it’s time to follow-up with the amazing Organic Matcha Face Moisturizer. Scoop a little out and gently massage into skin. Take a second to get a whiff of the beautiful green tea scent…you won’t regret it.
  10. FINALLY! Now going back to the Eye-Firming Oil, pat a little more of the oil around your eyes, moving very gently. The skin around your eyes is super fragile!

10-steps not enough for you? Too much? Adjust to your preference! Whatever you use, your skin will surely be soft and dewy after using the coconut oil-based goodness of cocokind.

 


Virtual Reality Technology Finds Great Use in Animal Rights Organizations

With virtual reality devices becoming more-and-more popular in the United States, it was only a matter of time before animal rights and welfare organizations began using VR headsets as a tool to get people to realize the horror of large-scale factory farms, slaughterhouses and the life of animals before they’re cruelly extinguished.

A number of organizations are currently using immersing virtual reality technology (in the form of headsets and rotating chairs), with the notable leaders being Animal Equality with “iAnimal,” Last Chance for Animals and PETA’s 2014 “I, Chicken.”

NPR contributor Barbara J. King participated in Animal Equality’s program at the Sundance Film Festival in early February, where she became immersed in a virtual factory farm and pig slaughterhouse. There, she watched as the pigs were left bleeding, alive and in pain, on the floor of the slaughterhouse.

“I had just witnessed the moment of their deaths, I thought,” King said in her February NPR piece. “But I was wrong. The pigs soon regained some degree of consciousness. Their limbs in spasm, their bodies jerking on and on and on, they were bled out slowly on the slaughterhouse floor. In VR, you are there with them, at no remove, with no distancing mechanism available.”

After persevering through the 12-minute experience, she continued. “You can’t avoid what comes next, when the next pair of pigs is forced up the slope.”

King ended her article with saying that the images she saw in “iAnimal” continued to linger “behind her eyes,” over a week later.

One of our own board members, David Phinney, experienced Animal Equality’s VR at the 2015 Natural Animal Rights Conference.

“It was incredible,” Phinney said. “Literally the most powerful thing I’d seen since watching ‘Earthlings’ for the first time and realizing that these horrors existed. I think it’s the future of outreach and will have an extraordinary effect on people, magnitudes more than current pay per view programs.”

Similar to “iAnimal,” Last Chance for Animals’ VR footage used two industrial farm facilities, containing both chickens and pigs. As VICE author Peter Holslin said in his December article, the animals in the 360-degree scene were “held in miserable-looking cages and pens, doomed for slaughter,” helplessly crying out as the viewer watched. Last Chance for Animals used their VR technology at events to raise awareness of factory farm cruelty before the upcoming holiday season, where millions of animals are killed for both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

PETA’s project, “I, Chicken” is slightly different from the other two organizations mentioned. Where “iAnimal” and Last Chance for Animals put the viewer into a factory farm (“iAnimal” switches between views) to witness what animals go through, “I, Chicken” puts you in the place of the chicken.

According to PETA’s website:

I, Chicken couples the most cutting-edge virtual reality (VR) hardware available—including wireless VR goggles, motion-capture cameras, and a powerful computer—with guidance from leading VR psychologists in order to immerse participants in a world where they can flap their wings, communicate with other chickens, take dust baths, and engage in other natural chicken behavior. But as participants soon learn, life for any of the 26 million chickens slaughtered every day isn’t a walk in the park.

The video changes from a video game-like simulation of a chicken’s life to the birds getting crammed together in a claustrophobic-inducing area, moments before their death.

Though the technology is still new (and, arguably, pretty expensive), we believe we will be seeing lots of it at events as the years move on. Will VR programs replace the popular and effective “Pay-to-View” initiative often seen at events? Maybe. If anything, they appear to be more effective, at least according to what Phinney said earlier and NPR writer King.

“I have watched, read and taught about animal suffering in factory farms before. I knew it was bad in factory farms in the U.S., England, Europe, China and Latin America. Yet, something extra-powerful comes across in VR. The heightened visual closeness brings about heightened emotional attunement and, thus, the true extent of the cruelty to individual, sentient animals.”

“iAnimal” has a release date of March 1, but organizations other than the ones mentioned may currently be using this technology at events. If you see “iAnimal,” or any VR animal rights video, please email us about your experience.


Vegan Valentine’s Day!

The holiday dedicated to chocolates, flowers and all things romantic is coming up soon–much to either the delight or dismay of those who celebrate it–but giving up animal products doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the love! We made a short-‘n-sweet list on things you need to have an awesome animal-friendly Valentine’s Day, whether you’re celebrating with a date, your friends or yourself! Continue Reading