The Cruelty-Free Review

A review of compassionate products, foods, and recipes

The Cutting Edge

As I mentioned in my last post, taking on the task of transitioning to all cruelty free products wasn’t always easy. One of the hardest items to replace was our shaving razors. It was impossible to find razors that weren’t from Proctor and Gamble or any of the other no-no companies. We found some disposable razors at Whole Foods, but didn’t really like how they performed and wanted to find a reusable razor where we could just buy replacement blades.

After doing some online research, Robert ordered us a couple reusable razor handles from Hoke2, a company which creates razors from rubber and most importantly, is cruelty free. We liked the molded rubber handles and the suction cups you could attach to the wall of the shower, but the blades that came with them did not last long, and were only single-bladed. Fortunately, we found that Preserve’s  triple blade refills fit into the handle of the Hoke2, and were always available at Whole Foods.  Hoke2 products are only online, and you can find them at ebubbles.com

Now, a few years later, Preserve makes their own reusable razor handle, and Robert currently uses that. I still use my Hoke2. We do still use the Preserve triple-blade refills, and I really like them. They last about 1 1/2 -2 months with regular use, but usually the reason I have to replace them is because the area where they snap onto the handle breaks. Preserve products are made from recycled materials, so this might have something to do with that, but it never fails that it breaks when I already have one leg shaved 🙂

I recently Googled the subject of cruelty free razors to see if anything new had cropped up, and found some entries that suggest Schick is cruelty free. One blogger at My Beauty Bunny  said she emailed the rep at Schick and they insisted that they are cruelty free, but I’m hesitant to believe that. Schick still is not listed on PETA’s Caring Consumer website, so until that changes, I will err on the side of caution. If anyone knows something different about this, or if you have your own suggestions of what shaving razors/blades you use, I’d love to hear from you!

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Down and Dirty

Let’s face it: leading a cruelty-free life is not all about looking pretty and eating compassionately. You are going to have to get your hands dirty with cleaning. Unless you can afford a maid, in which case you may not have to get dirty but you still have to find quality, cruelty free cleaning products for your maid to use. When Robert and I made the transition to testing-free products years ago, we had no idea what a huge undertaking it would be. We pretty much had to replace every household product because it was made by a huge corporation which performs animal testing (Unilever, Johnson&Johnson, etc) and we had to do a lot of research to find products we could use and were easily found at local stores.

Enter Seventh Generation, a line of household products which are not only cruelty free, but is a corporation which goes out of their way to practice ethical and sustainable missions. Their products are non-toxic and environmentally safe. They are also a company who meet the standards of the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) , which includes companies who ensure that animal testing does not occur in their final products or the ingredients they use in their products.

 

One of my favorite SeventhGen products are the disinfecting wipes. Realizing that Clorox and Lysol wipes were no longer an option for easy cleaning, these wipes have picked up the slack wonderfully. I have a small kitchen, so I like to be able to use just one wipe for quick jobs.

What I really like about these wipes is that they are not saturated with liquid the way most other wipes are. These contain the perfect amount of moisture to do the job, but not drip everywhere. They also have a pleasant smell, not the fake-lemon-alcohol smell that other wipes have. Much of this has to do with the fact that SeventhGen uses natural ingredients such as thyme oil and lemongrass to add fragrance to the wipes. But thyme extract also has the ability to disinfect, which I was not aware of, and if you are curious, read more about it here. The point is, you can achieve a clean home without using harsh artificial chemicals, and these wipes are safe for surfaces which come in contact with food.  As for the cleaning ability, I’ve found that they clean grease and oil very well, and are incredibly durable.  I pretty much use them everywhere, but I think they excel at cleaning the stove-top and the garbage can lid (which seems to get very dirty very quickly).  They really are good, general-use wipes. I’ve had the container of 70 wipes for almost a year and they haven’t dried out, and have obviously lasted quite a while, so even though they cost a little more than name-brand wipes I think they are worth every extra penny.  Especially if you have no maid to do the work for you 🙂

You can find all of Seventh Generation’s products here, and if you need a good list of cruelty-free products, check out www.caringconsumer.com and www.leapingbunny.org

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A small step forward

I found out on Friday that Lean Cuisine is now offering some entrees made with Gardein! For those of you who are not aware, Gardein is a vegan/vegetarian godsend in that it is some of the best tasting meat-replacement products out there. They are also pretty nutritious since they are made with ancient grains and vegetables.  I am totally stoked that now Lean Cuisine is using it. So far, there are 4 flavors: Roasted Red Pepper Fettuccini, Enchilada Rojo, Indian Style Masala, and Tuscan Style Vegetable Lasagna. I bought the Masala and the Enchilada.

I had the Enchilada Rojo for dinner at work on Friday, and was pleasantly surprised at the flavor. Honestly, I have always liked Lean Cuisine and thought they were among some of the best tasting frozen entrees out there, so I’m not sure why I was surprised. Maybe I just assumed that since they are geared towards vegetarians (I don’t think any of the entrees offered are vegan) that they would be wimp out a bit on the flavor. Not so, at least not in the case of the enchilada entree. The red sauce was very flavorful and had a bit of a kick, and there was plenty of veggies and big chunks of Gardein. I was also quite impressed with the tortilla in the meal. My experience with corn tortillas in frozen meals is that they are usually bland and mushy.  But the tortilla in this meal was not mushy at all, and it still had a nice corn flavor to it. The veggie-rice rounded it out, and really made it feel like a full meal. I know sometimes with ‘diet’ meals they are not always quite filling. I think the addition of the Gardein is what makes this feel like a full meal. One entree provides 13g protein, 8g fat, 4g fiber, and 310 calories. Of course, with  frozen meals comes the sodium-and that is one gripe I have. This particular entree has 670mg of sodium–the recommended daily allowance is 2400mg, so you’re looking at almost 35% of your daily sodium intake right there, and that is if you expect to take the full allowance. If you are trying to cut back on sodium, you might want to avoid this meal, since it could easily put you over half your allowence, so take it with a grain of salt (pun intended :)) Overall, I was very happy with this new offering, and I can’t wait to try the rest.

I so far have only seen these new entrees at Walmart, and they were in the section with the Gardein products, not the Lean Cuisines, so keep that in mind if you go looking for them. It is a small step that a big company has chosen to acknowledge vegetarian food alternatives in their products, but it’s nice to see .  And who knows? Maybe we aren’t that far away from seeing Daiya as a cheese substitute too!

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I’m a total LUSH…

No, not that kind of lush (okay, maybe I am :)). I’m talking about LUSH cosmetics, a company that hand-makes beauty products. I have to admit, when I first saw this store in the Cherry Creek mall I was  unimpressed. Just another over-priced beauty shop with average products, right? Wrong! LUSH is a company with great products, and great ethics. NO animal testing, and most of their products are vegan. When you visit the online store, you can even filter the products by which are vegan and which are not, so that saves a ton of time pouring through ingredient lists.

LUSH offers  bath and facial products, as well as hair products and a mens line. I was mostly interested in the facial products, as I am always looking for quality cleansers and moisturizers to fit my ever-changing face type. Recently, my skin type has reverted to the oily 16 year-old type, so I was looking for something that would control oil and help prevent breakouts. When I explained this to the clerk, she immediately led me to a few choice cleansers and moisturizers, as well as their fresh face masks. Fresh face masks are those that need to be refrigerated, and last about a month, but are totally amazing. I decided on the Brazened Honey mask, which is designed for problem skin. It’s very deep-cleansing, so those with really sensitive skin types might want to choose a different mask. Brazened Honey uses eggs (free-range), honey, lime, rosemary and ground almonds to cleanse and purify your face. I could not believe how soft and clean my face felt after the first use. All you have to do is put the mask on and chill for about 5-10 minutes, then wash off. I almost felt as if I didn’t need a mositurizer after using it, which is remarkable.  And I can honestly say that I noticed a clearer complexion after about 2 weeks.

For the price, the masks are very reasonable. A 2.1oz container cost me $6.95, and lasted almost exactly a month with a twice-a-week use. The only bummer is that you can only purchase them in store, so if you are not near a LUSH, you’re out of luck. But that doesn’t mean you couldn’t give any of their other awesome products a try! I also love that they are invloved in a lot of local charities. On my last visit, I purchased a Charity Pot, a small containter of moisturizer in which the proceeds go to a local charity, and they are involved in many ethcial campaings, like protesting against the shark fin trade.

I encourage you to check out their line of products and also their ethcial stance. They are already opening a new store in Colorado, so hopefully this means that quality, cruelty free products are becoming more popular! Check out their website at www.lushusa.com

 

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In full disclosure….

I just want everyone to know that I do not get paid, endorsed or compensated in any way for the reviews I post. These are my honest opinions of the products I love, and my only goal is to share them with others.

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Mmm…cookie dough

I thought I’d begin the reviews with one of myfavorite new discoveries…Eat Pastry vegan cookie dough. Let me say right off the bat: I am not a good baker. I love the idea of being able to turn out fresh batches of homemade cookies, or beautifully decorated cakes. But alas, I lack the talent, patience, and sufficent kitchen space. I also thought that vegan pastries could never be as good as those loaded down with eggs, butter, etc. Eat Pastry has proven me wrong. I found them in the refrigerated section at Whole Foods and decided-What the hell? Can’t be that bad, right? I chose the Cinnamon Ginger Spice and Chocoholic Chunk. All you have to do is scoop out a tablespoon size ball, plop on a baking sheet, and bake for about 13 minutes. How easy could that be?

And the taste is fantastic. I dare you to make a batch to take to work and see if anyone can tell the difference between them and non-vegan cookies. The chocolate flavor of the Chocoholic Chunk  is rich and velvety ( a must if you love chocolate like me) and the Cinnamon Ginger Spice has a wonderful depth of flavor that is perfect for this time of year.  You can also make them more chewy or crunchy depending on your texture preference by pressing down on the ball more or less. I actually like them a little crispier, as they are more like delicate wafers that would go perfect with a bit of ice cream. Or, since there are no raw eggs involved, you can eat it right out of the container! Now I can indulge my sweet tooth with little effort and a clear conscious!

You can find all the flavors of Eat Pastry dough, as well as where to buy at their webite Eatpastry.com

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I finally did it!

As in, I finally created a blog! I have been wanting to for a while, but I just wasn’t sure what my theme would be. I knew it would have something to do with my passion for animals and finding and using the best cruelty-free products. I am also a vegetarian, so incorporating recipes and even restaurant reviews was important as well. My motivation was just wanting to share what I love while promoting how to live a compassionate life.

For clairification purposes, my definition of cruelty free products are those in which the final product has not been tested on animals. There are certainly variying degrees of what is considered cruelty free, from no final product testing to absolutely no animal ingredients or testing at any level whatsoever. The products I review will be of all ranges of cruelty free, and I am making every effort to use products that are *completely* cruelty free, but it is a transition so please keep in mind that not all products or foods will be vegan or testing-free.

You can expect honest and thoughtful reviews from me, and probably a few off-subject posts as well. I  have to give a big shout-out to Barb from That Was Vegan? for encouraging me to go through with this. I really did want to use her blog name suggestion, which was Review this, B****!, but I thought this was a little more PC 🙂 That being said, I hope you find my entries helpful and I certainly look forward to your feedback!

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