Vegan yarn

Do you knit or crotchet?

Making cozy sweaters, scarves, and luxurious throws is a talent I don’t possess, but one I admire. My grandmother used to make me intricate sweaters. She tried to teach me to knit, but as a lefty, I proved to be a challenging student.

I’ve noticed that a lot of knitters use wool to make their handiwork. I’ve written about why wool isn’t cruelty-free.

So what’s a vegan knitter to do? Cotton is one option. Acrylic is another. But I recently discovered bamboo and soy yarn.

soy yarn

Bellatrista is a local company that creates luxurious yarns. The silky soft yarns come in difference weights and colors and would be a terrific alternative to wool or acrylic.

Soy yarn is stronger than wool or cotton. It breathes well, and wicks moisture away from the body, making it great for summer-weight knits. It’s a byproduct of soybean processing!

Not all the yarns on the site are vegan, so head to the Soy Yarn and Undyed Yarn pages for ones that meet the vegan knitter bar.

Undyed yarn is a great option for those who do their own dying.

Do you knit or crotchet? Have you found other cruelty-free yarns?

Is Seattle ready for a vegan boutique?

Let’s hope so! Because I’m opening one.

That’s right. I haven’t posted very often lately because I’ve been busy planning a big new project.

After watching The True Cost and reading Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion I decided to change my buying habits. I love to thrift and swap, but I’m also guilty of getting sucked into fast fashion trends. And while an $8 skirt is hard to resist, as soon as I realized why some apparel is so cheap—and that someone somewhere is paying in blood, sweat, and tears—the urge to buy, buy, buy went away.

I started looking for places to buy clothing that are gentle on the environment, are sweatshop-free, and aren’t made from animals, and I realized there’s no place like that in Seattle. Was I supposed to provide this store? I couldn’t get the thought out of my head. For the past year, I’ve been researching and planning.

Last week, I signed the lease on a space in Capitol Hill and I quit my corporate job!

I have a lot of work ahead of me. I’ll be getting the store space ready for a grand opening in May 2016. If you’d like to follow along with my new adventure, check out or @drizzleandshine on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


I’ll still be writing about vegan and animal rights issues on this blog and I hope to pick up the pace of my posts again soon.

The Vegan Egg

Yes it’s true! Follow Your Heart recently created a product called The Vegan Egg. It’s a plant-based egg replaces that works well in baking or on its own. I decided to test it’s ability to mimic a scrambled egg: The true test.

The Vegan Egg is packaged in a small egg carton. The shape is universally recognizable as an egg carton. Inside, however, is a bag of yellow powder. I whisked a bit of the powder with cold water, as instructed on the package. It sure looked like an egg.


I pushed it around the pan until it was fluffy. It took longer than it takes an actual egg to cook (10 minutes probably).

I tasted a bit. The texture was spot on! It wasn’t as “eggy” in flavor, which I found was a good thing. If you like more egginess, add a bit of kala namak (black salt from an Indian grocery).


I put my egg in a taco with crumbled Field Roast Sausage and Parmela Creamery aged vegan cheddar shreds because I recently bought The Taco Cleanse cookbook and met real taco scientists and tacos seems like a great way to start the day.


So what is the egg made of? Algal. That’s a type of algae. It’s got fiber and complete amino acids and is nutrient dense. My only complaint is that it’s over-packaged. It could be sold in a small bag and would be cheaper and less wasteful. I realize that the packaging is part of the draw. Maybe online reorders could be no frills.

I’ll make a quiche next!

Katzentempel: Germany’s first cat café

During my trip to Germany this past summer, I got to visit Café Katzentempel, Germany’s first cat café. What made this place extra special was the 100% vegan menu.


Katzentempel (Cat Temple) is a wonderful café and restaurant in Munich. Students from the nearby university sipped on cappuccinos worked on laptops, while at other tables, groups dined on delicious vegan fare.

The food was ganz lecker (totally delicious) but the cats stole the show. Six rescued resident cats made themselves at home in the café.



Even the artwork was cat-themed.

cat art

I liked that the cats’ wellbeing was paramount. No flash photography and no manhandling of the cats allowed. Of course, we were lucky and some of the cats visited us. On their terms, of course—as cats prefer.

Jack naps

Ayla rests after a drink

Robin on his perch

Sleepy Saphira

I was lucky that one of the café owners was there so I learned firsthand about how the café was created. Thomas Leidner came from the world of finance but wanted to do something completely different. An ethical vegan, he knew the cats would be a huge draw, and would help him reach more people with delicious vegan food. He’s helping people improve their relationships with animals in more than one way!

Thomas and friends

Balou sees an opening on the calendar. Next time you’re in Munich, stop by—the cats will be waiting for you!

Balou and calendar

Helping elephants in Thailand

For her birthday, all my friend Loreen wants is an elephant.

Last year, while visiting Thailand, Loreen discovered Elephant Nature Park, a sanctuary for abused elephants. She donated generously, a gift that her company matched, and she enabled ENP to build a shelter for their elephants.

This year, she’s aiming high. Instead of gifts, she’s asking all her friends to help her rescue another elephant at Elephant Nature Park by donating directly to ENP, or by donating to The Abraham Foundation, a U.S non-profit that supports ENP.

elephant c/o Elephant Nature Park

Elephant Nature Park and its founder Lek, are featured in the documentary film, How I became an Elephant. I was horrified to learn of the conditions of so many captive elephants in Thailand, and comforted to see Lek care for and give a refuge to survivors. In the film, she said she doesn’t buy elephants from people who will use the money to abuse more elephants. A position that I completely endorse. It does, however, take money to negotiate an elephant’s freedom and transport.

Lek offers elephants over 100 acres to roam, form natural groups, and for the first time ever, live without chains and set their own agendas. Amazingly, some of the rescued elephants have been reintroduced to the wild. Many others are too injured and worn out for life in the wild so Lek and her team offer medical care and the best quality of life possible.

In Thailand, elephants are forcibly impregnated and have their babies stolen from them. Babies are beaten “broken,” and forced to beg in busy cities at all hour of the day and night. They are malnourished and suffer greatly. Other elephants are used as beasts of burden in the illegal logging trade, even after injuries and blindness. Still others are used to give rides to tourists or perform tricks such as playing instruments, sports, or painting.

How to help

  • If you’re in the Seattle area, RSVP to Loreen’s fundraising birthday bash on October 24th, 2015.
  • Look at the Elephant Nature Park’s list of ways to help.
  • Donate to Elephant Nature Park at their site or, if you’re in the US and work for a company that matches donations, go through The Abraham Foundation, a 501(c)(3).
  • Never ride an elephant or pay to see captive elephants perform (dance, paint, or anything else). Even if the act itself looks harmless, the ways elephants are physically and emotionally abused to get them to learn tricks is abhorrent).
  • Volunteer at the Elephant Nature Park next time you’re in Thailand!

The problems with zoos

Last year, people were outraged when they heard about the zoo in Copenhagen that killed a healthy two-year-old giraffe. Marius was shot because his genes weren’t unique in the European giraffe population and he was unsuitable for breeding programs.


But Marius’ death wasn’t an anomaly. Of the 340 zoos in the EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria), approximately 3000-5000 healthy “surplus” animals are killed each year.

In the US it’s no better. Animals are often traded among zoos like playing cards and can end up in circus, private collections, or even in “canned hunting” parks, where people can pay to kill them.

Most zoos have captive breeding programs—and of course cute baby animals are a huge draw—but what happens when there are too many animals in the zoo? Unless a zoo is saving species by breeding them and releasing them into the wild, these breeding programs are pointless.

Being born into captivity is no life for an animal. Even the most enriched captive environments simply cannot compare with an animal’s natural habitat.

Chai in barn c/o FWPZE

Chai at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, before being moved to a zoo in Oklahoma.

And if zoo animals aren’t in a natural environment, they won’t be displaying natural behavior—especially when zoos often don’t treat their animals right. Zoos often point to their facilities as being great educational tools for visitors. However, visitors can’t learn about wild animals by visiting captive ones.

It’s better to learn about animals through educational nature shows (ones that film animals from a distance and don’t harass them). PAWS has a great program underway where people can watch their rescued animals on webcams.

I’ve often thought seeing animatronic animals would be better. Realistic-looking robotic animals could be programmed to behave like real, wild animals. People could learn about what animals sound like, look like, and how they act—all without involving real animals. I hope the zoo of the future is a beautiful park with fake animals. (It would cost less to run as well.)

Further reading:

Zoos are fit for neither child nor beast

Surplus Animals: The Cycle of Hell

Vegan Germany

I just came back from a great trip to Germany. Visiting family was part of the reason for my visit, but going to Berlin and checking out Vegan Street was a big reason too. I visited a few cities and was impressed with all of them.


Before I arrived in Stuttgart my mom and some of our family got to check out a vegan restaurant on my list: Körle und Adam. They loved the food, and the cosy atmosphere of the restaurant. Their website is in German, but even if you can’t read the words, you’ll drool over the food and cheer on the rescued animals in the photos from Hof Butenland and Erdlingshof—local animal sanctuaries.

korle u adam

I had a family dinner at another vegan restaurant, Coox & Candy. Their vegan version of the traditional spätzle dish was phenomenal. All my relatives were happy with how delicious and filling their vegan meals were, and a few even took animal rights pamphlets that were available on the way out.

coox u candy


I was excited to visit München (also known as Munich). First stop Max Pett, an organic vegan restaurant that my aunt discovered while searching online for vegan restaurants. We ate outside on the patio and enjoyed delicious fare, including veganized versions of typical Bavarian desserts.

max pett

The next day we visited Veganista, a vegan boutique. Owner Rahel welcomed us to her adorable little shop and I ended up buying an armful of clothing, including vegan suede booties by Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather and tops and a dress by German vegan eco brand Armed Angels.


After shopping, my mom, aunt and cousin ate at Café Katzentempel, a vegan cat café! In the café, we met the six resident rescued cats, and filled our bellies with cruelty-free food.



Berlin is a vegan mecca. There are countless vegan restaurants and over 300 omni places have clearly marked vegan items on their menus. Organic markets are everywhere and they all have amazing vegan items—from salad dressing to plant-based liverwurst.

vegan food

We arrived just in time for a monthly vegan social, Berlin Vegan Drinks. We were welcomed to the event and got to chat with the organizers as well as several attendees. The vegan BBQ hit the spot.

meal at vegan drinks

Fast Rabbit was a few blocks away from our AirBnb, guaranteeing that I could start each morning with a soy latté and vegan baked goodie.

fast rabbit

My mom and I splurged on a fancy Saturday evening dinner at Lucky Leek. We had a three-course prix fix meal and reveled in the ambience. We compensated the next night by walking to the simple, yet delicious Vego Foodworld, where we had an inexpensive dinner or salad and vegan schnitzel.

lucky leek


Vegan Street, or Schivelbeinerstrasse on the map, is a vegan’s delight. With Veganz grocery on the corner, complete with a Goodies bakery inside, and DearGoods vegan clothing and Avesu vegan shoes all side-by-side, we were in vegan heaven. We bought vegan hazelnut spread at Veganz (eat your heart out, Nutella), and ate bagels with faux egg salad out on the picnic tables in front of the store. I found a cute pair of vegan shoes next door, and bought a couple of fair-trade, organic tops from Armed Angels and Wunderkwerk.


On our way to another vegan eco boutique, Loveco, an animal rights parade marched down the street! I took a flier advertising the documentary Earthlings, and learned about the upcoming Vegan Fest (which sadly I had to miss).


We did make it to Kontor Eis before it was time to head home. Kontor is an all-vegan ice cream shop with a terrific assortment of vegan ice cream and sorbets—and a great vegan message!


If you plan a trip to Germany, you shouldn’t have trouble finding vegan food. People know the word “vegan,” and in Berlin, almost everyone speaks English. Happy Cow will help you find vegan food, and Bio Markets (bio meaning organic) have a ton of vegan options.

In Drogeries (drugstores) like DM, cosmetics and beauty products are clearly labeled and often have a V or the logo of The Vegan Society on them. Plus, in 2009, EU nations banned testing cosmetic on animals. In 2013 they stopped importing products developed with the use of testing on animals. Still, the vegan symbol will ensure the products you buy don’t have animal ingredients.

go vegan

This was a whirlwind overview of my trip so I’ll be diving in deeper to share with you all the details of food, cats and vegan shoes in upcoming posts.