Vegan winter boots

I’m spoiled. I live in Seattle where winter is essentially mild and wet. Any pair of rubber rain boots will do. But I grew up in Canada, where I needed warm, insulated, waterproof boots for the salt, snow, slush, and frigid temperatures. If you’re looking for vegan winter boots to keep you warm, look no further.

Women

If Winters are cold in Canada, then look to Cougar, a Canadian company. They have a few vegan styles–and they know winter!

The Canuck 3 is a tall, waterproof nylon boot that comes in black or white and is cold-rated to -30 Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit).

The Canuck by Cougar

The Cougar Como 2 is a nylon boot lined with polar plush. It’s also cold-rated to  -30 Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit) and comes in black, white, or gunmetal.

Cougar Como2 boots

Then there’s the Minty 6, a shimmery polar-lined boot. It comes in black and, my preference, a space-age gunmetal. Cold-rated to  -30 Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit).

Cougar Minty 6

There’s a great vegan shoe store in Vancouver called Nice Shoes. They ship throughout the US and Canada in case you’re not nearby. Nice shoes has an amazing assortment of all types of footwear. They sell the Baltimore by Kamik, a waterproof, nylon bootie that’s cold-rated to -40.

Kamik Baltimore boots from Nice Shoes

If you want a bit of color, check out the red Minx by Columbia. They’re lined in faux fur and are cold-rated to -32 Celsius (-25 Fahrenheit).

Minx boots by Columbia

Men

I won’t forget the fellows. I found a few styles of Men’s vegan winter boots too. Nice shoes carries Bogs, like this pair of Ultra Mid. They’re great on slippery surfaces, and are cold-rated to -40.

Bogs for men at Nice Shoes

There’s also the Utik, if you prefer a synthetic leather lace-up. Cold-rated to  -30 Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit) with neat grommet details and red piping.

Utik boots from Nice Shoes

These Kamik Canuck boots are another option. They’re at Zappos.com, a great online shopping site where you can filter for style, size, and material. The Canucks are nylon, with lots of grip and a warm lining. The toggle at the cuff keeps out the snow.

Kamik men's boots on Zappos

The Ice Patrol by Vegetarian Shoes is an amazing boot. Not only are they sturdy and rugged, but they have metal grippers that fold out of the sole and act like mini crampons. Theses come in sizes 36 through 47 so they’ll fit a wide range of people, making them a great unisex boot. Plus, Vegetarian Shoes, as the name implies, is an all-vegan company so you know you’re getting an ethical boot and supporting a vegan company.

ice patrol boot by Vegetarian Shoes

The Snowdon, also by Vegetarian Shoes, is another shoe great for anyone. Like Dr. Marten’s or Converse, these work for men and women. The snowdon has ski-boot laces and is a sturdy, three-season boot for hikes or urban treks.

snowdon boots by Vegetarian Shoes

Youth and Kids

Columbia also makes youth sizes in styles like the Minx. They’re cold-rated to -32 Celsius (-25 Fahrenheit) and are a woven synthetic textile with a faux-fur lining.

Minx youth sizes by Columbia

The Columbia Powderbug nylon boots are cold rated to and come in four cute patterns. The toggle helps keep the snow out.

Columbia youth Powderbug boots

Bogs are a great option for men, women, and especially kids (with their fun patterns and easy pull-on handles). Not all Bogs are vegan, but the kids’ boots seem to be. And who doesn’t love dinosaurs and flowers?

Bogs for kids

I hope the examples above will give you a good starting point for your winter boot shopping. Let me know what your favorite vegan winter boots are!

 

My evening with John Salley

I spent last night with John Salley.

No, wait. That doesn’t sound right! Last night, I attended “An Evening with John Salley,” a special event at Plum Bistro. The event was a fundraiser for Pasado’s Safe Haven and was also an opportunity for John Salley to share wines from The Vegan Vine with the crowd.

Salley collage

John Salley, as any self-respecting sports fan will know, is an NBA superstar. With four Championships under his belt, he’s played with the Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, and LA Lakers–that’s quite a resumé!

What you might not know, though, is that Salley is a long-time vegan, wellness expert, and animal advocate. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing his story, learning about how he connected with Makini Howell, owner of Plum Bistro, and also how became the owner of a winery. And not just any wine: Vegan wine.

vegan vine wine

Many people don’t think about animal products when they drink wine, but many wines are fined (or finished) with clarifying product that include gelatin (from cows or pigs), casein (a milk protein), albumin (from egg whites), or isinglass (from fish bladders). Now I’m a fan of voting with my dollar. So why support a company that uses animal products (even if they’re not in the final product)? There’s no need.

John Salley is such a genuine guy. You can feel his love for animals and people and being vegan when you’re in the room with him. He also happens to be really funny! I felt like I’d known him for a long time and even though I was a bit star struck, talking with him was fun and comfortable.

jean, john, steph and amy

Plum didn’t disappoint either! We nibbled on decadent vegan hor d’oeuvres and drank plenty of The Vegan Vine wine. All proceeds went to Pasado’s, a farmed animal refuge right here in Washington. Pasado’s fights against animal cruelty, helps pass animal laws (and enforce them) and is a sanctuary for abused and neglected who would have ended up on the dinner table.

I knew a number of people at the event and it was a great way to catch up with friends. Best of all, I didn’t know a lot of people. I love meeting vegans and that’s what I did. It was a great night all around–right to the very end when I won an auction item: an autographed (by Mr. Salley) bottle for Vegan Vine wine.

The event sold out in days, but you can ask for The Vegan Vine wine at your local Whole Foods. And if you ever have a chance to meet John Salley or hear him speak, don’t miss it! You won’t be disappointed.

Remembering Donald Watson

Donald Watson was born in 1910. Today would have been his 104th birthday (He passed away in 2005, at the age of 95). Watson was a vegetarian for over 80 years and a vegan for 60!

Donald Watson

Donald Watson: September 2, 1910 – November 16, 2005

As a child, growing up in the UK, Watson would visit his uncle’s farm. At age 14, after hearing the screams of a pig being slaughtered (something I’ve also witnessed), he went vegetarian. As an adult, realizing that animal slaughter is a part of large-scale, commercial dairies and egg farms, Watson cut out animal byproducts and went vegan. He wasn’t the first to omit animal products from his life, but he (along with his wife Dorothy) was the first to coin the term vegan.

Watson invented the word vegan by taking the beginning and end of the word vegetarian and fusing them together.

vegan--cut out the crapIn 1944, Watson founded The Vegan Society, along with a handful of other non-dairy vegetarians. The Society, which has stuck with the vision of its founding members (working towards a world in which humans do not exploit other animals), is still going strong today. Watson ran the society, and created the first Vegan Society newsletter.

If you’d like to learn more about the father of modern veganism, check out the interviews and links below.

Resources:

Food for Life interview with Donald Watson

Veg News interview with Donald Watson

BBC obituary for Donald Watson

The Vegan Society website

My vegan tattoo

All my tattoos are vegan–in the sense that I checked with my tattoo artist to make sure the inks didn’t contain animal ingredients. But my latest tattoo is my real vegan tattoo because it’s an homage to three of the most abused animals on the planet: pigs, cows, and chickens.

tattoo detail

I had this done by Suzy Todd at Two Birds Tattoo. Suzy did my bee tattoo and my skull one. She’s a great artist and when I saw in her portfolio, a wonderful, painterly tattoo that spelled “vegan” I knew she’d bring my idea to life.

tattoo and dog

Is a tattoo a form of activism? Before I got this one, I might have said no. But at least once a week I have someone admire this tattoo. Yes, I got it for me, but every time someone asks me about it I have another chance to tell someone a bit of the story behind it.

Sometimes I say, “It’s my vegan tattoo.” Other times I say, “I’m vegan and these are some of the animals I don’t eat,” or “this is milk, meat and eggs in their happy state–the way they should be.” Just a little seed that I plant.

As is often the case with people who have tattoos, I have more ideas in mind and they’ll probably have animal or vegan themes too.

The Seed NYC

Today my parents and I visited The Seed NYC, a plant-based event featuring vegan food and wares, speakers, cooking demos, and more! Even before I arrived, I knew I was almost there. Mercer Street turned into Vegan Street.

vegan cars

The Cinnamon Snail was out front–what a great place to grab a bite. I’d heard excellent things about this award-winning food truck and never had the chance to try their dishes (until today).

Cinnamon Snail

I made a grand entrance:

the seed

Then, I looked at fantastic companies–from artichoke water (very refreshing) to chocolate truffles (deliciously decadent). I saw Upton’s Naturals–makers of my favorite vegan bacon–and Taft Foodmasters, a new-to-me company that makes great seitan for gyros.

Seed food collage

The Regal Vegan, a company that makes great dips and spreads, had a booth too. Their Faux Gras is fantastic!

regaln vegan

I jumped on the chance to buy a Gunas handbag for a fraction of the original price. I liked all their bags, especially this little cross-body bag. My mom liked a neat white purse with a combo-lock closure. I ended up with the yellow and cream number on the rack.

gunas

I said hi to Lois Eastlund, a fantastic NYC-based designer (and of course I bought one of her dresses–that makes four!). I saw Miakoda clothing too (I’ve been following them on Instagram for a while now). Michelle Leon Vegan had fantastic vegan belts made of recycled plastifc bottles. They were soft as suede and included a cool buckle. She carries a line of vegan jewelry too. Gorgeous!

seed clothing collage

There was message gear too, from a number of organizations. Animal advocacy groups I know well were there too: Sea Sheppard, Mercy for Animals, Evolve for Animals, Farm Sanctuary, Catskill Animal Sanctuary, Woodstock Animal Sanctuary. Others, like Darwin Animal Doctors, I didn’t know before today, and I was glad to learn about the great work they do.

Darwin Animal Doctors

I got to hear Jenny Brown, cofounder of Woodstock Animal Sanctuary, speak about farmed animals and why veganism is the compassionate answer to the cruelty in our food system. Earlier this year, I reviewed her book, The Lucky Ones, on this blog, and it was an honor to meet her.

jenny brown

I even got to meet Tha Vegan Dread, who happened to be visiting NYC for his birthday. He said I was cute <blush>. Of course, I asked for a photo with him and his vegan bodybuilder friend.

Tha Vegan Dread

I always love meeting other vegans and learning about new products, sanctuaries, and organizations. If you’re in NYC this time next year, check out The Seed. For more about the experience, check out my mom’s account on her blog.

Touring the Field Roast HQ

I love the vegan options in Seattle. In addition to tons of vegan restaurants, we’ve got a vegan grocery store, and a thriving group of activists.

Well, did you know that Field Roast is a Seattle company? It is, and I visited their new location in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood for an open house and BBQ.

Field Roast HQ

Field Roast prides itself on making great products using grain meat. Grain meat got its start in 7th Century China. Seattle chef David Lee honed his recipes using barley, wheat and oats and adding a more European flavor to his foods. Foods like sausages, roasts, deli slices and burgers.

The tour was fantastic (no photos were allowed inside though). I arrived at the same time as a few other friends so we walked through the facilities together. I bet you wouldn’t enjoy seeing the inside of a typical sausage factory. But Field Roast is different; it was more like a bakery. We saw an immaculate series of rooms with industrial equipment like mixers and ovens. It smelled like all the wonderful spices in the Field Roast products.

We saw how the food is cooked, packaged and frozen for shipping. We toured the warehouse, test kitchen, and offices. I especially liked the sports wall–look at all the stadiums that carry Field Roast products!

sports wall of fame

Then, we were treated to an all-vegan BBQ!

Field Roast BBQ

I use Field Roast products a lot. I’ve blogged about how their sausages are great for making traditional recipes vegan. And their soft herbed cheese will win over omnivores every time. When I eat at Blue Star Café and the Georgetown Liquor Company, I order items made with Field Roast. Even the cafeteria at my work offers Field Roast!

Field Roast burger

After eating my delicious burger (like the one pictured above–that was one I had at Blue Star), the Seattle Cookie Counter arrived to give us dessert. Their a brand new vegan ice cream sandwich company that sells delectable treats out of a vintage VW bus!

cookie counter vegan ice cream sandwich

I’m so grateful to have had a chance to see how Field Roast is made. I’m especially pleased to support a local, vegan company (they employ 65 people) that is ethical and progressive. Barbecuing might be an American pastime, but Field Roast will help make All-American Vegetarian the new way to think about BBQs.

Have you tried Field Roast products?

 

The winner of the Farm Dog Naturals giveaway is…

…Anika from Seattle Vegan Score!

giveaway

Congratulations to Anika for winning the Farm Dog Naturals contest I held a couple of weeks ago. Anika tweeted about the giveaway, which got her name added to the draw.

Farm Dog Naturals is an all-natural, all-vegan line of herbal dog care products. You can learn more about them on their website and in my original post in this blog.

I want to thank everyone who participated in the giveaway. If you didn’t win, you can still try Farm Dog Naturals. They sell products on their site and have a list of retailers who carry their products.

Anika has a very special dog. When the products arrive at her place, she’ll use them to pamper Louise.

Louise

Three-year-old Louise knows how important it is to have safe and gentle products that aren’t tested on animals. You see, she is a former laboratory dog and knows first-hand how bad life can be.

I can’t think of a better winner for the contest. Louise will enjoy her calming remedy and soothing salves. Anika can use the sage smudge stick and odor remover.

Farm Dog products

Congratulations again Anika and Louise!

 

Veganniversary

I missed my vegan anniversary (veganniversary?). April marked 14 years that I’ve been vegan.

In my mind, that’s a good thing. Losing track means being vegan is no biggie; it’s a natural part of my life. I’m not trying hard to make it to the next milestone. It is part of who I am.

vegan cake

Of course it’s vegan! (I took this picture at Violet Sweet Shoppe–and then I added the 4)

I remember the date, only because April is the month I moved from Canada to the USA. I’d read John Robbins’ Diet for a New America in 1998 and immediately cut out milk. I stopped eating eggs (except the ones hidden in baked goods). Cheese was the one thing I hung onto.

But a big move, an empty fridge, new grocery stores, restaurants, friends, and habits. What a perfect time to draw a line in the sand, step over it, and go vegan.

I’ve never successfully reinvented myself (partly because I bring myself with me everywhere I move); however, I did use April 2000 as a time to reinvent my eating habits.

I was already a staunch animal advocate and long-time vegetarian. Moving and “starting over” was a great impetus for taking the big leap.

After I settled down in Seattle, I connected with the Northwest Animal Rights Network (NARN), met some terrific (smart, funny, passionate) animal rights people, and plugged into AR events around town.

That was it. It stuck. But it wasn’t a chore. It was–and is–an uplifting experience. Being vegan fills me with joy! I’m healthier for it, and I know I’m making a difference to animals who have no voice.

Sure, I’ve seen my share of unspeakable horrors in undercover videos and exposés. I’ve read about injustices and cruelty to animals that I never could have imagined in my worst nightmares. But I need to know the truth–and fight for those who can’t. Turning away doesn’t stop the cruelty.

I’ve also learned that it’s easy to burn out. So I make sure I lead a balanced life, complete with hobbies, interests, friends, and work. As important as it is to fight for animals, I know it’s also important to unwind, relax, recharge, and enjoy life.

I really believe we’re on the cusp of the next big social justice movement. I want to be on the right side of history. When generations from now, people ask why these evils happened, and who fought for the animals, I will know that I did. In some small way, I will have played a part in changing the world.

Grandiose? Perhaps. But hope and optimism fuel me. Well, that and delicious vegan food.

Farm Dog Naturals review and giveaway

I met up recently with Rita Hogan, cofounder of Farm Dog Naturals, an all-natural, all-vegan line of herbal dog care products. I got to test some of the products and I’m also offering a giveaway so you can try them too!

Farm Dog products

Farm Dog Naturals offers safe, effective herbal remedies for dogs. All products are natural, sustainable (herbs are grown on a local herb farm), free of animal products and GMOs. I love supporting small businesses with ethical practices, so I was thrilled to take home a sampling of their wares.

Farm Dog odor control products

Relief is a pet urine and odor remover–and it smells like lavender! It’s ideal for removing (not masking) odors left from accidents. I sprayed it on Frankie’s dog bed and in the litter boxes. A few spritzes in my car got rid of the dog odor in there. Frankie wanted to help test the product too so, as if on cue, he rolled around in bird poop. I wiped him off and deodorized him! That’s how gentle and safe the products are. Of course I kept the spray away from his eyes.

Relief is sold in a 24 oz bottle with a small amount of concentrated formula in it. Just add water and you’ve got your supply. When you need more, you can order a refill–the concentrate in a small bottle. Farm Dog encourages reusing containers (plus, it cuts down on shipping costs). Brilliant!

Rejoice is a smudge stick handcrafted from California white sage. I lit my stick and waved it around to get rid of kitty litter odors and what I call “old dog smell.” It’s great for getting rid of cooking odors too.

Farm Dog salves

Salvation and Restore are two salves that every dog should have. Salvation soothes irritated skin and sore paw and is great for tender ears and crusty noses. It speeds healing and hair regrowth and helps heal topical yeast in ears, wrinkles and in between toes. Restore is great for wounds, hot spots, itchy skin, flea dermatitis, and lick granulomas. It stops itching on contact.

I love that there are natural products for common issues that we often run to the vet for. Why put a dog on antibiotics, steroids, or other harsher regiments? I personally don’t like to go to the doctor for every little thing. Having a few safe tricks in my pocket to help my dog (and help him avoid the vet) is wonderful.

Farm Dog stress reliever

Relax is a stress and anxiety remedy that is applied directly to a dog’s ear flaps and neck. It’s great for nervous dogs, especially before fireworks, thunderstorms, a trip to the vet, or when company comes over.

I really appreciate their minimal packaging and how 2% of each sale goes toward a tree-planting initiative at Sound Forest.

Farm Dogs was founded in 2007 by two like-minded women. Rita, whom I met with, was working in pug rescue in Tennessee when she met Lynn, the owner of an all-natural dog supply store and dog wash. They had similar needs for natural, sustainable dog products and decided to fill the void themselves.

Giveaway

To enter the giveaway, like or comment on this post, on the Instagram write-up, on my Facebook page or tweet @jeaniebellini and tell me why you’d like to try Farm Dog Naturals (use the hashtag #Farmdognaturals in your tweet).

Farm Dog giveaway

On June 5th, 2014, I’ll randomly select a winner from the entries and I’ll send the winner the sample package: a 4 oz bottle of Relief, a mini Rejoice smudge stick, 1 oz jar of Salvation, a 1 oz jar of Restore, and a 1 oz container of Relax. Open to US residents.

If you don’t win, you can look for Farm Dog Naturals at one of the retailers listed on their site, or order directly from Farm Dog Naturals.

Maximizing your impact

I’m always trying to help animals. I adopted a dog and three cats. I give to animal organizations, and I don’t wear or eat animals or support companies that exploit them.

keys

It bothers me to see animals suffer; I even save worms if I see them struggling on the sidewalk. I haven’t gone to the gym in a while, but my keychain gym card makes a great worm scoop. I can’t walk away without doing something.

Still, I find myself thinking about how to do more. I write letters, fill out petitions, and I sometimes volunteer with NARN, a local animal rights organization, so I can tell others about a vegan life.

With ten billion animals killed for food in the USA every year, it’s easy to see why being vegan is the biggest way to make a difference. Well, that and getting others to go vegan!why vegan

That’s why I like to support Vegan Outreach. They’re a group that distributes booklets around the USA–and around the world. NARN gives out Vegan Outreach booklets at tabling events too. Leafleting makes a big difference and is changing hearts and minds. Here’s how:

People who get booklets often reduce their meat consumption, and sometimes go vegetarian or even vegan. For every two booklets handed out, about one animal is spared. And since each vegan doesn’t eat about 30 intensely confined animals a year, handing out 60 booklets gets results equivalent to one vegan.

With all the expenses of running the organization included, Vegan Outreach gets one booklet distributed per every 32 cents they receive. So based on the data that has come back so far, for about 64 cents, you can spare one animal from suffering. For less than $20, you can help get booklets in enough people’s hands to make the difference that one vegan makes. It’s safe to say leafleting is a great way to help a lot of animals.

If you’ve tried and tried to get your friends of family to go vegan, take a break, and hand out leaflets to strangers. They might be more receptive! Or, send a few dollars to Vegan Outreach so they can supply their awesome volunteers with booklets.

The future is vegan!