I've been wanting to talk about this topic for a while now. As you know, I've been vegan for over 2 years (vegetarian 3 years prior to that) and attached to that diet change came a lifestyle shift as well. The decisions I now make as a consumer are full of conscience; always trying to find ethical, cruelty-free and eco-friendly brands to use and promote. Something that makes my mind spin are the billions of dollars we as consumers spend on our furry best friends. The dog and cat food industry alone made $21Billion in 2014. And, obviously, those numbers raised a big question in my mind: Why, if I'm trying to limit my footprint on this planet, am I feeding my dog, Coco, meat-full food?. I also wondered if the food I was giving her was as good as the box and the brand said. So, of course, I did a little research and found out that most commercial dog foods are made not only of animal parts (such as beaks, brain, spinal cord tissue, bones, lungs, intestinal tracts) but also of animals that fit the category of the 4 D's: dead, dying, diseased, or disabled. That right there said it all! If you guys have taken a meditation or a very spiritual yoga class, your teacher might have covered a few of the reasons why we yogis choose a vegan diet. Number one being to avoid ingesting suffering and pain. If you think about it, that's exactly what animals experience before they become human (or in this case, dog) food: stress, pain and suffering. Dogs are animals of loyalty and compassion, naturally! So why would we want to change that?! For this reason and the fact that animal agriculture is responsible for 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, 34-76 trillion gallons of annual water consumption, and is the leading cause of species extinction, dead-zones and habitat loss, it seems natural to me to feed my furry baby food that is eco, natural, healthier, compassionate and plant-based. Don't you think? You might be wondering if dogs can survive and thrive on a plant-based diet, well... they can! Here's a link to an interesting article you might want to read to help you make a decision. For those ready to make the shift, V-dog is the brand to choose! From vegan dog food that contains 24% of plant-based protein, minerals and vitamins to doggie breath-bones to cool doggie bandanas. They have it all! Use code: WTSjuly for a little discount for first time customers!! <3
Did you guys know the oceans contain 99% of the living space in the planet and over 200,000 identified species? Or that they absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide produced by us reducing the impacts of global warming? Yeah, neither did I. Besides my love and admiration of nature, I also keep learning new things every day. I try to research as much as I can, especially when it comes the impact of our steps on this planet. From brands that are natural, ocean-safe, and cruelty-free, to products that are sustainable, to hotels that are eco-friendly. There's honestly so much we can do and learn from each other during this chosen conscious journey. All we have to do is spend less time analyzing the meaning of life, and more time recognizing it when it stands right before us. Like the ocean. It beholds the secret to life and instead of protecting it, we are poisoning it with products we buy out of habit with zero clue that they may end up in our waters. Plastic bottles, plastic bags, plastic straws, plastic caps. Plastic! It's been said that enough plastic has been thrown away by us to circle the earth 4 times!!! That is plastic that takes up to 1000 years to degrade! And plastic that ends up floating in our oceans and killing thousands of species per year. Plastic bags, facial scrubs (YES! Those micro-beads are non-biodegradable!), shoes, plastic bottles and dishes, etc. Our trash is the leading cause of "44 percent of all seabird species, 22 percent of cetaceans, all sea turtle species and a growing list of fish species" being documented with plastic in or around their bodies. Luckily, like everything in life, there's a solution. We CAN put a stop to this and it all starts with our daily actions. Nope, you don't need to be a millionaire to make a difference in our world! Together, with baby steps, we can help heal and preserve our planet for our future generations. With that being said, here are some suggestions for you guys. I apply them to my day-to-day and they are easier than they seem. Trust me! Happy #WorldsOceanDay!
1) Ditch the plastic bottles and cups! I know it's hard. Specially when you're on the run. I've reduced my consumption of plastic bottles and cups significantly by taking my glass water bottle or flask with me everywhere. Here are two eco-friendly options that will make your life so much easier.
- BKR glass bottle (I have the 1L bottle, which means that refilling and drinking it twice per day gives me the recommended daily water dose. 2L for women. 3 L for men.)
- Fressko Bamboo glass flask (options for coffee/tea available as well)
2) Say no to plastic straws. This is a huge issue, guys! I've seen heartbreaking videos of rescuers taking plastic straws out of the nose of sea turtles! Please order paper straws or no straw at all whenever you get a drink. A friend of mine started a movement in Ecuador called #sinsorbeteporfavor (no straw please). Let's start something like that everywhere. What do you say?
3) Use beauty products labeled as ocean-safe. Specially sun-block! If not, the chemicals of whatever you put on your skin will end up in our waters and poison sea earthlings and reefs. Here are my favorite brands:
- Baiser Beauty (natural, eco, vegan and cruelty-free beauty products)
- Raw Elements (ocean-safe, natural and organic sunblock. Tinted one is the best one!)
- SpaRitual (best scrubs! No micro-beads but tons of brown sugar!!)
4) Recycle! Take your own bags when you go shopping and say no to plastic bags. 500 billion plastic bags are used annually worldwide. Time to put a stop to that!
5) Don't throw away things from your closet. They will end up in landfills. Donate them to people in need or give them a fashion makeover and keep using them. I've done that with most of my jeans (I have jeans from 6 years ago!), tees and even shoes! Grab some scissors, eco paint and go crazy!
6) Buy consciously! Choose brands that have nature and the community in mind. Brands that are using materials no one ever thought possible and are going beyond their ways to make a powerful statement. Brands that come up with products such as recycled plastic shoes or bags made from recycled plastic bottles or cork yoga mats. They exist! Here are some of the ones I adore, but you can also find more under the "Green Blog" tab or under "Kind Fashion".
- Melissa Shoes: beautiful and comfortable shoes made from recycled plastic. Company also reuses 99% of waste and unsold shoes from previous collections.
- Harveys: amazing bags made from car seat belts and recycled plastic bottle interior lining. Use code waterthruskin10 for discount
- Yoloha Yoga: yoga mats made from cork, which is a renewable source. No plastic!
- Inner Fire: yoga pants made from recycled plastic bottles
- Matt & Nat: bags made from vegan leather and recycled plastic bottle lining
- G-star Raw: jeans and clothing made from recycled plastic taken out of the oceans. LOVE this brand so much!!
7) Reduce your consumption of seafood. If you're not vegan yet, try to reduce it to 1-2 per week and see how you feel. That's how I started. It's hard, because most of us were probably raised eating meat and seafood on a daily basis, but it's worth it. By reducing our seafood consumption, we reduce the by-catch (whales, dolphins, seals and other animals that get caught in fish nets by mistake and are killed in the process) and the chance of depleting and killing our oceans.
8) Say no to aquariums and zoos and support animal-freedom activities when you travel. Go snorkeling in the ocean and interact with Nemo. Those memories are priceless! Read about my adventures with the wild here.
9) Keep your home eco-friendly. Click here to read the tips I recommend.
10) Spread the word!! Let's inspire each other and create a massive wave of awareness.
As promised, June's doggie giveaway is finally here! I've partnered with two incredible brands to gift these items to a lucky winner. Before I get into the participation details, let's talk about the products.
-Dogs Before Dudes Tee: 100% cotton made by TheTreeKisser with 10% of all sales being donated to the Love Infinitely Project Animal Fund that supports different animal rescues. The giveaway winner will get a tee directly shipped by TheTreeKisser. Applies to EVERYONE. Winner can choose Male or Female design (tank, a tee, or a sweatshirt), color and size!
-VDog Doggie Breath-bones: This is the only brand I give to Coco, guys! Vegan, healthy and natural food for your furry best friends. I wrote about V-Dog, and all the reasons why I recommend it, on the blog before. In case you don't know, commercial dog foods are not only made of animal parts (such as beaks, brain, spinal cord tissue, bones, lungs, intestinal tracts) but also of animals that fit the category of the 4 D's: dead, dying, diseased, or disabled. For this reason and the fact that animal agriculture is responsible for 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, 34-76 trillion gallons of annual water consumption, and is the leading cause of species extinction, dead-zones and habitat loss, it seems natural to me to feed Coco food that is eco, natural, healthier, compassionate and plant-based. V-Dog sells both dog food and breath-bones, and a lucky winner will be getting two bags of doggie breath-bones made with 100% natural ingredients including cinnamon, parsley, chia seeds, sweet potato and broccoli. They smell incredibly delicious too! Plus, a "I'm a vegan dog" bandana.
To participate, all you have to do is the following:
-Follow @thetreekisser, @vdogfood, and @waterthruskin
-Post a photo with your dog on IG sharing one of your stories/adventures, use #wtsdoggiveaway, and tag @waterthruskin, @vdogfood, and @thetreekisser.
-Make sure your IG account is PUBLIC. If not, we won't be able to see it.
-And that's it!!! Winner will be announced June 20th.
A question I get asked often is what movies/documentaries I recommend to people making the shift to a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. Movies that will inspire them to continue in that path or open their minds to topics they've never heard of before. I decided to cover this question today in honor of Racing Extinction's movie premier and because my eco-trip to Holbox, Mexico, and the experience I had of swimming with whale sharks in open waters was so mind-blowing and heart-stopping that I promised myself I would go beyond my ways (even further!) to spread the word about animal cruelty and what we can do to stop it. So, I've attached a video of that magnificent experience in Mexico. It's a must for every animal lover and adventure seeker. No need to swim with dolphins, seals and whales in captivity. That's for people who don't admire or treasure life and freedom. Go out there, breathe the salty air and swim in the wilderness. Admire it. Protect it. At least what's left of it. xx
In short, these are documentaries every person who cares a little about our planet should watch. And I know you guys do because... you...are...reading...this! That means you are already looking for kinder and more mindful ways of walking on this planet. Thank you for that. Honestly! <3
-"If slaughterhouses had glass walls, we would all be vegetarian" by Paul McCartney and Peta. I've talked about this film dozens of times. It changed my life and made me go vegetarian and later vegan.
-"Cowspiracy": I wrote an entire story about this film on the blog a year ago when it came out. Click here to read it. In summary, this film makes you realize that being vegan is not only about your compassion towards animals but it’s also about sustainability. It’s about helping stop one of the most destructive industries facing our planet today: factory farming.
-"True Cost": A documentary that will completely change the way you view fashion and hopefully inspire you to shop more consciously. Choosing brands carefully. People's lives can be saved one fashion item at a time.
-"Racing Extinction": It's on selected theaters NOW!!! Sept 18-Oct 1! Go watch it! I know I will. Spread the word.
Today’s post is hard one. My hands are shaking and tears running through my face as I write this while I sit on my bed next to my furry best friend, Coco. Just the fact that she's next to me while I prepare this post about dog cruelty in China makes this even harder. I think she can understand my frustration because she just came closer to me and rested her head on my thigh. Looking at me with those adorable eyes. Eyes that reflect never-ending loyalty and infinite love. How can we humans be so cruel? What goes on in our brains that triggers things like this? Why can’t we feel pain other than our own? Why do we get pleasure from torturing creatures that can’t defend themselves? China, a country capable of achieving so much… The world’s largest trading nation! As a banker, I had always admired its impressive fast paced economy and all the wonders it has been able to produce in the past 10 years but slowly I've lost all respect. Specially today. Today I feel disgusted, sad and angry because of China's blindness towards what’s going on in its own lands. Within its own borders. By its own people. And no, I’m not referring to labor exploitation, child labor or sexual trafficking. Today, I’m referring to new issues finally being exposed. From Times Magazine to Youtube. China: Your hands are marked with inhumanity. Your flags read suffering. And until you pass a law that prohibits these cruel practices, I hope all humans with a drop of compassion in their veins, think of you the same way.
For everyone reading this, PLEASE PLEASE post this everywhere and sign the petition. I know it’s a hassle and we just “don’t have the time” to sign a 5 minute petition. But this instance, you WILL make the time because this instance is not about you. It’s about them! The thousands of stray and imprisoned dogs being tortured, killed and cooked for the Yulin Chinese festival starting June 21, 2015.
Please watch this video, read this article and sign the petition below. For everyone else looking to join our movement, please take a picture of yourself hugging your furry friend and hang a sign that says: “Where’s the LOVE?” on your dog’s neck and write “Stop Yulin 2015” on your palm. Let’s raise awareness babes!! #stopyulin2015
Love you guys.
China's Dog Eating Festival: http://www.dogingtonpost.com/10000-dogs-tortured-annual-yulin-dog-eating-festival/
I mentioned this topic a few days ago on Instagram and, after all the responses I received, I thought I should share more information with you so you have all the tools you need to make wiser choices. There are many ongoing issues and causes I've written about but this one is very dear to my heart. For some reason, and without ever having seen one in person, orangutans have become one of my favorite animals. Maybe it's the way they show their love towards one another and towards humans that fills my eyes with happy tears. They hug, and kiss and play just like any human being but in an extremely adorable way!!! Sadly, this species I like so much has been suffering greatly because of our selfish capitalistic mindset. During the past 20 years, the orangutan habitat has decreased by 90% due to palm oil production and around 1000-5000 orangutans are killed each year through deforestation. The orangutans that managed to survive the tree-cutting and fires, are either sold as pets for entertainment or become salves of orangutan brothels. Yes, you read correctly! Sex slaves for human pleasure. This was all exposed in an article about Pony, an orangutan that was rescued in Borneo after years of sexual slavery. Her story was so horrific and the pictures so heartbreaking, I promised myself to read every product label carefully to avoid buying things with palm oil. Now, you might be asking yourself “What the hell is palm oil?” Well, palm oil is an oil derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree and is pretty much in every freaking product we buy! Not kidding. Shampoos, soaps, body lotions, peanut butter, cleaning supplies, toothpaste, chips and even our most delicious frenemy, chocolate! Luckily, an increasing amount of brands are coming up with vegan alternatives to all palm-oil containing products. Walgreens just came up with it’s own eco-friendly & cruelty-free line, Ology. From printing paper to cleaning supplies. Walgreens has become one of my weekly stops and Ology one of my best friends. Frustrated Farmgirl's palm oil free soaps are also my recent addiction. Click here to buy them.
Little by little I’ll start sharing my favorite 100% vegan products via instagram and blog posts. In the meantime, try to read labels when you go shopping. If you see “palm oil” in the ingredients, scream NEXT and move on! Look for love words like: cruelty-free, vegan, no animal testing, no animals harmed, palm oil free, and lastly…the bunny logo. I know it’s a pain and we just “don’t have the time” but see it as your drop of kindness towards our planet. Simple steps that make a huge difference. <3
To read more about palm oil production or Pony’s story click links below.