Recipe: Vegan Strawberry Orange Julius

vegan strawberry orange julius

Vegan Strawberry Orange Julius

Serves 2

1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup crushed ice
2 tablespoons agave syrup
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup orange juice

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend for about 1 minute on high speed, stirring once during blending if necessary, until the beverage is creamy and frothy.

DIY Flea Collar Using Essential Oils

The chemicals on flea collars are definitely not something I feel good about having on my dog, much less around our kids who are playing with her and petting her!

So instead, I did a little research and found an awesome recipe for a flea collar made with essential oils! This recipe is from The Complete Book Of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Anne Worwood.

Australian Shepherd looking attentive towards Viewer
DIY Flea Collar With Essential Oils

Ingredients:

1/2 teaspoon Rubbing Alcohol
1 drop Cedarwood Essential Oil
1 drop Lavender Essential Oil
1 drop Citronella Essential Oil
1 drop Thyme Essential Oil
4 garlic oil capsules
Directions:

Get any collar that’s made of material (i.e. no chains) and soak it in the above mixture.
Lay it out to dry.
Once it’s dry, place it on your animal’s neck.
Repeat process at least once per month. (Depending on where you live and how often your dog is in flea-infested environments).

You can also use essential oils in a spray bottle as a flea repellent!

Just mix 1/2 cup of distilled water, a drop or two of Thieves soap or castille soap, and 8-16 drops (total) of your preferred essential oils that fleas hate.

The Reality Behind Zoos

The following is adapted from an article I wrote for PETA.org

When I was a kid, I went to the zoo all the time with my family. I loved pandas as a kid (still do!), and I thought being able to see them in person would be neat. But once I saw them “up close and personal,” I realized that the animals were miserable. It instantly became very clear to me that the animals imprisoned in zoos are sad and don’t want to be kept in artificial environments, have people gawk at them, listen to children who bang on the windows of their enclosures, or have cameras flashing in their faces. To put it simply, zoos are imprisoning animals who want to be free.

Copenhagen Zoo's giraffe Marius

Captive animals are deprived of everything that is natural and important to them, and as a result, they become bored and lonely and many even suffer from a condition called “zoochosis.” If you’ve ever witnessed a captive animal rock and sway back and forth, you’ve seen the disease firsthand. This condition is so rampant in zoos that some zoos give animals a mood-altering drug, such as Prozac, because the public has started to catch on.

Some animals are so unhappy that they risk their lives in desperate attempts to free themselves. At the Dallas Zoo, a gorilla named Jabari tried to escape by jumping over the walls and moats of his enclosure, only to be fatally shot by police. A witness later confessed that teenagers were taunting him by throwing rocks. Just this past year at the Copenhagen Zoo, a healthy giraffe was killed and just weeks later, the same zoo killed four lions.

Animals are unable to thrive in small enclosures, especially with unnatural weather and climates. For example, elephants typically walk up to 30 miles in just one day, but Lucy, the lone elephant at the Edmonton Zoo, is locked inside a barn when the zoo is closed and during Edmonton’s frigid winter months, which means she spends most of her time indoors, without much room to move. The near-constant confinement because of the harsh weather has caused Lucy to develop painful arthritis.

In reality, most people only spend a few seconds at each display, waiting for the animals to do something “exciting,” but they gain little, if any, true understanding of the animals. In addition, captive animals don’t get to choose their mates, and they are sometimes artificially inseminated so that their babies can be sold or traded to other zoos. This often results in miscarriages, death at birth, or the mother’s rejection of her young. The Chinese government “rents” pandas to zoos worldwide for fees of more than $1 million per year!

Traveling and roadside zoos are even crueler. Animals are often kept in barren cages, such as concrete pens, and in stressful environments, with nothing more than an old tire or a log to stimulate their minds and enrich their lives. People have also been sickened—and some have died—after contracting diseases from animals in petting zoos.

Instead of going to the zoo, you can learn about animals by watching nature documentaries or observing the animals in their own natural habitats instead. Now that I know the reality behind zoos, I don’t go to the zoo, and I encourage my friends and family to boycott them as well. I love animals, and I want to see them free, not held captive behind bars!

5 Nail Polish Brands that Don’t Test on Animals

The list below are nail polish brands I’ve found that don’t test on animals. I tried to include a mix of big brands that you can find at most drug stores and smaller companies that you can find in boutiques or online. No matter where or how you shop, there should be a vegan nail polish brand on this list for you!

leighton-denny-nails

1. Butter London

2. Scotch Naturals

3. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics

4. OPI (except the nail filler, which contains silk, which comes from worms)

5. Zoya

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Want to learn more about choosing cruelty-free beauty products and why that’s important? Check out these articles!

Speak Up For Animals: 5 Simple Things You Can Do Today

The following has been adapted from Bustle

1. Take the 7 day veg pledge. 

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What better time to try vegetarianism then during U.S. VegWeek? Take the pledge and get free recipes and product coupons!

If 1,000 people decided to go vegetarian just one day a week, around 58,000 animal lives would be saved. That may not seem very significant in the grand scheme of things — but it’s certainly significant to those 58,000 animals.

2. Help baby animals beaten and bullied on a Canadian veal farm.

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Mercy for Animals recently released a new undercover investigation showing baby animals being beaten, bulled on a Canadian veal farm. You can take action here: http://www.cratedcruelty.ca/

3. Try cruelty-free products.

CrueltyFree

You can make a point to not buy products from companies that test on animals, and doing so isn’t as difficult as it might seem. You just have to know who to avoid.

Big name companies that test on animals include L’Oreal, Johnson & Johnson, Revlon, and Procter & Gamble. A full list of cosmetic and cleaning companies that test on animalscan be found here, courtesy of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

As for alternatives, Tom’s of Maine is reliably cruelty-free. So are Fábula, Aurelia, and Dr. Bronner’s. For more, check out PETA’s list of cruelty-free companies.

4. Tell Congress to Pass the Pups Act 

puppy

Puppy mills are an especially insidious form of animal cruelty, as they thrive on generally good intentions of well-meaning pet owners. While there are federal standards for the housing and care of commercially-raised animals, they’re not very well enforced, and due to a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act, they only apply to breeders who sell to pet stores or brokers, exempting those who sell directly to consumers. As a result, tons of puppies are raised in truly horrific conditions.

The Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act would change this. It would expand the definition of a “high-volume retail breeder” to encompass those who sell directly to the public, mandate adequate living space for dogs in breeding facilities, and require that dogs being raised for commercial purposes be given regular opportunities to exercise.

The law has been introduced twice in Congress but never passed, so you should tell your local representative, who you can find here, to support it until it becomes law.

5. Sign this petition to shut down the Surabaya Zoo. 

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In general, you should avoid zoos altogether. Animals in zoos are separated from their natural environments and families, subject to constant harassment and disturbances (children banging on windows, etc), and forced to live in a confined space for the rest of their lives. Zoo life is so intolerable that some zoo animals have actually been given Prozac to help manage their moods.

But conditions at the Surabaya Zoo in Indonesia are cruel on a whole new level. Over 100 animals have died at the zoo in less than a year, including a lion who strangled after getting his neck snared on the cable used to open his door. The pelican cage is so overcrowded that some of them have started destroying their own eggs. When the last giraffe in the zoo died, examiners found 40 pounds of plastic in its stomach.

petition at Change.org demands that Indonesian lawmakers take action to shut down the zoo. It has over 184,000 signatories. You should be one of them.