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Vegetarian Zen

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Vegetarian and vegan information, tips, recipes, and more presented in a light, conversational, and nonjudgmental manner. We welcome input and feedback from our followers regarding issues you would like us to address as well as ways in which we can improve. Please don't hesitate to contact us and let us know how we can help. If you enjoy and find value in our podcast, we would very much appreciate a favorable review on iTunes. This would help us tremendously. Thanks, and we hope you enjoy Vegetarian Zen.

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Recent Episodes

Your Guide to Baking Homemade Bread (VZ 326)
Fall is typically a great time to do some baking and there nothing quite like the taste and smell of homemade bread! Check out this episode of our podcast for our discussion on all things bread, or read on for a summary of what we discuss on the show!   Why Bake When You Can Buy? The Benefits of Baking Your Own Bread   You Control The Ingredients One of the biggest benefits of making your own ANYTHING is that you get to control what goes in and what you keep out.  Shelf brands typically have a lot of preservatives. Your homemade bread can have as few as 4 ingredients; flour, water, salt, and yeast.  You can also customize your bread by adding any other ingredients you want.   Tastes Better Without all of those icky preservatives and additives, your bread just tastes better.   Cost If you’re comparing the cheapest white bread you can find at the store to homemade bread, the difference in cost probably isn’t that impressive.  However, when you get into artisan and organic breads, which can cost you $4 to $6 at the store, making your own will definitely save you money. Even if you buy expensive organic nuts, seeds, grains, and other ingredients for your bread, your cost per loaf will still be less.    The Smell Of Freshly Baked Bread in Your House Who needs a fake scented candle when you can have the REAL smell of freshly baked bread wafting through your house?       Will I Need a Lot of Weird Ingredients to Bake My Own Bread?  Nope! The 4 main ingredients for bread are flour, water, salt, and yeast. Anything else you choose to add is up to you.  All bread is a twist on these original ingredients. The best way to see what you like is to make a basic loaf a few times, and then start subbing different flours or adding mix-ins like jalapenos, olives, or dried fruit.    Let’s talk about the main ingredients a bit more:   Yeast Yeast is necessary for your bread to rise. Of course, there is bread that doesn’t contain yeast, like banana bread. These are called quick breads, and we could do a whole separate podcast just on them (and we probably will!).    There are two main types of dry yeast: Regular Active Dry – This yeast needs to be mixed with warm water and allowed to sit for a short period of time in order to activate the enzymes. This is called “proofing.” Instant Yeast (aka Fast-Rising, Rapid-Rise, Quick-Rise, or Bread Machine) – This yeast activates more quickly and doesn’t have to be mixed with water to get it going. It can be added right into your dry ingredients as-is.  There are other types of bread leaveners, such as sourdough starter, but we’re going to keep it simple for the purposes of this “101” article.    Flour While any all-purpose white flour will do, there are some other types to consider that are easy to find and can help you customize your bread.   Bread Flour Bread flour adds a bit more “chewiness” to your bread due to its higher protein content. Protein is needed to produce gluten, which gives bread its chewy texture. There are both white and wheat versions of bread flour.   Whole Wheat Flour Whole wheat flour is a bit denser than white flour so you would not just want to do a 1 for 1 swap for white flour in a recipe. Most recipes for wheat bread actually call for both types of flour.    Other Flours Strolling down the flour aisle at your local grocery store, you’ll find quite a variety of different flours. Until you get some bread baking experience, you’ll probably want to avoid swapping these into your recipes.  Later on, you can always experiment with flours such as rye, oat, etc.    Bread Baking Supplies List We’ve broken our supplies out by “essential” — what you absolutely need — and “optional.” Items on the optional list are nice to have and may make your bread-making experience easier, but you can totally do it without them.  Essentials Mixing bowl Measuring cups and spoons Mixing spoon Pan (loaf pan for making traditionally shaped loaves, or cookie sheet for making hand-shaped loaves)   Optional Parchment paper Thermometer Scale Bowl Scraper Bench Knife Silicone Mat   What about Bread Machines?  Do I Need One?  No. You don’t need a bread machine to make your own homemade bread; however, it can make the process easier for you. Bread machines do most of the manual work of making bread (mixing, punching down, kneading) and can even bake your bread if you want. This means less time spent making your bread and also less cleanup. Additionally, most bread machines have multiple settings for different types of dough and baked bread to help ensure great results every time.    How to Store Homemade Bread Because homemade bread doesn’t have all of the preservatives found in store-bought bread, it won’t last as long.   Expect most homemade bread to stay fresh for 2-3 days.  Bread likes a cool, dry place. Heat and humidity will cause bread to mold more quickly.   When you take your bread out of the oven, place it on a cooling rack to allow the bottom to stay dry as it cools.  Once cooled, store in an airtight container. Most resources say to use plastic wrap, but here is an article from Litterless.com with a tip for storing bread without plastic.   You can also use a bread box to keep bread dry and cool.      We hope this has inspired you to try making your own homemade bread. There really is nothing like the taste and freshness of bread baked right in your own kitchen!    Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through to the product using the link we have provided. We never recommend or provide affiliate links to products or services we do not use ourselves, and our ultimate goal is to provide helpful products and advice to you, our readers and listeners. Products Bread Machines on Amazon Recipe of the Week Easy One-Bowl Homemade Bread   Thanks for listening! Peace and Veggies, Vickie and Larissa The post Your Guide to Baking Homemade Bread (VZ 326) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.
8 of the Best Cruelty-Free AND Vegan Deodorants (VZ 325)
Looking for a good cruelty-free and vegan deodorant can be a LOT harder than it sounds.  Since the term “cruelty-free” is not one that is currently regulated, some companies intentionally mislead you into thinking you are buying a product that was not tested on animals when in fact, it was.  But never fear! We have 8 awesome cruelty-free and vegan deodorant choices for you that have either been used by us or, have been recommended by our trusted closed Facebook group, the Peas and Carrots Society!     Let’s Talk About Some Important Definitions First Before we get started discussing specific brands of cruelty-free and vegan deodorant recommendations, let’s define a few terms. As we mentioned in our recent episode on cruelty-free shampoos, it’s important to know that there is no legal definition of what it means to be “cruelty-free” or “not tested on animals.” This lack of regulation has allowed some companies to claim that their products are not tested on animals when in reality, only the final product was not animal-tested. This doesn’t necessarily mean that some of their ingredient suppliers haven’t tested on animals or that they haven’t used animals for testing at some point in the production process. This is why it’s really important we do our due diligence in researching these companies before buying their products. In my opinion, it’s important that we buy from companies that do not test on animals: 1) for the animals, and 2) to reward the companies that are actually doing the right thing (instead of rewarding those businesses using deceptive marketing practices to intentionally mislead consumers). So, now that we know that just having a “cruelty-free” or “no animal testing” label doesn’t make a product safe to buy, we need to know how to read labels to ensure we’re buying products that truly are cruelty-free. Luckily, there are more and more resources these days to guide us to the right products.   The 3 Certifications for Cruelty-Free Products First, let’s talk certifications. There are 3 certifications you can look for to help you find cruelty-free products. The Leaping Bunny Certification Program was created in 1996 by 8 animal protection groups as a way to counter deceptive marketing practices. The CCIC has their own single comprehensive standard, called Leaping Bunny Certification, to help you shop for cruelty-free products. Then there is the PETA cruelty-free certification, called the Beauty without Bunnies program. To participate in PETA’s program, companies must sign a statement of assurance that they do not test any part of their products on animals and they pledge not to do so in the future. Finally, there is the Choose Cruelty Free (CCF) program, which is based in Australia. Companies that want to be certified by the CCF must sign a binding agreement that none of their products or their suppliers’ products are tested on animals. One final definition to touch on. When we say that a product is “vegan” we mean that it contains no animal by-products, including honey. Honey is not considered vegan as it is made by bees. With those clarifications, let’s get to talking about deodorants!     Our Top 8 List of Cruelty-Free and Vegan Deodorants As we mentioned, we’ve tried some of these deodorants, and those we haven’t have been tried and tested by our Facebook community.  Schmidt’s  We’re listing this one first because it was mentioned the most in our closed Facebook group.  Schmidt’s was founded in Portland, Oregon in 2010 by Jaime Schmidt, who developed a formula that filled a void in the marketplace: a plant-based natural deodorant that helped keep her family feeling fresh and smelling amazing. Schmidt’s deodorants are never formulated with aluminum salts or artificial fragrances. They include added vitamins and superfood extracts like pomegranate. Schmidt’s is a vegan deodorant that is Leaping Bunny certified.    Jason Jason publishes its code of honor on their website, promising to select safe ingredients free from parabens, harsh sulfates, and artificial colors.  Additionally, they never test on animals. Testing is always done on human volunteers.  Here is a full list of what their products do not contain:  Parabens Harsh Sulfates Petrolatum Phthalates Artificial Colors Saccharin GMOs Plastic Microbeads MEA, DEA & TEA PEG Derivatives Formaldehyde Donors Animal Testing    Humble Humble contains four to five organic and all-natural ingredients that you can pronounce (and might, in fact, have in your own kitchen).  Their deodorant is both effective and safe, containing no aluminum or parabens while still keeping you dry and free of offensive odors.  They manufacture their deodorant in small batches right here in America.  They also claim to have the fewest ingredients of any deodorant on the market.   Tom’s of Maine This is one we’ve used in the past. This company was formed in 1970 so they’ve been around for a while (almost 50 years!).  What we really like about Tom’s is their transparency. I especially like companies that have been this transparent for a long time (even before it was “cool” to do so).  They have their core values and Stewardship Model posted on their site. They also have a very clear definition of what they mean by “natural” ingredients in their products. As we’ve discussed in other episodes, calling ingredients “natural” can be another “gray” term companies use to hide ingredients you may not want to put on your body.    Lush Lush is one of my personal favorites! In full transparency, I’ve only tried one of their deodorants, the Aromaco, and it works better on me than on Larissa.  They also have a couple of others, the T’eo, Greenwich, and the Guv’ner which is supposed to be their most absorbent.  Their site contains a lot of great information about their ethical campaigns, including one to combat trophy hunting, and ongoing campaigns to help save the planet and promote human rights initiatives.    Primal Pit Paste Their tag line says it all, “Natural deodorant that works. No B.S. No bad stuff!”  Their products are: Natural organic ingredients Cruelty-free Aluminum-free Synthetic fragrance-free They use non-aluminum baking soda, which helps to neutralize body odor. Also the arrowroot powder helps you stay dry while allowing your body to release toxins naturally.    Herban Cowboy This one looks like it’s geared towards the fellas, which is good.  Their products are free of: Phthalates Dyes Parabens Sulfates Triclosan Like Lush, they use containers that can be recycled (some stores allow you to bring containers in to refill).   Their sole focus charity is “trees.” They are sponsors of the National Arbor Day Foundation.    Crystal This is another company that has been around for a while.  They also have a partnership with The Gentle Barn animal sanctuary, acting as a sponsor for them. Per the “Our Story” section on their site, they are committed to: Safe yet effective ingredients Eco-friendly packaging And no animal testing. They are both PETA and Leaping Bunny certified.   We hope this article has provided you with some great cruelty-free shopping choices. Remember, we vote with our dollars so it’s important to support these companies as much as we can!    Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through to the product using the link we have provided. We never recommend or provide affiliate links to products or services we do not use ourselves, and our ultimate goal is to provide helpful products and advice to you, our readers and listeners. A Special Thanks To Our Sponsors: The Golden Apple Roundtable (our Patrons) on Patreon!   Further Reading and Related Resources: FDA Cruelty-Free/ Not Tested on Animals Leaping Bunny.org  Three Organizations That Certify Cruelty-Free Products  7 of the Best Cruelty-Free and Vegan Shampoos (ep. 316) Cruelty-Free Shopping Finding Cruelty-Free Products is Easier than You Think (VZ 65) Cruelty-Free 101 Cruelty-Free Pet Products (VZ 260)   Recipe of the Week Wellness Mama’s Natural Deodorant Recipe   Thanks for listening! Peace and Veggies, Vickie and Larissa The post 8 of the Best Cruelty-Free AND Vegan Deodorants (VZ 325) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.
8 of the Best Cruelty-Free AND Vegan Deodorants (VZ 325)
Looking for a good cruelty-free and vegan deodorant can be a LOT harder than it sounds.  Since the term “cruelty-free” is not one that is currently regulated, some companies intentionally mislead you into thinking you are buying a product that was not tested on animals when in fact, it was.  But never fear! We have 8 awesome cruelty-free and vegan deodorant choices for you that have either been used by us or, have been recommended by our trusted closed Facebook group, the Peas and Carrots Society!     Let’s Talk About Some Important Definitions First Before we get started discussing specific brands of cruelty-free and vegan deodorant recommendations, let’s define a few terms. As we mentioned in our recent episode on cruelty-free shampoos, it’s important to know that there is no legal definition of what it means to be “cruelty-free” or “not tested on animals.” This lack of regulation has allowed some companies to claim that their products are not tested on animals when in reality, only the final product was not animal-tested. This doesn’t necessarily mean that some of their ingredient suppliers haven’t tested on animals or that they haven’t used animals for testing at some point in the production process. This is why it’s really important we do our due diligence in researching these companies before buying their products. In my opinion, it’s important that we buy from companies that do not test on animals: 1) for the animals, and 2) to reward the companies that are actually doing the right thing (instead of rewarding those businesses using deceptive marketing practices to intentionally mislead consumers). So, now that we know that just having a “cruelty-free” or “no animal testing” label doesn’t make a product safe to buy, we need to know how to read labels to ensure we’re buying products that truly are cruelty-free. Luckily, there are more and more resources these days to guide us to the right products.   The 3 Certifications for Cruelty-Free Products First, let’s talk certifications. There are 3 certifications you can look for to help you find cruelty-free products. The Leaping Bunny Certification Program was created in 1996 by 8 animal protection groups as a way to counter deceptive marketing practices. The CCIC has their own single comprehensive standard, called Leaping Bunny Certification, to help you shop for cruelty-free products. Then there is the PETA cruelty-free certification, called the Beauty without Bunnies program. To participate in PETA’s program, companies must sign a statement of assurance that they do not test any part of their products on animals and they pledge not to do so in the future. Finally, there is the Choose Cruelty Free (CCF) program, which is based in Australia. Companies that want to be certified by the CCF must sign a binding agreement that none of their products or their suppliers’ products are tested on animals. One final definition to touch on. When we say that a product is “vegan” we mean that it contains no animal by-products, including honey. Honey is not considered vegan as it is made by bees. With those clarifications, let’s get to talking about deodorants!     Our Top 8 List of Cruelty-Free and Vegan Deodorants As we mentioned, we’ve tried some of these deodorants, and those we haven’t have been tried and tested by our Facebook community.  Schmidt’s  We’re listing this one first because it was mentioned the most in our closed Facebook group.  Schmidt’s was founded in Portland, Oregon in 2010 by Jaime Schmidt, who developed a formula that filled a void in the marketplace: a plant-based natural deodorant that helped keep her family feeling fresh and smelling amazing. Schmidt’s deodorants are never formulated with aluminum salts or artificial fragrances. They include added vitamins and superfood extracts like pomegranate. Schmidt’s is a vegan deodorant that is Leaping Bunny certified.  Jason Jason publishes its code of honor on their website, promising to select safe ingredients free from parabens, harsh sulfates, and artificial colors.  Additionally, they never test on animals. Testing is always done on human volunteers.  Here is a full list of what their products do not contain:  Parabens Harsh Sulfates Petrolatum Phthalates Artificial Colors Saccharin GMOs Plastic Microbeads MEA, DEA & TEA PEG Derivatives Formaldehyde Donors Animal Testing  Humble Humble contains four to five organic and all-natural ingredients that you can pronounce (and might, in fact, have in your own kitchen).  Their deodorant is both effective and safe, containing no aluminum or parabens while still keeping you dry and free of offensive odors.  They manufacture their deodorant in small batches right here in America.  They also claim to have the fewest ingredients of any deodorant on the market. Tom’s of Maine This is one we’ve used in the past. This company was formed in 1970 so they’ve been around for a while (almost 50 years!).  What we really like about Tom’s is their transparency. I especially like companies that have been this transparent for a long time (even before it was “cool” to do so).  They have their core values and Stewardship Model posted on their site. They also have a very clear definition of what they mean by “natural” ingredients in their products. As we’ve discussed in other episodes, calling ingredients “natural” can be another “gray” term companies use to hide ingredients you may not want to put on your body.  Lush Lush is one of my personal favorites! In full transparency, I’ve only tried one of their deodorants, the Aromaco, and it works better on me than on Larissa.  They also have a couple of others, the T’eo, Greenwich, and the Guv’ner which is supposed to be their most absorbent.  Their site contains a lot of great information about their ethical campaigns, including one to combat trophy hunting, and ongoing campaigns to help save the planet and promote human rights initiatives.  Primal Pit Paste Their tag line says it all, “Natural deodorant that works. No B.S. No bad stuff!”  Their products are: Natural organic ingredients Cruelty-free Aluminum-free Synthetic fragrance-free They use non-aluminum baking soda, which helps to neutralize body odor. Also the arrowroot powder helps you stay dry while allowing your body to release toxins naturally.  Herban Cowboy This one looks like it’s geared towards the fellas, which is good.  Their products are free of: Phthalates Dyes Parabens Sulfates Triclosan Like Lush, they use containers that can be recycled (some stores allow you to bring containers in to refill).   Their sole focus charity is “trees.” They are sponsors of the National Arbor Day Foundation.  Crystal This is another company that has been around for a while.  They also have a partnership with The Gentle Barn animal sanctuary, acting as a sponsor for them. Per the “Our Story” section on their site, they are committed to: Safe yet effective ingredients Eco-friendly packaging And no animal testing. They are both PETA and Leaping Bunny certified. We hope this article has provided you with some great cruelty-free shopping choices. Remember, we vote with our dollars so it’s important to support these companies as much as we can!    Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through to the product using the link we have provided. We never recommend or provide affiliate links to products or services we do not use ourselves, and our ultimate goal is to provide helpful products and advice to you, our readers and listeners. A Special Thanks To Our Sponsors: The Golden Apple Roundtable (our Patrons) on Patreon!   Further Reading and Related Resources: FDA Cruelty-Free/ Not Tested on Animals Leaping Bunny.org  Three Organizations That Certify Cruelty-Free Products List of Cruelty-Free Brands (2019) from Cruelty-Free Kitty  7 of the Best Cruelty-Free and Vegan Shampoos (ep. 316) Cruelty-Free Shopping Finding Cruelty-Free Products is Easier than You Think (VZ 65) Cruelty-Free 101 Cruelty-Free Pet Products (VZ 260)   Recipe of the Week Wellness Mama’s Natural Deodorant Recipe   Thanks for listening! Peace and Veggies, Vickie and Larissa The post 8 of the Best Cruelty-Free AND Vegan Deodorants (VZ 325) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.
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Podcast Details
Started
Feb 14th, 2014
Latest Episode
Sep 15th, 2019
Release Period
Weekly
No. of Episodes
229
Avg. Episode Length
30 minutes
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