Posts Tagged ‘vegan’

I’ve been asked a few times why we are a vegan company – do skin care  products and cosmetics actually have animal ingredients in them? The answer is yes, big time. Most, if not all of them in the conventional industry (the majority of products in drug stores, grocery stores & department stores). Like petrochemicals, animal ingredients are extremely cheap because they are a byproduct of other industries – mainly meat, dairy, fish, egg, fur, wool and horse-racing/rodeo industries.

If you’re like me, you may question the juju of anything with animal in it or you may just dislike the ‘eww’ factor. In any case, here is a list of  animal ingredients to look for on the labels of skin care and cosmetic products:

* may be plant or petroleum based but unless the label indicates that it is a vegan product, don’t count on it.

allantoin * look for plant-based ingredients such as comfrey

ambergris – sperm whale vomit used in the perfume industry that would not be listed but rather buried in the term ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’

bee products e.g. royal jelly, beeswax (cera alba), honey

anything with ‘capryl’  e.g. caprylic acid *

civetmusk used in the perfume industry that is extracted from the odorous sacs of this cat-like creature in a cruel industry based mainly out of Africa. Would not be listed but rather buried in the term ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’.

collagen *

cortisone (hydrocortisone) *

elastin *

emu oil – some cosmetic companies own their own emus which makes this ingredient a primary animal product rather than a byproduct as in the emus are raised and slaughtered for their oil.

fragrance or parfum – it is not necessary to list all components of a fragrance so animal ingredients can be buried in the formula

anything with ‘glycer’ e.g. glycerin, glycerol *

hyaluronic acid * look for plant-based ingredients such as shea butter

anything with ‘lanol’ e.g. lanolin, isopropyl lanolate –  fat from sheep’s wool


lactic acid *

lecithin * can be made from soy

panthenol *



retinol* – look for plant-based sources such as rosehip oil


helix pomatia – crushed snail shells

squalene –  look for plant-based ingredients such as olive oil

anything with ‘stear’ e.g. stearic acid, stearyl alcohol –  * can be derived from coconut and palm oils

anything with ‘tallow’  (e.g. sodium tallowate, tallow acid,  talloweth-6) – This is animal fat rendered from all kinds of sources – meat (waste from slaughterhouses), butcher trimmings, restaurant grease, lab animals, road kill, euthanized shelter pets and other useful dead animals.  Next time you’re in a grocery store or drug store, look at the ingredients on the soaps. You will be hard-pressed to find a soap without it.

anything with urea e.g. imidazolidinyl urea, uric acid – from urine or other bodily fluids *

vitamins *

See also: Peta’s Animal Ingredient List

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I know that Earth Day should be every day but why not mark one day of the year as a time where we can assess our lives and look for ways to step it up a notch for the planet and future generations? We appear to be on a toboggan ride to hell with islands being swept up by the ocean, giant glaciers breaking apart and falling into the sea, drought, famine – the sky IS falling. As an individual, there is a sense of powerless with governments being caught up in red tape, unable to forge ahead with sound policies and big business constantly pumping out propaganda against what environmental scientists have been proving for years. The only thing that we can do is put our money where our mouth is. If we all worked together to make the right choices in our lives, we can make a difference.

Here are my tips for creating effective change in your life.

1. Boycott all Monsanto products. I cannot begin to tell you what this company has done to degrade this planet with their “frankenfoods”, agricultural bullying and cancer-causing consumer goods. They are pure evil. Here are a few ways to stay away from them:

  • If you’re in the United States, buy organic dairy – it won’t contain Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), a substance administered to dairy cows to increase milk production that ends up in your body. It contributes to breast and prostate cancer and creates mastitis in cows (VERY painful). It has been banned everywhere else in the world so that should say something.
  • Avoid Aspartame, another Monsanto invention that causes damage to the nervous system and immune system. Look for it on labels. You’ll find it in most diet pop, diet foods and low quality protein shakes.
  • Do not eat genetically-modified (GMO) foods. Monsanto plays God in the lab creating what has been coined as “Frankenfoods”.  The most common GMOs are corn, soy, canola and potatoes. They have been shown to cause gradual organ and immune system damage and they contribute to allergies and food sensitivities. Buy organic whenever possible.

2. Do not use pesticides. My step-father and family dog where both diagnosed with lymphoma at the same time in 1988. When my mother called Environment Canada to investigate what appeared to be no coincidence, she was informed of the link between pesticides and this form of cancer. Thanks for letting us know. Our dog didn’t make it but my step-father is still doing great due to the elimination of pesticides and other toxic chemicals from his life. It not only messes with our health but it pollutes ground water as well. Evil.

3. Go vegan. OK, I know that’s a lot to ask. How about decreasing your meat and dairy consumption and choosing organic? With organic meat, you don’t have to worry about ingesting sketchy toxic sewer sludge that gets spread over cattle crop fields. This sewer sludge has all kinds of interesting things in it from the birth control pill to antibiotics. Our “first world” meat and dairy habits are completely out of control. They are contributing to global warming by producing methane gases, use an insane amount of water and energy and are the number one contributor to water pollution in North America. Take it down a notch. If you want some incentive, watch the documentary Food Inc. or Earthlings.

4.     Avoid plastics like the plague. Plastic does not get recycled – it gets downcycled, meaning it gets turned into a different product such as fabric or flooring. The demand for these secondary products is lower than our use of plastics so the majority (76%) of these bottles end up in the landfill after all – for hundreds to thousands of years. It is also a huge health concern. It leeches into products and exposes our bodies to hormone-disrupting chemicals like bisphenol-A (BPA) and pthalates, which may lead to breast cancer, prostate cancer and sexual development issues in babies. When you’re shopping, look for the glass bottle of ketchup rather than the plastic bottle, buy a bar of soap instead of body wash, fill up your own stainless steel water bottle before going out, and bring your reusable bags!

5.     Walk, run, jog, bike, horseback, mule…whatever…get out of your car. It frustrates me to no end that we are still so reliant on petroleum to get around. Is the human race incapable of creating an alternative energy source for transportation? I know the technology is out there but politics and greed have been blocking this for years. Until we are driving some spiffy solar or garbage-fueled “Back to the Future” style car, let’s move closer to where we have to go so we can walk or bike. If you must travel, car pool in a hybrid or join a car co-op.

6.     Buy local and organic community supported agriculture (CSA) food boxes. Most cities have a few programs set up for pick up or delivery. You will get yummy, healthy produce  with little carbon footprint.

These tips are all easy to apply to your life. It just takes that extra consideration every time you take your wallet out, eat or travel. These little things add up to a lot if we all commit to them. We are not helpless, in fact it’s the opposite – the power to change the world lies in each and every one of us.

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Does the idea of slathering rendered animal fat all over your body sound appealing to you? If not, you may have done just that this morning in the shower without even knowing it. Sodium tallowate, a combination of lye and animal fat,  is a very common ingredient in soap. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a bar without it  in a conventional grocery store or pharmacy. All the major companies use it. According to the cosmetic database, there are about 215 soaps on the market containing this unsavory component.

The process of rendering animal fat consists of  taking carcasses of dead animals and boiling them in a cooking pot to create fatty byproducts. The decaying carcasses come  from every source imaginable – deadstock (animals that die before they reach the slaughterhouse), roadkill, euthanized shelter and zoo animals, expired meat from grocery stores, used cooking oil from restaurants, lab animals… grossed out yet? The worst part is that the majority of this fat goes into cosmetics – lipstick, eye shadow, soap. 

Thankfully, alternatives exist. Most natural/organic cosmetic companies wouldn’t think about putting these disgusting ingredients in their products. My favorite convenient choice is Kiss My Face Olive Oil Soap which you can find in most health food stores. Another great option is to buy handmade soap from crafters in your area – they are the most luxurious soaps around. My favorite soaper is  Sacred Circle Herbs in Guelph, Ontario. If you’re really ambitious, you can learn to make your own. Check for courses in your area.  

Bottom line is to read your labels. Rendered animal fat can also be listed as Tallow Acid, Tallow Amide, Tallow Amine, Talloweth-6, Tallow Glycerides, and  Tallow Imidazoline.

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