Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stinky HIppie!

Once in a while, in every vegan's life, we reach an obstacle that seems insurmountable. It may be trying to find a non-dairy milk that the whole family is happy with, or getting that chocolate bar that actually tastes like chocolate. For's the STINK. Yep, it's time to veganize the pits. And believe me, it's not just about veganizing them, but also about healthier skin care and not putting aluminum into my body (ie. because it is linked to Alzheimer's and my memory sucks as it is). So for me, switching from antiperspirants to deodorants has become my most challenging challenge yet. As your Best Friend, I find it my duty to let you in on my findings...and because I have a sensitive nose and don't want to smell your stink.

First a little background...there once was a day when I lived with one of my BFFs who literally could not smell. She has something called anosmia, which means she smells NOTHING! Oh what bliss it was to live with someone who couldn't smell...those were the days of basking in my own stink without a care in the world about offending the nose of another. Alas, those days ended long ago, and as I cohabitate with a boy (my husband), I find myself caring about the way I smell. I also go out into the world and mingle with others...more specifically I am a yoga instructor who sweats a lot. Hey, we all sweat a lot in class and I like feels good! And I don't even mind others seeing the efforts of my work, I just don't want them to smell the efforts! Plus, I do not want a report card sent home to my old man saying that I play well with others, but need to work on personal hygeine. So what is your stinky hippie BFF supposed to do? Well, I embarked on a journey to find a deodorant that WORKS! Here's what I found:

I started with what I could find easily...Tom's of Maine and Kiss My Face. As your BF, I do not recommend either of these. They do not cut it in the stink me.

**It must be said that I passed these along to my 62 year old mother & they work for her. And she's seriously very active! After a brisk 5 mile walk she came to my house and made me smell her pits...for real. And she really didn't stink! So it's all about your individual body chemistry...and my chemistry set is quite stinky.

Next, I emailed another blogger, Chic Vegan, for some advice. Here's what she gave me...

- after shower, completely dry armpits.
- apply 3 squirts of Weleda Citrus Deodorant to each pit. Leaving arms up to allow to dry completely.
- apply a dusting of Burt's Bees Baby Bee Dusting Powder (This can be quite messy and takes some practice to perfect.)
- For really hot or active days I carry the mini Weleda spray in my bag and reapply in the middle of the day.

 I found both of these products at Whole Foods. And for the first few days, I loved this combo. Here's what went wrong for me...first, I didn't make it through a long day of yoga without getting stinky. I later found out that when switching from antiperspirant to deodorant, you need you allow your pits to detox. Your pores begin to open after a long time of being clogged & stinkiness can increase for some time. It is important to give your pits 10 days to fully detox. I did not do this. The clincher for me was that the spray burned after shaving and gave my very sensitive skin a painful rash. May still work for some...maybe you want to give it a shot.

I did some more research on the internet and found They make something called Pit Putty that got very good reviews, so I had to try it!

I ordered the original scent which is lemon and clove and the scent was ok. Pit Putty contains arrowroot powder which helps absorb sweat. You actually have to rub pit putty into your pits, which kinda makes me feel like it works. They also have a 100% guarantee on their deodorants! So when this one didn't work for me, I contacted them and they sent me another one...I only had to pay shipping. They make custom deodorants & I tried the Super Pit Putty with patchouli (they have more floral/less earthy scents too). So far so good! and I know if it stops working, I can get another one! Bubble and Bee offers a variety of deodorant stick and sprays, as well as many other personal care products like lotions, soaps, and hair care. I also bought the natural Insect Repellent, and I love it!

But, here's what you really need to know, Stinky Girl. This is NOT your old chemical antiperspirant. So aside from just changing sticks, you have to change some habits as well. Do not think that you can wake up in the morning and roll out the door with yesterday's deodorant me...from one dirty girl to another. You at least need to wash those pits & re-apply! Some other handy tips from folks at Bubble and Bee...after shower, sanitize those pits with a little rubbing alcohol or apple cider vinegar before applying deodorant. This gives you the cleanest "working space".

I'm happy to answer any questions you may have or do some more research for you. I really really want your pits to be happy, healthy, and stick-free!
Your BFF

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dear BFF, Let's stock your kitchen, shall we?

One of the biggest obstacles to becoming vegan or veganish, is where to begin. Luckily for you, BFF, I have read the books and done the leg work. I have discovered that once you make that first shopping trip and stock your kitchen for the first time, the rest is cake (vegan of course!).

Many cookbooks will tell you all your must-haves for your kitchen & usually they differ from each other, causing such an overwhelming feeling that your brain shuts down & you start down the road marked "I can't". Don't go there dear BFF...I have narrowed down the list to what I have actually used the most. So before you go and buy 15 different effing cooking oils like myself, let me tell you what you need and where to get it.


Ingredient: Nutritional Yeast Flakes, ie "Nooch"
Why you need it: This ingredient is used to give any dish that savory flavor. Used in Veganomicon's Cheesy Sauce (OMG), most tofu scramble recipes, and homemade "parmesan".
Where to get it: Whole Foods or Food Co-op in bulk section.

Ingredient: Flaxseed Meal
Why you need it: Healthy fat, high fiber, B vitamins, Omega 3's! When mixed with water, it is a great substitute for eggs as a binding agent in baking. Throw it in a smoothie for an extra healthy kick! Store it in fridge/freezer after opening for longer shelf life.
Where to get it: Any grocery store with a health food section. Look for Bob's Red's a good one.

Ingredient: High Heat Oils, ie. Refined Coconut, Canola, Safflower, Sesame. Pick one and go for it!
Why you need it: Because olive oil is for drizzling! Actually it's probably not a necessity...I cook with olive oil too, but I think it's nice to have canola oil on hand for stir-frys or baking, where I want a little more neutral flavor.
Where to get it: Any grocery should carry it.

Ingredient: Natural Vegan Granulated Sugar, ie. Succanat, Turbanado sugar, raw sugar, evaporated cane juice. Again, you don't need all of them, pick one and give it a shot!
Why you need it: Because refined sugar is the devil...not to mention un-vegan! Unbelievable, right?? Most white sugar goes through a refining process in which it's filtered through animal bones. I get organic evaporated cane juice and it works fantastic in all my baking. I also get the organic powdered sugar.
Where to get it: Some grocery stores with health food sections, Whole Foods, Food Co-op.

Ingredient: Bragg's Liquid Aminos
Why you need it: Because it's a healthier, lower sodium alternative to soy sauce/tamari for use in cooking. I still have my soy sauce, but Bragg's is nice if you're fingers are getting swollen from your salt intake. Many recipes call specifically for Bragg's, and sure, you can use soy sauce. But as your BFF, I totally recommend getting yourself a won't be sorry!
Where to get it: Some grocery stores with health food sections, Whole Foods, Food Co-ops

Ingredient: Dried herbs
Why you need it: Because they are yummy. Many recipes call for fresh herbs, but we don't always have them on hand & they can be expensive. Try substituting 1 tsp dried herb for every 1 tbsp fresh herb called for in recipes.
Where to get it: Any grocery store.

Other things I keep on hand: organic/natural peanut butter, canned chickpeas, white beans, & black beans, canned tomato sauce, tomato paste, brown and white rice, couscous, pasta, apple cider vinegar, dried lentils, whole wheat bread crumbs, Agave nectar, Tahini, brown rice syrup, whole wheat pastry four, all purpose unbleached flour, organic baking cocoa.


Ingredient: Earth Balance Buttery Spread (different from Smart Balance which is not all vegan)
Why you need it: It's a lovely butter substitute in baking or even on toast or bread. I like the whipped, but the original is great. They also have soy-free version.
Where to get it: Most grocery stores with a health food section, Whole Foods, Food Co-op (and look for the shortening sticks too!)

Ingredient: Non-dairy milk, ie. soy, hemp, rice, almond
Why you need it: Because you like cereal, right? Non-dairy milks are great to sub where ever cow's milk is called for. Great in baking, smoothies and milkshakes, or for homemade ice cream!
Where to get it: Most grocery stores now at least carry Silk. And don't just look in the refrigerated isles! Many non-dairy milks are found on the shelf with other beverages.
***Your BFF feels the need to mention that non-dairy milks, more than any other item, are such a personal choice. This one I cannot decide for's a little trial and error. I use Silk original for just about everything. We liked it right away, so I really didn't search much further. Good luck and please share your findings!

Ingredient: Vegenaise
Why you need it: If you like mayo, you need Vegenaise. It is the ONLY mayo substitute worth your money. Trust your BFF, don't waste your time on anything else.
Where to get it: Whole Foods, Food Co-op, Naturally Soergel's if you're in the Pittsburgh area. p.s. It's in the refrigerated section!!!!!

Other must haves in the vegan fridge: Firm or extra firm tofu, silken tofu (for dips & vegan ranch), Daiya vegan cheese (best vegan cheese on the planet!), Silk soy creamer for coffee and cooking, Tofurkey meat substitutes if you like lunch meats type things, Boca burgers & crumbles in the freezer, and stay stocked with all your favorite veggies! I always have garlic, onions, mushrooms, and spinach. And don't discount frozen veggies...they are easy to prepare and often just as healthy...but make sure to read the ingredients & avoid the ones with added crap.

Other notable items:

Lightlife Fakin' Bacon ~ makes a BLT, or should I say FLT, that is to die for! (Whole Foods, Food Co-op, Soergel's)

Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chips, because sometimes you just need a cookie. (Whole foods, Co-op, Giant Eagle)

 Go Max Go candy bars. Mahalo (Almond Joy), Buccaneer (3 Muskateers), Twilight (Milky Way), and Jokerz (Snickers). They are vegan & all natural! Buy them locally at East End Food Co-op or Naturally Soergel's (thanks to your BFF) or at


Better Than Bouillon vegan Vegetable Base, No Beef Base, and No Chicken Base. Great for soups and gravies. The No Chicken Base seriously makes a "chicken" noodle soup that will take you back to the comfort of your childhood! Most grocery stores carry the veggie base, the No Chicken & Beef are harder to find...look in Whole Foods or Food Co-ops for them. And be very careful...they make all natural Real Chicken and Beef bases too! Just look for the 'V' for vegan!

I'm here to answer any questions you may have!

Your Vegan BFF

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Meet your new Best Friend!

Please allow me to introduce myself, I am your new best friend...your VEGAN best friend that is. I know becoming vegan can be daunting and maintaining this lifestyle can be very lonely. I get it. I am here for you...if you need advice or just an ear to listen. I have done tons of research during my vegan journey and continue to educate myself. I would love to pass any and all information your way! Ask me questions...if I don't know the answer, I will find it for you! We are going to have so much fun together! Best Friends Forever!