How to make grocery shopping more sustainable
How to make grocery shopping more sustainable
As consumers, we have the power to make a difference in the environment by making small changes to our daily routines. One way we can do this is by making our grocery shopping more sustainable. Here are some simple tips to help reduce our environmental impact while shopping for groceries:
Bring your own bags
Tote bags are great alternatives to single-use plastic bags. They are not only more durable, but also more eco-friendly. By bringing your own bags to the store, you can help reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills or in the ocean.
Choose products with minimal packaging
When shopping, try to choose products with minimal packaging. Look for products with recyclable packaging or those packaged in materials like glass or paper, which are easier to recycle. Additionally, consider buying in bulk when possible to reduce the amount of packaging needed.
Use reusable produce bags
Reusable produce bags made from materials like mesh or cotton are a great way to reduce plastic waste. Instead of using the thin plastic bags provided at the store, bring your own reusable bags for produce like fruits and vegetables.
Get your own mesh grocery bags!
Shop locally and seasonally
Shopping for produce that is grown locally and in season not only supports local farmers, but also helps reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation. Locally-grown produce is also likely to have a smaller environmental impact than produce that has been shipped from far away. Here’s a handy tool to help you find your closest farmers market. Just type in your zip code!
Take your bike instead of your car
Biking to the grocery store is not only good for the environment, but it’s also a great way to get exercise and save money on gas. Investing in a good bike and gear is important to make your bike trip to the grocery store more comfortable and efficient. Look for a bike with a rack or basket for carrying your groceries.
Bring your own containers
When buying items like bulk nuts, grains, or spices, consider bringing your own reusable containers. Mason jars, cloth bags, or other reusable containers can be used to store these items and avoid the need for single-use plastic bags or containers.
Reduce food waste
Lastly, reducing food waste is another way to make grocery shopping more sustainable. Plan meals in advance and only buy what you need. Store food properly to extend its shelf life, and use leftovers in creative ways to avoid throwing them away.
By making small changes to our grocery shopping habits, we can reduce our impact on the environment and help create a more sustainable future. At Not To Die For* we want to make it easier to shop for eco-friendly and cruelty-free items. Check out our shop!
A Guide to Eco-Friendly Oral Health
A Guide to Eco-Friendly Oral Health
Is 2023 the year you start your low-waste or sustainable lifestyle journey? The bathroom is a great place to start! The personal hygiene products in your bathroom are a large source of waste, with toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss being no exception. Here is our guide to help make your oral health routine an eco-friendly one.
Choosing Your Toothbrush
You may be wondering what is so wasteful about a standard toothbrush, since it gets used over and over. Though it is reusable for a while, when it comes to disposing of your old toothbrush, they are a complex item. “Regular toothbrushes are hard to recycle because they are made from many components, including plastics derived from crude oil, rubber and a mix of plastic and other agents,” says Dr. Nammy Patel, DDS. “It takes the plastic toothbrush over 400 years to decompose.”
An electric toothbrush where you only replace the head every so often may seem like a better option. However, they are often made out of plastic and the electrical components of the toothbrush are powered by nonrenewable sources. The eco-friendly electric toothbrush market is improving, and there are several sustainable options if you do prefer an electric toothbrush.
If you favor a regular toothbrush over electric for your pearly whites, bamboo toothbrushes are a great alternative to plastic due to their biodegradable and compostable qualities (and the simple aesthetic is an added plus).
A Mouthwash That Agrees with Mother Nature
It’s time we opt out of the commercial mouthwashes that are toxic for the planet and our health. Not only does mouthwash typically come in a massive plastic container, (that takes up the entire bathroom countertop), but have you ever read the ingredients on the back? There’s a good chance you cannot pronounce the majority of these toxic additives.
The ingredients in mouthwash such as chlorhexidine gluconate, ethanol (ethyl alcohol), hydrogen peroxide, and methyl salicylate kill bacteria in the mouth and add flavor to the product, but can be harmful in large amounts when entered into your bloodstream. You are swishing these toxins around in not only your mouth, but also washing them down the drain to be released into waterways, harming marine and wildlife.
Nix Mouthwash is a gentle, yet effective mouthwash made with natural ingredients and no artificial flavors. Instead of shipping a large plastic container filled with mouthwash, Nix Mouthwash crystals arrive in a small glass jar, shipped in 100% recycled packaging. Simply use the bamboo scoop to add mouthwash crystals into your own container, fill with water, and shake. Voilà – fresh breath without the toxic ingredients or plastic!
The Small but Mighty Impact of Floss
As small of a product it is, floss has a high environmental impact as it is non-biodegradable and non-recyclable. Floss is typically made of a nylon, a petroleum-based plastic, that is coated in wax. Even though nylon is recyclable, floss is too small to go through the typical recycling process, so instead it sits in the landfill for 50-80 years before it decomposes. The same goes for floss picks, due to their mixed-material nature.
A vegan, cruelty-free, zero waste option is our bamboo floss. The product comes in a small glass jar, while the floss is made from bamboo fiber that contains activated charcoal, organic tea tree oil, and organic peppermint oil. It’s compostable, too!
Any zero-waste, plastic free, or biodegradable floss product is a great alternative to traditional plastic and nylon floss (bonus points if you can purchase refills!). Another option is a water flosser, (also termed oral irrigator), which is a reusable, electronic oral health tool that uses a high pressure jet stream to “floss” your teeth.
Toothpaste Minus the Tube & Toxins
Did you know that 1.5 billion toothpaste tubes are thrown away and end up in a landfill each year?
Toothpaste is obviously an essential for a clean, healthy mouth, but we can certainly do without the plastic packaging. Sustainable alternatives on the market include toothpaste tablets, chews, or powders. If you’re not so sure about tabs or powders to freshen your mouth, aim for a toothpaste product that is packaged in a reusable glass jar or recyclable aluminum container such as David’s Premium Natural Toothpaste.
When you are deciding on your sustainable swap, don’t forget to also consider the ingredients in your toothpaste. Safe, non-toxic ingredients in a healthy toothpaste may include:
- Baking soda
- Activated charcoal
- Coconut oil
- Tea tree oil
- Essential oils (peppermint, cinnamon)
- Left extracts
You can also make your own natural toothpaste at home using some of the above ingredients! Check out this simple recipe.
Whether you have been living a low-waste lifestyle for years or are early in your journey, kudos to you for putting in the effort to make a change. Every bit counts! Making swaps can be overwhelming, so remember to start slow and go at your own pace. You do not need to throw out everything at once, and in fact, you shouldn’t! The most eco-conscious way to swap your oral health items is to first use up your existing products to prevent additional waste.
We recommend speaking to your dental professional prior to making changes in your oral care routine. Looking for an eco-conscious dentist that aligns with your lifestyle? Find dentists who are part of the Eco-Dentistry Association here.
The benefits of Aleppo Soap
The benefits of Aleppo Soap
Our Aleppo soap is one of our favorite products, and it’s also our best-seller! It was one of the first products we included in our shop, two whole years ago. Do you want to learn more about why so many people love it? We’re here to answer your questions!
What is Aleppo soap?
Aleppo soap, Syrian soap, or laurel soap is a hard bar soap associated to the city of Aleppo in Syria. It can be used daily as soap for washing and shampooing, as a face mask, or as shaving cream. It’s famous for its inclusion of laurel oil, which is an effective cleanser, antimicrobial, antifungal, and anti-itching agent.
What ingredients are in this soap?
It’s composed of completely natural ingredients: olive oil, laurel oil, and lye.
How old is this soap recipe?
It’s been used for thousands of years! This soap has been around since the time of Alexander the Great. It was originally used by Roman soldiers as a way to protect themselves from diseases like leprosy. It was supposedly used by Cleopatra herself!
Not to Die For aleppo soap
What are the benefits of Aleppo soap?
Aleppo soap has high concentrations of laurel oil, which soothes the skin and reduces the appearance of blemishes. It has a long history of being used as a remedy for skin problems.
Why is it recommended by doctors?
Since it’s so gentle, it’s widely recommended for those with skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. It can even be used on babies’ skin, making it a family-friendly choice.
Where can you get Aleppo soap?
You can get it here on our shop! You can buy them on their own or in bundles (with an extra soap saver bag).
Do you have any other doubts about how to use your new soap? Let us know in the comments below!
Not to Die For* is a vegan and cruelty-free marketplace, where you can find curated products. We read labels so you don’t have to!
Sustainable gift ideas under $10
Sustainable gift ideas under $10
You know what they say: it’s the thought that counts. While we’re all about spreading love during the holidays, sometimes we don’t have the budget to splurge on our loved ones.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t find them a meaningful gift! Gifts are a symbolic way to express our love, and there are so many ways to do that for under $10. Here are some ideas:
Herb Garden Kit
For your friend who’s a culinary expert! Having a herb garden is a great way to ensure that you’re getting fresh ingredients for your cooking, and it’s always great to have them as a backup if you forgot to get some cilantro or basil at the store!
Culinary herb seeds – $9.99
Reusable Produce Bags
For your family members who want to be more eco-friendly but don’t know how. These bags come super handy when you’re carrying heavy produce, and they’re really convenient to carry around! They’re also an alternative to plastic bags, which are one of the main causes of marine pollution.
Ntdf.* Grocery mesh bag – $9
Hand-made Aleppo soap
For…. anyone in your life! Aleppo soap is one of the oldest types of soap in existence. It’s naturally anti-bacterial, and the laurel oil in it makes it incredibly beneficial for the skin.
All-natural Aleppo soap – $9
Vegan lip balm
For the makeup lover in your life. Lip balms are always a necessity, and they’re always welcome. This jumbo-sized tinted lip balm also doubles as a lip tint!
River Organics lip balm – $10
For your aunt with the green thumb. You can’t really have too many succulents! They are great to have on your desk or your windowsill, and they can make your space feel more alive.
Crassula succulent – $6.99
Reusable makeup remover pads
For your skincare addict friend. Makeup wipes are terrible for the skin, they are rough and filled with alcohol. These pads are machine-washable and can be reused as many times as you want!
Ntdf.* reusable bamboo pads – $10
For your overworked friend who really needs to take a breather and relax. Let them settle down with a warm bath, a glass of wine, and a good book.
Forest bath bomb – $4.50
For your cousin with unruly hair. Bamboo repels static, which makes this a great way to keep hair under control and avoid frizz!
Anti-frizz bamboo hairbrush – $9
Travel coffee cup
For your busy friend or your coffee-loving coworker. Travel cups are a great way to avoid single-use waste.
Stainless steel travel cup – $9.94
For your esoteric relatives! Swab sticks, be it sage or yerba santa, are a great way to cleanse spaces of unwanted negative energy. They are also aromatic, and leave a pleasant smell!
White sage swab stick – $7
Do you have any other go-to affordable gift ideas? Let us know in the comments below!
At Not to Die For* we want to make vegan and sustainable products easily accessible to everyone. You can check out our store or follow us on Instagram!
9 eco-friendly gift ideas for the 2022 holiday season
9 eco-friendly gift ideas for the 2022 holiday season
If you’re looking for the perfect gift for a friend who wants to bring an eco-conscious lifestyle into their home, we’ve got you covered. Here are 11 unique eco-friendly gift ideas that are perfect for any holiday celebration (or just because!).
Makeup Remover Pads
Apart from the obvious environmental reasons, makeup remover pads are also great for sensitive skin types! Makeup wipes can be very harsh on your skin because they have a high alcohol content and you have to rub them violently to get the makeup off.
Organic waste can be easily turned into compost for your garden or houseplants! It’s a great way to reduce the waste in landfills, it’s easy to use and will save you money on fertilizer. Composters block odors and can be used indoors!
Cleaning Supplies with Refills
If you love your reusable cleaners, why not gift them? It’s great for the environment, and it’ll keep them from buying more plastic bottles. Blueland is a great option to get cleaning products with easy tablet refills.
“Makeup hoarding” has become an issue, with people buying tons and tons of useless plastic with their palettes and lipsticks. However, there’s a new trend that’s coming up: zero-waste makeup! Yes, you hear correctly. Brands like River Organics use cardboard packaging for their highlighters, blushes, and lip balms.
Reusable “Paper” Towels
Instead of using disposable paper towels, try switching to reusable ones! These “Unpaper” towels are a great option
Tote bags are the best way to avoid single use plastics, since they replace grocery store shopping bags. These bags aren’t only bad because they end up in landfills, they are especially dangerous to marine wildlife —sea turtles ingest them by mistake.
Silicone Baking Mat
If your eco-conscious friend loves baking, consider getting them a silicone baking mat! They are a great way to avoid single use parchment paper.
Reusable storage bags
These reusable storage bags are perfect for anyone who wants to reduce waste in their life. They come in a variety of sizes so you can use them for anything from packing lunches on the go to storing leftover food for later use at home.
Vegan Spa Kit
If your friend is in need of some relaxation and some time to lay back, you can get them a bundle with zero-waste vegan goodies!
Do you have any other eco-friendly gift ideas that you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the comments below!
Not to Die For* is a curated vegan and eco-conscious marketplace. We strive to make ethical shopping easier, especially during holiday seasons, by offering products that are good for you, the animals, and the planet. You can find our selection of gifts over here!
How to use a shampoo bar
How to use a shampoo bar
So you’ve gotten a brand new shampoo bar (or maybe someone got it for you), but you don’t know how to even begin to use it? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there! It’s always hard to incorporate a new item to your self-care routine. Here’s a step-by-step guide to using your shampoo bar:
1. Wet your hair with warm water.
2. Get your shampoo bar slightly wet and apply it directly to your scalp, rubbing in a circular motion for about 30 seconds.
3. Massage the shampoo into your scalp and hair.
4. Rinse thoroughly with warm water until all of the shampoo is gone from your hair and scalp, then repeat this step if needed.
5. Follow up with conditioner if desired (we recommend doing so!).
6. Let the bar dry completely before storing it away for travel—otherwise it will get mushy and unusable.
But why are shampoo bars better than regular shampoo?
Shampoo bars have been gaining popularity in recent years, since they are more practical, more environmentally friendly, and better for your hair. Here are some reasons why we love shampoo bars:
- They are great for traveling. Shampoo bottles can be bulky and hard to manage when you’re on the go, and liquids are tricky to take on planes. Shampoo bars are easy to carry around in your bag, so they’re perfect for taking on vacation or just going out for a day trip.
- Less plastic waste! Plastic bottles are horrible for the environment, but shampoo bars don’t use any plastic at all.
- It’s easier to use more liquid shampoo than you need. With a shampoo bar, there’s no need to squeeze out any extra product—just wet your hair and rub the bar over it to get all the lather you need.
- Our shampoo bars are free of sulfates and other chemicals that might strip your hair. This means that they won’t damage your hair or make it less healthy-looking than before—and they’ll leave your mane smelling amazing too!
At Not to Die For* we want to make mindful living easier, that’s why we created a marketplace where you can find eco-friendly vegan products without having to go on long internet searches or read ingredient lists. We read labels so you don’t have to!
How do (some) sunscreens harm coral reefs?
How do (some) sunscreens harm coral reefs?
Coral reefs are one of the most diverse ecosystems on our planet, and they’re a crucial part of the ocean’s food chain. They’re also incredibly sensitive to pollution—and sunscreen is one of the biggest culprits. The most common type of chemical sunscreen contains oxybenzone, which is toxic to coral reefs. According to a study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), just a small amount of oxybenzone can cause coral bleaching in both tropical and temperate waters.
What kinds of sunscreen are bad for coral reefs?
First of all, we need to look at how sunscreens work. There are two different types of sunscreen you can find in the market:
Mineral sunscreens are made from minerals, like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. They’re also called physical sunscreens because they physically block UV rays from your skin. Mineral sunscreens have been shown to be less harmful to coral reefs than chemical ones because they don’t contain any chemicals that break down into harmful compounds in water.
Chemical sunscreens are typically made from chemicals that absorb UV radiation and convert it into heat. These sunscreens are usually more lightweight and they don’t leave a white cast (which is really important for people with darker skin tones). However, some of these chemicals can be toxic to marine organisms, including corals, but not all of them! Here’s where we need to talk about specific ingredients, like Oxybenzone and Octinoxate. But more on that later!
What is coral bleaching?
Coral are bright and colorful because of microscopic algae called zooxanthellae. The zooxanthellae live within the coral in a mutually beneficial relationship, each helping the other survive. But when the ocean environment changes, the coral stresses out and expels the algae. As the algae leaves, the coral fades until it looks like it’s been bleached. If the temperature stays high, the coral won’t let the algae back, and the coral will die.
Does sunscreen bleach coral reefs?
One of the main reasons for bleaching is, of course, climate change. But scientists have also realized that sunscreen filters like Oxybenzone and Octinoxate can harm them even further. In a new study, scientists at Stanford University found that oxybenzone is converted from a UV blocker to a “phototoxin” inside the cells of anemone and coral (a photoxin is a chemical that becomes toxic when exposed to sunlight).
Hawaii and Key West have already banned sunscreens that contain oxybenzone from their beaches, and the U.S. National Park Service is considering following suit. The chemical in question is found in more than 3,500 different sunscreen products.
What does reef-safe mean?
The terms “reef-safe” and “reef-friendly” are not regulated, so beware! Always remember to check the active ingredients in your sunscreen, because companies could be tricking you (if you haven’t heard about greenwashing, we wrote a blog post about it!).
Here’s a list of all the UV filters you need to avoid (according to NOAA):
- 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor
- 3-Benzylidene camphor
Fortunately, there are alternatives out there that won’t harm the environment. For example, some brands offer lightweight chemical sunscreens made with avobenzone instead of oxybenzone. You can also choose mineral sunscreens (although they might be a little heavier).
We recommend the Public Goods spray sunscreen, which you can find in our shop! It’s vegan and it offers broad-spectrum SPF50 protection. Check it out!
7 toxic ingredients to avoid in beauty products
7 toxic ingredients to avoid in beauty products
We all know what it’s like to feel like our beauty products are working against us—but they don’t have to be. There are plenty of ways to avoid toxic ingredients in beauty products.
You’ve probably heard of some of these ingredients—they’re used in many cosmetic products. You might not know what they are, or why their use is so concerning. Here are just a few to keep in mind:
This ingredient is typically used as an anti-caking agent or color stabilizer, but it can be harmful to your health if you’re exposed to large amounts of it. It has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer. 
SLS stands for sodium lauryl sulfate, and it’s often found in shampoos and cleansers because it helps them foam up easily! But studies have shown that this ingredient can cause skin irritation and other problems like eczema when used over time. 
Apart from that, sulfates in shampoo can strip your hair from its natural moisture.
Parabens are preservatives that prevent bacteria growth in cosmetics products—they’re also known as p-hydroxybenzoates or methyl paraben depending on their chemical makeup. They are found in lipstick, moisturizers, body washes—basically anything that comes in a tube or jar. They can mimic estrogen production in the body and have been linked to breast cancer. 
Most people know to avoid artificial colors when they’re shopping for food items; but did you know that many cosmetics also use them? Some dyes can be made from coal tar, which is a known carcinogen. 
Avobenzone and octinoxate
These two ingredients are commonly found in sunscreen and can cause irritation when applied over large areas of skin. Octinoxate can cause allergic reactions in some people who come into contact with it, including swelling of the lips or face, hives, and rashes.
But, most importantly, these two ingredients are really harmful to coral reefs. They can bleach coral, making it vulnerable to disease and unable to absorb nutrients. These two ingredients are even banned in the state of Hawaii because of it! 
These chemicals can be found in hair care products, nail polish, and moisturizers, among other things. They’re also known as “plasticizers” because they make plastics more flexible.
Some studies have suggested that phthalates may have endocrine-disrupting properties (i.e., they mess with hormones), though more research is needed before we can say if this is true.  In the meantime, it’s always best to steer clear of them.
This chemical is used to preserve dead animals, so it’s probably not something you want on your face! Inhaling it can cause pneumonia and bronchitis, irritating your skin if it comes in contact with it.  Formaldehyde is used in nail polish remover, hair straighteners, and relaxers, hair dye kits, eyelash extensions… it’s really hard to avoid.
Of course, it’s usually in very low quantities in commercial products, but it’s always good to stay away from it, especially if you have sensitive skin that tends to react poorly to harsh ingredients.
At Ntdf.* our mission is to make vegan, clean, and sustainable shopping easier. All our products are made with natural ingredients, so you don’t have to worry about searching for toxic chemicals in ingredient lists. We read labels so you don’t have to.
How sustainable is bamboo?
How sustainable is bamboo?
You might have noticed that bamboo objects are everywhere, and they claim to be a more sustainable option than plastic. The good news is: it totally is! Bamboo is a fast-growing crop, which means it uses less land than wood or plant. It’s also 100% biodegradable, and is a much better alternative to plastic.
But, why is bamboo sustainable?
Bamboo doesn’t need fertilizer because it absorbs nutrients from the soil through its roots. This means less waste runoff into our water supply and less pollution overall. When it is harvested, the nutrients stay in place with the plant instead of being released into our waterways when we remove them from their natural habitat
Other sustainable bamboo facts:
Is bamboo a grass?
Bamboo has been around for thousands of years, and it’s been used in everything from food to architecture. It’s a fast-growing, woody grass (yes, it’s not a tree) that can reach heights of up to 130 feet. Unlike regular wood, growing it is sustainable and doesn’t harm the environment.
How fast does it grow?
It grows quickly, reaching maturity in just four years. In fact, bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on the planet: it can grow as much as 3 feet per day! This rapid growth makes it an ideal material for many uses from construction to paper products.
Do bamboo roots regrow?
Bamboo can be harvested every few years without needing to be replanted, unlike other types of trees. So, apart from growing fast, it self-regenerates from its own roots, so it doesn’t need to be replanted.
How much oxygen does it produce?
One of the biggest environmental benefits of bamboo is its ability to absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. It produces 35% more oxygen than other trees, and research has shown that it can absorb as much as 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare per year.
Is it compostable?
Yes, it’s compostable! That means when you’re done with your product (whether that’s a toothbrush or a cotton bud), you can put it right into your compost bin where it will biodegrade safely and responsibly into new plants and soil within just 60 days or so.
It’s also remarkably versatile, with uses ranging from paper to building materials to clothing. In fact, it’s being used to replace plastic in all sorts of applications: from toothbrushes to flooring to cups and plates.
So, what are you waiting for? It’s really easy to change a few habits to be more sustainable, especially when it comes to disposable objects like toothbrushes and cotton swabs. At Ntdf.* we have a wide array of bamboo products for you to choose from, which you can find over here. Join the bamboo revolution!
Vegan alternatives to dairy, eggs, and meat
Vegan alternatives to dairy, eggs, and meat
Transitioning to veganism can be complex, which is why we want to help you figure it out and give you as many tips and tricks as we can. One of the best tips our founder, Tifany, gave us was… veganize your favorite recipes! Instead of going crazy trying to change your entire meal plan, you can just find ways to replace animal products with vegan alternatives.
Here are some of the most popular replacements for eggs, dairy products, and meat:
- Two of the best vegan egg substitutes are flaxseeds and chia seeds. Mix one tablespoon of ground flaxseeds or chia seeds with three tablespoons of water and leave for 15 minutes in the refrigerator to form the egg mixture. These egg substitutes will be thick and sticky like real eggs, helping your recipes stick together.
- Aquafaba is also a great egg replacement. The cloudy liquid you drain from a can of chickpeas is perfect for baking – you can use it to make meringues, mousses, and lots of bakes like macarons, sponges, and brownies. It also allows you to use every bit of what you buy, making it a win-win situation.
- Bananas can also be substituted for eggs in most baked recipes —just use one banana for each egg. Of course, this might add a slight banana taste, but there’s nothing wrong with that!
- There are also a lot of packaged egg replacements. These powdered products are available at most grocery stores and can be added to recipes as desired. Follow the package instructions to mix with water and enjoy! Some of the other options we mentioned can be more unpredictable, so these are a reliable and effective option.
- There are several vegan alternatives to parmesan cheese. Some good options include nutritional yeast, which doesn’t require refrigeration, are easy to store, and can be used in a variety of recipes! Even better, as its name suggests, nutritional yeast is nutritious. This product is packed with nutrients and is great to use on everything.
- You can find vegan cheese at grocery stores across the country, made from a variety of ingredients. Some vegan cheeses are made from soybeans, others are made from nuts, and some are made from coconut oil. You can also make your own with cashews and nutritional yeast.
To make vegan cheese, you will need:
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- Water to blend all ingredients together into a smooth sauce that resembles the consistency of hummus or ricotta.
It can be used as a spread, or for your favorite mac and cheese recipes. The best part about this recipe is that it can be altered to suit your taste buds by adding different spices or flavors like garlic or onion powder!
Other dairy alternatives
- There are plenty of plant-based milk on the market (as you’re probably aware). Soy milk is the most popular choice, but almond milk is another great option. If you want something different, there are a number of other options as well: hazelnut milk, flaxseed milk, hemp seed milk, coconut milk, etc. You can use these products in any recipe that calls for dairy products—from mashed potatoes to lasagna to grilled cheese sandwiches!
- There are many types of plant-based yogurts, perfect for adding to foods or just eaten on their own. It can also be used for baking and cooking. Like other vegan “dairy” products, it is fortified with vitamins and filled with probiotic bacteria. In short, vegans can get the same health benefits as a regular dairy yogurt.
Some coconut-based creams and yogurt are great for Indian and Asian curries. For other recipes and toppings, it might be better to choose a less tasty, more neutral alternative, such as soy or almond yogurts. It is also worth experimenting with different brands and ingredients!
- You can easily find vegan substitutes for chicken or beef burgers and vegan ground beef! They are great to use for lasagna, stir fry recipes, or pasta sauces. However, we don’t recommend using these as your main protein source for every meal; they are more expensive and processed than other protein substitutes.
- Tofu is made from soybeans, which are a complete source of protein. It is a less-processed substitute for meat, and is a popular choice for vegetarians and vegans. Tempeh is also made from soybeans, but this time they have been fermented. It has a firmer texture than other soy products. It is a great substitute for protein in Asian recipes, but it can also be used as “bacon” if you thinly slice and fry it. Both tofu and tempeh are tasty and go well with many dishes.
- A meat replacement that is gaining popularity is jackfruit! It is a versatile and surprisingly cheap ingredient, often found canned, meaning you can have a supply on hand in the cupboard. It’s especially popular as a replacement for pulled pork in Asian cuisine, but it can also be used in all types of dishes.
We hope you found this article useful! We’re more than happy to help you out in your journey, and we even have a section on our blog dedicated just to vegan beginners like you. You can also reach out on social media if you need extra help, we’re @not.to.die.for in most places.
Also, if you’re looking for some lifestyle changes, our shop is a curated marketplace, so you can find the perfect self-care items without having to read labels. Check out our shop!
10 ways to make your beauty routine more sustainable
10 ways to make your beauty routine more sustainable
The amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills, the ocean, and our bodies is truly staggering. And even if you don’t mind contributing to this mess, there are other reasons to try to be more mindful about what you’re putting on your skin and hair.
It’s time to rethink your beauty routine.
1. Use bamboo instead of plastic (when possible).
Bamboo is one of the most sustainable resources on the planet and it’s far better for our oceans than plastic ever will. Take toothbrushes, for example! You can easily separate the nylon bristles and compost the handle.
Try our premium bamboo ntdf* toothbrush.
2. Switch from disposable razors to reusable ones made from stainless steel.
There is now a whole range of metal razors (where the only replaceable part is the actual razor) in the market, so you don’t have to throw out a piece of plastic every time your razor goes dull. Metal razors last for years, they keep plastic out of landfills, and they are also more attractive, so they look great in the shower or bathroom.
3. Don’t waste unnecessary water.
You can do this in many ways! Washing your hair less is something that is not only good for the environment, but also good for your hair, since excessive washing strips its natural oils. You should also remember to turn off the tap while you brush your teeth.
4. Reuse a bar of soap as long as possible before replacing it with a new one.
You can use a soap saver bag to help you when the soap is too small to hold!
5. Get reusable alternatives for makeup wipes and cotton pads.
Makeup wipes are already bad for your skin (they are really harsh, and they ruin your skin’s PH balance), and they are non-biodegradable. Instead of using disposable face wipes, you can get reusable makeup cloths or pads and use micellar water or cleansing oil.
6. Purchase beauty products with a longer shelf life so you waste less plastic.
Many beauty products are packaged in plastic, the majority of which is not recycled. That’s because —even if the package has a recycle symbol and number— in most of the United States only types 1 (PET) and 2 (HDPE) plastics are recycled, and only certain sizes and shapes of those make it through the process, which frequently excludes smaller plastic containers.
7. Use products that come in glass or paper packaging.
It’s great to reduce your use of plastic packaging in the first place, or to eliminate it entirely from your beauty routine. The good news is that a growing number of brands (like us!) who are making deodorant with paper packaging, and dental floss that comes in glass packaging.
8. Reduce the number of products you buy.
Why not try a lip and cheek stain, or a powder foundation rather than using a separate foundation and powder?.
9. Use a sunscreen that doesn’t harm coral reefs.
Although most sunscreens protect us from the sun, they have the opposite effect on marine life. Every year, 14,000 tons of sunscreen enter our oceans, causing corals to turn white, damaging coral DNA and causing growth abnormalities – it’s time to turn to sunscreens that are suitable for rocks. Try to choose sunscreen that does not contain oxybenzone an are reef safe!
10. Avoid products with palm oil in them.
Palm oil is one of the main causes of deforestation in some of the world’s most biodiverse forests, destroying the habitat of already endangered species like the Orangutan, Pygmy elephant, and Sumatran rhino. This deforestation also contributes to the greenhouse effect.
If you’re looking for products that don’t harm animals or the environment, you’re in the right place! Not to Die For* is a marketplace created by vegans for vegans, trying to make ethical shopping easier and more accessible. We’re here to help you make your beauty routine as sustainable as possible. Purchase with peace of mind 🍃
What to avoid when buying vegan gifts
What to avoid when buying vegan gifts
Veganism is a lifestyle that strays away from all animal products, it’s not just a diet choice. This means that sometimes you have to reconsider everyday objects, and research if they are appropriate gifts for a vegan friend. We know it’s hard to be on top of everything, so here are a few things that you might want to avoid when you’re buying presents for your vegan loved ones:
Clothing & jewelry
This one should be obvious, but it’s important to remember that leather isn’t just used in jackets and bags – it can also be found in shoes, wallets, belts, and basically anywhere else you would expect to see fabric. So before getting that fancy jacket for your vegan friend this holiday season, check the material!
TIP: If you’re buying jeans or pants, always check that they don’t have a leather patch on the back with their brand name. It’s really unfortunate that some manufacturers like Levi’s or Wrangler decide to make jeans —a fully vegan piece of clothing, made of cotton— unavailable for vegans because of the patches they add.
It’s no secret that silk comes from silkworm larvae. However, what most people don’t know is that the worms die after they have finished making your favorite piece of clothing. Their cocoons are removed, boiled, and used to create silk fibers.
One of the biggest misconceptions about wool is that it can actually be harvested without harming sheep. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as sheep are some of the most abused animals in food production (second only to chickens). They are typically bred for their wool, and are often subjected to mutilation and fleece-pulling.
TIP: Cashmere also comes from animals (goats instead of sheep), so it is not a vegan alternative. Try to find options made of cotton!
Did you know that pearls are not vegan? It’s true! Natural and cultured pearls are both taken from oyster shells.
Shoes are a little bit of a gray area because, aside from knowing if they’re made of leather or not, it’s a little hard to know if they are vegan. The main problem with shoes is… glue. Believe it or not, the glue used to stick shoe soles is many times derived from animals.
TIP: World of Vegan has a whole guide on shoes and where to get them.
Giving a vegan friend down pillows and comforters can seem like a great idea, but
it’s not. Sure, geese aren’t actually killed in the process of obtaining their feathers, but it is never cruelty-free. In order to get the best quality down you can imagine, they are plucked and suffer through the entire process.
TIP: Synthetic bedding can be even more comfortable than down bedding, and in most cases, it’s cheaper! Many companies have eco-friendly options that don’t harm the environment.
Many types of beauty products contain animal products. If you’re buying makeup or skincare for a vegan friend, make sure you check the label and look for both “vegan” and “cruelty-free”, or search for the brand name on PETA’s database.
TIP: Brands can sometimes sneak animal products into their formulas! You can use this handy list that we compiled to double-check the ingredients on the back of the packaging.
You might think that wines are a safe gift, especially if you’re going over for dinner or drinks. However, some wines and beers are clarified with fish bladders, bone marrow, casein, and gelatin!
TIP: You can search this database to check if the wine you want to buy is vegan-friendly.
Remember, this is by no means an exhaustive list of vegan-unfriendly clothing products. Rather, this is meant as a guide to help you be a responsible and compassionate gift-giver. The good thing is that at Ntdf.* we offer curated products that are all ethical and vegan! You can shop for your vegan friends with peace of mind 🌿
Ingredients in beauty products that come from animals
Ingredients in beauty products that come from animals
Beauty products are one of the main loopholes where brands get to use animal products without making it obvious. The lack of official regulation of vegan and cruelty-free certifications can make it even harder! Because of this, it’s extremely important for vegans to learn what these animal ingredients are, so they can avoid them. This way, you’ll be able to shop with a peace of mind, knowing you’re putting your money where your morals are.
We tried to be as thorough as possible! Here’s a list of 16 different ingredients that you should watch out for when you’re buying beauty products:
Collagen is a protein that is found naturally in many animals, but it’s also a very common ingredient in beauty products. It’s the stuff that keeps our hair and nails strong and skin smooth and elastic. When brands use collagen in our beauty products, they extract it from cows, pigs, and fish. Apart from this, collagen’s efficacy on the skin hasn’t actually been fully proven, so aren’t really missing out!
You can find this protein in human skin! Unfortunately, beauty product manufacturers extract it from cow neck ligaments and aortas. It’s mostly used by makeup brands, and many lip plumpers contain this ingredient. If you like wearing lip glosses that make your lips look fuller, look for one that doesn’t contain elastin!
Squalane is an oil often found in moisturizers, lipstick, and other beauty products, and it is a byproduct from animals—namely sharks. Shark livers have a high concentration of squalane, which only encourages the horrifying shark-fishing industry.
There are alternatives! You can use squalane sourced from olives or sugarcane, which is where brands like Biossance (whose star product is squalane) get theirs.
Lanolin (also known as wool wax or wool grease) is a wax secreted by the sebaceous glands of sheep. It’s used in a wide variety of beauty products, including lotions and lip balms. This is because it’s an emollient, meaning it makes your skin softer and more pliable.
Check out our lanolin-free lip balms
This is one of the most widely-used red dyes in cosmetics, and it’s also one of the least well-known animal by-products. It comes from crushed beetles, making it a non-vegan ingredient used as a dye in many everyday products. You can find it in everything from lipsticks to red cake icing. You can also find it as “cochineal” (for the insect from which it is extracted), “cochineal extract”, “crimson lake”, “carmine lake”, or “Natural Red 4”.
Ambergris —or “whale vomit” as it is sometimes known— is a waxy substance that forms inside the digestive tract of sperm whales. Perfume-makers have used it as an ingredient since ancient times and was once worth more than its weight in gold. Although it’s not as common nowadays, you can still spot in in some fragrances and cosmetics.
Stearic acid is found in everything from makeup and cosmetics to shampoos and deodorants. It’s used because it can help create a texture that’s both smooth and solid. It’s typically derived from animal fat—which means that you may be putting animal ingredients on your face or body without even knowing it.
Guanine is a shimmery substance made from fish scales. Makeup brands use it in lipsticks and eyeshadows, so always read the back of the palettes when you’re shopping. It’s a really pretty iridescent shimmer that often looks like glitter, but glides smoothly instead of catching on skin.
Although you may not have heard of shellac, you’re probably using it. We usually see shellac in nail polish, hair spray, and mascara, and many processed foods. It’s a resin secreted by the female lac bug, in the forests of India and Thailand, and it’s one of the most commonly used animal ingredients. Be careful! It also goes under many different names, including “sealant resin”, “confectioner’s glaze”, and “resinous glaze”.
Casein is a protein found in animal milk, and many manufacturers use it in their beauty products (especially those that are marketed as “natural”). It can show up in lotions, sunscreens, foundations, and powders.
Also found as “oleyl stearate”, “oleyl oleate”, or “tallow”, oleic acid is a fatty acid that comes from animal byproducts, like beef tallow, pork lard, and sheep wool. In the beauty industry formulators use it as an emollient, which makes products more moisturizing. It is also used in hair care products to make hair feel smooth, and in food to keep oils from separating.
Keratin is a by-product of animals (specifically the protein in their fur, feathers, horns, and hoofs), and it’s commonly used in hair products to help smooth the hair shaft.
Beeswax is made and secreted by bees, who use it to build their hives. What’s worse, when you’re looking at a product label, the word “beeswax” isn’t always there. Sometimes it’s listed as “cera alba” or “cera flava” instead.
It’s a well-known fact that honey is made by bees, but what some people don’t realize is that honey is used in many beauty products. If you’re vegan and looking to buy new cosmetics, it’s important to check the ingredients list for honey.
- Royal Jelly
It’s likely that you have heard of royal jelly before! It’s an ingredient in many different health and beauty products. It helps with things like anti-aging, wound healing, and the appearance of scars. Royal Jelly comes from glands in the heads of worker bees and is fed to queen bees so they can grow larger than their normal size.
One ingredient to look out for is propolis, which you can find in moisturizers and hand lotions. Propolis is essentially bee saliva—which, obviously, isn’t vegan. The bees make it to protect themselves and their nests from invaders like bacteria and fungi. It’s used in beauty products because of its antimicrobial properties.
An exception: Glycerin and Retinol
Some websites list Glycerin and Retinol as not vegan, but that is an outdated notion. Most of the glycerin you will find in beauty products nowadays is vegetable-based. The same goes for retinol, which is synthetically produced nowadays! What is more, naturally occurring retinol is not stable enough to use on the skin. We don’t believe in fear mongering, and we can assure you that you don’t have to worry about buying products that include them.
This list is mostly based on our research, but feel free to leave a comment if we forgot any animal ingredients you know! Some of these are pretty hard to spot, so if you see anything you’re unsure of, we’d recommend doing some research. There are a lot of vegan-friendly products out there that can replace more traditional products anyway.
Of course, at Not to Die For* we curate products so that you don’t have to worry over manufacturers and double-check ingredient lists for animal ingredients. It’s very important to find vendors that you can trust and who put their ethics over selling out to corporations. Learn more about our selection of vegan lifestyle products by visiting our shop!
Brands that still test on animals (updated April 2022)
Brands that still test on animals (updated April 2022)
When you’re trying to live an animal-friendly lifestyle, it can be really difficult to know where to start and what to avoid. This is especially hard when it comes to beauty products, since many of them aren’t cruelty-free. For some reason, the companies on this list haven’t yet gotten the message that testing on animals isn’t acceptable anymore. As consumers ourselves, we’ve decided to vote with our dollars, and we invite you to do the same.
Before we start, we have a small disclaimer. Some countries, like China, require all beauty products sold in the country to be tested on animals. This means that some brands might not test on animals while manufacturing their products, but can’t be considered cruelty-free.
As of May 1st 2021, China started allowing products to be sold without testing, although companies are required to jump through various hoops for this to happen. It’s a work in progress, but we hope that China will do its best to do away with this policy.
And so, without further ado, here’s a list of 35 brands that still test on animals (in alphabetical order).
Giorgio Armani Beauty is a well-known cosmetics company that can be found all over the world. Its parent company is L’Oreal, a company that is well-known for not being cruelty-free.
Armani also sells their products on Chinese Sephora, further proving that they test on animals.
Aveeno sells its products in stores in mainland China. On top of that, there’s no mention of their suppliers, and all cruelty-free companies must confirm that their suppliers don’t test on animals.
Their Animal testing policy states: “[…] AVEENO® doesn’t conduct animal testing of our cosmetic products anywhere in the world, except in the rare situation where governments or laws require it.”
It is currently unclear whether Avon is truly cruelty-free, since they haven’t verified that all of their ingredient suppliers are cruelty-free. They also sell their products in mainland China.
Axe is owned by Unilever, a company that tests its products on animals. They also sell their products in mainland China.
Bath & Body Works
Bath & Body Works put out carefully worded responses to make them seem cruelty-free. They are owned by L Brands, a company that specializes in women’s apparel and beauty products, which isn’t cruelty-free. They also sell their products in mainland China.
Some of their products also include ingredients that are animal derivatives.
Unfortunately, Benefit is not cruelty-free, however pretty their makeup and packaging are. They allow their products to be tested on animals, as they are sold on Chinese Sephora.
Some of their products also contain animal products, so they are not a vegan brand.
Bioderma is considered one of the best skincare brands for sensitive skin, which makes it even sadder that they aren’t vegan or cruelty-free. Some of their products contain ingredients derived from animals or their by-products. They also test their products on animals to sell them in China.
Bobbi Brown is a great makeup brand and they claim to be cruelty-free. However, their parent company, Esteé Lauder, tests on animals. They also sell their products in mainland China.
Their official animal testing policy goes as follows: “[…] We do not test our products or ingredients on animals, or ask others to test on our behalf, except where required by law.”
As many people know, Clinique isn’t certified cruelty-free by any organization because it sells its products in China and is an Esteé Lauder brand.
They also aren’t vegan, since they use lanolin and carmine in some products.
Colgate’s products are tested on animals when “necessary”. This is unfortunate because it’s such an easily accessible brand for so many people!
As we said before, Esteé Lauder is a multi-brand company that tests their products when required by law. A lot of their products contain animal-derived ingredients or by-products, which means they also aren’t vegan.
Head & Shoulders
If you have some dandruff you want to get rid of, we’re sorry to tell you that you might need to get a different shampoo for it. Head & Shoulders is not cruelty-free because their products or ingredients are tested on animals.
Head and Shoulders also is not 100% vegan as a brand.
Isdin is not cruelty-free. They may test on animals, either themselves, through their suppliers, or through a third party.
Johnson & Johnson
This might be a sad piece of news for parents all over the world, but J&J isn’t cruelty-free.
Their animal testing policy states: “[…] Johnson & Johnson operating companies have policies and guidelines in place that drive the ethical and humane treatment of the animals we use, and that promote the use of non-animal alternatives whenever feasible.”
Kerastase has some of the best hair products on the market, but it’s not cruelty-free. It’s not certified by any organization and it doesn’t state any of its ingredient sources. It is owned by L’Oréal, a company that tests on animals to sell them in China. Not only is Kerastase not cruelty-free but neither is its parent company.
Kiehl’s is a high-end skincare and body care brand available in department stores and drugstores worldwide. They inherit the animal testing policy of their parent company, L’Oreal. Although they claim not to test on animals themselves, they do admit to testing on animals where required by law, and Kiehl’s is available in stores in mainland China
We’re sorry to tell you that your favorite period products aren’t cruelty- free. Kotex is owned by Kimberly-Clark, a company that tests on animals. They don’t have any cruelty-free certifications.
La Roche Posay
Although La Roche-Posay as a company do not test their finished products or ingredients on animals, they nevertheless pay others to test their products on animals “where required by law”. This means that La Roche-Posay is not cruelty-free since they sell their products in China.
L’Oréal is one of the most unique cases since they have had a rigorous anti-animal testing policy for years. However, they still sell their products in China. L’Oréal has been working closely with the Chinese government to change these requirements, so we might see a change in the future! Fingers crossed.
Their animal testing policy goes as follows:
“In 1989, L’Oréal completely ceased testing its products on animals, […] Today, L’Oréal no longer tests its ingredients on animals and no longer tolerates any exception to this rule.
[…] L’Oréal has been the most active company working alongside the Chinese authorities and scientists for over 10 years to have alternative testing methods recognized, and permit the cosmetic regulation to evolve towards a total and definite elimination of animal testing. Thanks to this, since 2014, certain products manufactured and sold in China like shampoo, body wash or certain make-up are no longer tested on animals.”
MAC doesn’t state whether or not their suppliers test on animals, even though they claim their products don’t go through animal testing. Their products are also sold in China.
Apart from this, MAC is not a vegan brand.
Maybelline is another L’Oreal brand, which means that technically they don’t test on animals, but their products are sold in Chinese drugstores.
Make Up For Ever is an extremely popular makeup brand, which makes it disappointing that it isn’t cruelty-free. They don’t mention their ingredients or their suppliers and they have no statements about their animal testing on their website, even though they answer 50 FAQs on their website.
Apart from the very suspicious lack of information regarding animal testing, they definitely sell their products in China, which automatically takes them off the cruelty-free list.
NARS is a part of Shiseido, a company that tests on animals. Although they claim never to test on animals themselves, they do sell their products in China.
As a part of the Johnson & Johnson family of products, Neutrogena is not cruelty-free. Although Neutrogena claims not to “ask” others to test on animals, they can’t claim that others do not test on animals on their behalf.
Neutrogena is also available for sale in countries with mandatory animal testing.
Nivea and Beiersdorf, its parent brand, don’t test on animals. They do sell their products in China, though.
OPI talks about their cruelty-free policies on their FAQ, under “Animal Testing”. They only provide a vague answer with a link to Coty’s FAQ. This means that they inherit the animal testing policy of their parent company, Coty.
Their statement goes as follows:
“At Coty, we do not test our products on animals and are committed to ending animal testing across our industry. All our products are safe and have been developed, manufactured and packaged in compliance with the laws, regulations and guidelines that are applicable in each country in which they are sold.”
Olay is a popular drugstore skincare brand which also offers body care. Their cruelty-free FAQ is very misleading. They mention that they test their products on “lab skins”. However, they don’t mention whether or not they test their ingredients on animals, by themselves or by their suppliers. They also mention that they invest in cruelty-free research, but they don’t directly mention that they sell on the Chinese market.
Palmolive still tests on animals! They claim to be “working towards stopping animal testing”, but they still aren’t cruelty-free.
Here’s their animal testing statement:
“The Colgate-Palmolive Company has a longstanding worldwide policy to minimize and to ultimately eliminate animal testing for all consumer products. Central to this commitment are our 30-year long efforts to encourage the development of alternatives that are scientifically valid and can be accepted by safety regulators.”
Pantene is owned by Procter & Gamble, a company that tests on animals. They also sell their products in mainland China.
Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble, like many huge companies, is trying to get animal testing abolished in China and other countries that require it. They don’t personally test their products, but they still make the choice to sell their products in places where the law requires it. Therefore, most of their brands are not cruelty-free and can’t qualify for any certifications.
Revlon caused a stir in the beauty world when it started selling its products in China. The company had been on PETA’s list of cruelty-free brands for over two decades until then. Revlon hadn’t revealed the decision to sell in China to PETA. When they found out, the company was removed from their cruelty-free brand list.
Rimmel London is a part of Coty, so they have the same issues as O.P.I., which is that their products are tested on animals to be sold in China.
SkinCeuticals claims not to test their products on animals, but it’s unclear if their suppliers also follow this rule. They sell their products in China, as is the case for most members of the L’Oréal family.
Currently, as of 2020, Vaseline does not have an official Animal Testing Policy on their website. Vaseline is part of the Unilever family, a company that tests on animals.
Even though they claim to be cruelty-free, Victoria’s Secret is a part of L Brands, a company that tests on animals. They also don’t clarify if their suppliers are cruelty-free, and they sell their products in China.
Thankfully, there are now more brands ditching cruel animal testing than there are companies that still do it. Yes, tests on animals is a practice of the past—and we would hope that in the future, we as humans can live without doing this to any animal.
If you’re one of these brands and your animal testing status has changed, please let us know! We’re going to update this article as frequently as possible to keep up to date with all the changes in the industry.
If you want to buy products that you know won’t harm any creature—and help animal sanctuaries in the process— our Not to Die For shop is a curated space that offers natural, vegan, and cruelty-free products, so you can get your beauty and oral care products with a peace of mind. Take a look! We donate 10% of each purchase to animal sanctuaries.
Vegan diet: what do you need to supplement?
Vegan diet: what do you need to supplement?
Just getting started in your vegan journey? We’re sure you’ve been looking at tons of new recipes and switching out your beauty products, but it’s also important to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need from your food. While eating a plant-based diet can have numerous health benefits, there are some vitamins and minerals that are hard—or even impossible—to get.
Note that there are not certain foods that we need to consume in order to be healthy like “food pyramids” usually illustrate, but certain nutrients and vitamins that can be found in different sources. It’s extremely important for vegans to be conscious of what they eat, especially if they’re just transitioning to a plant-based diet. To help you figure things out, here’s a list of 5 nutrients that you will want to keep track of, and where to find them:
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that helps regulate many crucial bodily functions. It also helps prevent anemia and heart disease, so it’s not something to be taken lightly.
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products. If you’re trying to get it from vegetables, be warned: research has shown that vegans are at a higher risk for B12 deficiency than omnivores. All vegans need to regularly supplement B12 — either by eating fortified foods or taking Vitamin B12 tablets.
A great way to get your B12 supplemented is through our fortified nutritional yeast! If you’re a newer vegan you might not have heard of this ingredient, but it has a strong salty (even chees-y) flavor, and many brands add a B complex to it.
Vitamin D is another vitamin that your body needs, but it can be harder to get as a vegan. One way to get vitamin D is by spending time in the sun—but that’s not always enough! For optimal health you can take a multivitamin or consume Vitamin D through fortified foods. Many plant-based milks (soy, almond, oat, etc.) are fortified with Vitamin D2, and the same goes for some tofu, orange juice, and even cereal brands (like Cheerios, for example!).
Omega-3 fatty acids
You can get these from chia seeds and ground flaxseeds—just add them to your smoothies or sprinkle them over oatmeal! They’re easy ways to add more healthy fats to your diet.
Calcium is one of those nutrients that can be found in dairy and dairy alternatives. However, some vegans can develop a deficiency if they’re not careful about including calcium-rich foods often enough.
Calcium-rich foods include: soybeans, almonds, kale, broccoli, chickpeas, and chia seeds.
Let’s talk about iron—an essential nutrient used in everything from building new DNA and red blood cells to carrying oxygen in your blood. Too little iron can lead to anemia and fatigue, as well as a weakened immune system.
If you’re looking for foods rich in iron, lentils, and beans are a good bet. Other great sources of iron include maca powder, tofu, tempeh, and leafy greens like spinach. If you’re getting your energy from grains like quinoa or oatmeal, they’re good sources of iron too. And don’t forget legumes like peas!
As you can see, there are some nutrients you might have to be conscious of. We have a whole section of our shop dedicated to superfoods that can help you supplement your nutrients! If you do your research and plan accordingly, you can make sure that you’re getting everything your body needs!
We love to help brand-new vegans get their footing during their transition. If you need any advice, we have an entire section of our blog dedicated to vegan beginners. If you also want to purchase lifestyle and self-care products with a peace of mind, you can check out our shop. We wish you the best on your journey 🌱
5 Tips to Make Vegan Travel Easier
5 Tips to Make Vegan Travel Easier
If you are a vegan traveler, you know how hard it can be to find products, restaurants, and shops that fit your lifestyle. It becomes even harder if you travel with people who aren’t vegan! We have gathered 5 tips that will make your travels easier and far less stressful.
- One of the most challenging things about being a vegan on the go is finding places to eat. This can be especially difficult when you’re in an unfamiliar part of the world, and don’t speak the language! Even if you’re in an otherwise vegan-friendly city, you may find yourself in an area with few options. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to plan for this and find food wherever you go:
- HappyCow is a community-driven app that allows users to search for vegan-friendly restaurants in their area. The app includes more than 60,000 restaurants worldwide and is accessible in 21 languages. With HappyCow, you can also rate and review places you’ve visited, so others may benefit from your experience.
- Allmenus is another helpful way to find local restaurants with vegan options. Allmenus allows users to search for restaurants by cuisine and location, as well as by dietary preferences.
- If all else fails, pack your own food! Especially when it comes to snacks, you can just take your favorite vegan cookies with you. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
- Always carry your own toiletries, just in case you’re not in an area where you can get things easily. The good thing is that vegan options tend to be better for travel, especially shampoo and conditioner bars. We have a special travel kit so you don’t have to worry about container sizes, and they include all of our favorite products!
- Remember to do your research! A great thing to do before you travel anywhere is googling “vegan” and the name of the place you’re going to: “vegan [insert city or country name here]”. This can lead you to blogs and message boards where people have posted about their experiences in that destination.
You can also read about vegan restaurants, shops, and grocery stores, so you know what’s available when you arrive. It’s great to go to other places and learn more about local vegan products and shops. You might learn new things and try new food!
- Try to find accommodation with kitchens so you can cook your own food. This allows you to control what you eat and also saves money on eating out all the time. The easiest option is to stay in an Airbnb apartment, but you can also stay at a hostel with a communal kitchen! Just make sure that you wash up after yourself and choose hostels with good ratings when it comes to facilities and cleanliness.
- Always call your airline 72hs earlier to ask for vegan meals. Some airlines have the option of selecting special meals on their websites, which you can do by logging in. Just remember not to leave it till the last minute!
If you’re reading this, you’re probably either planning a trip or have just arrived in a different country for your own vacation. We want to wish you a happy and safe trip, and we hope these tips were useful! If you want to find ethically sourced vegan products, our website is dedicated to making veganism easier and giving you access to all the lifestyle products you might need. Check out our shop, and especially our traveler bundles!
How can we stop animal testing?
How can we stop animal testing?
Animals are being used in experiments every day—and it’s up to us to stop them. So you’re against animal testing, and you do everything you can to buy cruelty-free products. The problem is that, even though there are a lot of people who are conscious of this issue, many companies still test on animals! Why is that? Well, maybe we just need to be a little more active.
Make your voice heard.
You might not be able to get 100% of the companies out there to stop testing on animals, but you can start with your own industry or your favorite local brands.
The first step is to call the company and politely ask them not to test on animals and ask them what they are doing about it. They may not be willing to change their practices right away, but they will remember your call and hopefully look into changing their policies.
Another way to enact change is to contact your local representatives and let them know you want laws passed in your area banning animal testing. You can find your representative by entering your zip code on this website.
Know your labels.
A lot of people don’t realize that just because a product says “cruelty-free” or “not tested on animals,” that doesn’t necessarily mean it is. That’s right: Companies can lie about this! Look for products with a certification from PETA or Leaping Bunny.
Talk to others about why they should stop using products tested on animals.
Spread the word on social media and other platforms.
Share your views with other people.
Many companies monitor what people are saying about them, so it’s always a good move to share your views on social media. It’s a great catalyst for change, since it can help the spread of information and the viralization of content.
A great example of this is “Save Ralph”, a video created by The Humane Society of the United States, depicting a bunny (voiced by Taika Waititi) who is a victim of testing. The video went viral and created a lot of awareness around the topic:
Talk to your friends about animal testing and encourage them to boycott products that test on animals. If enough people take a stand, companies will have no choice but to change their ways.
Vote with your wallet.
One of the easiest and most straightforward ways to stop animal testing is to boycott companies that do it. If a company tests on animals and you don’t buy their products or use their services, then they are losing money because of it. That’s why it’s important to research which brands test on animals and don’t give them your business if they’re still doing it! PETA has a searchable database that you can use to double-check that the products you’re buying don’t test on animals, or you can also get curated products from nottodiefor.us that are all vegan & cruelty-free.
Sign (or even create) petitions.
There are often petitions going around against animal testing. Find them, sign them, and share them with your friends. When companies see that consumers are passionate about an issue, they listen.
If you’re feeling more motivated, start a petition! All it takes is an online account (like Change.org) and a little bit of information about the issue at hand.
Donate money to animal rights organizations or volunteer.
Volunteering at an organization is one of the easiest ways to offer direct help. It’s also helpful to keep in touch with other people who share your ideals, and it will help you avoid falling victim to compassion fatigue.
Unfortunately, we don’t all have the time or energy to call companies or to organize protests. If you have some spare income, you can always donate to animal rights groups. Ethical Elephant has a very detailed list of organizations that fight against animal testing. Check it out!
At the end of the day, we can use our power as consumers to support companies that don’t test on animals. The good news is that more and more companies are realizing they can still make money while being ethical!
At Not to Die For* we want to make vegan and cruelty-free products easily accessible to anyone who wants to improve their lifestyle. Check out our shop and purchase with peace of mind 🌱
How to Shop Cruelty-Free; Alternatives to Products That Use Animal Testing
How to Shop Cruelty-Free; Alternatives to Products That Use Animal Testing
One of the most effective ways to stop animal testing is with your spending power. By choosing cruelty-free products, you can help drive the demand for products that don’t rely on these outdated and barbaric practices.
These tips will help you ensure that you’re purchasing cruelty-free products as gifts—or for yourself.
Reach Out to Retailers and Producers Directly
If you’re unsure that a product is not tested on animals or a producer or retailer has not explicitly expressed that the product is cruelty-free, the easiest and most effective way to find out is to simply contact them directly.
A quick email or social media post should be met with a concrete answer, and if they try to talk around the issue, it may mean that animals have been harmed in the products testing.
Investigate New or Unfamiliar Ingredients
While you may have vetted a product’s ingredients already and know that it is cruelty-free, sometimes formulas change, and new or unfamiliar ingredients may require further research.
When you discover a new ingredient on product labels, get online and find the producer or third-party retailer to ensure that it is not tested on animals.
What to Do When You See Conflicting Information
This can be confusing and very frustrating, and untrustworthy vendors may make claims to be cruelty-free that they actually cannot back up. If you see conflicting information, it’s best to contact the seller or producer directly for proof that the product was never tested on animals.
As retailers understand the importance of getting a cruelty-free certification, consumers can be heard by only choosing platforms that do their diligence to only carry these products and conduct their own research. Transparency from retailers about their products is the first step. Visit Not to Die For to shop 100% cruelty-free. We are happy to share our commitment to this cause, as well as detailed steps we take to avoid testing on animals.
Self-care guide for vegans in a speciest world
Self-care guide for vegans in a speciest world
Even though veganism is a positive lifestyle in many ways, the fact that we live in a speciest society can lead to extreme exhaustion and activism fatigue. By having a conscious awareness of animal exploitation most ignore, our mental and physical health can suffer. Creating the time and space to recharge should be prioritized.
Meditation doesn’t have to be a religious or spiritual experience. It’s proven that having at least 15 minutes of relaxation and time for yourself can help ease feelings of anxiety and make you feel more grounded. Even if guided meditation doesn’t work for you, it’s important to take some time off your busy schedule to simply relax and take your mind off everything that worries you.
There are many high-quality apps that offer great meditation content, such as Headspace and Calm.
Take a break from Social Media & the news
It’s ok to be informed on what is happening in the world we live in, but sometimes they can bring us anxiety due to things we can’t even control. Limiting your consumption of bad news can have a huge impact on your emotional well-being. Some ideas for doing that are put your phone down and out of reach, setting limits by tracking your social media time, turning off notifications, setting “phone free zones” and scheduling “social media free days”.
Journaling is proved to help you track symptoms and learn more about your own negative thoughts. That will allow you to control them and act accordingly. Control your narrative identifying things you are grateful for. Describe your goals, write a letter to yourself and talk about your day. Here there is a vegan themed journal for keeping you motivated in the process in case you want to check it out ;).
Find vegans in your area and hang out
There’s no one who can really understand veganism as well as a fellow vegan. Finding people who are experienced is a great way to feel accompanied and supported! You might think it’s hard to meet fellow vegans, but it actually isn’t! There are plenty of meetings on Meetup and Eventbrite for vegans to meet and socialize, and you can even find local groups on Facebook!
Another easy way to meet other vegans is through organizations. It’s actually pretty easy to find like-minded people by signing up to an activist group, or even volunteering at a local animal shelter!
Remember your physical health
Physical and emotional health go hand in hand. Make sure you are taking all the nutrients needed.
Do something for the animals
Nothing like helping furry and feathered friends for feeling better. We mentioned volunteering at an animal shelter before, but there are many different things you can do for the animals! Whether that is donating to organizations that help wildlife conservation or signing petitions to help fight testing on animals, all efforts count! The Humane Society has a list of 50 ways you can help the animals in your daily life.
At Not to Die For* we are very passionate about providing you with all the resources you need to become a happy and healthy vegan. Check out our resources for more information!
Vegan gifts for her in 2022
Vegan gifts for her in 2022
Whether you’re a great gifter or a last-minute shopper, it’s always important to have some references to get the ideal presents for your loved ones. We understand that buying gifts for your vegan friends and family might feel complicated, but it really shouldn’t be (if you know where you’re looking!). Here are 10 different gift options for you to choose from:
Feather-free pillows and duvets
Pillows aren’t really something that you would usually think are related to animal cruelty, but many of the bedding products that label themselves as “luxury” use goose feathers. Your loved ones might be in the lookout for duvets and pillows that are high-quality and vegan-friendly which is where Brooklinen’s “down alternative” options come in!
Vegan self-care bundles
Another gift that is almost universally liked! Everyone can appreciate a chance to pamper themselves. A glass of wine, a warm bath, and a good book? A perfect evening! Check out all the options Not to Die For* has available.
The reason why many people justify buying leather products is sustainability. They see plastic options as bad for the environment (which is a valid concern) but it should never lead us to buy animal products! The good news is that many vegan shops are stopping the use of “pleather” and switching to more innovative options, like leather made out of fruit and paper! You can find fashionable and vegan bags at Melie Blanco.
Vegan silk pillowcase
Even though silk is not something that vegans can use, the texture is still incredibly satisfying and it’s great for your skin! Many bedding companies have come up with vegan alternatives for silk products, so you can also enjoy them. Check out Bedsure’s “silk” pillowcases made with bamboo!
All-vegan travel kit
Travelling as a vegan is very challenging because you might not know how to access all the safe things you know you have at home. Especially if you’re in a place that isn’t a big city, where you don’t have access to cruelty-free shops! Here’s a link to our favorite travel essentials kit:
Nowadays, a good and original water bottle is essential. There are thousands of designs out there that are fun and colorful, and that will help your loved ones avoid plastic waste (and keep their beverages hot or cold!). Waterdrop has the best steel and glass bottles, you can find all of them here!
What a better gift than simple relaxation? Bath bombs are a great excuse to take a bath and take a break from all your worries. Our bath bombs are one of our bestselling products!
Vegan nail polish
Big nail polish brands might claim to be vegan or cruelty-free, but many of them are owned by other companies that do test on animals. It’s important to be careful when it comes to buying beauty products. Our favorite is Paint Box, a brand that has an incredible variety of vegan nail polishes at accessible prices:
Reusable cutlery set
In the same vein as water bottles, many vegans have a passion for taking care of the environment, so this cutlery set could be the perfect accessible gift for a vegan friend!
Candles are a great gift that almost everyone will appreciate, especially ones that have fresh scents. Candles can many times have animal byproducts, such as beeswax. It’s always important to get your products from vendors who will assure you that you’re not accidentally harming animals! Check out our sea salt and orchid candles:
(Inexpensive) All-vegan skincare
One of our favorite brands, The Ordinary, has environmentally conscious skincare that is cruelty-free. The best part? It’s incredibly affordable! They want to create simple skincare that focuses on singular actives, so they can be included into any routine to personalize it. All the products are available online or at your closest Sephora! Our favorites are the Niacinamide serum and the Peeling Solution.
Vegan & Cruelty-Free makeup
More than ever, beauty companies are choosing to stop testing on animals, and we love it! Your loved ones might be on the lookout for fun, vegan, makeup brands, and we have just the right one for you! Haus Laboratories is a great option for innovative makeup that is still cruelty-free and vegan!
If you’re still on the lookout for more vegan presents, you can check out our shop! We have a variety of different options to shop for your vegan friends free of guilt ?
What is Greenwashing?
What is Greenwashing?
Over the past twenty years, people have developed an increasing interest in taking care of the environment, and big companies have definitely caught on. Even if you’ve never heard the term before, you’re probably aware of what “greenwashing” is, because almost every brand is using it in their marketing. Whether it is to try to convince you to buy their product, or trying to make you believe a brand isn’t bad for the environment, brands bait customers with “green” claims all the time.
So, what exactly is greenwashing? It’s when a company spends more time and money marketing themselves as environmentally friendly than on minimizing their environmental impact. Environmentalist Jay Westerveld coined the term in 1986, a time when most consumers received their news primarily from television and radio, so they couldn’t fact-check claims as easily as we can!
How to avoid greenwashing
Nowadays, it’s pretty easy to fact-check any claims that companies make. Here’s 7 ways to spot greenwashing in advertising:
1. False claims
This is especially relevant when it comes to “recyclable” products. Many products label themselves as recyclable and even have an icon that proves its recyclability. However, not all local recycling operations are the same, and your local sorting facility may not be able to handle many “recyclable” materials.
A great example is when McDonald’s announced it was going to get rid of plastic straws in its restaurants, and offer paper straws instead. The following year, it was revealed the straws weren’t actually recyclable, which made the change pointless.
On the same vein, most materials are biodegradable. Claiming a product is biodegradable is pointless! On top of that, a product being biodegradable does not mean it will not harm the environment.
2. Vague language and ‘green’ buzzwords
Packages will have labels that mean nothing but sound good. Phrases such as “eco”, “sustainable” and “green” are commonly used by companies to make the business appear environmentally friendly — but these words don’t have an actual scientific meaning.
If a company cannot actually explain in concrete terms how a product is friendly to the environment, then they are probably greenwashing. It’s also important to keep in mind that an eco-friendly product doesn’t mean the manufacturing process or the sourcing of raw materials aren’t harmful to the environment.
3. Company ownership
This might seem excessive to some people, but it just goes to show how far companies will go to sell “green” products. Many times smaller companies are bought up by big conglomerates —which tend to have a high environmental impact— to target unknowing clients.
This is also a problem with cruelty-free products. For example, most of the products The Body Shop makes are cruelty-free, but it’s owned by L’Oreal, a company that tests on animals. You can easily check which companies are cruelty-free on PETA’s searchable database. Cruelty-Free Kitty has also compiled a list of all cruelty free brands which are owned by companies who test on animals.
4. The “best-in-class” boasts
This one is probably one of the easiest tactics to spot. It consists of promoting a harmful product as a “better” alternative. These are eco-friendly claims on products that are environmentally destructive, like green pesticides.
5. Made-up certifications
Since consumers are not aware of how many different certifying agencies there are, any company could potentially make up a “cruelty-free” logo. There are three main legitimate certifications that use bunnies: Leaping Bunny, PETA, and Choose Cruelty-Free (in Australia).
In the United States, the Leaping Bunny certification is probably the most reliable.
6. No proof
Companies may claim “made with recycled materials” or “eco-friendly ingredients” without any verification from reliable sources about these claims.
7. Irrelevant claims
This is an attempt to make up arguments to sell a product. One example is when products claim to be “CFC-free”. This is completely irrelevant, since CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) have been banned for over 30 years.
At Not to Die For* we are very passionate about keeping our products locally sourced and free of useless waste. Check out our lifestyle products in our shop!
Products you didn’t know weren’t vegan
Products you didn’t know weren’t vegan
Animal products (or byproducts) are present in so many products and food that we’re not aware of, and we might even be consuming things without even realizing that we’re breaking our own morals.
Unfortunately, not everyone thinks about what goes into the dye in people’s skin. The dyes used for tattoo making are made from burnt animal bones! Of course, there are vegan options, you just have to make sure to ask your tattoo artist for confirmation.
Apart from being terrible for the environment, plastic bags contain slipping agents made from animal fat to reduce static in the material. Tote bags are a lot more eco-friendly and definitely vegan!
Most drugstore brands of toothpaste such as Colgate, Crest, and Oral-B contain glycerin, to help stop it from drying out. This glycerin is usually taken from animal fats! A great alternative is Davids, a high-quality organic and vegan toothpaste.
Sweets & Chewing Gum
Many sweets, candy, and chocolate often contain gelatine. Gelatine is produced from various animal parts, including the skin. Sometimes you can also find stearic acid, which is derived from animal fat! You should also know that all sweets (and all other food and drinks) that are bright red could contain carmine, which comes from crushed beetles.
Shampoo and conditioner
Both of these might contain lecithin, which is taken from animal sources or dairy. There are plenty of vegan alternatives available if you are looking for some. Our favourites are from Revival, and you can get them here!
Who would have thought that balls of paint wouldn’t be vegan? Most paintballs contain gelatin!
Wine and Beer
Making wine and beer might seem pretty straightforward, but it’s actually a very elaborate process. Some wines and beers are clarified with fish bladders, bone marrow, casein, and gelatin. You can learn if your favorite alcohol is vegan over here.
Sustainability is a double-edged sword, and it sometimes allows manufacturers to use animal products to make them more easily biodegradable. This is why many “sustainable” toothbrushes use bristles made out of pig hairs. If you’re looking for vegan-friendly options, we have our very own bamboo toothbrushes!
This one might be surprising to many people! Cards are sometimes coated with stearic acid to make them smoother and reduce static, so they can ‘fan’ easier.
It won’t be surprising to many people that candles may contain beeswax. Once again, it’s seen as more eco-friendly than paraffin, but it’s also very harmful to bees! Soy wax candles are the best alternative for both the environment and the animals. You can check out our all-natural vegan candles over here.
Sugar might not come as a surprise to most weathered vegans, but starters might not be aware of how controversial sugar is. In some countries (including the US) white sugar is filtered using bone char, which comes from animal bones.
- Animal glue: Aside from the obvious leather and suede, a lot of shoes use animal-derived glue. This is a lot trickier to avoid, but there are some options out there if you do some research.
- Wool: Many people might be confused about why it is an unethical product – don’t sheep need shearing? Most sheep shearers are paid in correlation to how quickly they work and sheep are often brutally manhandled.
- Silk: This luxury fabric is made from a type of caterpillar of the moth Bombyx Mori, commonly known as a silkworm.
- Leather patches on jeans: Denim should be fine, right? Even jeans, that are made predominantly from cotton, can be ruined by an unnecessary leather patch on the waistband.
- Buttons and decoration made from bone or horn: Many high end clothes (usually coats) have buttons made from horn or shell. They can easily be overlooked and are very unlikely to be mentioned on any label, so the only way to be safe is to ask the manufacturer!
The down, which is the layer of fine feathers under a bird’s outer feathers, is commonly used in both pillows and duvets. Synthetic products are many times just as luxurious —and are often cheaper— as well as being better for people with allergies.
Most expensive razors have a ‘moisture strip’ to make shaving more comfortable, but these often use glycerin from animal fat! Our favorite option is Hanni’s weighted razor:
It’s also important to have retailers you trust and who can introduce you to new vegan products! At Not to Die For we want to help you find vegan and eco-friendly alternatives. Check out our shop to learn more about our products and bundles!
Why are many “sustainable” products not vegan?
Why are many “sustainable” products not vegan?
At Not to Die For* we have a policy of “vegan first” when it comes to selecting the products that we include in our marketplace. Part of the reason why we had to come up with that policy in the first place is due to many “zero waste” or “sustainable” products. This might seem contradictory, but to make these products easier to biodegrade, companies sometimes use animal ingredients; meaning not all products that claim to be “sustainable” are necessarily vegan.
Animal products are never sustainable
If you know anything about veganism, even on the surface level, you probably heard about the fact that breeding and growing animals to feed humans is extremely damaging to the environment. To give you perspective, a typical pig factory generates the same amount of raw waste as a city of 12,000 people. The greenhouse gases created by cattle ranching are a key player in the deterioration of the ozone layer.
It goes even further than just cattle: the fishing industry is the biggest contributor to plastic waste in the ocean. Contrary to what is usually communicated by mainstream media and brands who use sustainability as a marketing tactic, 50% of ocean plastic is fishing nets, not straws. You can watch the documentary Seaspiracy (available on Netflix) for more facts about the impact of the fishing industry on our environment.
“Sustainability” sells, but how environmentally friendly are brands?
Right now being eco-friendly is in vogue, which should be a very positive thing, right? As a society, we’re realizing that our actions have consequences! The problem comes when corporations start taking advantage of people’s good intentions and lack of knowledge to sell their products.
The term “greenwashing” was coined by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1986, but it’s never been more relevant than right now. What is greenwashing? It’s when you make people believe that your company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is??. Companies that “greenwash” have profit in mind and only pay attention to environmentalism when it’s convenient or demanded.
According to a 2015 poll, 66% of people are willing to pay more for eco-friendly products and 50% of purchasing decisions are influenced by sustainability features. By claiming that they are “greener”, companies can retain environmentally conscious customers without actually changing their practices.
A big way companies do this is by basically diverting people’s attention from the bigger issues their products have. They claim to have recyclable packaging and yet have ingredients that are harmful to the environment (it’s also good to keep in mind that most plastic packaging isn’t fully recyclable). They can also have vague claims that can’t be backed up, irrelevant claims (like saying they are “CFC-free” when CFC gases are banned by law), or even making up certifications —which we’ve talked about in our post about cruelty-free and vegan products.
But… what does “sustainable” mean?
“Sustainability” is a very broad term: it means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It can be interpreted in many different ways, and it’s the reason why there’s no regulation about what can or can’t be labeled as sustainable. This means that animal products —which are unethical and contribute to the deterioration of the environment— can be seen as more eco-friendly because they are biodegradable.
Here are some examples of zero-waste products that use animal products for this purpose:
- Using bamboo toothbrushes with bristles made out of pig hair (to replace nylon bristles). – For a 100% vegan yet sustainable option, use this one instead.
- Wearing silk and wool clothes instead of synthetic fabrics. – Fortunately there are great non-animal derived eco-friendly alternatives such as cotton, plant-based leathers, etc.
- Any use of gelatin in shampoos and other cosmetic products. – Find your vegan & cruelty-free ones here.
- Using beeswax wrapping instead of aluminum. – There are vegan alternatives available that are both sustainable and cruelty-free.
Unfortunately, this means that sometimes we have to do the selection work ourselves. There are many things that you can consider when you’re looking to shop sustainably:
- Does it contain animal products?
- Where are the materials sourced from?
- Does the company have any eco certifications?
- What are the factory conditions and benefits for the workers?
- How far away from me was it made?
- What’s the company’s mission? Does it have any commitments for the future?
Find shops you can trust!
There are also organizations and online stores (like Not to Die For*) that curate products so that you don’t have to go through all that hassle. It’s very important to find vendors that you can trust and who put their ethics over selling out to corporations. Learn more about our selection of vegan lifestyle products by visiting our shop!
14 Tips for Vegan Beginners
14 Tips for Vegan Beginners
We know that going vegan can be hard, especially for people who don’t really know where to start! We want to be there for you, and provide you with more information to make your vegan journey as smooth as possible, which is why we have a whole section of our blog dedicated to vegan beginners! For now, let us give you a couple of tips that we’ve learned along the way:
- Start with a good attitude and an open mind.
If you think of veganism as a punishment, you will never actually get into it! It’s important to start off with the right attitude: open to trying new things and ready to step back up if you ever slip.
- Get blood work done
so you know what to supplement. You will probably need a B12 supplement (it’s most commonly found in meat products), but you won’t know if you need anything else unless you get blood work done. You can check out this comprehensive guide by the International Vegan Association that will help you figure out what you need to supplement!
- Stock your pantry.
Something that helps a lot of vegan beginners is stocking up on plenty of vegan snacks so that you always have food available when you’re hungry. Most slip-ups happen as a result of cravings and impatience! Having some Annie’s Vegan Mac and Cheese might save you from eating something you’ll later regret. Here’s a list of some easy to access snacks that are vegan!
- Plan your meals.
Once you’re a seasoned vegan this won’t be necessary! The thing is, when you’re just getting started, this will give you some structure so you don’t freak out. Even just writing down a rough idea of what you’re going to eat is helpful. You can even buy everything you need at the beginning of each week and do some meal prep!
- Find a vegan support group
Going vegan is not always easy, and it helps to have someone who can answer your questions and motivate you when you’re losing steam. The thing is, not everyone has that person in their lives! It’s very important to actively seek new people who share your lifestyle and who can relate to your struggles. You can start off by going to vegan events, volunteering at animal sanctuaries, and connecting with people on social media. You can find an active community and resources on our Instagram!
- Veganize your recipes.
Nowadays, in most places, it’s extremely easy to find substitutes for products derived from animals! Be it meat, eggs, or cheese, you can definitely use your old recipes and just switch the animal products for vegan replacements.
- Use HappyCow or Google Maps to find vegan places to eat
HappyCow is an app dedicated to curating vegan-friendly places based on any location. It works similar to Google Maps, but it’s specifically made for vegan people. You can also use regular Google Maps! Just type “vegan restaurants near me” and Google will try to find vegan-friendly restaurants in your area.
- Give yourself extra time to cook.
At the beginning, you should be gentle with yourself! You are changing your entire lifestyle and you’re definitely going to take a little bit longer to cook. You should also make sure your pantry stays stocked with plenty of pasta, beans, whole grains, and vegan friendly-sauces. This way you can make a meal without that much hassle if you’re not feeling like cooking.
- Watch a documentary when you lose motivation.
Losing motivation doesn’t come from weakness or lack of ideals. We live in a world of consumerism, which means we are constantly surrounded by products that might make us slip up. Whether it is a pair of leather shoes or your favorite meal from when you were a kid, something might make you want to give up your goals. When this happens, it may help to watch some documentaries to remind yourself why you started this in the first place. Here are some recommendations: What The Health, Cowspiracy, and Earthlings.
- Rethink how you do your grocery shopping:
Veganism doesn’t have to be expensive, as many people say! Many typical vegan foods —like grains, beans, and nuts— are cheap, and they usually store well if you buy them in bulk. Going vegan is also a perfect excuse to start using all kinds of vegetables that you never regularly ate before. Many “beginner” vegans start trying out more vegetables and different ways to cook them. See this as an opportunity to give new vegetables a chance!
- Pack food with you!
It’s really important to take food with you when you leave your house. It’s not that you’ll get hungrier as a vegan, it’s just that on the off-chance that if you miss a meal, your options as a vegan are more limited.
- Don’t Assume Vegan Food Products Are Healthier
Vegan cookies aren’t necessarily any better than regular cookies! Processed vegan foods often contain saturated fats from palm oil and coconut oil. Even though cutting animal byproducts is better for overall health, vegan junk food can still make you gain weight!
- Make a list with your go-to vegan meals.
It’s not that hard to learn a few easy, affordable meals that you can cook quickly. Even though it’s great to experiment when you first go vegan, it’s also important to avoid getting overwhelmed. It doesn’t matter if it’s healthy or not; it could be fried rice, pasta, a quick sandwich, whatever you want!
- Have empathy towards our fellow humans.
Not everybody is at the same place in their life and, unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world in which it’s not possible for everyone to be a 100% purist vegan. Being a “vegan police” makes veganism seem hard and unpleasant when it’s not. This policing can make people turn away from a vegan lifestyle. Instead, win people over with action! Bring some vegan food over or tell them about your favorite vegan brands and events. Let’s also be compassionate towards our fellow humans when “perfection” isn’t achieved.
We hope these were helpful! Our website is dedicated to making veganism easier and giving you access to all the lifestyle products you might need to start your vegan journey. Check out our shop!
Ethical Vegans vs Plant-Based: Key Differences
Ethical Vegans vs Plant-Based: Key Differences
The key difference between ethical vegans and people on plant-based diets is the ideology behind it. While vegans avoid using animal products in every aspect of their lives, those who carry out plant-based diets usually just focus on the food aspect.
People have different aims when they switch to plant-based diets; for health reasons, environmental, spirituality, making a stance against animal cruelty, among others. Let’s explore the three main reasons why someone would eliminate meat and animal by-products from their diets.
The Healthy Vegan
The fact that a vegan diet improves overall health is not a new fact. Many people who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, heart disease, high cholesterol, and several other ailments might transition to a plant-based diet for its health benefits.
Apart from trying to fix a problem, many people will switch diets to prevent future health problems. A vegan diet has been proven to reduce the risk of some types of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and type 2 diabetes.
Some people who are focusing on weight loss might try out a vegan diet, although it’s important to clarify that a plant-based diet does not equal a low-calorie intake. Just because something is vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy! You can still eat vegan cookies, chips, and other vegan junk food, which can be high in calories and low in nutrients.
The Environmental Vegan
If you haven’t watched documentaries like “Cowspiracy” or done research on greenhouse gas emissions, you might not be aware of just how damaging cattle is to the environment.
Because cattle are ruminants, they produce methane when they process food. Methane is a greenhouse gas roughly 30 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, and it’s released via cow belches and flatulence. These emissions absorb radiation from the sun and can trap heat in the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.
Another big problem that comes with livestock production is habitat loss. In the Amazon, 80% of deforestation comes from cattle ranches.
And, of course, it goes without saying that there is an artificial increase in animals that results in higher water waste. Not only does livestock need water to survive, but water is also used to grow their food source. “Raising animals for food introduces a major extra step of waste relative to the efficiency of us just eating the plant foods directly,” says David L. Katz, co-author of How to Eat. “If you just eat the plants, you cut out the middleman.”
The Spiritual Vegan
When we think about the benefits of a vegan diet, we often connect these to the health of our bodies. However, many people are certain that veganism also has benefits for our mind and soul.
These views go way back! Many Eastern cultural and religious practices, such as Hinduism, promote a vegetarian lifestyle. Nowadays, there are contemporary Western views that have taken these principles and adapted them, but they also consider a plant-based diet as a holistic lifestyle.
According to spiritual vegans, this diet is the most compassionate one and it’s consistent with leading a life of nonviolence, which gives you good karma. A plant-based diet is not only concerned with animal welfare, health, and environmental benefits but also reduced aggression and spiritual benefits.
The Ethical Vegan
Veganism is defined as a way of living that attempts to exclude —as far as is possible and practicable— all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty from their lifestyle. It goes much deeper than just the food you eat or a desire to help the environment: it looks at the relationship between humans and other animals and tries to stop any sort of harm that can come to them.
This, of course, encompasses a larger number of issues that go far beyond just diet. Some of the other aspects that ethical vegans take into account are:
- Avoiding animal skins, such as leather, in clothing.
- Fighting against vivisection and animal experimentation in cosmetic product development.
- Stopping animal cruelty in sports, including dogfighting and cockfighting, hunting and fishing, bullfighting, rodeos, and dog and horse races.
- Avoiding any animal by-products used in cosmetic products, such as beeswax or lanolin.
It’s very likely that a lot of the people going plant-based for health or environmental reasons care about animals, but they differ from ethical vegans because they don’t necessarily cut out animal products from their diets. Some people even argue that Ethical Vegans should be the only ones who can call themselves “vegan”, but that is a question of semantics and usually causes more division than actual good.
If you want to learn more about veganism and how you can start transitioning into a plant-based diet (we know it can be very overwhelming!) you can check out our vegan resources. To find curated vegan & cruelty-free lifestyle items (and avoid spending time reading labels) browse our Not to Die For marketplace!
Vegan vs. Cruelty-Free: What’s the Difference?
Vegan vs. Cruelty-Free: What’s the Difference?
We love encouraging people to change their habits and to start paying attention to the ingredients and certifications certain brands may or may not have. The terms “Vegan” and “Cruelty-Free” might seem interchangeable, but they actually mean two different things, even if both of them are related to the protection of animals.
The lines between both terms can be a little blurred, especially since there is no official FDA regulation for either of them. This can also lead to false claims and misleading marketing, which is why we need to be as knowledgeable as possible to avoid misinformation!
- Cruelty-free means that the products (and the ingredients that were used in the product) were not tested on animals at any stage during their development.
- Vegan means that the products contain no animal ingredients or animal by-products. It’s common to find animal derived components like beeswax, squalene (shark liver oil) or lanolin (wool wax) in cosmetics.
While Vegan products are easier to sort (they either include animal by-products or not), Cruelty-Free products are a little bit trickier, especially because there are many steps in the process of manufacturing a product.
According to Cruelty-Free Kitty, a database that compiles Cruelty-Free brands, these are the criteria for a brand to be considered for certification:
- Finished Products: their finished products are not tested on animals by the company or any other company.
- Ingredients: their ingredients are not tested on animals by the company or any other company.
- Suppliers: their suppliers do not test ingredients, raw materials, or finished products on animals.
- Third Parties: no third party is testing the finished products or ingredients on their behalf.
If you’re in doubt, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has a very simple and searchable database! You can type in the name of a brand to double-check if they’re actually cruelty-free.
But how can we make sure that they aren’t lying?
You should be careful when it comes to Cruelty-Free claims. Since there is no FDA regulation, brands have realized that they can trick customers into thinking their products are Cruelty-Free when they aren’t. Many fake logos have been making rounds lately! It’s important to know which are the official certifications (via Ethical Pixie). The following logos are credible and backed up by large organizations that protect animals:
Cassandra Bankson, medical aesthetician and vegan advocate, constantly talks about the concept of “Turning and Learning”, which means that we need to know what the ingredient list actually includes, instead of blindly trusting claims and labels.
Even when a product claims to be vegan, it’s very easy to just turn the product around, read the ingredients, and double-check that fact. PETA has an article that lists all the ingredients that are derived from animals. Some of them might even surprise you! Did you know that most red dyes used in makeup are usually derived from crushed beetles?
At Not to Die For* we strive to make vegan and cruelty-free products accessible to everyone who wants to improve their lifestyle while taking care of animals (and minimizing their carbon footprint!). Check out our shop and purchase with peace of mind.