Natural Bug Repellents

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It’s the season to soak up some sun! Accompanying the beautiful sunshine, sneaky, crawling critters might be coming out of hiding and on the lookout for a new home! If you’re looking for a safter, environmentally conscious, ethical way of keeping bugs out of your household, essential oils are your new best friend! Tea Tree Oil, Peppermint Oil and Clove Oil repel homebound bugs such as ants and fruit flies. Sprinkle drops of the oils around your home or grab a cotton ball and swab around doors, cracks, corners and windows for the oils to work their bug-barrier magic. Essential oils are not just for household pests, though! They can also come in handy if you’re out and about. If you’re on the go, blend a few drops of Tea Tree, Peppermint, Lemongrass, and/or Clove oils into a carrier oil (should be around a 6% essential oil to carrier oil ratio) such as coconut or almond oil and rub all over to make the mosquitos stray away from taking a bite! Not only do these oils repel bugs, but they give you a lovely clean, earthy scent that won’t make humans stray away too!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Creator of Glycemic Index Goes Vegan!

Watch out, big pharma! It looks like switching to a vegan diet is becoming the dietary trend of the decade as more and more medical professionals get on the plant-based train! The Glycemic Index was created created by Dr. David Jenkins in 1981, ranking foods in correlation to their increase in blood sugar. His agenda was to develop a better understanding of how carbohydrates affected diabetes.

His work ended up being so extraordinary that he ended up influencing dietary guidelines for the World Health Organization, the U.S National Academy of Sciences, and national diabetes associations in multiple countries across the globe. He’s also a Canada Research Chair in nutrition, metabolism and vascular biology, faculty of medicine at the University of Toronto, and a scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital. He even became the first Canadian recipient of the Bloomberg Manulife Prize for the Promotion of Active Health. Basically, this guy’s a pretty big deal!

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Now, rather than focusing on low carb diets, Jenkins says the real health concern should be focusing on eliminating animal products from human diets. He isn’t just plant-based, though! On top of health discoveries, he additionally decided to drop the animal flesh and secretions for ethical and environmental reasons.

“Human health must be linked to planetary health, and how we feed ourselves has a major impact on the planet,” Jenkins explains. We couldn’t agree more!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

If Everyone Went Vegan, What Would We Do With All the Animals?

It’s a question that’s graced the ears of every vegan. “So if everyone went vegan, what would we do with all the animals?” Aka, are vegans trying to get animals to take over the world?! As pleasant as that world would probably be, I think it’s safe to say that’s far from the end goal.

If the world went vegan, that would mean all humans no longer put the life of one animal before another, so we wouldn’t treat the abundance of farmed animals any differently than we treat the abundance of dogs and cats. There would just be more animals that need all our lovin’! Humans definitely have the power to harm animals, but as I’m sure you know, just because we have power to cause harm, definitely doesn’t mean we should!

Dogs and cats have become prized animals in modern Western cultures, mostly because humans have domesticated them far beyond the point of return! But humans haven’t only erased a dog or cat’s natural place in the food chain. Farmed animals also fell victim to human greed. Since we are the ones who caused those animals to be unable to live freely in the wild as they once could, now it is our duty to be their guardians and protect these sweet, lovable fellas like they deserve! The treacherous practices of animal agriculture are coming into light more and more, and more farmed animal sanctuaries are popping up and saving our animal friends as a result! As the vegan movement grows, the more support sanctuaries will get, and the more animals they’ll be able to rescue.

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The world definitely won’t go vegan overnight (outside my daydreams, anyways), but I’ve got a little hunch that some day, not being vegan will be as taboo as not believing in global warming. Especially as humans realize how much animal agriculture and global warming correlate! For now though, if we stop buying meat and animal products, these animals will no longer be mass produced, and no longer be bred at alarming rates, which is proof in itself that nothing could reduce the amount of animals being brought into this planet more. Just like any other product on grocery store shelves, if the demand goes, the decline of those products is quick to follow.

I mean, it’s pretty clear at this point that animal products are in no way beneficial to our bodies (as shown in PlantPure Nation, Forks Over Knives and The China Study). They’re not only completely unnecessary to keep in our diets, but also extremely detrimental to our health. So are humans really only dedicated to eating animals just because they think there will be too many of them if they don’t? Maybe this is just a personal thing, but there’s an outrageous amount of things people have chosen to eat that are overly abundant in the world, that I can guarantee will never be on my dinner menu… for ex: dogs, cats, cat hair, mattresses, dryer sheets, glass, and plastic bags just to name a few!

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Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Daring to Ditch Meat & Dairy

 

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As any viewer of Cowspiracy could conclude, meat and dairy are taking its toll on the environment one factory farm at a time – and environmentalists are finally taking note! Oakland, California (because of course Californians would be the first to hop on this ethically, environmentally and health friendly lifestyle) joined up with environmental activist group Friends of the Earth to devise school lunches that would be better for the planet. While the school hasn’t gone fully vegan just yet, significant improvements have been made! Oakland schools might occasionally have meat and cheese from organic pastured dairy cows, but for the most part, it’s vegan tostadas and and tofu stir fry for days!

And as for the environmental impact, the proof is in the gelatin-free pudding! Carbon Dioxide emissions from school lunches alone decreased by 14%, which is the equivalent of taking 127 cars off the road for an entire year. Holy guacamole!!  And if anyone was wondering about the myth that veganism is more expensive, the lunch program costs fell by 1%. There might not have been physical proof that this way of eating was also healthier, but it’s a little hard to argue that beef hot dogs and pepperoni pizza stood up to rainbows of hearty, handmade, plant-based noms! Friends of the Earth stated that if every U.S school district followed Oakland’s lead, the drop in CO2 emissions would add up to be the same as taking 150, 000 cars off the roads!!! The environmental activist group is hoping the change in Oakland school lunches is just a stepping stone for more school districts to get the memo and join in on saving the earth, one meal at a time. We’re rooting for them!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Saving Sunny

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It’s no secret that Saving Sunny is one of our favorite local organizations! Saving Sunny works for equal treatment of Pit Bull Terriers by reducing the number of Pit Bulls that go into shelters, rescuing them and giving them a safe home. Two years ago, the Saving Sunny team noticed that a lack of resources seemed to be a common theme among families who were considering giving up their dog pals, so their Community Dog Resource Center was created to make assistance and vital dog necessities more accessible. Even the dogs in shelters have largely benefitted from Saving Sunny’s work. Their dedicated circle of Foster Families teach the dogs manners and integrate them into their homes. On top of all of Saving Sunny’s amazing efforts for our pupper community, no contributor in the organization gets a paycheck, so you know every cent of donations are being put to the best use possible by the most passionate dog lovers. We love the work Saving Sunny Inc. puts in for our four-legged pals, and are so grateful for the positive changes they have made in our Louisville community of animal lovers! Sydni McClain LaFollette, a senior at Western Kentucky University, also admired and appreciated all Saving Sunny does and made a documentary about their work for her capstone. The viewing is at Louis the Ton at 6pm next Tuesday, January 10th (all ages until 8pm). Come out to show Saving Sunny Inc. your support, learn more about everything they do and watch Sydni’s lovely documentary! See you there!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Health Benefits of Cashews

At V-Grits, we got a love for cashews that can’t be contained! We’re also pretty passionate about health, so thank goodness cashews exist to make creamy, cheesy, delicious and healthy dairy replacements! Cashews start as seeds that form at the bottom of cashew apples. Crazy, right?

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The US doesn’t seem to love cashew apples as much as they’re adored in Brazil and the Caribbean, but we’re nuts for the seeds! The health benefits of cashews are infinite! They have over eighty different nutrients. They may be known for their still relatively low fat content, but there’s nothing to fear! 82% of their fat is made up of unsaturated fatty acids. Cashews are additionally filled with magnesium and phosphorous which can lessen migraines and lower blood pressure; and copper which is high in antioxidants, works against heart disease and cancer, and protects our skin from sun damage. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, these gnarly nuts even contain zero cholesterol! So grab a bag of cashews as a snack, or get that cashew-based cheese (wink wink 😉 )! It’s only good for you, after all!

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Sammi

Drop that Gatorade!

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Luckily, electrolytes and hangover cures aren’t only found in artificially colored and fortified sugary drinks! And if you like your health food to taste good, you still have nothing to worry about. Watermelon is bursting with electrolytes! Sixteen ounces of watermelon juice alone has about three times as much electrolytes as Gatorade! Watermelon is also loaded with Lycopene, which protects your cells and fights off diseases! It’s additionally great as a tastier source of hydration for people like me, who can never remember to drink a glass of water every now and then. 😉

Coconut water might be a taste that takes a little getting used to, but it is definitely a drink worth paying attention to! Comparatively, coconut water has less sodium and more potassium than a sports drink and helps fight against cancer and kidney stones. If you want to add a little sweetness to your coconut water, try adding some pineapple juice or pineapple chunks to shake things up!

Give these yummy hydration replacements a try and let us know what you think!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

 

Eating Healthy on the Go!

Clean eating is an infamous travel struggle! Here are ten snacks that keep me satisfied and energized when I’m on the go!

  1. Fruit: Fruit is the easiest “fast food” there is. 😉 Wash it, cut it, and package it for the week and you have a quick snack no matter how much of a hurry you’re in!
  2. Clif bars: Clif bars feel like you’re eating a cookie that’s good for you! They’re meant for active people, so they’re especially great for hikers, cyclists and climbers who could use the extra energy & protein boost! Not all of them are vegan, though, so double check the label!
  1. Dates: Dates are also fruit, but especially handy for people in a rush. Dates may dry out a little after a month or so, but it takes them so long to actually go bad that they’re always good to keep in your glove compartment or purse for those unexpected hangry moments!
  2. Homemade trail mix: Dried fruit, nuts, vegan chocolate chips, and pretzels make a delicious and easy to eat snack anytime. Make a big batch and store it in your pantry, or throw a few handfuls into a Ziploc bag on your way out!
  3. Dips: If you have a little time before you’re on your way, quick dip boxes can be filling, healthy ways to rid yourself of some hunger. Slice up pita bread and with a few scoops of hummus, veggies with guacamole, or ciabatta bread with scoops PB&J and you’re good to go!
  4. Seeds or nuts: Seeds & nuts are surprisingly filling. They’re great in between meals, or as the “I’m bored so I’m going to eat something” snack. 😉
  5. Vegan yogurt: Thanks to food science, that yogurt container can still make its way into your lunch box. There are all sorts of vegan yogurt brands out now, from So Delicious to Kite Hill to Trader Joe’s.

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  1. Chia Pudding: Chia Pudding is so easy to make. Add fruit juice and your favorite nut milk to chia seeds in a bowl, leave it in the fridge overnight and you’re set… and so is the pudding! If you’re not up for making it at home, though, there are pre-made chia puddings sold at Whole Foods and Rainbow Blossom!
  2. Kale chips: Kale chips are ideal for long car drives! They’re easy to make, not super messy, and they even sneak greens into your diet! Make them at home, or buy Brad’s Raw Kale Chips in stores (they even sell them at certain Kroger’s)!
  3. Dark chocolate: Many dark chocolates are vegan, but always double check! Dark chocolate is on the healthier side of the sweets spectrum. It has tons of health benefits and can can also help curb a sweet tooth! My personal favorite is from the Endangered Species brand found at Kroger’s!

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Don’t listen to the rumors, eating vegan doesn’t have to be inconvenient! 🙂 We hope you give some of these snacks a try on your next busy day or roadtrip!

Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi

Compassionate Cookies for Santa

I’m sure we’ve all heard by now about vegan santa: the one who lets reindeer come along for the ride in his solar powered sleigh and refuses to eat cookies that hurt the reindeer’s animal friends! Luckily, the list of compassionate cookie choices for vegan santa is so long, he might even want to check it twice! Here are some of our favorite cruelty-free cookies!

  • Oreos
  • Chocolate chip cookies made from Half Peach cookie dough
  • Chocolate Chip, Birthday Cake, or Peanut Butter cookies made with Hampton Creek cookie dough

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  • Lemonades from Girl Scouts
  • Peanut Butter Patties from Girl Scouts
  • Thin Mints from Girl Scouts

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  • 7/11 Fudge Mint Cookies
  • Vegan Gingerbread house from Big Lots
  • Trader Joes Speculoos
  • Homemade cookies
  • Chocolate Chip cookies from Flora (or seasonal toaster pastries/meringues if you want to switch it up for Santa) found at Quills

Don’t forget to leave out a glass of almond milk and some oats for the reindeer, too!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

 

Five Ingredient Hot Chocolate

Holiday season means it’s getting a little too cold for comfort, but nothing is better than coming home from the chilly weather to homemade hot chocolate! Here’s a recipe so easy, it’ll knock your fuzzy socks off!

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What you’ll need:

  • Chocolate Syrup (Hershey’s Syrup, Organic Santa Cruz Chocolate Flavored Syrup, or a mix of Date Syrup & Cocoa powder)
  • 13.5 FL OZ of sweetened cashew or coconut milk
  • Vegan whipped cream (Soy Whip & Rice Whip are found at Lucky’s Market Louisville) or Dandies’ Vegan Marshmallows
  • Enjoy Life Vegan Chocolate Chips
  • Dash of sea salt, cinnamon or cayenne (optional)

Start out by heating the milk on low in a pan. When the milk gets hot, squeeze six squirts of chocolate syrup in the pan, add spices and stir. The hot chocolate should be a rich brown color. Pour the hot chocolate into a mug,  top with whipped cream or Dandies Marshmallows and chocolate chips, and serve! Popcorn and Oreos make the perfect accompaniments. 😉

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi