hearts-2

On Honey

Honey. The sweet, sticky syrup-like substance produced by and for bees. There are many different types of bees; honeybees, bumblebees, stingless bees etc. They all produce honey, but the most common form of commercially available honey is from the honeybee.

Some interesting facts about honey bees:
1. Every bee in a hive has one of three jobs: worker, drone or queen.
2. All worker bees are female. All drones are male.
3. The queen bee has one job: reproduction.
4. The queen bee is the only female bee that has the ability to reproduce.
5. If the hive needs a new queen bee, they feed the new queen “Royal Jelly” to enable her to reproduce. Worker bees all have inactive ovaries, and the royal jelly activates them.

Honeybees store honey in their hive to live off all through winter, which makes them the perfect bee to farm for honey. Other bees, like the bumblebee, don’t store as much honey for winter. Mature bumblebee nests will sometimes hold less than fifty bees, while wild honeybees will have tens of thousands bees in their nests, making honey storage extremely important. Unfortunately, honeybees are now being factory farmed, similar to other animals like the cow and pig. They are taken from their natural habitat and forced into new unnatural homes and stressful situations all in the name of profit.

Swarming is a natural process that the queen bee initiates in the hive. If the hive is too crowded or another queen bee is born, the former queen bee will swarm with about half the hive, and they will find somewhere else to live. The main point is colony reproduction, and bees don’t like to be in a space that is too crowded. But beekeepers don’t want the bees to swarm, because swarming slows down their honey production. As a result, they sometimes kill the queen bee, or torture her by clipping her wings off, which prevents her from communicating with the other bees effectively.

Bees are intelligent, social beings. They communicate with each other through dancing, and work together to protect each other. Not only that, but they are necessary to human survival. They pollinate fruits, vegetables and flowers. As Albert Einstein famously says:

“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”

Maybe this is an overstatement, maybe it’s not. But it shows how important bees are to our everyday life, and their numbers are dropping radically. Colony Collapse Disorder is the name coined by the United States in 2006 when the disappearance of honeybees in North America rose dramatically. But this phenomena is seen all over the world, not just in the west. The cause of this disorder is unknown, but two likely causes are beekeeping practices like overcrowding and their use of antibiotics, and pesticide use.

If you want to help out a necessary and intelligent species, reduce or cut out your honey consumption. Instead of honey, use maple syrup, agave nectar, rice syrup, or one of the other many alternatives. Look for candles, lotions and lip balms that don’t use bees wax or other bee products. Alternatives are becoming easier and easier to find, you just have to look. For more information, Peta and National Geographic are great resources to learn about bees, bee products, and bee alternatives.

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Do it on Week Days

I have been a vegetarian since I was five years old. There have been a few times when I’ve tried meat; when I was seventeen, I went to a diner with my friend Laura and had bacon for the first time. It was weird; I’ve never tasted anything that was so crispy and slimy at the same time. And before that, when I was fourteen, I tried a piece of chicken. Also weird. It was bland and dry and I didn’t care for it. As you can probably tell, neither experience really made me want to continue to eat meat. And since I know how bad eating meat is for the environment, the horrible conditions most animals raised for slaughter live in, and the negative effects processed red meat can have on your health, I don’t intend to ever enlighten myself on how apparently delicious it all is. And frankly, even if I didn’t care about these things, hamburgers look really gross.
But it’s not just meat; the conditions animals farmed for eggs and dairy live in are just as bad, and so are the environmental impacts. I have been exploring vegan food and learning how to make it apart of my everyday life. For example: for breakfast, I generally eat oatmeal instead of eggs. I personally love oatmeal, and don’t even miss eggs. It works for me.
I don’t eat dairy or eggs on Tuesdays or Thursdays, and have been slowly adding in other vegan days. My friends laugh at me, but eating less meat, dairy or eggs is better than nothing. A lot better than nothing. This Ted Talk is really inspiring. It showed me that you can make a difference in the world without strictly cutting out all the foods you love. If you want to lighten your carbon foot print and help alleviate the suffering of millions of animals, watch this short talk. It’s great.

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On Leather

It is common knowledge why people don’t wear fur. People know that fur is ethically and morally wrong, and a luxury they can live without. Leather is not generally seen in the same way. It’s more common, and the way leather is made seems to be hidden from mainstream society.

I used to think that leather was just the remains of animals and wearing it didn’t hurt animals in anyway, and I know a lot of my peers think this way too. However, it’s a misnomer. Purchasing leather supports slaughter houses; leather is the most demanded byproduct of the meat industry. Most of our leather is imported from India or China, where no animal welfare laws are enforced. Not only that, but if you buy leather made in China, your leather jacket, wallet, purse or shoes could be made of out dog or cat skin. You’d be supporting the cruel painful slaughter of our furry friends at home.

If you want to see vegan alternatives, there’s a whole list at www.peta.org, but vegan leather alternatives are becoming more and more easily accessible. I work at Free People, a women’s clothing boutique, and they have a whole vegan leather section. You can see how I wear my vegan leather jacket from Free People here.

xoxo

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Vegan Tuesdays have been surprisingly easy for me. There are so many vegan alternatives these days that I don’t get stuck, and since it’s only one day a week, I don’t find myself missing any dairy products.
I’ve been adding another day in as well. Last week I did vegan Tuesday Wednesday, the week before I did Tuesday Thursday.
As I start doing this more often, I notice vegan alternatives that I can use consistently to cut out more animal product. Here are a few:
coffee and cinnamonInstead of coffee with half and half, I just drink it black with some cinnamon in it. If you don’t like black coffee, you probably won’t like this either. I think that a soy creamer would be just as good as half and half, but I can’t confirm that.
Instead of eggs and toast in the morning, I eat oatmeal or cereal. I LOVE cereal. I don’t know why, it’s one of my favorite things. Check out this easy oatmeal recipe. It’s delicious!
Instead of a bagel with cream cheese, I like to have a whole wheat bagel with avocado, lettuce and tomato. Not only is it animal and environmentally friendly, it’s way healthier! You could also mash up a ripe avocado to make it more like the consistency of cream cheese, or put hummus on your bagel.

Today, I went to a chinese restaurant for lunch, I had broccoli with tofu. It was SO good. Chinese food is a good option for vegans, there is generally no dairy and the eggs can be taken out pretty easily.

To Eating Ethically!
xoxo

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