Thursday, June 23, 2016

Compassionate Cleaning Products

Cleaning bathrooms is not my idea of fun. The thought of scrubbing toilets and tubs with toxic chemicals that leave me gasping for breath, despite my efforts to ventilate my work area, simply doesn't appeal to me. I'd much rather spend my spare time on the weekends breathing the fresh fragrant air outdoors. But as I am learning on this journey, cleaning doesn't have to be cruel -- for me or for the animals on which many of these chemicals are tested to ensure their safety for humans.

As a vegan (or vegetarian) we have many plant-sourced, cruel-free options available for products that are effective at cleaning up our messes without destroying our health, our environment, or the animals who live with us on this planet we call home. Shown below are just a few of the ones we have tried and found to be effective replacements for products we have used for years, to clean everything from dishes to counter tops to toilets and tubs. What a refreshing change to discover that I can thoroughly clean my bathroom now without ingesting a bunch of harsh chemicals!

Ecos All-Purpose Cleaner, Ecos Laundry Detergent, and Green Works All-Purpose Cleaner were all purchased at our local Wal-Mart.  I have been very pleased with the performance of each of these plant-based, cruelty-free products.

Seventh Generation Dish Liquid and Dishwasher Detergent Pods were also purchased at Wal-Mart and work as well as any products I've used in the past.  The dish liquid has a wonderful fragrance!
Meyer's Toilet Bowl Cleaner, purchased at Farm Fresh, has a delightful scent 
and gets the tough job done!  

Next time you go shopping for household cleaners and laundry products, look for the Leaping Bunny logo or the words "Not tested on animals."  Visit and for lists of products not tested on animals.  Prepare to be amazed!

Image result for leaping bunny logo

For the animals and your good health,
Dee Dee

Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved.

"Even If I Go Vegan, It Won't Change Anything"

 I feel like some people who are interested in veganism, but are on the fence, may use an excuse like "Even if I go vegan, it won't change anything" or "One person can't make a difference; there's still going to be slaughterhouses" as a reason to not go vegan, or at least try to go vegan. And these excuses couldn't be farther from the truth. If you decide to go vegan you WILL change something. You'll change how your friends and family see you.  They may become interested in veganism themselves and decide to try it out (awesome!). Your perspective will change and you'll start seeing things through a fresh set of eyes. You'll begin to discover what's really true. And for those who want to measure the impact of a vegan lifestyle, consider that every day you will be saving:
1,100 gallons of water
45 lbs. of grain
 30 square ft. of  forest
10 lbs. of CO2
and one animal's life  
If you go vegan, you are making a difference every single day. You're saying, I care about the earth and I don't want to give my money to industries that are contributing to the destruction of it. You're saying, I respect animals and they shouldn't have to suffer just to satisfy my appetite. By being vegan you're saying, I want to help end world hunger. By being vegan you're demonstrating that you know the facts and are aware of what's really going on.

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of ocean deadzones, habitat destruction, species extinction, and the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.  An acre of forest is cleared every second, a gallon of milk requires 1,000 gallons of water to be produced, and 50% of the grain and legumes we grow are used to feed livestock instead of feeding starving children around the world.  The truth is, we could have enough food to feed every mouth on this planet if we simply stop animal agriculture.

I'm trying really hard not to be preachy, but the facts are true and you have a choice --- three times a day -- to make a positive impact on the world and be a part of the solution. Veganism is growing and it's really exciting! There are tons of resources out there to help inspire you. You just have to be open, interested, and willing to learn more.

Peace & Love,


P.S. To those who are reading these blogs and enjoy them, first of all, thank you! Second, if you want to share these with friends and family, please do! We need all the support we can get!

Source: (I actually just watched the documentary and wrote down the facts for this blog.)

Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Numbers Are In -- Change Is Good

After Joy and I finished up the 30-Day Vegan Challenge I decided to have my cholesterol re-checked to determine how much improvement there has been since adopting a whole food, plant-based diet. In many of the documentaries we have watched to-date, including Vegucated and PlantPure Nation, people switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet reported amazing improvements in their weight, cholesterol, and overall health.  Since my total cholesterol and LDL levels had moved into the elevated range at my last physical in December 2015, I was eager to see how things have changed in the past six months and, in particular, since making the switch to a plant-based diet in April of this year.  Drumroll, please....

Overall, I am pleased with my results.  The weight and triglycerides still need a bit of tweaking, but I am thrilled that I am within normal ranges and finally losing weight!

Bottom line:  I have finally found what works for me and am enjoying the benefits of better health, greater compassion, and a heightened awareness of world around me.  I am living proof that positive changes can have positive results.  The best is yet to come!!

Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The First Day of the Rest of My Life: A Letter to Friends and Family

To my friends and family reading this, a lot of you may not know that on April 4th I went Vegetarian and on May 18th I started the 30-Day Vegan Challenge. Yesterday, was the end of the 30-Day Vegan Challenge and today is the first day of the rest of my life.

A couple of months ago I started watching various "what I eat in a day" videos on YouTube and stumbled across some "what I eat in a day vegan videos." I became interested and was determined that upon returning from a Spring Break trip I would go vegan. Well, that didn't exactly happen.

When I returned from Tennessee and Arkansas on this Spring Break trip, I watched the documentary Vegucated. My eyes were instantly opened and I decided that I was definitely going to go vegetarian and maybe later on I would go vegan. I then proceeded to watch Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy, Plant Pure Nation, etc. It was after watching Plant Pure Nation, that I decided that I was going to take the 30-Day Vegan Challenge that I had seen on Cowspiracy's website. I realized that being vegetarian wasn't enough, and I didn't have any valid excuse to not go vegan.

“Veganism is not a sacrifice. It is a joy.” -Gary L. Francione

Over the past  few months I have become aware of how we're really treating our animals and how it's having devastating impacts on the earth. I've really had a shift of perspective and I've even become a little passionate. I could go into the horrific truths of factory farming, animal cruelty, animal testing, the destruction of forests  and extinction of species due to the meat and dairy industries but I won't. But I would highly recommend and encourage you to watch Vegucated, Cowspiracy, and Forks Over Knives. Or at least watch Vegucated and Cowspiracy (all three are on Netflix and listed on our Links & Resources page).

When I first wanted to go vegan, before I ended up going vegetarian, it was mainly because I thought it was cool and I figured I could lose some weight. To be honest I really didn't know what it meant to be a vegan. And after I found what it meant, I realized I didn't care about losing weight or looking cool. I wanted to go vegan for the animals and for the earth. I'm now living inline with my core values and it feels amazing.

For anyone who has heard about veganism or seen vegans, you may have seen some negativity towards non-vegans. And yes, there are vegans out there who will single you out and make you feel like crap for eating meat and drinking milk. But there are also vegans out there who will inspire you to want to go vegan. They will uplift and encourage you, not tear you down. I hope to become a vegan who encourages and inspires. I say hope to become a vegan, because I don't consider  myself fully vegan yet. I will consider myself vegan when I use my last animal tested product.

I'm sad that I didn't know about this earlier, but I'm glad that I found out about it now. I will most likely make mistakes along the way, but I will not compromise my values to spare someone else's feelings. I cannot wait to get my first vegan t-shirt, go to my first vegan festival, and visit my first animal sanctuary. I truly feel so happy and healthy. And I cannot wait to see where this journey takes me.

All my love,


Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

I'm a Vegan, Not a Freak

Two months ago, before I became a vegetarian, I would roll my eyes and mumble something under my breath if someone told me, "I am a vegetarian."  In my mind I would label them "hippie," "weirdo," or possibly even "freak."  Then I became one. Oddly, I didn't feel strange or eccentric or quirky -- I just felt BETTER -- physically, emotionally, and spiritually -- about my decision to give up meat and animal products in favor of whole foods, fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and legumes.

As Joy and I finish up our  free 30-day vegan challenge today I can honestly say that deciding to embark on this adventure has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Over the past thirty days I have learned so much about healthy nutrition and supplements, how to live with greater compassion for animals and people, and the effects of our choices on the environment.

The 30-day challenge is not the end, but rather the beginning for me. As odd as it may seem to those who know me -- the coffeeholic and lover of Memphis barbecue, Gibson's donuts, and southern-fried catfish -- I joyfully choose to remain vegan, taking control of my own health by making better dietary choices and doing what I can to help the planet and all of God's creatures...human and non-human...who share it with me.

I am a vegan, not a freak -- but rather a newer, improved version of the person you've always known.Be happy for me and if you dare, click HERE to take the 30-day vegan challenge. Invite a friend along for the adventure.


Dee Dee

Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Fiesta Veggie Wraps

After an exceptionally busy day at the office I felt a little wilted and wondered what I would feed my family for dinner.  Three months ago I would have placed on online order with Domino's and stopped by to pick up a barbecue chicken pizza.  But things have changed.  Thankfully my daughter had a better plan -- Fiesta Veggie Wraps!

There's nothing magic about these tasty and nutritious wraps.  Just gather together some of your favorite ingredients and get creative!  Remember, it's all about whole foods, variety, and flavor.  We've provided a few photos to get you started.


Whole wheat tortillas
Avocado (mashed) or Hummus
Black beans
Whole kernel corn
Lettuce (we used spinach we had on hand)
Sweet peppers (Joy didn't have them, but I did)
Salsa (on the tortilla and/or with chips)
Banana pepper slices, onions (not pictured)

1.  Chop / dice / shred ingredients as desired
2.  Load up a tortilla with ingredients of your choice
3.  Enjoy!


Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Why Vegans Don't Eat Cheese

A lot of people probably think that when they eat cheese or drink milk they're not supporting the killing or abusing of an animal. This, however, is incorrect. Let's take a brief look at how the cheese on your pizza, and the ice cream in your bowl, got there.

Most of the milk that Americans drink, and meat that we eat, comes from factory farms. So the cows used to produce milk and meat don't, nor will they ever, know what it's like to live on a lush grassy field. Dairy cows are artificially inseminated (impregnated) because the farmers and workers don't have time to wait for a female cow to become pregnant naturally. The same day that the cow gives birth, her baby is taken away from her, never to see her mother again. Now I don't know about all you mothers out there, but I wouldn't want my baby to be ripped away from me and never get to see her again.
The human body has no more need for cows' milk than it does for dogs' milk, horses' milk, or giraffes' milk.
 - Michael Klaper, M.D.
So what happens to the female and male calves? The female calves have the same fate as their mothers and are "first impregnated at around thirteen months." As for the male calves, they are chained in a tiny "metal, plastic, or wooden crate in a way that makes it impossible for him to turn around, walk, stand, or lay down comfortably. This is done so that he will not have developed muscles." You see since baby male calves cannot produce milk they become veal calves. Baby male calves are killed for their meat when they're only a few months old. One might think that after these dairy cows can no longer produce milk that they're set free. This again is incorrect. After they can no longer produce milk they are sent to the slaughter house. In good conditions dairy cows can live to be twenty years old. The sad fact is "the typical dairy cow gives out at about four or five years of age." If you think buying organic milk or cheese is better, it's not. They use the same methods of production.

We all say that we love animals, and we're all against animal cruelty, but we pay people to mutilate, torture, and slaughter animals. And it's not for any necessity, it's not because we need them for our health, it's just because we like the way the taste.
- James Aspey 
These sweet, innocent creatures are abused and inhumanely killed for no justifiable reason. The baby cows don't even get one drop of their mother's milk. They will never know the love that their mother has for them. We are the only species on earth that drinks another animal's milk after we're weaned. As far as getting calcium and protein there are TONS of different, and humane, ways to get these nutrients. Various studies have shown that America has the highest rate of osteoporosis, despite the fact that we're also the country with the highest milk/dairy consumption. There are tons of different milks out there that we could be consuming: rice, soy, almond, etc. There are different non-dairy cheeses and ice creams. In fact I've had some non-dairy cheese on a pizza and it was really good!

I strongly believe that if people were more open and educated that they would reconsider what they buy and put on their plates. The abuse and cruelty alone are bad enough, but the dairy and meat industries are also damaging the earth. We're destroying land and habitats for other animals just so we can produce food that we don't need.

Thank you for taking the time to read all of this.  I encourage you do some research of your own and watch documentaries to find out more. You can find links to some of the documentaries we have watched on our Links & Resources page.



"Torture and Infanticide: Why Vegans Don't Eat Dairy". The Oxygen Theme. Web. 6/5/2016.

"Explain Like I'm 5: Why Is Eating Cheese Cruel to Cows?". Web. 6/5/2016.

Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved.

Somehow I've Always Known

My entire life I have struggled with obesity.  Despite growing up in a large family where love was plentiful and acceptance was unconditional, I was burdened with an unhealthy self-image because I tended to be big-boned and plump. I still am. So what happened to change me from the self-loathing overweight teenager I was, to the happy plus-size woman I am today?

My mom and dad worked hard to make sure we ate well. Dad's long hours on the road and Mom's skills in the kitchen ensured we (a small army) had delicious food on the table.  Dad's biscuits and gravy became a Sunday tradition we looked forward to, on the weekends he was home to prepare them for us. One of my mom's signature meals was skillet-fried hamburger steaks and home fries -- I can still hear the sizzle and smell the aroma of the best meat and potatoes on the planet! We were blessed to grow up well-fed and well-loved.

Like so many American families, our holiday celebrations centered around food. At Thanksgiving and Christmas you would find three or four generations of our family seated around a large picnic table feasting Waltons-style on generous portions of traditional favorites served with a heaping side of love. To this day those gatherings are among my fondest memories.

Somehow, though, I've always known that as delicious as my diet was, it wasn't always a balanced diet. Long before the Food Pyramid existed I learned about the four food groups. Even though I realized that cookies, cakes, and ice cream were literally "off the chart" I consumed more than my fair share.  I learned that there was a correlation between how much I ate and my size, and that the choice to overeat was mine, and mine alone, yet that knowledge had little effect on my dietary choices for the first eighteen years of my life.

What I didn't know, however, is the animal cruelty that occurs and the devastating environmental impact of animal agriculture, just to put food on our tables.  What I didn't know was the direct correlation between a whole food, plant-based diet and better health.  Who knew, for instance, that all a person's protein needs can be met by eating whole grains, vegetables, nuts and seeds?   What I didn't know is that there are so many options available to us, not only for food but also for cruelty-free household and laundry products, personal care, and cosmetic items -- better options for our planet and for the animals that occupy it with us.

Now that I know these things I can't imagine going back to the status quo -- a meat-based diet heavy on calories but lacking in the nutrients I most need and reliance on other products at the sacrifice of creatures unable to defend themselves.  My choice to go vegan is about so much more than my physical well-being.

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone said to me, "I could never give up meat." Recently I attended two Memorial Day weekend gatherings, both which featured traditional cookout fare, and managed to find enough menu options (some provided by myself) to leave me satisfied without consuming any meat products. Much to my delight my hosts and the other guests didn't treat me like some two-headed alien from another planet. In fact, my choice to adopt a vegan lifestyle generated some lively conversation. And did I mention they loved the vegan brownies we took for dessert?

Somehow I've always known that I could do better for myself. For the first time, perhaps, I am hopeful that I'll also be able to some good for some of God's other creatures in the process.

Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved.