Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Wait. I'm Eating What?

Pop-Tarts, candy, nail polish remover, and many other food and non-food items contain something called gelatin. What kid doesn't grow up eating gummy bears and Jell-O? I didn't know what gelatin was until a couple months ago. So what is gelatin? Well according to PETA, "gelatin is a protein obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones with water." Now I don't know about you, but I think if kids, and even grown-ups, knew what was in those gummy bears they love so much they wouldn't want to eat them. I mean, you just read what gelatin is, and it's gross!

I think if young kids actually knew what they were eating, they wouldn't want to eat a lot of things. No kid growing up is fed chicken and told, "son, that food that you're eating is from that sweet chicken that we saw at the petting zoo." Because if kids actually knew they were eating animals,  naturally they wouldn't want to eat them! Young kids instinctively love animals and want to protect them and be friends with them. Kids don't know that they're eating part of a cow, chicken, or pig. They're just told it's "food." Here's "lunch", "dinner", "breakfast." If they knew the cruelty that comes from producing milk and eggs, or if they actually knew what eggs were, they wouldn't want to eat eggs or drink milk.

I get that people who don't know the truth think that giving their child meat, eggs, and dairy is healthy and beneficial for their children. They are only doing what their parents did for them, and don't know any better. But if parents actually allowed their young children to know what they are eating, I think their children would choose to eat differently. So many people will continue to eat meat, dairy, and eggs because they don't know the truth about what happens to animals, the effects of meat, dairy, and eggs on their health, and the impact factory farming has on the earth.

"If a kid ever realized what was involved in factory farming, they would never touch meat again." --  James Cromwell

With veganism on the rise young kids have the opportunity to find out the truth sooner, as do their parents. Truth that, if acted on, will have an incredible impact on our Earth.

At the Smithfield Pig Save yesterday, it was so awesome to see young kids standing out there on the corner of the intersection holding stuffed pigs in protest. As kids we saw animals as our friends... at what age did we lose sight of that? Don't turn a blind eye to the cruelty; instead, think of your actions and how you can change them to better help the animals.

              -- Joy

Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Monday, August 29, 2016

Doing Right in a World Gone Wrong

So much in my life has changed in the five months since I stopped eating meat. I have lost twenty pounds, seen a dramatic improvement in my cholesterol numbers, and experienced the virtual elimination of acid reflux for which I was taking medication twice daily. I have met new friends, embraced new challenges, and discovered a happiness and sense of well-being I never knew existed. Most importantly, though, I have discovered that it is possible to do right in a world gone terribly wrong.

With all the social injustice in the world, not to mention our own personal struggles, many of us just float along on the river of life hoping that someone will throw us a rope and pull us out of our whirlpool of woe. Guess what? That's not how life works. It is up to us to take a stand and fight for what is right in order to effect positive change. Change doesn't just happen.

As Joy and I have partnered to educate others regarding the health, environmental, and ethical aspects of a vegan lifestyle it has occurred to us that this is how we will do right in a world gone wrong. We can't end sex trafficking or win the war on drugs. But we can show others -- by education and example -- that veganism is a better and more compassionate way of living which will have the positive results of alleviating needless suffering of abused farm animals, increasing physical health, and helping the environment. In my mind, that's reason enough to be vegan.

What are you doing to make this world a better place? Whatever your passion -- your cause -- go after it with everything in you! Dare to live out loud, make a difference, and be a game changer. You will never find a better reason to get up in the morning than knowing you have the power to effect positive change!

Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Animal Testing: What is it and Why Should I Care?

I'm sure a lot of people have heard the terms "animal testing," "tested on animals," etc. but a lot of people probably don't know what those terms really mean. According to Cruelty Free International, animal testing "is any scientific experiment or test in which a live animal is forced to undergo something that is likely to cause them pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm." The most common type of animal testing that consumers are involved in is regulatory testing. So what is regulatory testing? "Regulatory testing is standardised testing designed to see if medicines, chemicals (including paints, dyes, inks, petrol products, solvents, tars and waste materials), cosmetics and other products are safe for use, and that they do their job effectively" (Cruelty Free International). In Regulatory experiments, the animals being tested are forced to inhale or eat certain substances, or have these substances rubbed onto their skin or injected into their bodies. Doesn't sound like much fun, does it?

A lot of people probably think that animal tests are only done on mice, rabbits, or guinea pigs. However, this is not the case. According to PETA, "Each year, more than 100 million animals—including mice, rats, frogs, dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, monkeys, fish, and birds—are killed in U.S. laboratories for biology lessons, medical training, curiosity-driven experimentation, and chemical, drug, food, and cosmetics testing."

Beagles are the most popular breed for animal-testing, because of their friendly, docile, trusting, forgiving, people-pleasing personalities. They are routinely blinded in the testing of shampoo and soap. Think about that in the shower.- quoteslike.com

Think about the products you're using. If they have to be tested on animals, how good are they for you? Some of the benefits of switching to cruelty-free and more organic products are that a lot of them have fewer ingredients and better, more natural ingredients. And that's one reason why animal testing isn't really necessary. There are tons of ingredients out there that we already know and have proven are safe for humans!

In doing research for this blog, I have come across different articles that talk about animal testing and how it is wasteful and unreliable. For example, "Diseases that are artificially induced in animals in a laboratory, whether they be mice or monkeys, are never identical to those that occur naturally in human beings" (PETA).  These animals that we use in testing do not have the same biology as us. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that the results that come from testing on animals are going to be the same in humans.

Using products that are cruelty-free and non animal tested is where the lifestyle aspect of veganism comes into play. Because veganism isn't a diet, it's a lifestyle. A lifestyle, "which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose" (www.vegansociety.com).

Shopping cruelty-free can be easy! There are logos and websites out there to help you determine which products are cruelty-free, and which are not. You can even find cruelty-free products at Wal-Mart and Target, although bigger stores like Whole Foods carry more cruelty-free products. Check out the websites below to help you shop cruelty-free!  And while you're at it, check out our Products & Shopping page to see some of the cruelty-free products we have purchased and are using.

Ethical Elephant      Cruelty-Free Kitty   
Spare these furry, innocent lives and live cruelty-free!
                           -- Joy 

*Resources used for this blog have been linked to the websites from which they came.* 

Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Not All Wines Are Vegan

When our family moved to Virginia in 2014 I had no idea that I'd be living in wine country. Always a fan of wine but certainly no connoisseur, I visited a couple of vineyards and even entertained the thought of taking a virtual around-the-world trip--the only kind I could afford--by sampling imported wines from different countries. Starting alphabetically I got as far as Australia.  Then I became a vegan.

Did you know that not all wines are vegan? As I was contemplating buying a bottle of wine one Friday night, Joy asked me if wine is vegan and I told her that the thought never occurred to me that something made from grapes would be anything but. However, as I am prone to do with many things in life, I Googled her question and found that there are in fact non-vegan wines. Let me explain.

Not all wines are produced the same. Some wines -- the non-vegan variety -- are actually processed using animal-derived fining agents, which are "used to remove protein, yeast, cloudiness, “off” flavors and colorings, and other organic particles. Popular animal-derived fining agents used in the production of wine include blood and bone marrow, casein (milk protein), chitin (fiber from crustacean shells), egg albumen (derived from egg whites), fish oil, gelatin (protein from boiling animal parts), and isinglass (gelatin from fish bladder membranes)."
(Source:  http://www.peta.org/about-peta/faq/is-wine-vegan/ ).

Who knew?  Right?

Fortunately there are resources to help us vegans choose wines that are vegan-friendly. One of my favorites is www.barnivore.com.

Drink responsibly and now that you know, drink compassionately...for the animals.


Dee Dee

Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Sunday, August 21, 2016

It's Not That I Can't

Slowly but surely people are beginning to understand that we have embraced veganism, and to have some idea of what that means. Most of them understand our dietary choices in terms of what we can't have versus what we can have.  (There are so many good choices!)  I suppose that is partly my fault because I have often said, "I can't have that because I am a vegan," but nothing could be further from the truth!

It's not that Joy and I can't eat a hamburger or any other food made from animals because we are vegan, but rather it's that we choose not to eat them. Yes, that's right. Veganism is a lifestyle choice -- not a diet or a bunch of restrictions, but a choice.  We often choose what outfit to wear based on the occasion, the season, or how we feel when we put it on. The same is true of what we eat.  Joy and I choose to eat a plant-based, meat-free diet because of how it makes us feel -- healthy, peaceful, and aware of the good we are doing for our planet and the animals who share it with us.

You are free to choose as well. We may not agree with your choice any more than you agree with ours, but we will respect your freedom to choose.  It is our prayer, however, that you will learn, as we have, that certain choices are worth whatever you feel you may have to sacrifice if you decide to become vegan. We pray that you will experience better health and the loss of unwanted pounds, as we have, and that you will find yourself craving plant-based food that is good, nutritious, and produced without causing harm to animals.

We continue to be amazed at the variety of foods we have discovered that have made this journey much easier -- and more fun -- than we ever thought it could be!  That we could make from scratch an easy and delicious Alfredo sauce from cashews still surprises us! Yet here we are, three months into our vegan journey and loving it more than ever.

We are here to encourage you any way we can. We don't have all the answers -- not by a long stretch -- but we are eager to share what we are learning along the way and so excited to be part of a growing movement toward healthier, more compassionate living.  If you have questions or just want to follow our journey, please visit our Facebook page or drop us an email.

Please don't arbitrarily decide that being a vegan is too difficult, too expensive, and not worth the sacrifice. Instead, dare to believe, like we did, that you -- and the animals -- are worth it and that you can make a big difference by choosing to make some positive changes. We encourage you to watch some of the documentaries linked on our Links & Resources page and to take the 30-Day Vegan Challenge to see if a vegan lifestyle is right for you. We think you'll find it can be.

Next to our faith in God, the Creator of all things and of all creatures great and small, our choice to embrace a vegan lifestyle is the most significant choice we have ever made. Please know that we are here to help in any way we can and that we will be praying for you every step of the way.

For God's glory, and for the animals --

Dee Dee and Joy

Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Thoughts I Have While Walking in the Supermarket

Since becoming vegan I've noticed some changes in how I view a LOT of things. For example, I pay more attention to ads on TV revolving around food. Another thing I also view differently now is the meat department in grocery stores.

Before a couple of months ago, I wouldn't have thought twice when looking at a package of meat. My mom and I would easily load a hot and fresh rotisserie chicken from Wal-Mart into our cart when shopping. But now, I actually know what I'm looking at. Parts of an animal.

An animal who had a heart, brain, and breathed air. An animal who had a mother, and probably a sister and brother. An animal who was curious and intelligent. An animal who was afraid and had fear. An animal who was abused and unloved. But most importantly an animal who didn't want to die and fought for their life.

"Animals are God's creatures, not human property, nor utilities, nor resources, nor commodities, but PRECIOUS BEINGS in God's sight." -- Rev. Andrew Linzey, Oxford University

I get that it's easy to pick up a package of chicken, beef, pork, ham, or turkey. Because it doesn't have eyes, or legs, feathers, or a tail and comes prepared in a nice plastic or styrofoam container. You didn't kill the animal yourself, or see it being done so it's easy to just see the meat as food. But the next time you're in the meat section of the grocery store, just stop and think about what you're really buying and eating. No it's not just food, but instead was once a living creature. An animal who had a personality. An animal that didn't want to die.

For the animals,

P.S.  For the people who read this blog what content would you like to see? Is there a specific topic you have questions about and would be interested in reading? Please let us know! Leave a comment on the blog, our Facebook, or e-mail us! Thank you 

Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Monday, August 15, 2016

So, What's Next?

Nearly four and a half months ago Joy and I decided to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle, eating no meat and changing many of the products we use, such as household cleaners and cosmetics, to ones not tested on animals. In mid-May, after watching a few eye-opening documentaries, we started the 30-Day Vegan Challenge.  Even before completing the challenge we decided to make veganism our choice for life.  On July 31, 2016, we became activists, attending Smithfield Pig Save, our first peaceful protest against the slaughter of animals for food.

So, what's next for us in this new vegan adventure? What is our vision...our passion... as we continue this journey?

For starters, we want to raise awareness of the health benefits of a whole food, plant-dased diet, and continue our fight against rampant and unnecessary animal abuse and cruelty.  We want to educate others concerning the harmful environmental effects of factory farming.  We want those we know and love to see that there is a more peaceful and compassionate way of feeding our families -- a plant-based way of living that will not only improve our health but also preserve the environment for generations to come.  And we want to see animals saved from the atrocities committed against them by those of our own species.

What are our plans for accomplishing these goals?  They are simple, really:
  • Continue educating ourselves so we can put together educational programs to share with others
  • Volunteer and align ourselves with organizations and individuals who desire to do the same
  • Attend vegan festivals and advocate for animal rights every chance we get
  • Continue sharing our journey with friends, loved ones, and folks we've yet to meet, both through our website and in presentations to groups that have an interest in learning more about what it means to be vegan
Would you help us by praying for open doors and by letting others know about our mission and our website?  If you know of a group that might be interested in hearing about the health and environmental benefits of a vegan lifestyle, would you please tell them about us? 

We're not asking for money.  We aren't selling products.  But we are seeing great benefits of this lifestyle change -- not just for us, but for our planet and the creatures who share it with us.  We believe strongly enough in its benefits that we want to share them with others.

Be an agent of change by joining us on this journey.  If you have questions, or if we can encourage you in any way, please email us at feelingveggiegood@gmail.com.

For life...for the animals...for a better world!

Dee Dee and Joy

Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Monday, August 8, 2016

A Rut Isn't Necessarily a Bad Thing

As a busy working mom the last thing I want to think about is what to fix my hungry household for dinner. But as surely as the sun rises and sets, dinner time always comes.  Before I became a vegan I often solved the dinner dilemma by stopping by the store for a rotisserie chicken, which I would serve with instant mashed potatoes and frozen broccoli.  That was on a good day.  But all too often I would dial up Domino's for a pizza, swing by the nearest Chinese takeout, or plop my family (and my life savings) down in a restaurant to satisfy ourselves with good food that was not necessarily good for us.

Since becoming a vegan, mealtime -- and meal preparation -- is something I now look forward to. We have found plenty of nutritious and affordable, easy meals to keep us fueled and satisfied.  We still eat a lot of the same foods we ate before we became vegan -- fruits, vegetables, beans, and pasta -- but we have tried a wider variety of these and learned that sometimes a baked sweet potato is just as satisfying a main course as any piece of meat.

Recently I asked Joy if it seemed we were stuck in a rut buying and preparing the same foods week after week.  She was quick to reply that even though it might seem that way at times, we were stuck in a rut before we went vegan -- living on hamburgers, pizzas, restaurants meals, and a whole lot of junk food.

I suppose that if I had to choose my rut, this is the rut I'd choose -- one where the food is nutritious, our family spends more time together  preparing meals, and no animals are harmed in the making of our food.  Guess a rut isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Story Time: My First Animal Protest

This past Sunday, I was lucky enough to attend the Smithfield Pig Save in Smithfield, Virginia. I, along with my mom and three dozen other people, gathered on the corner of a very busy intersection to politely protest against Smithfield pork production and the consumption of animals. The event was scheduled for three hours and my mom and I stayed a little over two and a half. And in those two and a half hours I witnessed four trucks loaded with pigs go by. My heart just sank when they went by, and even more when the returned empty.

I felt so accomplished being out there putting my core beliefs into action. I was protesting for something that I believe in. Something that's important. According to Peta, almost thirty million pigs are slaughtered every year in Smithfield, Virginia. Now, I haven't always had an "A" in math, but I know that that's a lot of pigs being slaughtered every day.

Something that I admired about the people Sunday night, was that some of them ran up to the trucks when they were stopped to comfort and talk to the pigs. The pigs never knew love, but for a few seconds they were told that they were loved and cared for. Some people also took photos to document the pigs inside the trucks. I hope someday soon I'll have the courage to run to the trucks and see the pigs like many other people did.

These pigs, as well as other factory farmed animals, are intelligent beings who can and DO feel pain. Like humans they have different personalities and emotions, and they once had families. Just because they aren't able to talk, doesn't mean they don't try to communicate. They cry and moan... shriek and scream...

I started this blog on Monday, and on Wednesday I watched Farm to Fridge on YouTube. After watching this short, 12-minute documentary, I was even more happy that I went to the Smithfield Pig Save on Sunday. I'll go to every protest I can to fight for these animals.

Sunday's protest was a great first experience for me. It was so nice to be surrounded by like-minded people and when I left, my heart just felt so happy. These people were kind and generous enough to bring awesome vegan food and really nice, well-made signs. Everyone was welcoming and nice and it's so amazing to think that there are people out there who care enough to organize these kinds of events! They may be small, but they can be very effective. I'm looking forward to doing this again soon.

Thank you so much for reading,

Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com