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This may seem like it has nothing to do with veganism; but, veganism to me is so much more than just the food you eat. Veganism is about making informed decisions, and about voting with every dollar you spend. This post is about Unilever…the company behind such products as Dove, Axe, Knorr….the list goes on.

My main “beef” with Unilever is their marketing campaigns for two of their brands, namely Dove and Axe. Dove has been really focusing on their “Campaign for Real Beauty” for the past little while. They have these inspiring commercials and advertisements about teaching young girls to respect and love themselves at an early age, about loving how you look regardless of age, weight, race, etc…

That’s all very empowering and sounds wonderful. However, this company also markets Axe. Their commercials are all about objectifying women and making it seem as though women can be completely controlled by a man who smells like “Phoenix” or “Shock” or whatever else.

Now, I’m no feminist…believe me, I’m SO not…but I saw an Axe ad yesterday that legitimately pissed me off! The ad was a full-page spread in a popular men’s magazine and the last line of the ad reads: “Scrub away the skank with Snake Peel” SKANK?!?! REALLY?!?! Some marketing genius thought that was appropriate?

I get who the company’s target market is. I get that the ad wasn’t marketed at me…a married woman in her late 20s. I get that Axe thinks that men love the idea of women being drawn to them, that they’ll get fondled and licked and whatnot. I get that there are men in the world who do think that way.

What I don’t get is how the same company that claims to be trying to empower women and teach them to respect and love their bodies and themselves could also be sending the message that women are skanks who should be scrubbed off as soon as a man is done with them. Unacceptable! That sort of contradiction is appalling.

The point of my little rant here is to be informed. Do your research. Know what you’re buying into when you hand your money over to any company. Do you really want to support a company that sends such demeaning messages out into the world? Do you really want to support a company whose corporate philosophy is contradiction?

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Husband and I saw a package of Gardein “marinated breasts” at our local grocery store and thought we’d try it out, hopeful we’d find at the very least an acceptable “quick” dinner ingredient.

No such luck! I’d heard some mixed reviews on the product; some vegans I know found the texture off-putting, others thought it was delicious. I would have to say I fall into the former category.

Husband and I tried the Gardein for two separate meals, using two different cooking methods to see if maybe the method could affect the texture.

The first time we made it, we used the stove top method to cook the “breasts”. I thought the marinade was passable…nothing special but overall, nicely flavoured. It was exactly what I’d expect from a pre-packaged product. I compared it to bottled salad dressing: sure, it’s tasty; but, a homemade one is just as easy and has way more personality. Husband just outright did not like the marinade. He thought it was really bland and did nothing for the product.

As for the texture, that’s where I had a problem. It was way too reminiscent of actual chicken for me…granted, it’s been years since I’ve consumed chicken; but, the texture was exactly what I remembered chicken to be like. And it really freaked me out. I don’t even want to describe the texture because it gives me the creeps. That being said: if you liked eating chicken and have missed it, I’m sure you would go crazy for this product…the texture is that similar to the real thing. Husband, for example, went veg by association and used to really enjoy meat and he thought the texture was just fine.

The second method we tried was the oven method. I enjoyed this version slightly more than the first. Cooking the Gardein in the oven dried out the “breasts” enough for the texture to improve a little for me. It reminded me less of the real thing this way, which was a vast improvement in my mind. Husband liked this method least. He felt it became too dry and that the marinade was overcooked and added a slightly burnt taste to the outside of the “breast”.

I have to say, we couldn’t give Gardein a rave review. We hoped to; but, the product just wasn’t for us. I’ll take well-seasoned broiled tofu or tempeh any day over pre-packaged faux meat.

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Have you ever noticed how nearly impossible it is to find good quality, gorgeous vegan dress shoes? I have no problem finding great vegan casual shoes; but, every time I search for vegan dress shoes, I come up with nothing but really-dated-cheese-ball-drag-queen pumps or old-lady “sensible” dress shoes…the ones that you could wear with a nice pair of slacks to Sunday brunch with the grandkids….not my bag, I gotta say.

I’ve been searching for months for a pair of hot vegan stilettos to wear to the wedding and I keep coming up with absolutely nothing! Nothing! Sure, I could just go to Payless and spend $35 on a pair of dress shoes and call it a day, but I’d be impressed if the shoes I bought lasted half-way through the ceremony. I’ll admit to buying shoes there on occasion because they’re cheap and I have less than no money but I always regret it for two major reasons: 1) they fall apart in under three months, guaranteed and 2) I am in severe pain every time I wear the shoes because they’re so cheaply put together.

I wanted a pair of good dress shoes…black, pretty, fairly comfortable and if they last more than one season, that’d be stellar. I stopped into every single shoe store I stumbled on, I asked around, I did research, I checked in other cities…and then on a late-night webcrawling binge, I managed to come across the most perfect shoe. It is exactly my style…classic, with just a little extra flare, fine detailing and really vintage in feel. The company makes a whole line of vegan evening shoes; they’re great quality and they will ship to the Great White North (read: T.O.). Needless to say, I whipped out my Mastercard so fast, the ensuing wind blew one of my cats clear across the room!

stilettos

Whenever I put them on, I strut around my apartment like Bettie Page with my lips puckered and my eyes sultry…in my head anyway. All I want is for all the shoe companies in the whole wide world to make vegan dress shoes that will make me feel like that….that’s not too much to ask, is it?!

On a completely unrelated: but, just as important note, I love avocados. They are a perfect food in my mind. I could eat one every single day and never get sick of them. I will eat them sliced on toast, mashed with agave, salt and pepper, as guacamole, blended into desserts or chilled soups…the list goes on and on.

Plus, they are gorgeous. It’s always amazing to me how beautiful whole foods are. I mean, they speak for themselves:

avocado

Perfection! What more could a girl ask for?! I have hot vegan stilettos and cool creamy avocados…life is good!

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shampoo barThat’s right…that unassuming little puck up there is my new love, my new favourite thing in the whole world. It’s one of the many solid shampoo bars that Lush carries. And it’s amazing. It lasts forever…between 50-80 washes, I believe. That’s a long time for me because I only wash my hair every nine days. I have really fine, really straight, really short hair so don’t wrinkle your nose at me…besides, it’s really healthy to wash your hair less often.

This particular bar is the “seanik” variety…it is supposed to be a gentle cleanser and add sheen and bounce to limp hair…and does it ever! My hair on wash days is so silky it’s ridiculous, and it is feeling so healthy. Even right up to wash day, my hair never looks or feels greasy and it smells divine…a subtle orange blossom scent.

What I love most about this bar, besides the fact that it’s completely vegan, is that it’s all natural and so environmentally friendly…it comes without any packaging whatsoever. You can buy a tin to keep it in so it lasts longer but I just take mine out of the shower when I’m done with it. Plus, it travels well and can also be used as body wash and laundry detergent! I can’t tell you how much I love this little puck! Down with bottled shampoo…start using solid shampoo bars!

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