Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A tampon applicator

Image by Benimoto via Flickr

In our consumerist, throwaway society, we often don’t stop to think about the true amount of waste we produce.  The packaging our goodies come in is mind-boggling, when you add it all up.  Think about all the plastic grocery bags that end up ind the trash.  Think about all the cigarette butts littering the streets and filling up landfills.  Think about the food that gets thrown in the trash instead of composted where it can clog up landfills.  It’s sad and overwhelming at times, so much so that we often don’t think about our own complicity.

Here’s one way a woman can reduce her trash output; stop using tampons and pads!  Every woman is different, but those of us in our child-bearing years go through hundreds of tampons or pads each year.  They all get thrown away.  (Unless you compost your tampons, which I know little about.  Still, tampons are made of cotton, which is not a green crop.  And the mainstream ones are bleached, which may not be good for you.)  Think of how many you use on a typical period.  Multiply that by 12.  That’s your early impact.  Then imagine all the women you know using and throwing away all those products at that rate.  It’s shocking, and we can do something about it!

According to the Keeper website, a typical year might look like this and would cost $48:

Holy frijoles, Batman! Image via keeper.com

My personal favorite option is the silicone Moon Cup from the Keeper people, a menstrual cup.  Imagine a little wine goblet made of flexible rubber or silicone.  You put it inside you, kind of like a tampon.  It creates a seal, and it collects everything.  Then you just pour it out into the toilet periodically, rinse with hot water throughout your period, and then store it away to be used the next time.  There are several different brands, including Diva Cup,  Lunette, and Soft Cup.  I have a silicone cup from Keeper, which, as far as I can tell, is the original menstrual cup, but I’m sure other women have had good luck with other brands.  The Moon Cup (and Keeper) sell on the site for $37, including shipping.

I adore my Moon Cup.  First of all, it is incredibly comfortable, unlike a dry, yucky tampon or a hot, confining disposable pad.  I just pop it in there and don’t think about it much.  I think it’s good and interesting to see how much you actually bleed, rather than just guessing by how many disposable products you used that month.

I’ve had my Moon Cup for over two years now, and I haven’t had any major spills or accidents; a couple wayward drops the first couple days of my period can happen, but no more than I experienced with tampons or pads.  On those first couple days, I admit that I sometimes use a small pantyliner in addition to the cup.  Nevertheless, I spend a lot less money than I would if I was buying tampons every month.  I’d guess I’m down to 3 or 4 little pantyliners each period, so I’m saving a lot of money

Another big plus is that menstrual cups last a long time!  The original packaging with my Moon Cup said that it should last me ten years with proper care, unless I have kids and need to buy a different size.  Ten years!  Imagine having a magical box of tampons that gives you a whole clean set each month.  It’s like that.  My own little eco-friendly tampon fairy.

For those of us who might not want to insert something, why not consider a reusable pad?  There are some really stylish and cute ones out there.  I can’t really recommend any techniques or brands over the others, since I’m a Moon Cup gal, but I’m thinking of getting some as backup for my first couple days.  To all you vegans out there, just make sure that if they use fleece that it’s synthetic.  Bonus Radigan points if you make your own!  If, like me, you can’t sew, I’d check out Etsy.com and give your money to some crafty lady.  There are some adorable pads out there!  I just want to give them to every gal I know for the holidays!

Do what you can, and spread the word.  Then you can avoid leaving this behind you:

30-40 years worth of tampons! Image via keeper.com

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Vegan MoFo

Posted: November 16, 2010 in Uncategorized
Vegan pumpkin pie with pecans.

Image of vegan pie via Wikipedia

I just found out that “Vegan MoFo”  (Vegan Month of Food) was November, and I totally missed it.  I tried writing a NaNoWriMo novel this year, and I bailed out after a week or so.  What can I say?  I’m not a fiction writer.  I have a hard enough time coming up with fake names to protect my friends in this blog.

Anyway, unlike NaNoWriMo, Vegan MoFo would have been completely possible.  I could have written about how my omnivore sister asked for my vegan pinwheel recipe, about my various Moskowitz and Romero recipe escapades, about the joys of tofu, the thrill of quinoa, and the warm contentment of split peas.  Maybe I would have taken a picture of some food and become one of those beloved, fancy-dancy food bloggers.  As it is, I’m still trying to figure out how to make this liberal-vegan-feminist blog work.  Luckily for me, I only get a few page views a day, so I have plenty of time and privacy to experiment.

Vegan MoFo?  Maybe next year.

Lovely lady turkey at Farm Sanctuary

Image by CETFA - Canadian for Ethical Treatment of Food Ani via Flickr

In a few weeks, Americans will sit down and enjoy a meal together.  We will take time from our busy schedules to get together with friends and family, and we will break bread.  We will donate our time and money to charitable organizations that help the less fortunate so that they can enjoy a similar feast.  We won’t buy junky candy, energy-sapping decorations, or unneeded gifts made in a sweatshop.  Anyone can enjoy the day; any faith and any creed can be thankful.  In some ways, Thanksgiving is the ideal holiday.  Thanksgiving themes are simple and universal.

My only complaint about Thanksgiving is the waste of life.  Every year, so many turkeys lose their lives for our selfish gluttony.  My sister’s co-worker was telling her about how she was going to celebrate this year without a turkey, since neither she nor her son enjoyed turkey and didn’t eat any of it the past few years.  Her son insisted that they have a turkey; it just isn’t Thanksgiving without turkey.  What a sad death that turkey endured, and for mere tradition.  A local food bank where I occasionally volunteer is giving out thousands and thousands of turkeys this year, which saddens me.  I’m happy that people have been so willing to donate, but the sheer loss of lives is heart-breaking.

I am only one person, and I can only do so much.  One thing I can do is take this coming Thanksgiving day and make it a day that all creatures I touch can be grateful for.  I have decided to donate and symbolically “adopt” a turkey through Farm Sanctuary this year.  I will bring a vegan dish to our Thanksgiving gathering, and I will be truly thankful that day.

Check out this article about an article on the lovely feministing.com.  The women look great, sure, but where are the radicals?  Why are the women featured styled, pinched, squeezed, and coiffed so immaculately?  Yes, women and men alike should be afforded a bit of drag here and there, but this post makes me a little sad.  It feels like feminism defanged and sanitized.  Yes, we want to be accessible.  But how far should we go in our desire to be accepted and influential?

More magazine photo, via feministing.com

Vegan Halloween Candy

Posted: October 21, 2010 in Uncategorized
Holy Crap (Fifteen Pounds of Candy)

Image by Amarand Agasi via Flickr

Sadly, no little ghosties and goblins are likely to go up our scary, very rad steps to our little apartment above a shop.  Still, I got to thinking about Halloween candy when I was shopping with my sister this week.  As she ransacked the shelves for a variety pack of mini-Twix, I began to wonder; what kind of candies could I give out in good conscience?

According to PETA, the following candies are all vegan, and can be given out to the little creepies:

Airheads taffy
Blow Pops
Brach’s Cinnamon Hard Candy
Brach’s Root Beer Barrels
Brach’s Star Brites
Chocolove Dark Chocolate bar
Chocolove Cherries and Almonds Dark Chocolate Bar
Chocolove Crystallized Ginger Dark Chocolate Bar
Chocolove Orange Peel Dark Chocolate Bar
Chocolove Raspberry Dark Chocolate bar
Chick-o-Sticks
Cry Babies
Dots
Dum-Dums
Fireballs
Hubba Bubba bubblegum
Jolly Ranchers (lollipops and hard candy)
Jujubees
Jujyfruits
Laffy Taffy
Lemonheads
Mambas
Mary Janes (regular and peanut butter kisses)
Mike and Ike
Now and Later
Panda Licorice
Smarties (U.S. Brand)
Sour Patch Kids
Super Bubble
Swedish Fish
Sweet Tarts
Twizzlers
Zotz

My favorite magazine, VegNews has a similar “Official Guide to Vegan Halloween Candy” available as well.  The list on VegNews includes websites for recommended candies, so you researchin’ skeptics can check ’em out for yourself before you go to the store.

As for your own little costumed kiddoes?  I’d err on the side of letting them trick or treat.  Maybe I’m just a huge Halloween softie, but that’s my not-so-radical recommendation.  Let them trick or treat, then maybe dig through the goodies afterward and donate the non-vegan candies to a good cause.  Or maybe encourage your kids to Trick or Treat for Unicef. Too bad there isn’t a vegan equivalent.  Maybe we should create one!

A empty Marlboro Lights Menthol pack, found th...

Image via Wikipedia

I don’t know why I thought it would be such a great idea to start smoking.  I was sitting in a diner with a couple friends after a foam party, wet and shivering in the plastic booth with cute boys.  Did I want to be cool?  Was it curiosity?  A girlfriend encouraged me have a drag off of a Marlboro Menthol Light.  I had tried a stray puff here and there during that first year of college, but I didn’t get what all the fuss was about.  I inhaled this minty, rich tobacco.  It was heady, intoxicating, beautiful.  “This is why people smoke,” I said.

Some seven or eight years later, I am quitting.  I’m breaking up with the Marlboro Man.  I am losing a decadent pleasure.  Oh, I’ve quit before; four months here, over a year there.  But then spring or fall comes around, and the allure of sitting outside in the beautiful weather takes me over again.  Or we’re out drinking and a friend offers me a drag.  I’ve never quit “forever.”

I have two cigarettes in a pack left.  I don’t know whether I should smoke a farewell smoke or two.  As a lighter smoker, I don’t know if I should try any nicotine replacement therapy; it seems like overkill, since I don’t even smoke a pack a day.  I am spending the day today putting off that first cigarette.  I’m not sure how I will quit, but I will.

I started the day with a short jog and a cup of green tea.  I enjoyed it almost as much as a cigarette.

Almost.

I’m still here

Posted: October 13, 2010 in Uncategorized
Writer's Block

Image by thorinside via Flickr

With getting married, moving, and having no internet access at home for a couple weeks, I’ve been lax about posting.  I apologize, my Radigans.  But never fear; I will be posting again soon.  I have Halloween and Thanksgiving posts in the works, plus some interesting (to me) stuff about feminist marriage and environmentalism for renters.  Stay tuned!