Tips For Living a Vegan Lifestyle + A Giveaway


How to Be Vegan By Elizabeth Castoria struck me in a way that the majority of vegan books weren’t able to in the past. So many of the books I’ve read about making the transition into veganism focus primarily on your diet. Although what you eat is very important as a vegan, diet is only one topic of many that this book touches on with chapters dedicated to diet, travel, manners, and lifestyle.

My favorite part about this book is, right off the bat on the first page, she breaks all expectations down and reminds you that no one can be vegan all the time. That right there immediately lifts so much pressure off any aspiring vegan. She also manages to be so witty throughout the whole book and makes sure to mention all the things you can buy and eat as a vegan instead of the  usual ‘no this or this or this or this’.

One really unique topic in the book that struck me as super informative was the part on how to eat vegan while traveling. I often times worry about what I’m going to eat while traveling as a vegetarian and can only imagine it has to be 100x worse for full on vegans. Elizabeth gives great tips for not only the airport but also how to handle being vegan in foreign countries. Plus, if you really are stranded somewhere without any vegan options, she’s got 50 recipes listed in the back of the book for you to whip up in your Airbnb kitchen.


This may sound surprising with all the vegan book reviews I’ve done around here but I’m not actually a vegan. I do eat vegan sometimes but if my body is craving an egg or a cheesestick, I’m not going to deny it. I believe strongly in listening to your body and my body has told me time and time again that it craves protein in the form of cheese and scrambled eggs (and I also believe everyone’s body is different so you should take some time to figure out what your body is telling you!). With that being said, I am still fascinated with the vegan culture and actions I can take to harm less animals in my everyday routine.


If you can’t seem to deny yourself that greasy burger or thick slice of cheesecake, why not think of other ways that feel less limiting on your diet to help out the environment and living creatures around you. For example, have you ever read about the horrors that go into animal testing (I won’t go into detail here, I promise. It’s much too much for me to even handle writing about)? Or the fact that your leather chair is actually skin? There are hundreds of brands out there dedicated to not only exposing you to less chemicals but also dedicated to using ingredients that have already been around for decades (which means there is no need to test them on animals). Here are a few of my favorite vegan household items that can be found anywhere in the country:

Tom’s of Maine – we use their natural toothpaste which is not tested on animals and works just as well as any mainstream brand I’ve ever used. We also sometimes use their deodorant.

Lush Cosmetics – they carry an array of shampoos, soaps, and even makeup (their lipstick does wonders for my Friday night adventures)

Seventh Generation – we use a wide range of their cleaning products (or, better yet, make your own!)

Not sure if the products you use are cruelty free? Check for the bunny symbol on the back of products to make sure they follow the ‘cruelty-free’ guidelines.


And this brings me to the giveaway I have for you today! Not only is Artisan books letting me giveaway a copy of How to Be Vegan but PlanetShoes has also been kind enough to offer a $50 gift card to help you get your vegan wardrobe started! If you are unfamiliar with PlanetShoes, they are a Eco-friendly shoe store that lets you shop not only by type but also by if shoes are vegan or made in the USA or eco-friendly. I struggled last Christmas trying to find a pair of non-leather boots that I could wear with confidence and was so happy to find a resource like this! Click here for a quick link to their vegan shop (and look around since that $50 giftcard could be yours!).

I’ve actually paired up with PlanetShoes in the past and they always feature a VV recipe in their monthly newsletter so hop on over and sign up if you are interested in receiving monthly updates from them (which usually include healthy recipes, exciting fitness tips, and easy eco-friendly suggestions.)

  a Rafflecopter giveaway
To get you excited about the potential of winning free shoes, I’ve picked out my favorite 4 vegan pairs from PlanetShoes, which you can click on below and check out (Okay, so maybe this was more because I love shopping too…):

Dimmi ImproveJ41

BlowfishReneu Tuli




  • MicheleW
    April 29, 2014

    I also will crave an egg for a protein.

  • shelley
    April 29, 2014

    I really like when you talk about just listening to your body. I TOTALLY agree with you on that. I would be vegan but I love eggs, and my body craves them. I think that’s the best way to judge the way we eat, but I also agree that being vegetarian/mostly vegan makes for a better environment 🙂

    I also love your sandals! Are they from Planet Shoes?

  • Ashlae
    April 29, 2014

    Love this, lady! I only eat vegan 95% of the time because I’m a huuuuuge proponent of listening to your bod, too. AND EGGS (sometimes). Just ordered the book on Amazon and I can’t wait to read it.

  • phi
    April 30, 2014

    agreed!! it’s like when a gluten free person comes and i only offer tacos or sushi!

  • kaceyjt
    April 30, 2014

    My body definitely goes through times of needing different things. Labels are difficult to assign and tend to be constricting, so it’s easier for me to just say I eat a vegetable-based diet and go from there!

  • Nina
    April 30, 2014

    Aaah, be vegan… To say I struggled A LOT in my ming about that is an euphemism… If you remember well, I once left a huge comment on your blog about whether I should become a vegan (or a vegetarian) and if I could achieve it. I finally reached a conclusion : I won’t be a vegan, not even a vegetarian. I know it would be possible, even though living in France makes it hard because almost nothing is made for vegetarians or vegan, but I like meat on rare occasions, and I love eggs and (some) cheese (yeah, I’m the kind of French girl who doesn’t like cheese). For cheese and eggs and more and more for meat, I choose to buy them from local producers, people who respect the animal and the environment. It might not be organic, and yes, they still kill animals, but at least they are not raised in horrible conditions. I know they get to see the light and live in fresh air. These producers make a living out of it, and I don’t want them to be jobless because everyone went vegan (which will never happen but I think you got the idea). So yes, that’s sad to eat animals, but that’s what we have always done. We used to respect an animal’s life, and to know what it meant to kill it for eating, but today we are no more connected to the price of blood. Meat is just something we buy out of a plastic box. This is not what I want anymore. I can accept eating a dead animal if I know it has been well treated and respected its whole life. I still have trouble with products like butter and cream that I buy in supermarkets, knowing that they’re probably not cruelty free. I’m thinking about that and can’t seem to find a solution now, the best one would be to find a farm that produces them but that’s not easy…
    Now, about what’s not diet, I still have progress to make. I’m starting to buy cosmetics that haven’t been tested on animals. For soap, that’s kinda hard because of my very dry skin and I use some very specific products which I don’t know whether they are vegan. Leather and wool are another problem. I love them, their texture, sturdyness, heat efficiency, but how do you know if your shoes were ethically made? The best option would be not to buy them, for sure. And there are so many things in this world that are related to animal cruelty that we don’t even think about… There are so many products tested on animals in horrible conditions (I still don’t know what to think about meds…) I think we’ve been becoming crazy and cruel beyond what one can imagine (hello pessimistic thoughts!) It’s so hard to be a vegan and I think that it is impossible to be 100% vegan (well, actually even when you eat grains and vegetables you’re responsible for the death of insects or little animals living in the fields that have been havested…) but I want to try my best to avoid unnecessary animal cruelty.
    Well, that was a very long coment! Thanks if you read it all!

  • Gabby @ the veggie nook
    April 30, 2014

    Awesome lady! I totally agree with you on listening to your own body. We are all different and have different metabolisms and needs. I love how she focuses starts with the impossibility of being 100% vegan all the time. Really caught my attention and set the tone for the whole book!

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  • Renee Shuman
    May 3, 2014

    I so appreciate the message of that book. I was a strict vegan for 1.5 years, though I’ve been vegetarian since 2008. Since being a vegan, I still eat mostly plant based with the occasional knob of goat cheese or sunny side up egg.

    If you’re a plant-focused eater, you’ve had the experience of being stuck somewhere traveling (e.g. airport, rest stop, the deep south) where the word “vegetarian” is either unheard of or regarded with a sense of deep distrust. And so you don’t bring up that you eat mostly green and grain things and order french fries and cry a little bit into your ketchup.

    Being “vegan” in any inhospitable eating environment (for some of us that’s the Thanksgiving table) is a pain in the ass. In fact, the reason I eased up on strict veganism is because I was traveling in Costa Rica for a month and I was limited to eating gallo pinto for every meal — that’s beans and rice. After a long day of unpaid farm labor in tropical conditions, beans and rice aint gonna cut it (especially not for my very tall, very hungry fiancee). So we started eating eggs and fresh farm cheese.

    We’re really better people for having put the brakes on our religious eating beliefs. It’s easier to eat with friends and family and generally less stressful to find food anywhere.

    Anyway, I dig the idea of this book. Thanks for featuring it!

  • Allyson
    May 3, 2014

    Those shoes are gorgeous. Sometimes I toy with the idea of becoming vegan, and I know I want to try it out sometimes in the next year, but it seems like it would be incredibly difficult. I’m not even technically a full vegetarian- I still eat fish and seafood, though not often. I also love eggs and cheese and butter so very much. I try to source those ingredients as responsibly as I currently can, though I know I can always do better. It seems that living on this earth, we already put a strain on it. So we have a responsibility to make the most responsible choices we can manage. I think that differs for everyone, based on where you live and what you do and health and all sorts of factors. But no one is exempt from that responsibility.

  • marfigs
    May 4, 2014

    Wauw, those shoes are *shiny*! 😀 I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will probably have to buy cheap polyester shoes each year because my country is pretty obsessed with leather! Is this competition open to non-US citizens? Also, your hammock looks fabulous 🙂

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  • Nancy Reid
    May 8, 2014

    Thank you so much! Thrilled to learn I won!!

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