monday afternoon

so i survived my backpacking adventure.
we kinda zigged when we should have zagged and that mistake added an additional 5 miles to the six we had already hiked.  after a few minutes, oh who am i kidding, after about an hour of figuring out ways to kill my husband i had a mini breakdown and pulled myself together and got to the top.  we had vegetarian chili and tortillas for dinner and slept under the stars right next to a crystal blue lake.
better than the nicest hotel i've ever stayed in.

i don't know about you, but anytime i have to really push myself physically and mentally through any situation i come out stronger.
after the hike, i honestly felt like i could walk through fire.
my toes think i already did.  ouch.

ok, i really want to thank so many of you who kindly babysit my blog when i'm gone.
you guys are the best.  you guys give out so much great information that really needs to be shared.
i trust you guys so much.  you have all done your homework and you generously share it.
i'm a vegan for one simple reason.  i cannot bear the thought of hurting any animal any which way.
when i think of the calves that are skinned alive for their calfskin and left to die, and their big, watery, pleading eyes staring into the camera, unable to move b/c the pain is too great...well i just cannot bear it.  that is why i'm a vegan.

thank you so much for having my back.



  1. Hello Janet:
    Welcome back. We are so relieved to hear that you are in one piece. With an adventure [our idea of a nightmare] such as you have experienced, we should be in many pieces by now. Indeed, just the mention of a backpack is enough to make us feel ill never mind the actual reality of hiking several miles with one.

    We mere lily livered mortals are so pleased to see your return safe and sound. We need the reassurance of you at the other side of the keyboard!!!

  2. Thank you for sharing about your trip and your reasons for being vegan. I must admit that I have spent most of my life not thinking about the connection between hurting animals and food. I think like many people...I have been in denial. I am eating vegan right now for other reasons (health and weight loss) but my eyes and mind are opening. I have no idea where this journey will take me but I am much more aware and thinking about changes.


    1. Kim--good for you. Your awareness has been expanded. Most people have spent their life not thinking about where meat and dairy come from.

      Eating meat and dairy is ingrained into us from an early age. Many of us eat meat and dairy because our mothers cooked it for us, and our mothers cooked it for us because their mothers cooked it for them, and so on and on back as far as you can go. It can seem almost second nature.

      The irony is that once this inherited, generational habit is broken, and the search for foods alternative to meat and dairy begins, a whole new food perspective unfolds. It's difficult not to laugh sometimes when people ask me, 'You don't eat meat, fish, eggs, milk or cheese, so what DO you eat?'

      One friend of mine said she could never be a vegan because she likes "variety" in foods-! I was flabberghasted! vegan eating is not just vegetables on a plate! Most people like variety in food! Actually, the vegan diet can be one of the most varied and creative diets out there-!!

      Yes - a vegan diet can be quite varied, and as limitless in possibilities as your imagination. ... Janet has shared many fabulous recipes with us and now with the internet we can learn every day.

  3. This is a great posting It’s exactly what I was looking for. I like your article.

  4. Your hiking adventure sounds wonderful...this is an activity I've been thinking about for some time, something my husband and I can enjoy together...if I can drag him off his Harley that is. I am experimenting with a vegan diet right now, kind of finding my way. If I stick with this I believe I'd probably eventually add back eggs and cheese, therefore lacto-ovo and not vegan. But I'm not sure at this point. Still researching and learning. ~Blessings, Lina

  5. Janet--I applaud you for hiking and backpacking! Love that photo of you with your backpack!

    I am a vegan since 2010 and I was a vegetarian for 20 years prior to 2010. Why am I now vegan? Because I now KNOW the consequences to human health of eating an animal-based diet, and because I now KNOW the consequences to the animals, land, water, air and poor populations. And once knowing, I can't UNknow. Eating meat and dairy is an insult to my body AND to animals and to the planet. It would SHAME me to do something so negative and cruel. I didn't start out as an ethical vegan, but I am now, and I can't ever go back again.

  6. You never cease to amaze me. I love hiking and being outside, but I really don't love pushing myself to the point of discomfort -- too settled into my ways. Sleeping under the stars does sound beautiful. I haven't done in a long long time.

    Glad you made it home alive and stronger for doing it.

  7. Dearest Janet -- Long time listener, first time caller! :) I echo what everyone has said here. What is your favorite single resource for vegan living, apart from Earthlings? Many thanks! Babette

    1. hi babette,

      i don't have a favorite single resource. i read lots of vegan food blogs for ideas for food.
      i highly recommend the skinny bitch book b/c it is small and easy to read and really gets to the point in an in your face kinda way, with humor. they say what i think!

  8. Hey there,
    You do so many great things to inspire us all and you never cease to amaze me with how passionate and genuine you are with the things that are important to you. That's one of the many reasons I adore you. :) plus, you're a good friend.

    I'd love to take up hiking. I'd have to do it alone though, poor Chad and his bad knees.

    Regarding being vegan...I think what Shell said, is absolutely spot on. You can't UNknow. We wouldn't do such cruel things to humans, why on earth do people think it's okay to do it to animals. It's beyond me.

  9. You really aremy hero(ine). I'm "pretty much" a vegetarian, although I do eat seafood, and while I admire vegan ism, I adore cheese. I try to justify my behavior by purchasing from Whole Foods and from my farmers market, where I tell myself they're treating the animals humanely. I think often of the Native Americans, who would give thanks to the animals they killed, and used every single bit of the creature and honored them as fellow spirits. I've taken up buying shoes and handbags used, from EBay, so as to not contribute to the horrific idea of killing animals merely for their skin. Foolish. Naive me, I thought that industrial slaughterhouses sold the cattle's skins for use in leather goods...when I was disabused of this, I vowed never to buy a new pair of shoes again. Veganism? I may go there someday, for the very reasons you've gently pointed out. Now, if only I could gain an appreciation for camping. To sleep under the stars, yes. To sleep on the ground? Not so much.

    1. i appreciate your honest comment. it really isn't a big step from vegetarian to vegan. one day you will be ready.

      they make the most amazing camping equipment these days. sleeping on the ground is not hard at all!

  10. Had to laugh at the mini-meltdown; had one of those while hiking with my husband in Bryce Canyon and when we wound up going the wrong way. Did a great hike in the Adirondacks last summer and just kept going on ahead through everything...made me feel invinceable; what a great feeling!

  11. Dear J

    This is why I don't hike! But I agree that pushing self mentally and physically is Key. And strengthens one. Love the photo xxx

  12. Janet, just reading this post brings tears to my eyes. About the time I turned 50 and went thru menopause something switched in me and I became a major animal lover/dog rescuer. Yep, that's me in my mules chasing down every stray dog I see on the highway. I don't research the subject of animal cruelty because I just don't have the stomach for it. But your comments about the calves really upset me. How do we erradicate using leather when we want to stay away from pleather (shoes, that's a problem!). My sweet husband gave me a $500 crocodile bag and I've never used it--the idea makes me sick. Thank you for keeping these things in the forethought of our minds. Allegra

    1. this is a good point allegra re the pleather. before i was vegan i would never buy fake leather. now it's the only new leather i do buy. it doesn't bother me one bit either.
      i think it just takes adjusting old beliefs. at least for me that's how it works.

  13. Calves skinned alive? Jesus. I am becoming vegan tomorrow. Bless you! xo Terri

  14. Thank god for the sprained ankle. Otherwise GG would see this picture and get ideas.

    The wrong kind of ideas. Glad you survived.

    xo Jane

  15. So glad you're back! I agree completely with you on the physical/mental challenges make you stronger. I have felt that way many times after struggling with something, so now I am much more likely to take on something challenging. Looks like a beautiful place, by the way!

  16. Remember Linda McCartney ?
    She was a breast cancer victim, a dairy-eating vegetarian activist who
    endorsed the consumption of milk and dairy products.

    Cow’s milk contains a hormone that is the key factor in the growth
    and proliferation of every breast cancer. That hormone, insulin-like
    growth factor-I (IGF-I), is an exact match between humans and cows.
    Every twelve-ounce glass of milk
    doubles the amount of this naturally occurring growth hormone in your
    body, a hormone that makes existing breast cancers grow.

    There are hundreds of millions of different proteins in nature, and only one hormone that is identical between any two species.
    That powerful growth hormone is insulin-like growth factor, or IGF-I.
    IGF-I survives digestion and has been identified as the KEY FACTOR in breast cancer's growth.

    IGF-I is identical in human and cow.

    By drinking cow's milk, one delivers IGF-I in a bioactive form to the body's cells.
    When IGF-I from cow's milk alights upon an existing cancer... that cancer grows.
    So milk, cheese, yogurt are all cancer PROMOTERS.

    this is an hour and 20 minute video but VERY worthwhile . . . .

    it's called "udderly amazing"

    at 25 minutes he talks about migraines and how dairy is the problem with that.

    bovine leukemia antibodies is mentioned at 33 minutes in...MS patients have an
    antibody to bovine leukemia virus..lou gerhig's disease patients report drinking
    large quantities of milk...milk is an excellent source of infection because its fat content protects
    pathogens from gastric acid & being fluid it has a short gastric transit time.

    at 41 minuts he talks about many milk associated conditions from bedwetting to allergies & congestion
    to headaches, chronic fatigue and hyperactivity.

    at 47 minutes he mentions cheese - he says normal plant foods are in and out of the stomach in 4 hours
    if you add meat, the transit time can be 6 hours - if you add cheese it can stay in the stomach for 12 hours.
    you want your stomach to empty out quickly. cheese shuts off the stomach. it should never be eaten.
    cheese is very acidic. cheese causes bone loss. skim milk protein is the 2nd highest cholesterol
    raising item there is. a person taking in 1400 mg of calcium from milk products can still
    lose 4% of bone mass per year.

    1. shell you never cease to amaze me with your dedication to the health benefits of being vegan. you really do need to start a blog.

      i didn't know that about the cheese taking 12 hrs to pass. ugh.

    2. Thank you very much for this information from Walter Veith, Shell.


  17. Janet darling...I can't even bring myself to click on "the calves that are...." that must mean something. And for those that say they will miss cheese...see your previous post on daiya cheese.

  18. Janet - I am flattered you think I should start a blog. I have been thinking about it!

    To all you cheese lovers - I used to love cheese myself - going without it for a few weeks made my taste buds change. You have to stop eating it totally - to give your palate a chance to dial down the craving for salt, sugar, & fat. It take a few weeks but it does happen.

    Walter--you are welcome!

  19. I've tried several times to watch that trailer and I can't make myself do it. I'm not sure that I need to look into the eyes of the devil to know that evil exists. I can't, for the life of me, understand why anyone would do such a hideouss thing.

  20. Love your blog, Janet. Thanks for reminding us all what REALLY goes on behind the scenes with animals for all of the furniture, rugs, food, etc. that humans use & consume. I think most people like to keep their heads buried in the sand to what the realities are with the treatment of animals. I have tried telling my husband some, but he just tells me to "stop, stop!". He doesn't want to hear about it because that would mean changing the way he eats which is too hard (in his mind). Here, in the East, it is hard to go vegan. Very few restaurants serve vegan entrees and you're lucky if there is more than one vegetarian entree. I'm going to try one of these days.

    1. i hope you try it soon. when i made the switch larry was not on board but now i'd say he's 90% vegan.

      there aren't a lot of places to eat vegan here either. it can be hard but nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it.:)!

  21. You look so relaxed and happy on your hike and it sounds like paradise (well, the food and the stars do, I think I might have committed murder if I'd been made to walk that far).
    I never understand why people feel the need to question why I'm vegetarian, from that video isn't it obvious? xxx

  22. It's funny but I just was reading in Oprah magazine about a book she loved, called "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed, who's life was changed when she hiked the Pacific Coast Trail. Something you might like to read. I do appreciate it when you reinforce your reasons for being vegan. You can never say enough about it. The more information people have, the better choices they can make. I respect you greatly for standing up for what you believe in.

  23. Factory farming is a moral disgrace for everyone in this country; for those who eat the results and for those who "stand by" and allow it to happen.
    I think most people know they have a problem with how our food gets to us ( if not concerns with whether it's ethical to eat certain kinds of it at all ).
    But we do our best to push it from the front of our minds - we know about but never watch those horrific slaughterhouse abuse videos, we roll up the window when we pass pig and cattle farms - because we'd rather not deal with consequences of examining those feelings.
    On a planet of 6 billion other humans, there are many reasons to be vegan: to not kill animals unnecessarily, to reduce one's impact on the environment and to achieve optimal health.

    Healthy vegans are living proof that one does not need to eat animal products to be healthy. Now, if you believe that it is wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering and death on nonhuman animals, then logically you should consider not eating them or their secretions.

  24. Hallo i am a long time reader and admirer but a first time poster?i would really like some information.are there any books available to help a long time carnivore to converse to vegetarianism or veganism?what about clothes,shoes,bags?i live in greece and allthough fruits and vegetables are in abundance vegan awareness is non existing.Janet,could you please post a samble menu for summer for examble?what do you eat for a day?thanks Efi.

    1. Efi--I hope Janet will answer you. You will lose your taste for meat if you go without it for 2-4 weeks. But you have to TOTALLY stop eating it.

      I eat the low-fat Dr Mc Dougall vegan way and have for 18 months. I feel great, have lots of energy, I sleep well and my weight is fine - my BMI is 18. I eat vegetables and salads - but the main part of my diet is starchy foods and grains and soups. I eat potatoes, rice, corn, beans,
      squash, lentils, lasagna, pastas, those kinds of foods. And vegetable soups, lentil soups, potato soups & bean soups.
      I also eat whole grains like steel cut oats type of oatmeal, barley & wheatberries & quinoa & whole grain breads & corn tortillas. I enjoy fruit smoothies and almond milk. cocoa & banana ones.
      I'm never hungry. I also eat one to four fruits a day and as far as fats - I eat no added fats -no oils added to any of my foods. No oil used to cook with either.

    2. this is an average day for me efi...

      breakfast - tea and whole grain toast, fresh fruit bowl & mid morning a fresh smoothie.
      lunch - a great big salad and tortilla or slice of bread
      dinner - veggie chili or pasta or soup or tacos or burritos or grilled veggies and rice

      snacks are nuts, seeds, 1/2 avocado on toast

      super simple, super easy.

  25. I see it as choosing non-violence over violence. A vegan diet is a vote for peace.


    The Starch Solution by John McDougall with Mary McDougall (Rodale Books, $26.99)

    The program encourages people to solve health problems, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and arthritis, using diets based on rice, corn and potatoes. John McDougall is a physician who helps people overcome illnesses with diet plans.

    His best advice: "Eat more starch. Avoid fats and oils. The fat you eat is the fat you wear. Appetite-satisfying bread, rice, corn, potatoes and beans should replace fattening oils, cheeses and pork chops."

    The biggest mistake dieters make: "Believing the fault is their own. They must stop believing there is something psychologically wrong with them."

    "Dieting has focused on two approaches: portion control, which means being hungry, and severely restricting carbohydrates, which makes people too sick to eat. Neither approach can be sustained. Instead, learn the traditional diets of people. Corn kept the Mayans and Aztecs trim and healthy, potatoes once fueled the mighty Incas, and rice is still the staple of most trim hard working Asians. Learn from these examples."

    One thing he wishes everyone knew about weight loss: Starches are known as "comfort foods" for one good reason: they are the right foods for people. Our natural cravings are correct. People love beans, potatoes, rice, corn, and sweet potatoes. In order to eat chicken or beef (think boiled) you must cover up their natural unpleasant tastes with salt, sugar, and spice in the forms of barbecue, steak, and sweet and sour sauces.

  27. Your camping trip sounds fabulous. Getting lost climbing a mountain - sounds awfully familiar except our mountain was in the Luberon in Provence - story here:

  28. Hi Janet, me again. Here is the thing about pleather--it captures moisture, feels hot, doesn't breathe/stretch. I have no issue with looks--for the past 15 years I've carried a pleather Target bag and constantly get compliments on it. But on my feet it's a different thing. Any ideas? Allegra

    1. allegra, i mostly have faux leather sandals and they are fine. i also have a pair of flats that are fake and i really don't have a problem with them. they are madden girl which i think the entire line is vegan. these came from the gw so i snapped them up. but in all honesty i have only worn them 2 or 3 times. stella mccartney shoes are all vegan and they are upwards of $500 a pair so i wonder if people sweat i've always wondered if people sweat in those?!

  29. What a wonderful photo Janet!!
    You have inspired me to get up in the morning and go for a hike up the Chocolate Gulch Trail here in Sun Valley, which is where I am right now and LOVING every minute! However, I'm Too afraid to sleep under the stars here after a (ahem) hot dog went missing off the grill when I went inside for two seconds. Maybe it was a carnivorous bird, but of course I'm certain it was a BEAR (with very light feet...not that there's any wrong with that, but he left one weenie, so he had manners too, which ties in to the whole "light feet" thing...)

    I've also been on two hiking trips that ended up being waaaay longer than anticipated. Thought I might die, not literally of course, just dramatically , but once accomplished, I felt like a Norse GOD. er Goddess. Especially after that post-hike marguerita

    My 2nd toenails both turned purple, well, more of an eggplant really, and fell completely off from jamming against my boots. Not to alarm you...but it could happen. so, you know, just giving you the toes up!

    I share the gruesome facts because I love... :)

    1. haha. i didn't think bears ate meat?! is a hot dog meat though?!

      anyway, i'm pretty sure i'm gonna lose both my big toe nails and i'm super bummed b/c it takes so long.

      sleep under those stars one night, you'll be hooked. xo

    2. Hi Slim,

      If the stolen campsite hot dogs you refer to are hot dogs made from animals, next time you're in the mood for a meat hot dog, consider the Smart Dog.

      Here's a little info on Lightlife Smart Dogs

      Product Review: Lightlife Smart Dogs Veggie Protein Links
      Meatless Hot Dog Alternative with No Fat and Only 45 Calories Per Serving

      Cruelty free Smart Dogs have some of the same chemicals in most packaged foods but most of the major problems with meat hot dogs are eliminated.

      Such as .....

      What About That Hot Dog?


      "Watch Your Butts, Hot Dog Fans"
      Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Billboard Warns Sports Fans of Rectal Cancer-Hot Dog Link


    3. thanks ko! i'd add that while i'm not a fan of the taste of smart dogs i am a fan of tofurkey italian links. they are vegan and when they are bbq'd they really taste good, esp piled with sauerkraut and mustard. they are supposed to be italian but they just taste spicy to me.
      and larry keeps assuring me that bears are not carnivores and will only attack humans if their offspring are threatened. it still scares me to hike in bear country though.:)

  30. Good for you on your hike. I finished a half marathon that I thought I could never do in a million years (age 55) and you are so does make you stronger when you push through

  31. You look like a young girl in that picture! Isn't it great how in the end the zigging and the zagging makes it even more fun?

    1. haha, that's b/c it is so far away. you can't see the wrinkles and tears. it was really pretty.

  32. i'm late into the game here...
    but once again so proud of the way you keep getting the word out there about the
    torture of innocent animals. and in the case of calves... just babies!! can you even imagine it?
    i couldn't bring myself to watch it. even your words "skinned alive and eyes pleading into the camera" have stayed with me for days. i feel so angry and helpless.
    i stopped buying leather years ago. and that was before i knew of them being skinned while still alive. dear god in heaven. how are we any better than the roman barbarians? we have gained nothing
    in the way of compassion. if women all over the world would STOP BUYING the leather. that's all it
    would take. if there's no market, they make no money. obviously nobody is going to do anything to stop it. if you had to buy your shoes and 'status symbol' calves leather handbags in the slaughterhouse instead of beautiful stores... maybe, just maybe it would change.
    stay strong janet. you helped me go from vegetarian to vegan. i agree with another commenter.
    you're my hero too!
    tammy j

  33. I love this picture of you, there is nothing like the feeling of accomplishment after you push yourself both physically and mentally, isn't it? I love hiking. Last year we dropped off our daughter at sleep-away summer camp in New Hampshire and the two of us went hiking Presidential range hut to hut. I was not sure if I would be up to it with no shower for 5 days, sleeping in a bank bed with 15 other people in the room, no internet and lights out at 9:30 (because there is no electricity, only solar) but it was one of the greatest vacations ever, I had a blast. You meet the most interesting people there and yes you push yourself where you thought you'd never go and that stays with you forever. In fact, I think it is easier than you'd think, probably the same like becoming vegan, just a change of attitude.
    xoxo, anita

  34. HI Janet,
    I have been following your blog for a while now and I have really been seriously thinking of going vegan. I stopped eating red meat over 8 months ago for health reasons and have cut it down to chicken and fish. What type of proteins can I replace the chicken and fish with? I'm always worried about not getting enough protein in my body to keep me going.
    Also, if you can recommend any vegan cookbooks, that would be great!
    This is completely new for me, but I would love to change my diet. It might be hard considering I have my husband and 2 boys, I'm not sure they could change.
    Thanks to you and anyone who can give me some advice on how to get started, I would truly appreciate it!
    Hope you have a beautiful day.

    1. dear melinda,

      sorry it took me so long to respond but i was out of town. i just put up a resource list at the bottom of my blog that should answer all your questions. there is one i left off that i'm going to add right now and it is veg life. i hope this helps you get started on your incredible journey to become vegan. the health benefits are amazing but the emotional/spirtual benefits are out of this world.

  35. Thank you for your excellent list of resources, Janet!

    Another good source of information on health and diet is

    The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Cancer Project



kindness is never out of style.

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