Black Businesses to support this season

I wrote this on Buy Black Friday but why restrict oneself to one day, we have a season ahead and it’s great to support Black-owned cruelty-free vegan or vegan-friendly businesses any day. Many of us shop online from the US.
Shipping is only horrendously high from big white-owned businesses and for the kind without tracking but my stuff got here so far with the cheap shipping (it’s actually airmail) and it was fast enough.

Repost from Natalie Cartledge on facebook:

As a black vegan,I always try my best to support our people’s businesses,especially when it comes to beauty products. I thought that the most difficult thing was to find black owned items that were also cruelty-free. I was very lucky to find a few businesses that are both black owned and cruelty-free.
Nubian Heritage
Afrikan Republic
Shea Moisture
If you know of more black owned businesses that are also cruelty free, please let me know

Ginger+Liz and TheLipBar are vegan-friendly. Or look out for books, art, accessories or fashion. There’s a free ebook thrown in the previous link :) See a long list of merchants below.

On Ferguson, I’m hoping blog readers would look at the tweets and likes. There are so many good articles by Black voices, which are the ones that matter now. I’m under the weather and my voice hardly matters anyway.

lynching Police kill Black Americans at nearly the same rate as Jim Crow era lynchings

The Longer list

Copied from poc-creators


Chocolate Sushi Couture –

Dress Maker By Olivia –

Jibri –

KAntoinette Lingerie –

Monif C –

Nakimuli –

Onion –

Shavonne Dorsey –

Sofistafunk –

Quelly Rue –

Yes Lioness –


CandidArt Accessories –

Brassfly Studio –

Lingua Negra –

Simone’s Boutique –

Rachel Stewart Jewelry –

Peace Images Jewelry –

Jypsea Outlet Shop –

MBellish by Charmega –

JazJewelz –

Rock Candy Earrings –

Pieces by Keke –

Art, Collectibles and Décor

African American Art –

Divine Violette – cool masquerade masks –

Blended Designs –

Tamesha Artistry

Christoff Davis –

Reflektion Design

Veronica Marche Illustration and Design –


Simply Scents by Shan –


Cocoa Girl in Lush –

Keep on Givin –

Shepiji –

Lily Bow Originals

Rogue Stitches –

Sew Regal Embroidery –

Ladieloops –

Cruelty-free products in Mauritius, some frag-free.

It should be illegal for just any product to print “not tested on animals” on its label but products most often wrongly state this. There are, after all, almost no laws protecting animals. NGOs go through the process of certifying products that want to be labelled as cruelty-free (and verifying their suppliers do not test), with the help of independent audits and they do it free of charge. Animal-testing. on the other hand, is a business with vested interest that goes hand-in-hand with the development of new useless and often harmful products. If you’re looking at products not listed here check the label for official bunny logos, not just any bunny; and the brand names would be listed on the sites too such as if you search by country of origin of the product here. If it is a local product, not that I’ve seen any, the suppliers can’t be local and either way certification is easily obtained if it is ‘cruelty-free’, if they need to come on site I’m sure SNTAEIM or BUAV could.

Update: I mentioned soapnuts/ reetha before, it’s also called quassia (nuts or powder) and here, shikakai and perhaps siaka is the same. It’s a plant sold as dandruff remedy. I’m going to get a tree and find a spot for it in someone else’s yard and find out eventually :D I mistakenly thought it wasn’t available, well I’ve seen branded shikakai products (Are their other ingredients tested on animals? They’re often strongly scented). The powder can easily be used in a solution for shampoo and personal care, or as is in laundry and very little is needed.

Here are some products I’ve come across, along with some tips:

La Vie Claire in Tamarin stocks a range of Melvita products‎, such as Jojoba oil – a liquid wax and chemically very much like skin sebum. A news article where I read the latter said it’s suitable for oily/combo skin. A very knowledgeable friend uses it on dry skin instead of a day cream. Her skin looks great at 50 something. I have combination skin, I’m yet to try use products again, jojoba oil was better than any cream I’ve tried on normal parts… and it’s fragrance-free!

It’s easy to make toner and other things I guess… Here’s a tip though (also fragrance-free): the best facial skin I’ve seen in decades are on women who said they use nothing but water. Once you started using stuff (for most of us usually too early in our lives) it’s probably impossible to sport good skin without using products, there’s always dryness after a shower in some climates (not in Mauritius) or after taking a swim I guess. I quit using sunscreen (I have a big tube of vegan sunscreen but I want vitamin D, have some in-built sunscreen, I also crave wrinkles), I forgot to browse their sunscreen options but if they don’t have something, they welcome new suggestions.

Carrot seed oil and red raspberry seed oil (less effective) can be used as sunscreen, even brand products use vitamin A in their products as sunscreen. Some people use stuff like sweet almond oil to remove make up but another idea is to try go without make up. A long time back I wasn’t sure about available kohl and animal testing, so I went without – a saving of time, money and well, you inevitably toughen up towards those who aren’t used to see females without make-up. Anyway non-tested make-up is available, I forget which brands aside from M.A.C (there was a rep/store in Mauritus on FB) but that was the only info about cruelty-free I ever found for the Vegan Society Mauritius (on facebook) which otherwise listed cruel (actually animal-tested if not listed as otherwise by any Australian or international body) soaps from Australia and big supermarkets passing them as cruelty-free.

Gram flour/Besan can be used as a cleanser, in ayurveda it is used for all over cleansing but I’m not ready to try that, maybe when can’t I use available soaps anymore.

In 3 places on the island, including Ébène,
Health Solutions Market’s Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. This is the only brand of cleaning product I have found on the island that is not tested on animals, and it’s not cheap (*nor are the denizens of imported animal tested soap about everyone buys) but there are bulk quantities available and oh, I realised the pure castille soap gets diluted so it goes a long way. Also claims 18 uses including tooth cleaning (eew but yes, google it). There’s also bicarb and vinegar at any shop, the smallest street corner shop will stock vinegar and sugarcane (90%) alcohol too – both locally made, and I bet they have besan.

I can hook you up with Green Brands sales reps in Mauritius selling low-budget Original Source shower gel(women’s 2 types, no Tea-tree and mint for men), this be the only Vegan Society approved product I spotted among their range and they also have Marks&Spencer shower gels which are BUAV-approved, but on the list of brands-to-boycott in support of Palestine.

Someone (I mean you not me ;) ) must check if they still sell Esse in Port-Louis. I can no longer access any shops, so I’m asking you, I asked other people but they suck. Would you like to try face scrub that smells and probably tastes quite like chocolate spread? I’m allergic to sugar in my mouth so never tasted it to confirm. Or you can read the ingredients and try make your own with sugar and fairtrade cocoa. Go read the ingredients, it’s opposite Courts(?) near Jardin de la Compagnie.

An importer’s friend said they sell L’Occitane here. If you know where, please let me/us know!
Online shopping recommendation removed not only for their inefficient staff, they no longer take international orders. They were the cheapest shipping to here. Time to search in Reunion Island, any leads?

The BWCSA approved products aside from BUAV’s list in case any shop has begun to stock them.

Shame on you, PicknPay, for not stocking cruelty-free, BWCSA-approved South African products! In Mauritian PicknPays (3 stores, of the South African chain) all South African brands I was looking for, the cruelty-free ones, seem to have been replaced with animal-tested products from France and Australia, products I’ve never seen in SA. Where is the logic in that?! I wrote to one local PicknPay many months ago asking for product availability at the biggest one, the manager didn’t get back to me the 2nd time…

Update: PicknPays are closing down, they’ll be Monoprix soon

Drop me a FB message or email if we can do a letter action to La Vie Claire in France. A franchise like La Vie Claire has to rely on sellability of a product, I wonder if the owner would order special products if we organise and say we’ll buy all 12 items from a single order.

Perhaps we can draft a letter to the French store or other local stores and figure out ways to boycott cruelty, within capitalism. Do PLEASE lemme know if people sell home-made products locally. I think one would need an insect-free kitchen/ space which is also mold-free then heat and humidity would decrease shelf life.

Do you know Green Brands reps in Rodrigues? An ad said there are, and like here perhaps they advertise by word of mouth – island style. I know old’ish women who do this after retirement, they use word of mouth.

If you’re wondering about the “fragrance-free”, multiple chemical sensitivity is an illness with reactions to fragrances and other chemicals. I have some chemical allergies but personally find most fragrances unpleasant and I’m open to becoming a frag-free friend. I’d gladly kick dozens of ableist insensitive “friends” out of my space. Screw ableism, the products are here, all we need is a little access creation.

Suppose you use cruelty-free in your home, I’m sure you’d like to visit people and find they keep cruelty-free soap for you to wash your hands. If they don’t, you can tell them about it. This is a different scenario but fragrance-free people don’t have that luxury, they may not be able to even enter a house with fragrances. Heck, even outside buildings, there may be pesticides, fertilisers and incense. They can buy expensive masks if they get money to buy these online but I imagine it’s hot to be walking around in those.

November 1st is….

the first day of the month through which I’ll continue a series on the blog against all oppressive ‘isms’. I hope it’ll be a great World Vegan Day for everyone. Be all the vegan you can be, or go as vegan as possible. You could tell someone it’s vegan day, use it as a pretext to share vegan stuff, read vegan stuff, or  consider going vegan this vegan month.

This video, since not many have seen the entry where I posted it before, is suitable for all ages.

I don’t have a printer but there are resources online either way (that said I’m not sure I want to receive free pamphlets from an org in the US that is disconnected from our realities but print something off a blog which inspires you, or a quote from Al Ma’arri or Pythagoras alongside a definition of ‘vegan’), or one can do a simple handmade B&W pamphlet once in a while (make copies perhaps). Offer a pamphlet to someone on the bus, in the supermarket, a pamphlet in your bag can give you superpowers if you are shy or social-phobic. There are circumstances where it’s acceptable/ fine to speak to a stranger, folks would start convos with me often in front of the tofu section of the supermarket or if they looked into my basket, it’s easy for me to ask someone if they’re vegan or new to veganism when they want tofu advice. One could also leave pamphlets in one’s library with permission. One is free to leave a free bookmark to the next person/s who’d borrow a book one has returned (I will try this when I have a library I can access again and I mean in a disabled access sort of way).

Any other ideas? Have you tried any of the above and wish to share your experiences or any advice with us?

Free Our Springs

World water day is today, going by the official announcement – March 22nd or today because yesterday was Sunday. We are to expect 40% water shortfall in 15 years, easily more for some regions.

Climate is changing, one can’t know if next summer is going to be a drought or floods or both. Some regions of this island (Mauritius) got flooded and for all regions, for months there have been issues like gastro enteritis so severe that people need hospitalisation. I pay taxes but cannot access any of your healthcare nor clinics. I wonder how many disabled folks or those with allergies struggle with the same, thus for some of us, access to clean water and medicinal plants can be vital, not simply desirable and economical as it would be for others.

A call to mobilisation over this simple issue that could save energy, our money, electricity, health and the environment (how much waste is generated from water filters or worse, bottled water)

cool clear water flowing from an urban spring

cool clear water flowing from an urban spring

Natural springs which should be public property, have been closed off for either corporations benefits or they have been routed into the central water supply, thus already clean and potable water is being mixed with reservoir water and all of it is then treated to become potable, chlorinated and fluoridated water we pay for (yeah there was a change in the 2015/16 budget and I’m unsure if 6000m3 suffices for a family, still everyone, especially for children and the elderly boil/purify tap water). In flood season, the treatment plant struggles, water isn’t actually potable and in spite of boiling water, people are getting ill. Furthermore, this is a waste and of course, we pay for drinking water and the costs to purify and/or boil it in our homes. With open springs, we’d only pay travel costs to collect. At least for areas around the springs and those who visit them, it’ll be far more cost-effective. For the rest I haven’t worked it out, feel free to comment if you do.

If a spring is part of the commons, people would go collect the water in drinking containers. See I have witnessed an example for years in the city of Capetown, an outlet has been in the middle of a suburb for some 50 years, and recently the city even opened a collection point on a central suburb’s main road and near a bus and taxi (public transportation there, a minivan fuctions like our taxi-train) station and put a signboard. There were hardly queues there, people buy 10 or 25L containers and fill them up when they need to, some good or privileged person offers to test the water sometimes and people know via social media, email or word of mouth (how we make new spring-user friends usually then find them on social media or via email). In that city, even box schemes delivery (like your Agribio or Vélo Vert, not to say that they should) offers to refill containers as a service. Post-apartheid urban exclusion aside, access to the spring is free, a city has the responsibility of providing the infrastructures but over there it may well be because they sold the rest of the springs without public consent, to the brewery.

I spoke to a local activist about this years ago and since I am back I managed to get the above information, albeit being housebound and more or less isolated. Everyone who has any information or wants to join a mobilisation or campaign is welcome to get in touch.

Dragon Whiskers Chips

Dragon Whiskers vegetable is the vine of chouchou/ chuchu/ sayote/ chayote. One can only find some sayote or choko leaves recipes while googling but try refine that and you’ll end up with chocolate chips. All of us accustomed to, as it’s called in China, Long xu cai, are familiar with the stir fry or soup-broth – bouyon bred to be precise in Mauritian. I’m no longer a fan so when I’m left with a handful, I tried to make chips.

I suggested this on facebook as we can’t find kale here, but didn’t try it until recently, when I no longer have an oven. I pan-fried them and they may be better in the oven or dehydrator (or they may be too fine who knows). What I do most often is drizzle oil that I would later use for cooking 1/4 pot of something else, add the leaves even if they overlap. When they look crispy, sprinkle with salt and scoop out. My pot is ready for the next dish.

Use some recipe for kale chips, these are less coarse and their surface spreads evenly in a pan and they don’t stick. I love their taste plain salted but if you don’t quite want them plain, they’d go best with a pinch of garlic and chilli or mustard powder? Dr Greger suggested using mustard with greens that you don’t leave to stand after chopping, we’re finally learning the science behind traditional cooking. These don’t need chopping. I’d suggest using them quite fresh (in my old fridge that frosts, takes about 2 days til it withers) or pan-fried they end up being stir-fry consistency. I don’t like the stalks and I’m yet to try the curls, the actual dragon whiskers I suppose. No one I know eats that part.

Traditionally used spices are garlic or onion or simply a dried chili or a few mustard seeds.

Nutritional value and bonus home remedies: The plant is a rich source of amino acid and vitamin C. It is diuretic and has anti-inflammatory properties. The leaf is used for treatment of arteriosclerosis and hypertension and kidney stones. According to Stuartxchange, the fruit is laxative, raw pulp is used for soothing of skin rashes and roasted leaves might help in suppuration of boils.

Yeah I know what you’re thinking, yes, that remedy for boils is the closest thing I found to the chips.

It’s not easy being young, black, and vegan


“Many people look at me skeptically when I tell them I’m living a plant-based lifestyle. I’ve noticed that white vegans in particular often respond with something like, “Oh wow that’s so great, I’m really proud of you.” As if I’m doing something remarkable. But according to the same Vegetarian Research Group study mentioned above, only 3% of American whites identify as vegetarian or vegan, compared to 6% of blacks. Doesn’t twice the number of black people living on plant-based diets mean that I should be the one who’s surprised and proud of you?”

Originally posted on Quartz:

The first time I heard the word “vegan” was from my 11th grade SAT prep teacher, a middle-aged white woman with cropped brown hair and an orange tint to her face. One day while she was chaperoning our lunch, my friends and I saw her eating a greenish sludge that brought to mind algae. When I asked her why she wasn’t eating the catered lunch, she said she was a vegan.

I was aware of vegetarians, my mom sometimes buying Boca or Morningstar products, but the term vegan was totally foreign. After Ms. Dayglo, I thought it was something only for weird white people. Whenever we saw her eating, we would laugh and joke that black people couldn’t stop eating meat and dairy because the moisture would be sucked out of them and they’d look drier than the Sahara. However, almost two years into my vegan journey, I’m stomping around with faux…

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Call for Presentations – Asian Voices Challenging Racism, Colonialism, and Speciesism Online Conference

Call for Presentations – East and South Asian Voices Challenging Racism, Colonialism, and Speciesism Online Conference (See event page in link, Hosted by Institute for Critical Animal Studies, North America, Deadline for abstracts March 1st)

March 28, 2015
Online Free Conference
All are invited and welcome to attend


With the animal advocacy movement is growing more intersectional and international, this conference strives to provide space for a growing marginalized community within the movement. This conference wants to provide space for East and South Asian ethnic background. We require that all presenters have an East or South Asian ethnic background. We are requesting all presentations promote, critical, radical, intersectional, grass-roots, and liberatory politics and promote veganism, social justice, and animal liberation.

Each presentation will be pre-recorded by the presenter via Youtube and submitted to: Hana Low

Each presentation should be 20 to 25 minutes long.


Please submit Abstract by March 1:

Video presentations due March 10:

1. Title

2. Biography third person one paragraph 80 to 100 words.

3. Abstract one paragraph 200 to 220 words.

To: Hana Low / skype: hanalow

Papers will not be due until we lock in a book contract.




Presentation One

Link to Presentation:

Hana Low




Presentation One – Question and Answer

Presentation Two

Link to Presentation:

Wayne Hsiung




Presentation Two – Question and Answer

Presentation Three

Link to Presentation:

Priya Sawhney



Presentation Three – Question and Answer

Presentation Four

Link to Presentation:

Penelope Low



Presentation Four – Question and Answer

They seem to still be looking for Presentation Five, 6 and 7.

Images depicting evolution from a monkey to a man with a traditional Chinese long braid and I’m unsure about row 2 where a crouched man with a long braid or tail turns into a bear and into a pig.

Laundry tips

Countries with no dryers

Here only hotels and I guess 1% have dryers. The rest of us use air. I don’t know if I’m wrecking my washing machine using Dr Bronner’s 18-in-1 pure castille soap but it’s all I could find and hey it’s safe for black clothes. I’ll never shop again + a friend doesn’t make clothes anymore so I’d rather my clothes would last. I don’t care about looks but my lycra started coming apart, maybe it’s the new machine or me. I’ve never used delicate setting, I sticked things in a pillowcase. Now I handwash lycra. The rest is fine the clothes don’t come out as when I used shikakai/soapnut alone or kind laundry detergent or even germ-buster (I thought it’s concentrated and more economical, never tried their laundry detergent). Without the latter 3 products, I feel the need for softening so as not to iron. Before I’d simply take off the line and hang in closet or fold and clothes don’t seem creased. I used baking soda only on whites but sheets (also ended up with a stain using soda alone in the machine, I might try lemon oil on that). Baking soda can be used as softener.

For extra soft clothing, add 1/2 cup vinegar (a natural fabric softener) to your washer with each load. Don’t worry, your clothes will not smell like vinegar once dry.

It defo won’t, I’ve pre-soaked in pure vinegar or used more than one cup for mold removal. No smell remained. I use essential oils to kill germs and try repel insects when it’s hanging, I doubt it smells of any once it’s dry. I wonder if softening shortens drying time? Mine seems longer compared to neighbours but overnight and a day suffices in Curepipe.

My old bedsheets smell similar to the time they were washed with Savon National, my grandma’s house didn’t have a stench like most modern houses do (scents from detergents), a kitchen smell lingered in the adjacent bedrooms, mixed with the smell of firewood and coconut oil. Be it sunlight and air and the cotton, I don’t know, but that’s what the bedsheets she embroidered still smell like. I take comfort in it. I’m allergic to softeners nowadays and to detergents too. I was forced to get standard laundry services overseas, even the animal-tested laundry detergents on their own are so toxic. I like to breathe when I sleep.

laundry on a line

Tip for no ironing: Hang stuff as pictured above, except hang t-shirts by the shoulders (or open shirts by collar fold) when very damp then flip if needed to avoid the line and pegs’ marks on the base.

Rest of the world

“I have had great success with removing static cling by putting a washcloth with a safety pin on each corner into the dryer with each load. I have used this for years and am still using the same washcloth and the same safety pins that I first started with. Give it a try. You will be amazed at your success with this tactic for eliminating static cling. I also put a few drops of lemon oil on the cloth for a fresh scent.” – Patti

Another commenter says the same. I didn’t even know there were ways to remove static, never seen anyone doing it at the laundromat overseas.

“Thugs, skets, and thots” There is no ONE black story

Originally posted on Media Diversified:

by Shane Thomas 

Around this time last year, a large part of the discussion around the cinema award season focused on 12 Years A Slave, and its possible chances on winning prizes at the Academy Awards.

While there are myriad problems with the Oscars, the reason why it matters is because it remains the closest thing the West has as a seal of film excellence. It’s a flawed system – and may have a limited shelf life – but right now, it’s the best we’ve got.

An Academy Award isn’t just a gold statue. It often helps to propel movies, and their specific subject matters into the wider social consciousness – especially if they’re not part of the summer blockbuster season. For much of last year, Steve McQueen was asked about the wider issue of slavery almost as much as he was asked about making 12 Years A…

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Vegan-washing and the manipulation of morality

Kristofer Aberg commented to link to his response article. I was kind to mention his response that misses the point and furthermore spells the author’s name wrong. NB I did not bring up his article but since it has been mentioned:

How can one respond to an author, use their surname many times and get wrong in the first word of a paragraph?! I won’t link to it/ approve his linkspam comments. I haven’t read the entirety, it seems careless and it’s long (with random anecdotes instead of facts or analysis). Aberg argues against pinkwashing as real with a vague Swedish joke or quote of a gay comedian, so I can only conclude he has never researched pinkwashing. Folks, please don’t write about intersectionality when you are not intersectional then come here trying to publish your link in some comments, force me to read your crap, then whine that you’re a leftie so you can cry wolf.

It seems Aberg covered vegan places in Israel and did not hear of anti-occupation Israelis. One doesn’t have to even go there or listen to the Palestinian side to learn about the Israeli apartheid and its atrocities.

I’m not going to mention radical groups, an Israeli architect travelled to my university to give a presentation on the occupation. Perhaps I was lucky to have been exposed to such people; in South Africa even Zapiro, the most famous cartoonist, is an anti-zionist Jew and I want to recommend a documentary, again nothing radical, journalists were present at a peaceful protest and documented the attacks by Israeli army (with complete knowledge that Caucasian film-makers are with the protesters) on civilians, including folks in wheelchairs. I’m searching for the title.. I don’t even recall the year or if it was a short, I recall only some faces and scenes.

[Edit: Then Aberg (NB after seeking out my blog for publicity, wrote the partly aggro comment appearing below. Was the free speech he lamented not to see was for “I wrote a reply to this article. Please read. :)” or “I wrote a reply to this article:” which he wrote with the link to his article?]

And I don’t know what conspiracy theories he’s talking about, everyone knows Judaism is not Zionism, right?

Presumably it’s this Aberg with a similar history to Yourofsky. We would expect these guys to be against the prison industrial complex perhaps but they’re applauding military IDF for providing pleather options in a violent occupation. Vegans, we notice cognitive dissonance usually, but why not here? We’re all uninformed about something or the other, I googled critics of Yourofsky’s glorification of rape as punishment and found sensible-seeming people quoting Gandhi, who was worse than Yourofsky and anti-semitic. I will never quote either of them, I will criticise anyone for praising Gandhi, I may not do so wrt Yourofsky but putting him on a pedestal harms the movement. Worse are 269’s defenders who keep proving how manipulative, or oppressive they will be to bring down vegans who disagree with them.