10 Billion Lives

by Jennifer

According to USDA reports, nearly 10 billion land animals are raised and killed every year for food in the U.S. alone. Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), is bringing this injustice to the country’s attention by showing the hard-hitting 10 Billion Lives video at college campuses, music festivals and street fairs.

Our dedicated staff and volunteers offer passersby $1 to watch the video – an outreach method known as “pay-per-view.” After watching, viewers are encouraged to decrease consumption of animals and work towards a vegan diet. The results speak for themselves – more than 80% of viewers commit to eating fewer animal products!

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Tutoring Barron Trump

by Jennifer

Have you Tutored Barron Trump?

Over the years I have tutored many students and managed a company, Bright Kids NYC, that tutors NYC students for admissions into private schools and gifted programs. Considering the high percentage of students that enroll in test prep to gain admissions into kindergarten programs in NYC, there is large likelihood that a student like Barron Trump, among many other celebrity children, has been one of the thousands of 4 year olds streaming through our doors to prepare for the IQ-like exam that determines admissions into one of NYC’s elite privates schools. While friends have asked, “Have you tutored Barron Trump?” my answer continues to stand that all student information is private and confidential.

Ok… So if you did tutor Barron Trump? Does it make you feel guilty?

No matter who the parents are of the children I work with, I never feel guilty about educating a child. Providing education to a child is one of the greatest gifts I can give. While I may not agree with every child’s parents that I work with, I would never deny a child a fair and equal education. In fact, I’m hoping in the next couple of seasons to generate a Kickstarter to launch either free or low-cost tutoring material that I would publish online, allowing many parents, including those that cannot afford tutoring or expensive tutoring books, to access test prep material to prepare for the private school and gifted and talented kindergarten admissions exams…

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How to Pack for 4 Month Trip Living in a Van

by Jennifer

It is daunting packing for a 4 month trip living in a van – with the restriction of having one small cabinet in a Camper Van to hold my less-than-worldly belongings. This is not a trip for leisure – as evidenced by the lack of fun, feminine, colorful clothing in my wardrobe – but one of practicality.

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Vegans and Environmentally Concerned Ought to Reconsider Blue Apron

by Jennifer

I am often supportive of my friends transitioning from takeout to cooking in their home, as cooking makes one more aware and in control of what one is putting in his/her body.

However, I have a bone to pick… with Blue Apron because for a company that has generated more than $193 million funding, they do not do enough to encourage environmentally and animal friendly eating.

The packaging is wasteful…the carbon footprint is high considering everything ships from only two distribution centers…food is not local… and of course the lack of vegan options signals a lack of care for animal lives…

My gripes with Blue Apron

Blue Apron is a weekly meal plan that delivers 5 million meals a month to customers across the nation.

For a company so dead set on offering “sustainable seafood, meat with no added hormones or sub therapeutic antibiotics, and non-GMO ingredients why doesn’t Blue Apron offer a vegan plan or vegetarian option Family Plan?
Considering the negative environmental and health impacts of consuming meat and dairy, and the affordability of supplying vegetables and other plant-base ingredients, Blue Apron could easily add such options and even choose to source them locally. It need not be under the same company, but could be an animal-friendly and eco-friendly branch that the brand offers.

Blue Apron Fish Options

On Blue Apron’s site, they site stats such as, “According to a 2015 World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) report, marine vertebrate populations have plummeted over the last fifty years, largely due to overfishing and destructive aquaculture (or fish farming). It’s a scary statistic…”

Add to this that,

Blue Apron got approval to operate a food processing facility from the California Department of Public Health for the first time last month, despite having been packing and shipping boxes of fresh produce and raw fish, poultry, and meat in the state for over three years.

You know Blue Apron is well aware of the negative effects it has on the environment and on animals, as well as in providing food that adheres to safety regulations for humans.

When I wrote to Blue Apron about whether they had vegan options or whether they planned to roll this out, I received the following response:

“Hi there,

Thanks for inquiring about a vegan option with Blue Apron. I’m so sorry to say that we don’t currently offer a vegan recipe plan. I will relay your concern to our team so that this may be considered for the future. We do offer a vegetarian option on our 2-Person Plan….

Brianna G.
Blue Apron Customer Experience Team
www.blueapron.com

Beyond a lack of consideration for the vegan population or for becoming a greater proponent of the environment and animal rights, Blue Apron also creates an enormous amount of waste and large carbon footprint.

Just a small portion of the waste generated from a week of Blue Apron

Waste

  • Buzz Read recently reviewed the amount of waste created by 3 2-person meals from Blue Apron:

“…this is what remained, after cooking:

Nine plastic baggies of varying sizes

four clamshells, also plastic

a pair of tiny containers that had held about a tablespoon…

a sheaf of recipes, instructions, and promotions printed on thick cardstock

the foil bag from a few tablespoons of tomato paste

three paper bags, now soggy and damp from refrigeration and condensation

a cardboard box stamped with cheerful, cartoonified cooking implements

three thick plastic meat packages

two gel-filled icepacks

a foil bag not unlike the ones marathoners wear to keep warm.”

All that waste for just three meals! Considering that 5 million meals are delivered per month, that is a lot of waste!!!

While some of the packaging material is said to be recyclable, much of this cannot be processed by most of the country’s recycling centers.

Carbon Footprint

“It delivers to 85% of the country from two distribution centers nationwide — meaning that before it makes it to your doorstep.”

Alternative Options

The Purple Carrot, is completely vegan and comparable in price to Blue Apron.

One taste tester wrote, “Founder Andrew Levitt is a pharmaceutical industry vet who, after being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and watching the documentary Forks Over Knviesoverhauled his eating habits for a plant-based, whole foods diet. But he and his wife struggled to whip up easy, healthy dinners…

The ingredients: The Purple Carrot has relationships with farms in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, and they “try to use organic whenever possible.” The produce you receive won’t necessarily be super local, just yet. If you’re in New York City, for example, you might get veggies from the same Massachusetts farm as someone in Connecticut. But it is super fresh, shipped within 24 to 48 hours from when it’s picked, says Levitt. And as the company grows, the produce will become more localized.”

Or cook at home. 

Recipes are easy to find online, and easily spell out the ingredients you need.

Use reusable bags to avoid added packaging.

Try to buy ingredients that are package-less or that contain packaging that is completely recyclable.

& Save Money! A single serving of one meal at Blue Apron @ $10 costs more than I spend all day on food!

Eat well. Eat ethically. & Do your best to reduce your carbon footprint.

 XO NY Nomads

My Grandpa Wrote Back – Supporting a Vegan Lifestyle, Even If You Do Not Follow

by Jennifer

“Dear Jen—-First of all—-thank you, thank you for your kind thoughts and writings regarding Poppy’s memorandum pertaining to his children and grandchildren. I had given some thought to expressing my admiration and pride for the next generation and as one gets older, we see the inner characteristics of our off spring in a different light than when I was younger and that is why I sat down with my thoughts and wrote from my inner heart felt view point. And now for the main purpose of this note. Jen, you revealed your inner most thoughts and soul with the way that you expressed yourself in answering my concerns and questions —Why go to California on the behalf of >Animal Rights” ? Your quick response to my concerns makes me realize that you have a plan for your life and that you are determined to live up to these plans and expectations. BRAVO Jen In any event, I will wish you the best with your endeavors and spirit to leave a footprint in the sands of our world. An old Navy command to the helmsman at the wheel—>Stay The Course”—meaning, your plans for the present and the future—will be as you want them to be. You have determination for living your life with he same compassion as your old great grandmother Liza Eglit Liepin So keep us informed about your travels and meeting up with people who have similar views as you—-or will have them after listening to your views. Lots of Luck and “Fair Winds” with you travels.
Love as Always. Joan and Poppy.”

It felt so good to read this last night. As much as my grandpa is proud of me and some of my differences from him, I am proud of him for over time becoming a more open person. He has slowly come to terms with my “throw caution to the wind” attitude over the years as I have…

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Disappointing my Grandpa Again – An Animal Rights Activist’s Battle to Retain Dignity in a World Based Around Commercial Success

by Jennifer

Received an upsetting email from my grandpa:

I love my grandpa and want him to be proud of and understand me. I replied…

Dear Poppy and Joan,

I value your opinion; as you are both wonderful people that serve as active role models in my life. Much of my choices to help others have been inspired by your compassionate efforts to help refugees involved with your church or deliver warm meals to housebound seniors in your Meals on Wheels program. I am constantly thinking of what I can do to help others, and while efforts to pursue this on a full-time basis have been slow in the last decade as I sought to create a foothold in New York City, I knew that eventually I would move into a position in which I could fully give myself to a cause.

That cause has changed over time. For a while it was education. I received my teaching certification through the Newark Teaching Fellowship, and I helped students in one of the poorest, most violent sections of Newark, New Jersey. In the years before, I was an active board member of the community service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, and I have spent decades now volunteering at soup shelters, Habitat for Humanity, All Hands, and in running a work exchange that has helped many immigrants experience NYC and eventually transition to life in the U.S. We have provided free housing and food through our work exchange program that has hosted  refugees, Russians, Ethiopians, Italians, Australians, Brazilians, Egyptians, French, Germans, etc. Often we provide advice to our guests as to what steps they can take to either assimilate to life in the U.S. or pursue a work Visa. We continue run our work exchange program, and it is a self-sustaining way that Sandy and I can continue to help others that do not have the funds to start their lives in NYC or in the U.S.

I know you never truly understood my becoming a vegetarian at age 8, and a vegan more recently.  I’m sure you understand the basic premise that not consuming animal products means harming less animals, but read more, and you’ll discover that…

  • Each year an American chooses a vegan diet, on average, he saves 26 chickens, 1/2 a pig, 1 turkey, 1/10 a cow, and 40 fish. Over a lifetime of 80 years, every person that converts a veganism, via our outreach, will save 2080 chickens, 40 pigs, 8 cows, and 3200 fish. That kind of consumption of animal lives is nuts!  And I’ll have the chance to save many more than this by affecting others’ dietary efforts with my advocacy.
  • “Leading health experts agree that going vegan is the single best thing we can do for ourselves and our families. Vegan diets support a lifetime of good health and provide protection against numerous diseases, including some of our country’s biggest killers: heart disease,cancer, and strokes.”
  • Meat is often contaminated with feces, blood, and other bodily fluids—all of which make animal products the top source of food poisoning in the United States.”
  • “Eating meat doesn’t just hurt animals—it hurts people, too. It takes tons of crops and water to raise farmed animals. In fact, it takes up to 13 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of animal flesh! All that plant food could be used much more efficiently if it were fed directly to people. The more people who go vegan, the better able we’ll be to feed the hungry.”
  • “Save the planet: Meat is not green. Consuming meat is actually one of the worst things that you can do for the Earth. It is wasteful and causes enormous amounts of pollution, and the meat industry is also one of the biggest causes of climate change.”

F.A.R.M. has has hired my partner, Grace, and me in their Tour Operator role under the premise that out of the hundreds of people that have applied for this job, we are the best suited to perform this role. I know it will not pay much, and I will suffer at times living out of a van. I’ll be smelly and dirty some days. I’ll be cold and hungry on others, pulling long hours and escaping a world of modern conveniences. But what I’ll be experiencing is no less than what most of the world lives on. “Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.

I will miss my many tutoring students, families, pets, and I’ll miss making an income four times the amount I will be making in this role. However, my sacrifice, and their sacrifice, means so little when I consider the effects I will have on the world in making this choice. I have worked hard the last decade to achieve financial security and feel confident that my time will be well spent and whatever path is to follow this tour will continue to be secure and meaningful.

As for Sandy, it is not easy leaving my husband for four months. I love him dearly, and he is the most important person in my life. He is inspiring, thoughtful, and he has spent his own years bringing to light the magic of others in coloring and editing important films that highlight climate change, political corruption, and animal exploitation. His own film, The Last Ice Merchant, was meant to highlight a poor man’s life in a country that would otherwise largely go ignored. I’m not sure if I would have transitioned into a vegan lifestyle if I had not spent the last two years living in the midst of his selflessness. It’s not easy for him to be separated from me, but he understand that in order for me to truly develop and pursue a life I find meaningful, he has to let me pursue missions like that of 10 Billion Lives – and that when I return in 4 months, I will be all the more grateful that he is a large part of my life.

Have faith in your granddaughter. Know that every choice that I make may not always be the clearest, but it will be centered around improving this life and those around me – people, animals, the environment, and all.

I love you so much.

Jen

For a long time in my life I have confused and confounded my fairly liberal, fairly conservative grandparents. I hope this letter may help other vegans in clarifying to loved ones why they are making a switch to a vegan lifestyle or one of animal rights advocacy.

If Bill Clinton (nearly), Al Gore, Ellen Degeneres, Jessica Chastain, Ariana Grande, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Stevie Wonder, Peter Dinklage, James Cameron, Rooney Mara, and many more inspiring people have made the chance to be vegan, can we really be that nuts for pursuing a lifestyle we find so overwhelmingly important?

Keep living the life you think is right, no matter what others have to say, even if they are your nearest and dearest. If they love you, and you explain to them your reasoning, they will eventually come to understand your choices. Be patient. Be kind. Be compassionate.

I will always love my grandpa. He has made me proud, and I know I will make him proud too.

10 Billion Lives Tour – Looking for New Friends

by Jennifer

2 months ago Grace Reuter and I applied for the Tour Operator position at 10 Billion Lives, a movement organized by F.A.R.M. to inform people across the nation of the importance of reducing meat consumption. While I was intrigued by the position, I never imagined actually getting the job. I volunteer regularly with programs, such as Habitat for Humanity, All Hands, and at work exchanges around the world, but I do not have recent activism or nonprofit experience. Grace, a fairly recent college grad, was in the same boat. However, Todd Lee and Ryan Frazier, have faith in us to bring the wonders of a plant-based lifestyle to college campuses across the Southwest. In two days we begin a week of training, based in San Jose, and after that we hit the road in the 10 Billion Lives camper van, traveling up, down, and around California.

Grace and Jen, 10 Billion Lives’ Spring 2017 Southwest Tour Operators

We are looking for places to stay as we move about.

Know someone in CA with a spare room, couch, or even just a parking space?

We don’t need much. We can sleep in our camper van, but having access to a bathroom, and maybe a kitchen, would be sweet!

How can you help us?

Offer to put us up for a night, or two, or three… or put us in touch with someone that may be willing!

What can we offer in exchange?

Although we are working pretty full days – rise and shine at 7 or 8a to load up the van and hit a campus – and returning home around 4-5p, we are glad to help in what ways we can.

Organizing a friend’s apartment

Organizing your apartment.

Taking care of your pets

Caring for your pets

Preparing you, or your loved pets, something delicious and vegan to eat

Vegan baked goods!

Or suggest some other arrangement.

Promotion

I’d love to interview some of our hosts to learn about their motivation for hosting us – whether it’s a shared love of animals, an interest in helping non-profit workers, etc. Tell me about yourself, your life, your hobbies, your business, and I’ll be glad to feature you in an interview series for my blog.

So come shake a leg and offer to host us, or learn how you can volunteer with 10 Billion Lives and discover how you can be a part of a movement improving farm practices, animal lives, sustainable and environmental practices, and the health of your community!

Curious about who you would be hosting?  Check out my workaway guest and host profiles – in which I have hosted or volunteered in a work exchange position over the last few years. You’ll see I love sharing my home with others and sharing my skills and time helping others in their homes.

Email me with questions or interest – jliepin@gmail.com

F.A.R.M. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Washington, DC that, “advocates for animals through massive eye-opening public awareness initiatives, cutting-edge grassroots campaigns, and movement-building programs that nurture both aspiring vegans and budding activists. We believe in the inherent worth of animals and in preventing animal cruelty, protecting the environment, and safeguarding public health.”

Best Shape in Years on my Raw Till 4 Diet

by Jennifer

I’ve never felt better since switching from a low carb to a high carb Raw Till 4. When I run, I run full of energy. When I run, the energy flows through my body, and where in the past I may be hungry after 3 miles of running, on my current high carb diet I feel evenly sustained throughout my run.

Froyo composed of frozen bananas and soy milk, blended

I’m hungry sometimes. I miss eating sugary, fatty foods, like cookies or brownies – more importantly, froyo covered in oreos or brownies; however, I get plenty of sweets in the morning and carby starches in the evenings noshing on potatoes and rice.

Froyo, courtesy of a couple frozen bananas blended with a 1/2 cup of soy milk, is delicious and sometimes more filling when blended with some soy protein powder, and an adequate substitute. However, when you eat it all the time, it sometimes gets to feel more ordinary than it should.

Hudson Yards being built up near the West Side Highway

Regardless, I have my runs, and I have my future of blue skies and warmers days ahead of me as I head to California in a few days. NYC may never completely chill over with climate change, but if it does I’ll be dodging a complete ice-over of my days that would prohibit me from running.

The Cheapest Way to Change Your Hair Color in NYC

by Jennifer

Have you heard of Salon Apprentice?

If you’re willing to spend a little extra time at the salon, you can receive free or discounted services – hair cuts, colors, bayalage, highlights, the works!

Salon Apprentice links you up with hair stylists – many who have years and year of experience, but are looking to improve or join a very exclusive salon and therefore need to train in a 4-5 year apprentice role.

You do not need to have professional hair model or modeling experience to volunteer, and all you need to is choose your city and read through the listings to find an appt. that fits your needs and schedule.

Here’s my before and after with Yi:

Before

Before – blonde, fried hair, with about 2 inches of roots

Before – blonde, fried hair, with about 2 inches of roots

 

After

Standing silver at my petsit over Winter Break


Silver – courtesy of Yi at Soon Beauty Lab

I’ve had numerous positive experiences with Salon Apprentice from multiple locations – Fox and Jane, Soon Beauty Lab, Whitemore House Salon, etc. The only advice I have for you is to avoid Carsten, Aveda, and Arroyo – which often have newbie stylists and will either not do as good a job as other salons – or which may require a long, long sit as they often need a lot of help from the Master Stylist monitoring them as they cut or color your hair.

Unfortunately my silver hair color from Yi quickly faded – about 3 weeks – and not amount of toning with purple shampoo seemed to reviving that silver color. I suppose I could have purchased more toner, but with my hair a light, ashy blonde, nearly devoid of color, I decided I wanted to add color.

Fading color


Nearly white – silver faded 3 weeks after my hair appointment

Step in stylist, my husband, Sandy Patch, who grew up as the test gerbil of a Colorist-gone-mad who loved dying Sandy’s hair red, polka dotted, striped, etc. while he was in high school. As a result, he’s had a lot of experience bleaching and coloring his own hair, and was more than happy to step in and give me a little color.

We popped into  Ricky’s on Saturday, where you can pick up a tube of Sparks Hair Color creme for $8.99. You can save a bit purchasing it from Amazon for $5.26, but I was too impulsive and eager to try out some color.

I decided to try Mermaid Blue, and while it certainly was effective, and I certainly did turn blue, it was not an evenly distributed blue as a tube was not enough to cover my thick bob. The color came out patchy, and I hated how bright it was.  I wanted something different, but I did not want to stand out or look unprofessional.

My favorite stylist, my husband, Sandy Patch

Soo, as you can see in the picture above, we bought some more color – this time Starlight Silver.

What results is the hair color below.

 

 

Blue Hair, Don’t Care (j/k. Hair color makes me nervous!)

Choose your own adventure, but if you want to do it cheap, either check out Salon Apprentice or try out a bottle of Sparks Hair Color.