Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bye-Bye, Burt

This is what might bother me the most so far about being vegan: no Burt's Bees.

Going meatless is no problem for me. I'm fine without meat. I actually prefer life without meat, and I'm glad to have definitively learned this about myself through this project. But I am a lip balm addict, and Burt's Bees is my drug of choice. But, since Burt's Bees lip balm (and many other of their fine products) are made with beeswax, they are not vegan-friendly. Meaning I, as a new vegan, can no longer use them. Me. This is a problem.

I am known in my family as the Burt's Bees queen. Everyone always gets me Burt's Bees products as presents for Christmas and my birthday. It's part of my personality. Dan (my brother) loves classic Looney Tunes and Bo Diddley, Melissa (my sister) loves psychology and cooking, and I, Jess, love the paranormal and Burt's Bees.

The realization that vegans can't use Burt's Bees didn't hit me until I ran out of my old tube of Burt's Bees a month or so ago and went to the Co-Op to pick up some more. However, the Co-Op stopped carrying Burt's Bees products a while ago because they are not totally organic anymore now that they've been bought by the Clorox Company. I keep forgetting about that. So, I was browsing among the different lip balms the Co-Op did have, when I came across one that said "100% Vegan" on it. "Oh, shit," I thought. "That's right. I can't get Burt's Bees at all anymore. I have to make sure my lip balm is vegan now too."

I will expound all day upon the perils of ingesting animal protein and by-products and how bad they are for the body as a whole. But! I happen to be a big believer in the healing properties of beeswax for chapped lips. I am really sad that I can't use beeswax, or royal jelly, anymore in my beauty regimen. I love Burt's royal jelly eye cream, and Burt's lip balm is one of my favorite things I've ever discovered in life, but I can't use either of them anymore. It's a big adjustment.

They only offer one vegan lip balm at the Co-Op right now, at least that I saw. It's The Merry Hempsters brand Vegan Hemp Balm, orange-flavored. It works pretty well, but orange is not very soothing to sore lips. In my previous, non-vegan life, I would never have picked an orange-flavored lip balm in a million years. I feel the same way about fruit-flavored lip balm as I do about candles scented like baked goods: I just, for whatever reason, don't think it's right. I've had problems with chapped lips my whole life, and let me tell you, the only way to truly soothe them is with a minty, cooling, preferably medicated balm, not some fruity crap. The Merry Hempsters Orange Hemp Balm is fairly soothing, but that citrus doesn't feel nearly as good to put on sore lips as cooling mint does. Oh well. I can't do anything about it except suck it up and use it, which is what I've been doing. And it works pretty well, honestly. It's just not what I prefer. My lips miss Burt.  

Anyway. On the food and digestive front: I've had major stomach issues for the past few days. I must accidentally have eaten something with dairy or egg in it. I often order wraps or flatbread sandwiches with no meat, cheese or mayo when I go out to a restaurant, but sometimes I get sick as hell afterward, so I imagine they must not be totally vegan. There's probably some dairy in the bread or sauce or something.  My veganism is affecting my tolerance for fried foods now too. I get terrible stomach cramps and nausea whenever I have french fries or onion rings now. It's like the more my body adjusts to health, the more it rejects any bad crap I try to feed it. It's okay. I need to get away from eating that kind of stuff anyway, hopefully altogether someday. I also haven't been cooking very much lately; I'm still kind of catching up from having my respiratory infection and then going on spring break, then coming back and having midterms. I need to get back in the swing of things.

One great thing about this project is that it forces me to do all sorts of things I never thought I could do. I've noticed that I get the same reaction from people when I tell them about my vegan project: they are interested and oftentimes agree that eating meat is wrong, but they say they could never do it themselves. "I could never give up dairy. I could never give up hamburgers," they say. And I completely understand where they're coming from because, before I started my project, I felt the same way. I never thought I could give up sour cream and onion chips, cheese or Burt's Bees lip balm, until I did. And guess what? I did it! Life has gone on. I'm still here. I'm living without things I never thought I could live without, and it is incredibly freeing. Going vegan, paying all this new, careful attention to the foods you eat and the products you buy, has a great way of putting your priorities into perspective. You learn what you can and can't do without, and you become aware that there are always alternatives. And, for me at least, this leads to being aware that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Always. It's there even if you can't see it.

So, with that said, I'm confident I'll be able to find a minty vegan lip balm at some point in my life (or make one). But for now, I must make do with this orange hemp nonsense. Bye-bye, Burt. I'll never forget you. My lips thank you for every moment of cool, minty, bee-balm-bliss.


  1. NO WAY!!! I couldnt do it. You couldnt tear my Burts Bees outta my hands. Uh uh, no way, no thank you! But like you said "Life will go on" I really love your blog. I think out of most of the blogs, yours is the most inspiring. You have really changed and for the better. I can see and read about actual changes and results in your life and it makes me want to make a change too!

  2. Another gem of a blog entry, my girl. Is it easier to bid Burt and his Bees adieu knowing they're now in the grip of a corporate giant?
    I am so proud of how you're sticking to the principles of your new lifestyle. When I read what you wrote about people who say they admire you for going vegan but could never do it themselves, well, I resemble that remark
    Best of luck in the minty lip balm quest. I'll keep my eyes peeled.

  3. Victoria, thank you so much! I'm flattered that you find my blog inspiring!

    Mom, I wasn't thinking about just you when I wrote that! Everyone says stuff like that to me!

  4. I think it's all about willpower. It's not that you enjoyed Burt or those yummy chips less than other people, it's just that you had motivation to give them up, and willpower to follow through. I think whenever people say "I could never do that," they really mean "I would never want to do that." What you've managed to do throughout your project is make this distinction for us--that it's difficult, but possible.

    Thanks. :)

  5. Paige, you're right. After I posted this, I was thinking about that. I think it's easier for me because I've gone through periods of extreme deprivation in my life before, so this doesn't seem as bad. It's like the universe was preparing me for this leg of my journey, haha. And I don't want to sound elitist or to belittle anybody. All I want to do is point out that "difficult, but possible" distinction, so I thank you for saying that. :)

  6. Being a Carmex user, I guess I never gave much thought to the flavor qualities of lip balm, but now that you bring it up, fruity is weird for lips, especially orange. Minty does seem more appropriate. It's like at the dentist when they're putting the fluoride gunk on your teeth and they ask you what flavor. I always go with mint because it's a clean feeling, unlike Strawberry or Marshmallow. Also, the fruity ones make me sick to my stomach.

  7. Warning: this is completely irrelevant to your blog. Butttttt, Michael Jackson wore his infamous white glove on his left hand.

  8. I never gave any thought about what makes up my best friend- carmex. If someone told me I had to use another brand I'd probably have icky chapped lips forever. I did take my tube out of my pocket and look at the ingredients- Beeswax is at the top of the list for 'Inactive ingredients'. I guess it's just for texture and substance than for actual 'healing'- but just the same vegans can't use it. Good luck in your quest. I hope you find an even better chapstick! :D

  9. Never would have thought Burt's Bees could have any products that would be considered non-vegan. It's pretty inspiring how much drive and motivation you can draw from yourself. I applaud you for this entry and everyone up to this point. If I ever started to get sick, I'd undoubtedly back off the vegan lifestyle. Your commitment to a healthier life is kryptonian (superman reference). I look forward to reading more about your on-going journey.

  10. I could never do it. My daily routine normally consists of wake up, apply burts-bees, shower, eat breakfast, apply more burts-bees... you get the picture.

    I give you props girl!

  11. :D Thanks for the encouragement, everybody! And Rita: that rules.

  12. Rita! Hahah. You're funny.

    Also, Jess two things. I give you props because I use Burt's Bees also. But, you have you ever thought of trying Carmex in place of chapstick? I think it works just as well.

    Secondly. I thought of you the other day. I was watching Good Morning, America, I believe, and they had a whole segment on Vegan eating and they made recipes! I thought of you. :)

  13. Aww! That's awesome! I've been seeing a lot of vegan stuff on TV lately, too. That's so cool.

    And, unfortunately, I think Carmex has beeswax in it too. :(