Aesop

Aesop is a high-end skin care company based in Melbourne, Australia. Their products range from hydrating cream, to detergent, to animal companion care. The product range is definitively unisex with non-overpowering scents that make an excellent base for colognes/perfumes. It’s an extremely luxurious self-care line with an aesthetic to match.

Aesop products are on PETA’s list of cruelty free companies. In addition, aside from their shaving brush that is made with badger bristles, “No other product in the Aesop range contains animal-derived ingredients (beeswax or honey) at this time”.

“No Aesop product contains colourants, artificial fragrances, mineral oils, silicones, parabens or pearlising agents.”

Some of their body cleansers and shampoos do use Sodium Laureth Sulphate, not to be confused with Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, but their levels are far less than the normally used safe levels. They also offer formulations without it.

Aesop products are a mix of biodynamic, organic, conventional and synthetic. They look for the best possible ingredients, but organic is not always available, practical, or when importing would cause an environmental concern of its own.

“All Aesop cleansing products use surfactants which comply with the ‘ultimate biodegradability’ status of the EU Detergents Directive and therefore are compatible with septic tank waste systems. Our products are also phosphate-free and are therefore suitable for use in water-recycling systems.”

Their soap slab and Sage and Zinc facial hydrating cream contain Palm Oil for those that are concerned with Palm Oil ingredients. However, their Palm Oil is sourced from RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certified suppliers. “RSPO is an internationally recognised, not-for-profit organisation formed in 2004 to promote the growth and use of sustainable Palm Oil products by creating and monitoring global standards.” They have also purchased GreenPalm Certificates in order to offset the annual usage of any of their products that use Palm Oil. “This includes all ingredients of mixed origin, for example Cetearyl Alcohol, where the fatty acid chain may be obtained from either Coconut or Palm sources. These certificates give money back to growers who are producing sustainable Palm Oil to reward and encourage their efforts.”

More information can be found here.

Check out their kit for a man’s bathroom essentials.

Drinking Tiger Bones

TigerPaintingThe Daily Beast recently wrote an article about the mythic Asian machismo associated with drinking spirits containing tiger bones. Like many other superstitions of acquiring the two-dimensional, symbolic strengths of animals by consuming their horns, penises, flesh and bones – the black market in tiger bones exists as a luxury status symbol to many successful men in China who believe that these body-parts have medicinal, if not magical powers. In what is perhaps the most revealing quote from Li,  a businessman who both drinks and distills the illegal drink, he states:

“If I ever had to face that thing,” Li Wen said as he pointed to the tiger bone steeping in his vat of rice wine, “it would kill me. But now it’s in a jar, like I tamed it.” He believes that consuming the spirit on a regular basis gives him the strength of a tiger and the senses of a predator. “I’m a better businessman because of it.” – The Daily Beast

Animals typically appear in this context as empty vessels without their own perspectives – to be filled with anthropocentric meaning, caricatures that represent one or two unwavering quality – one of which is almost always virility. But no, tiger bones will not help your boner. I have difficulty with medical practitioners and the faithfully-superstitious who use animals without acknowledging the scientific reality that these animals have their own complex inner lives that have nothing to do with the meaning assigned to them, the meaning we are all asked to accept as self-evident. Tigers represent ruthless power, nothing more, and so can you! This is a form of our own power, perhaps, but also a source of our dysfunctional relationship with nature and animals in general, and ultimately a sign of our unwillingness to validate the non-human world or to venture out of our own, selfish heads.

Tigers have it rough in China. In 1959, as part of the Great Leap Forward, Mao Zedong waged a public campaign in an attempt to eradicate the South China Tiger, as he considered the species “an enemy of man.” More recently, at a CITES meeting held in Geneva—CITES stands for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora—a Chinese delegate said, “We don’t ban trade in tiger skins but we do ban trade in tiger bones.” It was the first time that a Chinese public official acknowledged the existence of the tiger pelt trade within the country. The official ban on tiger bone sales has been in place since 1993—but why does the Chinese government see a difference between killing endangered animals for their skins and killing them for their bones? – The Daily Beast

 

ROMBAUT SS15

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For Spring/Summer 2015, ROMBAUT continues to bring together the hardness of functional, architectural and minimalist aesthetics with the confidence of sustainable, future- materials.

“Fitting for a spring collection, the vision is hopeful, celebratory and radiant. It is a message of youthful optimism. Nature and technology are tamed in the materials, our history and our future are merged in the forms. The lustrous surfaces tell a child’s story of the future. Through commitment and hard work, ecology and modernity become one. Sound mind, sound body, sound environment.”

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The craftsmanship of ROMBAUT transforms materials at a fundamental level, creating new material innovations out of stone, tree bark, natural rubber, cotton cellulose and coconut fiber. All materials and fabrics are sustainably engineered – there are no toxic or animal-derived substances involved. Instead ROMBAUT develops plant-based materials and is determined to protect bio-diversity in our environment.

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For more information visit ROMBAUT.com

 

NPR’s Special Series “Men in America” Looks At Vegans

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Men in America is a special series from NPR’s show All Things Considered that “…explores what it means to be a man in America today.” I was contacted by producer Neda Ulaby not too long ago because a friend of hers had directed her to The Discerning Brute. Here at TDB we focus a decent amount of energy exploring masculinity and the evolving definition of manhood, especially as it relates to animal protection, social justice and environmental issues. It’s my opinion that mainstream masculinity, which could also be referred to as commercial masculinity (the beer-beef-boobs-and-ball masculinity sold to us via commercials and pop-culture) is a major roadblock to sustainability for its dominance in our political, economic and social culture and its shaming of compassion, thoughtfulness, nurturing and other characteristics that are relegated to the realm of women, the effeminate, and the irrational.

Please take a few minutes to join the conversation by listening to the show and sharing your thoughts in the comments below.

For a more in-depth look at this topic, please visit our other posts – including some video interviews – that explore this very important issue:

Featured in this episode of All Things Considered are:

Joshua Katcher founder/creative dir. of Brave GentleMan & founder/editor of The Discerning Brute.
thediscerningbrute.com
bravegentleman.com
Giacomo Marchese, competitive bodybuilder & founder of Plant-Built
facebook.com/VeganOlympia
Dominick Thompson, Healthcare Executive, triathlete & founder of Iron Brukal
ironbrukal.com/
Daniel Strong, chef & co-owner Chickpea & Olive
chickpeaandolive.com/
Cornell Ward, MMA fighter co-host Walking Alone Podcast
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David Carter: NFL’s Vegan Defensive Lineman

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David Carter is a defensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders and a competitive powerlifter with Plant Built. He will soon launch his website, The 300 Pound Vegan, and admits “this is a chapter in my life I was never expecting“. That’s not surprising to hear from someone who grew up eating every kind of meat, and lots of it, at his grandfathers barbeque restaurant in LA, and who believed the mythology that if you eat muscle, you become muscle. His recent evolution to veganism, initially sparked by his wife’s same decision, is controversial for a guy who plays professional football and has to stay big and beefy. But he’s more confident than ever that “being vegan is not only the most efficient way to be full-body strong, it’s also the most humane; everyone wins.” On his forthcoming website, he explains his journey since he went vegan in February of 2014:

Very early on I was taught that if I wanted to be big and strong there was only one way to go about it.  You guessed it—eat meat and the more the better. Every coach, trainer, nutritionist, and doctor all pointed me in the direction of animal products. From protein shakes to weight gainers there was no other alternative, so I did as I was told and followed the standard athlete’s diet regimen.  Whey protein, raw eggs, gallons of milk, and casein were in just about every supplement I took…

The more I learned, the more my body benefited and my results came quickly. More energy, shorter recovery time, increased stamina, improved strength, and the peace of mind that no one had to die in order for me to live.  Every one of my nagging injuries is gone. Tendonitis, inflammation, scar tissue, nerve damage, and chronic muscle fatigue all corrected themselves within months of adopting veganism.

…by making this one small change not only have I saved my own life but the countless lives of voiceless and defenseless animals everywhere. Not to mention veganism is great for our planet as well.  Becoming vegan has given me a greater purpose, something bigger than myself to fight for, and fight I will.