New Hobbies and Palm Oil

So, I have been pretty busy lately – I took up a new hobby.

We were trying a lot of different soaps lately, to find a good vegan soap that we could rely on without spending a fortune.  One of my favorite pastimes is figuring out how to make things that most people just go to the store and buy.  I know, it’s a little neurotic, but it’s me, what can I say.

I watched some videos on Youtube and discovered that soap making is very well documented, and also seemed like a lot of fun!  I tried a couple of batches and have to admit, I’m sort of hooked on this soap business.  Cooking has even taken a little bit of a back burner at the moment.

It’s really interesting to see how the different oils, colors, and fragrances react and combine to make soaps with all kinds of different and interesting properties.  It also has been eye-opening in vegan-ish sort of ways.  The biggest thing is that I had to really take a look at Palm Oil – Palm is very popular for soap, as it makes a lot of nice lather and makes for a good, hard bar. I sort of knew, in the back of my head, that there were some animal rights issues around palm oil but didn’t take the time to examine it in detail.

After a ton of Internet surfing, I see this is a really charged and somewhat confusing topic.  Animals that live in the rain forest are being kicked out of their habitats and/or killed to make room for more palm production.  There’s plenty of “sustainable” palm oil available, but close examination of what that means reveals that the term could be used in a pretty misleading manner.

I’m going to continue the research on this topic, in the meantime, I’m just going to make soap that doesn’t use palm oil.  There’s tons of info on how to accommodate not using this popular fat in soap making.

Headed to now – I think we are going to make some cool, fancy bars tonight.  I’ll post some pictures soon.  I’d be very interested in hearing from other animal-rights people about palm oil.

Also, still reading and preparing for Mainstreet Vegan Academy next month (yay, excited!) and learning tons of new info from the reading list. Currently about halfway through World Peace Diet:Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony, interesting book with some lines of thought that define things that were in my head but hard to articulate.

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