Because They Said So


Vegans, like vegetarians do not consume meat, fish or poultry “but they also do not use other animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy products, honey, leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animal products.” Veganism has been around since the 1850’s. images (1)Back then, the reasons for going vegan were quite similar to some of the reasons why people are vegan today. Some vegans really want a healthy lifestyle and desire to give all living animals a better life. They choose not to eat animal by-products such as eggs or dairy because they don’t want to promote the meat industries and it’s all the same for why they don’t wear leather or cosmetics. Though veganism has been around for more than a century, it is still pop culture of today because the mediums of media are different.  It’s always in your face and the tastemakers of this time makes sure that all have an opportunity to choose a vegan lifestyle.

“Tastemakers can help keep culture vital by introducing the public to new ideas, music, programs, or products. But the ability to sway or influence the tastes of consumers can be worth millions of dollars. In the traditional media model, media companies set aside large advertising budgets to promote their most promising projects. Tastemakers are encouraged to buzz about “the next big thing.” -Jack Lule

                Is vegan at all what it was originally meant for anymore? That is my question. When I see that celebrities like Beyoncé and Ariana Grande have gone vegan or when I type “vegan” in Pinterest and see how many boards comes up, i’d say, no.  It’s been around for all of our lives, but this this generation is reshaping its purpose and it has now become the “cool” thing to do. With that, businesses have created many forms of non-vegan foods to appease vegan dieters making this diet doable as well as comfortable.

There are so many substitute foods for “old cravings” that a vegan dieter may have. Though tofu and soy products have been around for a while, businesses have added more “foods” to the list of products that a vegan can eat. There are Vegan substitute guides all over the internet giving guidelines to what one can eat when they are “feeling like a burger”.

Sweet Potatoes and coconut products have become a big hit within the vegan community and now there are vegan IMG3465 dairy products. Vegan cheeses are newest on the block. They are pretty expensive but come in many varieties. And if you cannot shower with Dove, soap is breaking your bank as well. Whole Foods is just one store that is vegan friendly. Imagine how many other businesses are gaining unimaginable profits because their vegan store says “YOU’RE A VEGAN, YOU HAVE TO BUY THIS!”

images (8)It goes without saying that celebrities have a huge influence on what their audience sees and emulates. Early this month, Beyoncé and her husband Jay-Z joined forces with the 22 Days Nutrition meal service. The couple tried the product for themselves before they sold the idea of their own Vegan campaign to their fans.  However, Beyoncé made her personal challenge public by posting her journey on Instagram. Even if the challenge hadn’t worked for her, her fans had already joined the movement, simply because she tried the product. 0c500b65_b.xxxlargeIn a short, written by MTV’s John Walker, Walker makes a very good point that I don’t think people think about when they jump on celebrity bandwagons. He states that “If you are what you eat and you’re eating “the Beyoncé diet,” then this meal plan’s big selling point is that you will effectively “become” Beyoncé by the end of it — and therein lies the problem.”

Young actress turned pop star is an example of this. There is a webpage that is dedicated to Look and Act Like Ariana Grande. On this page you will find out how to get her skin, style sense, and eating habits. In 2013 Ariana Grande went 100% vegan. A vegan YouTuber was ecstatic about Ariana’s decision to go vegan and states that “she has such a huge following that she has so much potential to change an entire generation”. 

While this is true, it may also be dangerous. I think the idea of Vegan eating (clean eating) is a great thing but just because its right, doesn’t mean that it’s right for everybody. Celebrity trainer and founder of Twenty Two Training, Dalton Wong stated to that “Every year there is some eating fad that we all get behind. Last year we had the 5:2, the year before we had the alkaline diet, and the year before that gluten free. Veganism is now cool, but if you don’t do it properly, it’s really not that healthy,” As pop culture consumers, we hear all of the glorious things about movements, products and results that make us want to jump on the bandwagon. However, doing so leaves a ton of room for ignorance, accidents and destruction. Some will do it right. Some will seek a doctor to gain knowledge about themselves and how becoming a vegan would be beneficial for them. They will figure out why they want to switch lifestyles and how to appropriately do so. While others will spend a lot of money trying to eat like Beyoncé and who knows, may turn out worse than if than had they not tried it. I’m amazed how many people will follow a single person in a serious life change JUST because they’re famous. The future of Veganism is bright. Businesses make loads money, some people lose weight and become healthier, and some try and fail. The rest of us eat animals, animal by-products, honey and everything dairy. We wear, fur, silk, wool, and cosmetics and we enjoy life.

images (3)

What Brand is Your Dog?

Paperanian (Papillon X Pomeranian mix)

There is always some fad that is going around that everyone wants to be a part of or get involved in somehow. These fads can be anything from the clothes you wear to the things you eat. In the past few years, a new fad has come about, what dogs people get. Designer dogs have gotten extremely popular among the pet owning and pet breeding community. Designer dogs are dogs that are mixes between two well known breeds and given a new fancy name, such as yorkiepoo, chusky, and puggle. They are basically fancy mutts.

Sadly, people may be getting these designer dogs because they are just that, designer dogs. It’s in the name. It’s almost the same as getting a designer purse or designer shoes to some people. The public doesn’t always watch what matters, like global warming and the current political problems. They will pay more attention to which politician cheated on his wife or who was caught in an embarrassing situation. One thing most of the general public pays close attention to is celebrities. Celebrities can easily be considered tastemakers. The media always gives new information on the shining stars, but what the audiences take in from the information they get varies. Since even celebrities now own these mixes, the fad just expands. Jack Lule says,

” Historically, popular culture has been closely associated with mass media that introduce and encourage the adoption of certain trends. We can see these media as “tastemakers”—people or institutions that shape the way others think, eat, listen, drink, dress and more”.

Some people may decide to get a designer dog just because a celebrity has one. They may not consider the responsibility that having that dog would bring. Someone looking for a dog may think, ‘Oh, this so and so actor has a labradoodle; they must be a great dog. I’m going to get one of those.’ They may not look into the fact that labradoodles can be large and need plenty of exercise and space.  This tells you that the people, who get these dogs just to follow a trend, just want to fit in. They will even take such a responsibility in order to join or stay in the ‘In Crowd’.

Actor Jake Gyllenhaal and his Puggle

While the public is spending hundreds of dollars on designer dogs, there are dogs available for adoption who remain homeless.  An Article by Amanda Onion says,

“The problem with designer dogs is people might think they’re trendy — and that’s not a good reason to buy a dog,” said Susan Smith, community relations manager for the Franklin County Animal Shelter in Columbus, Ohio. “And before they put down, say $1,200 for a labradoodle or puggle, they should look first in a shelter because they can probably find the same type of dog here.” Smith says her shelter often houses mixes such as puggles, labradoodles and other unique blends of dogs. They may not carry the designer dog label, but she says the mutts are just as cute as any pooch that has been featured lately in the media.”

What she says is completely true. There is no difference between a dog at the shelter and designer dogs except that designer dogs cost hundreds more. There is nothing wrong with designer dogs, but the fact that they are requested so much that shelter dogs are rotting in shelters is true. If the public just look at shelter dogs as well when looking for a dog, or do their research about a breed so the dog they buy doesn’t end up in a shelter, there can be a difference.

Adoptable dogs lined up in cages in a shelter

Overall, designer dogs are just a fad. People want them because other people and celebrities want them. I believe the fad will last for a while, but eventually they will be seen as just another version of a dog. Sadly, this may result in many of these designer dogs being sent to shelters because their fad following owner is on to the next thing. Because of this I hope the fad lasts for a long time; at least for the sake of the designer dogs.

A yorkiepoo puppy


It’s Not Miller Time


Beer has always been a part of American culture, but after Prohibition and the enactment of the 21st Amendment, more than eight hundred breweries ceased operation, leaving only three hundred domestic beer companies in production. In the late 1970’s, when beer drinkers could no longer buy the beer they desired, many started brewing in the comfort of their own homes, starting the craze known as micro brewing, and the start of the craft beer phenomenon.


By 1982, six microbreweries emerged, including Blue Moon Brewing Company, who opened their doors in 1995. As of today, there are 1,892 small, independent craft brewing companies in the United States. According to, “currently, ‘craft’ beers are undergoing an unprecedented period of growth. The category has prospered during the economic downturn as consumers seek better quality products- ‘more bang for their buck’”. Not only are microbreweries attracting people with their unique variety of brews, but most have also opened their doors to the public, creating restaurants and tours centered in their locations.

Since they are constantly creating new and different flavors, the domestic beer companies, such as Miller, Budweiser, and Coors, cannot keep up with the expansion of independent breweries. According to Linda Holmes, “if you want to understand people, like monkeys, you have to understand what they’re actually doing. You’re looking kind of horizontally at the society around you and what people are actually surrounding themselves with because everybody knows that those things affect the way you think, whether they should or not.” People are definitely surrounding themselves with craft beer. The growth of the authenticity social trend has led towards the expansion of farmer’s markets, all natural foods, and especially craft beer. Beer drinkers everywhere would rather create their own beer, instead of drinking what everyone else does. Knowing the process of how it is created and the effort put into the brew makes everyone appreciate the taste even more.

The personalization of independent breweries touches home with many people. Many cities have craft beers of their own, including Yards of Philadelphia and San Diego’s Stone, allowing people to feel connected to them on a personal level.

The anti-corporatist views of independent breweries is appealing to the general public, steering them away from major brands like Heineken and Budweiser. Almost every bar or restaurant you visit carries three times more craft beer than domestic, and if they don’t, then they aren’t far away from doing so! So why are people so attracted to craft beer?  Could it be that these authentic companies have also mastered the art of advertising and marketing? Reds Apple Ale released its unique commercial last year, combining advertising with comedy by showing someone reaching for a domestic beer, and being hit in the head with a Reds, instantly changing their mind. Blue Moon is famous for their artistry in their commercials, demonstrating the tremendous effort they put in creating their beer, making it an art form just like their advertisements.

Other companies such as Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company (NCBC) and Mad Elf create eye-catching labels and taps that are much more appealing than the standard Miller Lite blue and gold. Not only are the advertisements and labeling appealing, the names themselves are an artform. NCBC creates a pumpkin ale called Punkless Dunkle, Laquanitas makes an IPA (Indiana Pale Ale) called Little Sumpin Sumpin, and Ithica has an IPA named Flower Power, just to name a few.


People are drawn to the authenticity, quality and personalization of these independent brewing companies.

The world of craft beer and independent brewing has become so large; companies like Coors have tried to copy them, by making a citrus beer for summer, which we all know will never compete with beers like Rivertowne’s Hala Kahiki pineapple beer. The rapidly growing world of craft beer has such a large audience, I don’t see an end to it any time soon, or ever at that. Who knows, maybe craft beer will become a part of American culture for good. If you ask me, it’s not a bad time to be a beer drinker!