Tag Archives: vegan

One More Episode.

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Oregon Coast. January 2013.

A few years ago, my MacBook battery ceased. If the power cord was removed, I had about thirty seconds to connect the power cord. I was unable to use my laptop at my leisure, the way a laptop is meant to be used. I was bound to the cord, which was limiting. Sure, I could take my laptop the the coffee shop, but only if I could find a place to plug in. Generally speaking, it didn’t seem to be a hindrance. A few days ago I took the plunge and dropped a hundred bucks at the Apple store for a new battery. It was monumental. When I got home, I sat on the couch with my MacBook. Wirelessly. I didn’t realize what I was missing out on. It seems silly and petty, but coincidentally, I had published my “One More Episode” zine the same day. Dirty Boots 004 is a perzine about shedding labels that hinder my existence. Light bulb.

While my MacBook could still function, and I was still able to go (almost) anywhere my heart desired, I was still bound by a wire. I had somewhat of a revelation. How I felt about my MacBook debacle was completely relatable in regards to labels. The only thing it changed was the distance I could venture from the outlet. The computer was fine. It was the same. But, I simple had a new sense of power. Freedom.

 A friend and I talked over my zine, discussing labels. She made some great points. When you are first exploring a facet, labels are fine. They can be an incredible guide. For example, when you’re vegan, it’s surprising to learn how many foods contain animal products. It’s nice to have a black and white idea of what is “vegan” and what is not. The bumper lanes at the bowling alley. It’s nice to have guidance. After a while, it becomes second nature. Reading nutritional labels doesn’t seem like a daunting task. Avoiding animal products is no longer a speed bump. However, after a while, you can remove the bumpers and continue living as you always did. Nothing has changed. You’ve lifted the barrier that protects you from the gutter, but you’re still using the same form. And, chances are, after years of bowling with bumpers, you’ve got a pretty great handle on the situation. Strikes and spares are no big deal.

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One More Episode. Dirty Boots 004. Available at Storenvy.

“Once you name something, you strip it from all of its possibility. You tether it to a singular definition, and it is unable to thrive. Enough room to breathe and extend our gaze to the horizon, but not enough to bear the badge of freedom.” 

If you have pigeonholed yourself into a box, I suggest giving this zine a read. Some folks can grow and thrive as they categorize themselves into religion, politics or lifestyles, but I find it to be quite inhibiting. I hope this perzine gives you a little insight on my view of labels and the obstruction they cause. Pick it up in the Storenvy shop.

Why I’m not a militant vegan.

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I wanted to add a little bit of clarity to why I’m vegan and why I choose to lead by example, rather than be an in-your-face, militant vegan. I made a video explaining everything here.

I’m losing track of time, but I believe I’ve been vegan for about four or five years. It’s not something I struggle with. I’m not missing out on any food. I don’t “miss” anything (except maybe 35mm film). I feel better about my body, my life and myself. For me, going vegan was one of the greatest decisions I ever made. I do it for my health. I do it because I don’t agree with the practices of the “animal industry.” I don’t believe animals are ours to “own,” consume, wear or exploit. Being vegan is an ethical choice I made because I am extremely conscious of my body/health, the environment and the animals. I made the change overnight. I owe it to boredom and the Internet. I was up late, surfing the web one night, when I ran across a site informing me of the cruelties of the animal industry. One thing lead to another and I soon found myself swimming in a sea of exposed facts the dairy and meat industry don’t want you to know about. PETA’s “Meet your Meat” video was the icing on the cake and I threw the towel in. I remember being shocked, appalled and decided that moment I no longer wanted to support the “animal industry.”

When I first “converted,” I was borderline militant. I debated with people a lot, called folks out on their shit, argued with strangers on Twitter, posted graphic images on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, etc., etc. It was exhausting, and was never resolved. No progress was made. Some people are set in their ways. Some people have an eye opening epiphany when they realize what happens to bring the cow in the field to the hamburger on their dinner plate. I can’t “hate” on people for their ignorance. You shouldn’t either. I was once ignorant, and “ignorance” is not meant to be used in a condescending manner. Being ignorant simply means uneducated, and there’s nothing wrong with being ignorant on a subject. It just means there’s much to learn. Some people simply don’t know/understand/comprehend the process and how the “animal industry” treats and exploits sentient beings. That was me five years ago. There’s a difference between simply “not knowing” and saying, “I don’t give a shit that animals are abused. That’s the food chain. We were meant to eat meat. If God didn’t want us to eat meat, why’d He make them out of food? I love meat too much., etc., etc.” ‘I’ve heard them all, and those are the people who generally won’t have their opinion swayed, no matter how much you yell, scream and/or shove literature down their throat. It’s a losing battle. And, quite frankly, it’s not my style. On the other hand, the people who are simply ignorant and generally shocked and appalled, which results in a sudden change in their diet.

With my adopted PMA, a couple years after going vegan, I put the brakes on in regards to “vegan outreach.” I never stopped making vegan merch, talking to folks who were interested or making delicious vegan baked goods. I just stopped trying to go out of my way to educate people on where their meat/milk/eggs/leather/etc. comes from. These days, I keep to myself. Sort of. I make vegan related zines and buttons in my online shops, I tag delicious meals I create #vegan and, above all, I lead by example. To me, this method is more effective. I don’t come off as pushy or militant. I simply show people how easy it can be to live vegan (in Seattle, WA, USA anyway). People respect that, and I feel like I’m able to reach out to more people because I’m not scaring folks away with frightening images and stomach-churning videos. While this shock factor may work for some, I don’t feel comfortable with this approach. I’m sure some militant vegans, or those who are more “active” in the animal liberation community frown upon folks like me (one may use the term “armchair activist), but when I get five to ten messages a day saying “You inspired me to go vegan,” I feel like I’m doing a damn good job at reaching out to others.

I am vegan because it works for me. I am proud to be vegan because I know it’s what I believe to be best for my body, the animals and the environment. I can only lead by example. If you’re interested in exploring a vegan lifestyle, make Google your best friend, or check out my zine to help you get on the right track. (:

“If you don’t like my opinions leave. But just remember, the animals can’t leave the cages that hold them. They are captive and suffering. As you cozy into your bed tonight, try to imagine the pain and the suffering that they endure day after day and night after night. Next time you get some soap in your eyes, try to imagine that pain for 3 or 4 days at a time. Next time you have a stomach ache, try to imagine liquid plumber being poured down your throat till you puke so much blood that you bleed to death. Next time you bump your head, try to imagine being a monkey and getting a steel plate smashed into your skull at 50 miles per hour. Then, only then should you feel compelled to tell me that I’m wrong about my opinions. For all these things have happened in the name of science. They continue in abundance till this day.” / Rikki Rockett

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Seven Ways to Kick this Week’s Ass!

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Good day!  The sun is shining (here in Cincinnati, at least) and it’s a brand new week!  Time to get that PMA going, gather that momentum and make this week the best one yet!

  • Keep in mind that there are several sides to every story.  Don’t be quick to jump to conclusions or take sides.  Keep an open mind, always.
  • Learn to ignore your negative thoughts.  It takes some practice, but you will eventually get the hang of it.  When you feel a negative thought coming up, acknowledge it, and move on with your day.  Sometimes it helps me to use a visual aid, such as someone coming into my head and sweeping bad thoughts away.
  • Learn the benefits of a vegan diet.  Many people don’t realize the process it takes turning a cow into a burger.  Learn how things are made, and the effect it has on the things around us.  I just posted an interesting article to Facebook yesterday about how factory farms produce 100 times more waste than all people in the US combined and it’s killing our drinking water.  Educate yourself.  If you’re interested in adopting a vegan lifestyle, this article may help you.  (:
| Source : We Heart It |
  • Get to know your family.  Learn your mom’s favorite movie as a child.  Learn what your grandpa did as his first job.  Just because they are your family doesn’t mean they can’t be your friends.
  • Be good to yourself.  Eat well.  Live well.  Practice self love.  When you are good to yourself, it shows, and it lets others know you won’t accept any less.
  • Compliment at least five people a day.  Whether it’s a complete stranger standing in front of you at the post office, or your best friend.  Put a smile on someone’s face.  If five seems too little, strive for ten.  Break out of your shy shell and tell the cute girl in front of you that she has a great smile.
  • Divide and conquer.  Divide your big problem or project into smaller parts.  Conquer each one individually.  Combine these results together.  Sometimes a few small projects can be less overwhelming than one very large problem.
Enjoy your week.  PMA.  Remember – it’s all in your head.  xx

Going Vegan : Because it’s not as hard as people make it out to be, and we don’t all worship PETA. [Part 001]

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I am flattered and overwhelmed by the amount of messages I receive every day about people wanting to adopt a vegan lifestyle.  As part of my Intentions for 2011, I plan on inspiring one person a day to go vegan.  It’s looking pretty plausible, I will tell you that.

Due to the overabunance of messages I get, it’s nearly impossible for me to reply personally to each and everyone.  However, I don’t want to neglect these fine individuals, so what a grand idea to create an easy “How to go Vegan” article for all inquiring ladies and gents, eh? (;

Let’s begin, shall we?

Typically, most people don’t up and go vegan overnight, like myself.  Most people feel more comfortable starting out going vegetarian.  If you feel like you’re going to “struggle” giving up certain foods you’ve been eating all your life, start slow.  Everyone moves at their own pace, and I wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from a vegan lifestyle by walking around with a shitty attitude.  Try to be as vegan as possible.

1.  Educate yourself. There are so many amazing web sites and books out there.  It’s pretty easy to get your hands on some solid information.  I typically don’t like to rep PETA because I, personally, think they give vegans a bad name.  We’re not all militant, angry, immature whack jobs, I promise.  Some of my favorite books I typically suggest to people are:

  • The Ethics of What We Eat by Peter Singer and Jim Mason.  This one is pretty interesting because it follows three families and their food choices.  I’ve read this one a few times.
  • Animal Liberation by Peter Singer.  I will be completely honest – I don’t think I finished this one.  Not for the sensitive, animal loving folk out there.  This book can get pretty graphic and it’s extremely upsetting.  However, maybe that’s what some people need to give them a little push in the right direction.
  • Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin.  I have mixed feelings on this book.  I think the book itself is pretty great.  It’s informational and hilarious.  These girls have a hella potty mouth.  However, it can be taken pretty rude and condescending because of the entire “Fat is unhealthy, Skinny is healthy,” mentality.  Just take it for what you will.  It’s extremely entertaining to read.
  • Food Inc. by Participant Media and Karl Weber.  ”How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-And What You Can Do About It.”  I think that pretty much sums it up.
  • Food Rules by Michael Pollan.  This book has some pretty great stuff in it, but does not promote a 100% vegan diet.  Otherwise, it’s a goody.
  • The Green Beauty Guide by Julie Gabriel .  Ladies, this book will make you want to throw away all of the make-up you own.  It made me. (;

| Source : Unknown |

There are plenty of videos out there as well you can check into.  Personally, I can’t stand watching graphic documentaries because I get extremely emotional.  Let’s face it – I know what does on behind closed slaughter-house doors.  No need to burn any more of those images into my brain.  BUT – If you’re feeling up to it, check some of them out.

  • The Cove.  Terrifying documentary about Ric O’Barry exposing a cove in Taijii, Japan.  Very informational and just goes to show you what corrupt, disgusting activities can be going on right under our noses.
  • Food Inc.  Based off of the book.  Personally, I think the book is better, but it’s a good one to watch, none-the-less.
  • Earthlings.  I’ll be completely honest.  Never saw it.  I hear it’s terribly graphic, but also amazing as hell.  Like I said – I know what goes on and I know why I’m vegan.  I don’t think I need to watch this, just to get all upset. /:
  • Supersize Me.  A classic.  Period.
  • King Corn.  I just find this one interesting as hell.  It may come off a bit slow, but it’s good – and a constant reminder why you should avoid HFCS.

And of  course, you know PETA is going to have some hardcore, disgusting videos you could always check into.  They’re good with the shock treatment stuff.  (;

2.  Get used to reading labels. You will have to learn not so blatant terms.  Things like gelatinwhey and casein are not, in fact, vegan.  They can be tricky little bastards who sneak into a potentially vegan-friendly meal.  Honestly, I always thought this was pretty fun.  It’s kind of like a game.  But then again, I’m kind of an odd ball, so maybe I would find this fun.  I think most people see it as a pain in the ass.  But hey, it is what you make it.  It’s pretty amazing what you can find out by reading labels.  There’s some pretty funky crap that goes into the food we consume.  I try to avoid anything that has more than 5 ingredients listed on the side panel.  I also like to use Kevin Trudeau’s rule of thumb – Don’t consume (or put anything on your body) you cannot pronounce.  These are chemicals and other weird things.  Honestly, if it’s vegan, it’s vegan.  My eating choices may differ from another vegan’s because I try to eat as natural and organic as possible.  As your venture down this vegan lifestyle path, you’ll be able to learn more about your food choices and make a decision from there. (:

3.  Brace yourself. You are now entering a world of…very stupid questions.  So get ready for it.  People are going to ask you where you get your protein.  You can come up with some witty comeback, or tell them about the protein myth.  Be prepared for, “…Uhhh…so what DO you eat?”  How your handle this is up to you, but I’m warning you – just brace yourself.  People never get tired of making fun of vegans.  Go ahead and soak it in.  Ease the tension by playing “Defensive Omnivore Bingo.”  (;

4. Seek out veg-friendly communities and/or like-minded individuals.  Oh, social networking, how I love you.  I’ve met so many incredible people on Twitter, Tumblr and others.  The great thing about being active on these sites, is you get the chance to interact and connect with fellow vegans.  Seraching keywords and hashtags makes this hella easy to connect with only those who share your interests or lifestyle.  You’ll be updated on vegan related news, learn about new delish veg products and so on and so on.  It won’t make you feel like such an outsider if many of your friends are meat-loving maniacs.  I mean that in the nicest way possible.  Believe me.  I am a veggie-loving maniac. (;

5.  Be as vegan as possible. If adopting a vegan lifestyle is something you’ve been interested in, but either haven’t had the willpower, motivation or [insert random excuse here], try to be as vegan as possible.  Start switching over regular milk to almond or hemp milk.  Eat less and less meat-based dishes.  Get in the habit of reading ingredient labels.

6.  Stock up on staple items. My apartment is always full of fruits and veggies, but also non-perishable items I use on the daily.

  • Chick peas. One of my favorite things to make with garbanzo beans is faux tuna salad.  Basically, you just mash chick peas and mix with vegan mayo, relish, celery, onion and voila!  Extremely quick and easy.  Chick pea cutlets are also a favorite.
  • Black beans. Black beans with rice and garlic smothered broccoli is one of my favorites, but my roommate, Stephen, makes AMAZING black bean burgers.  They are to die for.
  • Almonds. Great for raw recipes, and snacking in general.
  • Bread and bagels. I’m obsessed with toast and White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter.  Obsessed.  One of my new favorites is Tofuffi cream cheese and White Chocolate Wonderful spread on a bagel.  Yes.
  • Pasta and pasta sauce. I adore pasta to the max.  It’s a quick and easy dinner, too.  Top with vegan grated topping (faux parm cheese) and there you have it.  Cheap and easy.
  • Gardein crispy chicken tenders. Oh.  my.  Gahd.  These are, by far, one of my absolute favorite faux-chicken meals.  They are perfect by themselves, on a bun with mayo, lettuce and tomato, or in a salad.  Delish.
  • Daiya cheese. This is the ONLY vegan cheese I cook with anymore.  It melts fantastically and tastes incredible.  I make an incredible baked mac and cheese with it, use it to top steamed broccoli, my salads, and everything else you could possibly put cheese on.  NOMZ.
  • Any and all of Amy’s Kitchen (vegan) products. I am a sucker for Amy’s soups.  Lentil and No-Chicken Noodle are my all time favorites.  They also make an awesome mac and cheese, used with Daiya! (;
  • Spices and more spices. Adopting a vegan diet, you’ll realize you’re a culinary expert in training.  (;  There are loads of amazing recipes you’ll run across that require different spices for cooking, so stock up!

7.  Don’t expect vegan mock meats to taste like bloody bundles of joy.  Sometimes when I cook for non-vegans friends, they comment that it’s delicious, but it doesn’t taste like “the real thing.”  Well, good.  To be quite honest, I don’t want my faux chicken strips to taste like REAL chicken.  A lot of mock meats and suchlike do a pretty good job at imitating the “real thing” and I think this is great for people who are merging to a vegan diet.  What’s even better?  I don’t have to pick through white or dark meat, or veins when eating my faux chicken.  (;

8. Don’t even get discouraged when switching over to a plant-based diet.  Think of it as an adventure, where you are constantly learning and discovering new things.  (:  You might slip up a time or two and consume something you didn’t realize wans’t 100% vegan, but it happens.  So your old favorite junk food may contain gelatin, but there are endless delicious vegan-friendly foods that are waiting to be discovered by you!

9. Share it with the world!  I like to take a more “relaxed” approach to spreading the rad-ness of veganism.  I started out lifestreaming because I was constantly taking photos of my food and I wanted to share with the world that yes, while I was vegan, I ate some serious kick ass foods!  I’ve inspired countless people to go vegan because they’ve said to me, “You make being vegan seem so easy, and it looks like to eat a lot of amazing foods!”  Reality check.  It IS easy and hell and delicious as hell!  Hop on the bandwagon.  Upload pictures of your delectable vegan creations and show people what’s up.

Make Google your best friend. If you have any vegan related questions, just Google it.  You’re surely not the first person.  (;

Thank you, everyone, for your questions and comments regarding adopting a vegan lifestyle. It makes me feel so good that you’re choosing such a compassionate path!  I look forward to hearing your stories and suchlike.  Thank you for supporting me, my site and kicking major ass in general.  It is always, always appreciated. (;

This post was originally posted at jettavegas.com.

I’m Allowed to have Opinions, Too! Kombucha & the Straight Edge “Dilemma.”

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It wasn’t until recently that I got hooked on kombucha.  I was a little put off by my first taste a year or two ago.  I assume it’s just an acquired taste.  Regardless, the health benefits you can reap from it are extraordinary.  People will argue this.  Some will say it’s a fad.  Other’s will say it cures diseases.  Do the research and form your own opinion.  All I know, it’s fucking delicious.  Though I’m not fond of the name (it’s the damn vegan in me), Cheeseslave will give you quite a few good reasons why it’s good to eat fermented foods.

Let’s cut to the chase.

I mentioned to an acquaintance (who too, is straightedge) that I was buying a kombucha.  He didn’t know what it was, so I told him it was a Chinese fermented mushroom tea, to which he replied, “Fermetation creates ethyl alcohol, bruh.”  I told him I wasn’t about to get into an “edge debate” with him, and he said, “There’s no reason to.  There are no grey areas.  You are or you aren’t [straightedge].  You take it seriously or you don’t.  There is no in between.”  This baffles me, coming from a non-vegan straightedge guy.  I mean, it always confuses the hell out of me when straightedge people aren’t vegan.  I mean, typically, a lot of sXe’rs are edge for health and purity reasons.  That is why I am baffled when an individual chooses to abstain from a beer, but has no problem downing fifteen sliders from White Castle.  Wouldn’t it be safe to assume that a burger has more chemicals and poisons than a single beer?  I do believe so.

As far as the “grey areas,” I would also have to disagree.  I mean, as stated above, shouldn’t veganism go hand and hang with a straightedge lifestyle?  I mean, if you’re doing it for health and purity reasons, doesn’t this just seem like the logical thing to do?  What about caffeine?  That’s a drug, yet many of my straightedge friends consume coffee or soda.  Even sleep deprivation can be a mind-altering “substance.”  Does your mouthwash contain alcohol?  Note that most mouth washes contain a (very high) percentage of alcohol – typically around 20%.  Do you take Advil for headaches?  Do you drink energy drinks?

I believe the term “straight edge” can be a bit tricky.  It started in the early 80′s, and is said to be derived from the band Minor Threat.  It stemmed from punk and hardcore music, and in their lyrics, you would hear, “I’m a person just like you / But I’ve got better things to do / Than sit around and funk my head  / Hang out with me the living dead  / Snort white shit up my nose  / Pass out at the shows  / I don’t even think about speed  / That’s something I just don’t need”.  It’s that straight edge.

Like many things, it’s branched off – “evolved,” rather.  I know a few people who are proud to be in straight edge gangs (you know, going to shows and beating people up for drinking and smoking – because obviously beer is intolerable, but violence is perfectly okay).  There are some people who are just laid back beings, choosing to abstain from substances they deem impure (and not making a big deal about it).  Other’s are punks, who grew up when Minor Threat first shouted these lyrics.  There are many different “categories,” if you will, of straight edge beings.  Not everyone listens to punk or hardcore music, and I don’t believe it should be necessary to, in order to lead a pure, drug-free life.

The basis of claiming straight edge is a life long commitment to abstaining from things one deems “impure.”  These substances generally include alcohol, drugs and cigarettes.  How far you want to take it is up to the individual.  You can choose to abstain from promiscuous sex, caffeine, etc., etc.  What does “impure” mean to the individual?  How technical do you want to get?  Are tattoos impure because it’s a foreign substance lodged under one’s skin permanently?  If that’s the case, I’m far from straight edge.

Have we ventured too far off course?  Let’s get back to the topic of kombucha.

Last summer, kombucha was removed from the shelves of Whole Foods (and possibly other stores, I am unsure) due to it’s an elevated alcohol level in SOME brands.  Kombucha is fermented, which is typically converting carbs to alcohols and carbon dioxide.  Restrictively, it’s the chemical conversion of sugar into ethanol.  According to the FDA, a product containing more than 0.5% alcohol levels must state so on the label, and mustn’t be served to minors.  Since this whole ordeal, a year later, I have yet to find a bottle of kombucha with an alcohol “warning” on it, or be carded for this particular beverage.  Kombucha contains no more “alcohol” than a fermented piece of fruit.  Watch out!

My take on “may contain traces.”

I was recently asked what my thoughts were on foods that “may contain traces of dairy” or “was processed on equipment shared with milk and/or dairy.”  Here are my thoughts – the original product is not meant to contain dairy.  I see it as a soup and salad bar.  There may be a vegan soup sitting next to a non-vegan soup.  When someone serves themselves the non-vegan soup, some of it may accidentally splash into the neighboring vegan soup.  The establishment may have to disclose that the non-vegan soup “may contain traces” to cover their ass in case someone who is allergic to dairy or meat may contain this now “contaminated” soup.  It’s cross contamination and it’s very likely.  The same concept goes as far as kombucha.  The beverage is not intended to be an alcoholic beverage.  There is simply the chance that in the natural process of fermentation, alcohol may (key word MAY) contain traces (traces, people) of alcohol.  I say, it’s up to the consumer to decide, and how flexible you are.  I, personally, do not consume products labeling with “may contain traces.”

Permission to be a smart ass?  Permission granted.

Okay, hXc Straight Edgers.  Here is a short list of other fermented foods you might want to avoid, for fear of “breaking edge.”

  • Tempeh.
  • Pickles.
  • (some) Bread.
  • Miso.
  • Yogurt.
  • Soy sauce.
  • (some) Tofu.
  • Sauerkraut.
  • Sprouted foods.
Am I no longer considered to be straight edge because I consume pickles?  Give me a break.
Can one get drunk off a kombucha?  At $4.00 a bottle, I’m not about to find out.  If I wanted to get drunk and break edge, I’d go have me a Jack and Coke (or chug some Listerine), not some (expensive) health elexir.
I choose to claim straight edge because I feel it is necessary to wear this label.  I want to show others that I can live a fun, fulfilling life without relying on, or abusing substances that I (personally) deem to be impure.  I’m not a typical straight edge “bro,” like many paint a picture of upon hearing the term.  You won’t find me moshing at hardcore shows.  I don’t lecture people for drinking or smoking.  I just do my own thing.  I wish to lead by example.  I choose to be straight edge because it’s the thing that makes the most sense to me.  I enjoy being sober.  I don’t like the inability of being in control of my thoughts or emotions, which substances like drugs and alcohol can murk up.  I choose to wear the label “straight edge” because I want to show people that you don’t have to be a punk or be into the hardcore scene to live a pure, poison free life.  That’s why I am straight edge.
(My) survey says:  Kombucha is straight edge if you so view it to be straight edge.
I, personally, do not deem kombucha to be “impure” or toxic to my body.  I don’t drink it for a “buzz” (nor does it give me one).  I don’t get carded to purchase it.  Keep in mind, that no where on the label, does it state that the product contains any alcohol, nor are there any warnings on the label.  On top of that, I do what I want.  If you want deem it to be impure, don’t consume it.  (:
JV out___