cruelty free

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Turning My Back on Hostile Health Haters!

Published February 2, 2023 by Maryanne

Me, shopping for cruelty free vegan make-up products (My husband loves my jacket, so he took this photo by surprise).

Since I’m fortunate enough that I don’t have to use this blog as means of making money, because I am already a professional writer and professional speaker, from time to time I like to vent — hence the name of the blog, “inspiration, motivation, and a little sass.”

And because this blog is more of a love letter to myself, talking about whatever I want, whenever I want, and dissing on Bloganuary midway because the prompts were lame, in my opinion, I fail to write enough about my career. I honestly think half of my readers don’t even know what I do for a living.

Anyway, after what happened on Sunday, I am motivated to vent.

Since 2013, I’ve been giving health lectures at libraries, senior centers, and assisted living facilities. No, I am not a nutritionist or a dietician. I am simple a woman with a passion for health. And what good is a health degree when many who have those have their own health crisis? It doesn’t make sense. What I’m trying to say is that I talk the talk AND walk the walk.

One of my most popular lectures is “Healthy Pasta Alternatives.” It’s a lecture that ANYONE can give. It’s just common sense. Some people have wheat sensitivities, so they eat gluten free. And I’ve been providing information to those who seek pasta options besides wheat. And guess what? It works! So many people have thanked me and said they learned something. But I’ve had amazing audiences too — people who have their own gardens, people who ate healthy themselves but just wanted ideas for their children, and so on. It’s always a great audience that makes for a great lecture!

But Sunday it was bad. Real bad. After the lecture I had a person WHISPER to me, “It was a good lecture.” Why did she whisper? Perhaps because a few “bullies” hijacked my discussion. I had three people who insisted on standing up, throughout the lecture, speaking over me, forcing THEIR agenda on to the audience.

It all began when a woman said that her son was vegan. I said I was too. That got another woman in an uproar. I don’t know why veganism was so offensive to her, but she felt it was in her best interest to announce to the audience that I told them “THREE TIMES” that I was vegan. Uh, no, I just said it “once.”

Then the first woman insisted that “some vegans eat chicken.”

I corrected her, “No, SOME vegans DO NOT eat chicken.” You can’t even say vegetarians “eat chicken.” If you eat meat or chicken, you are a carnist. You have not right to call yourself vegan or even vegetarian! But dumb as it sounds, I did hear a woman who worked at a health food store telling everyone she was vegan and then raving about her chicken recipe.

Why people lie about food is beyond me. I guess, like politics, food is a touchy subject.

But lets move on. Another audience member asked if I thought veganism was a healthy diet.

First, veganism is NOT a diet. If you’re a vegan, it’s for the animals. The health benefits are just a side effect. But I didn’t go there. This was supposed to be about pasta, not veganism. However, I did share that I believed it was a healthy LIFESTYLE (I purposely say “lifestyle” not “diet” because it IS a LIFESTYLE). Then in a brief two minutes I shared that in my three years of vegan vegan, my health did improve. Even with that vegan “junk” food, my health improved!! I always had thyroid issues, now my bloodwork is excellent. Also my eyesight improved. And I will be 60 this August 2023. … I’m guessing that since fish was the one item I held on to prior to being vegan, the mercury and toxins even in the “healthiest” fish was doing me in.

But non-vegans don’t want to hear this.

Another tool from across the room blurted out, “VEGANISM IMPROVES YOUR EYESIGHT.”

I got excited and asked, “You heard that before?”

No. She was mocking me. “No, that’s what you said.”

No, that’s NOT WHAT I SAID.

I said, “MY eyesight improved since I became vegan.” I DID NOT say, “Veganism improves eyesight.” (Though I have read that others have said the same thing. But, we are all different! If you do good things for your body, it will do good things in return. And I WILL stand by the fact that dairy and meat cause inflammation and it’s my choice not to eat those items and something good happened. Why begrudge me that? (A fellow vegan said, it was my good karma. Perhaps.)

Oh, but how the haters LOVE to twist things around. And debate.

Then another chimed in and said, “Well how come I eat meat and I have good eyesight?”

I had to explain the OBVIOUS… uh, genetics, how we are all different. Why do some people eat everything they want and remain thin? There are just no answers to everything. But we all do the best we can. Yet this audience was out for the kill, ready to debate, twist things around, and get up on a soapbox.

I was ready to throw the mic down and walk out, not even accepting my check. It was that awful.

I’ve been giving this lecture almost 10 years now and this was the worst audience I ever had, except for a few friendly faces I saw who seemed to be enjoying the small bit of air time I had before it became a free for all. (And, of course, the librarian was not in the room to address this madness. This is par for the course at many library lectures. They are too BUSY to partake in the lecture they booked).

Nevertheless everyone enjoyed the free gluten free, sugar free, VEGAN pasta dish that I made.

If you liked this blog, feel free to buy me a kombucha:

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at:

She is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here:

Maryanne is also available for book editing and coaching. Rates are competitive.

And for positive messages, visit Be YOUnique, the Anti-Bullying You Tube Channel:

Visit my business page, Pear Tree Enterprises, at:

Over 50 Modeling

Published September 24, 2021 by Maryanne
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta (Photo by Jeff Danze)
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta (photo by Jeff Danze)
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta (Photo by Jeff Danze)

Shots by Jeff Danze, September 2021

I am 58-years-old.

Writing is my career; modeling has been my side gig since the 1980s. I’m by no means a runway model. I’m only 5’2″ and curvy. However, I continue to do this to show women, that it’s okay to be way over 50 and still look cute (or sexy).

I do not have any plastic surgery or Botox. That is my choice. All my make-up is cruelty free and vegan. My current hair was glazed red last month at a vegan salon.

Silk18 Shampoo For Men And Women

Published February 28, 2019 by Maryanne


Whenever Maple Holistics comes out with a new product, I’m totally jazzed!

First, I’m always on the look out for cruelty free products. I’ve been cruelty free since the mid-1990s. That said, it’s hard to find a cruelty free product that’s actually good. But with Maple Holistics, you can never go wrong.

I’ve used their products in the past, so I’ve been a fan for some time:

The new Silk18 shampoo is my latest product addiction. It really does make your hair silky soft. And the scent is absolutely lovely. It makes my hair smell like a delicious vanilla vegan cookie! It doesn’t leave a filmy residue.

And while it doesn’t say “hypoallergenic,” it seems like it is. In the past I’ve had issues using other all natural, cruelty free brands; so I’m limited in what products I can use. But Maple Holistics is a brand I can trust and count on. It’s paraben and sulfate free!

For more information on their new product, go here:

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an award winning journalist and health advocate. Her articles on health have appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines. She’s also available for speaking engagements on the following plant-based lectures: “Here’s To Your Health,” “Healthy Pasta Alternatives” and “Eat Well for the Holidays.” Contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta at: 

Silk 18 Maple Holistics

Published December 18, 2017 by Maryanne

Silk 18


Still hooked on Maple Holistics,  the next product I tried was Silk 18 conditioner. I am in love! Once again, in true Maple Holistic fashion, their product brings out the highlights in my hair. At this point, I am just days away from another coloring. Since I had a new stylist, I’ve been rocking the ombre, with a glaze color on top and foil highlight on the bottom. When you reach that seventh week part, the color always fades dull. But when I use Maple Holistics, the color just pops and I’m always getting compliments on my hair.

But what’s very special about Silk 18 is the gorgeous vanilla scent! I love using this condition so much. I think you will too!

Maple Holistic products are all cruelty free; all natural; and while they don’t say “hypoallergenic” I’ve been safely using them regularly. I don’t have problems (like eyes tearing) as I did with other cruelty free, all natural shampoos.

For more info, visit:

For free samples, visit:


Glyde Condoms: Ethical, Vegan and Organic

Published July 2, 2013 by Maryanne

GlydeGlyde, an ethical and vegan condom

In speaking with my vegetarian friends I’ve learned that most animal lovers don’t know that most cheese is made with animal rennet, that Loreal is one of the biggest make-up/hair color offenders when it comes to animal testing and that many alcoholic beverages are filtered through bone char.

I wonder how many vegetarians and vegans know that condoms are made with casein, which is derived from milk? And that Trojans, the most popular brand of condoms in the USA were made by Church and Dwight — a company known for it’s unethical animal testing!

Well, single ladies and gentleman who care about animals can rejoice in that Glyde condoms are completely ethical, cruelty free and 100 percent vegan! The product contains no animal by-products and is certified vegan. Glyde condoms have never been tested on animals. (By that they mean animals weren’t harmed in lab tests in order to create the product, not that the condom was tested by putting it on an animal. I’m not trying to be funny, just thorough in my explanation.)

Glyde condoms are also paraben free and odorless. They are a fair trade product.

Some are also flavored for safe oral sex. But Glyde doesn’t use cheap chemical concoctions. They are high grade and sugar free, using organic fruit and nut extracts to create strawberry, vanilla and other  flavors.

So, to all my readers who are still playing the field and want to play it safe — please use Glyde Condoms. The lab rats and cows will love you for it!

Check them out here:

This has been a public service announcement from someone who really loves animals!

Thank you very much!

happy rat“Thank you for buying condoms that don’t test on animals!”


Love for Gabriel Cosmetics Inc., ZuZu Luxe (all natural, no animal testing)

Published May 18, 2013 by Maryanne

zuzu luxeLuscious Zuzu Luxe Make-up! (Photo swiped from their website)

The other night I must have written 10 negative reviews on Yelp because good product and good service is such a rarity.

Well I finally have something positive to say about something — Gabriel Cosmetics Zuzu Luxe line: 100 percent natural ingredients, hypo-allergenic, vegan ingredients, doesn’t test on animals.

I’ve used these products for years and felt it was high time I contact them to let them know their product is loved and adored!

With “FAN MAIL” in the subject line — here is my letter to them:

Hello,I just want to say how extremely pleased I am with your Zuzu products (mascara, eye shadow, eye liner). Over the past few years I developed eye allergies and your products are the only ones I can wear with confidence that my eyes will feel perfectly GOOD!

I used to buy your products at Whole Foods, but they do not offer good customer service (bad management, nasty cashiers) so I stopped going there. I couldn’t find your products anywhere and tried other hypo-allergenic brands that don’t test on animals (some costing twice as much) and was so disappointed, as my eyes teared, burned, itched and hurt.

Then I found your website and ordered online. I got my mascara within days of ordering! I can’t express enough how pleased I am with not only your product, but your speed-of-lightning fast service!

God bless you and may you have many more years of continued business! Expect more online ordering from me soon!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

As a side note, I’d like to add, that when you order things online, you sometimes get little samples. They sent me a sample of lip gloss along with my order, which was really nice.

Below I’ve listed their website if you want to order some goodies (and have a good conscious that you are buying something that they didn’t have to put painful liquid drops in bunnies eyes to see if it works because that is just not necessary!)


I Don’t Do Facials

Published February 26, 2013 by Maryanne

Maryanne -- December 2011Me, late 40s (Photo by Darlene Foster)

I don’t do facials.

The other day someone said to me that if I don’t enjoy facials I haven’t received a good one.


I received many “good” ones. I don’t like them — period.

First of all, except for my husband, I don’t like anyone touching my face (especially women with creepy long nails). Facials aren’t relaxing to me. They take too long and I can think of a million better things I’d rather do with my time. And if the person giving me a facial is a talker — forget about it! Nothing is more irritating than senseless chatter.

Mind you, I have gotten facials in amazing health spas that are classy, clean and have a very spiritual atmosphere. But if something is not your bag — it’s just not your bag! I will not pretend to be into something just to keep up with the Joneses (unless it’s a very sexy Jones like Tom Jones in the 1970s!)

Yesterday I was in Whole Foods and one of the women sampling products commented on my “beautiful skin” and how I looked like I was glowing. Mind you this woman was at least 10 years younger than me. So to hear how great your skin is from a much younger woman is truly a compliment.

When I told her that my beauty regimen is just slabbing coconut oil over my face first thing in the morning, she couldn’t believe it. Then she added, “Coconut oil seems to be the latest thing.”

I’m not one to follow beauty fads. My love for coconut oil came by chance. A few years ago I realized my skin got a little sensitive in my old age and it would turn red with regular beauty products. (Mind you, for the past 20 years I’ve only used all natural products that don’t test on animals).

So coconut oil seemed to be the purest thing I could use to keep my skin soft and it works! (I prefer Spectrum brand).

I do not sleep with the oil on my face, but I put it on every morning. I work out and then relax and have breakfast. Then I take a hot shower and the oil gets into my pores.

I did not read about this routine anywhere, I just figured it out on my own.

I also think eating clean, organic, natural foods attributes to healthy skin.

Bernardo LaPalla is 109 years old and eats a pretty clean diet. I also read somewhere that he puts olive oil all over his skin. This man looks amazing! More like he’s in his 70s than 109! Of all I read of him, I never once read that he gets facials.

I honestly think facials are unnecessary and a waste of money (and worse, a waste of time).


Bernardo LaPalla — age 109!

One of the tips Bernardo gives in regard to staying young is “Don’t be an uptight fanatic.”

I totally agree with that because being a fanatic about your health is very stressful. And I know when I’m very stressed, I’ll get a blemish. So when people say beauty is from within, they are correct. Stay positive and happy and your skin will look great.

So two cheap tricks that don’t take up a lot of time and cost much:

1. Be a nice person

2. Coconut oil or olive oil