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Archive for the ‘veganism’ Category

2 Year Veganniversary

Today, it is 2 years exactly since I made the best decision of my life.

I was reading Vegan Freak, which recommends as a starting point doing a 3-week trial of being vegan. I started those 3 weeks on the 12th of February 2 years ago and never looked back.

Even though it’s only been 2 years, it feels like forever, and I can’t imagine living in any other way. I love that on a daily basis I am acting in a way which is kind and compassionate, doing the least harm to others possible.

In this second year of veganism, the one thing which has kept coming up in conversation which breaks my brain is that SO MANY people don’t know that cows need to have babies in order to make milk. They just think cows are these milk-making machines, rather than living beings which function in the same way as humans or any other animals when it comes to milk production. Strange world.

Happy 2 year Veganniversary, me! ūüôā

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Smart Chart

Source: I love charts / vegansaurus

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Pigs Vs Puppies

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has been in the news today because he has apparently made some comments about how in principle he wouldn’t be against the idea of farming dogs for food. The Telegraph reports he said:

“You can’t object, unless you also object to the farming of pigs. It’s an artificial construct of our society, a cultural decision, to make pets out of dogs and meat out of pigs.”

The man has got a point. It’s one the non-omnivorous among us having been saying for a while. It’s a constant puzzle to me how people who eat animals also have pets, and I wonder at what point in history some animals were deemed friends and others meals.

Now, obviously Hugh’s an omnivore. And I have to say, I don’t know how I feel about him in general. Nice guy, but there’s a lot of death on his TV programme. However, at least he has the balls to look creatures in the eye before killing and eating them, which is more than most omnivores who avoid the reality of their decisions.

A part of me wonders if the statement he made has more clout because it came from the mouth of a meat-eater, rather than a vegan. Maybe this means it can be viewed more as a question about the way the world works, instead of being seen as propaganda or dismissed as animal rights extremism?

As expected, the media coverage of Hugh’s thought-provoking comments have mainly tried to make him sound like some kind of monstrous puppy-killer (“Let them eat puppies”, and “hugh defends eating puppy meat”), rather than discussing the double standard he is talking about. But personally I appreciate that someone in the public eye is raising the question. Obviously I’m not saying people should eat puppies because they eat other animals, but I wish people would ask themselves why they distinguish between different animals and have completely different rules for them.

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I hope the title isn’t misleading. I’m not about to do a 30-day vegan challenge, after all, I am a vegan. No challenge needed! But recently I bought this book, and wanted to write a little bit about it:

The author, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is also the author of a number of vegan cookbooks (click here to see what else she’s written). She is also the founder of the Compassionate Cooks website.

I had read a few reviews about how great The 30-day Vegan Challenge was, and so decided to get a copy myself. And I’m so glad I did! It’s one of the best books on veganism I’ve read, and I wish it had been around when I’d first started out on my vegan journey. When I became vegan, I used online resources to find out the answers to my questions, but most of the answers are in this book. Things such as how to phrase what you eat when in a restaurant, how to respond to people’s criticism or jokes, and idea for meals.

The book includes a mixture of recipes and really useful information, including chapters on things like:

  • Iron, B12, calcium, protein etc (a section on each)
  • Stocking your cupboards
  • Packed lunch ideas (loved this section – I’m rubbish at thinking of things to take to work)
  • Different types of non-dairy milks
  • Life without cheese (personally this wasn’t an issue but I know it’s a big deal to some!)
  • Tofu (what is it, what to do with it)
  • Eating out (including, as mentioned, what to say to staff, and also what to look out for and what different cuisines have to offer)
  • Social situations (and eating “confidently and joyfully” within them)

…and much more. It doesn’t just talk about food, there’s a section about fashion, and the rationale behind vegan choices is throughout (i.e. it’s not just about diet, it talks about the cruelty and suffering involved in an omnivorous diet).

This book is wonderful, and I’d recommend it to anyone thinking about going vegan, and to anyone who already is. It’s full of photos and useful information, and it is written in a friendly and helpful style.

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Tim O’Shea – what a moron*

It’s fairly rare that I read something online which inspires such a reaction in me that I feel compelled to email the person who wrote it and tell that what I think. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I do read lots of wonderful things online, and I either comment on them or email the person to tell them they are a superhero. But when I read stupid things, I tend to sigh and move on. But not this time!

* I used the word moron because my Grandma might read this. Hi Grandma! Please feel free to insert your own, less polite word to describe this guy.

Recently I read this article – My So Called Vegan Life by Tim O’Shea.

There have been various online responses to it, a couple of which you can see here and here.

I thought I would share with you what I sent to him, and the response I got.

Here’s the email I sent him:

Tim,

I just read your “My so-called vegan life” article.

I imagine (and hope) you’ve had a flurry of emails similar to mine, from vegans who are frustrated and disappointed at your article. It’s such a shame that when¬†you chose to write an article about veganism, you decided to do it from an angle of skepticism, closed-mindedness and mockery.

Veganism for most people is about such a lot more than food. It’s about not being ok with death and suffering for the sake of a meal. It’s about loving life and health and all living beings. It’s about seeing through the industry and adverts and giving a shit about the animals who die for humans, and chosing to live a life which isn’t a part of the cruelty.

It’s such a shame you saw your article as an excuse to poke fun at vegans, and to have what is so very often the typical reaction. We’ve heard it all before. Boring. I wish you’d researched it properly (let’s be honest, you really didn’t try) – interviewed some vegans or animal rights organisations, vegan chefs or parents maybe? Eaten at some wonderful vegan restaurants, looked at the health benefits. How about watching an animal rights video or 2? How about actually attempting to understand? Or actually trying, and looking at the amazing food you can eat,¬†rather than having a whinge about what you ‘can’t’ eat as a vegan?

Unfortunately I know of many people like you, and I’m sure rather than thinking about anything I (or any other vegans) have said, you’ll laugh it off and go and eat a burger.

Jen

And here’s his reply:

Jen –

Thanks for taking the time to email me back.¬† I appreciate you taking the time to let me know what you thought.¬† I won’t laugh off what you’ve said – my goal was to make myself the subject of the mockery, but I really must have pissed off every vegan on the planet because there has been no shortage of negative comments.

Thank you for sharing your frustration with the column.¬† And I am definitely using the phrase “having a whinge” at some point in the near future.

Tim

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Today, me and J went to the London Vegan Festival. The event was held in Kensington Town Hall, which is about 30 seconds walk from High Street Kensington tube station. Or at least it would have been if the tubes were running. Stupid tubes! We walked from Paddington, which was about a mile and a half in really muggy weather (ick). But still, glad we went because it was a great event!

The main thing I liked about it was that it was just so nice to be in a big, busy room full of vegans and vegan organisations. Everyone there had the same world view as each other, and there was a great energy. I love that there are so many vegan companies, and enough vegans to keep them in business. It made me feel good about the world!

The main hall

There was a variety of stalls, and also talks and workshops. We didn’t stay for a super long time because it was pretty packed, but we had a nice time! There was a mixture of food stalls, catering, animal rights organisations, shoes, toiletries, raw foods, cakes, all kinds of things (and lots with tasters!).

We had quite a few sheese tasters, and bought lots:

mexican creamy, chive creamy, melty medium cheddar, melty mozzarella, smoked cheddar

And got some of the new redwoods flapjacks:

brazil nut, original and double choc

And redwoods fruit desserts:

Raspberry, and peach and apricot flavours

And picked up some clif bars Р50p each (they are tricky to get in the UK and always over £1)!!

oatmeal raisin walnut, crunchy peanut butter, chocolate chip

It was great knowing absolutely everything in the room was vegan. No questions, no ingredient checking, just tasting and buying!

We got lunch from a stall called Rainforest Creations which did amazing salady things:

– I had the rainforest box:

All in all it was a great event. And it was really close to Wholefoods, which we popped in to on the way back to Paddington!

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Earthlings is a film about speciesism. It was made in 2005 and shows the ways (most) humans use animals for food, clothing, entertainment and research. It is narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, and features music by Moby, both of whom are vegans.

I watched it when I’d been vegan for a while, and I think it’s an amazing film. But it’s very full-on; it’s full of images and video of animal cruelty, some of which is now imprinted on my brain forever. Everyone knows as an individual what their tolerance is for seeing such imagery and it’s for each person to judge for themselves – for me, I’ve watched a LOT of videos, and I know I need to be a bit careful not to over expose myself or I can end up feeling pretty miserable about the world. So I watch things ocassionally,¬† and I try to make the world a better place through promoting veganism where I can, and being a good example of a happy, healthy vegan.

Anyway, I digressed. My point was, did you know Earthlings is available to watch, for free, in full?

Click here to go to the Earthlings site.

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