Saturday, June 10, 2017

How to be a lazy vegan


I'm a pretty lazy vegan. When people ask me for vegan recipes, well, I don't really have any to speak of. I'm no chef. I don't really have time for elaborate concoctions. I eat what I like. I eat what's good for me, mostly raw. It's all vegan, but I can't even tell you how I made my last meal.

I don't really cook. I graze. I eat a lot of wholesome fruits and veggies. I throw in some nuts, beans and grains for good measure. I toss together a few of my favorite things and that's dinner. Sometimes, I make green smoothies. About the closest thing I do to cooking is making a bit of organic oatmeal. So, when it comes to spending any length of time in the kitchen, I'm a pretty lazy vegan.

I don't even “do” cheese or meat “substitutes” as a general rule. They just taste too processed to me. That makes it even easier to be a lazy vegan.

You see, I'm just too busy living to live in the kitchen. Do you want to be a lazy vegan? If so, stick to mostly raw foods. Avoid cooking like the plague. Eat a wide variety of fruits and veggies. Sprinkle a little nutritional yeast on your food here and there or take a supplement for vitamin B-12. Be sure to toss a handful of nuts or beans on your salads and relax.

You don't have to be a super chef or a nutritionist to go vegan. You just have to eat healthy foods and stay away from meat, fish, eggs and dairy.

It's a snap, even if you're a lazy vegan like me.

Vegans may not be who you think they are if....

Vegans, or at least the ones I know, do not represent the typical stereotypes people associate with them.In fact, like the ones in the above photo:

They don't harass people.
They don't engage in violent protests.
They don't hate on people who consume meat and dairy.
They are not out to brainwash you or your progeny with slanted propaganda.
They don't speak ill of others except in self defense.

(Even then, they make a sincere effort to be kind. At least initially.) LOL Let me explain.

Vegans are human beings, you guys. So yes, some of us become defensive when our way of life is insulted or laughed at. Which it unfortunately is, quite often. Oh, we're not as persecuted as some, for sure. I would never say that. But the bias is there and it hurts. Even worse, unlike other forms of discrimination, it seems to be widely acceptable to bash vegans. That is, discrimination against vegans is not looked upon as the bigotry it is. A lot of people think that's funny and acceptable. No idea why.

But back to the subject at hand: Vegans may not be who you think they are.

There are a wide variety of religious beliefs among vegans. Some are even atheist or agnostic. Veganism is not a religion.

Vegans are vegan for a myriad of reasons. Some people adopt a vegan lifestyle for the health benefits. Others are vegan for environmental protection. Others do it for the animals. Still others for the preservation of natural resources. Some are vegan for all or several of those reasons combined. Some have other reasons too.

Vegans come from all walks of life and every race, creed, color and sexual orientation.

Vegans are not self absorbed, obsessive preachy naysayers. Their sole purpose in life is not to make other people miserable or convert everyone to their way of thinking.

Vegans don't talk nearly as much about veganism as they are thought to, except maybe to spread awareness on social media.

Believe it or not, being the center of attention and playing “20 questions about my choices” at every gathering you attend where food is involved is not really our idea of a good time.

News flash: We have other qualities and interests, aside from being vegan. Let's talk about those for a change, shall we?

But not here, because this is about who vegans are.

As it turns out, vegans are no different from anyone else in the world and just as varied as anyone else in the world too. Except for one thing. They don't consume or use animal products.

That's it.

But just as sometimes happens with other groups of people, vegans are often judged by the actions of a few extremists, even though only an insignificant number of us actually engage in negative extreme behavior, violent demonstrations, etc. Most of us do our best to adhere to the principle of kindness.Violence isn't really our thing.

So, vegans are not who you think they are if you think they're all pushy, judgmental extreme weirdos who spend every walking moment trying to convert you. Seriously? We have lives of our own. We have other things to do, you guys.

But if you post or say something bashing our way of life, the food we eat or make a running joke out of us, do expect us to call you on it. Not because we hate you. Nope. Because we care about everyone. We don't like to see our friends engage in bigotry, especially if they're not aware that what they're doing is hurtful. In fact, if we bother to comment on something you post or verbalize, take it as a compliment.

It means we believe you're a good person who does not consciously realize what they're saying is discriminatory. It means we love you enough to let you know when you're being hurtful and that we have faith you will stop being hurtful when you realize it.

Remember, whether you think your “joke” is harmless or not, it's the feelings of the people it's directed at that determines whether or not you should say it.

Lastly, and perhaps, most importantly:

Vegans are really not who you think they are if you expect us to be OK with bigotry toward anyone. Come on, dude, Do No Harm is our mantra. We wouldn't let you poke fun at anyone else and we're certainly going to stick up for ourselves. It just makes sense.

So, rather than insisting that you meant no harm or going on and on about how horrible we are in comparison, why not actually listen to what we're trying to say? Which is that no matter your intent, you have insulted us with your cute little jab. Cheap shots do not become you. They don't become anyone.

Please think before you speak. Play nice or I'll have to ask you to leave my sandbox. This is a peace zone. Bigotry of any kind is not welcome here. Vegan or not.

Vegan knowledge turns idyllic pastures into killing fields

Before I began going vegan, I used to think of farming as an idyllic way of life. Green, rolling hills and open spaces still hold the same appeal for me. Unfortunately, when I see the animals in those fields, my viewpoint changes. I know now, that there is no such thing as a happy cow, pig, sheep, goat or chicken on farms. 

I don't see rodeos and zoos the same way, either. 

Just why do we feel that it's alright to exploit other beings for our own uses? In fact, the more educated I become, the more jaded my opinion becomes.

I'm not sad about it, though. Here's two reasons why:

1. I'm a realist.

I don't like being lied to or misled. I'm glad that I know the truth about the meat and dairy industries. I don't like the way they use the image of peaceful farms to market their products. 

Yes, some farms do care about the animals. However, they still use many cruel practices, believing them to be a necessary part of farm life. Plus, those animals are bred to be used and to die, no matter how you look at it. It's incredibly sad to know the truth. It would, however be sadder to be purposefully ignorant of it, simply to serve my own needs. .

2. I crave knowledge.

I'm not afraid of knowledge. I crave it. The more I learn on any subject, the more I grow as a person. I like the idea that I can take my knowledge and do some good with it, too. 

I like spreading the word about veganism because I know that it's a positive change we can all make to save the planet, curb world hunger and of course, stop animals from being over-bred as food or commodities. 

Knowledge is power, as they say. While I'm not as interested in wielding power as I am about using my knowledge for good, the saying still holds true.

So, even though my choice to be vegan often reveals the ugly truths of this world, and our society in particular, I have no regrets. In fact, I'm doubly inspired when those rolling green pastures remind me of some of those truths. Farms are not idyllic. They never have been. I just wish I'd seen them for what they really are long ago.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

When a vehicle hits a deer


OK. I get that this type of accident can be lethal for humans. As well as causing a lot of damage/unexpected expense, etc. I really, really do. But folks, why do so many people blame it on the deer? Or praise culling the deer population as a solution? Or joke about free food? Or just ignore the fact that the deer lost their life in a horribly painful manner?

In other words, how can people be so cold? We invented the vehicles. We built the roads. We took away animal habitats to do so. What right do we have to blame it on the deer, who was just minding their own business, living their life? A life which, by the way, is seriously threatened by human intervention to begin with?

It makes no sense you guys.

I really wish, with all my heart that humans were not so desensitized to the feelings and lives of other living, breathing beings. They matter just as much as we do in the web of life. We are not the be all, end all of the natural world, no matter what you've been conditioned to believe. We are just a part of it. We are animals. Nothing more. Nothing less. We have no right to lord it over any other being. None.

Yes, we are animals that developed a bigger brain by eating more carbs, but we're still animals, just the same. And by the way, if our brains are so superior, why is it that we are the only animal that is systematically destroying the planet for the love of our “creature” comforts? Other animals don't cause pollution or environmental devastation, except when we manipulate or move them to suit our needs.

And sure, if someone I love is in an accident, I think of their safety first. That's only natural. But discounting the deer altogether, or referring to their part in the accident as if they were nothing but an inanimate object just feels so horrifically inhumane, even somewhat narcissistic to me.

When a vehicle hits a deer, the deer is just as much a victim as the people in the vehicle. Sometimes more so, because they are at a higher risk of losing their life than anyone involved. Yes, we need to be concerned for the safety of our loved ones in such a situation. Yes, it's a tragedy for the humans involved. But we should also be concerned for the deer.

Our senses of self importance and superiority astound me sometimes. But what's even worse is that many people find them justifiable. By showing a complete lack of empathy for other beings, they are essentially proclaiming other lives insignificant and meaningless in comparison to ours. It's so revealing of our blatant, purposeful ignorance and arrogance.

And yet, for some, the deer's plight remains invisible as does their awareness of the implications.

Nauseating.

Why are some omnivores so pushy?


You think vegans and vegetarians are pushy, preachy and judgmental? How about some of those omnivores? Good heavens, you guys are everywhere. We're surrounded by you. And some of you are not very nice to us either. You shove that crappy, unhealthy, death laden diet of yours down our throats daily and all day long. Yup I said it.

And some of you have no problem bullying us either.

Any idea how those vegan jokes feel when you're vegan? Any idea how horrifying it is to hear you purposefully brag about your latest kill (hunters) or see those Facebook posts of our fellow beings served up on a platter just to get under our skin? Seriously? You could at least respect the fact that your dinner was once a living, breathing being by not being so crass/casual/careless about it.

And restaurants? Hello. We are here. We like to eat out too. We don't want to have to special order everything. You don't have to veganize your whole darn menu. Just give us a couple options, would you? Good heavens! You went to culinary school, right? Don't tell me they didn't teach you how to make anything without meat, eggs, milk or gobs of cheese in it. If not, I'm sure you can figure it out.

Heck, I do it every day and I'm no culinary goddess.

How I love vegan restaurants! I can order anything and not worry what's been slipped into it. Or whether the waitress actually knows what vegan is.

“You can eat fish, right?”

“Arghhh! No!”

Guess what else? Some of my friends are not vegan or even veg. They won't eat at vegan restaurants because “vegan food is gross.” “I need my meat!” So, guess who compromises? Not them! Nope. Ya, that would be me. The “pushy” vegan.

(I must insert here that a few of the omnivore friends I have kept close to over the years will go to those vegan restaurants. Bravo for the open-minded omnivores out there!)

Folks, I'm sick of hearing that I don't get enough of this or that because I'm going vegan. I'm sick of hearing that we have canine teeth for a reason, etc. etc. Mainly because it's not true. Also, I didn't ask you to preach to me, I just mentioned I was going vegan. It was your idea to make an issue out of it. Not mine.

I'm sick of people saying cruel, tasteless, hurtful, inconsiderate things like, “I love animals. They're tasty!” I'm sick of people speaking out against cruelty to animals, then ironically, eating them for dinner.

You guys, I've even seen animal cruelty fundraiser barbecues.

What? That doesn't even make sense.

And furthermore, vegans are not unhealthy, overly thin or wasting away! Many of them are award winning body-builders and athletes!

I've heard all the alternative facts of omnivores many times over. I also have research backed actual, unbiased facts to rebut them all.

But I don't do that to people. I show them compassion and understanding. Most of the time, I just change the subject, smile and move on. Because, like most vegans I'm not at all pushy, rude and inconsiderate. My goal is kindness to all. That's the whole point!

But I'm sick and damn tired of it being acceptable for omnivores to constantly give vegans and vegetarians a hard time. Get over it? Get a sense of humor? No, I'm sorry. It's not OK for you to treat people that way. Ya, even if they're vegan. And it's not funny. Once again, it's hurtful, rude and inconsiderate. Just like it is to poke fun at any group of individuals.

I'm always hearing that vegans are pushy. But I've gotten much more unsolicited advice from omnivores than I've ever given out.

They don't know about the over 40 years of unbiased research that has brought me to my decision. (My personal decision, as some pushy omnivores like to call theirs.)

Apparently, respecting someone's personal decision only applies if they're not vegan/vegetarian. 

But, vegans? You can hound them, stalk them online, lord it over them, discount their extensive, non-biased nutritional education and make fun of them all you want. They're vegans. Everyone knows they're nut-jobs. They don't matter.

Folks, as a transitioning vegan, I put information out there to the general public so people can make informed decisions on their own. I don't do this to ridicule people or lord it over them, but because I care.

I also talk about how happy going vegan has made me. I do not address people individually on the subject unless they ask. But sometimes if they're extremely rude to me personally, I will defend myself and my choices.

Wouldn't you if your beliefs were challenged and ridiculed daily?

Think about it. If you're an omnivore, how did this post make you feel?

Welcome to my world.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Going Vegan isn't S.A.D.

The True Vegan Diet Brings Only Wellness and Vitality. 

A lot of people think that going Vegan represents giving up things. Which makes them sad about the whole experience from the start. Begin with a negative attitude, end with one. But that's not the kind of S.A.D. I'm talking about. Although, Veganism certainly isn't that kind of sad, either. What I'm talking about here, folks is the S.A.D. diet. That is, the Standard American Diet.

Many of my friends have confided in me that they've tried going Vegan and ended up sick from it. But here's the deal. They may have given up animal products, but they didn't really go vegan.

There are a lot of self proclaimed vegans who eat a modified S.A.D. diet. In other words, they're not really on a vegan diet and may as well have not bothered.

Why do I say that? Because going vegan involves a whole new way of eating. It's not just the old S.A.D. diet minus the animal products. It's a balanced nutritional plan that insures you have everything you need to retain and enhance good health.

And you can't possibly get sick from eating everything your body needs.

Eating a true, balanced, healthy vegan diet does not make you sick. Ever. In fact, it should have the opposite effect. If it makes you sick, chances are, you're doing it wrong. Just like doing any diet wrong will make you sick.

For example, it's not enough to sub bean burgers for meat burgers and still chow down on greasy fries. Not all food that's vegan is good for you, just as not all omnivore food is good for you. If you're not going to eat healthy food, you might as well just continue with the S.A.D.

A vegan diet isn't sad in any way. It's not about restrictions, either. It's about eating healthy, delicious, filling, plant based, nutrient dense food that contains everything you need for optimal nutrition without exploiting other beings. It's about doing no harm, either to yourself or others. It's a celebration of enriched life, good health and wellness.

Vegan is the exact opposite of the S.A.D., not a modification of it.

If going vegan makes you sick, you're doing it wrong.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

My journey from vegetarian to vegan in 5 steps

I hear that Bill Clinton has caved since he took this picture but I do not intend to!
Everyone has their reasons for going from vegetarian to vegan. Mine are multiple. I'm going vegan for my health, the environment and to prevent innocent animals from being enslaved, tortured and slaughtered. Ya, I know. It's pretty heavy, right? Don't shoot the messenger. Anyway.... If you're considering switching to vegan, for whatever reason, maybe trying my step process will help. I'm on step 5. Yes, it is hard, but it's working.

1. Ditch the milk

This was pretty easy for me. I was never a big milk drinker. I only used it on my cereal. If you like it more than I do, you may have a harder time of it. Still, there are plenty of great substitutes for cows milk. My favorite is almond milk. It tastes wonderful on cereal. There are several varieties. Plus, there are GMO free brands. Check the label. Coconut milk is good too and best for making hot cocoa or adding to coffee or tea. I have every confidence this step will be the easiest for anyone trying to go vegan.

2. Say goodbye to eggs.

OK, now it's getting a little harder. As a vegetarian, you likely still had some options at restaurants. At least breakfast choices were easy. Skip the sausage and bacon. You could eat everything else, right? Not to mention, eggs are in all those yummy baked goods you love. Luckily, there are vegan substitutes for eggs in baking. Plus, there is now this great product called Vegan Egg put out by Follow Your Heart brand that you can use to make tasty scrambled eggs, much like the real thing. That won't help you in a restaurant, but at home, you'll be just fine. I had no trouble at all with this one. Piece of vegan cake. Which is scrumptious, by the way. Don't believe the rumors!

3. Cut the cheese down.

Oh boy, giving up cheese is a tough one. So tough that I had to split it into 2 steps. This first part really wasn't as difficult as I first thought it would be. Plus, of course, anything I go through while changing my diet simply pales in comparison to what dairy cows go through on a daily basis. So, I started by cutting down on the cheese in my favorite dishes and not eating cheese as frequently. I did OK with it. I only eat cheese a couple times a week now and I eat much less of it.

4. Bye bye butter, yogurt, ice cream and sour cream.

I've always loved the flavor of butter. Nevertheless, I've given it up. I've never cared for margarine. I feel the same way about most vegan butters. They're both just too processed for me. So, for the most part, I leave butter off the menu. When needed or fitting, I've found a fantastic butter made from coconut oil. The brand name is Melt. It has a sweet creamy taste like butter and isn't heavily processed like margarine or other vegan butters. It even works well in cookies.

I never really cared for yogurt. So, no problem. And if I really want it, although I can't imagine why, Silk brand makes a pretty good vegan yogurt. Tastes exactly like the regular stuff.

Ice cream is another toughie. Luckily, they make some incredibly tasty vegan ice cream these days, so I really only miss my favorite flavor in my favorite brand. I think I can move on now, though. I'm fine if I focus on the benefits, rather than what I'm giving up.

Sour cream is more of a topping. Leaving it off isn't a big deal to me. So, Bye Felicia.

5. Delete the cheese altogether.

Yes, I know. Thankfully there are plenty of good vegan cheeses because this is the step I'm headed for right now. I say headed for because although I have drastically cut my cheese intake, I still eat it here and there. 

Regular restaurants and other people's homes are the main problem, although I have admittedly caved at home as well. Hey, cheese is a big one for this girl raised in dairy country, but don't you worry. I will get there. I am determined to fully transition to vegan, for my health, for the planet, for the other animals and also for the future of the human race.

Notes:

*If you're transitioning from vegetarian to vegan, relax. You'll be fine. After all, you've already done without the meat. The rest should be a snap.

*I'm finding out something surprising as I transition. The less dairy I eat, the less I want. Cheese even tastes sort of fatty and gloppy to me now. Sometimes, it doesn't even appeal to me at all. Who knew?