Thursday, November 12, 2015

My friend Sally went vegan and got sick.

Veganism doesn't make you sick. It's a myth.
Your friend, Sally went vegan and got sick? So what? Maybe Sally was an unhealthy eater to begin with. Maybe she relied on processed foods for the majority of her diet. You can be a total junk food junkie and still be vegan. You can do the same as an omnivore. Point is that no matter what diet you follow, you will get sick if you don't consume sufficient calories, vitamins, nutrients and minerals.

Maybe Sally was already sick. Maybe that's why she went vegan and it was too late for it to do any good. 

So many factors here.

Maybe Sally was just hungry. When switching from a SAD (Standard American Diet) to a vegan diet, many people simply don't consume enough calories to live on. It's a simple mistake that's easily remedied. Vegan foods are nutrient dense, but not as calorie dense as non-vegan foods. So, in order to get enough calories on a vegan diet, you have to eat larger quantities of food.

So much for that eating like a rabbit theory, right? Vegans eat a lot of food! Piles of it! And yummy food besides! It's full of flavor and good nutrition.

Luckily, nutrients are a non-issue with a vegan diet. I know. Everyone has told you that vegans don't get enough protein. Actually, the opposite is true. Non-vegans get too much protein. Processing it all is a burden on internal organs. It can lead to kidney stones, gallstones, bladder issues, heart problems, cancer and much more.

A good vegan diet contains everything you need for optimal health without the protein OD. It's not difficult to balance your diet, either. Just make sure you eat all the colors, include plenty of nuts, beans, seeds and other legumes, take your B-12, which, incidentally is something non-vegans need too. And that's about it. As long as you weren't sick before, you'll be just as healthy as you ever were. Possibly healthier.

So your friend Sally got sick on a vegan diet? I suppose she could have because a person can become ill on any diet, vegan or otherwise. That doesn't mean the diet is at fault. What it means is that Sally wasn't paying attention to her nutritional needs. Or, like I said, maybe Sally was already sick. Never assume.Some of the connections you make are false. And connecting illness with veganism is one of the most common false connections you can make.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Connecting with vegan hypocrites – Or not

Not all vegans are perfect. Does that make them hypocrites?
Some of my best friends are vegan hypocrites. Or at least that's how others look at them. I have a different viewpoint because I'm still transitioning myself. Here it is.

So, you have a friend who constantly preaches about veganism but wears leather shoes because that's all they can afford or eats cheese once in a while or just has no willpower at all. Does that make them a hypocrite? I don't think so. It just makes them fallible, like everyone else on the planet.

I don't believe that a transitioning vegan having a lack of willpower proves that veganism is ineffective, wrong, unnatural or unhealthy. I'm one of those people who's not a perfect vegan. I'm not afraid to admit it. But I am determined to fight the good fight against my lack of willpower until I am 100% vegan or as close to it as I can possibly get.

And I'm not about to stop extolling the virtues of veganism, simply because of my own weaknesses.

Practice what you preach?

Is that what you said? Do you mean like how some omnivores claim to love animals but eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner on a daily basis? That's pretty hypocritical, isn't it? There is a huge difference between being a transitioning vegan and not caring or not trying at all. At least the person who spreads the word about being more compassionate is trying. At least they're speaking the truth. At least they're aware there is a problem and not blindly bowing to cruel traditions.

Change does not happen overnight.

You know, it's like those people who expect every U.S. citizen to speak English instantly. Like, as soon as they attain citizenship, the sparkly fairy sprinkles language dust over them. She says the magic word and voila! The entire English language is imprinted on their brain right then and there. Have you ever tried to learn another language? It's not easy, you know? Have you ever tried to change a 30 plus year habit? That's not easy either. It takes time, courage and perseverance.

Sure, going vegan is an overnight process for some.

We should all admire their strong will. But let's get real. Some people need a little more time. And just because someone is one of those people, well, that doesn't mean they're a hypocrite. Many of us stumble on the path to greatness. Some of us get started late. Some lose their way. Some are not as adaptable as others. Sometimes family members or friends or traditions or something else altogether gets in the way of our ultimate goal. That's true, no matter what we're working toward. Going vegan is no exception.

The point is to get your feet on the path to compassion.

While it's not ideal to consume animal products of any kind in any way or quantity, it's certainly better to do something than nothing. And guess what? Spreading the word is vitally important, even if you're not a perfect vegan. Because maybe someone is listening who does have the willpower to go all the way right away. Maybe a lot of someones are.

So put one foot on the path, take another step and another and another. Pretty soon, you'll be there. And if on the way someone calls you a hypocrite, who cares? Just keep stepping! Hold your head high! You are working your way toward being part of the solution. That's something to be proud of.

Every day I try my best to be kind, compassionate, caring and considerate.

Some days I fail miserably. Does that make me a hypocrite?
Some days I triumph against all odds. Does that make me a complete success?

The answer to both questions is no, of course. No one is all evil. No one is all good. No one is capable of living up to every expectation they have for themselves. Because everyone is human. Even transitioning vegans. That doesn't make them hypocrites.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Vegans can't and don't tell you what to do

Vegans can only point you toward the facts. What you do with the information is completely up to you.
Vegans (or those who are transitioning to veganism, like me) don't tell you what to do. How can we possibly tell you what to do? You're not really listening. In fact, you shouldn't. That is, not without doing some non-biased research of your own. Plus, we're just stating facts. The conclusions are up to you.

You can walk away any time.

When you think vegans are telling you what to do, you don't have to listen. No one is forcing you to listen. If you'd rather keep on living in your comfort zone, I don't blame you. It's more comfortable NOT to think about the things we bring to your attention, isn't it? I know because I've been there. I wasn't always a vegan, you know?

We do bring things to your attention.

So would you, if you knew what we know. For instance, there are horrendous things going on in the world. Environmental issues, dwindling resources, droughts, famine, starvation, etc. You know that.

What you probably don't know is that many of them can be permanently solved with veganism. That's because many of them are caused by the human race's voracious appetite for meat. It's OK if you don't believe me.

I'm still not telling you what to do.

However, if you're interested in what the connection is, well, would you believe The United Nations? They recommend a vegan diet as the most effective way to save the planet. Check it out.

We do talk about how wonderful it feels to be vegan.

It really does feel great to be vegan. Even if you're still transitioning, like me. It's awesome to wake up in the morning knowing that you are contributing to the improvement of the planet, rather than buying into its' downfall. It doesn't hurt to know that nobody dies to feed you. In fact, it feels great! It puts you at ease with the world and in touch with nature.

That's why we're always talking about it.

Because we're incredibly happy and we want to spread the news so that everyone else can be happy too. And of course, some folks misinterpret that and think we're some kind of cult or something. But again, you don't have to go vegan. The choice is up to you because we're not a cult at all.

We only speak the truth.

It's tempting here to give you some catchy line like, “You can't handle the truth!” But I'm not like that. Instead, I would like to say that every time I speak of a fact related to going or being vegan or even being an omnivore, eating meat or dairy, etc, I'm telling you the absolute truth.

How do I know?

Well, I know, because I don't base my life on the traditions that got us in to this mess. I base it on those that will get us out of it. I do my research. I double, triple and even quadruple check my facts. But mostly, I do not rely on sources that are financed or profit from the information they contain.

Vegans can't make you do anything.

That's all you. No one can really force anything on anyone. Oh sure, if I could wave my magic wand, the world would be a different place. That's because I've been doing continual research on this subject for over 40 years. I went vegetarian at the age of 13. I'll be 56 next week. That's a long term nutritional education.

I sometimes educate my own doctors on nutritional healing.

They've been blown away at times to find that what I'm saying is true and effective, even though they were never taught about it. Of course, they're only required to have a little over 20 hours of nutritional training, unless they're nutritionists. Even then, many of them study from texts paid for or influenced by the meat and dairy industry. In fact, our very nutritional standards for this country were originally written up by the meat and dairy council. Isn't that crazy?

Vegans give you a wake up call

If you choose to push the snooze button and go back to sleep, that's up to you. Nobody's forcing you to listen. We just wish you would. Why does it matter so much to us? It matters because we know that our personal future depends on the actions of every single person on this planet. So does yours. That's why we try so hard to get you to see what's going on. That's why it may seem like we're forcing our lifestyle on you. But that's not what we're doing at all.

This isn't a religious thing, a political thing or a cult thing.

It's a scientifically proven, factual actuality. Our kids and grand-kids won't have any future at all unless we drastically change our ways. A huge part of that change has to entail going vegan. That's just a simple fact.

But vegans aren't not telling you what to do.

We're telling it like it is. Whether you listen is up to you. Plus, I could never tell you everything I know in one article, one conversation, or even thousands of article and conversations. I'm also not here to defend every argument you have against going vegan. I'm just living my life the way I feel is right, based on my own research and then telling others a few of the things that I've learned.

Please look it up for yourself.

I'm confident that if you do your research through non-monetarily or politically influenced resources, you'll find out that the things I've been telling you all along are true. You might even learn a few things about going vegan that even I don't know. Because such research is not a brainwashing, it's an honest educational experience. No one is forcing you to educate yourself. No one is telling you what to do. Not even us “pushy” vegans.

Believe it or not, we're just trying to show you a better way.

One that I've researched the crap out of for over 40 years and found no fault with. One that leads to a better world. One that's not based on tradition or hearsay, but fact.

It's up to you whether you choose to pursue it or not.

Connecting with tough vegan truths

The truth isn't always pretty or easy.
Going vegan is an easier journey once you know the impact of NOT going vegan, right? Not necessarily. Knowing the truth about this crazy world we live in isn't exactly comforting. In fact, truth can be very painful for vegans to deal with. Especially when we encounter people who prefer remaining sheltered from it.

Plus, it's hard to see those videos. Damn hard. Still, view them we do because the alternative is worse. I feel like most vegans crave knowledge, even painful knowledge. Because if we didn't, well, we probably wouldn't have chosen to walk this path, would we? I feel pretty safe in saying that most vegans believe that knowledge is a vital ingredient in inspiring positive change.

There's a burden in connecting with tough vegan truths, though, isn't there? Maybe there's even a couple burdens. First of all, it's nearly impossible for a compassionate person to know the truth without acting on it. So, we're not really allowed to be complacent. We know that the bliss of ignorance does not extend to those impacted by us NOT acting on what we know. We HAVE to act, Because knowing and not acting would make us feel like horrible people, wouldn't it?

Knowing the truth is heart-wrenching and soul shaking. It can disrupt and even erase everything we though we knew about life. It can be very daunting knowing the extent of damage our personal choices can have on us all. It might seem like our actions are futile at this point. It can be depressing, to say the very least.

There's also what I call the throat stuffing allegations. If you're vegan, I assume you know what I mean. If you don't, how many times in a week are you accused of stuffing your beliefs down someone's throat? Exactly. Now do you feel me? Connecting with tough vegan truths means you are compelled, out of sheer compassion to share them with others. And a good percentage of the time, those others will misunderstand your intent by believing you expect them to become instant vegans and hate them when they don't comply.

Now, you likely don't mean to engage in throat shoving. You may just feel you're sharing important information. Unfortunately, others don't see it that way. That's likely because there is a certain societal stigma involved with being vegan. There is a stereotype you have to work around every time you share something.

Because even when the truth you're sharing has nothing to do with being vegan at all, people put up their automatic vegan road block. Because you're that “annoying vegan who is always telling them what to do.”

Except that you're not telling them what to do. You're just telling them the facts so that they can make a more informed decision of their own free will. Because if there is one thing vegans believe in, it's freedom and free will, whether that be the freedom of humans or of other animals.

Connecting with tough vegan truths is hard, whether you're vegan or not. It can be damn near impossible giving up those centuries old traditions and habits that got us into this mess. Coming to the realization that this whole veganism movement is not a conspiracy theory and it just might be the only way to heal our dying planet, save our natural resources, restore nature's balance and more isn't easy to swallow.

Maybe that's why it feels to some people that we're pushing our beliefs down their throats.

Yes, connecting with the truth can be a burden. It's not for everyone. Some folks feel that since life is short, they prefer the bliss of ignorance to facing the evidence. And like it or not, sometimes those people are those we love most. It's hard to connect with the fact that our loved ones don't agree with our way of life, no matter which “side” of the “argument” we are on. Yes, it's hard for them too.

So when you start connecting with the truth, don't expect everyone to listen. Some people would rather not. Some people will think you're an opinionated ass, no matter how sincere your intentions are. That's just the human in them. And sometimes you will act like an ass because you will take offense. That's just the human in you.

But whatever you do, don't stop seeking the truth. Because the truth will benefit us all if we're strong enough to carry the burdens and act on what we know. Because in the end, the biggest truth is that we are all connected. Everything we do impacts everyone else on the planet. But hey, you're vegan. You know that already.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Are you a vegan hater or a vegan who's a hater? Knock it off!

Be about the love!
Lately I've been talking to other vegans and transitioning vegans a lot about what their biggest challenge is. Hands down, top of the list, no doubt about it, that would be vegan haters. (Non-vegans who hate on vegans every chance they get, just for grins and giggles.) It's not nearly as tough to go vegan as it is to deal with all the crazy non-vegan insults, rudeness and intolerance. Not to mention being shunned and misunderstood by beloved friends and family. That's really tough, you guys.

And vegans who hate on non-vegans are just as bad.

I love my friends and family. But honestly, I just feel uncomfortable around some (thankfully, not all) of them now because there is always that latent hatred they exude toward my lifestyle and my right to be happy about it and promote it freely. Some people don't even realize they're doing it. And yet, they make it very clear how they feel about my choices without saying a word. You know?

Some of them might as well put their hand over my mouth and shush me because that's exactly the vibe they give off. My beliefs are not allowed to be spoken of in their company. I should be seen but not heard. Ironically, many of those who feel that way are always speaking out for freedom of speech. Just not if you're vegan, I guess.

Why do people hate vegans so much? I just don't get it. Oh, I get some things. I know that some people mistake our enthusiasm and the promotion of proven facts for some kind of brainwashing technique. I know that many people are so seeped in the traditions surrounding a meat and dairy based diet that it's hard for them to think of any other way as viable.

But what I don't get is why they have to be so rude about it, even if they don't realize how hurtful it is. Surely, somewhere inside them there is that little voice saying, “Hey, that wasn't very nice of you!”

Of course, there are those who find it perfectly acceptable and not at all rude to put down my lifestyle and mock my research. They don't see anything wrong with it. Some even take pride in making me feel bad. I catch them in conversation with others talking about how good they got me. They seem proud to be bigoted. What's up with that?

I'm pretty sure that most vegan haters don't even realize they're bigots. That's why I say, “Are you a vegan hater?” I know that you may not even realize that when you leave opposing comments on vegan posts or avoid vegan friends and family you make them feel as if their views have no significance. Still, it's bigotry, plain and simple.

I would never suggest that what we go through as vegans can possibly compare with the hatred perpetrated on other groups, races, etc. Still, when you look down on someone or criticize them simply because they're vegan or practice any other belief or way of life, or insult their way of life, that's prejudice all the same. Not to mention quite rude and inconsiderate.

As a vegan, when I go on Facebook now, I scroll past many, many posts that I find offensive. Seeing posts of other animals roasting on a grill, hunters posing with their trophy kills, fishermen with their big catches, etc., it's all very difficult to see. But scroll I do, because the only thing that will come of me commenting is an argument with someone I care about.

I also scroll past many things I know are untrue. I've been indiscriminately researching this subject and other nutritional, socioeconomic and environmentally related topics for well over 40 years. But it's just not worth it to me to lose a friend over proving a point.

Every once in a while I will speak up on a subject. I try to do it respectfully and courteously now, because I have realized that hatred goes both ways. I don't want to be reverse side of the bigot coin. Nevertheless, the backlash of hatred and intolerance I often receive in return can be overwhelmingly cruel, even if I simply post a link to pertinent information.

Some people simply hate vegans, no matter how respectful we are. What's worse, though, is how very acceptable it is. Our society has convinced a lot of people that razzing vegans is OK and even funny. Some comedians have a hay day with vegans. It's not funny though. It's actually quite hurtful. If they were putting down any other group of people, it would be considered bigotry. But hey, everyone hates vegans, so who cares about their feelings?

I don't hate my non-vegan friends. I hate that some of them see my views as foolish. I hate that some of them accept certain outdated, unsustainable, yet traditional ways of life as viable, irregardless of the overwhelming evidence that these traditions are killing us all. I hate the way some of them poke fun at my ideals. But I love my friends more than anything. I could never hurt them the way those vegan haters hurt me.

And all because I choose to be kind. All because I have chosen a different path than theirs.

Don't be that kind of vegan hater, my friends. You're better than that. I know you are.

And what about those other vegan haters? You know. The vegans who hate on non-vegans? Well, they suck too. Prejudice is prejudice. Bigotry is bigotry. So, knock it off you guys. You're being hypocritical. Be the love instead. That's what you believe in, so act like it.

Hate the behavior, not the person. We are all fallible. You're not perfect either. Life is a beautiful, personal journey of learning and growing. And just because we're not on the same path, well, that doesn't mean we can't stop and smile at each other across the gap.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Finding inspiration to strengthen vegan resolve

Going vegan isn't just about boring salads. It's a celebration!
Sticking to a vegan diet is harder for some than others. I know it's a challenge for me. That's why I'm constantly seeking inspiration. It's relatively simple to avoid buying other non-vegan products. But when it comes to food, old habits do indeed die hard. So what can you do to keep yourself from falling off the vegan food truck?

Shocking yourself into action with education.

It's so very hard to watch some of those vegan videos and read those truthful, yet painful reports isn't it? It's especially difficult for those of us who empathize with other animals. The number of horrific practices they endure so that we may use them for food and other products are overwhelming. Then, there is the environmental factor, the health factor and the dwindling resource factor. Still, educating yourself remains the best way to strengthen your vegan resolve.

Make your vegan diet an adventure.

Going vegan should excite your taste buds, not turn them off. If you miss your favorite non-vegan foods, there are plenty of vegan foods out there that mimic them. But wait. There's more. Why not use your vegan resolve to experiment with new taste sensations? Doing so may not prevent occasional cravings. But it will give you something to look forward to. And that might just take the edge off enough to help you stick to it.

How to be more adventurous with your vegan diet:

You don't have to eat salad and tofu 24/7. Get yourself an awesome vegan cookbook. Grow some of your own food. Look up recipes online. Fill your fridge with delicious fruits and veggies of all kinds. Don't be afraid to try new ones, either. Going vegan should not be about restriction. It should be about bounty.

Shout it to the rooftops

Once you tell everyone about your new vegan lifestyle and diet, it'll be easier to stick to it. Why? Well, you're bragging it up all over town. When people see it in action, you're reinforcing your resolve. When they see you slipping up, they might wonder if it's such a good idea. In other words, you become an example for others to follow. If you're not practicing what you preach, why should they believe you?

Connecting with vegan positives.

Your vegan diet and lifestyle should not be about what you're giving up. It should be about what you're receiving in return. Going vegan is about kindness, compassion and saving the earth. It's about fighting starvation and dwindling resources. It's about making your life a sustainable choice so that you can be at peace with yourself and your role in the world. Being vegan should be a celebration, not a hardship!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

But plants have feelings too! 2

Beautiful, but no central nervous system
Recent research suggests that plants have feelings too. But, come on now. Do you really mean to suggest that pulling a carrot from the ground is the same or worse than killing a sentient being? Or are you grasping at straws to make yourself feel better about consuming meat and dairy? Or maybe, to make vegans and vegetarians look foolish just because they don't happen to agree with you?

Because let's be honest folks, we all know it's not the same thing, don't we?

Sentient beings have a central nervous system.
Sentient beings have families who grieve their loss.
Farmed animals are held against their will.
Farmed animals are subjected to painful procedures without anesthetic.
Farmed animals are forced to have babies.
Farmed animals have those babies taken away from them to be turned into products themselves.
Farmed animals show obvious attachment to said babies.

It's slavery at it's worst.

Plus, I haven't even listed all of the atrocities humans commit against other animals here. Our actions in this area designate us as not the smartest race, but the stupidest.

Animal agriculture is killing the planet. It's killing us. It's taking down the entire animal and plant kingdom right along with us.

And if you don't believe any of that, think of this:

The majority of crops (plants) grown in the USA are grown and harvested to feed farmed animals. So, if you truly believe that plants have feelings, consuming meat and dairy is the worst thing you can do to the plants. It kills MORE of them.

Common sense. Get you some. LOL