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.


*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?

Sunday, October 9, 2016

If you're truly concerned about plant consumption, you should be vegan. What?

Most of the corn and soy grown in the US is fed to those cows, pigs and chickens omnivores eat.
Yup. It's true. And there goes another defense for eating meat down the tubes. Just like that. Vegans kill fewer plants than omnivores. You see, the issue with the “plants, though” argument against vegans is a moot point. That's because, among other reasons, omnivores consume far more plants than vegans. They just consume some of them indirectly. In the form of meat.

Not only that, because omnivores are consuming most of their plants second hand, the nutrition is second hand too. It's inferior because it's cycled through the animal first. Nutrition is always higher from the original source. Which is, of course, one of the main issues with processed food as well. It's been changed so much from the original form that it loses it's “power.”

It takes far more veggies to produce a pound of meat than it does to eat all your veggies directly. And that's calorie for calorie, nutrient for nutrient. What? That's right, vegetable protein is far superior to animal protein in nutrient content. Plus, there are none of the health risks.

The “veggies” used to feed livestock are genetically modified. They take a lot of land. They take a lot of water. They also involve massive single crop land use, which depletes the soil and promotes erosion and the dust bowl factor.

And then, you have the land that's used for grazing or feedlots, creating dead-zones which cannot support life. Neither factory nor humane farms are sustainable. Both are a waste of resources. In fact, humane farms use more land.

Contrarily, the veggies consumed by vegans are mostly grown on organic farms. They are not single crop operations. Rather, the crops grown are diverse and rotated to enrich the soil. And since they are not cycled through animals, well, again, they're better for you.

Plants have feelings? OK. I'll give you that. But it's not the same thing at all. However, they are not sentient beings. There is a huge difference between picking a carrot and slicing the throat of an animal. Other animals have close personal relationships with their family and even have friends. They have emotions and thinking, feeling lives of their own.

And besides, once again, omnivores consume more plants than vegans. Remember? So, there you go. If you're truly concerned about the lives and feelings of plants, you should be vegan.

Vegan posts vs. Bigotry posts

What exactly is the difference? Both are extreme views. Both are pushy and annoying. Yes? Or at least so the majority of people think.

Personally, I think there's nothing extreme or pushy about asking for peace and compassion, such as I did in the above meme. But hey, what do I know?

Anyway.... The other day, someone on Facebook who was upset at me for calling them out on their obviously biased (blacks are the root of all evil!) post mentioned that they never said anything to me when I posted “my vegan crap.”

The thing is though, there is a huge difference between blaming black folks or anyone else for everything bad in the universe and asking people to be more compassionate.

You see, folks, bigotry is based in ignorance and hatred. Whereas, the fact that I'm going vegan is all about the love. Well, that and the facts.

Love does not promote, require or project exclusion.

So, comparing peaceful vegan posts to bigotry posts makes no sense.

Of course you don't comment on my vegan posts. Of course you respect my right to post as I please. That's because I am not spewing hate and exclusion.

The only thing I'm spewing is love and the request that others be more loving. That shouldn't offend anyone. Unless, of course, their bigotry includes hatred for vegans.


And FYI, I have absolutely no problem with people who are not in agreement with me posting their beliefs. I do, however, have a huge problem with spreading hatred and intolerance. And there IS a difference.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Handling anger at non-vegan lifestyles

It IS frustrating, but....
You will notice in the title, that I did not say handling anger at non-vegans, but at non-vegan lifestyles. And that's the whole thing, right there. When we raise our kids, we say, hate the behavior, not the child. And while non-vegans certainly shouldn't be treated like children, they should be treated as kindly as you would treat your child. Everyone should.

But what about when you get really angry? It's easy to do so. Especially when you're a victim of vegan bashing or bad jokes. People do have a tendency to laugh at the vegan lifestyle, for whatever reason.

And it's certainly frustrating to watch as those around you do exactly what you're trying to prevent because that's the way it's always been done.

Well, you could do what I do, I guess. I write about it. I prove my point in an article, post it on social media and reap the benefits.

What do I mean by reap the benefits? Well, for some reason, writing on controversial subjects really makes those page views soar. People's emotions get all involved, you know? And anytime that happens, you're looking at viral voodoo.

It's especially profitable when people become angry at your viewpoint.

Now, I don't make people angry on purpose, mind you. That's not really my thing. My thing is compassion. But somehow, even that angers certain people. They pass around my link to their friends to show them what an idiot I am and suddenly, my article or blog hits it big.

Meh, whatever. At least they're reading it. Maybe some of it will sink in. Or not.

The point is that the best comeback for anger directed against the vegan lifestyle is to just live your life. Be happy. Do your thing. Talk about it if you like. After all, everyone else on the planet is free to talk about their lifestyle, so why not vegans?

And if you're a writer, use that pent up anger in a positive way. Write. Educate. Rejoice on paper. And perhaps accidentally, you'll influence someone or at least upset them enough to spread it around where someone else will be inspired. In which case, you'll be teaching more people to be compassionate and make a bit of a profit doing it as well.

No harm done. Compassion retained. Anger squelched. Mission accomplished. Well, not completely. But at least you can say that you're making an effort and remaining compassionate to all. Yes?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

What's your vegan way?

Vegan cheese. Yes or no?
How do you do vegan? We we each choose our path on the vegan road, don't we? Not all vegans are alike, just as, not all omnivores are alike. Surprise! But the biggest surprise to me is how cruel other vegans can be to vegans who are not on their path. Compassion is our mantra. Kindness is our thing and yet, a few of us don't project that to our fellow vegans.

For instance, what is your take on vegan meat and cheese? Do you do it or not do it? How about vegan processed foods? Yes or no? Is it merely your diet that's vegan or do you choose vegan everything (clothes, shoes, etc.) Have you become completely vegan yet or are you progressing toward becoming vegan, like myself?

Do you make your own vegan meats and cheeses or purchase the store-bought kind? Are you as 100% vegan as possible or do you bend a bit with the branches of society? Do you pass on the vegan “word” at every given opportunity?

Do you educate others or refrain from the reactionary melee? Do you attend protests? Do you speak out regularly, even at the risk of losing friendships or do you choose to remain silent and simply live your life as an example to others?

And here's my point:

My personal opinion, for what it's worth, coming from this tiny grain of sand in an infinite universe, is this; All vegans are OK with me. And by the way, maybe I don't agree with their lifestyle, but all those other people are too. We have to support each other, you guys. All of us have to help and guide each other with love and kindness. Otherwise, what's the point in being vegan at all?

So, my vegan friends, back to the subject at hand. Do you look down on other vegans because they eat processed food, “fake” food or because they still haven't made it to their goal? Or do you lend them your support and offer a hand up if they want one? Do you judge people, vegan or not, because they're not living the exact way you feel is right?

Because, you guys, whether you know it or not, that's not exactly compassionate, is it? That's not vegan at all. That's not what we're fighting for. It's not kind or compassionate. It's not understanding and frankly (once again from this inconsequential speck of sand in an infinite universe) it just doesn't feel right.

Be the kind of vegan you wish to be. Celebrate the fact that you are making progress or have reached your goal. Absolutely. But most of all, please, do vegan your way and give others the same opportunity, consideration and appreciation. Because the more encouragement and the less belittlement people receive, the more likely they are to stick to their goals.

Yes, it's that simple. Respect begets respect. Example is the best teacher. And every kindness multiplies.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

3 Lifestyle choices with Vegan connections

As delicious as vegan food is, that's not all there is to going vegan.
When I began making the switch from Vegetarian to Vegan, I began making connections I never have before. There's so much more to Veganism than just diet. It's a whole different way of life. It encompasses so much!

There is environmentalism and sustainability. It's also about making a minimal impact and creating less waste. It's about doing the right thing for planetary and animal life, human or otherwise. So if you're going Vegan, whether for health or ethical reasons, why not change your whole lifestyle to reflect those values and concepts?


A friend of mine told me once that her choice was not to go Vegan, but to embrace sustainable living. That's wonderful. I applaud her efforts. I know she's very dedicated to sustainable living. However, I believe that being sustainable alone isn't enough. For example, my friend raises chickens. She treats them well, but even so, there are humane issues she may not be aware of.

For instance, laying hens rely on the calcium that goes into their unfertilized eggs to sustain themselves. When we take them, we force them to lay more, thus shortening their life spans. Of course, there are many other reasons sustainable practices fall short. That's just one example. So, why stop at sustainable or Vegan? Why not combine them for a more humane way of life?


Choosing a Vegan diet alone makes a huge impact. Still, it won't completely save the planet. Why not carry those Vegan principles through to the rest of your lifestyle choices? It makes no sense to preach about the environmental impact of a meat based diet if you don't recycle, for instance.

If you're a shopaholic, you're no friend to the earth either. What do you do to help the planet outside of your Vegan diet? Not adopting other environmentally sound practices can make even the strictest of vegans seem hypocritical.


Minimalism, sustainability, environmentalism and a Vegan diet are all connected. Like the rest, minimalism focuses on doing the least harm to the planet and life in general. It's a low impact lifestyle. Own less, occupy less space and you do less harm.

So, why stop at Veganism? When you dare to make the connection, do something about it. You'll improve your life and the lives of every living being on the planet. Go Vegan. Go minimalist. Live sustain-ably. Care for the environment. They're not exclusive ways of life. They're inclusive. Nature is waiting for you to make the connection and make your life more meaningful than it already is.

What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Connecting with bad press as a vegan

Whether you're going vegan, like me or already there, chances are that you've been impacted by the bad press surrounding the vegan lifestyle. It's pretty hard to take sometimes right? Heck, sometimes I even get grief from vegans who feel that I'm not trying hard enough. Let's face it, veganism is not exactly mainstream. And even your fellow vegans can take it too far, hurting your feelings and making you feel isolated.

Your fellow vegans can turn on you.

We are passionately compassionate, aren't we? And like it or not, there are those of us who are critical of those who have not yet reached their goals. To which I sarcastically say, I am so sorry for being human. I'll try harder to be infallible in the future. I bow to your greatness. LOL

All vegans get a bad rap due to bad apples.

Unfortunately, those same overly critical vegans are often the very people non-vegans look to as an example of what a vegan is. They ironically spread the word about how wonderful it is to be compassionate, save the earth and prevent resource depletion/starvation by being.... ahem.... somewhat less than compassionate. What a shame.

People are very critical of things they don't understand.

Many people believe veganism is some kind of cult. It's not. It's just a bunch of people who have done the research and found veganism to be the most sustainable and compassionate lifestyle choice one can make and decided that's the path they'd like to take in life. And yes, of course we talk about it a lot. It's important to us, just as other people's passions are important to them, right?

Laughing it off is no joke.

How often, as a vegan or potential vegan, have you been greatly hurt by the “jokes” of your non-vegan friends and acquaintances? Personally, I can't even count the number of times I've just been minding my own business, not saying a word about veganism and been attacked with non-vegan “humor.” And no offense intended, but honestly, I have literally heard every joke, pun quip or argument against veganism in existence. I just don't even respond any more. It's not worth the aggravation.

Tradition is easier to comprehend than fact, especially when....

Tradition is on your side if you're a non-vegan. We get it, right? People have supposedly been eating meat, dairy and eggs since the very beginning. But hey, who said cavemen were smart? Just because something has always been done doesn't mean it's the best thing to do or the best way to live, does it? Of course not.

But again, I get it. It's hard to accept certain facts, when you've been told otherwise your entire life. So, I try to be patient, understanding and above all, compassionate, because that's the whole idea of being vegan, isn't it? Connecting with bad press as a vegan happens often and mostly without provocation. But if you try hard enough, you can emit the compassion you preach and squelch it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Going vegan with vegetarians in the house

Cheese is my nemesis.
We all know that going vegan with omnivores in the house is rough. But what about vegetarians? That's just as tough. It might even be tougher. Here's why.

In a word, cheese. It's everywhere, you guys. And it's my nemesis. I have never had a hard time giving up meat. In fact, I haven't eaten it in well over 35 years. Not a problem. But those vegetarians with their cheese on everything diet, well, they're killing me here.

And I'm craving and caving big time. You see, I have to feed one of them. The cheese is in my hands daily. It doesn't have a great distance to travel to reach my mouth. So, occasionally, it does.

I don't feel good about that, you guys. In fact, I hate it. And I've tried it all. Not the cheese, but the ways to avoid temptation.

I'll keep on trying, of course, because I know that a vegan diet has health benefits, planetary benefits and it saves other animals from, well, a lot of things no one should experience.

Now, luckily, I don't have a problem with eggs. Except when one of my housemates makes conventional cookies or other baked goods with eggs in them. Why, oh why do they do that? I can make vegan baked goods that taste just as good as theirs. I even taught them how. They like them too.

What's the big deal about consuming unfertilized egg embryos anyway? Yuck! Is it really worth it? They're not even good for you. It's been proven. So, I can resist the cookies much more easily than the cheese. But every once in a while, I slip up there too.

So, there you go. It's every bit as hard going vegan in a house full of vegetarians as it is to do it in a house full of omnivores. And we have some of those here too. I'm not tempted by their meals at all. But the smell is atrocious. I detest the smell of death and it's everywhere.

Going vegan is a challenge, you guys, no matter who you live with, unless you're lucky enough to live in a house full of vegans. But I still maintain that it's worth it. A vegan diet and lifestyle is the only diet and lifestyle that could save the planet, single-handedly.

I also felt much better, health-wise, when I was vegan. I'm working on it, you guys. And I will get back there. So, wish me luck. I will need lots of it with all these vegetarians shoving cheese in my face all day. I love them, of course. I just don't love the temptations.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Am I still vegan if I fall off the wagon?

You might have noticed that my description says “going vegan” now, instead of “avid vegan.” It happens to the best of us, you guys. I try not to judge others for caving either, because it has and is happening to me right now. Now, I prefer to change my status to “going vegan” when things like this happen. That's because it indicates that I'm not quite there yet. Still, I think it's your business how you describe yourself in this situation.

I also have strong feelings against making people who are trying to change feel bad about themselves. It's true that when one falls off the vegan wagon, they can't technically call themselves vegan. But is it really that big of a deal? I don't think so. What's in a word? Roses smell the same no matter what they're called, etc.

So, if someone I know is trying to go vegan but slipping up here and there, even for extended time periods, I'm OK with them calling themselves vegan, especially if it helps them focus on getting back on track. It's about visualization, you guys. However you see yourself and whatever you describe yourself as will eventually come to be. It's inevitable.

Who knows? Maybe by saying that I'm going vegan, I'm giving myself a subliminal excuse to never get there. Still, I just don't feel right calling myself vegan when I'm not there yet. If you are, however, off the vegan wagon, please feel free to call yourself whatever you want. Especially if it helps you focus on your goal. And please refrain from giving people who aren't there yet such a hard time.

We're all in this together. Let's build each other up instead of passing judgment, shall we?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Vegan is not a dirty word

Vegans aren't that bad. They even give out free cookies sometimes!
 Gee whiz, Wally. The way some people talk about vegans, you would think they were the most hateful people in the universe. Always pushing their lifestyle on you, right? Always pointing out issues you may not be aware of to give you a heads up? Damn them for being so kind and considerate of other animals. Such horrible people!

But did you ever think that maybe, just maybe, vegans care just as much about humans as they do about other animals? Well, most other people anyway. All except the ones that treat them like rogue parasites And you know what? Most vegans are even pretty nice to those people too, despite the blatant discrimination.

Folks, seriously, we're not all that bad. But I will tell you this. I'm only at the stage of transitioning to vegan life and I have been the target of hundreds of subtle and not so subtle put downs. I've been un-friended and openly mocked by several people that are close to me simply for speaking my mind and spreading awareness. I have been witness to or been the victim of thousands upon thousands of vegan slurs, put-downs and “jokes.”

It hurts, you guys. It hurts more than you can imagine, especially when it comes from friends and family. And frankly, when you're the target, it just isn't all that funny. So, if you're wondering why some vegans are so defensive, look no further than the way they're treated and the fact that most people think it's OK to make vegans feel like crap.

Yup, that's the biggest insult of all. The fact that vegan bashing, unlike other forms of prejudice is completely acceptable in our society. I've even had good friends make vegan jokes with me sitting at the dinner table and actually expect me to laugh along with them, because, although they don't respect my lifestyle, I'm supposed to respect theirs, as well as their “right” to make me the butt of their jokes.

If I were a religious person, people would be defending my right to speak about my religion. In fact, if I fit into any category, other than vegan, people would have my back on being able to freely express myself in the land of the free.

What the heck is it about being or going vegan that makes people think it's OK to emit such blatant hatred?

And it has to be said that vegans aren't anywhere near as pushy as omnivores. Every day, I live in a world where I am a minority. True, other minorities suffer greatly and vegans are not the most discriminated against in comparison. But our entire society is based on omnivorism. Think about it. Everywhere we go, we are inundated with it.

From the advertising on our favorite shows, to the exclusively omnivorous menus at 99% of restaurants, to the Facebook posts of our friend's picnics, recipes, barbecues and more, we cannot escape omnivorism. It's ever-present. We stare it smack in the face every second of our lives. Plus, every time we simply mention that we're vegan or going vegan, we have to go through an interrogation or be accused of forcefulness. But do we accuse omnivores of shoving their lifestyle down our throats? Nope.

And yes, there are a few vegans who make the rest of us look bad. There are rude and obnoxious people in every crowd, vegan or not. But folks, most of us are just excited about the information we've found that indicates being vegan is healthier, better for the planet and could quite possibly solve a few of the world's biggest problems, like starvation and water shortages. That's why we're vegan.

We want to share that information because we care about you, about other animals and about the future of the planet that we all depend upon for survival. We're not trying to force anything on anyone. We're just the messengers. You don't have to believe the message or even listen to it if you're not interested. And you don't normally shoot the messenger because the message is not to your liking, right? Nah, unless the messenger is vegan. Because then, It's ON!

You know, I've even seen people discount highly accurate information because it came to them via a vegan. A vegan didn't write it. A vegan didn't do the research. The evidence was airtight. But since a vegan told them about it or promoted it, they automatically called bullshit. Pardon my French. LOL

Now, how ridiculous is that? How do people come to hate an entire group of people with beliefs that differ from their own that much? I just don't get it. Folks, vegans are not the enemy. Vegan is not a dirty word. It's simply a term used to describe people who are trying to live a more peaceful, kinder and more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

And of course, we want to share that with other people. Because it's an awesome way to live. But mostly, because we don't just care about other animals. We care about human animals too. We want to see every animal, human or otherwise on this planet be as happy as we are. That's it. That's our big ulterior motive.

Now tell me, is that so horrible?

Folks, don't let society turn you into a hater, no matter who that hate is directed at. Bigotry is ugly in any form. Ya, even when it's directed at those “awful” vegans.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Healthy food is actually full of true flavor, just like Bernie Sanders

Here's a connection that many people raised on junk haven't figured out yet. Vegan food or healthy food in general is actually more flavorful than junk food. So forget what you've been told about vegan muffins tasting like hay and such because it simply isn't true. In fact, right now, I'm eating a slice of heavenly, healthy, homemade vegan banana bread that's absolutely to die for.

And those fruits and veggies? Holy crap, you guys, they are just bursting with guilt free, nutrient dense flavor. True, they don't contain all that supposedly yummy, yet actually boring, flavorless gloppy artery clogging fat. But they do contain that protein everyone is so worried about vegans getting.

Nuts are delicious. Beans are delicious. Super-foods will rock your taste-buds. Think berries! In fact, everything I eat as a vegan is absolutely scrumptious.

Ya, so while I've certainly heard of vegan foods that are boring and tasteless, I've never had any that fit that description. If you have, maybe it was a non-vegan that made it. After all, they have no idea what they're doing, diet wise so why should their cooking be any good? Just kidding. Bwa ha ha

Make the connection, you guys. The meat and dairy industry is like Hillary Clinton: Very good at using false impressions and dirty slanted politics to sway your vote or in Hillary's case, make sure you don't get to cast it or be counted.

Vegan food is delicious, well intended and good for you. Always has been. Always will be. Just like Bernie Sanders. Ha ha ha

Friday, April 22, 2016

Vegans like Prince are not immortal, but....

Many of us in the vegan community were shocked to hear of the death of Prince. Some may not have known that Prince was vegan. Others may be wondering how a vegan could die so young. It's important to remember that while Veganism, in and of itself is the healthiest, most natural diet, it still does not make us immortal. Yes, vegans die too. Of course we do. It's just surprising when vegans die so young.

Making the connection with good health does not guarantee a long life. It simply increases your chances, helps save the planet and gives all animals, humans included, a better fighting chance. We shouldn't expect immortality on top of all that goodness.

Vegans can get the flu. They can catch diseases. They can even die of heart attacks, although their chances of having heart disease are extremely low compared to their omnivore counterparts, for sure.

Prince didn't die because of his vegan diet, but I'm willing to bet that possibility will be mentioned. Be ready to hear this kind of thing from those particular naysayers who are willing to jump all over anything that might be construed as evidence against the vegan way of life.

Hopefully, respect for Prince will be enough to discourage them, but who knows?

Be strong in your convictions, please, because you are doing the world a lot of good. Remember that everyone on this planet will die someday. Remember that Prince did not die because he was vegan but because he was human and all humans die.

And aside from that, let's celebrate the life of a man who dedicated said life to compassion by being as kind to the naysayers as possible. And let's also celebrate by continuing on our own compassionate journeys. It goes without saying that Prince would be pleased with such a tribute.

Vegans like Prince are not immortal but they do set a wonderful example for us all to follow.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Nothing really matters to me, except....

What matters to you? Is there one thing that you value/hope for/work for above all else? Is there a quality that defines you or are you just a massive, seething ball of all your beliefs and experiences? I think it's the first one and here's why.

This morning I'm thinking about all the connections that led me to go vegan for life. And the amazing thing is that as I look back on my journey, I can very clearly see how all my convictions are actually unified and related. Now, I'm nobody special. Just a human being like everyone else. That's why I figure, it must be the same for everyone.

I was a very little girl when I first learned where the meat and fish on my plate came from, how polluted our world is, how much we humans manipulate nature, how much corruption there is and how many people go hungry every night. Now, I didn't know way back then that all of the things that horrified me about the world were connected. Still, I find it interesting that even as a very young child, my path was settled.

When it comes down to the nitty gritty, there is truly one thing that drives me. It acts as a hub for all my convictions. That thing is, of course, compassion. Everything that matters to me comes under the heading of compassion. Everything I abhor represents a lack of compassion.

Nothing really matters to me, except....compassion.

-And it's not just about veganism, per-say.

*I detest bullying, superiority and the putting on of airs.

*I am not amused by bad-mouthing and mean spirited criticism.

*Getting even is not important to me. Now, show me that you are strong enough to mend/end a heated dispute and you will have my utmost respect.

*Money, power, looks and fame do not impress me.

*Good character blows me away!

*Bragging simply proves to me that there is little to brag about.

*Having a degree, certification, etc. often means you will better integrate and conform. You will have a financial advantage over those who don't. It does not mean that you are smarter, work harder, shine brighter or are of better character than those who do not have it. It just means you have chosen a different path than they have. We all work hard in this life because life is hard for us all.

*I'm not impressed with how well you fit into or are able to manipulate this broken society. I am impressed with those who see it for the horrific lie it is and refuse to be a part of it.

*I am not perfect by any means and I probably never will be. I understand that we all have our faults. That's why I try my best to reserve my hatred for non-compassionate behaviors, not the people who succumb to them.

Hate the behavior, not the person.

I have to pause here and say, that it's very difficult to do that. I'm working on it and I'm not there yet.

I hate that not everyone is compassion and character driven. Connecting with the fact that not all my friends and loved ones see the connections is probably the hardest thing that I face on a daily basis. It makes me overwhelmingly sad for them and for the future.

But we are human animals aren't we? And the real aha moment comes when we figure out that we will never be completely perfect. We will never have ALL our shit together. We will never get it ALL right. But hey, it doesn't hurt to try.

And I guess that's why I choose compassion over all. Because even though it may be a lost cause, the fact that the human race as a whole is incredibly fallible and really great at screwing things up for everyone just highlights the importance of living as compassionately as possible.

Can compassion outweigh our mistakes? Can we set such a good example that following it becomes the norm instead of the exception? I don't know. But it may create some bright moments in a world of darkness. It may give someone hope where they had none before.

And that, my friends is worth the effort for me. How about you?

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Connecting with the superior human

A glaring example of our blatant superiority complex.

Do I have to? Honestly, I'd rather not connect with “superior” humans. Unfortunately, a vast percentage of our population feels that they are actually superior to other animals. In what way? Well, supposedly, we have souls and they don't. Also, our brains are bigger.

Are those the same brains that are systematically annihilating our planet. Are those the souls that are OK with taking one life to appease another?

Those are superior? Ya. I don't think so.

Other animals only take what they need. They don't pollute. They don't lie, cheat or steal. They don't engage in bigotry or superiority complexes. In other words, they don't lord it over other species. If they are carnivores, they don't lock up their prey or breed them specifically to die. In other words, if they do have souls, their souls are much cleaner than ours. In fact, you might even say that human beings are the low spot on the totem pole in that regard.

We're not at the top of the food chain, either. The food chain is a web, not a pyramid. No one is at the top. We all depend on each other. And surprise, humans are scientifically classified as primates. That means our teeth and digestive system are not designed to tear flesh or digest meat. Our legs are designed to get away, not chase down and follow up by ripping open. We are prey, not predator.

Run way, run away.... Bwa ha ha ha

The omnivorous habits we have developed are killing us because they're not in sync with our biological make-up.

And about those bigger brains. We should use them to make rational decisions that help, not hurt us all. Then, maybe we'd have something to boast about.

I have no need for rude and negative people in my life who feel that they are better than anyone, other animals included. And that's not because I feel like I'm better than them. It's because the angry, self centered energy they emit isn't good for the soul. I do best around people who are trying to do no harm and create a positive vibe. The hippie in me loves the hippie in you. LOL

Of course, this world is full of all kinds of people. And some of those people haven't yet figured out that we are all equal. Maybe they're caught up in old traditions. Maybe it's just that they're used to things being the way they are and haven't thought about it much. Maybe they're just plain stubborn. I know I am, but in the opposite way. Ha ha.

At any right, whether I want to connect with the ugly, it's a part of some otherwise kind and caring individuals, as well as some cherished loved ones. It happens. Life is a journey. I get it. Some folks just aren't on the same path. I still love them just the same. Because doing otherwise would make me a “superior” human. And folks, that's just not in me.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Vegan eyes wide open concerning holiday traditions

Coloring Easter eggs costs many lives. Read on to find out why.

It goes deeper than you think. I'm talking about the enormity of the exploitation involved in holiday celebrations. Making the connection that holiday traditions of the past are cruel and inhumane can be hard. But inventing new traditions is uplifting!

When vegans think about holidays like Easter, they see things that others may not, due to their extensive education on issues that others may not even realize exist. Take those Easter eggs. Do you have any idea how many male baby chicks were ground alive or suffocated so you can have eggs to color. It's astounding!

If you eat lamb for Easter, do you ever think about this? That was a baby who died painfully to fill your plate when they just wanted to live. The same goes for Christmas ham, Thanksgiving turkey, corned beef for St. Patrick's day, etc. All “food” animals are killed well before maturity. They're all babies. Even the whipped cream on your pie or fruit salad and the marshmallows in your sweet potatoes cost many other baby animals their lives.

(And aside from that, I'm sorry, you guys. Really I am. More so than you can imagine. But there is also absolutely no such thing as humane slaughter or a humane farm. That's because taking the life of a being that wanted nothing more than to live their life peacefully can never be humane. And breeding/creating/raising another animal for the sole purpose of slaughter is far from humane as well, even if you use “humane” practices, because in the end, they are all going to die before their natural life is over. And that, my friends is what we would call murder if that animal were human.)

It really is sad how many holiday traditions involve the exploitation and/or consumption of other animals. It's hard to face that. It's hard to give up old rituals like coloring easter eggs, that perpetrate the continual use and abuse of other beings. But give them up we must. And that brings us to the good part.

Is there a good side of giving up years of tradition? Absolutely. It's making new, cruelty free traditions a part of your life. You can make your own traditions. Those traditions can be something to be proud of, rather than something to be ashamed of. They can be positive, rather than involving lost lives, slavery, imprisonment and abuse.

It really is possible to celebrate holidays with true joy and without harming other beings. Cruelty free traditions can make you feel so good about yourself! Even if you're not vegan, why not give kinder holiday celebrations a whirl? You might even find out you prefer them!

Avoiding meat and dairy temptations as a Vegan

This is your Butterball turkey. Visualization is a powerful tool for fighting cravings.

A few years back now, I started transitioning from Vegetarian to Vegan. Around the same time, my partner, Gary, decided to go from Omnivore to Vegetarian, leaning toward Vegan. It's been such an interesting journey for both of us. We're learning a whole new way of life. That being said, food temptations are a definite challenge. Here's how we tackle the cravings on a daily basis.

Who has a more difficult time with temptations?

I've been Vegetarian for around 40 years. I don't crave meat at all. It's not even a part of my life anymore after all these years. Still, as far as food cravings go, my partner and I are just about even. I was a real cheese-a-holic before. I put cheese on everything, not realizing that the dairy industry is even more cruel than the meat industry, or that they were completely interwoven. So, while Gary's addictions leaned toward meat, my cheese addictions are every bit as difficult to overcome.

Slipping up

We have slipped up and had small amounts of dairy here and there. Gary has never once gone back to eating meat. It seems his willpower is a bit stronger than mine, though far from perfect. Happily, we've gotten better with every slip up. We're now at the point where there will likely be very few slip ups. That's because the last one was a doozy. We ordered a spinach and artichoke dip, thinking it would mainly be healthy. As it turns out, what we got was a bread bowl full of nasty. The “dip” was spinach and artichokes mixed with mayonnaise and baked in a bread shell. If that's not enough to turn one Vegan, I don't know what is. Yuck!

The gross out factor

Even though the dip was disgusting and set us back for days, it taught us something. Slipping up isn't a treat. It just serves to make us feel downright disgusted with ourselves. It lets see our forbidden foods for exactly what they are, piles of globby, fatty nothing. We're both confident we'll face our temptations with a little more resolve after that experience. If we are tempted, though, despite the gross out factor, we have another little trick up our sleeves. It's not pleasant. It is very effective.


In my job as a writer, I do a lot of research. Like most writers, I write what I know and what I experience. Right now, I'm experiencing the Vegan lifestyle. I research Veganism on a daily basis. In the course of my work, I come across countless videos and articles on animal cruelty. Gary and I watch them together to reinforce our convictions. Watching them has turned out to be a valuable tool for fighting temptation.


Last night before bed, we watched a particularly graphic video of typically cruel slaughterhouse practices. It would not leave my head. It joined me in my dreams. Which brings me to my next point. The main way I avoid temptation is by keeping those images in my head. When I'm tempted to eat dairy, I think of baby calves being dragged from their mothers and eventually slaughtered so that we may have their milk. When I'm tempted to have eggs, I picture baby chicks being ground alive.

Think that's horrendous?

You're right. It is. That's the whole point. It's why, along with health reasons, we've made the choice to go Vegan. Therefore, we use the negativity to inspire us. We keep temptation away by recalling why we're doing this. So now, on the weekends, when we're tempted to have a cheese sub, a pizza or something else that's not on our diet, we think twice. We visualize. We remember why we're doing this. Guess what? Meat and dairy just aren't that tempting once you see them for what they really are.

Friday, March 25, 2016

My vegan journey is pulling into the station

Yes, I know. A lot of vegans think we should be able to snap our fingers and change decades of bad habits overnight, due to the horrors of animal exploitation and more. That would be great. Unfortunately, what I have found is that, personally, I am human and fallible. I have had times when I was all vegan for months. I have also had setbacks. Times when those old craving got the better of me. But now?

Well, now I am quite confident that I have attained my goal of transitioning from a vegetarian to an all vegan diet. In fact, I think I'm there now and will not be going back. What makes me so sure? Well, the thing is that I have come to the point where I can take or leave cheese, my greatest temptation. In fact, the thought of all that fatty gloppity-goo that I used to eat, well, it kind of turns my stomach.

I just don't need or want it any more. Last night, Gary had some cheese ravioli because it was still in the freezer from our mutual vegetarian days. He's not quite as far along in his journey as I am in mine. And you know what? I had absolutely no desire to eat it. That is HUGE for me. You have no idea!

So, I made a little angel hair pasta with herbs for myself and loved it. I didn't even top my creation with Parmesan, another bad habit of mine. Oh ya, I used to love Parmesan so much that I would put ¼ cup on my pasta every time. No Parmesan? That's a truly colossal triumph for me.

I also have a love of real butter. That's been a toughie for sure. We still have some in our fridge right now but I am also confident that I can buy some yummy coconut oil based “butter” next time and not ever go back to the “real” thing again. So, when that happens, I will be officially all vegan where my at home diet is concerned.

Now, about those restaurants. I know that there are a lot of places to dine out where it's not evident exactly what they put in their sauces, etc. However, I also feel that I have gotten to the point where I can and will request those changes and substitutes and where I can boycott any restaurant that does not have choices that are vegan or cannot be modified to be vegan.

I actually prefer vegan restaurants now. I will go to a non-vegan restaurant with non-vegan friends. But I will not eat non-vegan food at that restaurant. I will not backslide to being a vegetarian just because there are more of those choices than vegan choices. After all, it's just one night. I can live with eating the one vegan thing on the menu now without feeling deprived of options. And if there are no vegan options? Well, my friends will just have to choose a different restaurant.

And vacation this year? Road trips? There will be no more “lesser of two evils” or eating local favorites for the tradition or nostalgia of it. I'm determined. Even if it means bringing my own vegan cheese and/or telling them to make it without cheese. Whatever I have to do, I will do. And maybe, just maybe, doing so might spark something in others that starts them on their own journey or at least nudges them to accommodate vegans more than they already do.

Now, I know it's not just about diet. But diet is the most difficult thing to change so I started big with diet. I have also eliminated a lot of other non-vegan choices from my life. I gave my precious leather fringe jacket from the 60's away a long time ago. I'm on a budget so I've kept a few of my other non-vegan clothes. Plus, I figure it's more respectful to use and not waste them, since the animal has already died. But I don't buy leather any more. It's also not very environmentally conscious to toss/give away perfectly good clothing and buy more.

And of course, there are incidentals. There are things I know about, but cannot boycott, like that gas for the car is a latent animal product or that cars are made from animal products or that the artist paints I already have from before are not vegan. And there are, of course, products that exploit animals that I don't know about or couldn't possibly know about, that will likely and unfortunately, remain in my life until I do know about them and/or can find viable alternatives.

And how did I get to this awesome point where my diet is completely vegan with no turning back in sight?

Well, I believe that ironically, the reason I have gotten to this point is that I have allowed myself mistakes. Making mistakes is, of course, the best way to learn. I have undergone a very gradual, unforced process and accepted the fact that people are not perfect and I am no exception. I have said this before, but I am not good at those “Have to's” as I call them. I'm a rebel. And rebels need time in order for true change to stick.

For me, a vegan diet was not an overnight transition. But I am there now. I can, have and will just say no to buying and eating my greatest non-vegan nemesis, cheese now. I can and will just say no to buying and eating any more “real” butter too. Oh, I'll finish it off, so as not to waste it, but once it's gone, that is IT my friends. No more! It won't be easy. The power of well worn thought paths is strong but I'm stronger now. I know that I can do this.

I can now say that I am as cruelty free in my diet choices as I can be in this society. I can also say that I will eventually conquer the rest of what is in my power, sooner rather than later. It's been a long process because I'm a tough nut to crack, even when I'm the one doing the cracking. LOL But I am there. I am proud and I am vegan strong!

Friday, March 18, 2016

What? I can have french toast as a vegan?

Forgot to take a picture of the french toast but this is vegan too!

Ha ha ha.... Today my grand-daughter, who is not vegan by any stretch of the imagination woke up craving french toast. Alas, there were no eggs in her fridge. Grandma to the rescue, I guess. What did I do? I looked up a vegan french toast recipe. Because I know that anything you can do omnivore, you can do vegan. Gasp!

Who knew, right? Well, I did, of course. But having never tried vegan french toast, I wasn't sure how it would taste or how my grand-daughter would like it, being as how she's not vegan. As it turns out, vegan french toast, according to my grand-daughter, is actually better than “real” french toast. How cool is that?

Now, of course, before I continue making my point, I have to share the recipe. I tweaked it a little, so it's my recipe now. Here you go.


1 cup unsweetened coconut/almond milk. (I used Silk brand)
1/8 cup chia seeds
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Now, I blended this in my *Nutribullet RX to be sure all the seeds got chopped up finely enough. You could use a food processor or a blender, I guess. I'm just addicted to the *Nutribullet. LOL

After that, I just dipped the bread in it and made french toast in the usual way on my griddle.

Tip: It takes a bit longer to brown the vegan toast, but otherwise, there's really no difference.

Now, on with my point. I don't care what you're making, you can make it vegan. For instance, last night we scrambled some tofu, added some awesome spices like dill and dried chopped onions and made hash browns. Voila! Traditional breakfast for dinner. Sometimes we make *Smart bacon to go with it. We've even learned to make vegan mushroom gravy because Gary loves biscuits and gravy.

Granted, this type of thing isn't the healthiest fare. So we don't have it as often as we have raw green smoothies, green salads, veggie stir fry and other vegan favorites like bean and rice burritos or lentil soup. But it's nice to know that we don't have to give up any flavor or favorites in order to be cruelty free and the ultimate environmentalists.

Make the connection and you'll see that going vegan isn't about deprivation. It's a variety filled adventure in yummy eats!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Connecting with a Vegan conundrum

This article is addressed mainly to my fellow vegans. I'm wondering if other vegans have the same issue I do with acceptance of non-vegan eating habits. I'm normally a very accepting person. I believe firmly that people have every right to make their own choices. However, I've found myself teetering on the brink of “intolerance” since going vegan. The problem is that what other people eat impacts me personally. That makes it my business, right?

Research shows that a meat based diet has a huge impact on the environment when compared with other human behaviors. I know that I should accept other people's choices, and yet, those choices are not simply bad for them. They are bad for the entire planet, myself included. This is not a rumor, a strictly vegan viewpoint or a ploy to turn everyone vegan. It's a scientific fact. It's been proven many times over.

So, should we vegans be subjected to a depleted ozone, tainted water and toxic air just because someone can't give up hamburgers? It doesn't seem quite right when we're doing all we can to protect the earth.

On the other hand, I have no wish to offend or belittle my non-vegan friends and family.

So, do we vegans accept that our non-vegan friends have a right to their choices, even though their choices are having a negative impact on our own quality of life?

Do we speak up and refuse to accept the choices of our non-vegan friends, since their choices directly impact our own present and future?

Is it right to stand by and watch, while non-vegans ruin the planet over their food preferences? Would we be expected to remain idle while having knowledge of any other threat to the planet or our own well-being?

It's not always simple or even right to kindly and gently accept the choices of others. So, my fellow vegans, how do you solve this conundrum?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

What is the root cause of animal abuse?

This morning, I saw several videos of dogs who were abused by their owners. They were absolutely horrendous. Did you know there are brothels where clients abuse and rape dogs? That got me to thinking. Why does this type of thing happen in the first place? What is the root cause of animal abuse? Where does it begin? While there are many answers to why each particular incident occurs, there is a common thread and it's surprisingly simple.

We think and speak of other animals as just plain animals, forgetting that we ourselves are animals too. Not only that, we have the audacity to think of ourselves as their owners. In fact, we've done it so long that we don't even think twice about it. We're not their owners, of course. They have lives, feelings and families that reach far beyond our relationships with them. That makes them beings of their own accord. But even if you don't believe that, here's the thing that cannot be denied....

We treat other animals as property, buying and selling them. We treat them like slaves for all intents and purposes. We use them for whatever need they fulfill for us, completely disregarding their right to exist on their own. We treat them as possessions, rather than fellow beings. We think of them as our property. We refer to them as “MY dog” “MY cat” “MY livestock” etc. We lock them up in zoos and use them in circuses to entertain us. And then, we have the nerve to say that we love them. That's a hell of a way to show our love, isn't it?

In the natural world, other animals run free until they are needed for food by carnivores. On the other hand, what we humans do to them is a bit like Hansel and Gretel. We lock them up until they are fattened up enough to eat. We also “cage” them in our homes as pets. Some people even “crate” their pets as discipline or to teach them certain behaviors.

Imagine our reaction if that were done to a human animal. Remember how you felt seeing humans corralled in the first “Planet of the Apes” movie? What we do to other animals is no different at all. But somehow, we have gotten this idea in our heads that we are superior to other animals and have a right to own them. We don't.

Nature never intended for us to own other animals. We are not superior to them. That's just an illusion we created to make us feel comfortable about using them. They have some skills that “top” ours and we have some that “top” theirs. But the truth is, those skills were never meant to compete with one another. They were meant to compliment each other.

We can't live without them. Nature is delicately balanced and by claiming ownership over other sentient beings, we are not just upsetting the balance, we are tipping the entire cart over and ensuring our own demise. But, now, back to that abuse....

If we did not look at other animals as our property.... In other words, if we treated them as the equals they are, the abuse would never happen. Because superiority, or the illusion of superiority is the main catalyst for all abuse, whether it's the abuse of other animals or of human animals. Having that right to lord it over someone is what makes us feel we have a right to use or abuse them as we please.

So, what is the root cause of animal abuse? It's our false sense of superiority, of course. We have obtained that sense through tradition, religion or simply observing it as common practice throughout our lives. But that doesn't make it right. So, isn't it time to address animal abuse at the root? Because as long as we keep treating other animals as inferior possessions, it's just going to keep happening.