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.