Saturday, June 10, 2017

How to be a lazy vegan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That's it.

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

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

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

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

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

Lastly, and perhaps, most importantly:

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

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

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

Vegan knowledge turns idyllic pastures into killing fields

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

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

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

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

1. I'm a realist.

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

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

2. I crave knowledge.

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

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

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

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