Monday, July 12, 2010
A VEGAN WELCOME
Hi, all. Welcome to my new blog about veganism.
If you've been following me on my regular blog, 'The End Of The Rainbow', then no doubt you know me pretty well by now. One thing I don't talk a lot about on there is my lifestyle in being a vegan.
How I began:
A few years ago there was an uproar over actress Jennifer Lopez when she came out with a clothing line that used real rabbit fur in it's lining of boots, jackets, etc.
PETA ('People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals') naturally got involved. I clicked on their website to learn more about animal fur as well as how the meat we eat goes from being a living animal to being in the butcher department in our grocery stores.
What I learned appalled me and I made a decision right then and there to change my lifestyle.
Not just what I ate, but also what I wore and what products I use.
I became enlightened: a word that I not only use frequently, but one that I do my best to practice daily.
Label reading has become the norm for me when purchasing shoes/clothing/accessories, food and healthcare products.
This has not been an easy endeavor and I would be lying to myself and you were I to say that this has been an air tight transition for me with no screw-ups.
Sometimes I think -- especially when Pizza (my weakness) is brought into my home by my non-vegan son, 'B', and his friends and my husband, Ed -- why did I ever start this? Why didn't I just go vegetarian?
Then I remember what I've read about dairy farms.
::WARNING: READ NO FURTHER IF YOU REALLY DON'T WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT DAIRY CONSUMPTION::
I get asked two questions quite frequently:
1) "Why not just be a vegetarian since using dairy doesn't kill the animals?"
A) Most dairy farms (now, not all -- I am speaking mostly from the standpoint of the big dairy corporations) use machines to milk cows which produces sores on their utters (which then produce blood and pus....how much of that gets in the milk we drink? I wondered...) and the cows are kept perpetually pregnant to produce milk which is very taxing on the animal. The babies are typically taken from their mothers and raised without that contact and/or used for veal farms, which I've seen in person -- there are few things more heart wrenching then seeing a starving calf kept isolated in a dark, hot crate to produce a more tender meat.
2) "If you don't eat meat or dairy, what do you eat?"
A) This question always kills me and I admit I find myself chuckling with just a slight roll of the eyes, I'm sorry to say.
My answer: Everything else. There's a plethora of food out there and more and more markets ('Trader Joe's', 'Clark's Nutritional Center', 'Whole Foods' and even 'Ralph's' & 'Stater Brother's') are catering to the needs of vegans and vegetarians by having readily available dairy and egg free mayonnaise, margarine, frozen desserts, soy milk, almond milk, dairy free 'cheeses' and fake 'meat'. Not to mention there many whole wheat and grain products for even healthier living.
A new product I'm particularly fond of is 'Gardein':
I'm also crazy about 'Vegenaise':
As noted earlier, my husband and son are not vegans and as such, I want to note that I'm sure there are many vegans out there who would be appalled to learn that I have no problem fixing them non-vegan meals -- our home is all about tolerance.
Many times Ed will go out of his way to buy me something vegan or take me to my very favorite vegan restaurant, 'Real Food Daily'(RFD) in Santa Monica (about an hour and a half drive for us) and even though he loves his meat and dairy, he generally enjoys his meals there. Same goes for 'B', my 20 year old son.
Acceptance and tolerance go a long way with us. It's about being kind to the people you love the most.
So, no, to answer that lingering third question, I don't despise people who eat meat and dairy -- it's just simply not for me.
With that said, I realize that PETA is an extreme organization but the good they do outweighs the bad for me.
Would I ever throw a can of red paint on someones fur coat?
Nope. That's not my place.
An ever so slightly dirty look on the sly perhaps, but no unkind words or actions are necessary.
Would I picket a circus due to their use and unkind treatment of elephants?
Another question I've gotten thrown in my direction occasionally is how can I have so much compassion for animals but not for humans?
That question and it's inflection alone angers me with it's leaps and bounds of assumptions and nearly incites a 'How dare you?' response from me:
I am a fundraiser and activist for those who are afflicted with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and have been involved with the MS cause for nearly three years raising $12,000 to research a cause and cure.
I also have an open door policy with my son's friends that has been in place for years, opening my home and heart [and fridge] making my life even more enriched (MOST of the time--ha!).
So, I'll end my introductory post by saying that this blog is something I've wanted to put together for a while now. My therapist (yes, I see a therapist: again, if you know me and what we've been through these past two years and the toll that it's taken, this should come as no surprise) wants me to 'step outside of my box': to do something for myself. So, I'll be looking up knitting classes for beginners in my area soon as well as beginning this new blog about one of my passions.
I will post recipes and information and will attempt not to lecture. :D
I'm not here to incite the wrath of meat eaters and farmers, only to merely share what I know and why I live my life meat and dairy free.
So, welcome to 'Rabbit Food'.
Peace and serenity,