It was a co-worker’s birthday and I confess that I had a little “revenge” in mind for those who keep making fun of me for being vegan.
I got a vegan chocolate cake – the actual one in the picture above – at an organic grocery store. After lunch, we all gathered around the birthday girl, sang, wishes were made, and slices of The Cake passed around. Everybody was asking me if the cake was vegan and I answered with a face as straight as possible and a little bit of laughter: “No way! I would never do that to you guys!” They all loved the cake and I heard several: “OMG it’s so rich!” “This is delicious,” “Where did you get this cake?” “I need to go to this store to get this cake!”
Once all plates were empty, I asked: “So, how did you like the cake?” Everybody said they loved it! That’s when I told them that it was a vegan cake. Their facial expressions of disbelief were great. We all laughed a lot and it ended up being a fun and positive experience.
Of course, I don’t expect anybody to become vegan because of a slice of cake. But just opening a little door for the possibility of trying something new is already a victory.
My friends will remember the rich taste and texture of the soft mousse chocolate cake dissolving on their tongues, filling them with sweet oral sensations – an exceptional positive sensory experience.
On the other side of the spectrum, some vegans share images of suffering cows and chickens. Most people who watch animal cruelty videos, feel the negative impact of the shocking images on a deep level. They will try to block these images and remember a negative experience for a long time. I’m not saying these images should never be shared.
I agree: animal-cruelty must be denounced!
I just wonder how effective those images are when we are talking about embracing a vegan lifestyle.
Which experience will encourage more people to try vegan dishes?
Since I’m not into cooking, I look for vegan treats I can bring to parties or office potlucks. The same organic market where I got the cake, also offers vegan ice cream, vegan doughnut holes, as well as cute vegan cupcakes for all occasions.
Do you have any vegan dishes you enjoy sharing with your friends?
Chimpanzees are people too, you know. Ok, not exactly. But lawyer Steven Wise has spent the last 30 years working to change these animals’ status from “things” to “persons.” It’s not a matter of legal semantics; as he describes in this fascinating talk, recognizing that animals like chimps have extraordinary cognitive capabilities and rethinking the way we treat them — legally — is no less than a moral duty.
A number of incidents have made the news lately about people treating animals badly while on vacation. In the Bahamas, several swimming pigs died after tourists gave them alcohol. A woman in Florida was arrested after posing on a sea turtle. Another sea turtle suffered indirectly from human actions after eating 915 coins.
What can we learn from this? Well, certainly that we should not give animals alcohol, nor sit on wild animals, nor throw coins into animal habitats. But these stories also serve as a reminder that when we travel, we are visiting environments that are new to us, but are homes to creatures who deserve our respect. As an advocate for animals, stay alert and speak up if you see animals being mistreated, wherever you may roam.
Many say “the cow is already dead, if I don’t eat the meat, it will go to waste.” I can see your point of view. On the other hand, if you keep eating meat, you will be feeding the supply and demand chain. If there is no demand, the cows won’t be killed for meat. Instead of raising cows, those cattle farms could turn to plant farms. Makes sense?
You might say that it will never happen. If you take a look at the food evolution on the last few years, you will notice an increasing demand for organic products, grass fed cows and free range chickens. We have markets exclusively dedicated to organic products. Farmer’s markets are popping all over the country.
News about the dairy industry is starting to mention the raising consumption of soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, and coconut milk.
Change starts with one step in the right direction. Suddenly, it gets a momentum that revolutionizes the old assumptions. At one point in history, people believed the Earth was flat.
Nowadays, we hear more and more about plant-based diets, raw diet, whole foods, non- GMO produce, gluten-free, lactose-free, non-processed foods and the list keeps growing.
I won’t suggest that you change all at once. Start by incorporating vegetables and fruits to your plate and reducing the amount of meat. Once you begin to enjoy it, try to eat vegan for one week. Once feel more energetic and your skin clears up, try it for a month.
Check out the great blogs full of delicious and easy vegan recipes or visit a cool vegan restaurant.
Let me know how it goes.
We hear a lot about grass fed cows and cage free chickens. It’s a step in the right direction, no doubt. If you have watched “Cowspiracy” or “Food Inc,” you know what I’m talking about.
The other day, my boss joked: “If the cow is grass fed, does it count as a vegan steak?” I laughed out loud – but no.
Do these cows and chickens get massive doses of hormones to grow, get fat, and generate revenue faster?
Do these cows and chickens get massive doses of antibiotics to prevent or treat diseases, hence becoming more and more resistant to them?
How about when they are about to be slaughtered?
The initial scene of a documentary I almost watched but had to stop because it was too disturbing, shows a cow trying to escape when her friend goes behind the doors to be killed. One can clearly see the panic in her eyes and desperation in her body. Can you imagine the rush of adrenaline in her blood stream, the stress, and the fear? All this adrenaline hormone will be served on your plate in the beautiful medium rare steak you are about to enjoy.
What effect will those chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, and toxins have in your body and on your long term health?
We all should look up info on animal agriculture and factory farming.
Saturday morning, getting vegan bread at a famous high-end organic market, I start paying attention to the crowds. I see Birkenstocks, one pair of stilettos and running shoes. A tie dye shirt, chino bermudas, and dozens of yoga pants. The granola hippie and the sophisticated climate change fighter. A headphone with cat ears. Everybody looking at their smartphones.
The lines are long and the aisles seem too skinny for so many bodies walking up and down. I see lots of angry frowns and nervous foot tapping. I hear impatient sighs and exasperated “Ex-cu–se me!” more than once.
Wait! Aren’t these organic peaceful humans, animal lovers, grass fed beef eaters, yoga aficionados, non GMO consumers, gluten and dairy intolerant people supposed to be chill? Don’t they believe in universal love? Don’t they practice endless compassion?
They seem to fit the annoyed, critical, judgmental, and self-righteous stereotype of vegetarian/vegans.
Are they like that because they are vegetarian/vegan or they are vegetarian/vegan because they are like that?
Does dedicating their lives to healthy living give them a sense of entitlement?
I would say no. When I go to the other organic market down the street I see some friendly faces and a couple of smiles.
Still, the judgmental and self-entitled give vegans a bad rep.
A little less frowning and way more smiling would help the cause immensely.
I have two dear friends, one vegan, and one vegetarian. One has cats and the other has dogs. Both have been patiently teaching me about veganism and cruelty-free products. Both love animals but do have opposing views.
One won’t buy any products or work for any cruelty-free company if the parent company is not cruelty-free. She will not give her money to those companies.
The other will purchase items from the cruelty-free with a non-cruelty-free parent company because she believes that by doing that, she will demonstrate to the non-cruelty-free parent company that investing in products that are not tested on animals generates revenue.
Who do you agree with and why?
I’d love to hear your opinion, please leave your comments.
My friends expect me to judge them on their food choices. I have to remind them that I’m all for Freedom, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Food. Your body, your temple, not mine.
My Bestie loves frog legs and lamb, what can I say? Do I like her less for that? Nope! I just make fun of her and we laugh. I bake banana bread and bring it to the office just to show her that vegan does not have to taste like cardboard.
Freedom of food includes no criticism, judgment or radicalism.
One of the things we hear the most is “I could never be vegan.” Let me tell you a little secret: It’s not as complicated and time-consuming as it seems. Seriously, the kitchen is my enemy and I can’t cook even if my life depends on it.
If you are curious about this lifestyle, experiment and start small. Don’t go cold turkey. Instead of removing food, try adding or swapping. Instead of white rice, try brown rice. Add a vegetable or two to your plate. Instead of a whole chicken breast, have half and add some beans to your meal. Instead of cow or goat milk try one of the several varieties such as almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk, soy milk. Add avocado and tomatoes to your sandwiches. Make smoothies with coconut milk and frozen fruit. Add nuts to your salads or eat them as snacks. Try a vegan burger just for the fun of it!
Explore your artistic side and get creative in the kitchen. Play with colors in your dishes. Add beautiful red and yellow bell peppers to your plates or sprinkle your eggs with orange Tumeric. Find the beauty of adding purple blueberries to your pale oatmeal.
My days are a little rushed sometimes so I have a few basics in my pantry and fridge: lentil soups, veggie burgers, non-dairy bread, non-dairy cream cheese, tofu, mushroom, and spices. These can be meals in just a few minutes. For dessert, I love soy ice cream or vegan chocolate cake.
Most important of all: Have Lots of Fun!
When I’m researching veganism and animal welfare, a big turn off is the hate and offensive words. Veganism is based on compassion for animals. Where is the compassion for humans? Not being vegan does not make someone a “bad” person. Yes, we all know that but we still see a lot of food shaming around.
Before becoming vegan, I was a vegetarian for a long time just because I haven’t had taken the time to get informed about the treatment of animals in dairy farms and all that. Doing some research without anyone judging me was what changed my food choices.
My dear friend Lisa told me a long time ago: We catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Well, that’s an old saying but she told me that in the moment I was ready to listen and her precious words reverberated in my mind.
People only listen to what they are ready to hear. We can’t brand ideas in their minds the same way cowboys brand cattle. Human brains need lots of pampering and sweet convincing.
The other day, I tried to watch a documentary about slaughterhouses and after paying for it, I couldn’t watch it for more than 60 seconds. The shocking images disturbed me in a visceral level. I’m the kind of person who will easily be convinced not to eat bacon by looking at pictures of baby pigs in a grass field but not by images of a pig factory.
It’s sad to see people making faces when they hear my answer “I’m vegan” to “why you don’t want a piece of this juicy steak.” They get more wrinkles with all the face contortioning and I keep eating my greens peacefully. My friends get very defensive and start talking about vitamin deficiency. I could go on and feed the debate with stories about bloody slaughterhouses and how baby cows are taken from their moms and so on. But I prefer to try to be compassionate and explain to them that in my mind there is no difference between a cow and my chihuahua. Then, I tell stories about how smart pigs and chickens are. I don’t talk about animal suffering and exploitation while my dear friends are enjoying their steaks, that would be rude and counterproductive.
I don’t believe in preaching, I believe in planting the seed of curiosity so my friends will ask questions about my lifestyle and start doing their own research, reaching their own conclusions and making their own choices.
Hopefully, my friends will discover the path to compassion for animals.