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?
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!
In an era of social media, newspaper extinction and instant news storms, I feel overwhelmed. My head hurts and my eyes burn. Lost in a sea of information, I seek the truth. Is the truth in the eyes of the beholder?
Making life choices get me so confused and I’m not a millennial. There is this constant struggle for the right food, the right shampoo, the right eyeliner, the right shoes. Like everybody else, I want to be healthy and not cause pain to any human or non-human creature.
I want to know everything that is going on around the world. I want to learn how to save animals. I want to find out why on a molecular level meat is not the best choice.
At 5 am, I’m going frantically through tweets and Facebook and Instagram too, looking for the newest news about plant-based nutrition. I navigate an endless stream of information but I don’t have time to deep dive into it. Where does this info come from? Who said what? Is this scientifically proven? Is this a fad?
In the old days, I read a book a week, now, I read hundreds of tweets a day.
I become aware of numerous issues I never thought about – went from omnivorous, to pescatarian, to vegetarian to vegan.
I learn about the White Helmets and I can give you pretty good reasons to consider veganism. Still, I miss the scientific papers I used to read more than once until I got total understanding.
I miss knowing the scientific names of dolphins and being able to have hours long discussions about cetaceans strandings.
I miss knowing who the animal behavior researchers were and reading all their books.
As I learn more and more about animal welfare, I feel the need to stop and breathe. I need to disconnect, go to a pasture and observe the peaceful bovines in order to find some insight and strength to keep going on the road for a more compassionate world.
Words like shaming, bullying, preaching, lecturing, radical and activism can have a very negative effect on the message we are trying to convey.
I was shopping for vegan themed T-shirts and as open-minded as I am, it was disappointing to see so many negative and even aggressive messages. A lot of these Tees are not suited for the workplace even though I work in a pretty casual tech environment. Some messages, parents might say, would not be appropriate for kids.
We are dealing with such a great cause that brings inspiration from nature and animals. Why not stick to positive messages to attract and not disturb our fellow humans?
The more conversations I have about veganism, the more I understand the frustration on both sides.
A few vegans go deep in their research and learn all about climate change and animal cruelty. They sit through hours of video footage of animals suffering. It’s heart-wrenching. Been there, done that. We listen to our most beloved people saying “I could never give up cheese.” Well, my dear, you gave up gluten, why not cheese…
People who are running up the survival ladder, struggling to feed their kids and pay the rent, tell me “organic and vegan food is way too expensive, I can’t afford that.” That’s not entirely true but that’s another discussion.
Sometimes it seems like a battleground where no one wins and the animals lose.
I understand that the frustration many vegans feel comes from a place where they know that it is scientifically proven that a plant based diet brings enormous benefits for our health. That we can actually save a lot of money by spending less on meds and doctors.They know that bees are on the verge of becoming extinct and that without bees to pollinate there will be serious consequences to the whole ecosystem. They know about animal testing in the cosmetics industry. They know about the role of factory farms in climate change.They know what goes on in factory farms. They know all behind the scenes in slaughterhouses. They know about the high suicide rate in these places. The endless cruelty…
Still, our message should come from a place of compassion and not rage. Change comes from the heart.