Five things on my mind

In backwards order:

5. Secretly non-vegan items. I just read today that cigarettes might not be vegan. I don’t smoke, but it’s just another example of how much our society depends on animal exploitation. I remember how amazed I was when I found out about some alcohol not being vegan, tattoo ink, jewelry, ivory soap, and until recently, Lipton iced tea. Anything else that readers want to bring to my attention?

4. Vegan at heart. Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard this line: “Oh, I care about animals, but I could never go vegan.” Each time I hear it, I calmly remind myself that ethical living is a journey and everyone is at a different place in that journey – but, I mean, I’ve been vegan for five years, and there are very, very few people that I actually believe “could never” do it. Do you have a soy allergy? A gluten allergy? I eat soy products infrequently and recently haven’t eaten any gluten. Are you allergic to all plants? Okay, that might be a problem. What? No allergies at all? You just like the taste of animal products too much? …

Fortunately, I have a new plan of action. I signed up for this 30 day email coaching program, vegan at heart. Every day, you get a 5 – 10 minute task that shows you how easy being vegan is. I’m only a few days into the program, but here are the tasks I’ve been assigned so far:

1. Make a shopping list. 2. Read sample vegan menus. 3. Drink water and take your vitamins. 4. Read about vegan convenience foods. 5. Add vegan “dairy” and “meat” products to your shopping list. 6. Read about vegan options at restaurants that serve international fare. 7. Get rid of seven food items that you don’t need or use.

At first it was difficult to see the forest for the trees (make a shopping list? drink water?), but by my sixth mission, I was a convert. Okay, I’m vegan, so not the most reliable voice speaking, but try it for yourself. No other article or starter guide or blog post I’ve found on the internet has made veganism so straightforward and achievable. So the next time you talk to someone who has the will to be vegan, direct them to vegan at heart, and hopefully it will show them the way.

3. Vegan diets for companion animals. I’ve recently talked to quite a few people with vegan dogs who are thriving on their new diet. And my non vegan friend who is majoring in vet sci corroborated what they said – a vegan diet is great for dogs. Well, a lot of dog food has corn and other grains as the bulk of its content. And you know that conventional dog food tests, right? Anyways, aside from a few foods that dogs can’t eat (mushrooms, onions, garlic, macadamia nuts, etc.) they seem like they’d be fine with a vegan diet. I don’t know as much about vegan cats. The tension gets high when you talk about veganizing “obligate carnivores.” My brother and his girlfriend have their cat on a vegan diet, and she seems fine. Thoughts?

2. Republican majority. I’ve voted in every election since I was of legal age, but I never really believed that it made a difference who was elected. Well, it’s only February, and already I stand corrected. In the past two weeks, they’ve trotted out H.R. 3, The Protect Life Act, and the Georgia bill to call rape victims rape “accusers.” I’ve never felt my reproductive rights so much in jeopardy. I also got some alert today about how they’re potentially zeroing out funding for PBS and NPR. Hopefully it’s a lot of threats that won’t go through, but boy, will I be a much stronger campaigner for democratic candidates in the next election.

1. Do no evil, see no evil. I’ve never seen Earthlings. I’ve never seen Meet Your Meat. I’ve never watched the MFA Conklin Dairies footage; I’ve never seen behind the scenes circus footage; I’ve never even seen The Cove. Should I? My argument has been that the people who should watch that footage are the ones financially supporting such atrocity – in other words, non-vegans. But I recently talked to an animal rights activist who makes herself sit through those kinds of videos. “I can’t watch for long and I always end up crying, but it just makes me more motivated to get my activism in gear.” To compound that motivation, I was reading a vegan.com post today that said “Animal advocates should recognize that every animal who ends up in the slaughterhouse represents a failure on our part.”

If I watched those videos and I woke up every day thinking that the death of billions of animals was my fault, I would certainly feel motivated. But I would also get severely depressed. I always believed that there are people who can watch those sorts of movies without falling apart, and there are people like me. I read about what happens in those videos – terrible things that make me cry – but I’ve never watched them. Not only would I never be able to get the images out of my head, but I fear becoming hardened to depictions of such violence. But maybe I’m just making up the kind of excuses that I hate to hear from anyone else. MFA has a new twelve minute video called Farm to Fridge. I’ll make you a deal – if you watch it, then I’ll watch it. Or, at least, I’ll do my best.

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2 Responses to Five things on my mind

  1. Gina says:

    5. I was surprised too when I found out about alcohol not being vegan! And I hadn’t heard about any of the other things that you mentioned either, except soap. Being vegan has really made me look harder at what I’m buying/supporting, and it sometimes takes a couple minutes to find the product I’m looking for that doesn’t test/is vegan, but it makes me feel so much better about the choices I make. Question: what is in jewelry that isn’t vegan?

    3. About the vegan companion animals (and in case anyone else reads this, I’m the brother’s girlfriend)… our cat isn’t 100% vegan; we give her 1/2 meat food and 1/2 vegan food, but maybe someday we’ll try to inch her towards being completely vegan. In the beginning she was really hesitant about the diet switch and sometimes would just eat around the vegan food and look up at me like a little kid who was just served brussel sprouts (or maybe she wasn’t acting different and I was just reading into it too much). The package of vegan food suggested serving it moist or with creamed corn or tuna in the beginning, but since we hadn’t been feeding her wet food much before I was hoping we wouldn’t have to do that. Anyways, eventually she started eating it plain/dry and hopefully she’ll continue!
    I read about an animal shelter that only gives their dogs vegan food from the minute they get there, and they more gradually shift the cats to a vegan diet as well. Also they said they hadn’t had any diet-related problems, and in fact some of the animals’ health improved after going vegan.

    1. I haven’t watched many of those types of videos either :/ I even covered up pictures that I didn’t want to look at in my pamphlet from Vegan Mania. I also prefer to read about it rather than see it, but maybe you’re right and we should be watching videos like that. I would say that you seem plenty motivated for animal rights already though, and getting depressed might actually make you (and anyone) less motivated.

  2. Gina says:

    That link I put up is a really long page. The animal shelter info that I was trying to reference is in section 2, Vegetarian Cats, and you can find it by just searching for the word “shelter”.

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