Sunday, May 18, 2008

Veggie Q & A

Hello all. I am making this comment into a post, because for some reason, Blogger is not letting me comment on my own blog right now! In the post below, Kez asked me about the vegetarian starter kit banner in my sidebar and so, Kez (and everyone else!) here is my answer:

Kez,

You should be able to just click on the banner and it will take you to the starter guide info. Is that what you mean or did you want a banner for your page too?

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau of Compassionate Cooks (an AWESOME podcast and informative page at compassionatecooks.com) says, "Just because you can't to everything, doesn't mean you should do nothing. Do something! Anything!" So start with baby steps. Take one night a week to be meat-free. Peruse Vegweb for thousands of free recipes. When you find some you like, make it two nights a week and so on.

Personally, acknowledging what happens to the animals was enough to turn my stomach years ago and so the decision was an easy one. Colleen's podcast talks about it and John Robbin's book, Diet For a New America does too and Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary is informative as well.

I know this is blunt, but in my opinion, if we are going to insist on having meat on our plates, we owe it to the animals to see the truth of how it is done. They are not killed on the farm in which they are raised - even if they are raised "humanely." Most farmers do not have a license to slaughter their own animals on their property and so all animals are sent to the same slaughterhouses where there is a great deal of violence and brutality. I don't just mean the violence of killing the animal, but the people there, so desensitized by the killing they have to do every single day, now view the animals as things and are often cruel to them (kicking them, throwing them like balls around, using them like "baseball bats," even stomping on their heads or yanking off limbs that may become stuck between bars) because they are just going to be killed anyway. So the time the animals spend before their ultimate doom, is often one of torture as well.

It is this kind of thing that makes it easy for me to say, "You know, I can live very, very well, and have an exceptional diet without an animal on my plate. I can live very satisfactory life without tasting any of that ever again. It is alright with me." I choose not to participate in the violence which affects not only the animals but also the people who have the jobs no one else wants. I find it hard to imagine that those folks who work in those conditions would call their lives "happy" or "rich" or "fulfilling." I just don't want to be a part of that cycle.

So, for me it was a "no brainer." That said, I seem to have the type of personality that can do this more easily than some. If I have a habit in my life (and meat eating is simply a habit, not a necessity) that I feel is not a good one, I just quit it; I walk away and don't look back. If I can find a better way, I take it.

Personally, having been a vegetarian for 20 years, I believe it is easy-peasy. There are SO many delicious things out there and many, many vegetarian convenience foods too. I am now switching again to a vegan diet - eliminating the dairy and eggs - and so I am learning again. But just as when anyone learned how to cook anything, it just takes a bit of time. It takes a while to find those sure-fire winner recipes and a while to develop a wide selection you can draw from and find easy to prepare. But it is worth it. For my conscience and my soul, for a non-violent society and for the animals, it is worth it.
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