Friday, May 22, 2009

Vegan:Extreme?

Last night, an old friend of mine responded to this video that I'd posted on Facebook:



She wrote,

I'm glad when anyone is happy and healthy, but my non vegan children are also happy, healthy, veggie loving kids who don't live on diets of Happy Meals and white flour. Not letting the child have a cupcake at a one off birthday party seems a little extreme in my book. I think there is a happy medium to be found in most things, and extremes at either end.

I didn't really feel I'd have enough room to respond the way I'd like over on FB, so I am posting my response here, because I'm sure there are others out there who feel just as she does.

First, I do believe that your children are happy and healthy. But I also believe, from the huge number of studies out there, that a plant-based, whole foods diet, is the best one for us. High cholesterol is being found more and more in younger and younger children (another friend of mine has a son who was diagnosed with high cholesterol when he was four) and heart disease and others are diseases that develop over a long period of time. I believe they are diet related. Heart disease, various cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. have been called "diseases of civilized man." They are highly preventable and many doctors (Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, and Dr. Neal Barnard are some )believe the best way to do this is through a plant-based, whole foods diet.

As for extreme diets, if one is defining "extreme" as "going to great lengths" or "far from a normally practiced standard," I think there are a few things to consider regarding this matter. One, is that the American diet is culturally and habitually based, rather than being based on health or necessity. Using it as a standard of normal is not one that I want to choose.

In the video, they talk to a little girl (around age 4) who says that she thinks a vegan diet is hard because she sometimes doesn't get to have cookies or cupcakes at a party. While I know that it may be challenging for a 4 year old to see brightly colored, frosted goodies at a party and want them, I think there are a few responses to this:

1) The parents have the responsibility, same as the parent who brings the cupcakes for the celebration in the first place, to provide a vegan alternative. There is absolutely NO reason for that child to feel left out, because there are amazing baked goods and other treats available to vegans. I make a number of these snacks myself for my family and friends and regularly get asked for recipes, including some awesome cupcakes! :)

2) There are plenty of other people, for various reasons, who also cannot or do not, eat all the food this particular culture uses for its celebrations. For health or allergy reasons, there are those who avoid all sorts of things and have dairy-free, peanut-free, shellfish-free, gluten-free, tomato-free, etc. diets. There are others, such as Orthodox Jews or Hindus, who, like vegans, avoid certain foods by choice. I wonder if all of these people are considered extreme?

If, on the other hand, we are thinking of word, "extreme" to mean, "existing in a very high degree," then I would consider a meat-based diet to be extreme in regard to risk. There are the health risks inherent in consuming animals that are not only dietary, but also sanitary. The conditions of the slaughterhouses are to be considered. The sanitary habits of the low-wage, slaughterhouse workers ought to be considered as well.

Then there are the preparations necessary for cooking the meat to be sure that it has been cooked well enough to destroy the various bacterias that live in animals, ie. salmonella, e. coli, mad cow, influenza, and many, many others (have a listen to the latest Vegetarian Food For Thought Podcast in my sidebar for further and fascinating information). Then, of course, while one shoud be careful not to under-cook meat, one also should not over-cook the meat, because then carcinogens are know to form.

Finally, I guess I would like to say, that yes, I have an agenda. That agenda is one for promoting the best diet I believe is available to everyone as well as the most compassionate to everyone, human and non-human as well. When I share this information here on my blog, on Facebook, or with my family and friends, it is not meant to insult or judge anyone, but instead inform. I do this because I care about the health of family and friends and because I feel deeply about the unnessecary pain and suffering of the animals that occurs daily on a global basis. It seems illogical to me that the diet that is the best for our bodies, for the environment, and for all life, should be seen as something less desirable, lacking in flavor or nutrition (consider, for a moment, that we use primarily plant food to flavor all our dishes, including meat ), or extreme in any way.

So, I will continue to share here and there from time to time and I hope that we can continue to engage in discussions as friends regarding these issues that seem to ignite such passion.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Color, Color, Color!

Oh, gee, it's just been TOO long since I've posted. But, I guess that's what can happen when you've been at this blogging thing for nearly 3 years. I know others are much more prolific than I, but this is what it is and I just haven't felt up to it of late. That said, here I am!

I hadn't felt inspired by too much of late - not enough to post anyway, but color always inspires me and I came across this fantastic deal today and it just made me SMILE.

I was out running errands in the rain and stopped in at Goodwill to pick up some sweaters for unravelling when I spotted this wonderful valance:


Yay for color! It really livens up our little eat-in/schooling area and was an inexpensive addition at only $2.99 per valance. I actually thought it was homemade due to the fun color combination. It kind of put me in mind of Anna Maria Horner's things. Seeing as I don't sew, none of her fun fabrics have found their way into my house, but I can tell you I was thrilled with these! At home I finally found a tag: JCPenney Home Collection. Hmm. Who knew? I'm impressed, JCPenney!
More color, but this time we're wearing it! I gave myself a couple of blue streaks in my hair this weekend and then got it cut on Monday. Just needed something different... something unusual... something more me.

You can see a little of the front blue streak by my left ear in the picture here.
And then the bigger one in back.



Eve got in on the fun too. She was so excited with my color and wanted to do it too. I wasn't too thrilled with the idea of us both having blue at the same time and I also told her that she'd need to pay for the color herself. I had bleach leftover from my kit, so that wouldn't be a problem.
She was disappointed until I remembered that you could dye your hair (as well as yarn!) with Kool-Aide. At .25 a packet, that was something she could afford and so she's got a strawberry streak now too! Fun, fun. It fits her sweet personality to a 'T' and will go with nearly all her pink, pink clothes! :)



I finally finished my Kepler sweater about 2 weeks ago from the yarn I recycled in February. It fits beautifully and I'm so pleased with it. Of course, now it's way to warm to wear it, but it gives me something to look forward to this autumn.
Here is the sweater the way it was before. It was a man's sweater, so that I could ensure I would have enough for a sweater of my own. And indeed I did; I have a bunch of it leftover.




And here's the finished product. I may get around to putting it on for a picture one of these days, but this will have to suffice for now.



I'm currently working on a tank top out of some bamboo yarn I bought about a year and a half ago at a yarn sale. And I just picked up those sweaters at Goodwill to unravel today. One is brown with some other colors laced through it - kind of a heathered brown with little flecks of reddish orange. The other two are white which I'll use for dyeing this summer. Two different fiber blends, so it will be interesting to see how the colors take. Fun for experimenting!
Hope you're all well. I haven't even been out in the blogosphere much of late. I've just been popping into Facebook for a few moments. I'm okay with that; it means I'm busy in the "real" world and that makes me happy too.





Friday, May 1, 2009

VEGANniversary!

It's my 2 year "VEGANniversary!" :) There are SO many reasons I am vegan: humane treatment of animals, animal's rights as sentient beings, the concern I have for the people we pay to do the dirty deed of slaughtering 10,000,000,000 animals a year to feed a gluttonous appetite, concern for the environment, and the care and keeping of our bodies (which God has called our temples and house the Holy Spirit).

So many of the diseases our nation faces are often called "Western diseases," or "diseases of 'civilized' man." If you have 14 minutes I would highly, HIGHLY encourage you to watch this video, featuring Dr. T. Colin Campbell. Give it some thought. And have a happy May Day!


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