Monthly Archives: April 2008

Diet for a New America

This book has been around for quite a while, and it’s a huge book in the vegetarian arena, as far as I can tell.  I just started it today, so I’m only 50 pages into it right now, but I’m really enjoying it.  I’m getting to the part where the author, John Robbins, describes the conditions in which animals raised for food live, and I think it’s going to be tough to not just skip over that part.

On another note, I took a stand for veganism and myself the other day.  The campus counseling center that I am doing my practicum and internship with puts on an event every year, kind of a stress-relieving event that students can attend.  Traditionally, practicum students have helped hand out pizza – of all kinds.  While I probably could have done it if I were “only” vegetarian, being vegan I just couldn’t see myself doing that for an entire hour.  So, after dwelling on it for a few days, I simply approached my supervisor and let her know that I felt uncomfortable about handing out the pizza.  She knows about my vegetarianism (although I’m not sure she knows about my veganism), and she is a very understanding person, so right away she got it.  I think she felt bad for not thinking of it earlier, but I understand that people can miss things like that when it is not the forefront in their lives.  So I got to help with something else not food-related that night and everyone was happy.  The moral of this story?  If you feel uncomfortable about something, TELL SOMEBODY!  Of course, this moral is here just as much for myself as it is for anyone else.

Something else – I have a ton of food pictures that I need to post, and I just baked something from Colleen‘s cookbook, but I’m behind on posts and I will get those posted as soon as I can.  Patience is a virtue, and all that stuff.

Earth Day in Lawrence

Ryan’s and my first tabling event at the Lawrence, KS Earth Day Celebration was a success! We handed out literature from Vegan Outreach, and our display focused on the environmental impact of a meat-based diet. We had some visual aids that showed the differences in water and land requirement differences between meat-based and plant-based diets, as well as one showing the difference between human waste and farm animal waste.  (And our super cool shirts that we bought from Herbivore)

Ryan was definitely the one who got people to stop at our table – he had a great spiel worked out after just the first couple of minutes being set up. We met lots of people who were already vegetarian and vegan, and even some vegan kids! Meeting the kids was especially cool, just because I could see that they really have thought about this too, and veganism is extremely important to them. We gave them some resources that could help them get more vegan and vegetarian options in their school lunches (namely, Veg Advantage).

We really got a lot of support. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I definitely wasn’t expecting so much encouragement. We also had the opportunity to be just a few tables down from another animal rights group, Animal Outreach of Kansas. So through them we met several vegans, and their table was supplying free vegan food! Lots of people stood at the table listening to our information, and we got some people signed up for the Western Kansas Vegetarian Society newsletter (the organization we are starting up, in case I haven’t mentioned it already). In total, we handed out 99 leaflets from Vegan Outreach (mostly “Why Vegan?”) and 25 “Guide for Cruelty-Free Eating”. We also were handing out “Adopt a McDonald’s” coloring books from the Beyond Beef organization, as well as a Vegan Food Pyramid that I drew, based on the “New Four Food Groups” from the Physician’s Committee of Responsible Medicine. As soon as I have a scanned copy of that, I will post it.

Did anyone else out there attend this event? What did you think? Have you ever tabled before?

Totally amazing experience

The Denver VegFest 2008 was a total success, from my perspective. Over 1600 people attended, and so much great information was put out there for people. ALL the food that was handed out by vendors was vegan! It was amazing to be in a place where I wasn’t constantly asking, “What’s in this?” And my fangirl needs were satisfied when I bought cookbooks from both Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (The Joy of Vegan Baking) and Sarah Kramer (How It All Vegan) and got them both signed!

Everyone there – speakers, volunteers, staff, and attendees – were so open, friendly, and respectful. I think that everyone was just enjoying being in the company of like-minded people – I know I was! There was an infinite circle problem, where it was tough to get in line to see booths, simply because there were so many people, but Ryan and I agreed that at least it was an infinite circle of like-minded people and we need more of that.

So a big THANK YOU to everyone who attended, spoke at, or helped organize the VegFest. Can’t wait to do it again in 2009!

I also wanted to mention that one of the information tables focused on elephants and how South Africa is considering lifting the ban on hunting these incredible animals.  We wrote letters right then and there on the behalf of the elephants, urging the South African government to be as sensitive, caring, and loyal as the elephants themselves and to not lift the ban.  For more information, visit Pachyderm Power.

VegFest 2008 in Denver!

I am very excited for tomorrow, because we will be leaving for Denver to attend VegFest 2008 on Saturday!  Some fabulous speakers will be there, and they are all well known within the veg*n and animal rights community — I have to say, I am most excited to see Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, the founder of Compassionate Cooks, because I listen to her podcast all the time.  There is also going to be yummy veg*n food, so I am really looking forward to that, of course.  I think what I am looking forward to most of all is being in a place where my dietary choices are actually the norm, because I have never experienced that (the closest I got was when we visited San Francisco … and even then, not so much).  And the website mentions that the food will be vegetarian, so I don’t know how much will actually be vegan, but I’m guessing a lot.  I also figure that when I ask if a certain food item is vegan, people will actually know what “vegan” means! It’s going to be like a whole different world.

We are taking the camera, so I will post pictures when we get back!

Um, thanks for your concern.

I have found, and I am sure other veg*ns (vegetarians and/or vegans) have found, that when you announce that you are veg*n, people suddenly get really concerned about your health.  Instantly you are bombarded with questions and comments such as, “Where do you get your protein?  What about iron?  I know this one veg*n who was really sick all the time …”

It’s really quite kind that people take such an interest in us.  Really, it is.  And there are many, many unhealthy veg*ns out there who are either wasting away on a diet of iceberg lettuce or who are adding on the pounds with potato chips and Oreos.  So, health really is a valid concern for people to have.  And I know that people are looking out for our best interests as well.

However, unhealthy omnivores and meat-eaters abound as well, right?  People eat two to three servings of meat per meal, douse their tiny amount of veggies in cheese sauce, and snack on potato chips in between.  I may be exaggerating, but I think this is a very common scenario.  I know it was pretty common for me before I was vegetarian.  But these people are not often approached about their dietary choices and questions such as, “Where do you get your calcium?  Your vitamin A?”  Not to mention questions such as, “But what the cholesterol you are taking in?  I know this one meat-eater who was obese and had cancer …”

I’m not trying to make light of the situation, and there are PLENTY of healthy meat-eaters out there who consume animal products in moderation.  But come on.  I think that we all need to be aware of our food choices and have some common sense as well.  Because I am sure that for as many meat-eaters who ask me if I get enough protein don’t actually know how much I need on a daily basis.