Dr. Jai Maharaj posted:
In article [email protected],
Peter Terpstra posted:
[ U.S. vegan population doubles in only two years
[ By Hope Bohanec
[ According to a new Harris Interactive study commissioned
[ by the Vegetarian Resource Group, the number of vegans in
[ the United States has doubled since 2009 to 2.5% of the
[ population. An amazing 7.5 million U.S. citizens now eat
[ vegan diets that do not include any animal products - no
[ meat, poultry, fish, dairy or eggs. Close to 16 million,
[ or 5%, identify as vegetarian, never eating meat, poultry
[ or fish.
[ If this rate continues, vegans will be 10% of the U.S.
[ population in 2015, 40% in 2019, and in 80 % in 2050!
[ This would mean an end to the exploitation and suffering
[ of billions of farmed animals. The study also revealed
[ that 33% of U.S. citizens are eating vegetarian meals a
[ significant amount of the time and ordering vegetarian
[ meals at restaurants, though they are not vegetarians.
[ That is over 100 million people, one third of the
[ Interestingly, the demographic breakdown of the study
[ discovered that it was equal percentages of Democrats and
[ Republicans eating vegetarian. Perhaps these two parties
[ CAN agree on something - the vegan lifestyle is healthy
[ and compassionate.
[ Conscientious eating is going mainstream so if you
[ haven’t already, reduce or eliminate your consumption of
[ animal products-everyone’s doing it!
Dhanyavaad for your post!
Jai Maharaj, Jyotishi
Making Vegan a New Normal
J. Emilio Flores for The New York Times; Anais Wade and
Dax Henry for The New York Times; Axel Koester for The
New York Times
From left, vegetarian sashimi from n/naka; Kathy Freston,
a high-profile advocate for veganism, dining at Craig's;
the quinoa burger at Golden Road Brewing. More Photos »
By Jeff Gordinier
September 24, 2012
In Southern California, Courting Vegans and Vegetarians
It was a warm California evening in the city of West
Hollywood, and Kathy Freston was sipping a martini.
"Just because you're a vegan doesn't mean you don't want
to have fun," she said, sitting in a booth at a
restaurant called Craig's. "I'm a decadent gal. I want to
drink. I want to feel full at the end of a meal. I just
don't want it to have any animals in it, for a variety of
Tall, slim and golden-tressed enough to be mistaken for a
movie star, Ms. Freston is the author of books like
"Quantum Wellness"*and "The Lean," and a high-profile
advocate for veganism. She strives to consume nothing
that can be traced back to sentient creatures: no meat,
no eggs, no dairy.
But chilled vodka with extra olives? No problem. Nor did
she have any qualms about eating from a menu that
includes an 18-ounce bone-in rib-eye steak.
Craig's, hatched last year by Craig Susser, an alumnus of
Dan Tana's, the age-defying hangout on Santa Monica
Boulevard, is not a vegan restaurant. It represents a new
culinary wave that can be felt all over Southern
California, that reliable ripple-generator of so many
national trends: the omnivore's restaurant that courts
vegans and vegetarians (particularly the glamorous and
powerful ones who are a crucial engine of the dining
economy here) by preparing meatless dishes that surpass
the droopy steamed-vegetable platters of yore.
"You picture vegan restaurants with a lot of people with
sandals and dreadlocks, drinking carrot juice," said
Ellen DeGeneres, who stopped by with her spouse, the
actress Portia de Rossi, to chat with Ms. Freston. Here
at Craig's, the mood was more high heels and blond locks.
In fact, from power tables in Beverly Hills to pubs in
the San Fernando Valley, the surging popularity of plant-
based diets is drastically changing the dining landscape.
That shift is under way in various cities around the
world, but it's happening in an explosive way in and
around Los Angeles: at the elite gastronome magnets, at
casual gathering spots and everywhere in between.
McCartney Presses India On vegan Day
Paul McCartney Urges Indian Prime Minister To Declare National Day Of
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Indraprasth aka New Delhi (AP) - Outspoken vegetarian
Paul McCartney is urging India to declare a national
Vegetarian Day to celebrate meat-free living and
compassion toward animals.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says
McCartney sent a letter to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh saying such a day could save animals while helping
to protect both the environment and people's health.
McCartney's letter says "it would be a celebration of
The U.N. food agency in 2003 estimated 42 percent of
India's 1.2 billion people are vegetarian, due mostly to
financial and religious concerns. Strict Hindus and Jains
do not eat meat.
Singh's office could not immediately confirm receipt of
McCartney's letter Tuesday.
Vegan diet reverses diabetes symptoms, study finds
By Maggie Fox
July 27, 2006
[Caption] The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has
found that Americans don't get nearly enough fruits and
vegetables in their diets. fruits and vegetables
Washington (Reuters) - People who ate a low-fat vegan
diet, cutting out all meat and dairy, lowered their blood
sugar more and lost more weight than people on a standard
American Diabetes Association diet, researchers said on
They lowered their cholesterol more and ended up with
better kidney function, according to the report published
in Diabetes Care, a journal published by the American
Participants said the vegan diet was easier to follow
than most because they did not measure portions or count
calories. Three of the vegan dieters dropped out of the
study, compared to eight on the standard diet.
"I hope this study will rekindle interest in using diet
changes first, rather than prescription drugs," Dr. Neal
Barnard, president of the Physician's Committee for
Responsible Medicine, which helped conduct the study,
told a news conference.
An estimated 18 million Americans have type 2 diabetes,
which results from a combination of genetics and poor
eating and exercise habits. They run a high risk of heart
disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and limb loss.
Barnard's team and colleagues at George Washington
University, the University of Toronto and the University
of North Carolina tested 99 people with type 2 diabetes,
assigning them randomly to either a low-fat, low-sugar
vegan diet or the standard American Diabetes Association
After 22 weeks on the diet, 43 percent of those on the
vegan diet and 26 percent of those on the standard diet
were either able to stop taking some of their drugs such
as insulin or glucose-control medications, or lowered the
The vegan dieters lost 14 pounds (6.5 kg) on average
while the diabetes association dieters lost 6.8 pounds
An important level of glucose control called a1c fell by
1.23 points in the vegan group and by 0.38 in the group
on the standard diet.
A1c gives a measure of how well controlled blood sugar
has been over the preceding three months.
In the dieters who did not change whatever cholesterol
drugs they were on during the study, LDL or "bad"
cholesterol fell by 21 percent in the vegan group and 10
percent in the standard diet group.
The vegan diet removed all animal products, including
meat, fish and dairy. It was also low in added fat and in
The American Diabetes Association diet is more tailored,
taking into account the patient's weight and cholesterol.
Most patients on this diet cut calories significantly,
and were told to eat sugary and starchy foods in
All 99 participants met weekly with advisers, who advised
them on recipes, gave them tips for sticking to their
respective diets, and offered encouragement.
"We have got a combination here that works successfully,"
said Dr. David Jenkins of the University of Toronto, who
worked on the study. "The message that we so often get
with diet is that it is no good because nobody follows it
for very long."
Dr. Joshua Cohen, George Washington University associate
professor of medicine, said everyone diagnosed with
diabetes is told to start eating more carefully.
"That may be among the hardest things that any of us can
do," Cohen told the news conference.
The vegan diet "is at least as good, if not better than
traditional approaches," Cohen said.
Vance Warren, a 36-year-old retired police officer living
in Washington, said he lowered his a1c from 10.4,
considered uncontrolled diabetes, to 5.1, considered a
healthy level, over 18 months. "My life is much better
being 74 pounds (34 kg) lighter," Warren told the news
Vegan diet 'help' for arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis patients may be able to reduce their
high risk of heart attacks and strokes with a gluten-
free, vegan diet, a study suggests.
[Caption] Meat was off the menu for half of those in the
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Heart attacks and strokes are among the leading causes of
death for sufferers, as the inflammation caused by the
disease impacts upon the arteries.
But an Arthritis Research and Therapy study found those
who pursued a vegan regime had less "bad" cholesterol.
By clogging arteries, this is seen as a key risk factor
for heart problems.
Rheumatoid Arthritis affects around 350,000 people in the
Millet and sesame
But researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm
say this risk could be reduced through a diet which
excludes animal products and gluten -- found in wheat,
oats, rye and barley.
"A vegan diet may be helpful in reducing cholesterol,
but it is difficult to get enough of some important
nutrients on a vegan diet"
- Arthritis Research Campaign
[Which nutrients? - JM]
They placed 38 volunteers on the diet, in which protein
accounted for 10% of daily energy intake, carbohydrate
60% and fat for 30%.
It included nuts, sunflower seeds, fruit and vegetables,
millet and corn. Sesame milk provided a daily source of
A further 28 volunteers followed a healthy diet with
approximately the same proportions of protein,
carbohydrate and fat.
Saturated fats were not to make up more than 10% of daily
energy intake, and wholegrain products were to be chosen
as often as possible.
Those on the vegan diet showed a decrease in the total
level of cholesterol and specifically a reduction in the
amount of low-density lipoprotein (LSL), also known as
In contrast, those on the non-vegan diet showed no
significant variations in these levels.
The researchers pointed to a "large body of evidence"
suggesting that these changes were beneficial when it
comes to preventing blockage of the arteries and
The vegan volunteers also had a lower Body Mass Index
(BMI) at the end of the 12 month period, while the
control group remained the same.
The Arthritis Research Campaign, which is currently
looking into how statins may reduce cardiovascular risks
for sufferers, said the study was of interest but said
the role of diet could be exaggerated.
"However we do know that, for example, eating oily fish
can reduce inflammation, and risk factors for developing
the condition include high consumption of red meat and
low consumption of fruit and vegetables, so diet does
play a role -- however limited," a spokeswoman said.
But the charity also sounded a note of warning: "A vegan
diet may be helpful in reducing cholesterol, but it is
difficult to get enough of some important nutrients on a
October 4, 2005
Dining with Friends: The Art of North American Vegan
By Priscilla Feral and Lee Hall with Friends of Animals
Nectar Bat Press, 2005
End of forwarded post.
Vegan on the Road with Most Precious Blood
By Justin Brannan and Most Precious Blood
[Caption] Most Precious Blood, Justin Brannan, center.
Photo by Chris Mottalini
Driving 13 hours to the next show with one headlight and
four flat tires has never been a big deal for us. But for
our vegan/vegetarian hardcore band, finding food to eat
on the road was a cause for alarm. However, throughout
our years of touring and intense ingredient
investigations, I am proud to say we have become
connoisseurs of vegan cuisine on the road.
Before leaving for tour, we always hit the familiar New
York establishments, like Red Bamboo (and their signature
Creole Soul Chicken), Atlas Caf? (a vegan cake paradise),
and Foodswings (vegan fast food, where they even named a
pizza after us). Chinatown's May Wah is also a great spot
to hit especially if you're the frugal type or prefer to
do the cooking yourself. They carry all the mock meats
served at your favorite vegan dining establishments --
just don't be too upset when you see how cheap the faux
meats really are.
Before we head out on the road, we head over to our
practice space on Staten Island to write our ?hit' songs.
It costs $9 to get onto the island, so we like to make
the most of our trip and stop off at Chin Chin Palace, a
small nondescript Asian restaurant located in a strip
mall. With their enormous vegetarian/vegan menu, this
place has been an institution in our lives for years --
great food, massive quantities and it's fairly cheap.
Okay, so now we hit the road. First stop is Rhode Island,
and one of several Spike's Hot Dogs locations. They serve
meat hot dogs with a myriad of dressings and toppings,
but they also have veggie dogs, which you can dress any
way you want. The thick and hearty buns alone are worth
the price of admission and will fill you up.
Onward to Boston -- outside of Boston to be more specific
-- to Allston, MA. One door down from the legendary
Grasshopper Asian vegetarian restaurant, there is a dumpy
little pizza spot, TJ's, that serves some insane mock
creations. Try the BBQ Chicken Pizza or the Meatball
Parmesan Hero. Although they serve meat, they have a
clearly labeled separate grill and oven just for their
vegan items. I promise, TJ's will leave you a changed
Let's head up to Canada. Over our years of touring
Canada, we've found that the best part of the country is
their vegan cuisine. Let us tell you about a place we
stumbled upon years ago called Harvey's! Harvey's are
pretty much all over the country -- like McDonald's in
the U.S. -- but they serve some of the best vegan burgers
you will ever taste. We can't sing enough praises about
this spot. It has become our Canadian sanctuary. You must
stop at Harvey's.
If you happen to find yourself in Ottawa, swing by Wild
Oats. Although it's a chain, they're a great little
health food store with tons of vegan options. Try the
tofu cutlets and the samosas. From the border police to
possible strip-searching, Wild Oats makes it worth the
In Montreal there's a chain of restaurants called Le
Fleurs, home to some of the greasiest food you'll ever
eat. They do veggie burgers and dogs just right, and the
french fries and vinegar are what dreams (and triple
bypass surgeries) are made of. Our Le Fleurs motto: ?it's
always good to go to bed on a full stomach.' It's worth
the throbbing and numbness in the extremities, trust us.
Also in Toronto, you will bump into hot dog vendors on
the street who'll make you a mean veggie dog for cheap.
Now that you've rolled yourself back over the border and
into the States, let's visit Chicago. First stop, the
Pick Me Up Caf?. We've walked 10 miles to this place --in
a blizzard wearing short sleeve shirts -- just to get
down with the vegan french toast and pancakes. There's
tons of stuff on the menu here, but the vegan breakfast
is by far the best.
Let's take a long drive now to Houston, Texas. Located in
another nondescript strip mall is a surprisingly yummy
place called Tien Ren. This jewel of the south serves a
cheap vegetarian and vegan buffet. The atmosphere is
calm, relaxing and perfect for stuffing your face.
When you get to California the only spot you need to know
is In & Out Burger. This place is another institution for
those "in the know." They have a secret language of
different codes and nicknames for all the styles and
techniques in which they can make your burger. Even
though the only things listed on the menu are
"hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fries, shakes and sodas,"
there are at least 100 ways you can order your food. Most
people opt for the "wish burger," which is basically a
grilled cheese sandwich with all the regular burger
fixins. For the vegans, opt for the wish burger without
the cheese and you'll be welcomed to a world of grilled
onion goodness. In addition, the fries are made fresh
like every 10 seconds or so. In & Out is the spot.
Most of our time on the road is spent at gas stations and
rest stops where the vegan options are few and far
between. You can always go for the Grandma's Brand peanut
butter cookies, Luna and Cliff bars, and most of the
cheap sugar wafer cookies are vegan and good to go as
well. It usually takes us a good hour to stop for gas,
with most of the time spent wandering the aisles reading
ingredients. When something new and vegan is found,
everyone comes running over to check it out. You simply
don't realize the impact of being vegan and the endless
quest for good food until you hit the road. Luckily, we
also have friends who will bake for us -- bring brownies
and cookies to our shows -- or pile us into a car and
take us to local vegan spots.
In Times of Desperation...
Taco Bell is a necessary evil of the road. I wouldn't be
caught dead in a Taco Bell when we're not on tour, but
once we shove off, it serves as a last resort. Depending
on your confidence with the intelligence of the person
behind the counter, you can create some pretty
interesting meals by substituting this and that. But, it
can get very confusing and frustrating when you get to
your seat and realize your burrito is full of everything
you said to leave out. The easiest thing to do is ask for
the seven-layer burrito minus cheese and sour cream.
(They actually have a minus button on their keypad.) Also
easy is the bean burrito sans cheese. If you're feeling
lucky and have some time to kill, go for the grilled
stuft burrito minus meat, cheese and Baja sauce, but add
potatoes. This makes a pretty serious burrito that will
fill you up for a good 50-100 miles, at least.
Burger King is an absolute last resort, but if you must,
their breakfast options aren't bad and -- believe it or
not -- some are vegan. The french toast sticks and the
hash browns are good to go with just enough grease to
kickstart that heart at seven a.m. for another long
drive. And you can grab a Dutch Apple Pie -- a vegan
treat for later when the belly starts grumbling again.
I've saved the best for last, a place called CiCi's
Pizza. This is where gluttony lives and breeds. CiCi's is
basically a pizza buffet place where $5 gets you into an
all-you-can-eat pizza paradise. There aren't many vegan
options on the buffet table but you can order your own
pie for no extra charge. Hold the cheese, load up on
toppings and you are now on board with a one way ticket
to carb-coma-city. You can also order the garlic bread
without the cheese. For $5, this is the best you will
find on the road in terms of value and quantity.
There's a ton of places across the millions of miles of
asphalt. These are just the joints we swear by. In fact,
if you hit up any of these places and you don't
absolutely enjoy them, we'll send you a free Most
Precious Blood T-shirt. Hey, we're serious about our on-
Most Precious Blood is a vegan/vegetarian hardcore band
born in Brooklyn, NY, of which Justin Brannan is a
guitarist. Keep your ears open for their album Merciless
coming out September 20th on Trustkill Records. Visit
www.mostpreciousblood.com for more information.
Beyond Tofu: A Vegan Lifestyle
By Ana Arias Terry
One of my brothers thinks chickens exist solely to be
eaten by humans. No ethical or philosophical argument
seems to convince him that a chicken -- or cow, pig,
fish, or any other animal deemed a potential tasty meal
by a human -- has an inherent right to live. If the
living conditions for these factory animals are
horrendous, it's too bad, he'd say. But that's the way it
goes when you're at the bottom of the food chain.
As a passionate vegan, it's a little hard for me to
swallow my brother's zest for meat; it obscures his
vision of the numerous negative ramifications that his
dietary and lifestyle choices convey.
After a series of highly intense debates that threatened
to sever our relationship, we called a truce. He
disagrees with my environmental and ethical reasons for
becoming vegan four years ago, but respects them. I am
bewildered by his lack of compassion for animals he deems
inferior to humans, but I still love him. I hold out hope
that I can offer him the right piece of literature to
help him see the connections between our food and
lifestyle choices and the use or misuse of the Earth's
A vegan lifestyle goes beyond eating tofu instead of
meat. It's about a life-changing commitment that chants
in your heart and gets renewed daily.
What Vegans Put in Their Mouths
Vegans (VEE-guns) eats no animal products or byproducts,
so they don't consume meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, dairy
products, or honey (some vegans don't have an issue with
honey). Because their diet consists of vegetables,
fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds, it's generally high in
fiber content and moderate in fat.
As a vegan, you quickly learn to read food labels
routinely, query educational vegetarian organizations
such as The Vegetarian Resource Group about vegan
ingredients, and sometimes go right to the manufacturer.
Once you learn to identify the numerous non-vegan items
that can be found in some food items, planning a healthy
vegan diet is no different than planning any other diet,
say a lacto-ovo (one that allows consumption of dairy and
eggs) or non-vegetarian diet. If planned poorly, any diet
can be unhealthful. But with a vegan diet, you're
certainly starting from a much healthier place than with
a meat-based one.
A perpetual myth that makes the rounds says that a vegan
diet doesn't provide sufficient protein, iron, and
calcium for healthy living. Not so, says Ginny Messina,
an internationally recognized registered dietician with
an advanced degree in public health. Messina is a
consultant on vegetarian nutrition projects, editor of a
monthly newsletter on vegetarian diets published by Loma
Linda University, author of vegetarian nutrition
textbooks for health professionals and consumers, and
Internet editor for Vegetarian Nutrition: An
International Journal, published by MCB University Press.
According to Messina, protein is virtually a non-issue
for vegans. The majority of plant foods, including soy
products, beans, nuts, grain, seeds, and vegetables,
offer protein. If individuals consume sufficient calories
and make reasonably varied food selections, it's close to
impossible to have a protein deficiency. People on
intensely low-calorie diets or young kids with very picky
appetites, however, do need to ensure that they consume
more frequently foods very rich in protein content, such
as soy products and additional legumes.
Messina adds that as far as iron goes, the majority of
the population find it surprising that vegan diets are
higher in iron than lacto-ovo or meat-based diets.
"Although iron derived from plant foods is absorbed less
well than iron from meat, vegans should take measures to
boost their iron absorption," says Messina. "The best way
to do this is to include a good source of vitamin C at
every meal since this greatly enhances iron absorption
from plant foods -- although not from animal foods."
Calcium is a mineral that vegans need to monitor and
consume more carefully, Messina continues. She contends
that while older studies demonstrated that vegan women
had very low calcium levels, this trend could be changing
thanks to numerous high-quality vegan foods that are
fortified with calcium today. Some of these include
fortified rice or soy milk, fortified breakfast cereals,
fortified orange juice, leafy green veggies, and even
some beans and nuts. Incidentally, Messina suggests that
for vegans who like to boost their calcium intake with
supplements, they should reserve these for between meals
as opposed to with meals because calcium inhibits the
absorption of iron.
But isn't a vegan diet boring? Au contraire, ma soeur.
Some of us vegans would argue that a vegan diet is
actually more varied than when we ate differently. While
we do indeed wipe out entire food categories from our
culinary repertoire, most vegans seem to more than make
up for that by exploring the whole scale of vegan food,
says Messina. The spectrum covers a wide selection of
breads and pastas, grain, bean dishes, and a significant
range of nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, and soy
products. "Vegans are very likely to explore
international cuisines so that items that are staples in
many vegan diets are actually foods that many Americans
Virtually anyone who's a vegetarian has been asked by
meat eaters ad nauseam why it's okay to eat plants and
not animals, and how do we know vegetables don't feel
pain when we pull them out of the ground. If you're
vegan, the two-part question always has an extra edge.
Messina answers this question easily and fluently.
"I think most of us perceive a difference between plants
and animals. Animals have a central nervous system, and
we know they feel physical and emotional reactions like
fear. I can't prove to anyone that plants don't feel
pain, but I know animals do. We absolutely need plant
food to survive. It's essential in the human diet, and
it's clear that the greater the ratio of plant to animal
food in the diet, the better our health and chance of
survival. I think most would agree that it's a reasonable
decision to eat the foods that are necessary for our
Erik Marcus, President of the Vegan Foundation and author
of an excellent, recently published book entitled Vegan:
The New Ethics of Eating, holds a similar view to
Messina's. "It's fairly obvious that animals are capable
of demonstrating pain and fear," he says. Marcus offers
an engaging philosophical argument to further illustrate
his point. "Let's say that plants are as capable of
suffering as animals. It can take around ten pounds of
grain to produce a single pound of beef. So if you ate a
couple of pounds of grain rather than a pound of beef,
you would have saved wheat the supposed agony of
producing eight pounds of grain. And that's not even
counting the quite visible agony you've saved the cow."
Recently someone asked me why plant life such as fruit is
treated differently than chicken eggs when they're seed
for life just like the fruit. Messina summed up the
answer more succinctly than the tome I was preparing.
"Vegans avoid eggs because egg production is notoriously
cruel. It isn't so much the fact that an egg is a seed
for life as it is that chickens suffer greatly on egg
Of Passion, Compassion, & Sterotypes People choose
veganism for a broad range of reasons, including, yes,
ethical reasons, but also environmental and health
concerns. And while many select this diet for ethical
issues and as such are activists on behalf of animals,
few are militant, according to Messina. Many are
relatively mainstream folks who are also raising kids,
attempting to balance family and work, paying mortgages,
and engaging in community activites. They simply adhere
to a set of concerns about the place and treatment of
animals in a human-centered society; the huge amounts of
water, land, and fuel used up to produce grain to feed
farm animals; the pollution generated by animal excrement
and waste products by the dairy industry; the loss of
biodiversity suffered in the name of ranching; and the
health consequences of a meat-based diet.
These are strong arguments that fuel the passion of many
vegans and which extend beyond what we put in our mouths.
They affect what we wear, what health and beauty products
we buy, what household cleaning supplies we seek, what
forms of education, entertainment, and sports we choose,
what stores we patronize, what charities we support, and
even where, when, and how we tread.
But even within this movement, the degree of vegan
commitment varies. Some don't extend their veganism
beyond their food choices. Others make occasional
exceptions for the byproduct use of dairy or eggs. Some
may not think twice about using refined sugar, which is
bleached with charcoal filters that use animal bones.
Others may wear wool, but not leather. Some will never
again purchase soap or lotions that contain animal
byproducts or that were tested on animals but will use
their remaining supply of Gillette razors from eons ago.
Yet others immediately rid their households of any item
that's not vegan.
Passion for compassion and the environmental well-being
of this planet does not equate to a militant disposition.
In the words of Dr. Albert Schweitzer, "until he extends
the circle of his compassion to all living things, man
will not himself find peace." And Alice Walker reminds us
that "the animals of the world exist for their own
reasons. They were not made for humans any more than
black people were made for whites, or women for men."
Vegans err just as much as the rest of the population.
It's just that we've allowed ourselves to seek out, read,
learn, and digest the gruesome realities of the behind-
the-scenes details of the meat and dairy industry and of
the impact our life choices make on the sustainability of
a finite planet.
When I first started reading Diet for a New America by
John Robbins, the Baskin-Robbins heir-to-be who decided
his conscience wouldn't let him pursue the family living,
I had no clue it would change my life forever. But one
painful and often highly-disturbing fact at a time
brought me out of my plush state of ignorance. I found
myself no longer able to support a system of abuse and
misuse just to satisfy a craving or whimsical fancy for a
product. You'd be amazed how easily knowledge will help
you say no to things that may look appealing on the
Despite my passion on this subject, I do believe diet is
a highly personal decision that no other soul but
yourself can make on your behalf. I applaud the efforts
of anybody who even in the smallest way attempts to lower
her consumption of and reliance on animal products. It's
not vegans that I admire, but the person who takes that
first bold step to gently remove her blinders and educate
herself in spite of the heartache.
Living in a Nonvegan World
(Also available in traditional and simplified Chinese.)
Thoughts about Nature, Progress, Careers, and Money
What Do We Really Want?
Thoughts about Nature, Progress, Careers, and Money
- Jack Norris
Vegans like to believe that a vegan diet is the most
natural diet. This is seen in the efforts to show that
people used to be able to get vitamin B12 without
supplements. We are worried that if a vegan diet isn?t
seen as natural, then there is something wrong with it. I
suggest that we will probably be more effective if we do
not use strategies that appeal to what is “natural.”
For one thing, some people oppose veganism because it is
unnatural. They want to return to a more natural, hunter-
gatherer lifestyle and see vegans as pushing for an
unnatural society that exists without depending on
animals. They have a point – a vegan diet, while being
healthier than many other diets, probably differs from
that of early humans, who apparently were primarily
Given that few people are willing to turn back the clock,
it is unlikely that we will convince society to abandon
science and technology in favor of living simply. Our
culture is wedded to the notion of “progress,” but this
is not necessarily bad. If we assimilate with society, we
can make “progress” express our values.
It is hard to find a job that does not have some
connection to animal exploitation. The animal rights
movement cannot provide jobs for everyone who wants to
use their careers to help animals. And many other careers
might require the use of some animal products. So, how
can one live up to their vegan ideals and still take part
in society by having a job? I would suggest that by
pursuing careers in certain fields where animal products
are used, we can actually help animals in the end.
For example, I am currently studying to be a registered
dietitian. In my textbooks, it has been shown a number of
times how some alternative methods of research have
replaced methods using animals and have been more
effective, safer, and less expensive. I see room for
animal activists to get involved in continuing to improve
technology to get past the point of using animals. Many
vegans would shy away from getting into the sciences
because they might have to do certain things that are
animal-related. I don?t mean vivisection or dissection,
but many scientific methods do use animal products and
one might need to use them during training. A vegan,
working to change science from within, could help
For example, some methods to detect bacterial infections
use media that contain sheep?s blood. Someone?s goal
could be to replace this blood with plant or synthetic
We each have to decide where to draw the line. But if we
keep ourselves out of science and other fields, they will
continue to be dominated by people who do not share our
Another example is in building roads. Currently, it seems
road planners don?t even consider the lives of animals.
With some ingenuity, we could save millions of animals
from being hit by cars. It would probably take money, and
transportation departments might oppose trying to help
these animals. If animal activists were more involved in
road construction, we would eventually be able to help
devise and promote strategies that would make
transportation less hazardous to animals.
Knowing that I would be using my skills to help animals
has been quite motivating. The first time I went to
college, I tried to get by with doing as little
schoolwork as possible. This time, I want to learn as
much as possible in order to use that knowledge to help
animals. It has made school much more interesting. I
think other activists might also be motivated if they saw
ways in which they could eventually use their skills to
Many activists view money and wealth as evil. As a source
of power, money can be used to promote either evil or
good. Just think how much better the animals would be if
vegans had significant amounts of money. If each vegan
had enough money to buy and distribute multiple copies of
educational materials, the animals would greatly benefit.
Someone who works a job that isn?t directly promoting
animal rights, but who can use their money to fund the
resources needed by our movement, will be doing much to
help the animals.
What Do We Really Want?
- Matt Ball
What do we really want?
While it might be simple to believe (if not say) that we
want people to think like we do, I can honestly say that
this is not the case as far as I’m concerned. If everyone
thought like me, who would write the next Walden, the
next Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the next Animal Liberation?
Closer to home, who would design the next generation
PowerPC computer chip, or perfect the triple-cheese and
pepperoni vegan pizza?
And do I really want a world free of suffering? Would I
appreciate Anne now if I had not had my heart broken
before? Would I fully enjoy periods of health if not for
sickness at other times?
I can say I want a vegan world, or a rational world, or a
free-thinking world, but what I really want is a better
world. Bringing about a better world, however, is not a
one-time, one-person, one-lifetime chore. Rather, it is
an on-going process in which each one of us participates
to a lesser or greater extent. The future is the story
that billions of us are writing.
What can be my role in bringing about this future? Note
that I don’t ask what I want the future to be – I don’t
control that, and wouldn’t want to do so.
Living in a nonvegan world means living in an imperfect
world, which simply means living. While difficult to
face, let alone accept, we cannot expect perfection of
the world, of others, or of ourselves. While trite to
say, all we can do is our best. We can’t expect others to
think or act like we do. What we can control, at least to
a greater extent than others, is how we deal with life
(happy / sad, optimistic / pessimistic, constructive /
destructive, etc.), and subsequently, how we present
ourselves, our vision, our piece of the story future.
There are many people who believe as I do – that 1., the
exploitation and subsequent suffering of other animals is
the greatest current injustice; 2., the raising and
slaughtering of animals for food is both the numerically
greatest aspect of this injustice as well as the
psychological heart of animal exploitation; and thus 3.,
bringing about widespread veganism is the key to ending
the greatest current injustice. (There are, of course,
far more people who don’t agree with that assessment,
even among fellow activists.) Many of these people feel
so strongly about this that they believe they need to
dedicate their entire lives to this process. However, the
economics and logistics of the situation are such that
only a few, if any, individuals can do this work in an
obvious fashion and still survive, let alone thrive.
However, it is not necessary, or even desirable, that all
concerned people be full-time activists. From an entirely
practical perspective, if not for the generosity of
hundreds of people with nonactivist jobs (including some
very progressive professionals), Vegan Outreach would not
exist, and hundreds of thousands of people would not have
read Why Vegan?
From a broader perspective, however, changes in society
need to be continued and expanded by thoughtful people.
At some future point, the perfect veggie burger and the
“cheesiest” uncheese will be of greater importance to the
further progression of veganism than Why Vegan? and
similar tools. Additional advances in medical technology
will nullify the need for the use of animals in research.
Contraception and delivery methods will stem deer and
other “game” animal overpopulation, and better video
games may actually satisfy adolescent male bloodlusts
which in prior times took place on the hunting fields.
Personal computing (desktop publishing, the Web, etc.)
have helped Vegan Outreach and others reach new
audiences, and further advances will help with the
further democratization of information (countering the
advertising budgets of McDonald’s, the Dairy Board,
etc.). Improvements in energy efficiency and alternative
energy sources will protect the environment. Better urban
planning will lessen suburban sprawl’s impact on wildlife
habitat. New philosophers will help advance human ethics.
Educators, in just about any field, help advance the
human condition and humans’ relationship to others;
education, in general, breaks down prejudices, decreases
birth rates (easing overpopulation), and opens minds.
These are just a few of the fields where people can make
a significant contribution to the advancement of a better
world. None of these careers may be as glamorous as being
Ingrid Newkirk or Peter Singer. However, in addition to
improving various aspects of the world in one’s field and
earning money (for example) to print more copies of Why
Vegan?, each one of us will be able to influence many
people over the course of our lives. To create a better
world, it is of more use to be respected by ten people
whose lives you have changed (and who each subsequently
go on to influence ten other people, etc.) than to be
lionized by thousands of activists who already think as
Jai Maharaj, Jyotishi
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