Posts Tagged ‘ vegetarian ’

Why I Don’t Want Everyone To Go Vegan Like Me

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

2 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

You were born in an interesting age, to interesting parents, who happened to be part of the rapidly growing minority of Americans who choose to live a lifestyle in which animal products are shunned for the sake of strict veganism (like me) or strict vegetarianism (like Mommy.)

As for you, you’re the kid caught in the middle of it, not realizing that we are making an important decision for you; at least for now. (What an appropriate shirt for you to be wearing today: Pizza vs. Broccoli.)

It used to be that vegans and vegetarians were perceived as predictable stereotypes; hippies who didn’t bathe. Not to mention, they looked down on anyone who didn’t share the same lifestyle and beliefs as they did.

I think of those animal rights ads that use shock value to get the attention of carnivores, often using images of nearly nude women or the slaughter of animals.

That’s not me or what I stand for.

The truth is, I don’t want everyone to go vegan, like me. Just as important, I don’t think everyone should be vegan. It’s not for everybody.

I don’t believe in forcing or pressuring my beliefs upon anyone for any reason. If someone is influenced by a conversation of mine, then so be it- that happens everyday to everybody.

Part of the process of becoming an individual is by (ironically?) collecting the ideas of other people you respect. That process, which included several pivotal documentaries on Netflix, led me to my extreme (yet not-that-weird-anymore) lifestyle.

Really, though, the main reason I don’t want everyone to become a vegan is because it seems like that would drive up the demand for organic foods, causing a shortage in supply, causing a hike in the prices of our groceries.

I’m not convinced there’s enough organic kale and chia seeds for even half of America to live this way.

So I best stop talking about how happy I am to have found this lifestyle and the positive health benefits (as well as, peace of mind) it brings our family.

It’s funny to think how 5 years ago, no one could have paid me enough money to go vegan for the rest of my life. Now, I’m trying to think how much money would be enough for me to go back to my former lifestyle, permanently.

I best stop trying to make our family seem relatively normal and decent.

However, to not share helpful and relevant information to curious people; well, that just seems selfish.

Hmm… the classic vegan dilemma.

I’m stressing out a little bit now. I need some vegan chocolate cookies…

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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Is It Cheaper To Go Vegan/Vegetarian?

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

2 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

In theory, a family who buys no meat products should have a lower grocery bill each week. We don’t, though.

However, we still spend less money on food; it just depends on a person’s definition of groceries…

As you lifted up the “tailgate” (box flap) of your “pick-up truck” (Chobani yogurt box) and started to “drive it” (pinched the box with a pair of salad tongs) it somehow prompted me to discuss with Mommy how much our grocery bill has went up or down, compared to the days before we were aware of things like Yellow 5, sodium laurel sulfate, and Monsanto.

Our grocery bill is actually the same amount as it was when we were carnivores. This is because we make up for the cost of meat by buying higher quality (and more expensive) vegetables, fruits, and grains.

It’s not just about avoiding meat, it’s about avoiding toxic chemicals like artificial colors, flavors, MSG, and GMO’s.

Since our conversion, we have learned there are actually few food brands that we trust anymore. One of the few is Chobani.

While most brands try to disguise their ingredients, Chobani is very clear about what is and is not in their products.

They are one of the few exceptions we have found; as well as Annie’s Homegrown. We simply ignore most other brands, because we don’t trust them.

We are paying for quality and it’s worth it, to us.

So even though our grocery bill is the same, what has definitely changed is the amount of money we spend on eating at restaurants. It used to be between $100 and $200 a month, now it’s basically zero.

It’s not a moral issue; instead, it just seems pointless by now. Mommy has, by default, become a vegan/vegetarian chef for our family; thanks in part to the Oh She Glows recipe website.

Making delicious healthy meals is now becoming a sacred (and fun) thing for our family. It is difficult for us to trust random strangers at restaurants who we have to assume may be cooking our food in or with mysterious chemicals. Not to mention, a restaurant meal typically doesn’t ensure leftovers for lunch the next day, the way a home-cooked meal easily does.

To answer the question of whether it’s cheaper to go vegan/vegetarian, the answer is ultimately yes. We now save between at least $100 to $200 a month by simply avoiding restaurants alone.

 

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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5 Reasons Your Facebook Friends Are Going Vegan

Friday, April 5th, 2013

2 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

Two days ago on The Huffington Post, an article was published entitled “Interest In Vegan Diets On The Rise: Google Trends Notes Public’s Increased Curiosity In Veganism.”

The title intrigued me, as I have recently been noticing that several of my Facebook friends have been discussing the fact that their families have either began leaning towards being vegans or have recently officially converted.

Sure, maybe I’m more keen to notice, since my own conversion from vegetarianism to veganism a month ago. But after reading the article, I realized it wasn’t just in my head:

“A 2012 study commissioned by the Vegetarian Resource Group and undertaken by Harris Interactive found that the 2.5 percent of the country identified themselves as “vegan,” up from 1 percent in 2009. That may not seem like a drastic leap, but it is when you consider that the number of vegans has more than doubled in just three years.”

My own downward spiral began with a severe and “incurable” case of eczema which led me to going kosher and cutting out processed sugar, which encouraged me to start actually eating real fruit and veggies.

Then I stopped craving meat because I was eating more whole fruits and vegetables. Then the thought of cheese started grossing me out. Now all the food I eat comes from plants; no animals- no meat, no eggs, no dairy… I even avoid honey.

Now, it’s like I constantly feel a buzz; a buzz in which I am alert, my thoughts are clear and quick, and my sinus and allergy problems have all gone away.

What about the fact I can’t eat birthday cakes or doughnuts or ice cream anymore? I don’t miss those things. I don’t desire to have my mood or physical state of being lifted, because it’s already there.

I don’t want to mess with this buzz. That’s what will happen if I eat animal products again, so I’m not even tempted.

Not to mention, I’m staying plenty full off all the protein, fiber, and nutrients I’m getting from just fruits, vegetables, whole grain rice and pasta, beans, seeds, and plenty of water.

As for my 32nd birthday coming up in a couple weeks, you and Mommy are currently practicing recipes from the vegan recipe blog, Oh She Glows.

So why are vegan Facebook status updates showing up in news feeds? Here’s what I think:

1. More “normal” people are doing it now, not just expected stereotypes. (Am I considering myself as one of the normal ones?)

2. This may disprove the sentence before this one, but more celebrities are now vegan and that influences the rest of us sometimes more than we realize.

3. The majority of daily Facebook users are from “Generation Why,” as in, “Why am I eating mysterious ingredients that are linked to obesity, depression, hyperactivity, cancer, and diabetes?”

4. Netflix streaming, which was quite instrumental in my conversion, is providing us with information we didn’t have access to before; like about the treatment of the animals we eat, the relationship between eating animal proteins and cancer, and realizing that plants themselves provide all the nutrition we need to begin with.  I challenge anyone to watch all the following documentaries and keep from going vegan:

Supersize Me, Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, and Hungry For A Change.

5. The price of meat is rising, even with factory-farmed animals eating that infamous Monsanto corn.

Knowing that the number of vegans has more than doubled in the past three years alone, I wonder what will happen in the next three years… especially if seemingly normal people keep talking about it on Facebook.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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Proof I’ve Deprived My Kid Of Fast Food (And Meat In General)

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

2 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

Fate would have it that your parents would become vegetarians right around the time you would be old enough to start eating meat; back in December 2011.

Now that I’ve fully converted to veganism, your chances of trying chicken nuggets anytime in the near future look pretty bleak.

But here’s the thing: You really have no concept of eating animals. A vegetarian diet is all you know.

Yesterday we received some coupons in the mail for a fast food restaurant. You saw a picture of a combo meal, consisting of a burger, fries, and a soda. Your reaction:

“What this called, Mommy?”

This past weekend while you were hanging out at an indoor playground, you discovered the pretend kitchen. After toasting the plastic peas in the pink toaster, you found a plastic chicken leg.

“What this called, “Daddy?”

I quickly responded without thinking about how weird my answer would be.

You were confused, but you tried not to question it, as you are still fairly new to the human experience:

“That’s fried chicken leg? Chicken leg.” You walked away with the plastic chicken leg in your hand, trying to figure out why a human being is supposed to play with a random body part of an animal.

I am trying to put myself in your shoes, simply thinking that all those animals on Old McDonald’s farm are just his pets and nothing more.

It’s going to be weird for me the day you’re old enough to understand that certain animals are a protein source for the 97% of Americans who are not vegetarians or vegans.

I wonder: At what point in your life will you finally eat meat; with the knowledge of what it actually is. If ever.

Aside from your parents’ influence, are you still a vegetarian? I’m sure the truth will come out in your teenage years.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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And Then Daddy Became A Vegan…

Monday, March 11th, 2013

2 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

Here’s the most flattering picture I’ve ever taken of you. (Sarcasm.)

There you are in the back seat on Saturday afternoon, indulging in a vegan chocolate cookie from Whole Foods Market.

You didn’t seem to notice there were no eggs or dairy in your cookie. All you knew is that for some reason, I was letting you pig out on a treat which you didn’t have to earn by going potty at the house.

As for the reason the cookie was vegan, that would be because, well… this is me officially coming out of the vegan closet.

I have suffered from severe allergies and sinus problems since 1992, when I was only 11; I’ll be 32 next month. But a week ago I decided to see what would happen if I stopped drinking milk with my coffee.

About two days into using coconut and rice milk instead, I noticed that my constant sinus pressure cleared up.

Then I became addicted to that version of life. It’s been 21 years since I’ve breathed so easily and have been able to think so clearly. The fog in my brain has lifted, in more ways than one.

I decided that if it meant going vegan (no dairy or eggs, in addition to no meat) to continue my heightened state of well-being, I would be willing to make the appropriate lifestyle change. Watching the documentary Vegucated on Netflix solidified my decision.

Granted, our family has been vegetarians for 15 months now. So I’ve been living an alternative lifestyle this whole time anyway. Here it is; the last picture of us together before I became a vegan. The following day I would become even weirder.

Just to be clear, the vegan thing is just for me; not for you or Mommy.

Though when I think about it, the only thing keeping you from being a vegan is Annie’s whole wheat macaroni and cheese and your Chobani Champions Tubes of yogurt.

You don’t like eggs. You don’t like milk. But you’ll eat cheese and yogurt so I want you to keep enjoying them.

Or at least I should say, enjoy them while you can.

I’ve already learned that you and I have basically the same medical issues. The only reason you and I don’t currently still have eczema is because A) I make sure that none of your soaps or lotions contain sodium lauryl sulfate or artificial dyes and B) other than special occasions, I deprive you of processed sugar; even 100% fruit juice.

So don’t be surprised in about 9 years when you turn 11, that you’ll suddenly get this sinus pressure that gets worse at night and any time the weather changes. It will feel like you desperately need to blow your nose, but there’s nothing there when you try.

Son, I hope the best for you. I hope you haven’t inherited my severe allergies and sinus problems, but if you have… at least you’ll have a vegan dad to help teach you have to live the peculiar life of no eggs or dairy, in addition to no meat.

Mmm… did somebody say vegan chocolate cookies?

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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