Change for a Year

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The Morality of Muffins – Why are you Vegan?

Two muffins are sitting in an oven.  The first one says to the second one, “Man, it sure is getting hot in here.”

The second muffin jumps, “HOLY SHIT!  A talking muffin!”

As a new vegan I’m still trying to wrap my head around why some people choose to give up animal products.  I’d love to see the world’s cows and chickens dancing through the streets as much as the next guy.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to see a group of cows dance a jig or chickens do the chicken dance (can they even do another dance?), but, honestly, that didn’t have one iota of one sliver of one thought in my head when I decided to become a vegan.

It basically went down like a scene from Fifty Shades of Grey:

Clothes lay flung across my bachelor’s apartment: a half-ripped t-shirt strewn across a lamp, a dirty sock lonely on the couch, pants tossed up against the wall.  The shower breathed hot, wet steam onto the bathroom mirror as the the water banged off the porcelain tub.  I stepped out from behind the plastic polka-dot curtain, unkempt beard screaming sex and dripping hot water onto the soft carpet.

Then I wiped away the steam from the mirror, looking at myself–naked, my hair the only thing about me remotely thin, and starting to feel cold.  “You are one fat sonofabitch,” I said out loud.  I stepped on the scale.  The numbers 3-7-1 flashed before me, and then this thought: a couple more Big Macs I’ll be one fat, 400 pound sonofabitch.

Man have I got to get my shit together. I thought about those crazy hippies who only eat nuts and rabbit food.  Yeah, I should try that.  An hour later I had a blog and was a vegan.

Most the vegan blogs I read come from a whole different approach.  I understand factory farms and the horrible conditions those animals live in, but I used to have a friend who had a cow in his backyard.  Not on his parent’s farm but in his backyard with neighbors and a park next door and everything.  Kids used to sneak over to the corner of the park and peek through the bushes at her.  A little hick but hey, we grew up in Wisconsin.  Now, she seemed a jolly enough fellow as far as cows go.  And even though almond milk tastes way better, would drinking her happy, backyard, cow milk be so unreasonable if the almond milk had run dry?

I’m totally serious fellow vegans.

Or bees?  Yes, honey is an animal product.  But what if I had a happy bee farm, and they could roam free in my pretty garden and smell the flowers and sunshine . . . Whoa! Holy bananas!  My happy bee farm is swarming right at me!  Ahhhhhhhhh!

Do you really not grab a giant can of Raid and a big-ass shovel and laugh giddy, merciless laughter as you lay waste to those evil curmudgeons?  Again, I’m totally serious here.

Or what about all these vegan products I wanted to buy and couldn’t?  Seriously, I got so jazzed up when I saw “VEGAN” blaring out from the one shelf of the one health food isle in the town’s main grocery store.  Then I flip the cookies over, and it says “Due to using the same equipment, may contain milk.”  Well then how is that vegan you dirty little tease?

And what about all the wonderful plants?  I’m just discovering that some people only eat fruit, as they don’t want to cause pain to the world’s plants.  I’m all for harmonious living and being one with the world and all that jazz, but really?  Really!  They call themselves fruitarians.  Buncha crazy goofballs with there silly names.  Oh wait, I guess vegan isn’t that bad-ass a name either.  See, fruit falls off of plants (it’s a non-killed product) and is there for the taking, whereas plants feelings get hurt when you rip them up from the ground and stuff your face with them.

Didn’t you plant-eating vegan bastards even see Lord of the Rings?  Those trees can talk to each other you know.  And they just may decide to come after you once they find out you’ve been blending his second cousin into your nasty green smoothie every morning.  Or grinding his buddy up to powder, mixing him with bananas and walnuts and baking him alive in the oven.

But, damn, he sure is tasty.

So I’m curious.  What made you become a vegan?  Is it different now than when you first began?

15 Comments

  1. I am not in support of stealing what is not ours to use and, as a result, putting animals through unnecessary pain and stress, mistreatment, and death. Bees produce honey because of an instinct to survive, not so we can eat it. Cows produce milk to nourish baby calves, not so we can steal and drink milk that isn’t even meant for our bodies. Furthermore, cows must be continuously pregnant to produce milk. While that may be logical, many people don’t realize it. It’s not like milk farmers allow these baby cows born as a result of dairy farming to just live happily in the fields… boy cows are sold (often to the veal industry) and girl cows are sentenced to the same fate as their mothers. This is after they are ripped away from their mothers, sometimes in their first day of life, so that the milk meant for them may be taken for human consumption.

    I don’t think people are wrong for not thinking the way that I do, but I do think that they just haven’t connected the dots yet. If you get the chance during your change for a year, I encourage you to read Diet for a New America by John Robbins. He covers the subject very thoughtfully and thoroughly.

    • Thanks! I’ve been looking for a good vegan book to read (when I’m not so busy reading blogs). I’ll be sure to check it out.

      • MRSNIKKIV – i absolutely agree with you and absolutely love how you described your views on this “way of life” (which is what I choose to call it instead of giving it a silly label, as you said Jeff.) Some people keep trying to label me “Are you a vegan or a vegetarian?” I take a deep breath and try not to feel or look upset, because after all, PEACE with all things including yourself is what THIS is all about. I always try not to force my way of life/views onto people but instead slowly help them “connect the dots” as you said. Consider your path to this way of life and how complex it was in terms of thought process and consider how each person differs in terms of path and where they are in their life and how they got there .Patience is key here. If I can help people get just a LITTLE closer to this awareness, then hey, I’ve done my job. I think this choice we’ve made, you Jeff and everyone else on the same path as us, also comes with this responsibility of education and sharing. Never underestimate the power of one single word…it has HUGE repercussions.

        As for books, I read only one and it changed everything for me.It’s called :”Becoming Vegan: The Complete guide to adopting a healthy plant-based diet” by Branda Davis, R.D & Vesanto Melina, M.S, R.D. I keep it on my kitchen counter and review it religiously as I have highlighted a lot of sections and made it easy to go back on certain chapters to review.
        It does not speak about the reasoning behind this way of life but more in detail about HOW TO GO ABOUT IT in the most healthy way possible, and in very much detail (which is one thing the hubby and I are all about, details!). Basically, how to become a SUPERVEGAN, like in Scott Pilgrim VS The world lol

        Congrats to both of you!

      • I love that movie. I’ll be sure to check that book out as well this year.

  2. Like you, I totally get the whole factory-farmed animals being cruel and dirty thing. I even understand being a vegetarian because you don’t want to outsource your murder of your meat to someone else. But I still for the life of me can’t figure out why people give up all animal products, even when there are plenty that are sourced from local, ethical farms that raise their animals in clean, healthy, and respectful way. I have 3 chickens as pets. If I was a vegan, I’d be throwing out a lot of eggs. It wouldn’t make any sense. I suppose it depends on your worldview. I tend to think of the natural world as existing to support itself (everything does have a purpose and supports something else) and as long as you maintain a balance and a harmony and respect life for what it is, there’s no harm. But obviously other people don’t feel that way. People do tend to get carried away.

    • That’s the way I look at nature too. I’m new to being vegan though so I do like to hear everyone else’s opion. There’s plenty of options though around dairy, eggs, and even honey so I’m going to stay very strict through this year while I educate myself.

      Maybe next year that will change, but I can’t think of anything I miss by vegan … other than yogurt, but there are alternatives there I can try.

      • I would definitely miss cheese in all its glorious forms. Which reminds me… there’s a vegan cheese I came across while volunteering at my local organic grocer. I can’t remember the brand but I’ll never forget their tagline: “we can’t say it cheese!”. Like that’s the best they could think of to say about it! I found it quite funny. I could just see how that marketing meeting went. It didn’t exactly make me want to try it. So I didn’t. But I am curious about Vegan cheeses and if they are comparable in any way.

      • Vegan cheese is horrible! That’s my experience, …and I mean, all of them ! lol too bad…

      • Daiya isn’t bad. I use their mozerrella and cheddar on my my pizza and it’s not bad. But I just use a light sprinkling. It’s more creamy than chewy. I’ve heard of a lot of people making their own nut cheese which then spreads on crackers and stuff.

        You would be surpried though. I used to eat TONS of cheese. I mean on everything. Once you get rid of that you can appreciate all the other flavors. Don’t really miss it yet.

  3. LMFAO! I laughed to tears reading this. And truly remarkable of your part to make this drastic change in your life. Hats off to you sir!

    What made me become “vegan”? I apologize in advance, this is gonna be a long one so brace yourself and hope I don’t bore anyone. This is a critical question to ask. Personally, I’ve watched many documentaries (including one in particular I’ll always remember called “Food Inc.”) and it was a huge wake up call . We all are so disconnected with the source of our food because we were simply raised in this society that has made us this way. Neatly wrapped pieces of meat, bones , skin, and blood removed. Just doesn’t seem to come from an animal that was alive and breathing a few days before. It’s just “meat”, an item like any other.
    After watching this documentary, I was so shook, a total enlightening moment. I told myself “Wow! How did I not realized this all along? If I eat meat after this I have some serious issues!” and to my surprise, the next morning, the hubby and I were dining at our local breakfast spot and ordering “2 eggs, 1 pancake, with sausage and bacon please!”. What the frack?
    I just couldn’t believe myself but somehow all that amazement and shock from the day before had somehow dissipated. HOW? I’m still trying to figure it out. I guess it’s part of the human condition, and how we tend to “forget” too much and too easily. Just like when major events happen in the world and make us “realize things” . Like world violence that causes death and suffering , we sit in our comfortable couch in our comfortable home and watch the images of the daily news broadcast thinking “poor people…I’m so lucky to be alive and have my wonderful family”. It make us cherish and feel an overwhelming feeling of love towards our peers, yet the next day we are back at getting angry and them and criticizing them over the same silly things as before.
    As you can see, for me, this “way of life” goes soooo much deeper than a “diet”.
    The awareness that to every action, there is a REaction.

    Why do others have to sacrifice themselves for our own well-being while we don’t have to sacrifice anything in return? If there should be a balance in life, I personally find that to be no balance at all. We take take take and don’t give anything back in return. We can totally get our protein from way other sources. (that are actually healthier). The only thing we will never be able to get from plants is the Vitamin B12, which, as a “vegan”, we must take in supplements. I find that to be an acceptable “sacrifice” for the reward given to “others”.

    I don’t label myself anything, but when I actually have to explain it to someone, I still struggle. I simply don’t eat anything that has a face, that’s the best I can come up with so far lol So no meat, no fish. Eggs I will eat however we are working at eliminating that too. Milk I don’t for all the obvious reasons, cholesterol, fat + hormones, medication given to the cows that we end up in taking. Plus, it’s not meant for us anyway. We’re the only species that consume the milk of another mammal, how messed up is that?

    • I can say I honestly never thought about how disgusting cow’s milk is until just a few days ago. Someone pointed out the same thing about drinking another species milk. They also made me think about milk is only for infants really. A baby cow drinks milk and gains A TON of weight. That is it’s purpose, and if we we didn’t have enough food I guess it would be a good option many years ago when hungry people needed nutrient dense food.

      But now we eat cheese and milk and all of cow’s milks derivatives and then wonder why we’re all so fat. Duh, isn’t that what milk is designed for by nature.

      A real, AHA moment for me.

  4. I’m not vegan, but I’ve been vegetarian for a little over 4 years. I have tried to be vegan a few times, but last time I tried to be vegan I went to the grocery store with pure intentions, blacked out for about an hour, and came home to find 18 types of cheese in my shopping bags. I do not lie. 18 types. ANYWAY, I think your argument applies just as well to vegetarians. Would I eat a chicken who lived a full life as the world’s happiest chicken and died of natural causes? Probably not. I don’t eat free range meat, but I do try to only eat eggs from happy chickens (cage free, free range, farmer has names for the chickens who laid the eggs, etc.). Anyway, for me I think the main reason I wouldn’t eat a happy chicken who died of natural causes is because of the slippery slope. 100% vegans who truly don’t eat or wear or wash themselves (or do whatever else can be done with animal products) with animal products are perhaps the only ones not subject to this, but I am aware I am drawing a relatively arbitrary line. I am doing SOMETHING to help the animals, the environment, and myself, but I am not doing EVERYTHING. The way I follow it is by being black and white about what I do and do not do, and I decided I don’t eat animals.

    On another note, don’t those fruitarians realize those fruits have seeds in them that have potential to be plants??! Even being pro-choice doesn’t get you out of that one (even though I pretend my stance on abortion excuses me for eating unfertilized eggs). Plants, nor chickens, really choose for their eggs or seeds to never reach their full potential! I always thought fruitarians were a myth though… have you actually ever met one??

    Anyway, I am glad I found this blog. One of my new years resolutions was to be vegan for 31 days. It was supposed to be for the entire month of January, but I felt bad throwing out the eggs and cheese in my fridge, so I will go full force once I finish the perishable animal products in my fridge (probably in about 3 days).

    • I figure every little bit counts, so if your a full on vegan or only part way vegetarian everyone is at their own point in their journey. I’m not eating anything animal related (including honey) this year, but I’m not looking into my shampoo and throwing out my leather motorcycle jacket yet. Maybe down the road. Who knows?

      I’ve never met a fruitarian, but I did see one in an issue of Runners World. Actually he only ate bananas. This guy ate like 100 bananas every single day and ran ultra races. I guess there are a few people that do that.

  5. First of all, congratulations on your transition into a healthier lifestyle! I’ve found, the longer you are vegan and the more you learn and experience, the more you enjoy it. It’s certainly hard at first, but once you get used to it and know what to eat, where to find food, and how to answer people’s questions (which can be rude and dumb) about your dietary habits it gets better.

    I was a vegetarian for 3 years for ethical reasons and the more I found out about the dairy and egg industry, the more I knew I needed to become vegan. The way the meat, dairy and egg industries are run…there is no compassion, no respect for life and no morality at all. One may think that cows are happily milked and chickens lay eggs freely in pastures, but even these industries are heavily industrialized. There is no real humane way of mass producing these things. Even eggs labeled “free range” are not really free range (http://www.cok.net/lit/freerange.php) (http://www.upc-online.org/freerange.html). There’s also the disgusting process of artificially inseminating female cows, letting them give birth, immediately taking their child away and then milking them until they look ready to die.

    Even if I had a cow or a chicken as a companion animal, I would still think twice about using their milk and eggs because really…I don’t need them. I have this really good cook book called Vegan Planet and they compare eating low fat dairy products to eating a vegan diet and the results are very interesting. By cutting out red meat, eating egg whites, and only eating skim milk and low fat dairy products cholesterol is only lowered a trivial amount, about 8% if I’m correct. Whilst eliminating all dairy products can reduce your cholesterol up to 25%. A vegan diet is not only ethically sound, but it does wonders for your health. You’ve made a good decision going vegan for health reasons. Plants have protein and endless amounts of nutrients and they’re also low fat and full of fiber.

    If I lived in a tribe in the jungle or the woods somewhere right now and there were limited plants available to me, I would probably eat meat. But here’s why: our ancestors, people of tribes, and indigenous people kill only for necessity. Most of them even thank the animal for the sacrifice and say sorry that they had to kill them. There are tribes still alive today that have specific words for killing an animal with minimal pain and with complete respect to them and the earth. They eat all the meat, use the skin, the fur, the bones and the horns and etc. Here in America, there are separate fur, leather, suede, and meat industries. We don’t utilize an entire animal, we take one of its components and toss the rest aside.

    Some good books to read are Eating Animals, The Thrive Diet, Forks Over Knives, The China Study. If you’re into documentaries Food Inc is good and so is Fat, Sick, And Nearly Dead. Fat, Sick, And Nearly Dead isn’t exclusively about veganism but it’s an interesting story of weight loss and health and shows why eating veggies is so very important and why the standard american diet of meat and fried food is so very bad for health.

    Sorry for the long post, I have a lot to say as I’m very passionate about veganism and health in general 🙂

    • I’ve seen a few of those documentaries in bits and pieces but one of these days I mean to sit down and actually pay attention to the whole thing. Thanks for commenting. I’ve still got a lot to learn so I appreciate all the input.

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