Sunday, October 31, 2010

Early Feedback

If you are seeing this on Monday, be sure to check our Facebook page (or back here) for the Nov. 1 news!

Leafleting was great today! Four teenage girls eagerly received their booklets:
     Girl #1: “Ugh, I can’t look at these pictures!”
     Girl #2 (to me): “Are you vegetarian?”
     Me: “Yes.”
     Girl #4: “What do you eat?”
     Me (while giving them Guides): “Everything other than our animal friends – easiest thing I’ve ever done!”
     Girl #1: “That’s it! Let’s do it! I can’t look at these pictures…I need to go vegetarian. Seriously, let’s do it! Now! Done.”
     Girls #2–4: “Okay; Okay; Done!”
—Nikki Benoit

Kate and I met many more vegetarians and vegans at DePaul University than last time. I also met a guy collecting signatures for a gay rights issue who commended our work. He said he knew many people who became veg because of receiving a booklet.
—Anderson Santos

I handed out all 100 booklets in just 45 minutes at St. Petersburg Community College! Thank you so much for your help. I can't tell you how good it felt today watching about 90% of people reading the booklet as they walked away, and about 15% actually sitting down to read it. This has increased my motivation – I am really excited to continue!
—Derek Phillips
Lots of interest at Baylor University. A number of people mentioned going veg from getting a booklet in the past. This is something I hear regularly but fail to report since I hear it so much – I know most change without saying so.
—Casey Constable

Darina and I had a long but awesome day of leafleting at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia, where we reached a combined 2,252 students. One young woman let us know that it was receiving the Even If You Like Meat booklet four years ago that convinced her become a vegetarian. Then, a young man let me know that he had just celebrated his two year anniversary of going veg; again, it was an Even If You Like Meat booklet handed to him on campus that got him on board.
—Jon Camp

Friday, October 29, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Vitality Thursday

Longtime VO member Mark Foy has two "shareware" cookbooks available via his Vitalita website. (Shareware = if you try them and like them, he asks you to make a $10 donation to Vegan Outreach -- always a good idea! :-)

These aren't all the simplest or quickest recipes (although many are). But if you want to learn a lot about vegan cooking and explore new ingredients at no risk, you can check them out!

Here is another reason to explore vegan cooking (mentioned in the Enewsletter, but worth passing along again).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

In Germany, a New American Vegan, via Prague!

I'm a military spouse living on an Army base in Germany. My husband, son and I were walking through Prague's Old Town where I was handed your booklet. I read it, and it haunted me. It took 2 months, but it percolated in the back of my mind until I became a vegan three days ago. I just decided that I didn't want to pay people to do that to animals. I am finally at peace with my diet. 

You mention on your website that everyone likes to be successful.  Well, I'm officially one of your statistics.  And as the parent and the shopper for this home, I have the ability to influence at least two other individuals' choices.  
-RP, 10/26/10

Above, Anne Green, VO's  Director of Development and Programs, enjoys an amazing vegan spread in Berlin.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Enewsletter and Announcement ... and Fat

As always, the Vegan Outreach Enewsletter will be going out during the day Wednesday. Please look for it; if your ISP filters it, please track it down and mark it as legitimate mail. Thanks so much!

Monday, November 1, we'll be making a big announcement -- a new opportunity for everyone to help change the world!

In the meantime, be sure to check out Jack's update on fat.

Watch what you eat, or you could end up like this!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Truth over Ideology

There are, of course, anti-vegetarian fanatics who blithely ignore reality. But as discussed previously, there are a variety of vegans who work hard to create and promote a vegan mythology that, in the real world, hurts animals.

Jack Norris, RD -- Vegan Outreach's co-founder and President -- is at the forefront of providing truth over ideology. He has two new posts out:

Comments on Doug Graham’s B12 Statements

More on Grains 

As always, if you come across a nutrition argument that just happens to conform to the party line of "veganism perfect, animal products deadly poison" (or the reverse), be sure to check Jack's for the full story.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Embrace, Subway, Friday Video

Via Erik: Bittman: “Embrace Your Inner Vegan.”

Want to make veganism easier for everyone? Join COK's campaign to get veggie meats at Subway!

And another Dar Williams song:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Unused Feedback

We tried to select some representative feedback for the upcoming print newsletter, but obviously, we can only fit a small fraction.

Here are a few that missed the cut but are worth sharing....

Here in the very conservative farm state of Kansas, we’re doing our best to spread the word about factory farming and animal suffering, handing out Vegan Outreach literature and referencing your website. (We also leave your booklets on the pamphlet table at church.) As a result, our church has decided to always offer vegetarian fare as an alternative. Our daughters also do outreach to their friends at school, and some have gone vegetarian. Just as we were ignorant in the past, we believe most people really don’t know about modern factory farming, and it is our job to get the information to them. 

My husband, a friend, and I went to dinner last night. They wanted to dispute veganism. For example, they brought up how Jesus ate meat. But I remembered your bottom line; my response was, “I don’t want to fight. I don’t know about God’s reason for allowing this; the reason I am doing this is because I want to reduce suffering.” That was the end of the conversation. Your message/ focus is extremely effective. 

Emily, Jessica, Colin, Stephanie, and I leafleted the Acquire the Fire Christian Youth concert/rally with the new Would Jesus Eat Meat Today? leaflet from the Christian Vegetarian Association. Some comments we got: “I don't know, these days he probably wouldn’t.” “No I don't think Jesus would eat meat." "Maybe we shouldn't eat meat anymore.”
     A couple of girls who walked by said, "Hey, I’ll become a vegetarian, if you do.” “Yeah, let’s!” One girl ran to her group and shouted, “Guess what? I’m going to become a vegetarian!” Then there was a middle-aged woman who approached me and said, “Thank you for doing this!” And an adolescent boy who stopped in line and said, “Give me a high five!"
—Yvonne LeGrice

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Enewsletter & Address Question

Today's Enewsletter should already be in your inbox -- great feedback this week!

Have you moved in the past year?
Lauren’s latest masterpiece – VO’s 2010 newsletter – is at the printer. If you have moved in the past year, please contact us with your updated address. Every forwarded or returned newsletter costs Vegan Outreach money – money that could instead go to helping animals!

Thanks so much!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Real Health, AAH Review, Advanced Feedback

Here's a health argument we can all get behind: Dark Chocolate May Slash Coronary Heart Disease

A new review of The Animal Activist's Handbook is now online.

And for those of you who can't wait for tomorrow's Enewsletter:

What a morning at SUNY Albany! Twice I was referred to as “You Guys” (“Oh -- it's You Guys”).
       One student said he tried being vegan for two weeks but it wasn't for him. I said that every meal without animal products is a little victory, and that back when I was a runner I used to find that if I could just talk myself into getting into my running clothes and doing a block, I would find myself exceeding my initial goal by a few miles.
      Another student commented that we shouldn't be condemning people for eating meat when we use up all these resources to eat vegetables. I managed to get him to stop to talk about it by expressing an interest in his point of view. Then I explained that it takes more plants, not fewer, to feed an omnivore. It was wonderful to see his arguments fade into the air and his disdain turn to admiration as he discovered that Vegan Outreach is not about taking the moral high ground, but about the prevention of suffering.  
—Laura Hart, 9/3/10

Friday, October 15, 2010

Trifold and Video of the Day

The Wise and Benevolent Jon Camp has developed a new trifold booklet (pdf) to promote Vegan Outreach!

And in case you missed it, be sure to check out Jack's presentation, Vegan Nutrition – What Does the Science Say?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Veggies Exploding on Campuses!

Sometimes, people ask about the efficacy of Vegan Outreach's Adopt a College. Obviously, we can't track booklet recipients over time, but we can watch the larger trends.

Specifically, Bruce passes along this amazing news:

Bon Appétit has noticed an upswing in the number of students who say that they are vegetarian or vegan.  The company manages more than 4,000 corporate, college and university accounts.

In a 2005-2006 feedback survey among college students at campuses that Bon Appétit oversees, an average of 8 percent said that they were vegetarian, and less than 1 percent identified themselves as vegan. The 2009-2010 survey, however, had very different results: 12 percent identified themselves as vegetarian and 2 percent said that they follow a vegan diet.

This is a 50% increase in vegetarians in just four years -- and a doubling of vegans!

As always, congratulations to everyone who makes this possible: the donors printing the booklets, and the activists -- such as Naimah Abdullah, shown here at Clemson -- getting these booklets into the hands of thousands of new people every day!!

Please consider promoting this post, and sharing the good news. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ginny, Jon, and Zinn

Today's Vegan Outreach Enewsletter is streaming through the internets as we speak!

One item that came too late to make it is in Ginny Messina's insightful new post, Olive Oil, Health and Advocacy. The entire thing is worth a read, but here is one quick excerpt:

Ten billion (land) animals live and die under the most horrible conditions imaginable in the United States every year. So obviously, our efforts should focus on getting people to consume less…olive oil?

I wonder why anyone would think that taking an anti-olive oil stance could be effective advocacy for animals. As I’ve written before, adding restrictions to vegan diets that don’t improve their healthfulness ends up dissuading more people from going vegan than it is likely to attract. ... Let’s make vegan diets as healthy and easy and attractive as possible. Olive oil is a positive in that regard, not a negative.

And to be sure you don't miss it, here is Jon's bit from today's Enewsletter:

At Northeastern Illinois University, one young woman asked if it was hard knowing that a lot of people won’t change. I told her that a good many people do, in fact, change, and that even if not everyone comes around to our side, the change we create is very real to those we impact.

Big change usually starts modestly and grows. Paraphrasing Howard Zinn, if we do get involved in activism, there is a decent chance we can help bring about needed change. If we don’t do this, there is no chance we will bring about such change. And when adding the fact that working for a cause greater than ourselves can bring about an exciting, life-affirming existence, there is only one feasible option for those looking to make an impact in the world – to get involved.

The Zinn video Jon references:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Examples vs Claims

In response to the Health and Public Perception post, über-leafleter Stewart points out the importance of the public meeting actual examples of positive, healthy vegans:

This is simply to counter the other side of that coin -- that we need animal protein to be healthy, that we got to have calcium from milk, etc.  Many people, when confronted with the case for animal cruelty, fall back on the false premise that,  "Well I gotta have meat to live."  I see it all of the time when leafleting, when at school, from kids and especially their parents.   

Rebecca spreads sunshine and compassion as Stewart looks on.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Actual Consequences of Promoting Myths

As a follow up to the Myth or Reality? post, these two bits of feedback show real-world consequences of vegan myths:

In response to Jack's Vegan Nutrition – What Does the Science Say?, Lisa writes:

Thanks for the video. I agree about the protein issue. I was a victim of that belief for more than a year after my husband and I became vegan. One of the first books that I have read about the topic talked about how elephants and other big animals are herbivores. So we don’t really need to worry about protein. And I didn’t. We cut out meat and other animal products from our diet and didn’t bother to substitute with plant foods that are rich in protein. I started having noticeable negative health effects, including hair loss. And since I strongly believed that I had the healthiest diet ever, I didn’t want to make the connection that something was wrong with what I was eating. Or rather not eating. Anyways, long story short, reading the book Becoming Vegan saved us. And now I think that that should be the first book that all new vegans read. It can help avoid so many mistakes that are common among new and not so new vegans. Or alternatively, familiarizing yourself with the contents of can also help avoid those common pitfalls.

And after seeing Jack's Homocysteine Update, gmacv shares:

I wish I had read this months ago! I went through hell this past summer, thinking I had MS. Fortunately, my symptoms turned out to be a result of a “slight” B12 deficiency. I am living proof that this is no joke. Fortunately, my B12 levels are now well into the normal range and my symptoms have disappeared. Thank you for spreading the word.

These folks stuck with their compassionate diet until they were fortunate enough to find a way to fix their troubles. But many, if not most new vegans in similar situations wouldn't stay vegan (and some will dedicate themselves to bashing veganism). This is just another reason we need to be knowledgeable and honest -- with ourselves and others.


Early Voting Begins!

It is early voting time here in Tucson.

Please post links at the VO Facebook page for the important animal issues on the ballot in your area!


Friday, October 8, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Supermarket Survey

A Different Matt passes this along:

I got this survey from Supermarket News today. It’s for supermarket industry executives and pertains to consumers’ attitudes/habits about certain things. A few questions ask about “vegan/vegetarian” items.      The whole thing took me under 2 minutes. I just checked any old box for the questions that didn’t have to do with veg stuff (virtually all of them). 

Its probably worth getting a bunch of folks to do this and check the veg boxes to indicate a high level of support for those products. The survey results will be in the next issue of Supermarket News, which is a leading publication for execs in that industry.   

Bonus link: Erik takes apart Pollan (again). Double bonus: Vegan wins on price!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday Bonus

Today's Enewsletter is on its way, with some great links (especially the Jane Velez-Mitchell story) and feedback.

Too late to make it into this issue, Jack has a new post about his updated B12 / Homocysteine section.

And bonus feedback:

Thanks for your outreach program about lessening meat consumption. My sister is vegetarian, but I've never had the guts to take the plunge, especially while in college and pretty much just eat whatever I can get.

I am appalled at the way animals are treated on modern farms, and really appreciate the attitude of your organization that simply lessening meat consumption still helps. 

Other groups with attitudes of all-or-nothing, hemp-wearing vegan or sadistic burger-eating monster, are polarizing and drive people away from a worthwhile cause.

So thank you for offering reasonable goals!


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Reality of Chicken Nuggets

Business Insider goes behind the scenes:

Chickens are turned into this goop so we can create delicious chicken nuggets and juicy chicken patties. It's obscenely gross and borderline alien ... because it's crawling with bacteria, it will be washed with ammonia, soaked in it, actually. Then, because it tastes gross, it will be reflavored artificially. Then, because it is weirdly pink, it will be dyed with artificial color. Yeah, that's just disgusting.   

But as disgusting as it is, the author doesn't care!

So as not to leave you with a bad taste in your mouth, here is a quote from Jon:

A great day at Western Illinois University, where I reached over 900 students. One young woman let me know she was so inspired by the booklet that she posted it to her Facebook page. One guy was wearing a Carcass shirt. I mentioned that members of Carcass were surprisingly pro-veg. He said that he knew, and there were a few other similar bands who were veg. He mentioned that he was eating more veg meals these days and happily accepted a Guide.
      When out doing this work, we'll occasionally get a snide comment or two. But such comments will most certainly be offset by those whose lives will be radically impacted by our willingness to be brave and speak up for the animals. It's so vital that we get out to do this. 


Monday, October 4, 2010

Health, Government, and Public Perception

An interesting post pointing out the conflicts of interest behind the government's nutrition "recommendations." The comments below the blog post (and links therein) are also interesting and informative, in terms of how the public reacts to health claims.

This is relevant if we want to accomplish more than praising veganism to other vegans. The selective case made against all animal products is, of course, blindingly popular within vegan circles, but as Simon and Garfunkel said, "A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest."

While we study the latest pro-vegan book or film, the meat-eating public reads this absolution of fats, and this condemnation of (processed) carbohydrates (to show just two examples from the comment section). It is then no surprise  the public doesn't accept veganism is the only means of being healthy.

It just doesn't matter what we think of our community's latest book or film. When we find the latest book or movie "amazing" and "undeniable," just remember that raw foodists find their latest book or film just as "totally convincing." And the Atkins folks have their "overwhelmingly compelling" case, as do the South Beach folks, macrobiotics, fish-eaters, American Medical Association, etc.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Octopi, Octopuses, Octopods

Friday video is bonus material for the SYSK podcast on Octopi -- perhaps their best podcast ever (although they did a good one on zoos).

Pretty amazing, and lots of similar amazing videos on YT.