Monday, February 28, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
If a member of the public asked you whether veganism was easy or hard, how would you respond?
I would say that, if you are currently following the standard American diet and don't have close vegan friends, the idea of being vegan / going vegan immediately will almost certainly seem hard.
If the situation was right, I would go on to say: But if you are committed and resourceful, it will definitely get easier and easier. (Especially with things like Gardein Tuscan chick’n breast.)
For us now, after being vegan for decades, it is second nature, so much so that when people say, “Veganism is so hard,” our involuntary initial reaction is “What the heck are you talking about??”
That isn’t the right response, obviously. It took me a long time to get to this point (and I still sometime forget), but questions from the public aren’t for me.
I’m answering for the animals.
Of course, I, like nearly everyone, like to talk about myself. It is nearly irresistible! But the animals have no voice but ours. So every question we get is an opportunity to answer for the animals.
In this case, the issue isn’t my opinion of veganism. Rather, I think about where the other person is coming from. If I say veganism is easy, and they think, “Well, maybe for you, but it seems hard to me!” they’re lost to making changes for the animals.
So the point isn’t to show how into veganism I am, how much I know, how easy it is for me, or even what it will be like for them in X months. Rather, our goal should be to engage the person from where they are at the moment.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Loren and Coutney point out this sign of the changing times:
UNC, Duke select book on vegetarianism for summer reading
And not some feel-good, "let's just eat healthier" book, but Jonathan Safran Foer's hard-hitting Eating Animals.
PS Be sure to look for today's EN, which has tons of great stories.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
You really take advantage of matchings funds! After just a day, VO has met the goal and raised enough to do a new printing of ¿Por qué vegetariano?
We'll update the booklet and print it as part of our next batch -- thanks so much to everyone for your generosity!
Monday, February 21, 2011
donations towards printing ¿Por qué vegetariano?
Now, a donor has come forward to offer a $500 matching challenge!
That's right: the next $500 donated for PQV will be matched, bringing us much closer to being able to do a new printing of ¿Por qué vegetariano?
You can help print and ship these unique booklets by making a secure, tax-deductible donation online, or sending a check or money order to:
Vegan Outreach | POB 30865 | Tucson, AZ 85751
Please include a note that the contribution is to print PQV. Thanks so much!
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
I recently did an online chat with the kind folks at AR Zone. We'll reproduce some of the questions and answers here over the next few weeks. The first starts with an inquiry about Ellen:
You and your wife have raised your child as a vegan from birth. Could you tell us some of the hurdles you found difficult to get over, and offer any advice to those of us trying to accomplish the same now?
I would like to hope that the situation is different and easier today than it was in 1994! Raising Ellen really didn't have a lot of hurdles, regarding veganism. People asked us questions, and we answered. We had done our research and knew more about nutrition than our interrogators. And the people who were belligerent, we just ignored.
Oddly, the main question we got, over and over and over, was, “But what about birthday parties??” It seemed as though everyone's only memories of childhood was eating cake and ice cream. It was crazy. The main pieces of advice I'd give are:
1. Know your nutrition. Not from propaganda that seeks to glorify a certain diet, but from legitimate sources whose main goal is an honest and thorough evaluation. (Here is another recent reason to get honest and thorough info: )
2. Take advantage of the community – there were no vegan parenting boards on the web in 1993-94.
3. Don't let the haters get to you.
I think the last part is key, pretty much for any vegan in any situation. I understand taking attacks / ignorance personally – it is so hard not to, especially when it comes to the welfare of your child. And I sure identify with the desire to be able to “win an argument” with a meat eater. But the reality is that there are some people who will be belligerent regardless of what we say.
I think we will all be happier – and thus better examples, and thus better advocates for the animals – if we accept that some people will just be jerks. (And let’s be honest – that’s true about vegans, too – there are vegans who will be loudly belligerent with anyone whose thoughts deviate ever-so-slightly from theirs.)
On the other hand, loads of people are initially hostile, but come around when treated with respect. Bruce and I talk about that a lot in The Animal Activist’s Handbook.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
A very generous member has donated $1,100 toward a new printing of our Spanish-language booklet, ¿Por qué vegetariano?
As soon as we can raise an additional $2,900, we can do a new printing.
You can help print and ship these unique booklets by making a secure, tax-deductible donation online, or send a check or money order to:
Vegan Outreach | PO Box 30865 | Tucson, AZ 85751
Please include a note that the contribution is to print PQV.
Thanks so much!
Monday, February 14, 2011
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
today's Enewsletter is that Adopt a College has already reached more than 100,000 students in 2011, despite the unbelievable weather so far this winter.
Nikki is over 20,000 already this term!
And Vic has become the fourth individual to reach 300,000!
Congrats to everyone who is a part of this powerful work!
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Brian points out this wide-ranging blog, Vegan Skeptic. Some interesting posts:
A Vegan No More
Great stuff in there. E.g., from the first one:
"Suppose we were to do a study looking at cancer rates among vegans and we find that in our sample we looked over a hundred different types of cancers, and find that for six of them vegans had significantly lower incidences of those cancers at a 95% confidence level. We cannot conclude from this evidence that vegans have lower incidences of those six cancers. This is an example of the Texas sharpshooter fallacy. We have looked at a mass of scattered evidence and then simply picked out those which happened to look like a pattern in our favor."
Monday, February 7, 2011
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Jane Velez-Mitchell has a new book out, Addict Nation. She graciously agreed to an interview with Vegan Outreach:
What do you think causes people to become addicted? Why do some people form so many addictions?
In my new book, I show how America's culture has become addictogenic. Essentially that means that our culture encourages people to consume in a gluttonous, addictive fashion. The "more is better" mentality is rampant. We are eating more, weighing more, accumulating more, spending more and it's not making us any happier. Au contra ire: it's making us depressed. That's why anti-depressant sales are way up. So, we're also applying the "more is better" mantra to prescription drugs which is another huge mass addiction. Since all addicts develop a tolerance to their substance of choice, it stands to reasons that all addiction is progressive because addicts will always need more of their "junk" to achieve the same high. So, these societal plagues are destined to become worse... unless we, as a society, hit bottom and have a moment of clarity about the insanity of our behavior.
Can you summarize the nature of food addiction in the US today, and how it has changed over the past several decades?
You don't need to torture a bunch of helpless rats to figure out fast food is addictive. Nevertheless, for those who feel the need to read research to verify the obvious, studies have now been done that show fast food, loaded with fat, salt and sugar, causes rats to behave as if they were hooked on heroin. As opposed to those fed the salad bar option who consume normally, rats fed a fast food diet will endure electric shocks, etc. to keep eating what they crave. When deprived of their fast food, they'd rather starve for days on end than eat the healthier options.
Again, cruel animal experimentation is not necessary to reach these conclusions. Look around you. America's obesity epidemic is exploding and fast food is the obvious reason. The rise of fast food outlets almost perfectly parallels the rise in obesity. There is also growing evidence that one can develop an addiction to meat. America is about 5 percent of the world's population but we eat about 25 percent of the world's meat. We can all "just say no" to fast food and junk food. You have to negotiate with food daily but you can say: I will never go into a fast food outlet or a fast food drive-thru again. Period. If all Americans made that one decision, obesity would begin to plummet almost immediately. Addict Nation outlines how you can narrow the food playing field. If you know someone who is a food addict/obese give them this book to read.
Do you believe addiction(s) can (and/or must) be eliminated, or can they be replaced and/or redirected? If the latter, what would you tell people to use in order to replace their addiction(s)?
Addicts drive different cars but they're all headed to the same destination: oblivion. That's another way of saying: people stuff their pain with different substances of choice and behaviors but the motive is always the same... to numb unpleasant feelings and avoid painful truths. Americans need to start facing themselves. If you're drinking, drugging, eating, shopping, sexing or texting additively it's because there's something you don't want to face. But, you need to confront it. That's how we grow and evolve as human beings. The most effective way to deal with any addiction is: the 12-Steps. In Addict Nation, I explain the 12-Steps in detail. They offer a way to surrender to the powerlessness of the craving and explore one's tormented inner landscape finding a path to serenity and joy. There are meetings for almost every craving out there. Check it out.
How could your understanding of food addiction inform the work of those trying to expose and end cruelty to animals (specifically, the ~99% of animals that are killed to be eaten)?
As almost every vegan knows, about 10-billion farm animals are cruely raised and slaughtered for food every year. The link between food addiction and animal cruelty is sitting right there in that statistic. Every person who goes vegan helps to save hundreds of animal lives every year. One great way to go vegan is to get real about how the animals raised for food are really treated. Educate yourself about the horrors of pig gestation crates and veal crates. If you're a meat eater, get out of denial about where your food comes from. If you are a vegan, cajole your meat eating friends into watching Meat Your Meat, Earthlings, Life Behind Bars, Behind the Mask or any of the other films that reveal the truth behind factory farming. Or give them Addict Nation, which has been called "a blueprint for green living." It is also a blueprint for vegan living.
Is there anything else you would like to tell the members of Vegan Outreach?
Every moment of every day offers a chance to spread the message about the vegan lifestyle. Every party, every office potluck, every lunch or dinner date, every shopping excursion is an opportunity to expose Americans to the alternative to the diet they're currently eating. We must not let these opportunities pass.
Friday, February 4, 2011
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Nikki Benoit, Vegan Outreach's Southern California Outreach Coordinator, has now handed out over 200,000 lifetime booklets! And she has handed out 150,000 of these in the last 13 months alone. Yes, that's right: She has averaged over 11k booklets a month this last year! Now that is crazy.
So let's raise our glasses and give a toast to this incredibly dedicated young woman and this great accomplishment. Thanks for all you do, Nikki!