Archives for category: Choosing Vegan

It’s been a while since I’ve written here.  That’s partly just because things have been busy lately, but it’s also because it’s been quite a confusing few weeks.

After the initial euphoria of making it through a month with The Vegan Pledge, I had a sudden drop in mood and a period of soul-searching – ‘What’s this really all about now I’m not meeting a challenge any more?’, ‘Do I really want to make this a permanent lifestyle change?’ etc.

I’ve been feeling emotionally shaky and finding my reactions are all over the place: tears, temper, belly laughs.

Something which has surprised me is that I thought I would feel good about making a choice that takes me out of some of the cycles of cruelty upon which our current way of life is built, but that hasn’t necessarily been the case.  As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, it sometimes feels like an almost impossible task to choose ‘good’ food, by which I mean food the production of which hasn’t at some point had a negative impact on somebody somewhere.  For example, where do the cacao nibs I blithely snack on, to get the benefit of their ‘superfood’ properties, really come from? How were they harvested?  Did the workers get paid ok?  Was a village destroyed to plant a plantation to feed health obsessives thousands of miles away?  I worry about this stuff.  But, my life isn’t such that I can grow my own food, and so I have to buy food from others and therefore be part of a cycles of production and consumption.  I’m not sure if soya beans are really any ethically cleaner than processed meat, although at least there’s not the actually fact of an animal’s miserable life and stressful death to contemplate.  I don’t like the thought of human miserable lives either.  And that’s where things have really been biting recently.  In some respects my body and mind feel much clearer, and that is making things come through more hurtful, more shocking.  Now it upsets me more than ever to see people being horrible to each other and there have been times when stuff I’ve seen on the street, or in the bus, or on the news has made me literally flinch or weep.  Both conscious horribleness and apathetic obliviousness upset me.  I never liked it before and now it seems even worse.  I don’t feel like a strong, able person who is taking a positive choice.  I feel in shock.

Because it’s been quite dark sometimes it’s made me realise I need to watch my nutrition and make sure I’m not lacking anything that might be contributing to this drop in mood.  I’ve booked to see my GP later this week and I’m taking supplements now which should help keep up the levels of B vitamins.

I’ve also tried to talk with people about it, and vegans on the web have been brilliant, sending all sorts of advice, about food, about the psychology of change, and offering friendship and support.  I’m grateful for this.

I had one day where I ‘fell off the wagon’.  I’d come home hungry and had nothing readily available to eat in the house and was also in a bit of a low mood.  What I did have was a packet of shortbread and raspberry biscuits, which I’d not thrown out as they’d been given to me as a gift before I chose to go Vegan.  I’d been keeping them to offer to guests sometime.  Anyway, in a state of fairly mindless misery I opened up the pack and ate 5 of the biscuits.  It didn’t help lift my mood, and I just felt sad, both that I’d broken my Vegan commitment, and that I’d treated something which had been given as a gift so mindlessly.  It wasn’t a good evening.  I managed not to let it lead to anything further, however, and was back on track with my next meal and trying my best to take care of myself.  I also talked to some good people who helped me to keep things in perspective.  I can get over-earnest about things at times.

So, for now, I’d like to thank all those who are patiently putting up with me as I work through this stuff, and also say that I’m looking forward to having some fun doing things I love over the next few weeks.  It’s Easter, and even if it is cold, spring is on the way.  I’ll be doing some dancing and visiting a new place in Manchester which is supposed to be good for Vegan food – ‘The World Peace Cafe’.  Maybe I’ll see you there.  Oh, and I’m looking for a recipe for a great Vegan cake to celebrate the Easter/Spring holiday, so if you’ve got a good recipe, get in touch.

Advertisements

Horse meat – the hardest thing to digest is that it’s your fault.

I found the above article in ‘Freshly Pressed’ this morning.  I like it.  Here’s what I wrote in reply:-

This is a great post.  Your writing in this, and other posts, burns with the angry desire for authenticity.  I think it’s the ache of our age.  You are absolutely right, we are responsible for the world we create through our choices.  Well said.

I was raised by a mother who worked part-time and cooked real food, from ingredients, and knew how to use up leftovers.  She had been taught by her mum in turn, and both my grandmothers were of the WWII generation, where I think they learned how to live frugally and resourcefully.  There are elements of conservatism in the family life I knew as a child that I have sought to move on from in my adult life, but in terms of food I’m 100% with the people who mourn the state of the food industry, contemporary consumer habits, and the lack of time available for proper cooking, or indeed proper living.

Finding your post in ‘Freshly Pressed’ has come at a time when I’m struggling with paradox.  This month I’ve been trying out a Vegan diet, with the intention of exploring whether this is a lifestyle change I’d like to adopt permanently.

One of my reasons for transitioning to Vegan is concern about animal welfare and horror at the practices of the food industry.  I had a grandfather who was a vet and another who was a free-range pedigree poultry breeder, both trying to do the best in their professions,  but I don’t know if I would ever feel confident enough about animal welfare in today’s society that I would feel it’s ok to eat an animal/animal’s products.  I sometimes think I might be able to rear animals for food purposes myself, and kill them, but I’ve never tested that, so I don’t really know.  What I do know is, that the level of care I think a ‘used’ animal deserves leaves no room for profit.  Trying to make money out of selling animals for milk, meat etc. means that the pressures of the market will always be there, and, as you acknowledge, they are ferocious pressures.

The paradox I’m struggling with at the moment, in my third week of Veganism is the knowledge that it’s not just animal welfare that’s important.  Human welfare is equally important, and, I’d go as far as to say that, if we can’t get the human welfare sorted out, there’s little chance that we’ll manage it for the animals as well.  Humans feeling the pressure for whatever reason can easily cut moral corners and turn a blind eye to the sufferings of others.

You rightly acknowledge the misery caused in the lives of food producers in the UK as they’ve struggled to survive under market pressure and meet the ever-more-ridiculous demands of legislation.  There is a great deal of human suffering here.

I have a sneaking suspicion that, by choosing Vegan, I’m simply shifting the human suffering elsewhere.  As I’ve started choosing different products (for example: soya, quinoa, different plant oils) I’ve noticed that many of them come from far-away places and I have nothing but the bland assurances on the product’s packaging that what I’m consuming has been ethically produced.  You don’t have to Google very far to find evidence that the West’s appetite for different foods, or ‘wholefoods’, or ‘superfoods’, is leading, in some cases, to the clearance of native habitat, and to the displacement and/or hunger of local populations.

And that’s to say nothing of the air miles the lie behind the food I’m now choosing to eat.  It’s harder to avoid imported food if you eat Vegan in the UK, unless you live on root vegetables, cabbage and potatoes.

Your post vividly expresses  the monster we’ve collectively created in the Food Industry by our desire for cheap and convenient food.  I can see that choosing a Vegan diet isn’t going to make that monster go away.  There are still huge ethical concerns about food production on a mass scale, whatever it is and wherever it happens, and in our global society we have a collective responsibility for this.

I’ll be sticking to my Vegan choice for the time being, because I have strong concerns about animal welfare, whether in the slaughterhouses of Romania or an organic farm in the Cotswolds, and there is proper, statistical evidence that we all need to cut down our meat and dairy consumption for both health and environmental reasons.  I would really like, however, to be able to eat food that’s locally, and wholesomely produced.  I would like to know that the people producing that food have been able to work in decent conditions, that they have been well-paid for their work, that the lives of the communities of those food producers are good lives.

I’ve little idea how to bring that about through the power of my purchase.

For now, I’ll do my best to shop local, and where I can’t shop local, I’ll try not to be naïve, and be discerning about the food that’s being imported in my name.  I’ll be looking for Fairtrade products and companies that have authenticity and ethics at the heart of their operations.  All this searching uses up valuable cooking time, and, yes, it does cost more money than buying products for price alone.  It’s not easy swimming against the tide.  I applaud anybody who bothers to try to do it.  I applaud all food producers and consumers who are struggling to do what they can to make a better world.

I’m almost into my 3rd week of eating Vegan now.  These are the things I’m finding hard.

Eggs

The only thing I’m really missing is eggs.  Eggs, scrambled or boiled, were my favourite breakfast food, which I used to have a couple of times per week.  I also used to enjoy the occasional omelette as a simple supper.  I am starting to really miss these now.  Sitting down to breakfast this week with Dan and his little boy, as they tucked into their boiled eggs and toast soldiers, left me feeling a bit miserable.  I’m trying to vary my breakfasts, but they are generally cereal or toast based due to speed and convenience.  I’ve had toast with either p-nut butter or beans, and museli/granola with a variety of toppings, always trying to get some kind of protein and extra nutrients into the meal.  I’m beginning to tire of these breakfasts however.  I need to experiment with some new breakfast ideas, but it’s hard to find the time, and I don’t have a blender, which seems to be a kitchen staple of many Vegan cooks.

In just over a week’s time I’ll be going to visit an aunt at the weekend.  She keeps chickens, who are ex-battery hens that have been rescued and re-homed.  She has about 5 of them.  They are essentially pets, but when they’re laying, she eats the eggs.  I know that the chickens have a good home with this woman, whose Dad was a vet.  Are we really contributing to their suffering by taking their eggs away?  I would so much like to eat those eggs!

Yes, I would so much like to eat those eggs, which happen to be the potential for another creature’s child.  Doesn’t sound quite so good put like that.

I would like to eat them, but I’m choosing not to, because I’ve chosen to be Vegan, which means not treating another species as if it exists for my use.

In relation to the mainstream supply of eggs, I am appalled that we still have caged farms in this country, and agree that so-called ‘Free-Range’ or ‘Organic’ egg production can be still be highly industrialized and doesn’t look like a good experience for the birds involved.  I wonder, if I kept my own chickens, would that be such a bad thing?  Here are links to a couple of articles which show what Gentle World have to say about eggs:-

http://gentleworld.org/a-chickens-relationship-with-her-eggs/

http://gentleworld.org/whats-wrong-with-backyard-eggs/

When I was little I had a grandpa who had made his living from rearing free-range chickens, and I used to enjoy spending time with him, helping him to feed the birds and clean out the hen houses.  As a child it never occurred to me to ask what happened to the little boy chicks, or the hens once they stopped laying, and although I remember spending a lot of time around the hens and collecting eggs, I don’t remember noticing a hen looking distressed and looking for her egg after it had been taken away, but, I realise now, that’s because it never occurred to me to look.  I took the egg and moved on, I didn’t stay to see what happened next.

So, I’m struggling with a desire for eggs, but I understand the arguments for not eating them, so I’m persevering.

Nutrition

I’ve been feeling a bit tired this week.  It could be the helping-to-care-for-5-year-old-boy factor, but I’m aware that I don’t really know whether I’m nourishing myself ok at the moment.  To be fair, I didn’t know this when I was an omnivore either, and most of the time I didn’t care (and have suffered a few health problems, namely obesity, as a result).  I’m been very aware this week, however, that I’ve not managed to get much variety into my diet, which is one of the key aspects of eating Vegan.  For example, I’ve not had as many leafy greens as I think I need, and my protein sources have been a bit limited.

Last night I had my regular Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncture appointment and my Acupuncturist told me that my tongue suggested that I am currently a bit “blood deficient”.  One of the main foods for balancing this is meat.  Others are dark beans, dark greens, prunes, seaweeds, and some grains.

So, I’ll be off to the nearest wholefood shop tonight for a long-overdue visit to stock up on some nourishing items and a couple of supplements in order to be on the safe side.

It’s also time to get to grips with tofu, which is something I’ve been avoiding, because previous cooking experiences with it have resulted in a soggy mush.  I need to get over my fears and learn how to cook tofu in a palatable way.  I know when I’ve had it in restaurants, firm and well-flavoured, it can be fantastic.  How do you re-create this in your own kitchen?

Conscience

I started to watch ‘Earthlings’ last week.  It’s a documentary feature film made by, among others, Joaquin Phoenix and Moby, who are practicing Vegans.   It’s Vegan propaganda, if you will.  Using hidden cameras to look at the myriad ways humans use animals, it is uncompromising and distressing viewing.  I didn’t get very far, and switched off not too far into the film.  I know all this stuff, right?  I know we kill animals to make our lives easier.  I know we violate their bodies in painful ways to further our own ends.  I know this, and I don’t want to have it shoved in my face.  And that’s just it.  I don’t want to face up to the reality of what it means to be a human and at the top of the food chain.  If I did, I would have to do something about it, accept responsibility for my actions, grow up, stop being a child in the great cosmic laboratory and realise that what I do has consequences.  It seems like a heavy burden to take on.  A large part of me would like to keep my mind’s eye closed.

If you’d like to watch the film, it’s freely available on the internet.  It is an unflinching look at sickening, real violence.  www.earthlings.com

If you search through internet forums and discussion groups about the ethics of eating or not eating animals, you’ll find plenty of ranters on both sides, and one of the most common rants in favour of eating meat is that we’ve earned our position at the top of the food chain by virtue of our intelligence, and opposable thumbs, and shouldn’t have any qualms about this.  I don’t really buy this argument.  The way I see it, humanity is in a constant state of evolution.  That’s not a positive or negative term, it simply means things keep changing.  We’ve gone from struggling to survive and having to gather and hunt our own food, to becoming a fantastically successful species who have evolved to such a level that many (although certainly not all) humans have the luxury of choice about how to live their lives.  This leisure has been achieved through us using our ingenuity to invent things to do work for us.  We are now at a stage where we have knowledge, technology, and the capacity to industrialize almost any aspect of life.  That doesn’t mean that it is healthy to apply this indiscriminately.   I am just as horrified and upset by what I see of the way humans behave towards other humans.  It doesn’t surprise me that we have the capacity to be so unaffected by animal suffering when we are capable turning a blind eye to so much that happens to other members of our own species.  I regularly chat with people who think it’s great to get clothes really cheaply, and don’t seem to care what may have happened to make the clothes so cheap.  I wouldn’t be without my mobile phone (despite the fact that I’m of the pre-mobile generation and was in my mid-twenties before mobile phone use became common). The last time I renewed my contract and got a new phone, I ignored the knowledge I’d acquired from watching an arts performance by some asylum seekers in Manchester, that my handy little communications device uses rare minerals, the mining of which is one of the root causes of the brutal conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where people are raped, mutilated and murdered every day.

One of the things I want most is to belong.  I want to exist, without too much bother, in the group of humans I happen to have been born into.  It is an inconvenience to me to have to spend my time, thinking, reflecting, choosing, and acting a certain way, if it goes against the grain of what the majority of those around me are doing.  Yet, the conscience-voice is there.  Part of our humanity is this: our capacity to reflect and to choose, which suggests to me that what we do after reflecting is significant, our actions matter as one of the ingredients of the universe.  That is why we have this faculty.  That is what morality is.  If some people hadn’t ‘gone against the grain’ in various societies throughout history, we’d still kill humans for entertainment like the Ancient Romans did, and still use humans as slaves.  Oh, but we still do that, even though we think we’ve stopped.  It’s an on-going task to bring about change, and it boils down to the will of the human heart.

I think being non-violent is the hardest thing to be.  It doesn’t come easily.  Eating Vegan isn’t turning me into someone who is can joyfully and positively choose not to use animals, it all feels a bit overwhelming, and a bit of an effort.  Watching films like ‘Earthlings’ makes me feel despairing about the nature of the human, and plenty of people would say it is counter-intuitive to not accept your own nature.

A question I’ve been asked regularly is, “What would we do with all the animals if we didn’t farm them?  Would you like a countryside that looked very different?”  I don’t have a clear answer for that.  I wouldn’t like a countryside full of fields of vegetables if their mass-production resulted in poor working conditions for humans and degradation of the natural environment.  I’d miss seeing cows and pigs around in the fields.  I don’t know that it would be such a bad change, however.  Like many things, if it could be managed sustainably, then it could be great.  I’m very much in favour of the use of scientific knowledge for sustainable development.  Just because I can’t quite imagine how the ‘brave new world’ might be, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth exploring.

Sometimes in my life I’ve met people who have filled me with optimism and a buzz of creative joy, the idea that you can live counter-culturally and contribute to your society.  The doom-sayers and cynics haven’t stayed with me, but I’m bit pessimistic myself.  I think what I need right now if to live in the (Vegan) moment and not worry too much about the ‘big picture’.  I need an injection of positivity and can-do inspiration.

I’d like to end the week by sharing this page from a blog I’ve been following.  I’m not 100% sure I don’t sense the essence of Photoshop here, but it did make me think, warm my heart, and smile.

Would you like a side of Love with your Humane?.

Well, I’ve lived a whole week eating as a Vegan.  It’s been a week of ups and downs, but this morning I’m feeling well and can give the experience so far a big thumbs up and a smile.

This week being ‘Vegan’ has not stopped me doing anything I wanted to do.  I’ve ridden my bike to work every day, seen friends, done my job, had my acupuncture appointment, done the housework…  The only thing I’ve said no to was a chocolate when someone was passing some round at the office, and, to be honest, given my previous record, that’s probably a good thing!  There was the dodgy 36 hours on days 4 and 5, but that passed quickly and I’m getting on fine.  I’ve not had any particular cravings for anything, and I’ve been busy making sure I feel well-fed, which has left little time for brooding.

Here’s something I wrote in my notebook a little while back:-

“Omnivore days to go: 19.  Not long to go now until I start on my Vegan Pledge, and the looming knowledge of that date has me consciously savouring mouthfuls of things I think I’m going to miss, and scrutinising packaging to see what will have to go.

Today, for instance, I was eating in the work canteen, which, although it’s in the Health Faculty of a university, is not the most enlightened place when it comes to healthy menus.  My foods of choice, having failed to organise myself to bring in my own lunch, were a prawn mayonnaise sandwich, Walker’s Prawn Cocktail Crisps and a pear.

Now, I’ve read about intensive prawn farming, and have to admit to having felt some guilt at the thought of what these pretty invertebrates have suffered on the way to my dinner plate, but it hasn’t stopped me in the past and one of my favourite food sensations is sinking my teeth into a juicy prawn mayo, or picking them straight from the supermarket packaging to munch on unadulterated. I really love them.

This is where vegan ethics are going to bring me slap-bang up against my desires, my notions of love.  I’m going to be forced to abandon this incorrect, and over-applied, use of the verb, and exchange it for “I really like eating…”, because, from what I’ve read of the Vegan Manifesto, it could be summarised thus:  if you love other sentient beings, don’t use them, using is not ‘love’.  Much as I like prawn sandwiches, I am moved by this.  I would like to try and live by it.”

As it happens, I’ve not so far felt deprived by not being able to eat a prawn sandwich, and it’s been a deliciously foodie week.  It culminated yesterday evening with the first meal I’d eaten which was prepared by others and out of my control, which turned out to be a superb mushroom risotto, accompanied by salad, bruschetta and a dessert of mixed berries.  The food was warming, nurturing, pungently flavoured, a perfect meal for a cold, February evening.  I felt grateful and happy that my hosts had responded positively to my request for Vegan food and seen it as an enjoyable experience rather than a bind.  This additional layer of needing to ask for something, trust in receiving it and then being granted it in such a tasty form, made the meal even more enjoyable.  (The poetry afterwards was an added bonus!)  So, a big shout out to Liz and friends for a wonderful meal.  Thank you.

Now for the metaphysical bit… Going back to my musings about love, this going Vegan thing is asking me to give a bit of a work out to the way I live.  It’s definitely not just about food.   It seems like I’m embarking on an emotional stretching regime as well as a different way of eating.  Love is not about possession, property, control…  I can feel the implications of this rippling out beyond simple food choices already.

(But I promised Dan I wouldn’t be preachy, so I’ll stop there 🙂 )

On Living with Compassion | Starter Guide | Vegan Outreach.

Feelings

(I’m linking to a page which I think gives a good account of Vegan Compassion, from an organisation in the U.S. called ‘Vegan Outreach’. I don’t know anything about these people, but I like this page.)

They say that choosing a Vegan way of life is a compassionate choice. If you bring your consciousness to the food you put into your body every day (and other aspects of your lifestyle) and start to become aware of what has gone into producing the things you take for granted – the death of animals, the pain and suffering of animals, bodies subjected to industrialized processes, people’s labour in less than humane conditions – you will become a more compassionate person. The act of physically placing your awareness in food is what heightens this. Apparently the transformation of consciousness can be quite remarkable.

Well, I’m a politically active person, and like to think of myself as an environmentally aware person. I spend quite a lot of time and energy doing ‘good things’, BUT, I know deep down I’m not actually that compassionate. I feel incredibly frustrated sometimes about what I perceive to be the state of the world, and I know that, when I express my opinions, that frustration often comes across sounding quite harsh and judgemental. I’m also not too good at being compassionate with myself, and can easily suppress emotions, be passive-aggressive, and get myself into a state because I’m not communicating clearly (and compassionately) with others. (I used to not be aware of this at all, but life-experience and some work in therapy have helped me to see things in a different way.)

It’s not easy to write about this side of me, but I’m thinking about it because of something that’s happened this morning. I have a housemate whom I’m not naturally at ease with. I find her manner loud and insensitive, and I often feel quite annoyed by things she does around the house (spontaneous re-arranging, throwing things out, hiding the back door key as an anti-burglar measure) and would prefer to be consulted about these in advance. It’s fair to say I’ve swallowed quite a lot of my feelings in order to not have deal with them, and have been doing this over a period of time. This week however, two such incidents have happened in quick succession which have left me grinding my teeth. I’ve felt really aware of how frustrated I’m feeling. This morning, just as my housemate was leaving the house she said, “Don’t forget to shut the window”, and I suddenly found myself turning around and snapping and telling her I didn’t need to be told and would she just stop trying to tell me how to keep house.

What surprised me about this was that I was actually expressing what I was feeling as I was feeling it, which, believe me, is not something I normally do, but it just came bursting out, and I was so glad to be telling the truth instead of biting my tongue.

Now, it came out with a lot of force, leaving me feeling shaky and probably leaving her feeling hurt and surprised at my aggression. I shall have to apologise to her later. I shall also have to make sure that I honour my feelings in future, because that’s going to be what stops the frustration building up. That’s seems pretty scary, but I can see that being compassionate to animals is not going to help that much if I can’t be compassionate with others and myself.

Feelings seem very close to the surface at the moment. Maybe it’s mood changes caused by food changes. Everything feels a bit new and ‘clunky’. I feel more sensitive, in good, and less good ways. I suppose if you clear stuff out of your system, other stuff will rise to the surface.

Struggling this afternoon.  I think this must be what is known as detox.  I feel tired, a bit headachey, constantly thirsty, gassy, my tongue tastes funny, I’m sniffing a bit…  Plus I read an article about leather which suggested getting rid of all your old leather items by burying them in the ground because they are, after all, someone else’s body parts.  This feels extreme.  Too idealistic – like I’ll never live up to it.  I can feel all my cells resisting.  They’d like some cheese!  OK, gently does it, I’m not giving up.  Just have to sit this one out, compassionately.

Reasons: The Vegan Evolution

Ethical Choice

 I used to be a Vegetarian, a long time ago, in my teenage years.  I abandoned eating meat with great passion and self-righteousness off the back of a few months of having a junior membership to the RSPCA, and being enrolled in Greenpeace by my Granny.  My bedroom floor was littered with magazines and campaign leaflets depicting the many atrocities inflicted upon animals.  I would write letters to MPs, poems for the campaign magazines, and wear with pride the stickers organisations sent to me.  My traditional English, and omnivorous, family did their best to adapt to the circumstances, my mum bearing the brunt of it as I refused the home-prepared meals she’d been serving up for years: Shepherd’s Pie, Beef Stew, Sunday Roast…  It didn’t last long.  At the age of 18, on a cycling and camping holiday around the coast of Cornwall with a boyfriend, I lapsed over butcher’s own sausages cooked over a camping stove.  After a hard day’s cycling my small tin of Heinz Spaghetti Hoops in Tomato Sauce just didn’t hit the spot.  Ravenous with the outdoors, it was easy to fling conscience to the winds and feast on animal flesh again.  By the time I returned from that holiday I was a born-again meat-eater and didn’t look back.

In recent years, I’ve eaten less and less meat, as public health campaigns, food scares, and friends’ lifestyle choices have persuaded me in new food directions.  The substitution for meat and fish has more often than not turned out to be cheese, and dairy products have figured large on the shopping list as I seek to gratify the craving for foods which are smooth and creamy.  From time to time it has crossed my mind to take up the ‘Vegetarian’ banner again, but I’ve been held back by both laziness and the growing realisation that it’s not just meat and fish that are the problem.  My present feeling is, if I’m going to make an ethical choice, the thing to do is avoid using animals altogether, and that means avoiding all foods produced by animals.  I feel disturbed by the industrialisation of the bodies of other creatures (and humans for that matter).  The dairy industry is just one example.  Once I started reading more about this, the ethical arguments became harder to ignore.  A friend sent me a link to a Vegan educational organisation called ‘Gentle World’ and their monthly updates have been dropping into my inbox for over a year now.  The momentum has been growing, as I’ve met more people who wholeheartedly live by this philosophy, and drop by drop experiences seem to be showing me that this might be something important.

 Health

I’ve always been a sneezy, wheezy person.  If I get ill, it’s usually with a cold.  If I go into a house I’ve not been into before, I’ll often as not start sneezing within 30 minutes of arriving.  I easily get ‘bunged up’, out of breath, snore in my sleep, struggle to breathe.   I’ve read that cutting dairy products out of the diet can help significantly with these kinds of issues and, believe me, after living with myself in this condition for so many years, I’m ready to make sacrifices if they’ll bring about positive change.  Recently, I’ve been receiving Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncture treatments, and these have only served to strengthen the suggestion that changing my diet would help my overall health.  In TCM, many of the things I suffer from can be explained by the idea of “Damp”, both a physical and emotional condition that contributes a general feeling of ‘bogginess’ in the body and the psyche, and which underlies most of the prevalent health pathologies which affect people in developed countries: cancer, obesity, and heart disease being just a few examples.    There are many other health reasons for increasing the nutrition from vegetables in your diet.  Yesterday, when a friend heard what I was planning to do, I was sent this BBC News article by way of encouragement (www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21258509 – thanks Toby).

There’s something very holistic about this choice.  It could be good for me, and good for the planet overall.  In an age of increasing struggle over global resources, moving to a plant-based diet makes sense.  It’s a logical step, which I think is why Gentle World’s writer has chosen the word “evolution” rather than “revolution”.  If chosen, however, this way of life has the potential to be revolutionary on many levels.

I’m here trying it to see what evolves.

whistles in the wind

BOOKS & FILM & MUSIC & ART & DESIGN & AMBROSIA

From Forty With Love

Being real, being heard, being whole

Gateway Women

United by and beyond childlessness

Dr. Will Tuttle PhD & The World Peace Diet

Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony

Blooms and Bubbles

(it's still East Meets Breast...)

Letters to My Mind

Letters and notes about my developing mindfulness

matters of food and faith

devotions, reflections, and observations about food--from a faith perspective

Living with Intent

Liberate from convention and live with extraordinary intention

The British Asian Blog

Life as it is @tbablog

The Making Progress Blues

A blog on the journey

undeaddad

explorations of mindful fatherhood

veganbloggersunite.wordpress.com/

One Blog to Unite Them All - Vegan Bloggers Unite!

Crying In My Soy Milk

A Vegetarian's Adventures in Veganism

In Vegetables We Trust

Home to over 200 vegan recipes.

No Meat Athlete

Plant-Based Diet for Fitness | Vegan Recipes & Nutrition | Vegan Fitness & Running

Africa far and wide

A visual journey into the Africa I know

ivysmushbowl

Simple, healthy, vegan and vegetarian recipes.