Spiritual Shift “Vegan” And Concious Living

After eating animals and using animal products for most of my life I started reading health books as part of an interest in personal growth. Health reasons kept me on this path as my digestion was completely out of whack and I would do anything to avoid surgery. It didn’t take long to learn the effects that my eating animal products had on my health the environment and the welfare of animals, who I claimed to love so much.

Many people ask me why I eat an “almost” vegan diet, I say “almost” because not very often but sometimes non vegan practice still enters my life and I don’t want to pretend I am something that I am not. Only that I strive to eliminate most animal uses, it’s different for everyone, some are 100% vegan and some are still on the journey. Before I dive into it, let me first say I’m not interested in trying to convert you to veganism. I am just happy to share my personal story for those who care to listen. While many vegans are conversion-happy, for me this is a personal lifestyle choice. I’ve noticed that people tend to go vegan and make changes when they’re ready for it. So take this as an insider’s report on my path to a vegan or conscious living rather than conversion rhetoric.

In my learnings I am convinced that the vegan diet fits all if not most of my values, my health reasons and my desire to do good-by the planet, the kindness of the diet fits in with my quest for inner peace and wanting to make a difference in this world, to be part of a movement that is interested in the elimination of suffering and violence. What motivated me to try veganism wasn’t just animal rights or environmental issues but simply the desired to be a more compassionate person, a person who wanted to do my part and be connected to my self and the earth, respecting all living things. Of course along with the possibilities of enjoying the health benefits. My curiosity was driven entirely by self-interest.

It was only after going “mostly” vegan that I openly exposed myself to other arguments for veganism.  One of the best books I read was Diet for a New America.  I was amazed at just how destructive the habit of eating animal products is, to our bodies and our environment. If you’re the kind of person who loves data and stats then Diet For A New America is for you, although the figures are somewhat dated by now, I still recommend the read. I tried using the stats to see if I could convince other people to try veganism or at least vegetarianism.  Nothing so righteous as the newly converted, right?  I ended up convincing a few people, but mostly it opened my eyes as to just how stubborn people were, even in the face of overwhelming data. It doesn’t bother me when people eat animals in front of me, they’re free to eat whatever they want. I do notice, however, that people often feel uncomfortable eating animals in front of vegans. While some people would regard my diet as severely restrictive, it feels nothing of the sort to me. In the end I think it mostly helped me become more open-minded.

All these aspects of being “mostly” vegan began to touch me. I read more about the topic watched more videos, read about factory farming, all the while becoming saddened by the animal cruelty, especially when I realized this is what most people contribute to every single day.  You can find videos on Peta’s web site, or try watching Earthlings. Overall I felt relieved that my decision made a small but positive effect in reducing animal suffering and environmental damage.  I like that at every meal I kow that I am not contributing to the cause of animals to suffer.

Each day I feel the effects of my decision, I am more compassionate not just towards animals but towards people. This awareness shift grows stronger everyday, as if something in my spirit has become unblocked. Along with the desire for personal growth by being very active in my choices in all aspects of my life. The feeling of compassion towards others continues to expand, it guides my desire to share. I think a compassion-minded lifestyle is a matter of degree rather than essence because no matter where you are, you can always improve. I am still making improvements, it’s a never-ending process. My husband and I started donating money to pro-vegan nonprofit organizations, sanctuaries and local animal charities. I say pro because there can be a lot of negative advocates out there. This year I managed to put together my own event, something I am very proud of called  Gimme Shelter, Everyday Choices.

It’s important to accept the position that if you already own animal items like shoes, the animal has already paid the price, so you should honor its life by using them or giving them away to someone instead of throwing them away.  It can be rather challenging to avoid all use of animal items, since they’re so prevalent in modern society. If you choose to make the change it’s ok to go slow, it is however the death of an old life and a birth of a new one. I am however committed to lifelong dietary and personal improvement, I’m always looking out for the next step. I look forward to reflecting on this blog to see where I am in a year from now.


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The Vegan Project with Brigette Burns

I met with Bridgette Burns today over a soy cappuccino at JJ Bean to talk about The Vegan Project, promoting a more compassionate lifestyle with out the pressure. 3 vegetarian’s who decided to try living vegan for a month and the outcome was to inspire others to do the same. The journey continued and the Vegan Project has successfully  inspired others to join them in sharing what they have learned along the way.

The Vegan Project will give you all the necessary tools to make better choices based around food, even if you don’t want to give up your current lifestyle or you’re just curious, the Vegan Project will help you choose your food more wisely. Through shared experiences and great recipes, follow the Vegan Project at theveganproject.worpress.com

What is the Vegan Project? in their own words,

After learning about the disheartening impact of the meat and dairy industries on our health, the environment and the treatment of animals,we decided to try being vegan.  It became our Vegan Project.

Since September 2009, we’ve been documenting our experiences on this blog and sharing everything we’ve learned about living a vegan lifestyle in Vancouver, and beyond. We’ve had a lot of fun and met amazing new friends along the way.

In October, The Vegan Project began helping others try veganism by offering meal plans and shopping tips for anyone interested.

The Vegan Project would love to help you try veganism, too! Feel free to email us if you are interested at meet us [at] theveganproject [dot] ca.


The Vegan Project

for us, for them, for the planet

Bridget Burns, Jessica Grajczyk, Jen Hanover

Even if you are not planning on becoming a Vegan this blog is well worth the follow, I recommend you journey along with the Vegan Project, I know I am.

Sweet or Savoury No Cream, Cream Sauce

I absolutely love cream sauce but not the cream. The dairy industry is so cruel and unsustainable. In search of alternate methods of cream sauce I came across these recipes. All animal-based foods are acid-forming and dairy is no exception.

After looking at 34 published studies in 16 countries, researchers at Yale University found that the countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis – including the United States, Sweden, New Zealand – were those in which people consumed the most dairy and other animal products. How could that be?! That’s because animal protein foods such as cow’s milk are acid-forming which causes the body to borrow calcium from the bones and teeth to counteract the acidity. Over time, the bone structure weakens, making us more susceptible to fractures. To read more about this, go to www.milksucks.com.

To neutralize one cup of milk we need to take 20 cups of something alkaline such as green vegetable juice for instance. Since it takes 10 pounds of milk to produce a pound of cheese and 12 pounds of milk for a pound of ice cream, that ratio can get out of control! The more acid-forming foods we consume the weaker our immune system becomes, making it easier for bacteria, fungi and viruses to cause havoc in our body.

If you are still skeptical about the health dangers of consuming dairy, I encourage you to begin your own research into the matter.

 

Nut Cream Sauce

(Serves 2)

1/2 Cup Raw Cashews
1/4 Cup Water

Any blender or food processor will do, place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth, add more water if sauce gets too thick, keep adding water for desired consistency. Add anything you want to this sauce, truffle oil, herbs, pesto, tomato paste, morel mushrooms, curry, garlic, anything you would a reg cream sauce. Place in stove top pot and heat. Or make it sweet!

 

Sweet Nut Cream Topping

Cashew Cream, Tal Ronnen (serves 2-4)

2 cups of cashews or walnuts

1/4 cup agave nectar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Put nuts into a  blender and cover them with enough water to cover them by 1 inch, add vanilla and agave nectar, blend on high for several minutes until smooth. You will see this transform into a creamy whipped cream like mixture. Serve over your favorite dessert. I like it over fresh papaya.