Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Atheist in me

So far I have mostly posted about being Vegan, but there are several aspects about me that fall outside of my veganism. I actually wrote this a while back and had posted it in another site, but with the Holiday season upon us I am very much reminded that I truly am an Atheist.


I have called myself an Atheist ever since I could remember, every once in a while I question this point of view, yet I always come back to this being the most fitting description for my personal beliefs.

I can remember back to when I was 7 and having to sit in church (I was raised roman catholic, which is what most people say is the problem) and looking around at everyone with their heads down and eyes closed, wondering to myself what is everyone praying for or to who? I always thought that it was such a waste of time.

I know several people who praise the church and will tell you that god is what gives them the strength to get through life. I just could never relate or understand this idea. How could a place with four walls and an altar provide this kind of inner strength? I always figured you were born with an inner spirituality, a fire within, to give you strength to persevere through life or you weren't.

For the most part I think that people need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, get off their ass and make the needed changes in their lives. In my opinion most religions keep their followers uneducated and oppressed by telling them to keep the faith and to pray, rather than telling them to grab the bull by the horns and change their lives for the better.

I could go on and on about this, but bottom line is I don't believe in imaginary friends.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Craziness of being Vegan

Have been seeing a lot of dialogue lately on what Vegans should and shouldn't support as a community. Honestly I feel like I disagree with so much of it this craziness of ONLY supporting Vegan business.

Come on seriously people, we should only support vegan establishments? This is utterly ridiculous. Within the vegan community there is often discussion on speciesism. (Speciesism being where people discriminate against other species.) I think the current approach many are taking is that we will soon end up with "veganism". Where we discriminate against others based on their lifestyle. Would we have separate drinking fountains for veggie and omni's? No, think not. Why would we promote the idea of only frequenting Vegan establishments. In my mind the idea would be to promote others to look towards Vegan lifestyle, not to further perpetuate the idea of vegans being a group of elitist.

One of the basic things I see lacking within the vegan movement, as with anything is understanding the target audience. Food & shelter are basic needs, people in general are very sensitive when their basic needs feel threatened. Pushing to change basic needs in such a radical manner will have most not listening with an open mind if they listen at all. Additionally people are selfish. If you want to have someone look at an idea or influence them to your view point you need to show them what is in it for them. How do they benefit. That is why the rational for being vegan to me is health, environment and then Animals. Yes, in that order. Unfortunately many other Vegans seem to think that I would most likely go back to being omni before they would. I whole heartily disagree, as I take very few prescription drugs today versus when I consumed animal products. I am personally invested in being vegan. We need to look to do the same with the general public in order to get the idea of being Vegan more mainstream.

Another piece to this is Supply and Demand. The more the demand the more there is a supply of vegan options. The more the supply, the more demand can increase for said vegan options. Those that have financial resources to invest in business need to see there is a demand, they need to see that there is money to be made in offering & selling vegan options weather that be in the grocery store, restaurants or at the local car dealer. I will gladly patronize businesses with vegan options. In my view this should help create additional offering for vegans and help other see the being vegan is easier than they may have previously thought.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A few months ago when I started this blog I intended to keep up on a regular basis. I have had a lot going on lately. Soon as I get things a bit more straight in my own head I plan on sharing a bit more of all the craziness that has been going on over the last few months.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My wonderful MIL

For the summer we decided to sent my 14 year old daughter to visit grandma for 5 weeks. Figured she is old enough, she is aware of her medical needs and knows how to look out for what she can and can not eat due to her food allergies.

My daughter is specifically allergic to milk protein. This really is an allergy and not an intolerance. So I was very surprised when my daughter mentioned that 'grandma said - that it is OK to drink cow's milk and that she could train her body to tolerate milk'

My first reaction immediately was WTF? How could my mother in law think it was Ok to tell my daughter that? First she knows that I'm vegan and that I try to have my kids eat a vegan diet as much as possible. Second this is a specific allergy - medical condition that we have had to deal with for years.

The good part about this is that my daughter and I had a fairly lengthy conversation on the subject. Beyond the food allergy we talked about why it was not a good idea to drink cows milk even if her body could tolerate it. We talked about how it really is meant for calves, how the cows are kept pregnant & the suffering they go through. Which she understood, but was still not clear about why it was not good for you. Talked about how the milking is done and the blood and pus that end up in the milk itself. Although the milk is pasteurized that process does not kill all bacteria and viruses, thus there is a need to give the cows antibiotics.

In the end I was happy that she understood and really does not want to even bother to try and "train her body to tolerate cow's milk". Win for me, even with the meddling mother in law.

Friday, June 26, 2009

My path to becoming Vegan

Everyone seems to take a different paths in life, none the less many of us end up in the same place throughout our journeys. For me it seems to be a natural progression that I’m now VEGAN.

My personal journey started way back when I was 14. I could not drink milk without getting violently ill. Tried Lactaid and other similar products, didn’t matter I would still get horribly sick. So I decided to just gave it up. At 17 I decided that I would be Vegetarian, this lasted until I was in my early 20’s and pregnant with my first child. I got pressure from EVERYONE I knew that I was not giving my baby enough protein. I broke and gave in. I ate meat. This really was a challenge for me. Have never been able to walk into a grocery store go in the meat section and buy a pack of meat. Trying to do this & deal with morning sickness it just was not happening. After that it seems as though I always had someone handing a piece of meat. Around the same time I also started to realize that I had a similar reaction to eggs as I did with milk. Ok, decide to completely cut out all the eggs as well. After having my first two children and finally regaining control of my body, I would go back and forth on being vegetarian over the next 8 years.

Right around the time I turned 30, I became violently ill and had to be hospitalized. I had a high fever and severe pains on my right side. Appendicitis? Nope. Gallbladder, no already had that removed. Docs had no idea really and I had rounds of tests to basically tell me the same thing. “No Clue what’s wrong with you.” Shortly after we moved from CA to the East Coast. Again I was getting violently ill. Went through seeing a few specialists, and having things such a Cancer, Crones, Colitis and a few other possible diseases were mentioned. Had several tests done, I did get a diagnosis of a chronic illness but nothing close to what was originally being mentioned & it didn’t really explain all my symptoms. Ended up with some prescription medications and was also told to “Eat a high fiber diet, so lots of veggies, and Omega 3’s so eat some fish too. Oh, by the way your body can’t seem to handle red meat so avoid that.” At this point I’m eating lots of veggies & fish, no red meat, no milk & no eggs. Yet I still was getting these bouts of being sick. Each time I would get sick for 2-3 days at a time. Very frustrating because I never knew when I would get sick and what caused. Started to realize that I seemed to also have a sensitivity to sulfates. It became a must for me to read all labels and really watch what I would eat.

Since I travel for work, I also found that restaurants have milk & eggs hidden in all sorts of food and then there always seem to be product that would have undeclared dairy and the like. At this point it seemed that every few months I was back at the doctors office getting tests and different prescription. Then the unexpected happened, because we had tried for five year and had given up. I was pregnant with my third child. The medication I was taking had a warning, so I stopped taking it immediately. Problem was soon as I would stop taking it I would become sick again. Part of my first questions to the OB/GYN was what medications were safety to take for this condition during pregnancy. None. OMG, so what do I do? No real answers. Started doing lots of research online. Found some articles saying that a vegan diet could eliminate my most of my symptoms. How hard could it be? It only meant eliminating fish & chicken from my diet. Then came the concern of getting enough protein for the baby. Made several calls to my insurance to request that they approve a visit with nutritionist. Even being pregnant & with my other medical condition I didn’t qualify. I was determined not to cave this time. Back to the Internet for more research. I was able to get through the pregnancy on vegan diet and no medication without becoming sick again. Then I was breastfeeding so I continued on. After that I realized that I did not want to be on prescription medicine the rest of my life for some thing that I could easily control with this type of diet. Which is ironic since that is the industry I’m in, but I digress. I have now been following a vegan diet for the last 3 years or so. Finally starting to feel like I did before I started to get seriously sick.

Most of this change was initially around what I ate, now I have slowly started to look at all the other aspects of my life. Surprisingly the hardest things for me to give up have been honey & leather shoes. I have been working on this, and have eliminated the honey. Still working on the shoes, but it has been at least six months since I purchased a pair of leather shoes. Almost there!