Road to Veganism – New Hampshire to Hawaii and All in Between…

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People are quick to accuse vegans and vegetarians of having a superior attitude. There is a certain stereotype that exists, which paints vegans and vegetarians as being arrogantly passionate, judgmental, and self-righteous. It is an unfair representation and must be emphasized as such, for it breeds misinformation and resistance, thereby making meat and dairy consumers less apt to simply consider a different diet and lifestyle option. The truth of the matter is that meat and dairy consumers are equally, if not more, judgmental and adamant that their view is the correct one. This is what I came to discover whenever mentioning to my family and friends my thoughts to transition into becoming a vegan.

I was met with varying reactions, almost all of them negative in nature. Although primarily based out of concern and worry for my health, there was little support to be received. Ranging from lectures, debate, and doubts that I could go through with it. Complete with shaking heads, eye rolls, and sighs thrown in or at the very least, an eyebrow raise with a polite, pessimistic sentiment. A far cry from the open mind, acceptance, and respect the very same people claimed vegans and vegetarians lacked. The pendulum most certainly swings both ways.

I believe the image of the health-conscience, passionate vegan and vegetarian intimidates people in a particular way, which in turn may deter them from choosing that kind of lifestyle. From my own experience, the common thought that would cross my mind is that a vegan/vegetarian is surely going to tell me everything that I’m doing wrong and shame me and judge me for what I eat.   And within that mind- frame, produced avoidance. People don’t want to be preached at or chided. They worry about the guilt that might ensue after a conversation. They dread appearing foolish, clueless, and ignorant. They simply don’t want to know the dirty details, rather being blissfully unaware of, quite literally, “how the sausage gets made”. Most people simply fear the unfamiliar and unknown.

It is important to recognize that people regard food in vastly different ways. It can be a taste-oriented comfort, a delicious and creative art, substances that your spouse or parent prepares and selects that’s placed in front of you, nutrients to feed your body-is-a-temple mantra, to mere fuel for the body and everything in between. Food can be savored slowly or devoured quickly, with differing degrees of apathy and distraction or deep purpose and intention. Diet is closely interwoven with lifestyle and becomes a sensitive topic for some, connecting on a deep, personal level, who they are and possibly sparking body or self-image issues. Having an open mind, tolerance of others’ opinions, and kind-hearted discussion and knowledge to offer is key to breaking this paradigm of casting vegans and vegetarians in this negative light. Not to say that the stereotype is vegans and vegetarians fault to fix, but it’s about time that reputation was proven false with respectful, calm debate on both sides of the aisle.

Thus, in order to stimulate knowledge and motivation in others, in the process of building to expand veganism and vegetarianism, I believe what would help in an impactful way, is for vegans and vegetarians to utilize a tactful approach when discussing diet and health to others. Personally, I was so relieved and thankful for my boyfriend’s fact-based and understanding method surrounding the subject with zero pressure and shaming involved. I’m so appreciative now, as well, for his advice and sympathy as I’m going through strong meat and dairy cravings presently.        I know I would have been more reluctant to tackle this challenge and eventually make the decision to become vegan, if he hadn’t created such a kind and straightforward atmosphere. I understand the frustration vegans and vegetarians must feel about the sluggish pace of worldwide awareness and change, as well as the prejudice, exclusion, and judgment that they must face at times. The zeal you possess for your healthy vegan/vegetarian lifestyle is something you should be proud of and never apologize for. My advice, as a very recent converter to veganism, is to help educate others with compassion and tact if you wish to inspire and meaningfully change minds.

Becoming Vegan – From New Hampshire to Hawaii

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Becoming Vegan

 

When I initially decided to transition into becoming a vegan, I don’t think I was fully aware of the magnitude of it. Having only followed a vegan diet for a little over a week now, I’m still nowhere near the point of seeing the deep impact it will have on my life and all the changes that will occur in my body and mind alike. It isn’t simply cutting out meat and dairy, it’s a whole new way of thinking, it’s a lifestyle you follow.

I went through different stages of thinking about the change to veganism. The impending move to live with a very health conscience, wise, and convincing boyfriend whom happened to be an excellent cook helped tremendously. It seemed only logical and convenient that I would adopt veganism so we could eat the same meals, have similar groceries. Why not? All I had to do was cut out meat and dairy… it seemed easy enough. I feared it seemed easy enough because perhaps I was looking at it as another somewhat short-term diet, with which I had tried eating better in the past and had never lasted too long with my easily breakable will power. This change was going to be forever and I didn’t know if I could do it anymore. Maybe I could cheat a little here and there I thought.

Then came watching a few videos that illuminated the harsh realities of the cruelty to animals all in the process of getting meat and dairy onto our plates. I felt like everything I had thought and known was completely false. I was aware of the harsh conditions that baby cows endured before becoming veal. From the youngest time I could remember, walking the grocery store aisles with my mom, I can still hear her saying, “No, not that steak, that’s veal, a baby cow that they treat badly. We don’t eat veal.” And so it had been and I hadn’t ever eaten veal and assumed veal was the “bad meat” that only insensitive jerks ate and all other meat was okay. The rest of the animals lived long, happy lives with large fields to roam with farmers who loved them and when they were very old and it was there time, they would humanely be killed with a tear in the farmer’s eye.

 

That’s how I had pictured it all my life.

 

How could I possibly be so naïve? I felt like an awful human being for having any part in it. I wasn’t the one butchering, but I was the one consuming, which is ultimately the reason we all these innocent animals were being killed. Watching those helpless animals squeal and cry before getting slaughtered was indescribably heartbreaking and I couldn’t bare the thought of all these creatures dying solely for my selfish consumption. What a waste it all was. A living creature with sensitivities, feelings, some sort of thoughts, a life created, just to be destroyed a short time later. You could see the cruelty in the farmers’ eyes and how they kicked and harmed the animals, like inanimate objects, not living creatures. It was a nightmare. I didn’t want a single piece of meat to pass through my lips ever again.

 

The next night, my family had pork chops for dinner. I looked down at my plate and probably for the first time really thought about what I was eating. It had always just been a pork chop, perfectly normal thing to eat and tasty to most of society’s eyes, but I was about to be eating a dead pig.  A creature who I had recently watched been helplessly crying and squealing while hanging by its legs before being sliced to death. There was no getting around that now. I looked at my dog who was eagerly at my side begging for table scraps, and thinking what a mind she has. She outsmarts me to get her way, has her own motives, gets jealous, feels empathy, is in tune with humans and other animals’ emotions, curious, has all these complex feeling and emotions and a different bark and sound to try to communicate everything.

The fact that my brothers’ had told me swirling in my head, that pigs are actually smarter than domestic dogs. Guilt flooded over me. How could I treat this creature, this dog of mine, not only as a pet, but like a child, while consuming the other.  It didn’t seem right or fair in the least bit. I thought about trying to go back to the labels, “pork chop….. pork chop….” sweep it under the rug, but there was no unseeing or forgetting that cruelty.  At least not tonight I thought.  I only ate the potatoes and vegetables on my plate and made some excuse about not being hungry for the pork chop.

Then I had a thought some time after, after a few days of abstaining from meat, what if that was just a handful of factory farms, far away from my New Hampshire grocery stores. What if the picture in my head of happy, long-living farm animals was still accurate for the most part? I had seen the small, quaint farms of my town and surrounding towns with some farmers I even knew personally. They would never treat their animals like the farmers’ in the videos. They kissed their animals, they even made their facebook profile pictures be ones with their animals.  They took pride and great care in their hard work and were kind natured people.  Surely, this is how it was, for the most part, with a few horrid outliers.  The country, society, could not just stand by and let this kind of cruelty happen.

 

Mentioning this prompted another discussion and I was again reminded of my complete ignorance. The little farms of New Hampshire were the ones who were the exception. The little farms cannot possibly produce the huge unrelenting quantities of meat and dairy demanded throughout our country.  Factory farms are the easiest and fastest way, albeit the cruelest and most harmful, to meet that demand, and just like with any aspect of life, America has seemingly focused more about the fastest, cheapest way to an end product, rather than the care, effort, and process of getting to that end product.

 

Any means necessary kind of approach, even if it’s dirty, cruel, or harmful. And as Americans, we’ve seemed to have a hard time with change and awareness and sometimes are all too likely to tend to stay blissfully ignorant.

 

It was unsurprising in a way.  In another moment however I was shocked, stunned.  I couldn’t believe my ignorance.  It was a mix of emotions.  I thought of all the delicious foods I had eaten that had meat in it and I found myself trying to come up with excuses to cling to, but nothing really came to mind.  Perhaps I wanted to believe that happy farm life picture in my head and should’ve known better.  At the same time it’s difficult to shake that happy picture in your head that you’ve grown up with all these years and that no one has really questioned, let alone penetrated, the truth of it.

Maybe it was where I grew up, the hearty, meat and seafood loving New England.

 

Maybe it was my family, the mindset that you follow and obey your parents and eat what’s in front of you and the guilt that ensues if you waste food.

 

Maybe it was my innocent trust in humanity and how the world worked.  The happy picture was not completely shattered, probably because I didn’t want to fully accept the truth.  But I was definitely looking at things in a whole new way.  There was a lot of guilt in enjoying meat and dairy.  It was going to be difficult still to cut them out completely.  I was perhaps just as bad as the cruel factory farmer.

 

Your LIFE, make it EASY…

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Perhaps the easiest way to attract love into your life, the kind of love you think you are looking for, after all, if you haven’t found it, perhaps what you are looking for isn’t what you need, at any rate, here’s my thought that may help you…

Rather than focus on what you want in a partner, focus on being what that partner would want.

Be the advertisement that attracts that kind of person. Be the billboard, the lighthouse.

Don’t focus on them, focus on you being what that person would want. If you want an athletic hot partner, at the very least be a person who is trying to be athletic and work on your esteem until you can look in the mirror and SEE a hot person.

You want a partner to love you, be the kind of partner that can easily attract love because you allow yourself to not only be loving, but to accept love as well. I would wager many of you get defensive and confused and even scared when love comes knocking at your door.

Be that which you wish to receive and so shall it be.

I focused on love here as that is what many of us today are focused on.  In fact, much of what we do on a day to day basis seems to be centered, indirectly around either attracting, or keeping love.

Whatever it is you want, you truly must feel it in you for it to be real.

This isn’t a pep talk, it isn’t mystical or religious, it simply IS. And it happens to be backed up by science, mysticism, religion and of course, common sense and LOGIC.

Now go forth and be happy.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson – We Stopped Dreaming…

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What will you do for your future, for the future of your friends and family, or do you even care, are you so caught up in the day to day that you have forgotten to live, and in forgetting to live, you have forgotten things to live FOR….?

I hope this helps you remember….

 

The rest of the story, where Dr. Tyson makes a further case for most of the acts/inventions and changes that take care of our planet came from the 1970 photo of the earth from the moon….

“We went to the moon and we discovered EARTH.”

Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Some focus for Lovin =]

Love Ninjas!

There seems to be an ever burgeoning rise in those searching for love, professing their need for it, and generally being open to any aspect of it.  When we look around the planet, we see a vast multitude of confusion surrounding it and in the next few articles, we will seek to shed some light on it… Why am I saying we, Christ, its like I’m fragmenting in my mind or something, its only me here and now I’m speaking in some odd third person multiple narrative… Sorry, I swear the info is good even if I am on my way out…  Oh boy…  enjoy!

What does love mean for you…

What does it mean for me may be a better way to start this missive, a short diatribe which will, in my highest of hopes, perhaps shed some light on why things aren’t going well for you, or, better, how they can go better, assuming of course my hubris isn’t just shining brightly and Im prattling on about things I know nothing about.

Two sayings will help you on your road to love that apply in some form or another to all of us and they are:

  1. “You can’t ride two horses at the same time.”

 

This speaks to the obvious. If you are truly seeking love, you do not want to spread your focus to thin, and when it comes to love, more than one is to thin. That’s just how it is. I understand that there are those amongst us who feel polyamory (being in loving relationships to include physical with more than one partner) is the way to go. If you feel that way, do give it a try and be prepared for what follows as every last person whom I have known to engage in this has come away having learned a hard lesson.

There are those who feel that it is best to “spread one’s bets”. While this may work for the roulette wheel in Vegas, once you begin to view love as a gamble or something to be won, you have already strayed far enough from the path that your results will reflect your disillusionment. Love is not a game to be one, to be conquered to be on the “winning side” of, it is none of those things and to think of it as such may be the root cause of why things aren’t going as they could be going.

If the focus for you is love, then you MUST keep that focus and use your feelings as a guide to knowing whether or not you are on the right path with the person you have chosen to walk down the path with. If you spread your bets so to speak, you will be unable to properly focus your attention and will miss out on all the important details that make love work, the little things. Its all in the little things, it always has been and always will be. As it is with your daily life, so shall it be with your love.

All “BIG PROBLEMS” are nothing more than a mountain of small problems. All “GREAT SUCCESSES” are nothing but a pile of smaller ones. Love is the greatest success you will have as a human being. I say this as a person who has seen, read, traveled and basically taken in enough of the world to know that love seems to be what everyone is either searching for, or shying away from, which is just another form of searching.

Even Hitler was married. The greatest force the Yogi’s sitting on the mountain tops must overcome is the love of another human, there can be no stronger attachment than the complete admiration and adoration of another, and no better form than that of a loved one.

Look at “fame”, “power”, “prestige”, all of these things, which are usually coupled with financial success, are forms of seeking admiration. I say this just to bring attention to the fact that what many people view as one thing may truly be boiled down to simply seeking one very solid loving connection. I will leave that research to you.

Knowing this, we turn to the Beatles – Money Cant Buy Me Love. So while these are nice divestitures of your time and energy, seeking wealth and fame in lieu of love, eventually Love will come back to be at the forefront of your existence as some of the messiest relationships are had by those in “power” or with Great “wealth”.

In summation, we must take a clear and direct route to Love, IF THAT BE OUR AIM> If love is secondary, then keep it there and focus on what you will as a primary aim. If, however, LOVE is your primary goal in life, than life a life that reflects that, Let everything come in second and leave love to be the first position in your daily activities. Be loving to everyone and everything that comes your way, truly. If youtry to just show love to the person you think will be the one, you will never find the one as love doesn’t work that way. You see, it isn’t that you must impress the one you want, you must be the TYPE OF PERSON who will be impressive to the type of person you wish to attract as your love. Does this make sense?

If you are a slovenly, rude, misogynistic male and you wish to have a high class woman who has respect for herself, you can focus on the high class woman until you are blue in the face and red in the ears and you will NEVER achieve your dream.

Why, easy, why would a high class woman want to spend time with a guy who is a jerk and doesn’t take care of himself? How you are describes to a great degree how you will treat the person you choose to love, for if you do not love yourself, you will not be able to love another. This isn’t Neil DeGrasse Tyson spewing Astrophysics, this just is, this is Spock speaking simple logic.

So be the kind of person you want to attract into your life. Be honest and open with yourself and then this will spill forth to others. What you are you will attract. You must be the perfect advertisement for the love you wish to find.

This is not riding two horses. Your focus must be crystal clear with a laser like focus. If you want love, you must have it be the primary horse. If you want a specific type of person, you must only go for that type of person, which must be the horse, and you MUST BE THAT AS WELL.

 

  1. “The Space for that which you truly want is filled by what you settle for.”

This will come off as perhaps spiritual or “new agey”, or perhaps it will come off as Quantum Physics as this, our most advanced field of science now agrees with the mystics of old. So, whatever we want to call it or view it as, it is clear that if we want any specific thing, we must keep that space open.

I speak in this case to Love, and in truth this idea of settling applies to all aspects of life. How much better is a meal if it is what you truly wanted to eat and not just something to fill your belly? This is a simple example, but I am hoping to make this abundantly clear as it is a most important point to concede if you are to have the love that you dream of.

If you have in mind a certain type of person as your partner, we know one of the many important aspects to be that you are responsible for being the type of person that whatever type person you are seeking would want. If you want a hot vegan guy who has a wicked physique, don’t be a meat eating, non working out lady who cares nothing for her physique. This shouldn’t be rocket science but I feel, unfortunately, our society has become so used to getting what it wants without any hard work that we are able to delude ourselves into believing illogical summations!

If you wish to have real love in your life then you must leave the space open for it to happen. That’s just as it is, two things, we have learned in our elementary science classes, cannot occupy the same space at the same time. So if you want love, real true lasting love, it must have a place in your life. If you fill your hours and days with random sexual encounters, partners that bore you, i.e., if you seem to be unwilling or even scared to simply be alone, finding love will be most difficult. Lovers don’t like players, be they players because they have something to prove to the world, “Look at me, I get all kinds of action”, nor do lovers like those who aren’t in love with themselves, people unable to or unwilling to spend time alone. If you cannot spend time alone, how will you ever be able to spend time with a loved one, especially when your inability to be alone USUALLY means that you are lacking in self love.

You must do whatever it takes to heal the wounds of time in your psyche and heart, until you do, there is no amount of love that will ever heal it for you. This is your practice, it is YOU who must make the space for love appealing to the other. ONLY YOU CAN DO THIS. There is no one and nothing else that is able to do it for you.

That’s a fact. Im sorry if its not a fact you want to hear, that doesn’t change the fact of the matter=]

When you find yourself ready for love, use these two sayings as a basis for your actions, and possibly, just maybe, you will get what you seek, if you do not change your behavior, then, as the rolling stones are so find of reminding us, “You cant always get what you want, but if you try real hard, you just might find, you’ll get what you NEED”.

Either show the Universe you are ready, or the universe will continue to show you what you need to do to be ready.

 

Aloha <3