Welcome to Nature Maven's Healthy Eating Healthy Planet Blog

Welcome! If you're a vegan, you'll find support and suggestions you may be able to use here. If you're a vegetarian as I was when I started this blog in June 2008, reading my archived posts may be of interest to you. If you haven't gotten here already, I hope you'll consider trying the vegan way of life, too.

As I try new recipes, learn to eat in restaurants, entertain non-veg friends and make the changes necessary to bring my life into greater harmony with the planet, I share what I learn. And little joys and other thoughts get thrown into the mix here, too.

In March 2009 after starting to read The Engine 2 Diet by vegan firefighter Rip Esselstyn, I became fully vegan, to the best of my knowledge and ability, and I post entries here as I live and learn in this lifestyle. It's definitely a process of experience and discovery.

Please check out the Vegan News Headlines supplied by Google News Reader down on the right, and see my Blogroll for just a few of the choice blogs and websites I've found useful.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Activism and Being a Vegetarian

On June 11, 2008 I stopped eating meat.

Now I also abstain from fish and most eggs and dairy. After I posted a diary on Daily Kos on June 22 to update my progress on this vegetarian journey, I was referred by another vegetarian to the PETA website where I signed up for a free vegetarian starter kit. It hasn't yet arrived, but their emails have. Today they asked me to email the Smithfield ham people because of some absolutely terrible things some of their contract farmers do to the pigs and piglets they raise. I followed their link. There was an undercover video, and I have learned enough from seeing others to become a vegetarian, but I also know I don't need to be traumatized to change for the better, so I relied on their graphic decription of this cruelty to move me toward taking the action they asked:
...to urge Smithfield Foods to demand that Murphy Family Ventures fire all the workers responsible for this cruelty and work with PETA to enact meaningful animal welfare reforms. Also, tell Smithfield that while it's good that it has promised to phase out the use of gestation crates at its own farms, the company needs to make the transition faster and require independent suppliers to phase out these cruel devices too.

I sent the requested email, and I'm very glad I did. I told my spouse a little about this action I'd just taken, and he stands where I stood for years: I know terrible things happen, but what can I do about it? I replied that I learned today from PETA that my becoming a vegetarian, just me, saves the lives of approximately 100 animals (meat and poultry) a year. That is significant!

And so here I am in my 4th week of vegetarian, nearly vegan, eating, and I am thriving. Okay, I am still trying to stick to a decent amount of calories and not over-carb, but I am doing it. This morning we had breakfast on the road, and I had 2 pecan pancakes and a half a bowl of oatmeal with banana slices and a little milk. I was aiming to enjoy the pancakes without ending up in a low-sugar crash hours later. I think the oatmeal and milk helped mitigate the crash, but eventually it came. About 3 hours later I started getting the low-sugar shakes. I ate a slice of veggie cheese and a granola bar with a little natural peanut butter on it. I'm good to go now, even 4 hours later. Next time I have pancakes out, perhaps I'll have scrambled eggs or Eggbeaters as a side. I want to avoid dairy, but I also have to make sure I get what my body needs.

Tonight we have reservations for dinner and I already spoke to the chef about my dietary needs. He offered to make a pasta special that calls for chicken and just leave out the meat. "I'll adjust the price, too," he assured me. There was a Linguine with Marinara on the menu too.

It's a process. Definitely a process, where the byword is "Progress not Perfection". I think I am actually glad there are animal activists. I am not trying to be one, but I guess perhaps I am.

UPDATE: Awful dinner, overcooked pasta and no more in the kitchen to be had, so I had steamed veggies. Okay. I crossposted this on DKos and got lots of great comments, some challenging and some not so great, but all food for thought. Check it out! One commenter had extensive restaurant experience and said that special orders and substitutions, while waitstaff hasten to agree for their tips, put burdens on the kitchen and they often don't share in the tips.

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