The whole vegan thing...

I picked up a bunch of vegan books over Christmas thinking it would simply help me get out of some of my vegetarian cooking ruts. But instead I found myself having to think about things I’d rather not.

Health considerations aside, I’m actually wrestling with ethical ones.

Mentally, I’ve always drawn a line between pets and livestock. But in living with dogs and sugar gliders and in feeding the birds, my perspective has changed. Our gliders actually love us. Lucky gets scared (storms) and Casey feels proud when John tells him what a fine dog he is. Toby…well Toby is pretty self-centered, but he does love to be near us and likes to play the game where we try to grab his toes. This isn’t us humanizing our pets. This is emotion and interaction they generate.

So what about other types of animals?

At the vegan restaurant a few weeks ago, Lynette and John had a conversation about the dehorning of cows and the castrating of goats. Please understand that I became vegetarian because of heath concerns…not over animal rights, but, what if those animals are closer to my pets in their experience of pain and emotion than I want to think about?

One of the books I picked up was Vegan Freak by Bob and Jenna Torres. I grabbed it to learn how to eat better when I travel, but instead it left me with knowledge that now I have to make a decision on.

I remember reading about Marie Antoinette in high school and thinking I could never be that ignorant about what it took to provide her lifestyle. But I’m sad to say, I’m there. I don’t think about the industry that provided me with my leather coat or the suffering of the animal that was raised to produce the product. I don’t think about the working conditions of the person whose hands made the shirt I’m wearing. I go to the store. I put stuff in my cart. I take it home and use it.

I always thought conscious-living was for hippy-dippy types and left-wing activists, but what if conscious-living is actually for me?

Going vegan can’t be easy. Animal products are in almost everything I use from cosmetics to shoes. Where would I even start? And what about John and Bethany? Would they be up for this? If they aren’t, could I do it without them?

(Thanks, Bob and Jenna.)

5 comments

Lynette said...

Genesis 1:29-30
And I paraphrase here; God said "I give you every plant and beast of the earth for food."

Cathy H said...

Aw....c'mon. I grew up in church with you. You and I both know that is NOT what it says!!!

Actually, for those who didn't sit through copious amounts of Bible training like Lynette and I did, God gives only plants for food (Gen 1:20) until after the flood (Gen 9:3).

And some people have noticed that the eating of meat corresponds with a greatly shortened lifespan.

Wezie said...

Another great book is "Vegan with a Vengeance" - the author also has some videos online that you can watch. The recipes are great! My husband and I were vegearians for a few years before we had kids - mainly for health reasons - but when I got pregnant, my mom insisted on feeding me meat because she was sure that my baby would be unhealthy if I didn't eat it at least once a week. Gradually, we started eating meat again. 2 yrs ago, my daughter (the one I was pregnant with when I feel off the wagon) decided to go vegetarian after reading about the healh benefits AND visiting the PETA website. She has tried going vegan a few times, and I try to help her as much as I can, but it's really hard. It usually lasts for a couple of weeks and then she has an overwhelming desire for cheese! I am glad she is so aware and socially conscious at such a young age - she certainly has changed the way I think about things. 3 of our 5 family members still eat meat, but the majority of our meals are vegetarian. Hopefully we are all reaping the health benefits.

Cathy H said...

Good to know about "Vegan With A Vengeance." It was one of the titles in the stack I ordered, but I haven't read it yet. We've been cooking a lot out of "La Dolce Vegan."

Jason McKelvey said...

My previous pastor's mother used to spread lard onto a piece of bread and eat it for lunch and she lived a spry 92 healthy years. Tomorrow, a 37 year old vegan that runs 2 miles a day will drop dead from a heart attach. Life is unpredictable, and for all the studies that claim meat is bad, an equalizing number of studies say it's good. Sometimes it's more about cause than cuisine, and although I agree that animals should be treated humanely, God did require the sacrifice of animals from the very beginning of the 1st covenant. And, the priest was required to eat the meat (all of it). God also made the first clothes out of "skins". So, Biblically, there nothing immoral about using animals for food or clothing. Christians should never feel guilted out of eating meat. There's just no Biblical precedence; it's an unneeded distraction from life. If you are convinced you will live 2 years longer by never eating meat again, I would feel better about that decision. I just think that if we are going to take up causes for the sole purpose of protecting and liberating a living organism, it should be a human we fight for, like an unborn child or 12-year-old prostitutes in Taiwan, not a cow. Man, all this writing is making me hungry. Lard sandwich anyone? Ok, I couldn't do that. Still love all my veggies out there (you rock Cathy), but please, especially my Christian siblings, be free. (give that some thought... be free), Rusty Shackleford

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