Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Carnival of Cages is being hosted over at shrub by Ariel and the theme is passion. I started off looking at the description and thought about activist groups, I'm afraid I'm not passionate about them, well not in a positive way.

After 4ish years of being a vegan, I'm still unsure about all of the animal rights activist groups I've have had contact with.

I know for certain that I'm not a fan of groups such as PETA simply because they give vegans, vegetarians and animal rights activists a bad name and they clash with my other believes/values particularly feminism. I don't think the way to 'sell' animal rights or veg*nism is through explicit pictures of women. I do understand that is the way they work, they rarely pay for advertising because they are so controversial that they don't have to. I've also spoken to PETA member who told me that the salad guys didn't even get half the attention that the salad ladies did, hence the focus on half naked women. Still I can't help thinking there has got to a better way.

There are others, that take the law into their own hands, again not a fan.

Which leave me with what group exactly?

I don't know any!

Perhaps the only group is food not bombs and it's not an animal rights organisation. It does help animal rights though and the homeless since it feeds the homeless vegan food. If you want to volunteer let me know and I'll pass on their info for the melbourne one.

In the meantime I try to lead by example and try to spread the word through food. The one thing I am truly passionate about! Before anything else I think people need to know that vegans don't live on lettuce leaves (which I can't stand for the record even with salad dressing). I never preach about animals rights instead I wait for the questions to come to me and sometimes they come in a positive way and others in a not so negative way.

People also say 'but vegan that's so limiting isn't it?' And the crazy thing that no-one except maybe other veg*ns understand is it actually has the opposite effect. Yes you stop eating different things, but you also start exploring different foods that many omnis never would think of trying. Within the vegan world I'm open to try just about everything at least once. And so I get the pleasure of trying and enjoying food from different cultures such as red bean soup and turnip cake (HK-Chinese), falafel (everyone seems to claim this one: Turkish, Lebanese and even Greek), dhal and so many of the great vegetable and bean curries (Indian), refried beans and black beans (Mexican), tempeh (Indonesian), tofutti cuties (Jewish-ok pushing it a little there), miso and okonomiyaki(Japanese)and so much more.

Not even that but there is something else. Like a lot of people I fell for the whole lets put a lot of dairy, cheese in particular in everything. It's not until you take it out that you start to really taste everything and notice how overpowering it can be. I did read somewhere that after certain time without dairy your taste buds open up more (kind of like quitting smoking), will have to get back to you about the source.

I also started exploring different fruits after I turned vegan: persimmon (sp?), durian (still unsure about it by the way) figs, lychees, and starfruit.

The other thing that changed was the way I see food. I'm much more aware of nutrition and the power of healing foods (you know ginger tea great for sore throats, miso for when you have a cold etc). I no longer see food as something to shovel down on the way to somewhere. I now look at it and think yes it tastes ok but it does nothing to fuel my body or my mind. No vitamins, no fibre, just pure crap. When I see people eat real junk (aka McDonald's) I feel a little sad thinking: what a waste of time, resources, good taste buds and perfectly good health. The other thing I don't get is how people just ignore the fact they need to eat vegetables and fruit. Almost everyone I know doesn't eat the required minimum of two pieces of fruit a day. And don't even get me started on the whole meat and 3 veg that I was bought up on.

Speaking of the importance of food and health. The strangest thing happened after a few months of being vegan I suddenly felt a lot of clarity about everything, the interconnectedness of everything (animal rights, environment, women's rights, peace and more),I even had clarity about how the current relationship I was in at the time was not suitable, yes I know i'm starting to sound like a hippy or maybe a little crazy, but it was truly a beautiful feeling.

Yes food is my biggest passion and is very much connected to my veganism.


cristy said...

Perfect description Kristy.

I've been a vegan for over 12 years now and was a vegetarian for almost 10 years prior to that and I think that you have perfectly described the reasons that I am so happy about that choice.

Lately Paul and I have been moving more towards ecotarianism - i.e. asking ourselves "how does this food impact on the environment and what ethical issues does it raise for us?"

It means that we now buy only fair trade coffee and chocolate, that we try to buy food that was grown locally, and that is unpackaged, and that we avoid products from corporations whose practices we believe to be ethically questionable. We don't always make the perfect choices, but to us the important thing is that we attempt to make our values a priority when choosing what we purchase and eat.

To me that fits into a more wholistic approach to eating and lifestyle choices and also feels less rigid.

I know that some people who adopt an ecotarian approach to eating have chosen to start eating meat or other animal products when they are produced organically and free range. That approach doesn't suit me, however, because if I can be so healthy without eating animal products, then I don't feel comfortable with them being farmed and killed for me.

kristy said...

Mr T and I have a relatively similar approach. However when there is a choice over locally grown or fair trade. We choose fair trade such as our fav chocolate: green and blacks!

Mr T is also going through a strick organic only fruit thing which isn't as expensive as we initially thought.