Optimistic Vegan

Bold Native

Hello world!

It’s been a while. I am here, at the Let Live Conference and I’m really excited to have the opportunity to be around so many like-minded people. This conference (which I’ve never been to!) works to give animal rights advocates the skills to become animal activists. It’s this weekend, Saturday and Sunday but I got confused and thought it started tomorrow, (oops!) so we’re a day early.

However, I wouldn’t have had the unique opportunity to see the film, Bold Native. This is a movie (not a documentary) about an animal liberator, Charlie, and what lengths he goes to, and what dangerous situations he puts himself in to give animals a better home. It describes the different ideas floating around the animal rights community, and the different kinds of people that commit themselves.

It was a very refreshing film, and honestly quite terrifying. While looking through the agenda for this conference there are many speakers prepared to talk about security and how to avoid jail time; all of which I passed for other, safer talks. This movie cemented the unnecessary dangers that animal liberators go through, and the real threat that is jail time. For saving cramped chickens and fearful calves, (and for destroying factory farming property) Charlie is faced with a life sentence. (It’s also easier to feel sympathetic towards Charlie as he is quite attractive! Ha.)

I’m so glad we got here a day early and that we were able to see this film in a theatre. I didn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed for crying—instead I felt comforted by my neighbors who are the most active animal advocates I’ve ever met. At the end of the film the applause was unanimous and lasted for quite a while—no one wanted it to end. In that moment there was an unspoken feeling of gratitude for bringing us all together and reopening these ideas but also a feeling of sadness for the reason that we all had to come.

This conference is one of the stops on the tour of Bold Native, and because of this the directors, one of the producers and a couple of the actors came along with it. This secured the togetherness of the crowd, of the “choir.” (Not to mention how cool it was to see Charlie—Joaquin Pastor—in real life! AH!)

The next stop of Bold Native happens to be in Seattle, as part of the Northwest Film Forum, so you should all go and see it. (And maybe Joaquin will be there)

ALSO. You should vote for Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s video to be put on Oprah’s network!



Losing Weight
June 7, 2010, 8:32 pm
Filed under: Food, Lifestyle, Nutrition | Tags: , ,

Losing weight is usually perceived as a good thing, but when associated with veganism, it often has a negative connotation. Let’s break it down.

Meat has a lot of calories, saturated fat and cholesterol. It’s designed to store calories (so that the animal can use them later, just like us!). It’s very easy to gain weight with such high volumes of fat and calories. (Besides the losing weight issue, this also makes for higher heart disease rates, diabetes, strokes, etc.)

On the other hand, vegetables are low in fat and calories, high in fiber and complex carbs, with NO cholesterol (only found in animal products). As long as you eat a balanced diet (variety of fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, etc.) you will get all of the necessary nutrients while skipping out on the high fat and calories.

While this all sounds dandy, many people actually complain about losing weight, or always being hungry or feeling faint, etc. The best solution I have for this problem is to…eat. If you’re hungry, you should eat, right? If you’re eating lettuce for every meal, (you’re not going to get all the nutrients for one) you won’t be filling yourself up! If it really bothers you that you have to eat more (oh good lord!) then you could eat foods with more fat-avocados (YUM) or nuts for example.

My art teacher recently told me that her son stopped being vegan because he was losing weight. I love how society tries and tries diet after diet to lose weight, then complains about a vegan one…

There are what are called “junkfood vegans” (or vegetarians). These are the ones that eat bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or pasta. Or oreos (yes, they are vegan!) YOU MUST EAT VEGGIES. If you eat an entirely carb diet, you may even gain weight. The rule of thumb is to eat everything in moderation. A variety of foods that allow you to get all of your nutrients.

On a side note, it’s really easy to slip into the “junkfood vegan” category. Healthy meals take more time and forethought, but it is worth it in the end. Plan ahead!

Happy eating!

Vegetarian Pets
June 1, 2010, 9:34 pm
Filed under: Animal Rights, Food, Lifestyle | Tags: , , ,

Thank you to Michael for providing the topic for today’s blog! We had a lovely conversation today, which led to another conversation with my art teacher 🙂

If you’re vegetarian, what do you feed your pets?

As of now, our cats and dogs eat Costco brand food, snakes eat frozen mice/rats, tarantulas, turtle and scorpions eat crickets, and cockroaches eat fruit and veggies (look at those vegans!)

As you may or may not know, dogs are omnivores and cats are carnivores. I’ve read that it is possible for a dog to survive on a veggie-based diet (in dog food, there are veggies as well!) but cats are carnivores and need their meat. My idol, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau wrote a lovely blog entry using her personal experience for basis, that answered this question. After health issues with a 100% vegetarian diet, her cats now eat a meat-based diet. She supports a meat-based diet for cats, as they are carnivores and need the nutrients to survive.

This is a tricky subject for me, because I think it comes down to which animals we want to live. Let’s face it-in the wild cats do not eat beef or even chicken-they eat rodents and birds they can catch. We kill our cows and chickens and fish to feed our kitties, making the choice that cats deserve life more than they. I wouldn’t be able to deprive Baby Nigel of his nutrients for another’s life, but it is still an ethical problem that I have to consider.

While talking with my art teacher, she suggested that if I didn’t want to kill other animals to feed my pets that I keep herbivores so that it wouldn’t be an issue. DSCF7282While I think this is a lovely alternative (and fully plan on becoming friends with cows) it’s hard for me to think of another Baby Nigel without a home. Adopt a homeless cat or an herbivore?

All in all, cats are carnivores that need to eat meat to thrive. If you want to try a vegetarian diet for your cats, speak with your vet, but besides the fact that it seems to be (not much research has been done) detrimental to their health, it’s a choice you are making for your pet. While your kitty cannot speak, you must make the choice for them, but you should be making the choice in their best interests. There are more “humane” pet foods, such as those that don’t test on animals or contain nasty parts of the original animal, which is something to look for when shopping for kitty food.

Best wishes to you and your pets!