Being Blind to the Obvious

The last few weeks have been hectic for me and the holiday weekend put an interesting twist on my already wacky schedule. So, I admittedly wasn’t 100% present for a lot of that time.

Case in point, I have been looking for my nail file for 2 days (stay with me here, there is a relevant point to this!). I normally keep it in one place as acknowledgement and acceptance of my diminishing memory capacity, but when I looked it was nowhere to be found. It wasn’t a big deal and life went on but there was still this nagging thought in the back of my head.

So, I’m sitting at my desk today, looking at the same things I always look at (except for the Santa Claus decoration that was added over the weekend) and realized I had been staring at my nail file the entire (f-ing) time! It was right in front of my keyboard quietly waiting for me to notice it. At first, I was relieved but then I kind of freaked out. How the heck could I have NOT seen it before?

Aside from the possibility that my office fairies were pulling a fast one on me – it wouldn’t be the first time! – I obviously wasn’t paying attention to what was right in front of my face.

Then I wondered – is that what is happening with the people who don’t see the problems with factory farms, our non-sustainable food supply, GMOs, and mainstream medicine? Are they, on some level aware, but oblivious to their inability to see? Maybe.

Maybe being blind to the obvious is preferable to acknowledging reality when it is so dependent on our ability to be truly present.

What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts below, on Facebook or on Twitter.

Why is Tal Ronnen, The Conscious Cook, Vegan?

I picked up a copy of The Conscious Cook because I was getting in a culinary rut and wanted some inspiration. I had heard of Tal on various websites and because of his connection with Oprah, so I knew his cookbook would be a great resource.

In the book, I found a nice infographic about why Tal is vegan. He put it so succinctly that I felt compelled to share it.

Health
Cutting out animal products means virtually eliminating the risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, and several types of cancer. Your energy shoots up and your weight is likely to drop.

Ethics
Most of us question the morality of eating animals, and many people who feel it’s absolutely wrong do it anyway out of habit. Eating with a clear conscience – feeling good about everything you put in your mouth – lightens up your life.

Planet
Factory farming of animals consumes and pollutes insane quantities of water and demands so much feed that it threatens forests. And because greenhouse gases from animal emissions are destroying the atmosphere.

Helping Others
The grain fed to livestock could feed at least twice as many hungry people in third-world countries. Weakening the livestock industry by buying less or no meat is a step toward rejiggering resources to save lives.

And he tosses in a couple extra noteworthy quotations…

Because Albert Einstein said so: “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

Because Paul McCartney says so: “If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat. That’s the single most important thing you can do.”

Have you read Tal’s cookbook? Please share your thoughts below, on Facebook or on Twitter.

Is The Yes Men’s reBurger Idea More Ironic Than They Thought?

I recently watched The Yes Men movie (the one released in 2003 NOT The Yes Men Fix the World)  and was struck by an ironic bit of activism that was included near the end.

If you don’t know who The Yes Men are, they are Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno. They aim to raise awareness about problematic social issues in unique and very public ways.

The movie follows them as they impersonate World Trade Organization spokesmen on TV and at business conferences around the world.

Their final act of activism (in the movie) was a lecture to a group of students from The State University of New York at Plattsburgh. The students were told that they were going to hear a lecture about ways to reduce starvation in third world countries by representatives of The World Trade Organization (WTO). What they got was something entirely unexpected:

What struck me is that their idea isn’t really far from the truth.

The beef that is used to make hamburgers is ‘produced’ by feeding cows waste products like chicken excrement, toxic heavy metals, antibiotics, the flesh and bones of dead cattle and even nails and small shards of glass (source: Grist.org). As the cows excrete massive amounts of their own waste (because their food has so little nutritional value) they are forced to stand in it along with thousands of pounds of waste from other cows. That waste eventually runs off into surrounding water supplies that can eventually be used to irrigate farms that grow food for human and animal consumption. I don’t really see a difference. Do you?

If you would like to learn more about The Yes Men, please visit their website.

Have you seen The Yes Men movie? Share your thoughts on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.

Words of Wisdom from The Vegan Table

I picked up a copy of The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau at my local library the other day. Mainly because it had some wonderful pictures of vegan recipes for entertaining and they looked easy enough that I could hope that my final product might actually resemble the picture!

When I got home, sat down and had a closer look, it only took a couple of flips of the pages to be totally impressed and inspired. Not bad considering I hadn’t even made it to the Table of Contents!

Here’s the dedication that she included in her book that made me smile, think and tear up just a bit.

My hope is that we can all navigate through this world with the grace and integrity of those who most need our protection.

May we have the sense of humor and liveliness of the goats, the maternal instincts and protective nature of the hens, and the sassiness of the roosters. May we have the gentleness and strength of the cattle, the wisdom, serenity, and humility of the donkeys. May we appreciate the need for community as do the sheep and choose our companions as carefully as do the rabbits. May we have the faithfulness and commitment to family of the geese and the adaptability and affability of the ducks. May we have the intelligence, loyalty, and affection of the pigs and the inquisitiveness, sensitivity, and playfulness of the turkeys.

May we learn from the animals what we need to become better people.

Awesome. Simple. Profound. I hope it inspires you too.

If you want to learn more about this book, her other books, and ways to help animals please visit The Vegan Table website.

Have you read The Vegan Table? Share your experiences on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.

“To accept the factory farm feels inhuman.” ~ Jonathan Safran Foer

Eating Animals has been on my list for a while and now that I’ve read it, I wish I had not taken so long. But a part of me must have known it was better that I waited – until I was truly ready.

This book has shifted my world and it has been a disturbing and revelatory journey. I can feel the seeds that were planted while reading his stories, experiences and conclusions slowly growing inside this little noggin’ of mine and I’m quite terrified of what is going to come of them!

Seriously – there is some pretty heavy stuff that has been floating around in there since I finished this book!

As upsetting as it was, I am so glad that it was Jonathan who guided me through the rationalizations, philosophies and astute observations in such a way that I could finish what he had started.

My heart and stomach cannot take much – if any – of the graphic details that are so prevalent in the conversations about factory farming but somehow he was able to present it in a way that I knew it was important that I know it, not just for shock value, but as building blocks to seeing the bigger picture.

Now that I have seen that picture, and recognize that I am not behind the camera observing but participating – by my action AND inaction – I realize I must act. Inertia, complacency and neutrality are not going to cut it when you are dealing with people who see everything as a commodity – who see animals and humans as expendable.

Everything is Illuminated Mr. Foer – and it’s all your fault!

Have you read Eating Animals? What did you think of it? I would love to hear your comments on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.

Say It Ain’t So Susan Sarandon!

Is anyone else as disappointed as I am in the latest round of milk commercials that are airing on TV?

They feature Susan Sarandon (and others) suggesting that you “Pour One More” serving of milk to be healthy.

Up to this point, I have seen Susan Sarandon as a wonderful example of an independent and empowered woman who makes wise decisions. She is brave, controversial and steadfast in her commitment to making the world a better place. So I was really perplexed and pissed off at her choice to participate in this campaign.

Does she really believe that cows milk is good for her and her children?

In an added twist of disgusting tactics, they have her say that kids are more likely to drink milk if they see their Mom drinking it. So it’s not enough that the California Milk Processor Board has been shoving the Got Milk? campaign down our throats for almost the last decade, they are now asking Mothers to up the quantity!

Does anyone see the irony in asking mothers to promote a product that has to be stolen from a mama cow and her babies in order to be consumed by humans?

Before I start ranting endlessly, I want you to see this

or read the info here, here or here.

It will help you understand the TRUTH about milk.

Now I realize that Susan Sarandon doesn’t give a flying leap what I think of her and she will likely never see this post, but my hope is that it will offset some of the misinformation out there and help everyone to understand more about what this campaign and the dairy industry is really about.

Have you seen the commercial? I would love to hear your comments on the blog, Facebook or Twitter.

What is ‘The Meatrix’?

I discovered a great initiative today that I wanted to share with you – it is called The Meatrix.

It was originally launched in November 2003, with this video:

The Meatrix movies, now a series, have been translated into more than 30 languages and are one of the most successful online advocacy campaigns ever with well over 15 million viewers worldwide.

The films are humorous and creative satires that use pop culture and entertainment to educate viewers about the food they eat and where it comes from. All the films feature three superhero farm animals including Leo, the young pig who wonders if he is “the one”, Chickity, the feathered family farm defender, and Moopheus, the trench-coat-clad cow with a passion for green pastures.

The Meatrix website also features The Meatrix Interactive 360°, a tool to help people learn about factory farming, and The Eat Well Guide, an online directory of sustainable food from farms, stores and restaurants in North America.

I absolutely love what they are doing and how they are using creativity, truth and humor to relay a message that can sometimes be difficult to hear about because it is so tragic.

There are lots of way you can help support their efforts to help promote sustainable food, save family farms, and let others know about the problems with our food supply.

  • Download presentation kits to educate others through speaking events and tabling.
  • Print handouts to explain the problems with our current food system.
  • Put banners, links and graphics on your blog, website or social networking site so you can share it with your friends and family.

What do you think of The Meatrix videos? Do you think what they are doing is good / bad? I would love to hear your suggestions /comments on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.