All Vegans Are Preachy, Holier Than Thou, And Think They’re Superior.

dark angel from Flickr via Wylio
© 2007 Alosh Bennett, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

I wasn’t sure whether this post should be part of the ‘Dumb Comments Vegans Get‘ series, but seeing as how the above accusations are all in the same vein (associating vegans with religious zealotry), and all spewed forth with the same intention (to make vegans sound as off-putting as possible so no-one will be expected to have to become one), I thought I’d tackle them in a post on their own.

In any online comments thread on ethical  veganism or plant-based diets, there will always be some ‘super genius’ that will claim that vegans act ‘holier than thou.’

I’m not even sure that the people who keep parroting this know what it means. It feels like they’ve heard someone ELSE say it, and thought ‘yeah!’ without really thinking about it, and can’t wait to regurgitate it at the next opportunity.

You can also replace ‘holier than thou’ with ‘superior,’ and add to this the WELL-worn old trope ‘vegans are preachy.’

These are such lazy, hacky, put-downs. The same people that use these will also often resort to ‘…well, Hitler was a vegetarian.’ (He most categorically wasn’t – but we’ll look at that in another post!).

Obviously nobody wants to be thought of as preachy or holier than thou, and certainly not as being like Hitler.

These words and associations are so loaded, that for omnis who are scared that a vegan might remove them from their state of comfortable stasis by making them think; they are a quick and easy way for them to end a discourse by de-legitimising the concept of veganism by making it sound as repellent as possible to their audience. If the audience is just you (a vegan) then these words serve to silence you, because by nature of the fact that you are telling a truth, you will be self-conscious that you ARE embodying them, even though you’re likely not.

If the omni orator were brave enough to be truthful – they’d say something like this… ‘Shut up. If you speak any more I’ll have to think. I don’t want to think because then I’ll have to change my lifestyle – which I don’t want to/am scared to do. I don’t want to be different, I want to coast along and be part of the status quo. Therefore I’m going to project these words onto you which will a) make everybody else not want to be like you either, thereby giving me the comfort of the crowd, and b) shut you up because you won’t want to be associated with them.’

It is soooo boring to read this particular type of comment, again and again and again. Some omnis are truly unimaginative and predictable. Please note that I said SOME. I’m perfectly aware that not all are. But it is apparent that SOME omnis think all vegans are the same. Are all meat-eaters the same in anything other than their food choices? Of course not. Well, breaking news: neither are vegans.

It would be fine if it was JUST boring. We’d move on. But it’s also pretty harmful and damaging. Who wants to be thought of as preachy? Holier than thou? Superior?

 

Is there any truth to these accusations?

 

  • Vegans think they are/act like they are ‘holier than thou’

Do vegans act (or think) they are holier than anyone else?

Maybe some do, I don’t know. I can’t speak for all vegans. If a vegan goes around acting this way, then chances are it’s because they’re an asshat, not because they’re vegan.

What I DO know is this:

The ONE thing AND ONE THING ONLY that vegans are (more than non-vegans), is more informed. That is all.

Vegans have applied critical thinking to their diet and lifestyle, not just blindly accepted societal norms. They have educated themselves on the most sustainable way (for all concerned) to nourish themselves.

Does this make them holier?

Of course not. Don’t be silly. Vegans are multi-dimensional and each is informed by a million different influences, just like everybody else. A vegan can be as disconnected from God/Source/The Universe (pick what suits!) as anyone else.

Does it mean they have a higher ethical stance?

If they are vegan for ethical reasons, and not just doing it to lose weight (though I have no problem with this – it still has the same result of fewer animals being killed), then yes. You can’t really get away from this one.  In the same way that a person who doesn’t rape and murder human animals has a higher ethical stance than one who does; those who have widened their circle of empathy and compassion to non-human animals and have therefore chosen to NOT have them raped and murdered for their pleasure, have a higher ethical position than those that do.

This does NOT, however, translate to acting ‘holier than thou.’ If someone needs to label vegans as ‘holier than thou’ to make themselves feel better because they are not one, they may want to ask themselves why they feel so insecure in their current lifestyle choices.

 

  • Vegans think they are superior

Anyone who says this has completely missed the point, and has not grasped the concept of veganism. People who stop eating animals and their products for ethical reasons do so exactly because they know they are NOT superior to any sentient being.

By nature of killing and eating animals, you have to believe you are a superior being to those being eaten, so this silly comment may need to be redirected elsewhere.

 

  • Vegans are preachy

Yes, a vegan that really does go around advocating in inappropriate ways and situations could be a royal pain in the arse, but anyone speaking out on any subject who has the wrong intentions and attitude could be.

The reason the ‘p’ word gets hurled at vegans in particular, whether online or in person, is because people realise vegans are sharing a universal, undeniable truth – that going plant-based is best for animals, the planet and us. Truths are so often hidden from us, that we have learnt to be suspicious of them. And when they are exposed, it’s natural for someone to feel nervous and a little defensive at the moment they realise their life isn’t aligned with them. But, remember, vegans too had that moment of realisation. Not many people have been vegan since birth. There is no need to attack.

Assuming the vegan in question is talking (or writing) in an appropriate situation, and being compassionate and understanding to their listener(s), then to attack by using the word ‘preachy’ can only mean that, again (similar to those that use ‘holier than thou’), someone is very insecure with their lifestyle choices.

As a vegan, I feel I am often ‘preached’ to about the new deity that appears to be bacon. And If I turned on the TV, then commercial after commercial would ‘preach’ to me about the wonders of burger outlets, fried chicken joints, and sausages. But because non-human animal eating is currently the dominant paradigm, spouting the ‘p’ word would not carry the same weight as it does when used against vegans.

Whoever you are, vegan or not, not everyone will agree with your lifestyle choices. But it’s helpful to know what informs comments like these, so we don’t get held back by them. We can just deflect them and move on.

 

How To Respond To The Dumb Questions And Comments Vegans Get, Part 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you’ve been vegan as long as I have, you’ve heard it all. This may sound sad and jaded, but really it’s FANTASTIC, because it means there is no question or dumb comment that stumps me anymore. I have an answer for every single one, and I’m prepared to share some of them with you now – you’re most welcome!

If you are thinking of transitioning to a plant-based diet, or are easing in that direction, DON’T BE PUT OFF BY THIS POST!! It’s not that I, personally, am enduring dumb comments all the time – I’m really not. It HAS happened from time to time though, and you’ve just got to read any comment section following an internet article on veganism and you’ll see the full gamut of clown biscuits coming out to bleat their fear-driven, non-science based drivel (can you tell they piss me off?)

To be very clear – I have NO problem with curious people asking questions (see next point), but those who just blindly parrot and repeat myths, and/or mock, having done precisely zero research for themselves – well, I have no patience with these chump buckets.

We are currently living in a largely non-vegan world. Even people in countries whose diets, culturally, are not meat-based, are aspiring to eat more meat and dairy as they perceive this to be a more affluent, ‘western’ way, so it’s normal that there are going to be questions from those who follow the dominant carnist narrative. It should actually be encouraged – if the questions are curious and genuine.

It’s pretty easy to tell who is asking a genuine question and who is being a dumbass. If it’s face to face you can easily tell someone’s intention from their energy, and if it’s online, you can tell by their tone. The kind of question they are asking is usually the biggest clue! If they are petulantly stating ‘plants feel pain too, you know,’ it’s kinda obvious they’re just trying to push your buttons. If they’re asking you where you source your iron as they would be concerned about anaemia if they were to go vegan, then take the time and explain (or refer them to me!)

 

So here are my A’s to those dumb old Q’s:

 

Dumb question: (seeing as how we’ve already mentioned it) Don’t you know plants feel pain too?

Answer: Lordy, lord, LORD. Plants don’t have a central nervous system, so HOW can they feel pain? Also, if you are so interested in the pain of plants, then maybe you’d better go vegan straight away, because if you eat meat and dairy then MORE plants are killed for you, as not only are you eating plants yourself, but guess what they feed the animals you eat and drink secretions from? You guessed it, plants.  Save more plants today by going plant-based, oh plant-saving one.

 

DQ: Where do you get your protein?

A: From the same place that other strong animals (elephants, horses, gorillas and rhinoceroses) get theirs – from plants.

 

DQ: Where do you get your calcium?

A: Calcium is a mineral; therefore it comes from the ground. So I get mine from the same place cows get theirs, from green plants that grow in the ground (though these days most conventionally farmed dairy cows don’t graze from the ground, so their feed is supplemented with calcium). It’s far better to get your calcium first hand, than to have it after it’s been through the cow.

 

DQ: But lions and tigers eat other animals, it’s the circle of life isn’t it?

A: Awww, have you been watching your Lion King DVD again?

Circle of life for them, perhaps. For you – no. They are obligate carnivores. This means they have no choice but to eat animals. Their bodies are built for it. Their intestines are way shorter than ours, so meat can pass through their system in an appropriate amount of time without putrefying. They can run fast enough to catch their prey, and have LONG canines and claws to kill it swiftly and rip it apart. You do not. You eat the animals that are the slowest and most docile and expect others to skin and de-bone them. Lions and tigers can eat the meat fresh and raw, and can even eat slightly less than fresh meat, as they have enzymes in their stomachs that help stop them getting sick. You have to cook it and flavour it to make it safe and tasty for you to eat. And you try eating meat that’s not quite fresh and it’ll be coming out of both ends quicker than you know it. Does your mouth water when you see a dead animal in the middle of the road? Do you get hunger pangs when you see a sheep in a field? No? Then your eating habits resemble a lions to the power of ZERO.

Also – why pick on ONE thing a lion does to emulate because this suits your agenda? If you think you’re like a lion, why not go sniffing other people’s butts, as lions do with each other?

 

Dumb Comment: But vegans eat soy, and soy farming is destroying the rainforests.

A: While a lot of rainforests HAVE been razed to the ground to grow soy and other crops – you will find (with a minimal amount of research) that the vast majority of these crops are grown for livestock feed. Also plenty of vegans DON’T eat soy. In this world of plenty, soy does not have to be the staple of a nutritious vegan diet. There are lots of alternatives.

 

DC: You don’t have to be vegan. I don’t eat supermarket meat; I only eat grass-fed, poetry-read, tucked in bed animals. This is sustainable and ok.

A: For whom? The 3 reasons for going vegan are 1) for the animals 2) for health, and 3) for the planet. I’m assuming you are choosing to eat ‘happy’ meat to likewise lean towards a healthier, cleaner and more ethical diet.

The truth is that ‘happy’ meat fulfils none of these criteria. It is barely healthier – it still contains as much artery clogging saturated fat, cholesterol and hormones as mass-produced meat, so you are avoiding none of the diseases caused by these. ‘Happy’ meat is actually LESS environmentally sound, as grass-fed animals emit significantly more global warming methane than factory farmed animals. Also, a lot more land is needed to raise these animals. If everyone in the world eventually decided to eat ‘happy’ meat – there isn’t enough land on the planet to provide this! And you think it’s a more animal friendly way to farm? How? Healthy animals are still slaughtered (often in the same slaughterhouses as conventionally farmed animals) after only a quarter of their natural life-span. Free-range chickens still live in inhumane, barbaric conditions, with all male chicks being superfluous and ground up alive.

 

DC: Every vegan I’ve ever seen is pale, scrawny and weak.

A: (If I get this comment in person I just point to myself and look quizzically at the bearer of the DC, who will see clearly that I’m healthy, strong and bursting with vitality). How many vegans have you seen? I’ve been vegan twenty-five years and haven’t actually seen that many. There are plenty of meat-eaters who are pale, scrawny and weak. If someone is these things, they are not eating properly whether they’re a vegan or not. Why are you holding vegans up to a higher standard than all the weak, skinny or obese and unhealthy meat-eaters out there?

There are plenty of vegan sportspeople, athletes and bodybuilders who are achieving their best ever performances on a vegan diet.

 

DQ: But cavemen hunted animals, which means eating meat is natural.

A: Really? From which period did these particular ‘cavemen’ that you are referring to come from? Even if you mean (and you probably do) the paleolithic era, this lasted over two million years. Did every single cave dude eat the same way over that time span? Are you sure? And EVEN IF they did (which they didn’t), the very fact that they needed all those spears and arrows to kill their dinner, instead of just chasing it and ripping it apart like obligate carnivores (see DQ4), kinda shows that even if animals were occasionally a food source, it was not a natural one for them.

 

DC: My friend went vegan and she got really tired and sick. Her body just NEEDED meat. She felt fine when she went back to eating it; in fact she cried when she took her first bite of beef and felt the strength flood back into her body. (Yes, I swear I’ve read this kind of BS multiple times)

A: Was she a completely healthy meat-eater previously? Was she fully informed on how to nourish herself on a vegan diet? Even the conservative American Dietetic Association knows that ‘…appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.

Just as one should make the effort to ensure they get a full quota of vitamins, minerals nutrients and fibre on a standard diet, so one should on a vegan diet. There is no need for anyone to get tired and weak on a varied vegan diet that contains plenty of energy giving whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds – not just the fruit and veg. No human body NEEDS meat. They can get all the nutrients they would get from meat in plant-based foods, and they’re usually of better quality and more bio-available.

 

Oops! I realise some of these aren’t exactly snappy answers. But I hope there are some things you can take from them. Try and always keep your cool, and if someone just isn’t listening and continues to come out with BS so they can hear themselves talk – simply walk away. Give your energy and time to the genuinely curious.

Next week we’ll tackle the kind of DQ’s that ask if a vegan diet is restrictive, depriving and no fun (SPOILER ALERT: This is BS too!)

 

Never Be Afraid To Be Different

Passion Flower from Flickr via Wylio
© 2012 Ernest McGray, Jr., Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

A big stumbling block to many people considering a vegan lifestyle is the fear that they will be perceived as ‘awkward,’ or ‘different.’

I guess I’m lucky. I’ve never given two sweet ones what anyone thought of me in relation to my life choices. There was a brief period in my early teens when I wanted to be like everyone else, to fit in, to wear the same clothes, to belong to a perceived ‘something,’ but it quickly passed, thank goodness.

If your motivation to go vegan is ethical, then just think back to the first abolitionists who spoke out against slavery, or the first people who fought for women’s rights. These folks would certainly have been considered ‘different’, being disruptive to the status quo as they were. Slaves had been kept for hundreds of years in the south, and women hadn’t voted since elections began. This prejudice was completely normalised. From where we are now, we can see clearly that these two discriminatory practices were wrong and hateful. Yet where would we be if abolitionists and suffragettes had been afraid to be different?

Someone has to be the first to speak out. In the case of veganism – don’t even worry, you are nowhere near the first. The earliest vegan I’m aware of is Pythagoras; and Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Tolstoy followed later, among many, many other eminent names, so it’s not at all as risky as being the first abolitionist or suffragette. Most people you will encounter are used to hearing about vegetarianism at the very least, so by eliminating animal products from your diet, you will not be doing something that no-one has ever heard of.

Nothing bad happens to you if you stick your neck out and dare to be different. You don’t get struck by lightning; you don’t get excommunicated from life! Quite the opposite in fact, life becomes richer and fuller, and you begin to feel more authentically ‘you.’

What’s the absolute worst that can happen? Maybe a few people talk about you behind your back calling you ‘awkward,’ ‘weird,’  a ‘lettuce muncher’ and you will probably be thought of by some as ‘preachy’ and ‘militant’ (you’ll find, sadly, that even if you never speak about being vegan, it’s enough for some people to know that you’re vegan, to perceive you this way). You may not get invited for dinner as often as non-veg friends do. But guess what? This is all on them. This is nothing to do with you, and real friends WILL make an effort to cook for you, you’ll see!

People will not drop you as a friend because you eat differently to them. I have precisely zero friends (apart from my partner!) that are vegan. About half my close friends are at least sympathetic to veganism and are happy to eat at vegan restaurants with me. The other half of my friends I’m sure think I’m a lunatic for being vegan, but it is honestly never an issue. They may or may not mock behind my back, but if, when we’re together, it’s all good and they treat me as they treat everyone else – who cares? What I don’t know won’t kill me.

And we are all different in so many other ways. You don’t have the same tastes in music or clothes as all your friends do you? Even if I wasn’t vegan, my friends and I still wouldn’t eat the same kinds of food – some have pretty conservative tastes while I eat food from a ton of different ethnicities. And none of my close friends share the same taste in music as me, so even if I weren’t plant-based they would probably still perceive me as different. There isn’t much I can do about that, but you should know – it really isn’t a big deal. When I think about most of my friends, what we share above all is our senses of humour – and that is more bonding than anything.

I do get that it’s sometimes scary to be different, but once you try it and live it, you’ll see that your life (and social life) really doesn’t change all that much. And the more you experience all the benefits of a vegan diet; the fact that you may be a little different to most people will matter less and less to you. Once you begin to look and feel good, and radiate health and joy – it’s very likely they’ll want a bit of what makes you different for themselves!

 

Yerba Mate – Move Over Tea (Or At Least Make Room!)

So have y’all heard of mate (pronounced ‘mah-tey’)?

I’m sure most of my US readers have. I’d never heard of it before going to the US. Now, every time we visit the States, it’s one of the IMG_3748first things I buy to take home.

If you don’t know, yerba mate (to give it its full name) is a drink made from the naturally caffeinated leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis plant, (a member of the holly family), from South America. It has been drunk by indigenous people in South America for centuries, and is now still widely consumed in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. Traditionally it is a social drink, made in a gourd, passed around a group of family or friends, and drunk through a metal straw.

It is thought to contain as much caffeine as coffee, but without the side effects – the jitteriness, the heart racing, etc. So, if you’re like me and need a bit of a kick up the pants every morning, but don’t fancy bouncing off the walls with the effects of the caffeine in coffee, mate is ideal.

It is incredibly nutritious, more so than green tea! It contains twenty-four vitamins, including high concentrations of vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B3 and B5. It is also mineral rich, being a good source of calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc and phosphorous.

As if this isn’t good enough, it has fifteen amino acids, and more antioxidants than green tea.

A recent study at the University of Illinois found that the anti-inflammatory properties in mate kill cancer cells, and may be particularly helpful against colon cancer.

Elvira de Mejia, lead researcher in this study, had this to say about mate:

‘Our studies show that some of the most important antioxidant enzymes in the body are induced by this herbal tea.’

There is also evidence to suggest that drinking mate daily helps preserve bone-density in post-menopausal women.

Another study shows that mate lowers cholesterol.

In 1964, the Pasteur Institute and the Paris Scientific Society studied the properties of mate and concluded that it would be ‘difficult to find a plant in any area of the world equal to mate in nutritional value,’ and that mate contains ‘practically all of the vitamins necessary to sustain life.’

Pretty damn impressive huh?

So, what does it taste like?

I sometimes describe mate as like drinking a cigarette. Maybe I’ve just put everyone off of it right there. You really just need to try it. If you’ve ever smoked you’ll know what I mean, and if you’ve never smoked and are now thinking mate sounds gross, when you try it you’ll really see it’s about the smoky flavour.

There is some information on the internet linking mate to oesophageal cancer. When I saw it I thought ‘NOOOOOO, surely not!’ On further investigation, it seems that IF mate can cause cancer then it’s due to the boiling temperature at which some people drink it. Frequent consumption of boiling hot drinks is thought to cause cancer, because the repetitive burning of the throat can eventually cause malignancy in some people, (though there are probably a lot of other lifestyle factors involved). I think most of us wait until the beverage is more drinkable though, don’t we? In some cultures, a lot of very hot mate is drunk very often, so this might be a factor in cancer risk within these cultures, but any boiling hot drink is going to raise this risk, not just mate!

I have seen a lot of backlashes against certain highly nutritious foods and drink products, specifically those that big industries do not benefit from financially. Though I have no evidence for this, it would not surprise me if mate, being as nutritious as it is, was yet another victim of corporate fear.

Mate can be drunk hot or cold, with or without milk, sweetened or unsweetened, and flavoured with whatever you like (though like tea, IMG_3761it does have plenty of flavour of its own, so do try it plain first).

You can even get ‘mate latte’! I was a little skeptical of this at first – then I tried one at a cafe that specialised in mate – it was delicious! It was hazelnut flavoured, and this just really worked with the smokiness of the mate.

You can find it everywhere in the US, I usually get it from Whole Foods or Trader Joes. In the UK and elsewhere, you can try health stores, but it is always available online.

If you haven’t already, sample the taste of the Pampas!!

 

Get Cow’s Milk Into Context – And The Heck Out Of Your Life!

Milk Drop from Flickr via Wylio
© 2014 Chris Pelliccione, Flickr | CC-BY-ND | via Wylio

If you’re here in the first place, you are no doubt on the way (either in practice or in the thinking process) to eliminating cow’s milk from your lifestyle.

For more incentive, you just have to consider the following:

 

  • How utterly (or udderly – God, SORRY!) random it is that humans drink the baby milk from an entirely different species. Goats don’t drink chimp milk. Cats don’t drink pig milk.
  • That calves don’t even drink their mother’s milk after they’ve been weaned, at 6-12 months old.
  • That if we no longer drink our mother’s milk (‘cos that would be gross right?), why do we drink calves mother’s milk all our lives?
  • That cow’s milk is meant to grow a little calf into a four hundred pound cow in a short space of time, so of course it is too concentrated a source of protein and hormones for humans. Because of this, we know it causes us health problems (i.e. cancer, diabetes, heart disease, to name just a very few).
  • That you’d look a bit weird suckling milk from a cow’s udder, but that is in effect what you’re doing every time you drink milk.
  • That as much as you think it is YOU that made a personal independent choice when you were younger to drink cow’s milk – it has zero to do with you, and a lot more to do with the fact that cows are the cheapest, easiest animals to feed and shelter, and so therefore the most profitable to extract milk from.  This is why it’s the only milk that’s been offered and advertised to you since you were a tot. If giraffes were easiest and cheapest to keep, you’d be supping on a latte with giraffe milk right now, and believing THAT to be totally normal. You’re actually being more in control and more independent of thought if you don’t drink cow’s milk.
  • That you can drink cow’s milk that’s as organic as you please, where the cows are read fairy tales every night, but it will ALWAYS contain hormones.
  • That livestock agriculture (which of course includes dairy farming) is the biggest single source of greenhouse gas emissions, and a tonne of other environmental nasties.
  • That the baby male cows that are born on dairy farms (and there’s a lot of them – after all, dairy cows are kept pregnant for the most part so that they will lactate), are not profitable to the dairy industry. They are either stuck in veal crates, or killed. Sometimes in front of their mother (don’t forget cows have exactly the same capacity to suffer as we do, so it may be wise to think how we’d feel in this scenario).
  • That even held up to the tiniest bit of scrutiny and critical thinking. It makes no sense for us, the planet or the cows for us to drink cow’s milk. Why continue?

 

If you need a resource on healthy cow’s milk alternatives, pop on over to this post.

On my coaching programs you will learn how to eat, drink and cook without cow’s milk (or any dairy). You will realise a whole new level of wellbeing and clear-headedness, and I promise you, you will not miss it one teeny-tiny bit.

 

Why You Need The Facts On Flax

Brown Flax Seeds from Flickr via Wylio
© 2010 HealthAliciousNess, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Flax (some call it linseed) is magic. Well, practically. If any seed is on your side, it’s this one. Chia might be the seed ‘du jour,’ but this little grafter needs to be a part of your daily menu (or a few times a week at least).

Just why exactly is it so damned aces?

 

Weight Loss

Never mind the slimming shakes or the cayenne pepper maple syrup (wtf?) diet. These clever seeds are a great aid to anyone wanting to lose a few pounds. As they are so full of fibre, they help everything keep moving through your body, so nothing lingers longer than it should. Ground flax also expands in your stomach, helping you feel satiated for longer.

 

Toxin Remover

You know all that crap you breathe in every day? The toxins and heavy metals and stuff you really don’t want taking up residence in your body? Because it is so rich in soluble fibre, flax acts as a sort of sponge, to soak up all that shizz and transport it out of there. If you live in a city… actually, scratch that. If you live on Earth, you need a food source that helps your body get rid of pollutants and environmental baddies. Flax is it!

 

Cancer Protective

Flax seeds contain a phyto (plant) nutrient called lignan. Lots of plant foods have this, but flax has it in the highest amounts. Lignans are thought to be protective against breast cancer, and have been proved to help in survival after breast cancer when consumed regularly.

 

Best Source Of Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acid

You know that Omega 3 fatty acid that we all once thought you could only get from fish? Guess what? Flax is an amazing source of Omega 3 fatty acids. No need to ingest saturated fat, cholesterol and mercury.

 

Beautifier

Like nuts and avocados, flax seeds are a great way to moisturise your skin from the inside out. It is precisely because flax contains so much omega 3 that it does so much good for the skin, helping it retain moisture and reducing any inflammation.

 

System Regulator

As you can see, flax has the fibre factor. Ground flax is insanely good at helping everything move through your body in an appropriate amount of time. Don’t you just hate those ads for women (‘cos it is always apparently women) who suffer from bloating? Consuming ground flax regularly as part of a healthy plant-based diet means you never have to be like them, whining and rubbing their bellies. They will seem like aliens to you.

 

But How Can I incorporate It Into My Meals? It’s A Seed FFS! I’m Not A Bird! Easy peasy. To make it a little easier, you need to invest in a gadget that grinds these little darlings to meal. Some people use a coffee grinder, some use the Magic Bullet. I use the cheaper copy of the Magic Bullet – the Hinari Genie. Hurrah for cheaper copies!!

You can eat flax seeds whole, but you will get the most benefit from the ground meal. Your teeth may prefer them that way too.

I grind 2 tablespoons per day. You can always grind a week’s worth and keep it in the fridge in an airtight container, but, like everything, it’s probably best fresh.

Do you eat cereal? Porridge? Oatmeal? Soup? Stews? Chilli? You can put the ground seeds on practically anything. They have a pleasantly nutty taste, and are good added to sweet or savoury meals. There are not many places flax meal can’t go. You can even use them as an egg replacer in cakes. If you make your own bread, flapjacks, granola bars, cookies etc, you can add whole flax.

Flax it up, now! Get flaxing! Get your flax on! Flax that bitch! Get with the flax! Ok, ok, you know what? flax doesn’t need me to (attempt to) make it sound cool. People have used it for thousands of years for its health benefits. It’s a true gift from nature.

Try it and see for yourself.

 

I Want To Go Vegan, But What’s In It For Me?

As you know, the word ‘vegan’ ultimately defines a lifestyle not complicit in the violence, cruelty and killing of non-human animals.

For lots of people, this is ample reason to be vegan. To know that no-one is suffering for you is benefit enough.

If you DID want any more reasons to go vegan, I GET IT – honestly.

After all, everyone else eats animal products, it’s so normalised in this culture. Every other commercial outlet on the High/Main Street is a kebab shop, a fast food joint, a fried chicken place.

Celebrities are posing with milk moustaches and doing yoghurt commercials.

Every lummox on the planet seems to be prattling on about their love for baaayycuuhhn (when did the whole bacon reinvention start? It was old man’s food when I was growing up). Now, apparently, if you don’t guzzle bacon, you are not living life to the fullest.

Every other ad is for burgers, butter, ice cream. Where are the ads for broccoli? For walnuts? For beetroot?

On top of this, lots of energy and money is being spent trying to make meat cool.  More and more ‘gourmet’ burger (WTF?) places are opening every day. I even see this in my own neighbourhood. A ‘restaurant’ called ‘Chicken Shop,’ owned by a well-known private members club group, has just launched near my house. It has chickens on a spit, and the menu is chicken, chicken or chicken, with either chips or corn. Lots of painfully ‘cool’ types are flocking there. For chicken. And corn.

Seriously, no-one could blame you for thinking that vegan is too ‘different,’ too ‘against the grain.’

I truly get that this is not (yet) a vegan world and that you need as much motivation as possible to help you go vegan. What are the benefits? What will help you tolerate all the above shizzoula?

Well, I’ll tell you of some of them, but there are many others that you will discover for yourself too.

Health

By avoiding animal products (and eating whole foods, of course), you have reduced your risk for heart disease and lots of cancers significantly, in fact some doctors in the field would say you are at almost zero risk of heart disease, eating this way.

You have also side- stepped diabetes, (or will be able to improve it, if you have it already), and are at lower risk for Alzheimer’s. There are a whole host of conditions that can be prevented or improved with a whole foods vegan diet, including asthma, and multiple sclerosis.

Skin/Appearance

A whole-foods plant-based diet will have you glowing, radiant, and oozing sparkle. Your skin and body will be the best they’ve ever been – and if you’re exercising, sleeping and relaxing enough too – well, baby, you’ve never looked so good.

Is this a superficial incentive? Perhaps. But don’t forget; the more you look after yourself and ensure that you feel great and confident and happy, the better you can help and look after other people; the more present you will be when you spend time with them, and the more joyful your interactions will be.

The ripple out effect of YOU feeling good is immense. When you feel lethargic, depressed, achy, insecure, or worse, then you cannot be much help, or bring much joy to anyone.

Other Silly, Limiting Constructs Become Clear – And Evaporate

Another benefit is that when you realise how ridiculous the ‘certain animals are food but others are pets,’ paradigm is (and all the rest we have around how we perceive animals as ‘other’), you begin to see lots of other things clearly, and all other ridiculous paradigms crumble.

Just as you’ve realised what humans do so they can justify eating certain beings; you recognise all the other silly human constructs that abound.

You see all the boxes, compartments and pigeon holes that lots of people need in order to feel secure, or a part of something – and you don’t need them any more. This is one of the most liberating things I found, and probably my absolute favourite extra benefit!

Environment

Do you have children? Grandchildren? Just know some good kids?

After you’ve gone do you want them to live on a clean planet, full of natural wonders, with fresh air and clean water?  Well, being vegan is the best thing you can do for the planet. The livestock industry is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transport combined, and is the prime cause of air and water pollution, deforestation, drought, and wildlife habitat destruction.

You CANNOT proclaim to be an environmentalist and eat meat. That would be silly. Like being a pacifist and a gun manufacturer. Or like being a nun and a porn star (!?).

World Hunger

Feeding grain to animals, to then feed the animals to humans is hardly energy or resource efficient.

Can we really justify this with so many people starving? When we know that if we all ate plant-based there would be enough food to go around, and then some? Knowing that you are not contributing to world hunger, while it may not directly benefit you, has to make you feel lighter, I’ll bet.

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You will discover lots of other incredible benefits for yourself, lots of them interlinked. As Dr T. Colin Campbell says in his life-saving book, The China Study:  “Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence. All parts are interconnected.”

Trust me; the personal benefits of being vegan vastly outweigh being the odd one out who doesn’t eat baaaayyycuuuhnn, or not fitting in at ‘Gourmet Burger.’

How To Choose A Good Cow’s Milk Alternative

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As for which non-dairy milk is the best? This is subjective, and ultimately, completely down to your taste. Whichever one(s) tastes the best to you, is the one that will help you transition to and sustain a satisfying plant-based diet, so go forth and try them all till you find one (or a few) that suits.

There are superior and inferior, healthy and less healthy products however, so here’s the deal.

Firstly, you may well find you don’t really need a cow’s milk alternative. I sometimes just use water on my breakfast of oats, raisins, nuts and seeds, and it’s just fine, the liquid is just to moisten the dry oats (and the water kind of turns to oat milk in the bowl!), so it works perfectly.

As I mostly drink white/jasmine/green tea, no milk is needed for this either.

Ok, so let’s tackle the most controversial, common, non-dairy milk first. The milk of the soy.

Concerned about what you’ve read about soy making you gay, making men grow boobs, giving you cancer etc? Worry no more, really. No, REALLY.

Some people don’t digest soy too well, so if this is you, or if you’re allergic to soy- you have PLENTY of other options.

Ideally you want your milk to have as few ingredients as possible – just soy beans and water. The best one in the UK is Provamel Organic Unsweetened, which has just these two ingredients, but it is quite expensive. The Tesco and Asda Organic Soy Milks have water, soy beans, and natural flavouring. I’m not sure what the natural flavouring is, but I don’t use this milk often, and it’s a more acceptable price, so this is fine for me right now. Lots of US brands tend to have several other ingredients in, including added thickeners, salt, or vitamins.

The best US soy milk products I’ve found are Westsoy Organic Unsweetened, Edensoy Organic Unsweetened, and Trader Joes Organic Unsweetened. All these are just good ol’ soy beans and water.

Guess what? Exactly the same paradigm applies to all the other non-dairy milk alternatives. Whether its oat, hemp, almond, cashew, coconut, flax, brazil nut, rice, hazelnut, tomato or spinach milk (ok, I made those last two up), my recommendations are always the same:

If you can, make your own. There are plenty of ‘how-to’ vids on Youtube, and a few on the Vitamix site. Again, only if you can, make sure the ingredients are organic. You’ll be saving money by not buying cartons of milk. Don’t worry if you can’t budget for organic – you are still avoiding a ton of bad stuff by not drinking cow’s milk.

If you do buy your milk, make sure to choose the one with the least amount of ingredients (ideally just *nut/seed/grain*, water). If you need it sweetened, it should only have apple juice added.

If you are desperate, and can only find your chosen non-dairy alternative with a bucketload of ingredients – you REALLY don’t want it to contain sugar. Try above all to get one without sugar. Even salt as an ingredient is better than sugar.

Although I mainly use soy milk, I love almond and coconut milk. I must admit I’ve yet to try flax milk, but it’s on my to-do list for my next visit to the US, where it’s more widely available.

What do kiddos like? I’m sure this varies too, but I’ve given very neutral tasting soy milk sweetened with apple juice to non-vegan kids, and also rice milk without any complaints. If you have a kid that goes crazy for a certain non-dairy milk, please let us know in the comments!

Don’t Let Your Valentines Day Be A Flop (Yes, THAT Kind Of Flop!)

Go into any card shop right now, and all you’ll see are red cards with big ol’ hearts on them with schmaltzy messages inside. Except for the obscene ones. Is it me or are Valentines cards getting more vulgar every year? ‘Happy Valentine’s Day Sugar Tits’ anyone? I’m not even kidding. I stared at this card in disbelief. Any kid could see it.  Can you see the kid going home to his mum and saying ‘can I watch TV sugar tits?’  Or a little girl seeing the card and thinking that this is something she should aspire to being called one day? I have a point, right? I’m not just losing my sense of humour?

I was going to take the opportunity to write about heart health for V D (haha), and then thought it’s probably more interesting to use the occasion to write about sex. But, I just realised I can combine heart health AND sex.

How?

BECAUSE….heart disease and erectile dysfunction are basically the same disease.

Cholesterol, which is ONLY found in animal products; and saturated fat, which is mostly found in animal products (the only other source is coconut oil), are the main culprits behind erectile dysfunction. Why? Because they are responsible for blocked arteries, whether those arteries are to the heart or the penis. Blood flow is blood flow, and if blood can’t get to the heart because of blockages, heart disease ensues. If it can’t get down below because of blockages, bedroom problems ensue (yes, that is the correct medical term).

Therefore, the more animal products you eat, the more likely you are to suffer from erectile dysfunction.

Don’t think you’re exempt from problems just for being female either. Women also need blood flow to their nether regions (I know! I really need to start being ok with using the correct terms) in just the same way men do, and if that doesn’t happen because not enough blood can get where it needs to go, then you’re not having the best time in the sack either.

These doctors tell it like it is.

Then there’s the energy factor. Plant-based foods deliver the best quality energy, especially complex carbohydrates (whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat products, oats, quinoa etc). This page from PCRM talks about the best food for athletes needing endurance and stamina – not bad advice to follow if you want optimal ‘boudoir’ performance.

Bottom line, the more whole food and plant-based you are, the better sex you’ll have. The myth of the meat-devouring male sex god is so dead it’s dust.

Happy Valentine’s Day! And remember, more plants = more fun!

Why I Blew A Fuse (Or Three) Last Week…

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR, AAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGHHHH, RWOOOOOOAARR! BLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECCCHHHHHH!

I am angry. Can you tell?

Apologies in advance for the ranty post.

What’s the problem you ask?

HA!

First this Huffington Post UK article last week, and then this one in Salon.com.

Lets tackle the shameless ass-hattery (that would be hilarious if it weren’t so damaging) of the Huffpost UK article first.

It starts by mentioning that there are around 150,000 vegans in the UK (several UK articles on veganism recently have begun the same way).  I’d love to know WHO COUNTED THEM AND HOW? NO-ONE ASKED ME OR MY PARTNER IF WE WERE VEGANS, EVER. And it wasn’t a question on the census as far as I can recall. So, there’s that questionable fact that just keeps on being spewed out. (The fewer vegans there are reported to be, the more ‘niche’ it looks, and the happier the meat and dairy industries are, so it’s not like there’s no agenda for this BS).

The ””’writer””’ says she tried to be vegan for a week based on the fact that some high profile, famous people are vegan or have recently tried it. Now I have NO problem with people going vegan’ish’, or trying vegan temporarily to see how it feels (any reduction in animal product consumption is, of course, to be encouraged), but this has to be the most capricious, superficial reason ever  – it was clear at the outset she wasn’t exactly going to throw her heart and mind into it.

With ZILCH research into the lifestyle, she embarked on it by ordering in all her vegan meals for the week (does she do this even when not vegan? Or does she only enter the kitchen if animals are to be cooked?).

Buying your own food IS difficult if you’ve given it as little thought as she did, but to say that vegan chocolate is expensive at £5 a bar is wrong and offensive. I JUST ATE A STARBUCKS BAR OF DARK CHOCOLATE THAT COST ME £1. And for those of you in the UK, M&S do a dark chocolate bar for 65p. Asda and Sainsburys (in their ‘free from’ sections, do vegan chocolate buttons and chocolate bars for around 45p. I know I’ve bought chocolate in the US – even from expensive Whole Foods – for way less than £5. See what she could’ve found out if she’d researched a tad?

And aren’t we beyond the protein question by now? Don’t we all now know that protein is in practically all plant-based foods and that it’s extremely rare in developed countries to be protein deficient whatever your diet ? Yet this person whines that she feels like eating a chicken breast does a better job of giving her protein than any plant-based food could.

She finishes by misinforming us that it’s harder to eat out with friends if you’re vegan. NO. IT’S. NOT.

Any ideas as to why this person was allowed to ‘write’ this execreble piece?

ARRRGHHH.

As for the salon.com article, this person is very commendably reducing her animal protein intake. But is very desperate to point out she will never be fully vegan. With phrases like…

‘I’ll never give up meat completely…’

‘I think a roast chicken is proof of heaven.’

[The way she ate] ‘…wasn’t restrictive.’

[She’s doing] ‘Nothing dramatic, nothing that screams of absolutism.’

‘You don’t have to go all PETA if you don’t want to.’

…it’s obvious she is eager to distance herself from vegans and portray their lifestyle as extreme and limited (which she bases on nothing but her own prejudice; or is it perhaps that because she can’t go fully vegan, she feels the need to discredit people who are?). She badly wants us to know that she is still ‘a regular Joe’ (my words) and that she still likes chicken the same as everyone else.

(For the record, NOT ALL VEGANS ARE INTO PETA. I can’t stand them. I don’t see the point in them campaigning to stop people commodifying animals, when they commodify women in most of their campaigns. To me that’s counter-productive. Shouldn’t we be commodifying precisely NO SENTIENT BEING EVER?).

She then says that she doesn’t like the idea of eating the amount of processed meat and dairy alternatives that ‘seems to be involved in giving up animals entirely.’

*slow hand clap*

…aaaaand well done for perpetuating the stereotype of vegans eating cardboard sausages and soy burgers for every meal.

Apparently she hated a vegan brownie that she tried. It tasted ‘like wet garbage smells.’ Yes, there are bad vegan treats, But GUESS WHAT? There are bad non-vegan treats too! For the love of God, have a vegan red velvet cupcake from Babycakes NYC and tell me THAT tastes bad I dare you! Complaining about one bad vegan brownie (which has the potential to make people think a vegan diet is boring and tastes bad) is not objective journalism.

With interest in plant-based eating going through the roof, there is of course the inevitable backlash that comes with it.

There are also people that are interested enough to dip their toes in the water, but have such warped perceptions of vegans, they feel they have to disassociate themselves with what they perceive them to be.

YOU are interested in a vegan lifestyle. I know this because you are reading this post right now. I’m sure you are reading many posts and articles on the subject, not just mine. This is fantastic; we absolutely should always be informing and educating ourselves on this amazing way to heal our bodies, the planet and to save animals. BUT, read carefully and question continually, I beg you. There’s a LOT of misinformation, prejudice and agenda-based nonsense out there.

Next week I’ll be happier, I promise!