Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Heart Hurts

My heart hurts. I think I got about halfway through this before I started crying. What is hardest is that I knew all of this information with my head but seeing the reality of it makes my heart ache.

I've tried to be patient. I've tried to be open and receptive and not push an agenda... just inform and help be an example, but it is so hard. When someone sits in front of me and orders a meal with meat or eggs or butter, all I see is the death and suffering that went into creating that meal. The death and suffering that happens to animals so very much like the ones that I hold dear.

I see the hens suffering and being abused and killed and it hurts. I would give anything to have my Napoleon back and to keep Meg and Gertie safe and others just treat similar animals with hate and disregard. They treat them worse than garbage and value them so little.

And to know that this happens to billions of animals all over the world is horrifying. To know that it is unnecessary and that the alternatives are so much better for our health and our earth overall but are ignored or even reviled just makes it even harder.

I can't spare myself from looking or talking about this because that would not help create change. I have to keep giving the message and bringing it to those around me. I am willing to share my sadness because I hope it will maybe inspire someone to take a look at the images and maybe make a change, however small themselves.

At the minimum you should watch the images and learn more about the animals that become your food and how they are treated before hand. These are animals that you put into your body, into your mouth. It is important to understand the origins so that you can be informed. People are more informed about the cleansers they use in their house or their shampoo than they are about there food.

If you only watch for that reason, you should watch and learn...

Sites to learn more:

- Meat.org

- World Day for the Abolition of Meat

- Chicken Industry.com

- Compassion Over Killing

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message: He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

- W. H. Auden

Monday, January 12, 2009

An Invitation

I've spent a lot of my life feeling full of conflict and even rage but I have to say that an unexpected gift of becoming vegan has been a major increase in the amount of joy and peacefulness that I feel inside me.

I just found this video which shows many of the beliefs that vegans and vegetarians espouse. I know there are some that would think the words here are filled with a level of superiority, of a "holier-than-thou" mentality. But I hope you would just see them with an open heart. With an open mind. See them as in invitation to explore an unknown and new path. A path that is filled with people who are on the same journey and who are happy to welcome you along no matter where you are on yours.

The knowledge of the world is only to be acquired in the world, and not in a closet.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Healthy Bottom Line

I've been around animals for almost all my life and it always amazes me how perfectly "designed" they are. When an animal is living in the most natural best way possible they are healthy and happy and a joy to be around.

Once criticism that chickens get are that they are dirty. By which I assume people mean stinky and/or they get poo on on them. I will attest that the birds themselves are not smelly. They do have strong smelling waste but that is typical of most birds due to the fact that they don't urinate. Our birds have a pretty big enclosure and we rake it every day to keep it from building up, so this is not really and issue. Plus, we only have 3 birds total.

As for the birds feathers, they can get a build up on their bottoms but only when they aren't roosting properly. When we first brought the 3 birds home, we created roost spots for them by repurposing and hanging horse buckets filled with hay. We also put hay in the corner of the coop. And they did get their feathers a bit messy at times because they were sitting down. But then we built a sturdy roost pole for them (which they love) and now they stay clean and mess free.

It's important to make sure they stay clean and dry. A build up of waste is not healthy or attractive. Not only could they get infected but they could also become egg-bound, which is fatal.
Now that they have a proper option for roosting and sleeping, our hens are lovely and clean. With cute fluffy butts!

More -
See cute chicken butts on Flickr.

Best Friends Forever

The power of love and friendship... would that we could all be this joyous, accepting, kind and loyal.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Might Does Not Make Right

Photo by arimore via Flicker

“It's a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong, something the best people have always done.” -Harriet Beecher Stowe

Thursday, January 1, 2009

What CAN'T You Do for 30 Days?

2009 is already becoming a year of hope, of optimism, of change.

The end of 2008 has left us poised to see huge changes in the world. Not just because of our new President-to-be and not just because there seemed to be a lot of suckiness but there is just a growing sense of energy that I am seeing and feeling. Everywhere I turn there seems to be someone new ready to usher in the year with positivity.

And what better time is there to try something that will help reduce cruelty, help the environment and save lives... including your own.

Now is the time to make some changes in how you eat.

You don't have to go straight to raw foods only or become 100% vegan overnight. But look at what you like to eat. Look at the flavors of the foods you like. You'd probably be surprised that most of what you like are not animal-based.

I used to love burgers... but what I liked was the bun/lettuce/onion/ketchup/texture. With a black bean or veggie burger I get the same flavor and texture. I can't even tell the difference, except I don't get an upset stomach.

I like going to Chipolte or Moe's too but now I get an Art Vandalay; I still get that spicy warm flavor. I'm equally full. And I didn't want for anything.

And nowadays it's easier than ever to cut back on the meat/dairy/eggs in your diet. There are tons of new convenience foods, produce is available almost year-round and restaurants and other businesses are creating amazing selections so you don't need to worry about if you can eat out with friends or travel in comfort. Most of the time you'll get something even better and jealousy-inducing than everyone else!

So, now you have the tools and the resources, what's stopping you? Is it that you don't like the flavors? Or you don't know how to cook new things? Or you just have questions about how do you start this? And, frankly, we're human and it's hard to break/start a routine.

That's where the 30 days comes in.

Not everyone agrees with PETA's tactics (me included, sometimes) but they have a great Vegetarian Starter Kit as well as great resources and recipes. And as an added incentive, they will helping to plant trees in impoverished areas if you take the 30 Day Pledge!

If you want to learn more about becoming vegetarian/vegan one of the best resources I have found was Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's Compassionate Cooks podcast via iTunes (also available on her site). She provides a ton of information and has a great outlook on being a "joyful vegan" and the "vegan in the room". She's inspired me a lot.

And if you're all about the food like we are, you can't help but be inspired by the recipes and images on VeganYumYum. I mean, holy crap! Her food is AMAZING! She even has an iPhone app with all the recipes including pictures so you can take your phone into the kitchen and cook.

Some of our new favorite food choices include Silk (regular and chocolate, my new snack!), Field Roast's Roasted Apple-Sage sausages and Celebration Roasts, Tofutti's sour cream and Purely Decadent's ice cream - which I think I like better than any ice cream I've ever had (except maybe the stuff I make myself.)

I have a HUGE list of sites the I refer to all the time so please feel free to drop me an email if you are running into a challenge. One site that I like too is Happy Cow. They are a growing online guide for restaurants and natural health food stores. They are soon to have an iPhone app too. Not that I've had to use it too much. I love to go out to eat and have yet to run into a problem finding a place I can't find a good meal... even at Paula Deen's restaurant!

So here's my gift and hope to you for 2009: Bring some of the enthusiasm and positivity for this year to one of the most important areas of your life - your health and what you eat. No other change you make will have such a huge and immediate impact on such a personal level and on the whole world. Even if you just make a small change like only drinking Silk or you give a totally vegan diet a go for the 30 days, you'll be amazed at how easy it is. And at the end of 30 days you may want to do more.

You don't have to do everything... Just do something!

And if you want to talk or want help finding an answer, I'm happy to be a part of that! I hope you'll let me know what you do and how it goes!