Vegan


April 22nd is an Earth Day and I will be helping out with the event at a local school.  I was asked to come dressed nicely, and I realized that I do not have any nice dress shoes…meaning – shopping for some new vegan shoes!

At first I searched my friend internet and found many great options, but I did not like an idea of purchasing shoes without first trying them on.  Some of the places selling great non-leather shoes are AlternativeOutfitters.com, Mooshoes.com, and even E-Bay!

But I decided to try my luck at Payless shoe source.  I remember a couple of years ago I was really sceptical about that store, because my mom always told me that leather shoes are the best and all other are uncomfortable and don’t last very long.  Most shoes Payless carries are made from natural of man-made materials, and without them realizing it – Payless becomes the best vegan-shoe store in Toronto :).  I have also checked out Left Feet but they only carry four or five women’s shoes – not much choice.

Anyhow, I have bought these two fabulous pairs:

Numero Uno:

This one is my favourite – that’s what I will be wearing for the Earth Day 🙂 Contrary to what my mother told me, these are super comfortable, light, and of course – super cute. 

Pair 2:

This is the most comfortable sandal I have ever tried on, so all the myths about the non-leather shoes have been debunked for me.

And for the most part, I don’t really care how pretty the shoes are, the most important thing is that no animal was killed (I hope) to make those shoes for me.  If you still think that leather is an innocent by-product of the meat industry – think again – either see Earthlings, or listen to Vegetarian Food for Thought Podcast about Leather (The link is in the right-hand side column). You will be surprised about what you hear..

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Too bad I am not writing this post fresh from the memory, I have seen this documentary about three weeks ago. I think if I wrote this the day after, it would have been more emotional, but I just couldn’t get to it with all the exams.

I thought I would never watch this movie, but I wanted to show it to students at my University, to expose horrible things done to animals by industries and groups around the world. A friend, who was helping me organize this movie night, told me this one thing that made me watch Earthlings:

“If animals live and die in these horrible conditions and they experience all these terrible things, then the least we could do is watch and understand. If it is so hard and impossible to watch, imagine how it is for the animals…”

And also, since people came to see the movie which I was showing, it kind of looked bad on me to go away for 2 hours and come back for discussion not knowing what those people have seen.

And so I watched it. The movie focused on four areas of our exploitation of animals: Food, Pets, Clothing, Entertainment. Emotionally, it was very hard to watch, people were crying, and few of them left after the Food part. I have kept my eyes on the floor for the most part of it, for me listening was enough. Hard enough, that I could not listen to the parts about veal slaughter and fur and had to leave the room.

Indeed, this has been the most revealing, emotional, and most influential films of all times. If this doesn’t make people think about how we treat animals, nothing will (of course, if only they experience the slaughterhouses, fur farms, and dairy farms themselves). After the movie we have done a discussion session where people asked my friend (who is the best animal activist and a long-time vegan I know) all the questions such as: If I buy meat from organic farms is it better? But we are meant to eat meat!, etc. But for me, a statement by one of the non-vegan-non-vegetarian audience members that I remember the most was:

“Even though I love meat and think that we are supposed to eat meat I am ready to sacrifice it because of how the animals are treated in modern-day farms.”

Personally, I do not agree with statement that we need to eat meat, but it helps to understand that the issue is so important that being exposed to animal abuse even through a documentary is able to change one man’s life in one night.

Dan Piraro is my favourite cartoonist (not that I know many) and as it turns out he’s also a great speaker.  Below is a video of him explaining some of his best cartoons:

You can view many of Dan’s cartoons on www.bizzaro.com, but below I present to you a few of those:

In my opinion, through his cartoons, Dan is able to efficiently communicate some of the most important animal rights issues we have in our world at the present moment.  One picture is worth a thousand words.  Thanks Dan!

I have mentioned the Vegetarian Food for Thought Podcast a few times before and there is a good reason for it. First of all, if you haven’t heard of podcasts before, they are kind of like a radio shows which are not really aired on the radio, so you can listen to them any time of the day using your mp3 player. The easiest way to download them is to use iTunes, if you have iPod or will listed to them on your computer. If you have another mp3 player then it will make sense to download the mp3 files directly from the podcast producer. Oh yeah, and they are all FREE.

I have accidentally discovered the podcasts on iTunes, without ever hearing about them before last October. When looking through the Health and Lifestyle I saw a Vegan Freak Radio as being one of the top 10 podcasts in this category. So that was the first Vegan podcast I started listening to. For a new vegan, this kind of information media is really important and helpful, as you are not feeling alone or as an outsider anymore because you are listening to people who have the same beliefs as you do. Now, I love Vegan Freak Radio as well but I was really disappointed after I became a subscriber for their show, sent them an e-mail, and in the period of about 4/5 months they have not produced a single podcast, not updated their home page, and have never replied me back. And once again I love them and all…but this is just rude to your subscribers.

A little bit later, as I was searching for more podcasts with a veg theme, I found the Vegetarian Food for Thought made by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau who is the founder of Compassionate Cooks. I was a little skeptic at first, as I thought that the podcast is all vegetarian and will probably look at food and stuff, but I listened anyway. After a few shows, I was a changed person. Colleen speaks to her listeners in a very inspiring, compassionate, and caring voice discussing various topics such as Being a joyful Vegan, Calcium, Cheese and Dairy, Leather, Eggs, Wool, and anything that a vegetarian, vegan, or anyone considering evolving into this kind of lifestyle might be interested in hearing. She also reads short stories, or excerpts from famous and not-so-famous books on animals and human relationships with animals and one-another. In the beginning of every podcast you will hear a motivational story of one of the podcast supporters writing about their lifestyle change and you will find yourself relating to almost every one of the cases.

So, how has it changed me, or how did I become a better person, you will ask. Colleen has taught me to stay calm, educated, and caring no matter what I am going through and no matter what is happening around me. She has taught me to answer questions about veganism in such a way as not to push people away and inspire them to find out more about what is going on in the animal and human rights world. She has inspired me to act on behalf of all animals, and since I have started a Vegetarian Association at YorkU, volunteered for Toronto Vegetarian Association, as well as applied for internships at various Animal Sanctuaries and Refuges.

I thank her with all my heart and recommend everyone to let Colleen inspire you to make this world better for all animals, both human and non-human!

P.S. You may click on the picture to the left of this post to go to the Vegetarian Food for thought Podcast web-page.

Ok, let us talk about something cheerful, something beautiful, smooth and healthy – the infamous Green Smoothie.

In my opinion, it is one of the healthiest, fastest, nutritious things you can deliver to your body any time of the day.  Personally, I like my green smoothies in the morning, but they are goood for you any time of the day.  Ever since I have discovered this magical food my health has turned around – last month I have gone for some blood work in my local medical clinic and guess what? All my essential vitamin, mineral, and bio-molecule levels are perfect!  An amazing support for my green smoothie being the best thing for you hypothesis 🙂

If you’re interested in getting on board with me it is really simple: all you need is:  FRUITS, GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES, WATER.  Blending them all together, especially in a really good blender like Vita Mix, will result in something green, smooth, healthy, and delicious – Green Smoothie!

My edited and taste-proof recipe is:

1 banana
1 orange
1 apple
a couple of leafs from kale/collard greens/spinach/swiss chard/dandelions/anything else that is green
half cup of water
Optionally: frozen pineapple, ice, frozen berries, fresh ginger root

Trust me – breakfast doesn’t get easier than this!

Green Smoothie Revolution: The Radical Leap Toward Natural HealthP.S. If you’d like more guidelines/ information on green smoothies I recommend the book by Victoria Boutenko The Green Smoothie Revolution

I am not that same happy green vegan that started this blog about a year ago. 

As my knowledge, experience, and interactions expand,  I am more and more angered and depressed by the way Homo sapiens treats other animals-both human and non-human.   Every day I am bombarded by the news from PETA, IFAW, and other animal rights associations such as Compassion over Killing, and guess what – only a small percentage of those news are good.  The rest is a small window into the world of animal abuse and neglect.   Dogs on the streets of China being culled to clean up the city, Cats and Dogs are being farmed for fur which is being imported into highly industrialized countries with strong animal rights like Canada, seals are being clubbed just for the fun of it, tigers are being farmed for the body parts being used in traditional medicine in China, baby cows are being taken from their mothers a few minutes after birth every day, and don’t start me on factory farming that is the saddest and most uncompassionate thing done to animals out there.

(A picture I got from I don’t get it Blog)

Translation: Have no Fear – He is Vegetarian

And the things I’ve listed above is just a proportion of the horror going on out there.  Now tell me to go and be happy-go-lucky and I will say “No Way!”.  I am saddened by ignorance, and unwillingness to know and do something by the people I encounter every day who think that their problems are so important and huge that there is not time or resources to do anything to help out others.

I really hope you are not one of those people, and if you are not, trust me one person can indeed make a big difference.  Just as Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, who I love very much for her podcast Vegetarian Food for Thought, says:

“Don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything. Do something!”  (Colleen Patrick-Goudreau)

 

Yesterday I went out with my husband and my friend in fitness.  We went to the local place called Bistro on Dufferin, and as soon as we walk into the place there is this huge poster of an old man holding a rooster, kissing him.  So at first I think, oh this is nice, but then you notice that the guy is holding the rooster on top of the fried chicken wings….!!!WTH!!! I compared it in my head to chaining someone to a mountain made of fried human bodies…this is like monstrous the most inhumane thing to do,  even my non-vegan friends agreed with me.

So if you want to talk about kindness and humanity of the people…and if you go to eat some chicken wings from the bar owned by such an evil guy after seeing that poster, I don’t know if it’s worth all the struggle people trying to make a difference endure.

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