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Archive for August, 2007

I became a lacto-ovo vegetarian 19 years ago after a “double date” where we watched Faces of Death 1, 2 & 3 all in one night. That did it for me and I have never eaten another morsel of meat again after that and have always tried to avoid animal ingredients in the products I buy, avoid products that have been tested on animals and be a conscious consumer – so I am used to reading the label on each and every item that I purchase. My brother has since also become a “vegetarian” but he continues to occasionally eat FISH! (Fish is not a vegetable… I have to try to get this through his head). We also have at least 5 cousins who are vegetarians so maybe it’s genetic! I was lucky enough to meet my husband who has been vegetarian for about 10 years as well.

We recently watched Earthlings and the DVD from PETA on factory farms and battery hens which both had me bawling as I watched the torturous conditions that these sentient creatures have to contend with and never experience joy in their short lives.

I guess I did KNOW about the suffering of Chickens and Cattle, and the connection of Dairy and the VEAL industry…but somehow I was still able to justify it in my head… now I have finally accepted that I have been irresponsible in thinking it will be “So difficult… to give up CHEESE and Yogurt” and that I just can NOT contribute to the suffering on a personal level any longer. I want to get everyone I know to watch these dvds and think more about what they are eating and the effects it has in the big picture, the circle of life. The conditions these animals endure is reprehensible. I don’t want to be a part of the reason it is allowed to go on anymore. I believe in Karma.

Some books that have helped educate me along the way and finally assist in my decision to go vegan and stop messing around are: Being Vegan, The Vegan Sourcebook and The Uncheese Cookbook all by Jo Stepaniak; Vegan – The New Ethics of Eating by Erik Marcus, Becoming Vegan , Fast Food Nation, Diet for a New America and the Vegan Handbook. I have watched Go Further many times and the constant mention of the blood & puss in milk was an inspiration to avoid dairy, even living in the dairy state where CHEESE is constantly “in your face” at every turn.

My husband and I had tried being Vegan a couple years ago, it lasted about 6 months – with occasional cheating! This time I do not feel as if I am “giving up” something, but starting down a new path with many rewards and true joy. I have my husband joining me on this path, which makes it even easier… however most of our friends are omnis and when I mentioned that we were not going to be eating dairy or eggs any longer they had no comment which kind of made me think they are thinking “oh great, this is going to make our socializing more difficult” or something along those lines.

My husband and I have been listening to all of the Vegetarian Food For Thought, Vegan Freak & Vegan Radio podcasts which were the REAL impetus for our renewed enthusiasm to make the final permanent leap to VEGAN! The gentle and educational tone of Vegetarian Food For Thought podcasts are the perfect balance to the ranting style of the Vegan Freak podcasts and with your help we are not even THINKING of looking back or “cheating” as we have in the past when we were vegan for about 6 months a couple years ago.

Thank you!
-Tonya & Brian
Milwaukee, WI

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I have always loved animals. “Kitty” was my first word. I used to gently move pillbugs and other insects off of walking paths so that my parents and friends would not step on them inadvertently. However, it took awhile for me to make the connection between the animals and the food I liked to eat. My paternal German grandmother, while not anywhere near vegetarian, rescued many animals (she even fed a family of opossums living in her garage and adopted an injured rooster). She also supported the HSUS and PETA, so I would read her PETA magazines when I was little. They turned my stomach and made me cry. The veins in fish, the “veins” in shrimp, and dead animals hanging in Chinatown restaurant windows sickened me.

By the time I reached sixth grade (in 1993), I knew that it just wasn’t right to eat animals, and became a vegetarian. My parents continued to put meat on my plate for several weeks after I made the declaration that I would never eat meat again, thinking that it was just a phase. Considering the fact that my my parents are meat-loving people (and “foodie types”), I feel very lucky that my parents became so supportive once they realized that I was serious about my
vegetarianism. If you are a parent whose child has decided to become vegetarian or vegan, I urge you to support them in their decision! It can make all the difference.

I soon stopped drinking milk (but would still eat products containing dairy), stopped buying leather a few years after that, and stopped buying wool yarn a few years after that. I knew that there was something wrong with eating egg and milk products, but sort of hid my head in the sand and chose not to read up on the topics because I didn’t think it was really possible for me to be vegan, mostly because of desserts and because I LOVED cheese.

I read Fast Food Nation, I watched Super Size Me, felt guiltier and guiltier, and noticed that my diet was becoming increasingly vegan. The issue of animal rights/liberation is something I’ve grown much more passionate about over the past months/years, so I’m embarrassed that it took me so long to finally switch over to veganism. (If only I had known how easy it would be.) I looked up information on rennet about a year ago and after that, I would only eat cheese that I knew for sure did not contain animal-derived rennet, which meant no cheese that simply listed “enzymes” as an ingredient, and no cheese in restaurants or from any place where I couldn’t read the ingredient list. this was a huge help on the way to veganism, as it forced me to dramatically cut down my cheese consumption and get used to eating other things instead. (I recommend this as a weaning method for people who are on the fence about going vegan but feel that cheese is holding them back and are having trouble going cold turkey!)

I started listening to the Vegan Freak podcast and to your Food for Thought podcast and to and began really reading in-depth about all of the nasty realities of non-vegan life. I had always had vague concerns about nutrition and realized, once I started looking into what I’d need to do to stay healty, that I would actually be much healthier after cutting out eggs and dairy. I decided to make the switch about nine months ago, and feel so much better than I thought I would, both physically and mentally. I try to get friends and family to think about what they’re eating, and lead by example as much as possible. As a vegetarian (and early in my veganism), I was quiet about it and almost apologetic. I have now become much more enthusiastic about cooking, baking, trying new cuisines, and spreading as much of the spirit of veganism as I can. I don’t shrink back, apologize, or enforce myths and misconceptions about my diet and lifestyle.

I think that knowing the reasons behind the importance of going vegan makes all the difference, and I am certain that I will never go back.

~Lisa in Los Angeles

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