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Archive for the ‘parents’ response’ Category

Five… an innocent age, one during which you’re more interested in coloring books and preparing for kindergarten than making life-changing decisions about your moral beliefs. I wasn’t prepared for such a decision, but it snuck up on me one day, a product of my unrelenting curiosity.

“Mommy, why are the cows crying?”

My parents own 150 acres of Texas farmland, upon which graze about 50 beautiful bovines and a horse or two at any given time. At this moment in my life, many of the old girls are bellowing their hearts out, making my little empathetic self squirm in my seat. What on earth could be the matter?

“Well… their bellies hurt, that’s all.”

“Why?”

“Their bodies made milk for their babies to drink, and now that their babies are gone, they’re just a little sore, that’s all.”

“But… where did their babies GO?”

Now, at this age, these cows are just big dogs to me – as much my personal beloved pets as our two ponies are. What kind of monster would take our baby cows, and for what purpose? Why are my parents sitting there so complacently after such a (to my mind and clearly to the cows as well) horrendous and despicable crime has occurred? Well, it was at this point in my life that they chose to explain to me the prevailing human belief that we are the superior species, and therefore all other creatures are but commodities to our needs… not in so many words, of course…

“You see your hamburger here, sweetheart? Well, it’s made from the cows. We take animals, and we make them into meat so we can eat them, so we can live…”

Whoa. We do.. what? I’m eating… what?? This was quite a shocker to my fragile little mind. Doesn’t making them into meat… hurt them? Why would we hurt them? Aren’t they our friends?

Well, my parents tried to fight the flames of my furious realization and soothe my troubled mind, but they soon found it was too late. From that day on I scrutinized my meals diligently, refusing to put anything in my mouth which my parents (reluctantly) admitted was, in fact, dead animal flesh. Of course it was never named as such, always just called the generic “meat”, and played off as being completely normal and natural. They had hoped that this little phase would end soon enough, that my mind would eventually disentangle the hunks of muscle that everyone around me continued to consume from the love and respect I felt for all the other living creatures which I had until then, and wanted to continue to, believe were my equals.

Now I see that they’re not quite my equals, of course. Almost all nonhuman animals will never even remotely understand how far we can see into the future and the past, or how intimately we understand the chemistry and physics and biology that allow us all to exist. They may not have any clue the complexities that we are able to contain in our minds, but they know compassion. They know a pat on the head from a kick in the rear, and they know that the strange species that walks on two legs is equally able to deliver both. Only we know how wise we are as a species, and only we can make the choice to deliver love and kindness to our fellow beings, rather than a painful and untimely death.

I thank you so much for your role in helping people to awaken to the tragedy of our status quo. For me a desperately depressed and pained chorus of mooing was what it took to awaken the true fervor of my animal activism. For those who haven’t had such an experience, I couldn’t imagine a more enlightening and gentle manner to be awakened to the bliss of compassion than through the practical reasoning, enriching literature, and delicious meals you share with the world via Compassionate Cooks. For this reason I am eternally grateful to you and all the persons and events which continue to support you and make you a success.

I am thankful today and always for all my fellow revolutionaries in the greatest cause on earth – the equality of all living beings.

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A couple of months ago after many years of eating a limited amount of meat diet, our 7 year old daughter made us realize that we were ready to become vegetarian. She, as well as our son, naturally didn’t have a desire to eat meat. They questioned where it came from and ate so very little of it when it was on their plates. So we decided we would be vegetarian but be ovo lacto as we thought it was impossible to be healthy and to raise children as vegans. Well…that is when I read the book Skinny Bitch, and knew I could never eat dairy or eggs again. My husband listened to the book on CD as well and felt the same way. We threw ourselves into this new-found world of veganism, and I immediately looked for a podcast that could help us out. That is when we found you. Your podcasts were just what we needed to help us along our path toward veganism. Not only do we learn interesting food facts, recipes and suggestions but also the truth to empower us in this lifestyle. It’s given us the power to stand behind our beliefs despite opposing views from family members. We feel like we have a wealth of information now because of you and your wonderful wisdom.

Becoming vegan has awakened a part of me that now loves to cook and loves all things to do with food. I used to cook but didn’t enjoy it as I was a worry wart in the kitchen about cross contamination from meat and meat products (rightfully so). Now I feel so free in my kitchen as I don’t fret about the bacteria coming from our plant based diet. There is no worry about blood on the counter or on a chopping board. I love it and feel so liberated!

Thank you for inspiring us and for guiding us. We are so excited that we also live near you and can attend a cooking class of yours in the future. Keep up the good work and know that you have made a difference in our lives! We are so thankful for you.

~ Megan & Eric, California

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In the past few years, I had heard of some negative press in regards to farmed animals. These included the cruelty of battery hens, hormone injections and antibiotics in animal feed. However, I was not aware of the full extent of the problem and remained unaffected. It was first brought to my attention earlier this year (2007) upon stumbling across 2 podcasts – “Vegan Food For Thought Podcast” and “Deconstructing Dinner.”It was eye-opening and a rude shock. How could I have lived my past 20-so years without being aware of these issues? I dug a little deeper, read more, looked at a few websites, listened to a few more podcasts. As an animal lover and someone with strong moral values, I knew I had to change. Becoming vegan was my goal. However, the obstacles are many and large. How was I supposed to conquer them?

The main obstacle was not so much dietary, but the social aspect. My parents would be the most difficult to convince. Of all the people we interact with, undoubtedly parents have the strongest desire for one’s wellbeing. I’m particularly close to my mother. My wellbeing is of utmost importance to her, beyond anything else. To many people, a diet without meat is unsustaining and ‘unhealthy’. I was prepared, and started small. I told them of the cruelty and the suffering that animals have to endure in order to provide for us. Gone are the days of free-roaming livestock and poultry. The huge human population is putting the world’s resources under strain. Profit always seems to rule, disregarding basic animal rights of being able to have the space to move, be free from pain and stress. Animals are treated as commodities, without feelings or rights. I chose veganism because I could no longer stomach animal products without feeling I’ve contributed to such injustice.

Being fairly slim already, announcing my change to veganism shocked and worried my parents. My 1st obstacle, which still remains my biggest, is mother’s outrage and concern. Despite my talks (that vegan is a healthy, sustainable way to live), she was strongly opposed to it. She believes I’ve been brainwashed by the things I’ve read, and is stuck in my one-sided way of thinking. I could not convince her to listen because, to her, I’ve taken on a mentality which she could not talk any sense into. What frustrates me most is that, she refuse to listen, despite deep-down, she knows there is truth behind my words.

There are many people who, like me, knew some aspects of the horrors in raising animals to provide for us. The problem is that they turn a blind eye so they can carry on living the life they’re used to living.

To me, learning is life-long. I’m always listening, reading, researching various topics and issues. Keeping an open mind doesn’t entail believing everything I’m told. On the contrary, we should be gathering information to be able to form opinions and making decisions.

It pained me to have the dispute with mum. I could no longer look up to her as a role model. I needed someone who is open-minded and cared enough to want to contribute and make a difference to society. She cared for me, and it clouded her judgement. She did not want me to become malnourished. “Why be a minority? Eat like the majority of us. What difference can you make by not eating meat?” was her view. It was painful to hear. Just because I cannot change the world, does that mean I should do nothing at all? Just because everyone else does something, does it make it right?
Dad was slightly more accepting, though he also worried about my health. He is more open-minded, and through introducing him to some podcasts, I hope in time he’ll understand and support my decision.

Mum’s extreme agitation and stress forced me to agree that I would resume eating “normally” – i.e. not vegan. This is an easy enough lie, since I don’t live with her any more. I do not wish to keep living a lie, but am hoping to change her with time.

Friends have been more accepting, though I have not had the chance to tell many of them yet. I’m confident in my decision, and know that the information I’ve learned is not biased. How could I have gone so long without knowing, all these years? It is not just the vegans and animal activists, but wide-spread knowledge of the torture, molesting, that goes on.

Eating as a vegan is most enjoyable. It’s an easy transition, since I’ve never been too attached to  animal products. In fact, it was a relief to learn that I do not need dairy for calcium (I’m Asian and lactose-intolerant – no wonder! Asians typically did not have diary in their diet). However, to avoid every trace of animal product in the food I consume as well as the product I use, is proving to be more challenging. Today, where are more processed foods than ever – many containing long ingredient lists, tainted with all sorts of additives and preservatives. Preparing my own meals from unprocessed foods (fruit, vegetables and grains, etc) is the easiest solution – something that I’ve been doing any way.

I see many flaws and vices in our society today. We consume too much – nutritionally-poor, energy-rich foods, products to satisfy the urge to spend, with terrible wastage as a result. I’m relieved to have discovered veganism and its moral principles. Vegans are generally kind-hearted, strong-willed (for being able to stand up for what they believe in!), and conscientious. Veganism is about embracing a compassionate mentality, a way of life for a better future for all.

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I first became a vegetarian for the obvious health benefits, but soon learned of the cruelty and injustice inherent in the meat industry. I was devastated to think that I had been supporting such cruelty for the majority of my life.

I became a vegetarian in February, and was happy to discover your podcast about a week ago. I have been listening to it ever since. I am glad to know that the issues I wrestle with are felt keenly- not just by me, but around the world.

As a teenager in high school (a Senior), I have trouble getting respect for my choices. I am forced to buy my own food, using my own allowance, because the family I live with are all non-vegetarians, and their mother will not buy food I can eat. I especially appreciate all of the cooking tips, since I cook almost all of my own food.

At the end of the school year, I am hoping to make the transition to veganism. I had not known the extent of the cruelty before listening to your podcast, and I was shocked when I learned about the abuses of dairy cows. I am going to finish the cheese in the fridge that I purchased, and then I am not going to purchase anymore. I have stopped drinking milk already, and will stop buying products with milk in them.

You have inspired me to “speak my truth.” When I first became a vegetarian, my mother – who I live apart from but visit often – was opposed to it. She has pernicious anemia and was convinced that I would not get the nutrients I required on a plant-based diet. I have since convinced her to stop trying to change me back to being non-vegetarian, but she still worries that I am not eating enough.

I want to thank you for all the work you do to help the animals, denied rights and even voices. You are truly an inspiration.

~Tessara

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I grew up as a missionary kid in Pakistan, and I had tried to be a  lacto-ovo vegetarian there, purely because slaughter practices are  NOT clean, even less so than in the western hemisphere; meat is kept  in open-air markets. This did not last very long, as vegetarianism is  very foreign to  the culture there, and refusing to eat the local  food (full of different sorts of meat) is very offensive;  hospitality, accepting and giving it, is central to Pakistani  culture. As soon as I came back to live in the States about 3 years  ago, I went back to being a vegetarian.

I became vegan about three months ago. I decided to stop eating  dairy, eggs and fish after doing a little thinking. When you really  think about WHERE the food comes from, you think twice about whether  you want to put it in your mouth. Really, the menstrual cycle of a  chicken doesn’t seem like it was meant to be consumed. It occurred to  me that the literal definitions of “beef”, “sausages”, etc, are  nothing more than cut-up body parts, and that “milk” is the mammary secretion of a completely different species. It’s simply not appealing to me.

All this is aside from the fact that it is arrogant to think that  some lives are food or clothing products, while others are 
companions. When you think about it, it’s silly. Animals are animals:  I won’t cover myself with something that used to cover an animal.  If  I won’t eat my cat, I won’t eat a cow; if I won’t eat my pet dog, I  won’t eat a hot dog.

I can’t see myself going back. Being vegan doesn’t define me; it’s just become second nature, a part of my life. That that life happens to be a peaceful, caring life is a beautiful thing as well.

I’d just like to publicly thank my parents for being so selfless and supportive. Though they are not vegetarians they go out of their way to accommodate me and daily show wonderful respect for my lifestyle. Also, since I’m the only vegan (or vegetarian of any sort) in my immediate social circle, it’s lovely to have your weekly encouragement in the form of your podcast. Thank you.

~Nathan in Franklin, Tennessee

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I first off really want to thank you for all the great work that you do.  I just listened to your newest podcast and it really struck home for me.  I’m 21 and have been vegetarian for a little over a year and I can say that this has been one of the greatest things I have ever done.  I had my eyes opened by my girlfriend who did a presentation on vegetarianism and made the transformation right away.  I remember when she first told me, the first thing I said was “But you like sandwiches!” 

I was fairly skeptical because I think I had desensitized myself to what actually goes into making animal products.  After I myself did a persuasive speech in a class on vegetarianism and read John Robbins wonderful book The Food Revolution, I too became vegetarian.  I quickly realized that what I loved most about food was not actually the meat itself but the toppings or things you make with it.  As a kid I could never really eat at KFC, it just grossed me out too much and I never was a big steak person, so I realized that meat was an unnecessary filler in my diet. 

However, vegetarianism has been a tough sell domestically.  To this day it is something that my parents rarely talk about.  The ironic part is that around the same time that I became vegetarian, my parents discovered that my 16 year old brother had started smoking.  While this was met with great disappointment, it was easily excepted, because my father smokes.  Despite the fact that he is underage, having the cigarettes bought for him or buying them illegally, and is headed down a long road of respiratory diseases, cancer, and all the other horrible things that smoking causes. 

I never imagined that choosing to show compassion towards animals would be met with such hostility, while making such a destructive choice toward your future would be met with such acceptance.  However listening to your podcast really boosts my spirit and reaffirms that I am…WE are doing the right thing for the animals.  So I thought I would send you this note and tell you my story and also thank you for all the wonderful things you do.  You are truly an inspirational person.  Thank you very much for your time!

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