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Your podcast has changed my life. I am so grateful that you dedicate so much of your time to this work. It is so very important. I love to hear you read the letters written by listeners whose lives you have helped transform. I hear myself in so many of them, and that is part of the reason it seemed possible for me to transition to veganism.

I am in my late 30’s, and until recently, a ‘foodie’ and ‘compassionate omnivore’ (an oxymoron if there ever was one), but part of me could never reconcile the fact that my beloved pet chihuahuas were the same weight as the chickens I was consuming. Not only that, but I love chickens, their personalities and behavior. I think they are remarkable creatures. Why was I eating them?

These concepts were not new to me. I had been an ovo-lacto vegetarian for many years in my 20’s, but began eating meat again several years ago. 2 months ago I decided to once again stop eating animals. That decision felt so right! However, even though I knew of the horrors of factory-farmed dairy and eggs, I allowed myself to feel comforted by the fact that I was able to buy free-range eggs from the hens running around in my neighbor’s yard, and dairy products from the small Jersey cow herd on a local organic farm.

Then I accidently purchased a copy of the magazine VegNews, not knowing it was about all things vegan. Now, I have had vegan friends for many years, and have cooked many vegan meals for them, but for some reason, despite my passionate love of animals and abhorance of all suffering, I never made the conscious connection between my choices and the lives of the creatures whose animal products I was consuming. Veganism just seemed like a quirky dietary anomoly, and I enjoyed the culinary challenge of creating tasty meals my vegan friends would enjoy.

The VegNews issue I bought had your podcast listed in one of it’s articles. I found ‘Vegetarian Food For Thought’ on iTunes and listened to it–for 3 days straight! I could not stop, and still cannot. You helped me see that it is ridiculous not to transition to veganism! Veganism benefits not only the animals, but the spiritual and physical health of us human animals and of our planet.

I have long understood the health benefits of a vegan-diet–I am a medical clinician and have a special interest in nutrition and fitness–but alas, I was addicted to yogurt and cheese. No longer! I have been plant-fueled for 2 weeks now, and I feel fabulous! What is interesting is the response I get from my medical colleagues. These people, “experts” entrusted with educating patients and helping them make important health decisions, do not understand my decision. They mock it. I believe, as you and many of your wise listeners have pointed out, that when we discuss our decision to be vegan, we are holding up a mirror up to others and reflecting back to them the unhealthiness of their own food and lifestyle choices. Thanks to your wise words, I feel supported in my decision, and have the knowledge I need to continue with (what I believe is) the only sustainable way of eating and living available to us. I also have access to the ‘joyful vegan’ language that you utilize, which makes discussions about veganism much less antagonistic.

I have never in my life felt such inner-peace.

Thank you Colleen, for helping me to become a better person.

~ Christine in Colchester, VT

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I was raised in a meat-eating household, and vegetarians were viewed as an exotic myth to scare children away from their steaks. I did not come across the word “vegan” until I was an adult. While I do not remember the exact moment, I am sure that I just decided at the age of 20 or so that eating flesh caused needless suffering to beings with central nervous systems capable of experiencing pain and fear.

I was an ovo-lacto vegetarian for years, and I would rationalize that eggs and dairy products did not cause the same suffering as meat consumption. That bit of self-deception eventually crumbled under the weight of evidence and I was left with the only ethically consistent course that a thinking person could follow; I became a vegan.

I am a physician with the Canadian military, so you can imagine that I have plenty of opportunities to defend my position against vigorous debate. Most people are just genuinely curious and want to hear my position, but a few are hostile and confrontational. No omnivore has yet offered a logical rebuttal to my position. (There have, however, been a surplus of illogical and often bizzare rebuttals — and yet I love them and live amongst them.)

Being a vegan in a non-vegan world is an odd experience. I am always a little frustrated when I see otherwise kind and intelligent people using, or extolling the virtues of, animal products. By any other measure my friends and colleagues are good people who do not see themselves as a cause of suffering. There is a kind of willing ignorance or self-delusion about it that baffles me even though I was guilty of the same thing for a large part of my life.

Animal products are so ubiquitous that I often have the feeling that I am not a part of the society in which I live. It is like those horror movies where the main character knows the monster is real but no one is willing to listen (think “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”…). My wife is reading this over my shoulder and has told me to lighten up — she reminds me that we just had an awesome vegan meal (courtesy of her) and that if I pull myself out of this morose reflection I may get some cupcakes as a reward. So there you have it; the many faces of veganism! 🙂

~Pete in Petawawa Ontario, Canada

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