Posted with permission
[quote]The Multi-Faceted Love Gem of Being Vegan
As I enter into my fourth year of being a vegan, I have decided to make my own contribution to the education of what being a vegan is; what a wonderful thing it is for your mind, body and soul, the environment and for reducing the number of people supporting the intensive factory style farming industries.
In this article, I discuss the reasons for becoming vegan along with how to deal with people who question you about it.
In coming articles I will delve further into topics such as what we can eat, the transition, additives and preservatives, dietary planning and nutritional education with easy vegan recipes and tips, the pharmaceutical industry and other vegan related concerns. I will also write an article on my own vegan journey.
I hope you gain some insight and knowledge here.
Tracy Louisa Steel
Questions are an opportunity to educate.
"Like a fish in water, people in a culture swim in the virtually invisible medium of culturally sanctioned yet artificial states of mind." ~ Terence McKenna, Food Of The Gods
So why do you want to be a vegan? Why are you a vegan? You’ll already know the answer for the first question, however this quickly transmutes to the second and it is this question that you will be asked frequently.
It’s important that you are confident and able to communicate an honest, educational, non-judgemental and loving message about why you are vegan. When asked this question, the enquirer is providing you with a brilliant opportunity to educate, thus helping your heart felt cause all the more.
The Vegan Society is a great place to start your educational journey; The Vegan Society is an educational charity that promotes and supports the vegan lifestyle. Keep in mind that you are not trying to convert every person who asks about your life choice.
You’re planting a seed of education and many vegans fall into the trap of trying to convert people by telling them why they are bad for consuming animal based products. Your intention is for the wider good so think back, what did it take for you to come to this decision? Were you brought up eating meat?
It is normal for people to think of veganism as a strange, restrictive and alternative way of life. It can be, depending on how much you have educated yourself and your personal attitude towards it.
Remember that you are doing this for love, convey your love in the message; humans are in the majority innocent misguided people and creatures of habit and conformity. And people don’t like to be made to feel guilty or ashamed of the life they have innocently led up until now.The Reasons for choosing a vegan way of life
As the title of this article implies, this is a multi-dimensional answer; it is for me and if you’ve read up on veganism, it will be for you too. Maybe one of them spurred you into veganism, maybe all. Above all, your love and compassion most likely brought you to this decision. The overall ideal is that veganism is about creating a more peaceful, non-violent, lovingly aware and more compassionate world. The Animal Loving Freedom Fighter Vegan
“Sixty billion animals are farmed for food worldwide every year – the vast majority of them reared intensively in systems that seriously impact on their welfare. “ ~ Compassion in World Farming
The immoralities of intensive farming are vast and deeply upsetting. I am an empath and really struggle to watch and read a lot of the awareness raising videos and articles out there. I have watched and read enough to affirm that much work needs to be done to stop the suffering and there are many ways in which you can get involved.
I have provided a couple here but you must go on your own journey of discovery. Thankfully there are many caring organisations out there creating change in the world with our help and it is up to you to choose ways and levels of engagement which suit you as an individual.
PETA: The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Foundation is a UK-based charity dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of all animals. http://www.peta.org.uk/default.asp
PETA is famous for creating shocking but catchy campaigns with endorsement by celebrities such as Pamela Anderson and the Kentucky Fried Cruelty campaign. I know quite a few people who have watched this and ever since have boycotted KFC. Even if they continue to eat meat, they have chosen to engage in life and make better choices for themselves and for the animals who suffer at the expense of the fast food industry.
There are campaigns for all animals on this site; you can sign up for action alerts, get leaflets for distribution or simply learn more about the realities of animal suffering in the name of fashion and consumerism.
Compassion in World Farming: The leading farm animal welfare charity.http://www.ciwf.org.uk/
“Compassion in World Farming was founded over 40 years ago in 1967 by a British farmer who became horrified by the development of modern, intensive factory farming.
Today we campaign peacefully to end all cruel factory farming practices. We believe that the biggest cause of cruelty on the planet deserves a focused, specialised approach – so we only work on farm animal welfare.”
Let’s face it, farming will continue, we would be unrealistic if we thought that we could ban it completely, and setting ourselves up to fail. So, to focus on improving the life of farm animals is a good idea.
You can donate as a monthly direct debit to these guys, and they really do make a difference. You will receive a regular magazine; Farm Animal Voice which will keep you up to date with their activities, along with their website. Your money goes toward supporting the people and equipment needed to whistle blow, do undercover camera work, campaigning and changing legislations, making the farm world a more humane and caring environment.
Just as we cannot expect the farming industry to stop, we cannot expect people to convert to veganism...but we can help them to make better choices when shopping. Compassion in World Farming provide a shopping guide which you can direct meat and dairy consumers to: http://www.ciwf.org.uk/resources/shopping_guide/default.aspxThe Spiritual Vegan
This aspect is where you realise the karma and darkness behind the fast moving consumer goods industry of which you have innocently become a part of. You’ve woken up to the suffering of others and you feel the oneness in the world; the sacred pattern that unites all into one swirling cosmic light filled love fractal.
Try and do what you can to effect changes in the world but also, do not become angry and bitter over it as this will harm yourself and will be evident when you try to educate others. Remember we are dealing with innocent people, and people who find change hard, they may not be ready to awaken in this lifetime. Whatever you do as an individual makes a difference.
Whatever your spirituality, we can send out love vibrational energy via prayer or meditational intentions to end all suffering for animals. Love is a strong healing energy vibration that once put out there, stays out there and goes where it is needed, remember that.
Pretty much every attitude towards you as a vegan can be reduced to either innocence; which can be helped by education, or ignorance which is usually a fear of change... we can help with both of these by leading by example.The Environmental Vegan
Biodiversity is what sustains life on Earth. The wider the diversity of a species is, the more likely it will survive. As in spirituality we feel our oneness and connectedness; this is true in an ecological sense too. Each species is a part of a biological system, each reliant on the survival of the surrounding species. This short film from The Vancouver Film School demonstrates perfectly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5ELFfbQAXU
In the past, there have been accusations flung toward the vegan population regarding the use of Soy products and deforestation; the truth of the matter is that planting soy for animal feed products in the meat and dairy industries is the main cause of deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions and the loss of valuable wildlife habitat.Useful resources:
The Vegan Society: Promoting ways of living free from animal products for the benefit of people, animals and the environment.http://www.vegansociety.com/resources/environment.aspx
Not to be underestimated; your diet can help change the world! The Vegan Society as I mentioned before provide an in-depth resource and support network for vegans; existing or wannabe’s.
Friends of the Earth: Making life better for people by inspiring solutions to environmental problems.
Friends of the Earth is calling on Government to revolutionise the way we produce meat and dairy.http://www.foe.co.uk/what_we_do/fix_food_chain_20576.html
Friends of the Earth have provided educational resources on their website so that you can read up on this fact and take action by raising awareness, signing petitions and emailing your MP. You’ll find good information about the problems with our current food chain and the effects on the environment with the use of soy for animal feed and much more.
Again, there are many other organisations raising awareness for this issue, have a good look about and take part as much as you can.The Health Conscious Vegan
A plant based diet is healthy and healing. Many people will ask you how you get your protein and there are many ways to get protein from plants. Plant based nutritional healing has been used for thousands of years by Shamanic and Holistic healers worldwide. Everything we need can be found in plants.
One key factor which makes animal meat unhealthy, specifically from intensive farming and fishing environments is that the mistreated animals are fearful, they know they are about to be slaughtered, often they are not killed outright and may suffer prolonged pain and distress. This creates adrenaline hormones to enter the muscle tissue creating toxins which are unhealthy for human consumption.
Other toxins in the meat and dairy will be antibiotics which are unsparingly disseminated to the animals to combat the disease and infections caused by the cramped environments or by over milking. Then there are pesticides and GM issues surrounding the mass production of feed for these animals. Either way, consumption of meat or dairy from this source is bad all round.“ So, what can a vegan eat..?”
This will most likely be your loving friends and family who, after asking will have learnt about it and enjoyed discovering a new way to cook the odd dish or two.
You will also find that many people will actually wake up to the food industry and start checking out the ingredient lists to see what they are actually ingesting for a change...this can be pretty shocking as you realise what huge proportion of foods contain dairy when you think there really is no need...and there isn’t.
Many of the additives and preservatives in food are from animals
Much nutritional information is also available on The Vegan Society website: http://www.vegansociety.com/lifestyle/nutrition/