It’s been a good weekend here and I’m a little sad that it’s almost over. Hubby and I stepped out to Baagan for this week’s trio plate and it was playfully unique with raw vegan white chocolate chunks and fruit in the salad.
The jalapeno quinoa and lentils was also delicious as was the smokey cauliflower and potatoes dish – yum.
We also went out for Thai, of course, where I got this wonderfully spicy curry tofu dish.
Before the lecture, we sampled a lot of treats brought in by members of the Sacramento Vegan Society, many of them raw vegan like these amazing little chocolate chip cookies.
Then got memorized listening to Will talk for over an hour about his book and the story of how he became a vegan. And he’s been vegan of over 39 years, before the word vegan was invented and he was referred to as one of those mythical vegetarians – wow! From his site:
Dr. Will Tuttle, author of The World Peace Diet, is a pianist, composer, educator, and recipient of the Courage of Conscience Award. A former Zen monk, his Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley focused on educating intuition and altruism. He presents ongoing events promoting peace through compassion for all life.
For me, questioning our culture’s food choices and switching to a plant-based diet for ethical reasons is the first step in a spiritual adventure that blesses the world. Choosing a vegan path can lead us to ever-higher states of spiritual awareness, leading to liberation and the fulfillment of our purpose on this Earth.
I feel that the greatest gift we can give others is the gift of sharing the vegan message, and living it as deeply as we can. It is the message of the interconnectedness of all life, and the message that love is the ultimate power, that life is a blessing, and that our greatest joy comes from authentically contributing to the welfare of others.
May you who read these lines be happy, free, and at peace!
Activism and discussing the vegan life style is still a new thing for me, it’s a topic I generally avoid at work since I work with a lot of fast food-eating guys convinced it’s the “manly” diet and serious BBQ fans that treat it like a competitive sport. And I’m afraid of being labeled as an “angry vegan”. I know the lifestyle is right for me, but projecting that in a positive light is a big challenge. I was attracted to this event and book after reading the powerful reviews and feedback online as a way of better arming myself with positive and encouraging information about veganism and how the lifestyle benefits everyone inside and out. And boy did it! I took a lot of notes from his lecture that could easily fill a few posts. But I’ll keep it to one outlining the most important points.
Will’s book, The World Peace Diet, is gaining a lot international popularity making best seller list overseas in countries like Israel and China. He went vegan back in the 70s when vegetarians were rare. After college he visited a vegetarian society that opened the door for him exposing the violent animal product industry. Listening him talk about those times seemed surreal to me with no internet to research the diet and very little options for vegan alternative foods, there was no Gardein or Daiya to make the transition easier. He learned to make the first soy milks and ice creams that he admits were awful by today’s standard, but he thought was great at the time. Thankfully it’s much easier to go vegan today and keeps getting better.
He went on to discuss that having compassion for life and loving all forms of life is human nature, but society forces compression of that natural compassion by separating where our food comes from and the violence and exploitation of living beings it causes. As kids, we learned to love animals in children’s books and TV, but are disconnected or even taught that animal suffering is not important when it comes to our food. To just accept the meat and dairy products served to us without questioning what other living beings went through to bring it to us or assume the process is all pleasant butterflies and roses that never causes any suffering or violence. And to the point where a vegan lifestyle and avoiding animal products are too uncomfortable to even consider for many. He made a strong point that animals cannot retaliate against us for the violence, but the lifestyle can in anger and illness and creating an imbalance of society not showing mercy to living beings, but expecting it from others which he makes very interesting points on how that fuels other problems in society.
Next he touched on the environmental impact of factory farming and how it’s changed and the last 50 years to bring modern society plentiful amounts of cheap meat at restaurants and grocery stores. One disturbing fact was a vegan diet uses on average 1/30th the amount of fresh water that a standard American diet of meat and dairy uses which is apparently pretty accurate. And a scary thought considering what’s going on with climate change and drought conditions being the worst in California since the 70s. Also that modern meat and dairy factories are unregulated environmental disasters producing more toxic sewage than we know how to deal with wrecking local water resources and land with chemicals. Basically there was plenty of information that modern factory farming is the biggest driving force of climate change, more so than car pollution and any other type of pollution.
The constant push to make animal factory farming cheaper and producing more profits has had a devastating effect on the environment, but one of the most disturbing points to me is a majority of the grains and soy we grow is not for us to eat, it’s to create plentiful amounts of cheap feed to fatten up factory farm animals and tons of rainforest and natural resources are being consumed daily to feed farm animals when it could be feeding us and starving countries many times over. The drive for cheap ways to fatten up livestock is turning unnatural animal product waste into livestock feed like feeding ground up chicken waste back to chickens and fish meal to cows for cheap protein when it’s toxic and not something the animals would naturally eat. He discussed evidence that that lack of food and resources has fueled and will continue to fuel wars and anger in the world.
I realize this is a lot of intense information, but Dr. Tuttle has a magical way of presenting it in such a positive light. A passionate vegan tends to be angry and negative about what’s happening in our world which is not a great thing when trying to advocate the lifestyle. He does a great job of showing that people are not at fault for supporting the factory farming industry, it’s ingrained in us early by society. It was taught to our parents who taught it to us that meat and dairy products are the only way to get protein and calcium, it’s been handed down from generation to generation while rarely being questioned. When people see such a plentiful supply of dairy products and meat at grocery stores, there’s no information about the unnatural and cruel process that creates the products or about the health issues they cause especially in today’s modern form. And there’s a lot of confusing misinformation out there about protein and calcium sources to which he jokingly mentioned that many people are taught to believe they’ll die of protein deficiency if they go 24 hours without eating meat.
Taking my mother was a great thing too because she is of a generation that was taught never to question the consumption of animal products which spurs some interesting debates between us. She could always bring up the history of consuming meat and dairy products to counter that it’s an accepted part of being human. Dr. Tuttle did an amazing job of bringing to light why that is and why society has forced that on us with no reason to question it that had a strong impact on her.
He concluded that a vegan lifestyle is the only way to express love and compassion for all forms of life and our planet which is in human nature and many powerful and positive points supporting it. The lecture was very inspiring and positive, not pointing blame and encouraging acceptance of everyone and all life forms. I’m looking forward to diving into the book and writing more about Dr. Tuttle’s writing soon.
But enough of the heavy stuff, we also stepped out to see the movie Chef this weekend and, aside from the huge use of meat and little crack at vegans, was a great movie with an entertaining and positive story about doing what makes you happy and getting out of a toxic situation.
While Leela has been chilling in her Cuddle Cube bed and Skipper froggy napping all over the house.