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It is true that vegans feel superior to those who eat meat? (in English and Spanish) — Enrique Vélez, VLCE

In an instant, we can be connected to any part of the planet thanks to social networks on the internet. That instrument has allowed us, as vegans, to learn more about veganism and also to more quickly carry that message of love and compassion for all living beings. In addition, it has allowed us to remain interconnected with people and institutions with the same purposes around the world. However, not everything is seamless: the more we immerse ourselves in the subject, the more people also point to us as being excessively moralistic and to believe ourselves to be superior beings. That controversy led me to ask the question: Is it true that vegans feel superior to those who eat meat?
For this, I interviewed some vegans with varying points of view. The most common response was: “I feel so good — healthy and in harmony with every living being — that I can’t stop saying it.” I came to the conclusion that this energy of a new life is so powerful that we want to immediately share that online and in our community of friends and family. The reactions we get, however, range from quick acceptance of our new path to the belief that we think we’re different and special. A few of us may feel this way, but I think it’s very rare.

Searching the internet for the “sense of superiority,” I found the following: The superiority complex is an unconscious, neurological mechanism, in which an individual’s inferiority feelings are compensated for, highlighting those qualities in which they excel. It is logical to think that each individual possesses positive and negative aspects. Possibly the negative aspects of being are bypassed by your psyche to obsess only on the positive ones. The term was coined by Alfred Adler (February 7, 1870 – May 28, 1937).” *


If this is one of the definitions of the sense of superiority, how do you perceive it? As a vegan coach, I need to find techniques that help me work with clients in a variety of ways, ranging from simple advice and examples to getting deeper when people present with addictive responses to certain foods the same way that an addict does to a drug. But how will I do it, if the first impression they have of me is that I’m a human being who feels a Greek god? I have start by carrying the message with love and compassion. Do you remember the Star Wars movies that, during an episode of self-defense, a negative feeling could lead you to the dark side of the Force? Would it be the same with vegans who feel superior or who, in the defense of animals, act a bit rude?
During the interviews, another vegan coach told me that she handles the problem of confrontation with people who feel attacked or see you as having an air of superiority like this: “When people ask me why I am vegan, I try to make sure I talk to them of my way of thinking and the personal experiences that led me to it. For example, instead of saying, ‘We do not need to eat animals to survive, nor enslave them, nor kill them for the convenience of the majority as a universal and infallible rule,’ I say: ‘When I learned that, as a human, I didn’t need animal products, I connected with the love that I’ve always felt for animals, and making the decision not to eat these foods was easy. I did not want to continue to support industries that kill beautiful and innocent animals and to be complicit in it. Using different, softer words can make a real difference.”

Although we will always find people who will feel threatened or targeted by our way of life, always remember that our mission is to educate. Like a teacher in a classroom, we must see each client differently.
Some recommendations:

  • When you can see your clients and those around you like children at different stages of learning, it will help you maintain an attitude of understanding.
  • Never see those you help and guide as just one more convert.
  • Take care that your words, spoken and written, educate without accusing.
  • We have to be patient with the evolutionary level of others. Although we are in a hurry to help animals, forcing the issue will not help.
  • It is good to work with techniques and activities to gradually reinforce changes in your clients with a view to making permanent changes.
  • Organize fellowship activities with your clients to get to know other vegans and realize that most vegans are looking for harmony with everything and not superiority.
  • If you have to discuss the issue with a person who is against veganism, do so very delicately, taking into account that every person has free will.
  • Usually people who criticize or seek defects in your vegan views are not looking to learn. Still, it never hurts to exchange some ideas about veganism with them. Many people who witness online debates can change to a vegan lifestyle when we express compassion and love.
  • Never criticize or argue about veganism when another non-vegan is present. State your views; be true to your principles, but be tempered and calm.
  • Provide vegan food to your friends and family. They can taste how delicious the food is and see the generosity that lives in you.

We could offer many more recommendations, but the important thing is that we take into account that many times the way others perceive us will influence how effective we can be with our message as vegan coaches, or simply vegans who have an incredible and deep love for life.


Enrique Velez is a vegan lifestyle coach and educator certified by the Main Street Vegan Academy of New York, founded and directed by Victoria Moran. Enrique has been vegetarian for almost 30 years vegetarian and vegan for the past year-and-a-half. He lectures on veganism, provides one-on-one coaching services, demonstrations, and cooking classes.

For contact Enrique : 787-459-5678

Email: evelez9097@gmail.com

Veganismotropical@gmail.com

Facebook: Enrique Vélez Vegan Coach

Twitter: Enrique Vélez Vélez

@EnriqueVlezVlez

¿ES CIERTO QUÉ LOS VEGANOS SE SIENTEN SUPERIORES A QUIENES COMEN CARNE?

Por Enrique Vélez VLCE

En un instante podemos estar conectados con cualquier parte del planeta gracias a las redes sociales en internet. Ese instrumento nos has permitido, como veganos, a aprender más sobre el veganismo. También a llevar de forma más rápida ese mensaje de amor y compasión para todos los seres vivos. Además, nos permite mantenernos interconectados con personas e instituciones con los mismos propósitos alrededor del mundo. Sin embargo no todo es color de rosa porque mientras más nos sumergimos en el tema más personas también nos señalan de ser en exceso moralistas y de creernos seres superiores. Esa controversia que sigue creciendo me llevó a formularme la pregunta: ¿Es cierto qué los veganos se sienten superiores a quienes comen carne?

Para ello entrevisté a algunos veganos con otros puntos de vista diferentes al mío. La respuesta más común fue: “Me siento tan bien de salud y en armonía con todo ser vivo que no puedo dejar de decirlo”. Llegué a la conclusión de que es tanta la energía de una nueva vida que queremos llevar de inmediato el mensaje través de las redes o en nuestra comunidad de amigos y familia. Pero para sorpresa nuestra las reacciones son tan diversas que van desde la rápida aceptación de nuestro nuevo sendero hasta ganar detractores en el camino que nos han tildado de personas que se creen diferente y especiales. Aunque podría ser el caso de unos pocos estoy seguro que no de la mayoría.

Buscando en internet sobre el sentido de Superioridad encontré lo siguiente: El complejo de superioridad es un mecanismo inconsciente, neurológico, en el cual tratan de compensarse los sentimientos de inferioridad de los individuos, resaltando aquellas cualidades en las que sobresalen. Es lógico pensar que cada individuo posea aspectos positivos y otros negativos. Posiblemente los aspectos negativos del ser son obviados por su psiquis para obcecarse sólo con los positivos. El término fue acuñado por Alfred Adler (7 de febrero de 1870 – 28 de mayo de 1937)*

¿Si esta es una de las definiciones del sentido de superioridad como es que nos perciben así? Como Coach Vegano necesito encontrar técnicas que me ayuden a trabajar a los clientes de formas diversas que van desde simples consejos y ejemplos hasta adentrarme un poco más cuando las personas presentan cuadros de adicción a ciertos alimentos de la misma forma que un adicto no puede abandonar la droga. Pero como lo voy a lograr si la primera impresión que tienen sobre mí es que soy un ser humano que siento que vivo en el Olimpo Griego alejado de los mortales. Por ello podría tener en cuenta mejorar un poco la forma en que llevo el mensaje partiendo del amor y la compasión. ¿Recuerdan las películas de Star Wars que aún si el coraje se adueñaba de ti durante un episodio de defensa propia ese sentimiento negativo te podría llevar al lado oscuro de la fuerza? ¿Pasaría lo mismo con los veganos que se sienten superiores o que en la defensa de los animales actúan de forma un poco ruda?

Durante las entrevistas una Vegan Coach me contó que ella maneja el problema de la confrontación con personas que se sienten atacadas o te ven con un aire de superioridad de esta manera: “Cuando la gente me pregunta por qué soy vegana, trato de asegurarme de hablarle de mi forma de pensar y de las experiencias personales que me llevaron a ello”. Por ejemplo, en lugar de decir: “No necesitamos comer animales para sobrevivir, ni esclavizarlos, ni matarlos para conveniencia de la mayoría como una regla universal e infalible”, yo digo: “Cuando aprendí que, como humano, no necesito productos animales o sus derivados, y lo conecté con el amor que siempre he sentido por los animales, tomar la decisión de no seguir ingiriendo esos alimentos fue fácil. No quería seguir comprando alimentos a industrias que mataban a animales hermosos e inocentes y ser cómplice de ello”.   Desde esa perspectiva utilizar oraciones diferentes, suaves y llevando el mensaje de que no está escrito sobre las piedras de los 10 mandamientos el ser vegano, podría ayudar un poco.

Aunque a nuestro alrededor siempre encontraremos personas que seguirán sintiéndose amenazadas o señaladas por nuestro estilo de vida recordemos siempre que nuestra misión es la de educar y al igual que un maestro en un salón de clase debemos ver a cada cliente de forma diferente.

Algunas recomendaciones:

  1. Cuando puedes ver a tus clientes y a los que te rodean como niños en diferentes etapas de aprendizaje te ayudará a mantener un actitud de compresión.
  2. Nunca vea a sus clientes como un número más adoptando su visión de compasión por todo en el planeta.
  3. Cuide sus palabras y lo que publica para que siempre sea educativo y no en forma de acusación.
  4. Tenemos que tener paciencia con el nivel evolutivo de los demás. Aunque tenemos prisa por ayudar a los animales forzarlos no ayudará.
  5. Es bueno trabajar con técnicas y actividades para reforzar los cambios en sus clientes de manera gradual con miras a que los cambios sean permanentes
  6. Organice actividades de confraternización con sus clientes para que conozca a otros veganos y pueda percibir que la mayoría de los veganos buscan armonía con todo y no la superioridad.
  7. Si tienes que debatir el tema con una persona que está en contra del veganismo hazlo con mucha delicadeza tomando en cuenta que cada cual tiene libre albedrío.
  8. Por lo general las personas que critican o buscan defectos en los movimientos pro ambiente, naturaleza, salud, compasión por los animales, entre otros no están buscando aprender pero nunca está de más intercambiar algunas ideas sobre el veganismo con ellos. En las redes muchas personas que presencian debates pueden cambiar a un estilo de vida vegano en especial cuando seguimos cultivando un comportamiento a la altura de la compasión y el amor.
  9. Nunca critiques o argumentes sobre veganismo cuando tienes una persona que está comiendo carne contigo.
  10. En ocasiones obsequia alimentos veganos a tus amigos o familiares para que prueben lo delicioso que son nuestros alimentos y vean la generosidad que vive en ti.

Podríamos ofrecer muchas recomendaciones pero lo importante es que tengamos en cuenta que muchas veces la forma en que nos perciben influenciará mucho en lo efectivo que podamos ser con nuestro mensaje siendo vegan coaches o solo siendo veganos con un increíble y profundo amor por la vida.

Enrique Vélez es un Lifestyle Vegan Coach and Educator certificado por la Main Street Vegan Academy of New York. Fundada y dirgida por Victoria Moran. Ha sido por casi 30 años vegetariano y en el último año y medio vegano. Ofrece conferencias sobre veganismo, Servicio de Coaching one to one, demostraciones y clases de cocina.

 

Para contactarlo:

787-459-5678

Email: evelez9097@gmail.com

Veganismotropical@gmail.com

Facebook: Enrique Vélez Vegan Coach

Twitter: Enrique Vélez Vélez

@EnriqueVlezVlez

 

Five Tips for Making Your Vegan Parties Eco-Friendly

Whether you are a newly minted vegan or a vintage vegan practitioner, you value your social time with friends and family. Hosting holiday gatherings, dinners, lunches, brunches, showers and all kinds of parties from birthday to Super Bowl are wonderful ways to maintain your connections.

Have you noticed in both attending and hosting parties that entertaining can come at a cost to the environment? If you’ve ever eaten or sipped from disposables or with a plastic tablecloth under your meal, you know what I mean. At this point we are all generally aware that the cradle to grave impact of such single use items is not laudable. Here are five tips to help your gatherings up their eco cred.

  1. Make the Menu Vegan. While this might seem obvious, reminding invitees that your gathering is firmly vegan will staunch the flow of non-vegan food brought in by people who are not plant based and may have forgotten as they swung by the store for a food gift or potluck component. Obviously you make the call on what enters, but as we know, a plant-based diet is better for the environment (https://health.good.is/articles/meat-waste-environmental-impact).
  2. Ditch the Disposables. Individual situations vary from family to family and based on the type of gathering, so you will need to explore what works best for your household. Options include your own daily-use plates and utensils; breaking out your special occasion tableware; or finding secondhand extra plates, bowls, drinkware and silverware (either mismatched, which some people appreciate, or a matching service) and keeping them set aside for entertaining. Likewise, invest in or make a tablecloth or runner (http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/easy-home-diy-project-how-to-sew-a-table-runner-apartment-therapy-tutorial-197730) that is appropriately special instead of using plastic or vinyl table coverings. Don’t overlook sheets or blankets: while we have some nice tablecloths, my favorite is actually a sheet.
  3. Jars Still Have Their Place. Yes, mason jars may now be considered somewhat passe by the folks who initially embraced them but they still make long lasting yet easily recyclable holders for candles, flowers, drinks and utensils. If you do not have a stash of mason jars, raid your recycling. Remember that you can alter their look quickly and easily by using flowers, yarn, doilies, twine, leftover cloth, paint, lace or ribbon. Pickle, jelly and pasta sauce jars all make great entertaining assistants.
  4. Use Eco-Friendly Decorations and Accessories. Thanks to social media, people can feel obligated to have a “Pinterest worthy” gathering — not all of which is planet friendly. Choose paper over plastic and focus your decorations on lower impact choices like paper streamers, paper and fresh flowers, candles or even a DIY orange lamp (http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-make-a-clementine-candle-video-1453). You know that holiday lights are not just for holidays any more and add a twinkly, sparkly mood. Stick some in that aforementioned pickle jar for a bright spot. Consider investing in or making a cloth garland (http://www.littlemissmomma.com/2013/07/diy-fabric-garland.html) or banner (https://www.etsy.com/listing/165053023/felt-rainbow-garland-rainbow-party-felt?ref=related-7). Look for things you already own that you can rearrange to present in a different way; adorn your table(s) with doilies, paper confetti, books, baskets, candies, succulents, fabric, buttons or shells as decorative focal points. Let some of the food be the decoration, whether a beautifully decorated cake, a cupcake tower festooned with flowers, bowls of unpeeled fruit or a watermelon cut into a basket brimming with fresh fruit (http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7olze_fruit-carving-fruit-sculptures-escu_creation).
  5. Reduce Plastic Coming Into Your Home. Remain mindful of packaging coming into your home as you purchase food and beverages for your gathering. Instead of buying jugs of water, serve pitchers of tap water. Can you make your hummus from home-cooked chickpeas? Notice what you are purchasing and if there are alternatives.

Jennifer Gannett is a faculty member at Main Street Vegan Academy, a graduate of Lewis & Clark Law School, a world traveler, a cat socializer, dog lover and a mom who works formally and informally to make the world a better place.

My training as a humane educator, by Lauren Gladstone, VLCE

The saying “Keep an open mind” has been my mantra since I started my vegan journey four years ago. Never in a million years would I have ever thought that I would be vegan, let alone writing for a vegan blog! What began as a crusade in optimal health after the diagnosis of my mother’s cancer, turned into a lifelong passion in helping others while honoring my mom’s legacy. Every Vegan comes from their own place of why they chose this lifestyle, yet it is impossible to ignore the other reasons as well as become passionate for those causes.

This past fall, I attended Main Street Vegan Academy to become a Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator. I was originally attracted to the program so that I could help others as a coach. After all, I love to cook and it seemed like a natural fit. What I discovered was the topics that I thought I would be less interesting, turned out to be absolutely fascinating. In fact, it made me rethink my mission in how to help others. I was in awe at so many of the speakers that spoke with a passion, yet without judgment. So often I felt as if light bulbs were exploding over my head. I thought about activism in terms of outreach and education and I haven’t felt this exhilarated since I was a naïve, idealistic college student, ready to take on the world.

A few weeks after the course ended I was on Facebook where a job posting appeared. It was a part-time opportunity to be a humane educator. The requirements included:

  • Being vegan
  • Extensive knowledge about the animal agriculture industry, plant-based food benefits and related environmental issues
  • Education/teaching experience desired but not required
  • Must enjoy working with teenagers and young adults
  • Enthusiastic and positive!
  • Flexible schedule.
  • Must be able to work a minimum of 2 days a week during school hours
  • Must share our philosophy of non-judgmental, non-confrontational and respectful dialogue

This job description was written for me! I immediately decided to apply and sent my resume along with a cover letter. I was offered the job and a few short weeks later I was en route to Atlanta for training to become a Humane Educator with Ethical Choices Program. I arrived on a Thursday afternoon, took a nap and met my new bosses and fellow educators in the lobby.

The next three days that followed were filled with more information than my brain could process! We learned about how to present information to young adults about their food choices and how that affects their health, the environment and the animals. We also learned about the information we were presenting to the students so that could feel more comfortable speaking to the students. The presentations as well the presenters did an amazing job of providing information without bias or judgment. It was made clear that we are not there to tell the students what they should be eating. We are simply there to provide information so that they can make their own choices based on their own ethics, values and beliefs.

The presentations are so well designed to provide education by helping students draw their own conclusions. Our supervisors gave the presentations with such compassion. Our entire class sat in amazement. Every slide is referenced by well-known and accepted institutions or organizations. I think I could speak for my classmates that we were so nervous that we could never present with such poise and knowledge. It seemed like there was so much information to tackle. Slowly, but surely we began to break down the information and made it our own.

Ethical Choices Program is the brain-child of Lorena Mucke. Lorena is one of the kindest, smartest people I’ve met. She is always so positive and has more energy than anyone.   She is literally half my size (I’m 5’10), but she could run circles around me. She was such an inspiration to think that she started giving these talks because she wanted to empower kids with knowledge and choice. The mission of Ethical Choices Program is “to educate high school and college students about food choices, inspiring them to make decisions that are consistent with their own values as related to human health, the environment and animals. By providing factual, mainstream information and promoting respectful dialogue, students are encouraged to think critically about the impact of their choices.” [Read more…]

Ten Steps to Grant Funding Your Vegan Work, by Diana Goldman, VLCE

This post outlines how I obtained grant funding to do what I love (teach free vegan cooking classes to low-income groups) and how you can too!

Network with Likeminded People

At a Forks Over Knives screening, I met an attendee who is a board member of Mission Hill Health Movement (MHHM), a non-profit organization that focuses on the health and quality of life for Boston residents. He was interested in my experience teaching vegan cooking classes.

Present your Idea

I presented a proposal for vegan cooking classes to MHHM board members and shared the following information:

  • Diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and some cancers disproportionately effect underserved populations and they can be prevented with appropriate diet.
  • My goal is to debunk common myths about vegan cuisine by teaching participants that it can be health promoting, nutritionally adequate, delicious, satisfying, inexpensive and easy to prepare.
  • Vegan cooking classes could help to meet MHHM’s mission.

Ask for Introductions to Other Partners

MHHM was eager to form a partnership and willing to provide some funding. They introduced me to a variety of potential host organizations. Ultimately, Roxbury Tenants of Harvard (RTH), a low-income housing development offered to host a series of five, free, two-hour cooking classes in their kitchen. RTH offered to provid some funding towards the cost of running the program, now named “Jazz Up Your Veggies” (JUYV).

Find a Partner

Rich Roll, plant-based ultra endurance athlete, says, “pursue what’s in your heart and the universe will conspire to support you.” That was certainly the case when it came to meeting my program partner Annie. Newly graduated from PCRM’s Food For Life program, she had reached out to my contact at MHHM with the hope of finding leads for teaching cooking classes. He introduced us and I was thrilled to have her join me. She’s become a great friend, teaching partner and is instrumental in the success of our program. I can’t imagine JUYV without her.

Design the Curriculum

Together Annie and I chose four recipes per class that were simple to prepare, delicious, require no fancy appliances or expensive ingredients. Our target was to share recipes that would allow participants to eat vegan on $5/day. Here’s our flyer:

Prepare Pre and Post Program Surveys

One of our main goals was to design and deliver a program that proved that attitudes and behaviors can be changed. The surveys were very helpful for tracking these changes. Survey results provide compelling data for measuring success, modifying the program and attracting future funders.

Reach out to Local Establishments for Donations [Read more…]

The Dietary Habits of Imaginary People, by Camille DeAngelis, VLCE

As a novelist who’s been vegetarian for 16 years (vegan for almost six), I spend a lot of time thinking about the dietary choices of imaginary people. Looking back on my debut novel, Mary Modern—in which the most sensible, take-no-crap character is vegan—it seems obvious that part of me was ready for this lifestyle, though it would be several more years before I connected all the dots. “How did you manage to make that roast chicken dinner sound so delicious?” a friend asked after reading Mary Modern. “Didn’t it make you hungry?”

Not remotely. But I can’t make all my characters vegan from the get-go because they need to learn something over the course of the story—and, yes, as in real life, many of them aren’t going to see what’s staring them in the face.

That’s why I decided on a not-at-all subtle allegory for my first novel after going vegan—I hoped I could make my point without any readers feeling as if they were being judged or preached to. Bones & All, a novel about teenage cannibals, reframes meat eating as flesh eating, though the result is a horror story many readers would rather take at face value. (A teenage girl who eats all her boyfriends! Hilarious!) The novel has resulted in at least one reader going vegan so far, though, and I’m calling that a win.

In my forthcoming children’s fantasy novel, The Boy From Tomorrow, eleven-year-old Alec and his mom have moved to a new town and adopted a vegan diet as a way of giving themselves a fresh start after his parents’ divorce—which is not the best reason, of course, but many dietary vegans consider the animals and our planet a little later on. Alec is happy to devour the results of his mother’s culinary experiments, and recognizes the narrow-mindedness of a “friend” who makes fun of his Tofurky sandwiches. Hopefully Alec and his mom will make veganism feel more familiar and accessible to young readers. [Read more…]

A New Year’s Resolutions Alternative That Works

When I saw this meme on Twitter, I was inspired for 30 seconds and then I laughed. Who’s going to do all this? Maybe a competitive athlete – and that person doesn’t need a meme. But this time of year we come at ourselves with demands like this one. ‘Tis the season for self-improvement and we want to change everything, all at once, and have it last forever. No wonder New Year’s Resolutions are often dismal failures.

I was fortunate this year to read a book in December that saved me from the Resolution black hole in January. It’s SuperGenes, by Deepak Chopra, MD, and Rudolph Tanzi, PhD, a fascinating exploration of epigenetics, a new school of scientific thought suggesting that altering our lifestyle may not just make us feel better about ourselves, but that it might actually alter our genetic makeup. This is Darwin on steroids and quite exciting. It’s about “telling” our genes what to express – their highest potential for health and longevity – and what to ignore, i.e., the inclination to develop some disease that “runs in the family.”

But here’s where it gets practical and wonderful and usable right now, today, for any of us. The authors are adamant that to make sweeping changes, at the first of the year or any time, is simply a way to fail. Instead, they suggest making one doable change per week, a change you plan to incorporate into your life. They’re clear that this is not one change in several areas – diet, exercise, stress management, sleep, relationships, organization, work – but one change in one area. Period.

Not only that, they suggest starting with easy changes. In their view, becoming consistent with vigorous exercise is really tough for most people, so they suggest putting off those kinds of commitments until you’ve put several new but less daunting habits into practice, so when you approach something really challenging, you come to it as someone who aces stuff.

The built-in brilliance of this approach includes the ability to give yourself an extra week if you can’t something perfectly right off. Here’s how it worked for me: my first habit to adopt was to stand when I’m riding the subway. We know that standing is a boon to health and a known preventative to heart failure in later life. “Sitting is the new smoking” is not an unfamiliar phrase to most of us. I’m on the subway here in NYC a bare minimum of 30 minutes a day, sometimes as long as 90 minutes. That’s a lot of sitting time that could be invested in my health-promoting “standing account.” So I started. Unless there’s an extenuating circumstance – like riding with someone who wants to sit, and standing over them would be rude – I stand. That one was easy to get down in a week.

The next commitment was to meditate every day without missing. I’ve meditated for years, but I’d gotten sloppy and was missing two or three days a week. So I made my 7-day commitment to get back in that daily habit and now I’m there, keeping track with my Insight Timer, an adorable little app that times your private meditation, offers guided meditations for people who like those, and has some social groups for app users, including “Veggie Meditators.”

Week 3 I opted to add “walk 10 minutes after dinner.” The idea wasn’t any kind of race walk or sweat-fest, just to follow the Ayurvedic suggestion to take a short stroll after supper as an aid to digestion and sound sleep. The first couple of days, it worked great, but then my husband came back from out of town, encouraging me to eat with him while watching TV, often some movie that would get me sufficiently hooked that my planned 10-minute walk was looking like a try-that-again-next-year New Year’s resolution.

But I didn’t want to give up on it, so I opted to give myself another week for this one to take hold. I told William that we were going to eat the table, no matter what, and that I’d take a ten-minute walk after that. He might have rolled his eyes, but by the third night he was saying he ought to be walking with me.

While each of these is a small shift in itself, the authors frequently reminded me as I read SuperGenes that doing this results in 52 changes over a year. Nobody makes 52 New Year’s resolutions – nobody sane anyway – and yet that’s what we can accomplish in a year’s time by taking a kinder, gentler approach.

What I did write down on New Year’s Eve was a list of small, weekly changes I may want to undertake during 2017. Nothing is in granite, however. If there are things on that list I don’t get to this year, I’ll still have made 52 tiny but powerful shifts before we next watch the ball drop in Times Square. I cordially invite you to join me. Let me know on social media and by calling into the Main Street Vegan podcast when it’s live on Wednesdays from 3 to 3:55 Eastern Time (816-347-5190) and share what you’re accomplishing. Dr. Rudoph Tanzi, SuperGenes coauthor, a longtime vegetarian and near vegan, will be on the program this spring (April 26 is the date I’m holding for him). By then I’ll have made 16 more sweet, subtle life improvements. If this seems appealing, you can do it too.

Note: The book SuperGenes is one I highly recommend and one I know I’ll read many more times. I do need to offer a caveat, however: It contains many, many descriptions of animal experiments, both physical and psychological testing done on and to animals in laboratories. I do not condone animal experimentation and having to read through it (or skip over it) is my one criticism of this book.

Victoria Moran is a vegan of 33 years and the author of books including Main Street Vegan and The Love-Powered Diet. She is coauthor with JL Fields of The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook, coming in December 2017 from BenBella Books. Victoria is shown here with Joel Kahn, MD; the two of them will serve through October 2017 as Peta’s Sexiest Vegans Over 50.

 

 

Is it vegan? Ten non-vegan ingredients hidden in your food, by Susan M. Landaira, VLCE

Have you ever looked at an ingredient package and not known if an ingredient is vegan? Have you eaten something only to find out later that one of the ingredients was made from animal products? If you have, you know the feeling that comes with that. The uncertainty makes you run to google to see what else that ingredient is in that you may have previously thought was vegan. You feel guilty because you’ve eaten it. It’s not your fault. Many of us have had this happen. The solution? Learn to spot ingredients that may be hiding in your food that are not vegan.

Here we will look at ten, but I guarantee you, there are many more. Here’s a suggestion….if you read the ingredients and you aren’t sure if one (or more) of the ingredients are vegan, research it! If it didn’t come from the earth, wasn’t grown in a garden or is hard to pronounce (ie: isinglass), chances are, you do not want to eat it. Keep in mind, these products may be in items other than food, such as candles, cleaning supplies or beauty supplies. Let’s look at a few! [Read more…]

Plant-based spins on holiday classics, by JL Fields, VLCE

The piece “Healthy Holidays: Plant-Based Spins on Holiday Classics” first appeared in the Colorado Springs Gazette Holiday Guide 2016 on November 24, 2016.

Happy healthy holidays are easier than ever. Make a few simple substitutions to traditionally high calorie and high fat ingredients without sacrificing flavor – and get a jump start on any health-related New Year resolutions!

SIDES

Mashed potatoes still rule at a healthy holiday table! Boil or steam potatoes as usual but mash them with a dairy-free butter (Earth Balance, Melt, or Miyoko’s Creamery) and a plant-based milk (almond, cashew, or almond). Use sweet potatoes to bump up the nutrients.

Pair these spuds with a creamy, bean-based gravy.


White Bean Gravy RECIPE ©JL Fields PHOTO ©Kate Lewis

Ginger-Cinnamon White Bean Gravy

Recipe by JL Fields

  • 4 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup (low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans (navy or cannellini), rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (flakes or powder)

Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the butter is melted, add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the ground ginger, cinnamon, and pepper and stir well. Stir in the broth and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and add of the canned (or 1 1/2 cups cooked) beans.

Blend the gravy using either an immersion blender in the saucepan or transfer to a blender and pulse for 20 to 30 seconds. If using a blender, return the gravy back to the saucepan once blended.

Stir in the nutritional yeast, cover the saucepan, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened

Yield: Makes 3 to 4 cups gravy

Modified recipe from Vegan Pressure Cooking: Delicious Beans, Grains, and One-Pot Meals in Minutes by JL Fields, Fair Winds Press. Reprinted with permission.

THE MAIN EVENT [Read more…]

Travel Fit during the Holidays, by Darlene Adamusik, VLCE

This season coming up will be a lot of traveling. Our health and fitness is usually jeopardized based on poor food choices at the airport and lots of sitting around. We tend to indulge, spend a lot of money, and feel guilty about it. I have the solution for you, no more excuses of blaming your travel. There are 6 easy steps to make it work. There is no reason why you can’t do it.
Here are my 6 steps of making the right choices while traveling and staying fit:

Here are my 6 steps of making the right choices while traveling and staying fit:

Step 1: Bring you own food to the airport or during long drives. Save your money and pack your own food. Don’t get anything from the airport because there are no healthy choices and it’s over priced. What I like to use when I travel is my 6 Pack Bag. I’ve been using 6 Pack Bags for more than 3 years, and love them! The bags are insulated and it comes with plastic containers and ice packs. They come in numerous sizes, styles, colors, extremely convenient, and TSA approved. Having a 6 Pack Bag will help you stick to your plan, save money while you’re away from home, and prevent you from making poor decisions.

Step 2: Pack the right stuff on you carry on bag. There is some stuff you will need in your carry on.
This is what I would recommend: [Read more…]

The Sexy Elder Vegan Chronicles: Post #1

I felt sexy once. I was thirty-eight and had a full-length fake fur coat. I was already vegan and stuck a big “IT’S FAKE!” button on the coat, but the attention I got while wrapped in something that imitated animal fur was extraordinary. Men looked at me lustfully, and women looked at me jealously. Everyone seemed to be giving me credit for having more money, more style, more sophistication, and tons more sexiness than I did. For awhile, I liked the attention. Then it started to get uncomfortable. Until people got up close and could either feel the fabric or see the button, I was getting perks for looking as if I’d bought into unspeakable cruelty and exploitation. I wore that coat for one winter, and it went in the box for Goodwill the next.

So “sexy” has never been high on my “how you feel about yourself” list. That’s why I went through several days of mental angst before the entering the “Peta’s Sexiest Vegan Over 50” competition this fall. I’d have far more readily entered a contest called “Most Attractive” or “Most Vibrant” — those seem far more health and attitude. I wouldn’t have felt qualified to enter for “Fittest Vegan Over 50,” although I might have promised to go nuts at the gym and enter next year. But “Sexiest”? Ooo, that’s tough. Maybe because I went to Catholic school….

The writer with Peta's Sexiest Vegan Over 50 male winner, Joel Kahn, MD, Detroit cardiologist and restaurateur

The writer with Peta’s Sexiest Vegan Over 50 male winner, Joel Kahn, MD, Detroit cardiologist and restaurateur

But it’s Peta, and of all the animal rights groups out there, this one has used human sexuality to benefit nonhuman animals effectively from the first “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” campaign decades ago. Peta actually runs three “sexiest” contests every year: your basic “Sexiest Vegan” (I see that one as ravishing twenty-somethings), “Sexiest Vegan Next Door” (I think of those winners as in their 30s, possibly 40s, really good-looking but accessible), and “SVO50” — the mature but hot category. I admire the way Peta operates these contests, choosing both male and female winners — one past winner is transgendered — and I’m especially pleased that they have the over-50 category. We can be sexy (we can even have sex, as creepy as that might strike those younger), and we can be effective for animal rights in some very important ways.

For starters, a high percentage of vegans in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s are as healthy and vibrant as others half their age. Now, I realize that a lot of older people are eating well, living well, and doing well. How much of the vegans-stay-healthier-longer thing has to do with diet, how much with engagement in a dynamic liberation movement and the sense of community that provides, and how much is simply luck and heredity, has yet to be determined, but I want to make vegans. If the fact that I’ve reached sixty-six with all normal lab numbers, no meds, energy to spare, and a pleasant enough appearance is sufficient aspiration to encourage others to stop eating animals, then I’m willing to strut my stuff — the wrath of Sister Mary Benedict notwithstanding.

The competition process was nerve-wracking. I don’t like competition. Any one of the finalists could have been deemed “sexiest” by many measures. Reading what people wrote who voted, though, was one of the most gratifying experiences I’ve ever had. People wrote about being influenced by my books and lectures, about attending Main Street Vegan Academy and how it changed their lives. Some people wrote that simply observing my life as a vegan inspired them, proving what I’ve believed all along, that veganism is, in itself, activism, because people are watching and taking note. Of the people who voted publicly, the youngest one I know of is eleven, and the eldest 93. They inspire me right back.

I plan to post “Sexy Elder Vegan Chronicles” as the year of my “reign” alongside male winner Joel Kahn, MD, progresses. My intention is to look at animal rights from the perspective of someone who was around before the term was coined, and to observe vegans proceeding through life and note how we do. I want to study speciesism and ageism and see where these dual wrongs intersect; and go out into the world with the knowledge that women who are no longer having babies are in a unique position to make this world safe for everybody else’s babies — human and otherwise. I want to work hard on my own health and fitness and report not only the results but the process. The fact is, self-care does get harder over time — whether you’re vegan or not. With history, one collects injuries, physical and emotional. Despite the optimistic Chinese restaurant dish, “Long Life and Happiness,” anybody who lives long in a youth-obsessed culture has to deal with being disregarded and diminished by much of society as whole, and fight for personal happiness while at the same time fighting for one’s cherished cause. If there’s something about growing older as a vegan that you want to read about, let me know. I’m prepared to delve deep, find answers, and share those with you.
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Victoria Moran is the author of Main Street Vegan and eleven other books, and she is currently serving as “Peta’s Sexiest Vegan Over 50,” with male winner Joel Kahn, MD, of Detroit. Listen to Victoria’s Main Street Vegan podcast at www.unity.fm/program/mainstreetvegan, and check out the documentary in pre-production for which she’s producer, The Compassion Project. No offense intended with the Peta2 tee-shirt. Read it: “Vegan After Fifty.”