Posts Tagged ‘Why Vegan?’

How to tell kids the truth about meat without inducing a meltdown

June 5, 2013

*Tweeeeeeeeaaak!* That’s the sound of my heart wrenching in joy!

In this video-gone-viral (the original has almost 2 million hits), we get to witness the very instant a child discovers that the food on his plate was an animal. I know this scenario is one that you might often approach (avoid) with supreme reluctance, unsure whether the moment of truth will teeter toward revelation or meltdown.

Watch before continuing (it’s only 2 minutes):

Image

Wipe off the tears!

Like I did with my elementary school students, this mom gently stated the facts—without emotion, hesitation, or sugarcoating. You’ll hear me say this over and over again: when we speak frankly to children, they pay attention because they feel like they’re being let in on a secret. And when we give them the information they need to make educated choices, they choose wisely.

Little Antonio wasn’t scared, overwhelmed, or disturbed. The truth empowered him to take action and DO something—”a beautiful thing.”

These books are here to help you find the words to share your views with a little one (copies are on their way to Antonio in Brazil now!).

Best!

Ruby

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Ready-to-go shareables for Twitter and Facebook:
“When we give kids the info they need to make educated choices, they choose wisely.” @ruby_roth #vegan #provethepoint youtu.be/BRwj6LEiUys

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Animals in Entertainment

May 16, 2012

Image: Reuters/Ognen Teofilovski

A few years ago I went to the Los Angeles Zoo for the last time. As I stood amidst a rowdy crowd of laughing frat boys, parents with cameras, and children tapping at the pane of glass that separated us from a troop of chimpanzees,  I felt a profound shame. I was fixated on the graying shoulders of one elderly chimp who sat alone in a corner near to us, his massive hands laying still on the concrete.  He had the muscly forearm of a strong old man, so eerily familiar, it was dizzying. I was staring at life-sentenced prisoner who had lived, aged, and would die in this enclosure…for what?

Image: Suzi Eszterhas/Getty Images

The zoo and marine life park industries know the discomfort their visitors are apt to feel.  In the face of growing eco-consciousness, their public relations committees have responded with concerted efforts to market themselves in the same unified way across the board—as centers of civic pride and educational enrichment. At every turn, they assure us of their benevolent mission of conservation, sensitizing children to animals, and protecting endangered species so that we ignore what’s obvious before our very eyes.

The reality is that zoos and marine life parks are the opposite of what they purport themselves to be—and industry insiders all know it. They are not in the business of education or conservation, but rather entertainment, and they only further desensitize us to the use and abuse of animals.

Even the best zoos and marine life parks have track records of abuse, unnecessary death, and the illegal trafficking of animals. The majority fail to engage in effective programs for conservation or the protection of endangered species. With limited access to a broad gene pool, the infrequent success of breeding endangered animals tends only to produce weak specimens. In the rare case when an animal is successfully bred, their survival in the wild is unlikely—especially because animals born in captivity are hardly ever released into natural habitats, but more often used to propagate the industry.

A vast number of zoo and marine life park animals suffer stress-related diseases, abnormal maternity, self-mutilation, and aggression. Tilikum, the infamous orca who landed at Sea World San Diego after being stolen out of the waters of Iceland in the 1980s, has been responsible for the deaths of three people,  yet Sea World continues to “rehabilitate” and keep him at work for profit. A vast number of zoo elephants are fed a daily diet of painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications to hide ailments caused by inactivity and confinement in artificial enclosures. The list goes on.

Animals in entertainment also exhibit stereotypies—repetitive movements associated with schizophrenia, trauma, and autism. If you’ve been to the zoo, you may have noticed it. Swaying, rocking, tics, and marching in place—common to captive animals—are signs of suffering, trauma, and poor conditions. In many cases, stereotypies are caused by the abnormal growth of brain cells called dendrites in the seeking systems of the animals’ brains, a consequence of solitary confinement and lack of stimulation. These signs signify that these captive animals live in consistently frustrated states. The worst rescue cases don’t exhibit stereotypies whatsoever, but stand still and unresponsive, having biologically “given up” on exerting their instincts. Because dendrite growth is like a scar on the brain, recovery is rare.

What do we really learn from the captive animals we observe on display at zoos and marine life parks? They are but representations of the idea of their wild counterparts, whose movements, eating and hunting habits, and familial behaviors remain unseen.  The placards we read tell us about the lives of those free and wild animals, not those before our eyes, whose individual stories the park directors hide.

Zoos and marine life parks may elicit a feeling of wonder from our children, but they do not encourage an authentic or lasting reverence for the lives of animals. If they were effective, people would run straight from the zoo to join animal protections organizations. Instead, most families head to the park’s café for hot dogs. In fact, under the San Francisco Bay Aquarium website’s “Conservation” tab you’ll find a seafood restaurant advertisement masked as a call to sustainable action. Why not list the bay area’s many veg restaurants instead? That would truly be “voting with your fork!” At San Francisco’s Steinhart Aquarium, you can admire the octopi downstairs and then dine finely on them upstairs at the Moss Room.

Photo: San Francisco Bay Aquarium

Photo from the Moss Room.

Nearly every option on Sea World’s dining menus is animal-based.

Don’t we have “bigger fish to fry than zoos and sea life parks?” some people will ask. I say turning our attention to the use and abuse of animals reveals a great number of issues we need to face—and they are all connected. To patronize live animal displays reinforces the anthropocentrism our society tends toward. This self-involved outlook is the root cause of the environmental, ecological, economical, and health crises we find ourselves in.  It teaches us that our technology, education, material objects, and daily desires are more important than the very ground we walk upon, more important than the wellbeing of all living things across the world. The same mindset that allows us to abuse animals and irreversibly violate nature drives our desire to eat what we please without consequence, buy homes we can’t afford, and dangerously fracture the earth for temporary supplies of petroleum.  These are distractions from true solutions and change. It may seem invisible at first, but this kind of corruptive education begins in youth—at the zoo, at the marine life park.

We don’t have to miss out on anything. We can explore new ways of instilling a reverence in children for nature and the true lives of animals, ways that have an authentic impact on our hearts and minds. This kind of education lasts a lifetime.

Find a local animal sanctuary to visit or volunteer at a shelter near you.

The Protein Myth

May 10, 2012

There are so many myths that meat-eating-vegan-haters have constructed over the years about why a plant-based diet is bad for you—it’s just straight up laughable.  But the greatest myth of all is the all too familiar question “Where do you get your protein?” The question is so ingrained into the consciousness of the American public, I can remember asking it myself when I was young.  The best part is that most people who ask that question don’t even know what protein is.

As meat loving Americans, we are obsessed with protein. Back in the days, athletes used to eat steaks before competitions because they thought it would improve their performance.  Shiiiit, I used to eat raw eggs after working out because, like Rocky, I thought I needed it to build muscle.  There is this idea that without animal protein, you will not only perform poorly, you may just wither away and die.  Well I’ve been vegan for sixteen years…and I’m thriving.

As Americans we usually get too much protein, not too little (remember that extra protein is stored in the body as fat).

So what is a protein? In layman’s terms,  proteins are made of chains of amino acids, which are found in all foods, not just meat and dairy. Of all the different amino acids, only eight are essential, meaning we need to consume them in food because our bodies do not produce them. As all plant proteins contain the full array of essential amino acids—albeit in different amounts—plant-based foods become entirely sufficient suppliers of protein when you go vegan.

Here are some amazing sources of vegan protein: dark leafy greens like kale, chard, mustard, and even Romaine lettuce; hemp seeds or rice protein powder, nuts, beans, seeds, and superfoods like spirulina and chlorella.  Typically, one needs about 0.4 grams of protein per day for every pound of healthy body weight. Some people need more protein, some less, but in any case, plant-based foods can certainly and easily fulfill anyone’s dietary needs.  If you start your day with a hemp powder smoothie, have a bowl of lentil soup for lunch, and a big salad topped with spirulina and pumpkin seeds and a side of quinoa, you’re good. On some days you might consume more, on some days, less—the key is adding new foods to your weekly repertoire. Let’s not forget where Popeye the Sailor Man got his knock-out power—spinach!!!

If you don’t think that you can get diesel from a plant-based diet, think again. Just ask Iron Mike Tyson—vegan.  Olympic medalist Carl Lewis—vegan. Mixed martial arts fighters Jake Shields, Nick Diaz, Jon Fitch…the list of vegan superheroes goes on and on until the break of dawn…myth dispelled.

The protein-deficiency myth has pushed been by the meat and dairy industries to instill fear of veganism, sell crap, and make us doubt that nature has not done enough to nourish us with greens, fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables.  Seriously?  Let’s not forget that the largest most powerful animals on the planet are herbivores. Gorillas, giraffes, hippos, horses and rhinos—WHAT!  I personally feel strong as an ox—oh snap! Oxen are vegan, too!

There are so many deficiency worries when it comes to the vegan diet, I can only think that most people just take for granted that the mainstream information they’ve been fed their whole lives is accurate. Proof? The other common questions are always the same: “Where do you get your calcium?” “Where do you get your iron?”  “Where do you get your Omega 3s?” And of course the only one that’s actually justifiable: “Where do you get your rockstar clear skin?”

Damn, I feel good…but that’s just how you feel when you’re vegan!!!

I’d go vegan, BUT…

August 24, 2011

Were you considering going vegan but all your vegan and vegetarian friends look like they’re dying? Or did you try going vegan yourself, but you ended up wilted and weak? If that’s a “hell to the yes,” we totally understand. While most vegans we know are thriving and glowing with health, vegan-eating doesn’t necessarily denote healthy eating. We mean, almost anything is better than a diet of dead, leukemia-stricken flesh and pus milk—but to be optimally healthy, you have to be eating non-processed whole foods, superfoods, and lots of greens. The more raw, mineralized, nutrient-rich foods you have in your daily repertoire, the better you’ll feel—and the more likely you are to stay vegan.

If your vegan friends are not lookin’ so hot, most likely, they are living on processed concoctions of faux meats, soy cheese, rancid oils, breads, potato chips, and pasta… that’s a whole lot of dead food—fried, boiled, baked, and burned—to feed their screaming yeast infections. And your vegetarian friends, they’re piling dairy on top of all that! You just can’t sustain a healthy immune system on that garbage.

Granted, even if you’re eating all the right things while you transition, you still might have ups and downs on your journey. Often, these health hiccups are evidence of the “Herxheimer effect” —essentially, cleansing reactions. Clearing out the havoc that meat and dairy causes in the body is a real thing and can take time. These are not reasons to start eating meat and dairy again, but to look further into feeding your body right, especially while you cleanse.

So, if you’re feeling uncertain about going vegan because of our soy-guzzling brothers and sisters (we still love them for their cause), look a little further to the beaming and bright-eyed vegans who know what’s up. We’ll feature many of them here. We even have vegan athletes on our side now who look like superheroes and have one thing in common—they eat a lot of fresh, raw foods: triathalon champion Brendan Brazier, MMA fighters Jon Fitch, Nick Diaz, and Mac Danzig, figure competitor Claudia Cuellar, and b-boy icons—Mr. Wiggles and Flowmaster, not to mention a host of other modelesque, in-shape vegans who rep our culture raw.

It’s a new era. Those invested in health and physicality are redefining the means and methods to strength, endurance, recovery, and longevity—not to mention quality of life.  So don’t be scared. Get prepared to do it right.

WHY VEGAN?

August 22, 2011

1. ANIMALS:
Whether animals are “free-range” organic or raised on a factory farm, there’s no such thing as humane slaughter. Even most small, local farms must “process” their animals at USDA slaughterhouses in the end.  Check this short overview of standard practices in the pork, poultry, dairy, beef, and seafood industries. If you eat meat and dairy, you’ve had this in your belly:


2. FOOD & HEALTH:
We know that on a plant-based diet, Diabetes is being reversed (1) and people are living healthfully into their 100s (2); we know that an average MD gets less than 20 hours of nutritional training (3, 4), that Big Pharma literally has hires cheerleaders to rep their meds (5) and provides their loyal doctors with trips to Hawaii (6, 7); we know that the masses fighting for  healthcare plans—eating the way they do, will continue to be sick unless they aim for health instead. We’re over getting played. We now have access to the most innovative information and the best foods and natural medicines on Earth…and it turns out, the keys to health and longevity are simple.

3. POLITICS:
What we eat is linked to every major political issue there is: world hunger, environment and climate change, energy, water waste, civil and labor rights, healthcare, oppression, wildlife and endangered species, and more. By going vegan, you push and pull your support of these issues more directly and more often than you can at the voting booth. Put your money where you mouth is and use the most powerful political tool we have to influence change.

4. ENVIRONMENT:
The U.N. reported in 2006 that animal agriculture causes more pollution than all forms of transportation combined. Both eating and wearing animals is dirty business, directly contributing to global land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water waste and contamination, and loss of biodiversity. This is not the trail we wish to leave behind.

5. CONSCIOUSNESS:
If we hear one more animal-eating yogi utter “Loka samasta sukhino bhavantu” (May all beings everywhere be happy and free); if we are solicited by one more Greenpeace street-volunteer who still eats fish; if we’re invited to one more hot-dog barbeque in celebration of Juneteenth…you get the picture.


Milk: Got toxins?

July 5, 2011

This video will blow your mind.

After, if you’re first thought is “But I only buy organic dairy,” consider this:
Every environmental pollutant in the world’s air, including radioactive particles, bioaccumulate up the food chain, becoming more concentrated the higher you go. The pollutant dioxin (a by-product of plastic production), for example, is found concentrated in Ben and Jerry’s ice cream at 200 times the safe exposure level. So even if you’re drinking milk from organic, grass-fed cows, you’re still dosing yourself with toxins. After the 1986 Chernobyl, Ukraine nuclear disaster, there was a 900% increase in newborn deaths in Boston, MA. Unknowingly,  pregnant and nursing mothers drinking dairy (including dairy from grass-fed cows) were poisoning their babies with I-131 concentrated in their breastmilk. Sarcastically, it is said that the “best” way for women to detox is to breastfeed.

Proof enough? Your best bet is to eat low on the food chain. And lucky for us, there’s ridiculous options. A few of our favorites: Dr. Cow Seed Cheese (treat yourself, it’s craaaazy! Historical note: before dairy cheese existed, there was seed cheese), Daiya cheese,  Coconut Bliss, and KindKreme (if you’re in  L.A., it’s a must).


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