Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gary Yourofsky's Speech

I finally got around to watching this video. Well, let me be clear. I finally brought myself to watch this video. Lisa's Days was kind enough to leave me an inspirational comment in a previous post, and she said this video turned her from veggie to vegan. I was scared to watch it. I didn't know what to expect. Horrific slaughterhouse scenes? Screaming animals? I've seen so many videos like that, but finally I clicked the link.

It's about an hour long, and i watched the entire thing in one sitting as soon as I clicked it. It's basically a college lecture by an animal rights activist. And I stress the term "activist" because he's actually done things like breaking into labs and freeing animals. But, his rationale on being a vegan, our collective lack of compassion towards animals, and the nutritional realities of veganism are very compelling. It's impossible to argue with his points.

Towards the end of the video, he shows the students some graphic slaughterhouse and factory farm footage, about 3 minutes worth. Since seeing that, I think I've eaten meat or dairy twice. Every time I crave it or think about ordering it those images appear in my mind and I can't go through with it. He reminded me of my own compassion which I lost recently, apparently.

So, I highly recommend watching this if you're on the fence, or are looking for good talking points when discussing veganism with others. Here it is:

Monday, August 8, 2011

It's not easy.

Generally, I try to be fairly positive. But, today, I have to voice a pet peeve of mine. A loud chorus from the vegetarian/vegan community states how "easy" it is to go veg, or vegan. I understand the motivation in saying this - they want to overcome the barrier most people have in changing their diets. Or they're trying to hype themselves up - also understandable. But, the truth is, it's not so easy. It's really not easy. It's actually very difficult. And framing it otherwise does the community a disservice.

In order to get proper nutrition with a vegan diet, I have to be super-on-top-of-it. We're talking daily fortified smoothies, constantly eating snacks like fruits and nuts and seeds, and trying to find things on menus when in a rush or at less-than-friendly restaurants. This is not easy. And if it's not done properly, it results in weakness or fatigue or malnutrition. Plus, regular meat eaters/lovers crave meat. This is a huge barrier to overcome. Overcoming, culture, access to vegan food, and personal discipline are all huge factors.

So, what do I suggest? Truth. If you truly believe it's super easy than by all means keep saying it. But, I say it would help to have empathy for those who struggle (like myself). For example, say someone decides to try and be vegan and they find they're having constant cravings, or difficulty with their families. If they only see and hear from the community how easy it is, it's going to make people feel like failures. That's not cool. I guess that's why I started this blog - to prove it could be done, easy or not.

I still hope it will inspire others to try this vegan thing, even though I'm still struggling.