Tag Archives: Health

Out with the Old

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope each of you have had a safe and enjoyable holiday so far.  Like last year, it was another snow-less Christmas here in Toronto, that is until Monday night when we got our first snowstorm of the season.  Too bad it was three days too late to have a white Christmas but at least the lack of snow on Christmas Day meant safer travelling for everyone.

Over the holidays, I re-watched a great lecture given by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, the author of several books including, The 30-Day Vegan Challenge.  A renowned speaker as well, Patrick-Goudreau approaches her teaching as a “how-to” for many people.  As she explains in her lecture called The Rise of the Excuse-itarian, there’s a lot of information on why people are vegan but her mission is to help people do the how – to guide people into making the transition from eating meat and dairy to plants and, “to do it joyfully, healthfully, and to do it confidently.”   Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

The Reasons Mount

In late October of this year, I read the headline – as I’m sure many of us did – that the World Health Organization (WHO) published a report that the consumption of both red and processed meats can increase our chance of certain cancers due to the carcinogens contained in them.  The report was based on, “an analysis of more than 800 epidemiological studies,” which was evaluated by 22 scientists, from 10 countries, at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Apparently there are several designations of carcinogens that are the biggest threats to causing cancer, with Group 1 being the highest and most dangerous. To put it in perspective, tobacco and asbestos are both in Group 1 and now, according to the report from WHO, so is processed meat, such as hot dogs, bacon, sausages and even, “meat by-products, such as blood“.  The report placed red meat (beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse, and goat) in a Group 2A category and found these products to be “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Continue reading

Tagged , ,

The Lies We’re Sold

I’ve always been fascinated by marketing and advertising.  As a kid I can remember looking at the subway ads as I rode the train with my mom and being mesmerized by them.  I would study them intently and try to figure out what the ads were for.  My dad worked in advertising for years and I’m sure that also added to my interest.  It wasn’t until high school when I took a Marketing class one year that a great teacher by the name of Mr. Roth really opened my eyes up to how marketing worked and encouraged his students to critically think about what companies were actually selling through their jingles, logos and products. There were lessons from Mr. Roth’s class I still think of today when I see ads, studying and dismantling their message in my head.

I still find marketing interesting although 95% of it just pisses me off now, in particular the kind with laughing cartoon animals promoting their dead selves as product. But even the most obnoxious ads for a restaurant’s rib or seafood fest still do not enrage me as quickly or as ferociously as a health organization endorsing animal products to prevent disease and promote public health when that organization’s major corporate partner is the very industry that sells said product.  It bothers me is when it is also happens to be an assful of lies. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , ,

Animal Rights is a Human Problem

Back in June when I participated in my first ever protest march for animal rights, one of the speakers who spoke to the crowd prior to the march was an activist named Paul Bali.  He’d been in many marches before and he shared a story of one protest he’d been on where someone yelled at him from the street, “Human problems first!”  This is not a surprising reaction.  I’ve written about this before, this “but-what-about-the-starving-children” response humans seem only to have developed toward the topic of animal rights, one which no doubt every vegan has experienced at some point. As I’ve also mentioned previously, this attitude only seems to occur when discussing the treatment of animals we eat.

For instance, if I were to be a staunch advocate on behalf of abused or exploited dogs and cats or even wildlife conservation, I would bet my next paycheque I’d never hear the same “arguments” when advocating on behalf of farm animals: “Guess you don’t care about poor people, eh?” or “I guess people living on the streets don’t matter then.”  No one would dare say that.  As long as I speak on behalf of animals we don’t regularly find on our dinner plates, I’d rarely be challenged. I might even be called a hero or a compassionate person.  But as soon as a vegan mentions considering the suffering and rights of cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, sheep, lobsters, fish, etc., look the fuck out.  Out comes the name-calling and the stereotypes. A compassionate person becomes a crazy person.  A hero becomes someone with nothing better to do with their time.  An advocate becomes a hippie; bravery becomes brainwashing.  I’m not calling all vegans heroes or brave – I’m (hopefully) illustrating how the labels change depending on the animal.  A person advocating on behalf of dogs is no different from a person advocating on behalf of pigs – the message is the same, only the animal is different.  And that’s where animal rights activists differ from say, an omnivore who truly loves their pet dog: activists view all animals as equal because of all animals’ capacity to suffer.  A pig shouldn’t be subjected to factory farming any more than a dog should simply because we don’t want to give up bacon. Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

The Knowing

If I had to use only one word to describe how my life has changed since becoming a vegan, I would have to say its transformative. It has changed me in ways I’m still trying to assimilate.  My health has improved (my cholesterol level is 3.9 combined – all without medication), my physical shape has changed, and even though my personality flaws remain fully in tact (impatient, hot-headed), I feel like a different person on the inside.  Even things that seemed of minor importance at the time now seem connected when I look back: I got a pixie cut last year after having long hair nearly my entire life, I decided to ride a bike regularly after a decade of not even owning one, I don’t get shit-faced drunk like I used to, I’ve re-learned to cook without animal ingredients, and I even make my own deodorant now!  I’ve definitely become much less afraid of trying new things.  Changing my view of animals and re-defining what food is has freed me in other areas of my life.  I don’t even think about dieting anymore; I don’t count calories, I don’t starve myself and I no longer subject myself to punishing workouts.  Food has become my friend rather than a shaming device and exercise has become a natural activity for me rather than a chore I have to hold myself to for a certain amount of time each day before it can “count”.  Put simply, if someone were to ask me about becoming vegan (they rarely do), I could honestly tell them it’s changed my life.    Continue reading

Tagged , ,

Reimagining Menus

A friend of mine tells a story that happened to him a few years ago when he stopped at a diner in small-town Ontario and was shocked to find a veggie burger listed on the menu. He’s a vegan so naturally, he ordered it.  When the burger came to the table, it was clearly not a veggie burger but a ground meat patty with lettuce and tomato.  When he told the waitress this was a mistake, she informed him there was no mistake – that was what he’d ordered.  Questioning her further, she said:

“That’s the veggie burger – it’s our regular burger that comes with lettuce and tomato.”

Alrighty then. Continue reading

Tagged , ,