But humans are at the center of the universe

It’s unfortunate but I see this all of the time. People claiming that human beings are the apex of all of creation.

So ultimately we humans believe that animals are resources, how is it then, that most find animal factory farming monstrous then?

Some claim humans have been using animals since the beginning of time, and why should we ever think about changing?

Do you really believe that if we have always used animals for, food, shelter, clothing, that that justifies it as sane or good? In the face currently of ecological collapse on multiple fronts –oceanic and all lands?

Humans have always been at war with one another since as long as we are aware of, does that make war good or sane?

Humans have traditionally had much lower life spans, about half of what we have today, does that make shorter life spans sane or good?

Today, our extent to animal manipulation is much more than it ever has been, are you then against this? Animal testing for pharmaceuticals, make-up, house hold products, random experimental designs for ‘science’.

To what extent do you believe animals more resemble plants or rocks than they do humans? To what extent do you believe that animals have no capacity to care for themselves or others or their life? To what extent are Humans more aware, more conscious, more able than animals?

We just happen to be really good with tools, apart from that, I only actually see animals being often times, much more intelligent than us. We are the only species, who has managed to shift the ecosystem so much, that not only are we annihilating our own species, but we are bringing just about every other species down with us. If that isn’t a huge failure of intelligence, I’m not sure what is.

Just because something is weaker than us, I’m not sure how that justifies us, making full use of it. It’s the patriarchal mindset, use what can be used for your own means. Use other races for slaves, because you can, use woman and children for sex and labor without their permission because you can. Use animals for all of your needs, because you can. Use the world and its resources for your needs in excess because you can, Take from the poor, the sick, the helpless and the weak, because they are vulnerable, and it will keep you in power.

This is the mindset of many of the dominant cultures of the world today, They have hidden the messages so cleverly, yet they are still so bold and vibrant since, these are the actions unfortunately much more common among humans than the choice of compassion on this earth.

Our societies have successfully taught humans that this is the normal way, the only way, to gain strength, to gain fortune.

However, what is true compassion, what does living in an ecosphere mean. What is true connection. We live in a world that hardly anyone dare enter, or attempt to understand. We are trapped in the mundane everyday existence of cleaning, working, driving, using our gadgets, absorbing ourselves in made up stories projected onto screens. We are numb. Yet the mystery of the universe, the divine in all creation is here, waiting to be discovered in the minute occurrences that we too often ignore on a daily basis.

Yet, if we choose to listen, if we choose to be present, we can find this unshakable propensity of wisdom, in nature, we are not limited to the spoken words of humans throughout the ages, of course they would be telling the story with the creature of their choice (their race, gender and religion of human) in the center, but that hardly is anything but a boastful lie, to imagine the world as only full to the extent of that one component. Humans can’t exist without the functions of the ecosystem on planet earth, we are hardly important.

We in fact, are so weak, so fragile, so small in the grand scheme of things. To believe humans are at the center of the stage above and beyond all other life. It’s the same mindset as the belief that the Sun rotated around the Earth, claiming everything is only about us. So arrogant, so boastful, so untrue. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfP-XBUbMvs

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But they taste so good tho

I can’t tell you the number of times, I’ve gotten this one, so i know I have other responses to this question floating around this website.

Yesterday, this was the response I gave for this.

well at least you are honest about it. It seems impossible, but the reality is, there are actually some pretty amazing meat free products that many people can’t even tell the difference. I have vegan friends who secretly use faux meat in food, that they make for their family, and their family raves about how good it was– they couldn’t even tell that it wasn’t meat! All it takes is a little effort to find an alternative. And the benefits are well worth it, lbs drop off easily, cholesterol falls to healthy levels, medicines like allergy medicines you thought you needed, suddenly are not needed any more this is only to name a small fraction of the health benefits — to reducing taking out animal products.”

Their response:

To each there own. It’s sad how some animals are tortured yes. I understand why you are vegan. I just like meat. So I don’t think about it!

My Response:

I guess, but ultimately we are all affected by the choices we make collectively. Our taxes go to subsidize meat, which otherwise would be way too expensive for regular use. And the environmental impacts of these choices, also effect our drinking water, soil quality and air quality. This has implications on our health, and even more implications for our childrens health, as they have to grow up in the world we leave behind. I see for you it’s about taste. I’m just expressing, why this is so important for me to talk about. Especially as meat and dairy are the reasons why we have such issues with heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity today. It’s hard to see the suffering, when there is a pretty easy way out.”

but vegan products wouldn’t exist without the animal product version they were trying to imitate

This conversation came up on fb as someone was arguing that if the FDA wanted to allow the regulation that  ‘just mayo’ should not be allowed to exist labelled that because the original recipe of mayonnaise contains whipped eggs, that they should do it.

It’s not completely true that vegan versions of things would only exist if the animal version existed too. Did you know that cooked jackfruit has a texture and taste very similar to pulled pork? We just happen to compare jackfruit to pulled pork because most ppl have had pulled pork before they ever had a chance to try jackfruit. So your right, it’s a form of semantics that is helpful, especially when a meat, dairy and egg culture is most of what people’s foundation is in cooking. But in my mind, we modify meat and dairy much more to resemble plants than we do the other way around. separating every body part, separating fats, adding sugar and salt, fermenting, drying, cooking, pounding, smashing, churning, seasoning… ultimately meat is meat, milk is milk.. if we all ate them in their natural state, raw, and directly from the animal, I’d imagine a lot more people would automatically be more if not entirely plant based, and the variety of milk and meat would be almost negligible except perhaps for a few aquatic species. Yet we don’t consume animal products in their natural state, modifications to meat, egg and dairy are beyond normalized in our culture, in fact many of these products do hardly resemble the animal product found in them, in fact most people may not even really realize if they aren’t reading labels how many animal products are in everything. Think of a poptart. This food is sweet, solid, crunchy on the outside, and oozing with fruity filled insides. The sweetness wouldn’t be possible without fruits, the strongest flavor in the poptart wouldn’t be possible without fruits. The crunchiness texture is more like a plant food– and is largely made of plant foods, milk is liquid. Yet milk is an ingredient in that food, and that food isn’t made to taste like milk. If we take mayo– sure maybe the original recipe was whipped eggs. Yet whipped coconut milk can make a very similar texture to this. But what makes mayo, mayo… the sweet, yet salty, creamy based sauce. The largest ingredient in mayonnaise today, is actually soybean oil. Mayonnaise doesn’t taste like egg, because they have actually flavored it to taste like plants and minerals — salt, lemon and sugar. Egg is just a filler, in fact it’s a little interesting the we put egg in it in the first place if mayonnaise can be just as easily made without it. And by not using eggs, we are saving greenhouse gasses from entering the atmosphere, effluent from chicken egg farms, brutality to hens and baby chicks, brutality to workers inside of those factories, and cholesterol. The truth is, most meat and dairy hardly resemble the original entirety of that substance or the animal it came from. I don’t know anyone who could tell the difference between raw ground turkey, raw ground lamb, raw ground duck, raw ground dog, or raw ground human…. maybe there would be slight color variations, but ultimately they’d be used pretty similarly. We don’t go vegan because we don’t like the tastes or textures of the foods we grew up with, veganism is an ethical stance. There are 100’s of thousands of plants along with those corresponding fruit and vegetables. There is such a wide variety of tastes and textures within fruits alone, yet we hardly make use of a few species since somehow we’ve gotten to the space in time where our societies largely eat animal based products. At this point it’s unfortunately most of what we know about food, there are very few recipes that most ppl are familiar with that don’t contain animal products. i guess ultimately in my mind it shouldn’t matter if a company has slightly tweaked a name. Since companies have been doing it since the beginning. personally it’s much easier if a product that resembles another product can have a similar name so I know what recipes I can substitute it for. If someone wanted a ranch dressing, but it happened to be made with completely different ingredients, yet it was also possibly cheaper than the original ranch dressing… they wouldn’t know to buy the other ranch dressing if it didn’t have a similar name. If the FDA made that kind of a regulation that foods could not have similar names to each other, it would be slightly chaotic. Many companies would end up having to change many of their product names. Think of how many maple syrups are labelled maple syrup without having actually a trace of real maple syrup inside of it. I guess what’s bothersome about it, is the targeting nature of the egg lobby, when ‘just mayo’ isn’t doing really anything different that any other company has been doing since the beginning.

But its human nature

“To many animals, nature is a very cruel, harsh, and unforgiving experience. The planet “Mother Earth” has always been Predators vs Prey. As humans it seems like we have just followed these rules of nature… ”

well its the story that’s been perpetuated the most by society, yet the story that has been painted by a multitude of philosophers and scientists before us is a little more broad, there is also a large amount of cooperation, animals that work together to make life easier for the both of them. There is also compassionate acts by humans and animals with no apparent survival reason. — Or maybe it’s just less on the surface since cooperation among groups can ultimately lead to better survival. Obviously predator and prey relationships are apparent, however there are also many other types of relationships, detrivores, scavengers, photosynthesizing organisms, chemoheterotrophs — organisms that survive off of all sorts of chemicals — sulfur, nitrogen etc. microorganisms are the oldest creatures on the planet, and have much better adapted themselves to all environments than we have. We have largely followed a slim pickings set of traits found in nature. Namely, depleting resources faster than they are able to regenerate at the cost of our own value of life. In addition to, naming ourselves top predator. These both are choices, not facts or necessities for being human on earth. Yet it is definitely a necessity for a diversity of relationships and a wise use of resources for the survival of certain organisms on the planet.

Veganism is expensive…

Vegan meals don’t have to be expensive, but they certainly can be.  Vegan gourmet restaurants, vegan processed foods, vegan specialty products.  These can certainly add up.

Here are a few helpful hints on making veganism as affordable as possible.

My last year of college I actually saved significantly on my food bill by eating vegan.

Granted, I didn’t eat packaged foods, at all. Everything I ate was made from scratch every day.  Every morning I would wake up 1-2 hours earlier to prepare my food for the day.

Helpful Hints:

1- Avoid foods that come in cans, boxes and jars as far as possible.

2- Get to know your local farmers market.  Even better, make friends with the farmers.  Talk to them about their culls.  Most farms end up throwing out lots of food, not because it’s necessarily bad, but because it may not be ‘aesthetic’ enough to sell. Farmers markets are certainly more lenient than supermarkets, but typically most farms have a serious amount of veggies and fruits that they end up giving largely away to employees or go to the dump.  Find out if farmers are willing to work with you — maybe they would be open to you coming and picking it up from their location on their harvest days, or perhaps you can buy these foods in bulk from them for a reduced price.  It’s possible that they may be quite happy to work with you on this.

3- Some grocery stores, have a section of fresh foods that are going at a reduced rate, they may have been on the shelf a bit longer, with perhaps a few spots, but these foods are still edible and can often go for half the price of their shelved counterparts, if not more.

4- Grow herbs in your window sills, basil, parsley, chives, sage, cilantro.  If you have space on the patio or garden, it’s possible to grow tomatoes, green leaves, salad, radishes. Experiment, find out for yourself how much you can fit in the amount of area that you have. One seed packet, can grow often 7-8 plants. Each plant can harvest several servings.  It’s definitely the most bang for your dollar.

5- Some communities have community garden plots.  Sometimes these small plots of land are free to grow whatever you’d like on them, and sometimes it may cost a small amount of money for the season you grow something.

6- Get to know if your area has CSA shares. CSA stands for community supported agriculture. Basically at the beginning of the growing season the farmer sells shares of his produce for that season.  How this works is you may pay a one time installment of 300-400$ depending on the size of the share (often half and full shares are the common features) in order to receive a fresh fruit and vegetables from that farm on a weekly basis.  I get a CSA share from the University campus organic farm. I paid a little over 300 dollars in the spring, in order for a weekly share of veggies that I pick up every Tuesday for about 4 months (if not a little more). In each share of veggies, I get whatever was in season for that week.  Recently the shares may look something like:
1 bundle of beets
1 bundle of kale
1 bundle of basil
1 bowl of raspberries
1 small bag of edamame
1 bundle of swiss chard
1 bundle of parsley
2 heads of lettuce

As the season moves forward the shares have more food,
they start including tomatoes, zucchinis, eggplant, onions, garlic, etc.

It can sometimes be difficult to finish all of the food, I only receive a half share, but it’s really ample amount of greens for the week typically. In some cases volunteering at a CSA may mean bringing home lots of extra stuff, either culls, or extras or in some cases the CSA provides volunteers with free shares.  CSA shares definitely can save a lot, especially when it comes to organic produce.

7- Find others who are into foraging and wild food collecting. There may be local meet up groups, or field days hosted by local universities about wild plants, check local events pages.  The cost of wild food is basically the transportation that may be involved in getting to a place where you can collect. Common wild foods (at least in the intermountain west): Amaranth, wild lettuce, dandelions, plantain, sorrel, clover, grass — actually wheat grass is such a craze in the health food movement, but actually all grass is edible and full of nutrients, the only part of grass that wouldn’t be good for health is a black mold that can sometimes be found in a seed head.

*Note: Do learn the common poisonous plants in your area to make sure there aren’t any edible lookalikes.  Wild foods do tend to have more bitter qualities than their store counterparts, but on that same note they are also typically much higher in nutrients such as calcium, iron and other essential elements.  These should be slowly introduced into the diet, so to not be too overwhelming for the body, large quantities of new foods can sometimes be a little hard on the stomach, but overtime adjustment will happen.

8- I haven’t personally tried this cookbook but Robin Robertson has written a cookbook specifically for vegans wanting to save money, “Vegan on the Cheap”, there is also a book by Ellen Jones, “Eat vegan on 4 $ a day”.  Both having fairly good reviews on Amazon.

9-Also, just remember that by eating vegan, you are saving some pretty hefty expenses that may not occur later on, because you are amping up your immunity through fresh foods.  To learn more about this, please refer to Primitive Nutrition series on youtube, where multiple first hand scientific journals are reviewed on basically the health benefits of a plant based diet. Other helpful resources: (films) fat sick and nearly dead, forks over knives, healing cancer, eat, and simply raw,  (books) nutritarian handbook.  You may find that medications you once needed, may begin feeling less useful, once your body really begins to adapt and thrive off of whole fresh foods.

10- Cooking/Uncooking tips:

*Note: these tips are largely for those living in the US, some of these may be helpful tips in other locations, however depending on the region food selection and prices will vary as local foods will tend to be more available hence cheaper than imported food.  On that note, no matter where you live, buying local foods will most likely be the best value for your money.

When using online recipes or recipes from books and you want to maintain the same quality yet not use such expensive ingredients, here are some go to ingredient swaps that can make a nice difference in your pocketbook.

  •  Cashews and pine nuts — cashews can certainly be expensive, often over $10 for a bag (and much more for pine nuts), and same with almonds.  Try sunflower seeds, often they sell for $3 a bag, being a dryland crop they don’t take a lot of resources to grow.  In fact, they often grow as ‘weeds’ in many arid regions.  You can make cheeses with these, creams, even milk.
  • Cereal — cereal adds up, especially boxed cereal.  The best savings is to have oatmeal instead of cereal, or something else home-made instead of oatmeal.
  • Vegan meats, cheeses, yogurts, ice-cream and other specialty products — this is where the costs of vegan can really hit the pocket.  A lot of these products are 5 dollars each, sure maybe they taste amazing, and maybe they are great for special occasions, but for everyday fair, it will certainly add up.  Also many of these products can be made at home, vital wheat gluten is a common ingredient for vegan meats, cashews or tofu are common in cheeses — however cashews can be substituted by sunflower seeds and tofu can be substituted by chickpea ‘tofu’ http://www.mynewroots.org/site/2014/04/genius-chickpea-tofu/
  • Tofu– I just listed this above, but figured it was worth mentioning in it’s own bullet.  Not that tofu is that expensive, however making your own from chickpea flour is cheaper, http://www.mynewroots.org/site/2014/04/genius-chickpea-tofu/
  • Berries and exotic fruits — of course these are so good for you, however they are often expensive, apples, oranges and bananas are typically the most cost effective fruits.
  • Basil – Basil is amazing, and every now and again I may spend to get some, however, other herbs are much cheaper.  Cilantro and parsley for example typically sell for a fraction of the price that basil does.  Cilantro pesto is awesome– and is personally my favorite, and much cheaper to make than basil pesto. Some people prefer the taste of parsley over cilantro, in that case make pesto from parsley.
  • Ready made sauces — to be avoided, the only sauce that is fairly useful in vegan cooking is tomato sauce, for some reason blended tomatoes don’t always give the same rich texture that canned tomatoes do.  For all other exotic and fun ready made sauces, just skip them.  Healthier sauces can be easily made at home.  Tahini and peanut butter are packaged foods, however if used sparingly within recipes can go a long way for the investment.  Tahini often goes for $10 a jar, but will last months in the cupboard, and is great in so many recipes.  I’ve even made my own milk from 1 banana, 1-2 tbsp tahini and 2-3 cups of water blended.  It may be acquired taste, but for the time I had little time I wanted to invest in actually making a nut milk, this was a perfect solution for me.
  • Supplements– don’t worry too much about this, B12 is important to have but apart from that as long as you are getting plenty of greens, and calories in general, you will have the nutrients that you need from a vegan diet.
  • Pickles — organic pickles can be pretty expensive.  Try buying a cucumber instead, slicing it thin and marinating it in sugar, salt and vinegar.  It may add the right amount of tangy crunchiness to your sandwich that you may not even miss the jarred variety.   (http://www.food.com/recipe/norwegian-cucumber-salad-agurksalat-423204)
  • Olives — Sometimes there are sales on organic olives, but incase it’s not happening, capers are generally more affordable.
  • Bread — If you are really looking to save money, buy flour not bread.  You will get 6-7 loaves for the price of one, if you make your own bread.  This can be time consuming, so again it really depends what level of cost saving you are interested in.
  • Junk food — I know it’s tempting, but chips, cookies, cakes, sugar and fat filled things only serve to deplete the body of nutrients, keeping up the vicious cycle of cravings and hunger. The more quality rich food you have the more full you will be, hence the less you will buy.  Raw food recipes are especially great at satisfying cravings.  Try a raw broccoli soup, you may be surprised at how quickly your nerves and cravings stabilize.
  • Dates, agave and maple syrup– in the US, alternative sweeteners can be pricy, these are common sweeteners in vegan cooking.  Alternatively you can buy stevia — upfront costs may be more, however the quantities needed to sweeten are very very minute, hardly a few grains.  One small container can last years — mine certainly has.  Raisins can also be used, these are much cheaper than dates and can easily replace dates in many raw food recipes.  If neither of these quite fit the bill, agave is certainly cheaper than maple syrup, and can be used sparingly.
  • Buy in bulk, go to the bulk aisle and get everything you want in dried version, cans of beans definitely add up in cost.  Pre-made rice in bags or boxes give you much less value for your money.  Load up on dried bulk food.  *if you have never cooked dried beans, it’s less intimidating than you might think, throw them in a slow cooker for 8 hours while you are at work with ample water alternatively soak them in water overnight and simmer them for 1 hour until they are soft. If you are interested in foods that cook faster, try millet instead of rice, try lentils instead of beans, they don’t require soaking or an hour. They can be done in 20 minutes, sometimes a bit longer, but at minimum about 20 minutes.  I have never been brave enough to use a pressure cooker, but that is another way that these foods can be cooked much quicker.

‘Diet is like religion, keep it to yourself’

The problem is that we are all affected by the dietary choices we make. Animal farms contribute more to global warming than any other industry sector including transportation. We are all affected. If you met somebody who ate humans… you probably wouldnt think that was a personal choice would you? Animals may not be humans, but like humans they feel pain, they have complex social orders and natural inclinations. If we have a choice to promote the wellbeing of those who have little choice in the matter, that goes a long way in making the world a more peaceful place. A little less suffering. It’s not a matter of ‘holier than thou’, because of who anyone is… it’s a matter of each individual being able to make a choice in every moment to create a little less suffering on planet earth. And that option is open to everyone, no one is excluded from that option, therefore no one is better than anyone, because the potential of making the world a little more peaceful exists in everybody. Believing that humanity doesn’t have room for improvement or believing that no human can take choices to promote peace, basically affirms that cruelty and less peace is a personal choice of those individuals. I guess for me I tend to believe that this really isn’t the case for most people. Maybe there’s a disconnect from those who promote messages of peace and those who ultimately want less suffering. This stuff though isn’t just made up, with no substance, there are many actually studies that have been done correlating pollution rates, factory farms, nutrition from dairy and meat and diseases, animal intelligence and animal cruelty … don’t take anyones word for this stuff. The best that can be done.. is actually research it.. .google it… look up articles for this stuff… It’s amazing the information available and actually how this isn’t a religion, it’s a logical approach to working with natural systems. “Cowspiracy” is a really great documentary, along with “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” “Forks over Knives” … This stuff is really inspiring and is life changing. Personally I’ve reversed my own challenges with cancer cells,acne, low energy, and other illnesses through this lifestyle

Vegans think they are more superior and enlightened

It may come across that way, since a message is trying to be conveyed, but think about it this way: everyone is a genius at something. When it comes to an electrician coming to your home to fix some connection, there wouldn’t be judgment as to why they are trying to do this, or explain something to you about how to properly maintain something. Largely, vegan information has been stifled by big business and governments regarding the benefits of a plant based diet in our world and for our health. Just like anyone else who is passionate about a topic, vegans are adamant that this information is a human right, that all humans ought to have access to important information regarding their health and happiness in order to make the best choices to what fits their values best. A lot of people are pretty disgusted to see the cruelty we commit to other members of planet earth, as well as our tax money going into subsidies that ultimately add to lack of environmental regulation of CAFOs and the pollution which regularly flows out of them. There’s no doubt in my mind that you are a genius at something, and that when people talk to you about that thing, you lighten up, you want to share your experience to improve their understanding in some way. We are all guilty of this. For some reason, information regarding public health, is seen as a threat to the patterns and habits we’ve developed over a lifetime. It doesn’t help to shoot down the messenger… the problems will remain. Whether or not anyone speaks about this stuff… we are continually affected by it. In ways of pollution, in ways of health care costs, in ways of cruelty to beings who have not done any action directly against us.