Acting on shame

I read about Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) today, for the first time – specifically, Opposite to Emotion Action. This is a psychological self-help technique wherein a person feels shame or anger, and reverses their actions to alleviate the feeling. The idea is that sometimes, one feels these negative emotions for a good reason, and the best way to relieve the emotion is to “fix” the situation that caused it in the first place. Theory goes, the emotions will change for the better, as you change your behavior. Sound familiar? More


Thankful for Turkeys

A turkey helped me stay vegan when I was doubting my decision.

I grew up eating animals and loved the flavors and textures. It was a big part of my life – my dad’s southern cooking, my mom’s midwestern deliciousness: Pork chops, BBQ ribs, scrambled eggs, cheesy casseroles, I loved all of it.

So going vegan at 18 was really hard. It was a phase at first, an experiment, and at a certain point I was feeling like I had to decide if I was going to keep going or if I was going to give it up.

I went to Farm Sanctuary to check in with the animals, since that was who I was doing it all for anyway. There was this rescued turkey there, who ran up to me and let me pet him. He closed his eyes and purred, pushing his head up into my hand, like a cat. After that moment, I never doubted my decision to go vegan, ever again.

Thank you, dear turkey. Here’s to a future where Thanksgiving is about gratitude for a good harvest, not about hurting sweet little people like you and all the other animals we humans tend to forget love peace and good food just as much as we do.

Click here for Gentle Thanksgiving recipes.

Meet the turkeys at Farm Sanctuary, in New York or California, at this year’s Celebration for the Turkeys! Or, click here to “adopt” (sponsor) a rescued turkey.

Photo: Rhonda, a rescued turkey

The moment I stopped eating meat

After I made my Vegan Evolution video, I realized I had left out an important story – the moment I stopped eating meat! Watch this short video to learn about the pivotal moment in my life when I went from being a meat lover, to never eating meat again.

The moment I stopped eating meat

I would love to hear from you – what do you think about this video? Have you had similar experiences? Are you still struggling with your relationship with animals? Leave me a comment or email me!

Vegans oppressing vegans

I know I’m oppressive at times, in my language and in my actions: I have white privilege though I’m of mixed race, I went to an ivy league school so I have academic privilege, I have acquired American and economic privilege that makes a lot of my vegan choices easier and more plentiful than they would be otherwise. And where there’s privilege there’s oppression, whether we intend it or not.

On that note, especially if you’re white and/or unaware of the concept of intersectionality, please check out this incredibly honest and insightful video from Breeze Harper (via Vegans of Color): Black Vegan Mammy-ism: Sacrificing My Emotional Health for the White Vegan Status Quo

VIDEO: My Vegan Evolution

This video is about my vegan evolution, so you get to hear how obnoxious I was as an early vegan (and what happened to make me, I hope, less obnoxious), how my friends helped me on my way, what happened when I worked for PETA for two ill-fated weeks, and some tips for other people embarking on this journey.

Click here to watch the video, and please leave me comments – I’d love to hear what you think. Thanks for watching!

VIDEO: I have a confession

Want to see a vegan cry? Here you go. This is the first time I’ve ever made a video like this. Yesterday I did something I deeply regret; this is me repenting. I’ve never been this honest and open before, about how I feel about animals, so it’s a little scary, but I think it’s something I have to do to be true to myself and my ideals.

Click here to watch and comment on the video. Thank you!

“Vegan diets becoming more popular, more mainstream”

Have you noticed your friends and family opening up to the idea of veganism in a new way recently? I know I have! I feel like the whole world is going vegan – it’s really different than just a few years ago, when I would talk to folks about it and they often thought it was just a weird fringe thing. Leave a comment to tell us if you’ve noticed this too! (Or if you’re a recent vegan, or on your way there, tell us – why now?)

Following up on yesterday’s “Veganism on the increase as more people question eating meat”, here’s more good news! In “Vegan diets becoming more popular, more mainstream” (Washington Post), Michael Hill writes,

Abstaining from animal products is an ancient practice found in cultures worldwide. But veganism never got traction in meat-loving America. Tracye McQuirter, a vegan for 23 years and author of “By Any Greens Necessary,” a vegan guide aimed at black women, said things were different until about a decade ago. While she was part of a vegan community in her hometown of Washington, she says there was little understanding beyond it.

“People did not know what it meant,” McQuirter said. “There were not a lot of options in terms of grocery stores. There was no Whole Foods… We had to basically cook everything for ourselves.”

That’s changed. More than half the 1,500 chefs polled by the National Restaurant Association for its new “What’s Hot in 2011″ list included vegan entrees as a hot trend. Vegan entrees came in at No. 71 out of 226 trends (beating out organic beer and drinkable desserts) – that’s far from No. 1, but evidence of veganism making inroads beyond urban strongholds like New York City and Los Angeles. Some chain restaurants like Souplantation and Pizza Fusion even mark vegan items on their menus…

Read the rest of the article here.

Yoga and Veganism by Ethan

A big thank you to Ethan for writing this piece for Vegan Ithaca! Ethan is a yoga instructor – check out his website here.

First off, I have a confession to make. Well, its not really a confession cause I know who I am inside, but some people on this forum might care about the following fact – Sometimes I eat cheese. There, the secret is out. Will I be banned from this blog? Who knows? :-) But other than the occasional cheese (or monthly bi-monthly cup of yogurt), I eat 90%+ raw vegan food, with the other 10% being vegetarian.

OK, so to the actual article. This article is about Yoga and Veganism, but first a somewhat-related detour.

I just realized something – being vegan is kind of like being a virgin! Or maybe its the other way around, I’m not sure. ‘Say what???’ Stay with me on this one for a second… Let’s say someone ate a hamburger when they were 10 years old and now at age 40, they have been vegan for 30 years. Would we not consider them a vegan because of what they ate a burger 30 years ago? Of course we would consider them a vegan! I feel its the same thing with being a virgin. Just because we had sex before, doesnt mean we can’t reclaim our “innocence.” I know this article is supposed to be about Yoga and Veganism. I just used the example of sex paralleled with veganism because they both show that who we are, and in particular our choice to be a “vegan” (although, personally, I dont like saying “I am [FILL-IN-THE-BLANK-WITH-A-DESCRIPTION-ABOUT WHAT-THE-HECK-I-EAT]” does my Self justice) is more about our expression of life NOW, not our past expression our who we were…

And this is what Yoga teaches….

It Ain’t Easy Being Green: Memoirs of a Veggie Cowgirl

Erin McNellis went veggie while living in Ithaca – and now she’s our first guest author! “Being in such a progressive place definitely influenced my decision,” she told me, when she sent this piece in for the site.

It Ain’t Easy Being Green: Memoirs of a Veggie Cowgirl
(Note: names have been changed to protect the innocent!)

I became a vegetarian reluctantly. My two best friends in high school were vegetarians, so for years I had no choice but to champion the life of the carnivore. While Kate and Jessica wrinkled their pretty noses, I was the girl going out with the boys for all-you-can-eat ribs at Big Ed’s Barbecue. I believed in the food chain, meat was delicious, but also – and not unimportantly – eating meat marked me as a different kind of girl, one who made dirty jokes and drank hard liquor and just might be talked into a ride on the mechanical bull in the back of Big Ed’s.