Saturday, August 24, 2013

What's in a Name?

Shakespeare Quote photo ShakespeareQuoteRose_zpsf10f689f.jpg  
If you're reading this blog, chances are you've already a vegan, or are considering becoming one.  Maybe you're veg-curious, or are simply looking for some new healthier recipes to add to your rotation. Unless you're a family member of mine (hi, Dad!), I don't think you're here just to look at the cute pictures of my kids and pets. Honestly, it doesn't much matter to me why you're here, I'm just happy to have you visit! While I blog partially for myself, consider it an online journal of sorts, I love sharing my food, my family, my life with others. And in turn I'm hoping that I can be a part of yours in some small way.  This lifestyle can be tough at times, it's not always easy to make the compassionate choices, day in and day out.  There are many occasions when it would be so much easier to just eat the burger offered at the bbq, give in to the ice cream temptation, take one little bite of the baked Brie.  Having a community, a place where I can turn to when things get a little bit challenging, makes these moments so much easier to handle.  Since I have yet to find that a local community that meets my needs, I'm so grateful for you here in cyberspace, specifically in the blogosphere.  If I have a question, concern, or just want to rant, I need look no further than my laptop or Smart phone, and here you are.  Thank you for that. 

Here's what I've learned over the short time I've been a vegan: there are basically two reasons one comes to this way of eating.  Health or Ethics, sometimes a combination of both.  Whether you've had a medical scare or are simply trying to improve your health, there's no doubt that going plant-based is the way to go. From Forks Over Knives to The China Study, the research proves it time & time again. In my travels, I encounter mostly this kind of vegan. On the cruise, the majority of the people were there for health reasons, only a handful of them were like me: ethical vegans, those who love animals so much that they can't bear to see them suffer, who strive to live as cruelty-free as possible. 

Now, if you've been around the plant-based community for very long, you'll know that there is a "vegan war" out there.  There are those in the ethical camp who think they're better than the health-driven folks, who feel insulted by the "plant-based" label and are quick to remind us that the Vegan lifestyle is about more than just food. I've seen some really ugly interactions on message boards and blogs, and it saddens me. Tired of the criticism and controversy, one popular cookbook author has gone so far as to not call herself a vegan anymore!

For what it's worth, here's my two cents: I don't care how you come to this lifestyle. If it's to lower your cholesterol, lose weight, or improve energy, you're at the right place. My friend Susan is a great example of this. One of the smartest, most enlightened women I know, she's taking her middle years by storm, determined to be in the best health possible. She's following a whole foods, minimally processed, veggie filled diet and while it's not yet animal-free, it's a big step from where she was before, and she's feeling awesome! I'm thrilled for her, and proud that she considers me an inspiration. 

If it's because you watched Earthlings, Vegucated, or one of the PETA films and can no longer look at a chicken as dinner, I applaud you! That was/is me, no longer able to disconnect the meat on my plate from the animals I adore, I simply couldn't contribute to their pain any longer.

No matter what led you here, the end result is the same: as a result of your choices, fewer animals will die today.  Your reward from the Universe: a healthier body & spirit.  It's a win/win, it's all good! 

I don't care if you call yourself vegan, plant-based, plant-strong, vegetarian, flexitarian, whatever.  Welcome. If there's anything I can do to help you on this journey, please don't hesitate to ask. I don't have all the answers, but I have a list of resources a mile long and if I can't help, I can find someone who can.  

Now that I have that off my chest..grin...I need to finish packing up the RV and prepare to hit the road! We are going to Gainesville today to visit my girls, I can't wait! I'm so looking forward to seeing both Kristyn and Brynna's new homes, to hang out and visit with them.  Kristyn's dad, Glenn, will be joining us so that's sure to be a lot of fun. Since this is an extended birthday celebration, the kids are taking me to a cool veg-friendly restaurant where I'm promised vegan cake, yum!! Hmm...since I've yet to blow out candles nor eat birthday cake, does that mean I'm not really 49? *wink*

Have a wonderful weekend!



  1. I dislike the hostility in the "vegan war" too and enjoyed reading your insights. I am "mostly vegan" as you know, but eat the eggs from my own chickens and will one day have honey from my own bees. While I have heard convincing arguments against this, I am loving the peaceful interaction and harmonious living with the bees and animals on our farm. I believe I appreciate and love them even more now that we are a team, working together, on this little bit of earth.

    Anyway, I appreciate your gracious way of being vegan. Your approach comes from deep love. How silly some folks are to say they are ethical vegans and then spew hate toward humans. We're animals too, right?

    1. Aisling, as always, I welcome your thoughts and perspective! You, my friend, are the epitome of graciousness and thoughtful, purposeful living.

  2. Bravo! Excellent post!

    It's because of things like you mentioned above that I no longer call myself vegan, but plant-powered. I stopped eating animals in May of 2010 after watching Food Inc., followed by many other similar movies/books (Forks over Knives, etc). Like you, I could no longer disassociate meat from the animals who had to suffer to become that meat.

    On the other hand, I'm not going to throw away the Uggs I love to wear, and I do still indulge in bits of cheese here and there (along with the occasional ice cream).

    So basically what I'm trying to say is that anyone who is eliminating meat, eating less meat, or being kinder to animals in any way is okay in my book :)

    1. Laura, exactly! I love that I have several different perspectives here, from friends in different places & eating styles. What we have in common is that we're all trying to do our best for ourselves, the animals, and the planet. Bravo to us!

  3. Michele,
    This was an excellent post and very heart-felt! While I am not completely meat-free yet (and I don't know if I ever will be), I know where my meat comes from and I eat very little of it. Mainly, I still go to the healthy milk based products still, but again, I know where it comes from and the animals are treated right. Buying from a general grocery store is not me any longer, but I don't judge anyone for their decisions either. That is what I also appreciate about you!

    1. Thank you, Linda. As the quote at the top of my blog states, I find it best to "lead with my fork, not my mouth." Oh, I can sometimes hop on my soap box and rant a little bit..grin..but I try hard not to come off judgmental because, honestly, I don't have the right to be!

  4. Michele... thanks for the Honorable Mention! - in the (almost 20?) years we have known each other, you have seen me go through various weight loss programs, but it was always more about shedding the pounds than gaining long-term health effects...

    I finally feel as if I have my priorities straight, with an emphasis on plants and whole foods - honestly, the movie was wonderful inspiration to stay on the path, and it was encouraging to know that a good bit of the damage done is correctable/reversible!

    As I said last night in a Facebook comment: I took this last month to see how much I could accomplish/eliminate, not in the public eye, and was quite pleased with my willpower/determination/motivation. It *is* a journey and I plan to continue it in the direction of a happier/healthier me - I just turned 59 and am hoping to proudly quote Gloria Steinem on August 5, 2014 ("this is what 60 looks like" (and feels like as well, I might add... :-)

    1. Susan, it is my honor to "mention" you! Yes, over the years we both have tried various "diets" in order to lose weight, mainly for the purpose of vanity, at least in my case. ;) As you are fond of quoting, "when we know better, we do better." This is never more true than now, in our..ahem..older & wiser years.

      I'm so excited to bear witness to the changes you're making, and look forward to traveling this journey with you! <3

  5. Hi Michele! I have about 4 to 5 days a week, sometimes up to a week in a row or longer, of meat-free because it is healthy and super good for the environment. I eat just a bit of meat, like a few ounces, when I do eat it. I respect your ways of eating, and *most people* could do better with their health by cutting down on meat. :D

  6. Thank you, Marion, and good for you for finding what works best for your body! :)