Today is Michael & my 10 year anniversary. TEN YEARS!!! I am so blessed to have him in my life!
Anyway - I don't know about all you folk, but cooking is low on my "to-do" list. I'd rather be (outside, in yoga, playing on the computer, chatting on facebook) than writing a blog about cooking when I'm not cooking. HOWEVER. I did recently sign up to write a series of articles, celebrating the Sabbats as a vegan. I started off with the following article which I did NOT re-read OR edit. So... yeah. :D
Most people think of “vegans” as those people that don’t eat meat. However, the definition on Dictionary.com states a vegan is “A person who does not eat or use animal products”. Veganism is not only a dietary choice, but a way of life in which someone chooses to not only NOT eat animal products but also not wear them or use them in any way. For the sake of my discussion here, I will only touch on veganism as a dietary decision, versus as a way of life as that would prompt a much larger discussion than what I have room for.
I always assumed it was a widely known fact that people knew vegetarians didn’t eat meat. When telling someone I was a vegetarian I always received an inquisitive look, however they almost always had an idea already in their mind of what I would say next. However, when I became vegan April of 2011, I received an overwhelming amount of puzzled looks followed by “What’s that?”.
Well… a vegan is someone that doesn’t eat meat, dairy, eggs, often honey. However – there are other things that they don’t eat that people are less familiar with. Some breads for instance contain milk or egg. Some beers have been processed with gelatin, and while we’re speaking of gelatin that crosses jello and marshmallows off the list. What is gelatin? You know when you cook a turkey and the liquid in the pan cools & hardens up a little – like jello? Yes. That is gelatin, but it can come from many sources, not just turkey.
Some sugar is processed with bone char, so it is often considered to be not vegan. Even some food dyes are made by crushing beetles, you know that strawberry yogurt you love so much? The red dye? Yeah. NOT strawberries. Even salad dressings can have an animal based product in them to keep the oils from separating. Honestly, what is a vegan supposed to do?
I did not take my decision to become vegan lightly. There were many reasons to decide to remove the last remaining dairy and seafood products from my diet. There is more scientific data out there that fish are sentient beings, capable of thinking and feeling. I had a pet goldfish once… it was dumb. However when he was hungry and saw me coming his way he got all excited and started swimming back and forth to get my attention. He KNEW seeing ME meant food. We also know that chemicals found in seafood, especially the larger fish, such as PCBs build up in their bodies are transferred to OUR bodies when we eat them. It wasn’t a hard decision to take them out of my diet.
It was also not at all difficult for me to remove egg from my diet because… well, because raw eggs gave me the heebee jeebees. Also, because I knew that it probably came from an abused chicken that had never known freedom and also that the moment it stopped producing eggs, would be one of the last moments of its life before it became cat food. I didn’t want to be the reason one more chicken was stuck in a tiny cage without fresh sunlight, fresh air or freedom.
When it came to dairy products such as milk and cheese… I had a MUCH harder time. I love cheese. I could sit down and eat a whole 8 oz block of almost any cheese in one sitting. This is what ultimately pushed me to become vegan. I had no sense of self control & it was the reason I was overweight. Also, while delving further into educating myself on what I was putting INTO my body I came across information discussing the hormones put in our milk products which are being accused of causing human bodies to change dramatically from a time when there were no added hormones to the things we eat and drink. So there were a lot of different reasons coming from different places. Even more, as I began to grow in my spiritual beliefs, I real have become to believe that eating animals is not right for me.
Some pagans believe animals are also protected under “An it harm none”. I would never claim that everyone should be vegetarian, as I honestly don’t believe it is right for everyone due to dietary needs, etc. However, for ME I believe that yes, they should be protected, at least in my practice. Especially with the way they are treated in modern farms and factories.
Now, having that said, I would like to continue this as a series, discussing how I incorporate my vegan dietary choices into my practice, especially around the sabbats by giving recipes and meal suggestions. I have found thus far that finding recipes to suit the sabbats and my dietary needs has been increasingly difficult, and I suspect that there are others out there with similar problems. So I think it would be awesome give some ideas for new ways to celebrate the old ways. Let’s drink and be merry without the sacrifice of animals this year!