I recently commented on yet another story depicting gruesome animal suffering. I won’t go into the details now. You can read about them here if you wish. Many comments suggested going Vegetarian to avoid participating in such terrible animal cruelty. I pointed out though, that many people get stuck in the Vegetarian “dairy and egg rut” without realizing the equal, and indeed, greater extents of animal suffering associated with dairy and egg production. Animals used for these products are made to suffer even longer misery than the relatively short sad lives of animals used for meat. In any case, one of the commenters wrote to me in reference to one of my comments. She asked for advice on how someone could go Vegan “in Stages” which I’d suggested as a more useful and effective alternative to the Vegetarian “step”.
Herein is my reply to the woman’s query:
I think it was this part of my comments you were referring to:
“Try Vegan for breakfast for a few weeks to see how much healthy and tasty variety is possible. Then add Vegan lunches for a few weeks to get more of a feel for these meals. And so on with dinners. That way people would get a gradual taste for how easy and varied and nutritious and satisfying completely compassionate Vegan eating can be.”
Since you didn’t specify any particular areas of concern, I would say just follow my above suggestion… armed with Google at your fingertips. I mean it! It’s that easy. I can’t tell you how many really good Vegan recipe blogs there are out there! I even found one recently on “Southern style” Vegan cooking. Say you like broccoli or you have some asparagus in the fridge, just search vegan broccoli or asparagus recipes. Say you want to start off with Vegan breakfasts, just search Vegan breakfasts! You’ll be amazed at what you come across. I just did a search for “Vegan Bacon and Eggs” and got a whole batch of interesting links.
Of course you will make adaptations as well. For example, I happen to love Tofu Scramble. You’ll see lots of variations on this popular “anytime” dish. I fry some small-diced potato with chopped sweet onion so the onion’s still crunchy. When the potato’s almost done, I mash a package of firm tofu to the consistency of “scrambled” eggs and mix it in. While it’s heating up, I’ll throw in a little diced tomato. While the tomato’s warming, mix in a little curry powder and a small dash of water. Serve as is, with some Vegan-buttered whole grain rye toast. If you like it spiced up, shake some Hot Sauce on the scramble. Heat up some Vegan Bacon slices and serve the tomatoes on the side instead, if you wish. Delicious!
As you begin to add Vegan lunch and then dinner offerings, you’ll see there’s so much variety you’ll have choices of easy or more involved recipes. As I think of things I want to try, I add ingredients to my shopping list. And that way I can see what kind of variety I’m maintaining in my fridge and pantry. And at the same time, I get ideas for meals I’d like to prepare the following week. I used to cook 2 or 3 things on the weekend so I could freeze meals for the whole week. Now that I’m (newly) retired, I can cook more often. Whatever suits you.
There are also some great Vegan podcasts to listen to. And they’re all free! Search the iTunes Store -podcast section- for Vegan podcasts. If you don’t have iTunes, get it! It’s also free, for Mac or Windows. I love listening to the “Vegan Freak Radio” podcast (Click “Radio” link) and “Compassionate Cooks” (Click “Food for Thought” podcast in the “Writings” menu).
If you haven’t heard of Professor Gary L. Francione, you should definitely start reading his blog. He’s recently started doing spoken word commentaries in a podcast as well. He is regarded as the originator of the Abolitionist movement, which seeks to end all forms of animal exploitation by abolishing the commonly held perception of animals as “property”. And, as I have said, Veganism forms the moral baseline of this society-changing philosophy.
Another valuable resource is the website for Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary, together with their blog, this site is full of useful information and wonderfully down to earth yet inspirational writing to remind us about the some of the sentient beings we go Vegan for.
Finally, as you begin eating compassionately, you can also begin to assess your personal and household products and your wardrobe. Virtually everything we use and wear that is the result of animal use and suffering — be they animal ingredients in things like lipstick or toothpaste, actual animal products like leather shoes or purses or wool suits or socks, or products tested on animals like deodorant or floor polish or air freshener — can now easily be replaced by quality, cruelty-free, non-animal items… at almost the same cost!
I find it infinitely easy to rationalize spending a few dollars more or buying a little less each week, knowing I don’t participate in or facilitate cruelty to the greatest possible extent any more.
I hope this gives you something of a useful starting point.
Good luck. Take care. And feel free to let me know how you progress.