Sunday, April 14, 2013

Change: If not us, then who? – John Lewis

It can be difficult when you learn what happens to animals so that people can eat a typical Western diet. It happens everywhere! Its heart wrenching! My thoughts range from, “Hey, at least I am not contributing to the cruelty anymore” to “How can we let this happen and what can I do?” I want to desperately tell everyone to stop! I want to tell them how the animals are treated and that plant based food will prevent and reverse our common diseases! Trying to do this delicately is a challenge for sure! Being passionate about something doesn’t help when you want instant change and need to allow people to find their way (just as I did) which will be more successful in the long run.

Sometimes I feel very small in the world on this issue. Thank goodness for social media and all of the available resources online. It is good to know you’re all out there feeling the same way! J

When do we focus on what is better for the larger “we” than on ourselves? While we are very much focused on “me, me, me” which will probably lead to our demise, what about caring beyond ourselves, for the greater good or for another being? Someone we may not ever see or know?

If there is one thing that has surprised me, it is that mindset makes all of the difference.  At one time I was unable to endure 40 (what seemed like eternal) days and nights of Lent to wait for milk chocolate I’d given up for Lent as part of my Catholic upbringing.  I haven’t eaten milk chocolate in over a year because I now know what is involved in making it – unnecessary suffering. Dark chocolate works beautifully as a substitute by the way! I loved milk chocolate – I was totally addicted! But, having this knowledge makes the choice very simple. It’s an easy one because there is a substitution. It’s not always THAT easy!

Let’s say you’re out to dinner with co-workers or friends at a meat eating joint…Very limited veggie options on the menu (though this is greatly improving these days) and you’ve not had a chance to look at the menu in advance or call ahead of time. You tell the waiter you’re eating a plant based/vegan diet and the only thing they’ve got is the boring old dry noodles with boiled vegetables on top! Yawnnnnnn. No sauces, no spices, no nothing to jazz it up at all! And after you’ve finished ordering, your co-workers respond with,” Hey – you’re a vegan? When did you do that?”, “Why?”, “What DO you EAT?”, “How do you get your protein?”, “Guess you can’t have cheese, huh? I could never give up cheese”.

 While there are benefits, it is a big change and requires a bit of sacrifice on our part. It’s easy to follow the crowd and not “bother” anybody. But, if you are polite about asking for minor accommodations, most people are willing to help you out. If you explain to your friends or co-workers, they may seem okay about it, or put off by it, but either way, they will think about it – and isn’t that the point?

Heck, if that’s the worst that it ever came to, that’s not so bad! Right? What a great opportunity to tell people what we’ve learned and how great we feel! While that dinner may not be the greatest time to get into detail about where their steak came from and how eating meat and dairy is shown to cause cancer and heart disease (we can save that part for after dinner drinks) we can focus on what we do eat and how we love it and feel more energized!

Let’s find each other and work to make this world a better place for animals (and ourselves in the process).  Being plant based and knowing I am saving the lives of animals is one of the things that makes me happiest in this life! It’s up to us! Give it a try…

“Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has!” – Margaret Mead