Monday, June 14, 2010

Take it... PLEASE!

Things are a little hectic here at home at the moment as we are packing up the house getting ready to move in a few weeks. I remember when moving was so simple, you hire a ute or truck and load your few possessions on and off you go to the next house share, unit or borrowed couch. I have done them all.

Now I have a husband, two cats and a baby, plus a load of stuff I cannot remember accumulating. I love a good purge and by purge I mean getting rid of a whole lot of stuff that I do not need nor ever have. I love simplicity, I love having just the bare essentials to ensure comfort. I have never been a hoarder, I don't keep old love letters, show programs or magazines. I don't keep clothes, shoes, jewellery just in case I might fit into it, need it or like it again one day. I donate, recycle, sell, give away, anything to ensure it doesn't end up in land fill. I have to admit this weekend has been a test of my patience. I had organised a pick up for a charity, I had some decent furniture and other misc items that they could have given to a needy family but due to regulations about 85% of it was left behind, so I found another charity that would take it. I offered the rest to friends but no luck, so I put some on it on freecycle and had instant responses but still they remain in my home. I know what you are thinking, the stuff is either rubbish or so ugly no one would insult their house by putting it in it but I promise, it isn't horrid and if I didn't already have way too much stuff, would remain with me.

My frustration is that I am loathe to throw anything away, I cannot justify more crap being made while perfectly good stuff goes to land fill. More pollution, more trees being cut down, more chemicals being spewed into the atmosphere so we can sit on shiny new chairs. I guess my point is... well, persevere, find a new home for the stuff you no longer want or need, swap with friends, buy from op shops, just try not to add to the pile of junk already accumulated on this planet.

I have just a few things left now and I will persevere, I will find my lovely things a new home, I will celebrate when I do!

On a lighter note, we had the yummiest mexican food for dinner last night, imagine if you will, a vegan burrito filled with beans, avocado, salsa, corn, tofutti sour cream, cheezly cheese, tomatos, lettuce and lovely spices. YUM!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Eating Animals - No Thanks!

My birthday is coming up and I have already received part of my present, Jonathan Safran Foer's book, Eating Animals. I had previously studied his book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, in which the central character is a young vegan boy and am thrilled that Foer has lept into non fiction to bring us this study on the complexities of eating animals. I am only at the beginning but I am already completely engrossed and somewhat repulsed, for example when he is discussing KFC (vile) workers caught urinating on the slaughtered birds. Gee if that doesn't make you want to give it a miss, what will?

Foer is such an intelligent writer and I am moved by his motivation to write this book, that is the birth of his son. Like any good parent, he wanted to know about the food he would be feeding (or not feeding for that matter) his son. You can read his letter to the worlds largest meat processor, Tyson foods here.

Another reason that I admire Foer, is that I am envious of his bravery. I am not the bravest of people out there, sure I am strong, capable, blah blah blah, but I couldn't go to a factory farm, I couldn't visit an abattoir, I can barely watch many of the videos circulating including the current one of the horrid animal abuse at the Conklin Dairy Farm in Ohio, I have seen the first few seconds of it and had to stop the video, if you are braver than me, you can watch it here and then petition to have them shut down.

There is also a tremendous amount of bravery needed to raise your child as a vegetarian or vegan. So many people raise their eyebrows when you tell them your child will not be eating meat, the amount of times I have been told to give him a chop to gnaw on...I find myself constantly needing to assure people that he is getting all his nutritional requirements and then some. This I find ridiculous, after all I believe a plant based diet to be the healthiest one I can give my child and myself but here is the problem. I was raised in a meat eating family, I was brainwashed to believe that I would curl up and die from illness if I didn't consume dairy and meat and let's face it much of society still think this way. So I find myself thinking of how I can reassure my son that being veggie is normal and healthy and compassionate when he will be faced with so much judgment from people who just haven't done the research or simply do not want their own belief systems challenged.

Luckily he is being raised in a family with very strong beliefs on the food we consume and the way animals are treated. He will be supported every step of the way as he moves into new phases like schooling. I already have some lovely books for him on the topic of vegetarianism.

Check out 'That's why we don't eat animals,' by Ruby Roth. Also 'Herb the Vegetarian Dragon,' by Jules Bass and Debbie Harter. I would love to hear about any books you can recommend for children. It is a journey for the both of us, for him as he discovers new foods, meets animals and makes associations and for me as I lead him and learn from him. I am hoping he will thank me one day for not making him eat animals. He will be able to look in their eyes and know he has done them no harm.

He is also making it VERY easy for me, I gave him some yummy veggie tofu fingers yesterday for the first time and he absolutely devoured them, what a blessing, my darling little veggie boy.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I won!

I had a lovely surprise yesterday. I entered a competition on a fellow vegans wonderful blog, Kiss Me, I'm Vegan and I won! Now this is exciting because a) I generally don't win things and b) it is helping to spread the vegan love. I would love you to check out all the wonderful stories from all the winners and finalists.

I adore finding other blogs by inspired people who thrive on spreading the message of compassion for animals. After all they need us to speak for them. So have a read and let me know what you think.

While I am on the topic, I would like to mention a place that is very dear to my heart. I have only been able to visit once because of distance but it was a truly remarkable day, (despite the rain, freezing cold and wind!) that place is Edgar's Mission.

Pam Ahern has devoted her life to taking in rescued animals and focussing on their mission statement, 'Edgar’s Mission is a not for profit organisation that seeks to create a humane and just world for humans and non-humans. We endeavour to achieve this by education, advocacy and empowerment.'

My husband and I visited on our way driving back to Sydney from Melbourne, we had the honour of meeting Edgar, the inspirat
ion for Edgar's Mission who has now sadly passed away. He was absolutely adorable, huge and glorious! There is nothing, besides my family, that fills my heart more with joy than spending time with a whole assortment of animals. A cranky rooster even had a go at me, it was my fault really, I was too close to his chickens so I didn't mind, it was quite a sight.

Have a look at their website and if you can get there I strongly recommend you check it out, otherwise donate or buy some of their merchandise, it will be worth every cent. And no, I assure you I have no affiliation with them besides great respect.

Check out this short clip of Edgar making his bed. It shows you how pigs behave naturally and what they cannot do when they are in factory farms on concrete floors.