Saturday, January 20, 2007

It's Tough Being Vegan

by "Barrylove" of

It’s not easy being vegan. I don’t mean that it is a difficult lifestyle; I embrace it and love it and would never consider living any other way. What I mean is that often we are made to feel like either an outcast or a target. Case in point, the other day I was at the store and ran into a friend who was there with his wife. The friend mentions in passing that I’m a vegan and his wife gives me a look as if I was standing there naked or something and proceeds to tell me how crazy that is. This is just one mild example.

Why do people get so upset by my choice to not eat the flesh of a dead animal? I am not hurting anyone and frankly it has nothing to do with them. I do have theories though. I think when someone comes across a vegan they get intimidated because they think that we will think less of them for eating meat or that we will think we are above them because we don’t eat it. This is simply not true; I was a meat-eater at one time. After I educated myself about the abuses involved in the meat and dairy industry I could no longer consume animal products, it’s that simple, it doesn’t make me special it just makes me someone who holds true to his beliefs and lives it. It reminds me of a great quote: ‘When you know better, you do better.’

While I’m on the subject, don’t ask me why I’m vegan if you really don’t want to know. Often people ask why and then when I tell them they get very defensive and go on the attack. If you ask me why, I’m going to tell you, isn’t that why you asked? I think some people ask so that they can argue the point. I don’t know what point there is to argue. Meat and dairy and filled with cholesterol, fat, hormones and antibiotics and animals are horrifically abused until their slaughter day arrives. These statements cannot be intelligently disputed.

Now about social situations, we have friends and family that will not invite us to their houses because they feel they cannot provide us with anything to eat. Often when we do get invited somewhere it turns into an apologetic invitation, letting us know that there may not be much there for us to eat. I would like to take this opportunity to let everyone out there know that vegans know what they are. No vegan goes to a wedding or dinner party expecting to be able to eat much of the food, it’s ok, we don’t mind and to be honest we know better than to ever show up hungry. As a host all you have to do is respect our lifestyle and realize that it is deep-rooted. Being a vegan is a moral and ethical choice. No true vegan is going to eat turkey just because you made one; it doesn’t work that way. It is not an insult to you or your cooking or your intentions, we will not compromise our values and no thinking person should expect us to. The social inconveniences are a very small price to pay and we are more than willing to pay it, please don’t feel bad. Likewise don’t think that we are offended because you made meat. We do not live in a bubble, we are aware of the world we are living in and know that we are the minority in this country at least for now. Happily, the number of vegetarians and vegans is rising sharply and that is a trend that is sure to continue.

Barry Lovealce, aka - 'barrylove' from is creator of Exercise 4 Every Body DVD's ( He can be reached at

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Vegetarian Tacos

Mexican food has been a staple in our diet since we moved to the West Coast. The food is quick and easy to make, fresh, and incredibly tasty.

Our Taco recipe is a two parter. First the Guacamole, then the actual Tacos. All ingredients are suitable for a Vegan diet.

2 ripe avocados, scooped and mushed.
1/3 onion, sliced and diced.
1-2 medium Roma tomatoes, cut into small cubes.
1-2 shoots of Cylantro.
1/5 head of lettuce, chopped.
Dash of salt, optional.
1 tbsp. of citrus juice.

Mix it together, finished.

Taco Shells. We use Albertson's white corn shells, microwaved.
1 Can Vegetarian Refried Beans, microwaved.
1 small box Lightlife Smart Ground (Taco/Burrito), microwaved.
2 medium Roma tomatoes, cut into cubes.
1/3 Onion, chopped.
Green and/or red Salsa.
Fake cheese shreds.
Really hot hot sauce, apply liberally.

Stuff tacos, then stuff face.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Definitions of the Various Veg*isms.

Vegetarians? Lacto/Ovo? Vegans? What's all this then?

So everyone knows what a vegetarian is, right? Well, surprisingly, there seem to be quite a spectrum of definitions in popular use. A vegetarian is a person that does not eat animal flesh, or products that contain ingredients derived from the bodies of animals. Just as there are many different reasons to practice vegetarianism, so are there many different types of vegetarian diets. I'll focus on dietary practices in this article, and leave motivations for another day.

Vegetarian - Encompasses the broad spectrum of all those that do not eat products directly derived from animal bodies. About 2-3% of the US population are estimated to be vegetarian.*
Ovo/Lacto Vegetarian - A vegetarian that includes Eggs and Dairy in their diet.
Ovo Vegetarian - A vegetarian that includes eggs in their diet.
Lacto Vegetarian - A vegetarian that includes dairy in their diet.
Strict Vegetarian - A vegetarian that excludes any animal derived products, including eggs and dairy.
Vegetarian Raw Foodist - a vegetarian that eats only uncooked and unprocessed foods.
Fruitarian - A vegetarian whose diet may consist in great part or in whole of fruit, nuts or seeds.
Vegan - A strict vegetarian that excludes all animal derived products in everyday life. For example, wool and leather products would not be acceptable to a vegan.

Other definitions
Pescatarian - Similar to vegetarianism, but includes fish.
Omnivores - A person that eats an animal and plant based diet. The majority of people are omnivores.

Some examples of things vegetarians will not eat. Fish, poultry, animal based soup stocks, honey, Mc Donalds French Fries, Jello, and Gummi bears. What's wrong with the fries? Well, in general nothing, but Mc Donalds flavors its fries with beef and dairy products in some markets **. Why not Jello and Gummi bears? Well, most Jello and Gummi bears *** contain Gelatin. Gelatin is created by boiling connective tissue such as skin, cartilage, and bones.

** (direct link no longer available)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Recipe: Vegetable Soup

Super simple, mmmm, mmmm tasty on a chilly afternoon.

Ingredients: (Strict Vegetarian, Serves 4-6)
Carrots, fresh, sliced.
Can of peas.
3 large Roma tomatoes, cut into small cubes.
2 large potatoes, cut into cubes.
1 medium red onion, sliced and diced.
2/3 cup vegetarian broth (Mother's loose bin type).
Salt and Pepper as desired. Extra pepper gives it a kick.
Dash of ground Thyme.
Dash of ground Basil.
Tbsp. of olive oil, optional.
Wok full of water.

Combine with water, put on medium high heat, and cook until it reaches the desired consistency. Mine took about 45 minutes.

These are quick and dirty proportions. Use whatever you have laying about, or whatever sounds best to you.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Introduction - Why Veganism?

In September of 2005, I made a life-altering decision. After 30-something years of omnivorous eating, I announced to my wife Krista that going forward, I would be a vegetarian.

For some people, it takes a particularly graphic view into the brutal and inhumane practices of factory farming, i.e. "Meet your Meat", or a quirky video like "The Meatrix", for some it's the environmental issue, for some improved health, for some it's spiritual, and yet others simply don't like the taste of meat. In my case, there was no sudden epiphany, no single event. I don't understand what my triggers were, but I can say without hesitation that mine is a pro-compassion move towards those creatures we senselessly and unnecessarily slaughter for nourishment, clothing, household goods, etc.

I jumped in both feat first, and haven't looked back. There have been a few regrettable slip ups, but it hasn't been a difficult change overall. With the proper diet in place, I don't have any noteworthy cravings. Ovo/lacto vegetarianism eased the transition to strict vegetarianism sometime in 2006. It seemed logical to cut out all dairy and eggs considering animal mistreatment in those industries. My goal is to live as close to the vegan ideals as possible.

I am asked the why question a lot when people that have known me discover the change. A better question is why not? Take the time to educate yourself and really consider the damage you're doing to other creatures, the environment, and possibly your health. Why would you continue down that road if perfectly tasty, nutritious, and sustainable alternatives exist in abundance.

"That's fine for you, but I couldn't do that". Have you tried? Choose to make a difference.

Krista was wonderfully supportive, and after about a month, made the transition to vegetarianism.

They say that the best way to learn is to teach. Among other reasons, this blog exists to share with others, and as a self-teaching aid. I hope you find it useful.