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Regular thoughts, shared knowledge and hopefully an interesting take on an everyday vegan lifestyle.

Time flies!

CommunicatingPosted by veganomically Tue, May 27, 2014 15:52:14
Well like many people embarking on a new adventure I created a blog full of good intentions to post my feelings and thoughts every day. So what happened, well in my case the enthusiasm remains and is if anything growing by the day but I spent and spend my time on twitter. A dear friend prompted me to post a blog and the thought immediately filled me with vigour, the release of not being restricted by 140 characters is liberating!

I love twitter and the immediacy but sometimes there's more to say than can be encapsulated in such a soundbite. It's like veganism itself, veganism can be explained in a few words or can be the subject of volumes. If it truly is so simple why do more people, in fact why doesn't everyone adopt the lifestyle with immediate effect? What reasons could there possibly be for not becoming vegan?

When people give as a reason 'I couldn't give up.....cheese, burgers, steak, milk' it disappoints me so much. Just disappointment in people as fellow creatures. I honestly don't think it is a matter of education, I can't believe that people don't actually know what happens to produce their sausages, their milk. They may not know the details, as vegans tend to, have watched all the films, have read all the tweets, looked at the books but they must know the basics. In the main non-vegans are intelligent people, responsible people, loving people but they can't truly be happy if they aren't vegan can they?

When people who are not vegans proclaim they are 'animal lovers' it takes all my self-control not to shout NO! You might love some animals but if you aren't a vegan you can't love all animals, oh but I only eat organic meat, or drink ethically source milk, or support humane slaughter. Can you hear yourself talking, listen to the words you are saying - what is humane about slaughter, murder is murder - none of the animals you eat or use for your own comfort lives any life that could be described as normal, natural. There is nothing natural about the life animals are forced to lead, imprisoned, tortured and then murdered.

Then the question of vegetarians or 'I only eat fish' - in a way these people surprise me and challenge me the most. If you've gone to the trouble of following a vegetarian diet then it must have been with some degree of empathy with fellow creatures. If you decide not to eat meat for compassionate reasons how you can you ethically stop there? You're living half a life, you should progress to being a vegan straight away. Being a vegan has never been easier, there are so many food and clothing substitutes available now that the lack of something is no reason at all.

There is no downside, repeat no downside to being a vegan.

If there was true compassion in the world everyone would be vegan - it wouldn't even be a question or a discussion point.

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It's so much more than that though isn't it?

CommunicatingPosted by veganomically Wed, September 18, 2013 16:53:05

As I progress into this exciting vegan life it's becoming more and more obvious that the outward manifestation of veganism; what I eat, what I wear, what I use is making an internal change that is far more powerful.

I'd suggest that anyone that has recently embraced the vegan lifestyle feels more energised, more alive, ready to try new experiences. Could this in anyway be considered a negative? It's perhaps a strange question but there is almost a sensation with my new 'vegan power' that I'm invincible, that I can fly. Icarus as we know flew too close to the sun in his quest to soar with the birds and came crashing to earth, I'm aware that personally it's important that I don't crash and burn and as a result I am having to temper my desire to gorge myself on the outcome of all these new feelings.

I was reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory last night (not very vegan I know before you comment) and it struck me that whilst I'd love to be the sensible Charlie Bucket I am in danger of being one of the more selfish golden ticket winners. I want it all and I want it now. As an example of that, I am finding myself more and more bewildered at the sheer array of animal products on sale, I'm seeing these through new eyes and it's scary. When I walk through the dead animal (meat) aisle at the local supermarket I find visions of the animals as they would/should be and have to restrain myself from asking people "what are you doing, what on earth are you doing?"

It's ubiquitous, that's the problem, the meat, dairy, fish industry have managed to market their message as a positive one, to show that all this produce is somehow good for you. It's a brilliant marketing trick and akin to the one played out in the 20th century by the tobacco companies, hopefully it will be restricted in the same way soon.

As you'll note this is not the most directional of musings and that's the problem, there's so much to do and so much to address that it's hard to know where to start. Should one deep dive into a particular area and really focus all energies into that or is it better to have a broad brush approach and focus a little bit of energy on a vast array of topics? I feel the answer is the former, in which case on what should the focus be? That my friends is the question, what to focus on? My gut feel is education, all well marketed products (loath them or not) have focused on the younger element in society whether that be banks, food companies, television shows and it feels that this is the right approach to take with promoting the incredible vegan cause.

So whilst we may not literally have wings and be able to fly perhaps there is a chance for us to soar anyway.

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Being professional isn't the same as being corporate

CommunicatingPosted by veganomically Sun, September 15, 2013 14:37:56
Having attended a few 'veg' oriented events and read some of the literature produced I have to admit I'm a little disappointed at the calibre of the communication.

There seems to be a fear of appearing too corporate and as a result an, I can't think of a better descriptor, air of amateurism reigns. There is a balance between being seen in the same light as one of the companies we protest against but we must recognise why they have been as successful as they have. Yes they have multi-billion dollar marketing funds and yes they have a sales history and consumer confidence on their side. When they started they did not, they were tin can operations that have developed over time.

The vegan 'lobby' doesn't seem to develop as quickly and this may be down to the fact that there aren't the profits to be ploughed back into the business as there are in corporate life. This is a challenge, but a challenge to be overcome. WIth circa 7 billion people on the planet and a small percentage of these being vegan there are a lot of potential converts.

The simplest starting point is to understand what we're trying to communicate as vegans. Is the best approach to take really showing pictures and videos from slaughterhouses? People simply aren't going to stumble over these films and if seen will assume / claim that this happens in the tiniest minority of cases. There are so many unknowns that we can communicate: the proven health benefits, the environmental impact, the 'issue' with the dairy / egg industry, the volume of animals moved through a factory environment and the impact our feeding habits are having on general marine life. Each of these in its own right is worthy of direct communication and this is what we need to do.

Prepare a clear communication on each and share with as many people as we can; physically posting through neighbours letter boxes, leaving in local places, dropping into schools and local authorities. The key message is to get across that if you're thinking of being vegan you're not the odd one out, it's everyone else that is the odd one in.

People are easily scared away so I truly believe that the message given needs to be educational with proven links to the benefits to the individual. This is where our focus and the focus of the worthy vegan charities/pressure groups needs to be, not to enter into a lengthy argument on the rights or wrongs over eating honey (it's wrong, there that's solved that one). Get away from the desk and the laptop and get the message out to those that are curious as opposed to those already converted.

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Veganism: is it a path to growth?

CommunicatingPosted by veganomically Tue, September 10, 2013 15:23:50

Veganism has the power to change the world, so the obvious question is why hasn’t it changed the world more quickly? From a relatively ‘new to a vegan lifestyle’ standpoint it appears that, as with many other ‘isms’, there are different opinions and factions that actually rail against one another instead of against the common ‘enemy’.

I see so much back and forth in the press and on social media on, what might be considered fairly small, points of principles as opposed to addressing the bigger picture and looking to convert as many omnivores to a plant based diet as possible.

Are you a vegan no matter what the decision making process you have been through to take the step? If you’re doing it for personal reasons, i.e. health related as opposed to ethical reasons does it make you less of a vegan? Should you be considered to be following a vegan diet instead of following a vegan lifestyle? To some degree this must be considered less important than the fact all vegans contribute massively to the ethical and humane treatment of animals by simply not engaging with products that come from said creatures.

There’s more to be gained in converting a meat eater to a non-meat eater than in convincing a vegan to stop wearing that pair of leather shoes they’ve had for ten years. I totally agree that the aspiration for all vegans should be to cease using, owning, buying, wearing, eating any products at all that have an animal connection.

I fear that if ‘vegans’ in general continue to relish the fact they are ‘different’ and don’t embrace more people and make veganism approachable to all we will not see the growth in the vegan lifestyle that we all aspire to.

I have no greater wish than for everyone on the planet to wake up tomorrow having had an epiphany and recant all their previous dietary and lifestyle decisions in order to become vegan. In order to do this the vegan community has to come together instead of new ‘pressure’ groups being founded by the day. There’s far more power in being organised on a national/international scale than there is in cutting up the (vegan) pie into a million slices!

There’s so much out there to address and we should be on top of any issues that have a resonance to our community. Why whisper when we can shout? In answer to the question posed in the title of these words veganism is absolutely the way forward but we’ll move forward much more strongly and quickly if we follow a similar path as contrasted with each one of us making our way to a slightly different end goal via circuitous routes.

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When to share and when not to share?

CommunicatingPosted by veganomically Mon, August 19, 2013 20:16:06
I'm learning that there is a relatively fine line to draw when deciding how much to share with non-vegans. When asked a direct question I'm of the opinion that a direct answer is required. What I'm realising is that although the answers are clear enough to me that's only because I've researched the topic and have an, albeit limited, awareness of some of the key pillars driving veganism forward. When coming to the subject cold, and perhaps being the first vegan some people have met, some of the cold facts can be a little hard to stomach. People seem more comfortable accepting personal health reasons for becoming vegan as opposed to ethical or even environmental reasons. It's as if the people that don't eat meat or support any form of animal exploitation are the extreme ones, when surely history will record that we were in fact neither radical or adversarial. A question I ponder is whether ethical vegans differ from those that follow the lifestyle for its impact on their personal health. The former have to be seen as more committed and to be following a lifestyle as opposed to driven by personal gains don't they? If the end result remains the same some would argue that the driving force shouldn't matter and to some degree it doesn't. The sustainable vegan has to be one that is doing this for altruistic as opposed to selfish reasons. My hope would be that people come to realise this and over time their moral compass swings firmly behind the animal welfare cause. Introducing people to this way of life should be done with sensitivity and feeling, a battering ram approach won't work and only risks alienating others.

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It's not all about foodPosted by veganomically Fri, August 09, 2013 20:16:22
The balance that being a vegan brings to my life has made me further examine other areas that I believe would benefit from refreshing. I have a fairly addictive personality and am trying not to become consumed with all things vegan and all things natural, having said that it would be remiss of me if I didn't take the time to re-evaluate. There are a number of variables in life that at any time should be aligned; family and love, health, career, money, happiness. It's rare that any one person has all these elements aligned as the planets are on occasion. One of the elements will be more important at any time and its a case of knowing which element is the more important at a particular point. If you don't understand what you're focused on how can you hope to truly deliver of achieve what you are trying to? Over the next few weeks I'm going to take the time to plot out the trajectory of my life, see where I want to be and what steps I need to take to achieve that and see how it all relates back to my being a vegan. I know somehow its all inferconnected and look forward to sharing what I discover with you. Follow me at @veganomically on twitter

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Sharing and caring

CommunicatingPosted by veganomically Wed, August 07, 2013 20:52:58
Telling the truth to people when asked about animal welfare is an imperative if we have any hope of persuading others to follow the lifestyle we cherish. There is no point in sugar-coating the answers we give when challenged as to the fundamental beliefs we follow. Whilst there is little to be gained from bombarding people with graphic images of animal slaughter we must still find a way to get the message across clearly. The key to this is in knowing the facts to sustain and support the answers you give, there is no value in giving a response that confuses people. There is so much factual information available to us all that we must spend time absorbing the knowledge, assimilating the data in order to give credence to our side of any discussions we have. Our time on earth is short and there is value to every minute we can devote to furthering the positive news around following a vegan lifestyle. Positive for the environment, positive for the individual and positive for all living creatures.

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No one missed the meat!

Family lifePosted by veganomically Tue, August 06, 2013 20:39:39
I volunteered to cook tonight and I'm not really sure what the family expected me to cook, or prepare - another salad I guess. Happy to report that the sweet garlic and tomato farfelle went down very well, from my 3 year old right through to my mother and father-I'm-law. Second helpings had by most and my daughter kindly informed me that it was her favourite meal of the week. It makes me think a little bit about the 'press' around vegan food, it's not currently marketed as the tasty, nourishing, attractive food it often is. The conglomerates in the ready meals industry spend millions upon millions marketing their, often poor quality, meals and there is no vegan marketing guru doing the same for our fare. We need to share the joy of eating a vegan diet and make it into one of the positive aspects of becoming a vegan. I have experienced many new flavours since turning vegan and I want that to be the experience of all. I'd urge everyone to push the positives in terms of the taste of vegan food by offering to cook a meal, prepare a course, bake a cake or simply share their lunch. The more we can get people engaged with actual vegan food the more likely the possibility of another person reaching the decision that this is something they can do and that being put off by the 'difficulties' of maintaining a vegan diet is quite simply a non-reason. Vegan food = exciting, compassionate food. Follow me on twitter @veganomically

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