Sunday, May 11, 2014

what's important to you?

Recently I read about a meeting of people concerned with the average diet in our country, and how it contributes to serious health problems, damage to our environment, and horrific suffering of animals. One of the participants was Mark Bittman, author of The VB6 Cookbook. His previous book, Vegan Before 6 described how he had gained weight and was facing the onset of diabetes, and following his doctor's advice adopted a diet which was vegan for the first 2 meals of the day, and allowed for some flexibility at dinner. He calls for everyone to be at least a part-time vegan.

When I started eating a plant-based diet it was purely for the health benefits. The more I learned about factory farming's impact on the planet, and the unimaginable suffering of millions of animals, the more my focus and determination changed. But I'm a strong believer in all the benefits from eating greener.
People who are advocates of the environment, or animal rights activists, are understandably passionate about conveying their message as fast and as far as possible. But sometimes that passion can blind them to the reality that only those willing to listen will hear their message. I follow lots of message boards, blogs, and posts that point out instances of animal suffering, pollution, and how activism is helping. But if you are someone who subscribes to those posts, they are preaching to the choir.

I've seen enough that I want to be a vegan for the rest of my life. I also know that some vegans come across as zealots, demanding change, and holding strongly their belief that this is an all or nothing proposition. I want to make a difference, but I don't think that's the way to do it. I think we need to see the difference it could make if everyone was open to an approach like VB6.

If you're someone who is concerned with your health, or just want to feel better, you could try being a part-time vegan. If you're concerned about the environmental damage from agribusiness, clearing rain forests for grazing, or the energy it takes to eat the way we do, you could try being a part-time vegan. And if you are an animal lover who can't stand the suffering of those reduced to units on factory farms, but still unable to go all the way, you could be a part-time vegan.
There are scores of resources available to help you learn about all the reasons to change. There are websites and cookbooks with recipes for delicious vegan meals. There are films like Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, and Food, Inc.

If you're willing to try, you can be part of the solution. Every step is important, every effort makes a difference. What's important to you?