Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Another Disgruntled Vegan Alphabet, 2011 Edition

You know that I am a proud, happy vegan. I am always the first one to put a positive spin on vegan living because I am so overflowing with enthusiasm for it. Swimming against the current does have its annoyances, though. Not usually anything major but just petty things that leave you feeling frazzled or irritated. Of course I wouldn’t change who I am for anything in the world because I would rather be misunderstood any day than live in conflict with my values. We all need a chance to vent sometimes, though. Specifically, I like to publicly vent about once a year and then I am over it and can go back to being the happy tra-la-la vegan I am again. And with that, I present Another Disgruntled Vegan Alphabet.

A is for Anonymous. Oh, Anonymous, how you give me pause with your pithy comments like “You need to just eat a stake!!” or “veganz kill plantz” to any article that addresses cruelty to animals. Thank you, Anonymous, for your endlessly well-reasoned, penetrating insights.  

B is for Bacon. Bacon makes everything better. Bacon amuses. Bacon enthralls. Bacon makes your eyes glaze over with lust. Bacon-wrapped bacon with whipped bacon dip on the side served on a bed of bacon. Sentient creatures lived lives of misery and died horrific deaths to become edible punchlines. Ha. Bacon. Hilarious.

C is for Complicated, as in, “Hi, I’d like to order the Tofurky sandwich without the mayo. Unless you have Vegenaise. What? It’s soy mayonnaise. No? That’s okay. Also is your soy cheese vegan? Because sometimes it has casein in it. Casein. It’s a milk protein. I don’t know why they put casein in soy cheese. Yes, it’s stupid.”

D is for Dinner with the extended family. As in: “I looked at the menu at the crab house, and you can get the pasta without sauce or you can get the plain baked potato. They also have crackers. So you should be able to eat there perfectly fine.”

E is for arrive Early to the vegan potluck or all you’ll get to eat is hummus. Lots and lots of hummus.

F is for Flippant. You don’t mean to be but sometimes you just can’t help it.

G is for Ginnifer Goodwin and every other flaky celebrity who tries on the vegan lifestyle and then discards it like it’s last year’s fashion because it no longer holds their attention. Plus, laughing about enjoying delicious, delicious bacon a few months after making heartfelt videos on behalf of farmed animals is really showing some depth of conviction there.

H is for “Hello? I just picked up my order a few minutes ago and I asked for the pad Thai with tofu without eggs or chicken. It has no tofu but both eggs and chicken.”

I is for Intolerance. As in you bring a vegan dish to the office party, somebody says, “Oh, that looks good. Who brought it?” You say, all excited, “I did! It’s vegan manicotti.” The person says, “Oh,” turns pale, and quickly backs away from your dish like it suddenly spouted yellow eyeballs and a tail. Yes, vegan food is scary and dangerous.

J is for the “’Just joking!’ Defense,” which means that the people who say it can say whatever convoluted, illogical nonsense about veganism they want if they just follow it up with those two simple words. Instant immunity! It also means that they can imply that you have no sense of humor when you are simply expecting someone to make sense.

K is for the Knee-slappingly hilarious jab your uncle makes every year when he sees the pumpkin pie you brought for Thanksgiving. “What did you make it out of? Twigs and tree bark?” And grass. You made it out of twigs, tree bark, and grass.

L is for Late to the Thanksgiving dinner means you’ll be seated next to him again.

M is for the Meat-of-the-Month club catalogue from a previous tenant that still gets delivered to your apartment every month despite doing everything conceivable to get off the list.

N is for “No, Mom, I didn’t see PETA stripping on the news again. What does this have to do with me, anyway?!

P is for the Paranormal activity that leaves your cupboard void of dark chocolate when you most need it.

Q is for the Quaint little scarf you found at the neighborhood boutique, but, damn it, it’s a wool blend.

R is for “Right: You think that plants feel pain the same as animals. Even without a central nervous system? Even though they evolved without an apparent ability to escape predation? You think that pulling corn out of the ground is similar to separating baby animals from their mothers, caging them and slaughtering them? And vegans are the unrealistic ones? Really?”

S is for Stunt-eaters in the “snout-to-tail” movement because objectifying animals to the point where they are just isolated organs, viscera and parts to consume is so bad-ass and progressive.

T is for Thank you, I’ll pass.

U is for Unless you can find a place to hide your favorite skillet, your roommate will continue to cook meat in it. Get used to storing it under your bed.

V is for the Very, very horrible boiled vegetable plate you got at your cousin’s wedding that looked so terrible that you got looks of sheer pity from complete strangers.

W is for Whey, as in does this product really need to exist outside of Little Miss Muffet’s poem and why must it muck up something that looks perfectly good otherwise?

X is for if you were Xena, Warrior Princess, maybe people would just listen to you.

Y is for “You guys want to eat ‘family style’ when I can only eat one dish and then you want to split the check? So I am supposed to not eat and also subsidize your animal products? Somehow this seems to be violating the basic tenants of fairness.”

Z is for Zero: the number of original arguments you have heard against veganism in the last five years despite the fact that the person saying it always thinks that it is clever and thoughtful.

I'm over it already. See you next year!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I Killed Kale: A Love Story...

What if kale were as idealized by vegans as backyard chickens are by locavores? 

What if the leafy greens conferred nobility, honor and a sense of purpose about us as much as the Michael Pollan's elite crowd derives from eating their "special" dairy, eggs, and meat?

This piece was inspired by those who pursue spiritual enlightenment through another being’s death, those who cherry pick ephemeral Native American sentiments when they are of benefit to them. After reading a disturbing article by a journalist who traumatizes her children regularly (while patting herself on the back for her good liberal values, of course) by having them watch animals get slaughtered for their table, and yet another website dedicated to the life-and-death cycle of a flock of backyard chickens, I wondered what it might sound like if someone growing kale employed the same hackneyed, self-aggrandizing and narcissistic language and mentality. 

This is what I came up with in response.

It seems unbelievable that this life-force a few feet in front of me, past its prime but still standing proud and tall in my garden on this gray early December day, came to me as improbably tiny seeds delivered to my home. As dark brown miniature pebbles, smooth to the touch, these seeds would have been easily dwarfed by the average peppercorn. I held the seeds, little pipsqueaks rolling around in my palm, almost slipping between my fingers, when they arrived in the mail one happy day a few weeks after I’d outlined their picture in a catalogue with a heart, and I beamed with a mother’s pride. “They’re perfect,” I thought, clutching them close to my chest. The delicate seeds held within them the promise that they might eventually blossom into full-grown, hearty and vibrant kale plants that would stretch toward the sun, and after glimpsing their cousins in the catalogue, I immediately knew that I was meant to have them in my own yard.

Over the years, my husband has seen me dive into projects with great gusto only to abandon them within a week or two, so he was understandably skeptical of my plans to take this on and apprehensive about giving over a significant part of our yard, valuable feet to urban dwellers, to any new lark of mine. In my attempts to become more self-reliant, though, I began to reject the idea of buying kale from the grocery store: denatured, limp and lifeless, grown by strangers in unknown conditions (were they overcrowded? Sprayed with chemicals?), plucked from the earth too soon and shipped from far away. I preferred to buy it at the local farmers market, but even with that, I began thinking that I didn’t want to ask anyone to do something I wasn’t willing to do myself.

I started the tiny seeds indoors in early spring: poking my finger into the soil, I let a few tumble into each hole, then gently covered them back up, like tucking them into bed. I reviewed the instructions on the seed packet daily as though it was my lifeline to them; I watered them enough but not too much, turned them to face the sun equally, kept them warm overnight. I checked on them whenever I thought of it, which was often, scrutinizing the soil many times every day for any signs of life.

One bright Saturday morning, it happened. I woke up and saw that skinny green sprouts had sprung up overnight, right on target with when the packet said that they should. I did a little happy dance and went racing through the house, waking up my husband and son. The sprouts were tiny and fragile but they were the first indisputable evidence of my diligent care. I could do this! These sprouts would eventually grow up into big, bushy plants. At the moment, though, their future was the last thing on my mind. I was just so enamored of these tender little babies, especially proud as they began to mature into hardier seedlings. I showed off their pictures to the friends who indulged me. I sang to the seedlings, gently caressed the soft leaves between my fingers, and every day they seemed to get farther and farther from the little dependent sprouts they’d started out as just a short time ago. They were thriving – heck, they were born - because of me.

When it was time to put them in the garden, I was anxious. The seedlings had been so nurtured and protected in the sunroom of our home. Couldn’t springtime’s violent windstorms break their delicate stems? What about marauding squirrels, mean birds that might yank them out of the earth just for the sport of it? I fretted over them, so vulnerable out in the elements. I knew, though, that I had to let the seedlings out on their own in the sun, fresh air and soil as nature intended or else they would get strangled by their own roots. As much as I worried about them, my husband gently reminded me to stop being so attached, that these plants were eventually for eating. I tried to ignore him as I planted them outside to flourish.

Flourish they did. The plants seemed to grow taller and more mature, more into their own, by the hour. After just two weeks outdoors, they were clearly no longer wispy little seedlings: they were fully realized plants now, beginning to grow tall and luxuriate in their sheer kaleness. These plants, hand-raised from seeds, were now the essence of healthy kale. It made me choke up whenever I thought of their cousins, raised in unnatural pseudo-farms, stacked one on top of the next in boxes on the produce truck and transported to far-flung destinations. My thriving, beautiful plants were in direct defiance to that sickening approach to vegetable husbandry.

That spring through fall, we enjoyed the chlorophyll-packed leaves we clipped off the mother plant: shredded as salads, in our breakfast scrambles. The kale seemed to grow heartier and bushier with every clipping. Our son was proud of the plants, eager to show them off to friends and to collect leaves for our meals. We planted so many – too many, probably – and they took over more of our yard than we planned. Even my husband didn’t mind, though. Looking out into the garden, seeing their happy leaves swaying in the breeze, basking in the gentle early summer’s sunshine and gulping the cooling rains of autumn, we knew that we were doing the right thing. The natural thing.

It had become clear by mid-November, though, that the kale plants lived their full life cycle. The leaves, once so full and crisp, were spotted with holes and barely hanging on. There were so many bare spots now, the plants so vulnerable to autumn’s deepening winds, and they swayed so intensely with them I thought they might snap right in half. They held on, though it was becoming clear that I would need to assist them on their passage in order to ready the yard for the new life of next spring. This was the natural order, I told myself. They had lived good, complete lives, reveling in their essential kaleness.

It was time. In my heart, I knew that it would eventually come to this. 

They had to die.

I steeled myself for the inevitable. They had given me and my family nourishment for months and now it was time for them to die a dignified death befitting such noble leafy greens. My son tried to dissuade me, tearfully asking if we couldn’t just bring them indoors for the winter. I repeated the mantra of what we had been talking about all summer: that living under the sky, their roots deep in the earth, was the natural life for kale. Living inside, they would have a shadow of their lives outdoors - austere, constrained, hermetic - far removed from their wild nature. We could keep them alive, but at what cost? His face wet with tears, my son reluctantly nodded, identifying with his child's mind how it feels to be a hemmed in rugged spirit, but he looked away, unable to look at me. I cried, too. Part of his innocence was lost.

Still, he wanted to be there when the kale inhaled its last bit of carbon dioxide. I wanted him there, too, to bear witness and so he could appreciate the life and death cycle that happened in our own back yard. My husband offered to sever the plants, to cut them from their lifeblood, the roots, but I insisted on seeing it through to the end. I was the one, after all, who had raised them from seed, who sang to them as seedlings, caressed them, admired them, watered them, plucked their mature leaves. Looking at them every day, I was filled with gratitude that I was able to give them this life and they in return gave us sustenance and me a sense of connection to the earth, a rootedness I had never felt before. No, I told my husband, I had to see this through from beginning to end for my own spiritual growth.

I took the knife that I knew would do the job the quickest and with a shaky hand, I held the plants once more, pulling them to me, and once again, they yielded to my touch, trusting. Why shouldn’t they? All they had ever known was gentleness and care. With a hand shaking so much I didn’t know if I could do the job, tears streaming down my face, I took a hiccuping deep breath. They trust you, a voice chided me from inside my head. How could you do this? I am doing it because I love them, I finally responded. With that, I pulled the knife across my first plant.

I can’t say that it was easier than I thought it would be. It was harder to cut through than I’d anticipated, gorier. They were once so alive and seconds later, they slumped to the ground, lifeless. No more vitality. My son gasped and sobbed into my husband’s chest. One after the next, the kale fell - flump - their roots exposed, their leaves, once so voluptuous, now dry and brittle with age. We stood over them for a few minutes, no one sure what to say, and then we silently began gathering them to take indoors. We would enjoy one last gift from our babies.

That night, we had kale salad, lovingly massaged with olive oil and seasoned just so, and we had a stew, full of their earthy, sweet nutrients. I set aside the stems to use in a stock that will keep nourishing us through the winter. The night of their death, we talked about our favorite memories, the first time they peeped out of the soil, the jaunty seedlings, the early leaves of spring, the powerful plants of autumn. We talked about how we covered them during the big hailstorm of June and we laughed as we remembered how I chased the squirrels away from them all summer. 

After dinner, we looked at pictures of them in all their bright verdant glory of early fall. Seeing them like that, my son and I sniffled a bit again, but we knew that our bodies were full of their natural goodness, fed by the sun and the rain and the ebb-and-flow of the seasons. Their death gave us life.

As I tucked my son into bed, we gave thanks again for the kale. Right after turning off the lights, he called me back into his room.

“Yes?” I asked.

“Mom,” he asked, his voice in the darkness of his bedroom, “could we grow more kale again in the spring?”

“Of course, my love.” 

Of course.

End-of-the-line Raw Kale Salad

1 bunch lacinto (dinosaur) kale, shredded and spines removed
½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

In a medium bowl, massage the kale and the olive oil between your fingers until the kale softens significantly, about three to four minutes long.

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon tamari
1 - 2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar of preference
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (opt.)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Add the rest of the ingredients to the kale and toss to mix. Very good with toasted, chopped cashews.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Top Fifty Things Bacon Will *Not* Make Better

Once in a while, inspiration comes from a most unlikely source. When it hits, though, it’s like finding gold. Or discovering the cell phone that is now out of charge so you cannot find it in the pocket of the coat you haven’t worn for five days. When lightning strikes, though, ding-ding-ding, you have to run with it. Today’s source of inspiration came to me from my Bacon-Loving Hipster’s Can Kiss My Vegan Ass page when a random troll who was wearing a shirt that said “meh” on it and referred to me as “bro” – yes, really - posted a picture that said “Bacon Makes Everything Better.” These bacon people, so unpredictable, they keep me on the edge of my seat with their originality. When one’s fundamental argument in favor of eating bacon is that a. it tastes good and/or b. it makes other things taste good, you can see why they cling to these shallow attempts at whimsy like people overboard would to an iceberg. Which is actually an apt metaphor because bacon consumption and our overall insistence on our so-called right to please our taste buds regardless of our affect on the planet or others could very well capsize after all.

I must address the core conceit, though. Bacon does not make everything better. In fact, bacon makes many things demonstrably worse. The following is my list of the top 50 things bacon does not make better in no particular order.

1.     The lives of pigs
2.     My mood
3.     The ozone layer
4.     Air and water quality
5.     Static cling
6.     The quality of network television programming
7.     Your chances of getting off cholesterol-lowering medication
8.     One’s credit rating
9.     Rush hour traffic
10.  The way you look in a bathing suit
11.  One’s yoga and/or meditation practice
12.  Your sexiness quotient as calculated by Cosmopolitan magazine
13.  Your lawn
14.  The fact that summer just flew by
15.  Your cat’s litter box habits
16.  The realization that you’ve forgotten your gloves on the train
17.  The fact that the new paint you used for your dining room dried in a lot more garish a color than you thought it would
18.  One’s ability to do math without crying
19.  Chocolate. Or cupcakes. If you claim that bacon makes either better, you have bad taste. Pork products will not improve this, either.
20.  My respect for my fellow humans
21.  Your odds of not needing a stent in an artery or coronary bypass surgery
22.  One’s penmanship
23.  That maddening itch between your shoulder blades
24.  Your quarterly review
25.  NPR’s pledge drive week
26.  Your breath
27.  Your appreciation of the great works of Western literature
28.  The fact that you’re not bilingual
29.  That your dog just peed on the floor like that was totally acceptable
30.  If your parents gave you a really unfortunate name
31.  Keys? Where are your keys?! Bacon does not make you less likely to lose your keys or make finding them easier.
32.  That alarming sound your car is making
33.  Taxes
34.  The fact that your new tights already have a rip in them
35.  That sinking feeling when you see police lights directly behind you in your rearview mirror
36.  The guy you’re sitting next to on the bus who is taking up way more of the seat than is reasonable
37.  That weird rash
38.  Realizing that you put your cell phone in the laundry
39.  Your annual prostate exam
40.  The likelihood that you’ll ever be able to do a perfect chin up
41.  Another tap recital
42.  Your chance of finding an apartment with its own washer and dryer
43.  The likelihood of rain
44.  Your slow but inevitable slide toward the grave
45.  Reflecting upon the notion of eternity at 3:00 in the morning
46.  Flossing your teeth
47.  Gah! Your overdue books. Why do you keep forgetting them?
48.  The amount of suffering in the world
49.  The growing distance between you and your partner
50.  The odds that Earth will have even a slim chance of survival if people don’t stop eating pigs like their flesh is just some stupid punch line to their asinine jokes and instead realize that the human addiction to meat is destroying the planet and its inhabitants.

This is just off the top of my head, but as you can see, there are many things that bacon just does not make better. Don’t believe the hype. Bacon makes a lot of things way, way worse. Given all this, I propose that we all just move on. I have not eaten bacon since I was a teenager and I promise you, eating it would not have made my life or anyone else’s life better. If you want savory, go caramelize some onions, for God’s sake. Seriously.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

World Vegan Day Tip #22

Committing to veganism is the single most meaningful and effective way you can help the animals of the world. Please consider exploring a compassionate vegan lifestyle and have a Thanksgiving full of true gratitude.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

World Vegan Day Tip #21

If you are looking for a worthy cause to donate to this holiday season, consider giving to your local animal shelter. Many do the best they can on very tight budgets and could use support. If your money is limited, contact your shelter and ask for a list of tangible items they need: you can often help out just by donating gently used towels and blankets or shampoo, brushes and nail clippers. Most important, consider giving the gift of your time. Becoming a volunteer is so rewarding: you can bathe dogs, walk them, groom and socialize dogs and cats. This time from you makes them more adoptable.

Monday, November 21, 2011

World Vegan Month Tip #20

Veggie stir fry! A quick and nutritious meal that virtually anyone can make, veggie stir-fries can be made with any vegetables, grains and plant proteins you like for an easy meal. One such example: over medium-high heat, sauté garlic, ginger and scallions in sesame oil. Then add broccoli and diced carrots. Add tamari or soy sauce and brown rice vinegar. Cook until the broccoli is bright green. In a separate pan, sauté extra firm tofu, also seasoned like the veggies. Serve over rice or quinoa. DONE.

World Vegan Day Tip #20

If you are looking for a new companion animal, please adopt one from a shelter. Over 9 1/2 million dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters each year, many fully adoptable, because they do not have enough cage space. Pet stores and breeders are irresponsibly adding to the overpopulation and many pet stores in particular get their "supply" from horrific puppy mills. Please show your compassion for animals by adopting one: there are many young, senior, mixed breed and specific breed dogs and cats in addition to other domestic animals like birds, rabbits, hamsters, etc. desperately in need of a home. We are blessed to share our home with two adopted animals and I couldn't be more grateful! 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

World Vegan Day Tip #19

Animals held captive in zoos and aquariums need our support: please do not support the institutions that imprison them. The animals are denied their most natural instincts and behaviors, they are kept in conditions that do not come close to meeting the needs of the animals, and it is teaching a terrible message to the children there: animals are here for our entertainment. Show respect to others by withdrawing your support from these exploitative institutions. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

World Vegan Month Tip #18

One of the ways people can enjoy life more as they explore or maintain veganism is to subscribe to magazines that support that decision. Magazines like VegNews, ActionLine from Friends of Animals, Vegetarian Journal and online only options like Chickpea and Canada's T.O.F.U. Magazine are great to support and provide recipes, articles and a sense of belonging.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

World Vegan Day Tip #17

You are beautiful from in the inside out, but if you ever want to take things up a notch, please consider buying cruelty-free cosmetics. Not only are they usually made with more natural ingredients, cruelty-free cosmetics are made without (horrific and unnecessary) animal testing and ingredients. Check out compassionate cosmetics at Leaping Bunny.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

World Vegan Month Tip #16

Just because your traveling, it doesn't mean you have to compromise your vegan diet or aspirations. Not only are there amazing vegan options the world over, but you can plan meals out through apps like the iPhone app, VegOut, as well as websites like Happy Cow, Veg Dining, and a variety compiled by Mercy For Animals to name a few. Just simple online searches with a town's name and the words "vegetarian" or "vegan" can uncover lots of options.

World Vegan Month Tip #15

Circuses are pretty much pure evil. The sensitive animals forced to "entertain" are abused in training, denied their natural habitats and instincts and moved from town to town by railcar. Please do not support this cruel industry and the message that animals being forced to perform unnatural stunts is entertaining. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

All beings tremble...

“All beings tremble before violence. All fear death. All love life. See yourself in others. Then whom can you hurt? What harm can you do?” Buddha

Sometimes it just feels like being there can knock my legs out from under me.

Whenever I go to an animal sanctuary, I become acutely aware of my personal failings. It seems like an incongruous thing, feeling so peaceful with the rescued animals and pastoral setting but not being able to ignore the personal flaws that have come into high relief. This awareness doesn’t prevent me from enjoying myself, just sort of buzzes underneath the surface, a mosquito of little consequence but still an irritant.

I don’t usually think of myself as an especially resentful person, but the animals and their willingness to trust people after all we have done to them are a reminder that I still have a lot of work to do. Whenever I go to an animal sanctuary, I am reminded that forgiveness is a deeply challenging practice for me, as though if I have resentment against those who have hurt me in the past, it will transcend the time-space continuum and stick to them like a barnacle. The animals don’t hold on to anything and they have seen and survived far worse than I.  I remember this also from when I worked at an animal shelter: dogs who had been starved to near-skeletal conditions, cats who had been used as bait in pitbull fights, beings that had known little to no human kindness, still ran up to the cage door, eager to greet us. I will never forget the cat I met at the shelter, very disfigured from having been set on fire, rubbing his raw skin against the cage bars, purring at the sight of me, a stranger. A human. We can be terrible co-inhabitants on this home we share but they don’t seem to resent us.

Last June, as I do every summer, I spent the day with my family and friends at SASHA Farm, a Michigan refuge for animals primarily from the agriculture industry, where the residents rush to the fences to greet us. Yes, we had strawberries and apples and carrots, but even when we had run out, they stretched out toward us, seeking a hand, a friendly face. They looked at us without guile. The cows, with their wet, innocent eyes, always impress me with their gentleness. The goats, lively and rambunctious, climb over one another to grab carrots, they bleat with confidence and conviction. The tom turkeys strut with their feathers spread out like intricate fans, almost begging to be admired; the chickens look at us with unabashed, courageous curiosity, especially counter to their public reputation. It’s as if the animals know that they are safe now, these beings who almost all suffered horrific abuse, who were forcibly removed from their mothers and siblings as newborns. It’s more than that, though: it’s as if the horrors they lived through never happened.

You can still see it on them, though, like marker transparencies lain over their three-dimensional forms. Hens with bumpy, pink patches of skin where feathers should be, that’s one indication. A goat with a circle cut through his ear like he’d been through a hole-puncher. He had. The cow with little white nubs where her horns were once, lasting evidence of the systematic, everyday brutality she endured. Pigs inflated to such an enormous size to satisfy the demand for their flesh that they could barely move.

The routine deformities we can see in the survivors of animal agriculture is often the most obvious display of the cruelty they endure in the process of being turned from a living animal into a product to be consumed and forgotten. In the ultimate objectification, the animals are turned into mere vehicles for their own consumable flesh and what their bodies produce, the things we say we “can’t live without.” Engineered for their flesh, so-called broiler hens are conceived with a quick expiration date: our tour guide at SASHA explained that these birds don’t live past the age of one. They die of congestive heart failure before that, victims of our preference for their plump breasts, our meat. On this day, though, and on all the days since they found sanctuary at SASHA, the chickens scratched at the dirt, felt the sun on their wings, they lived as natural, fully realized beings. The expiration date ticks but they enjoy life. We ravaged their bodies but their spirits, if given half a chance, are unsinkable.

There is so much that we take for granted and the power we humans wield – not necessarily in strength but in the privileges we aim to protect - overwhelms me when I think about it. We can ruin someone else’s perfectly nice day simply because we feel like it, or we can ruin another’s life because we don’t want to question the liberties we'd prefer to keep enjoying.  Sometimes it doesn’t take much to make me angry: A spilled glass of water, a misplaced set of keys, a train that I missed by five seconds. The anger I can feel over these trivial hardships frightens me. Once in a while, too, I lose my temper with my son. Imagine how that lopsided power structure feels to someone half your size to experience: a raised voice, a mean look, even a clenched hand from someone who could inflict real damage. My potential to harm my child, the one I most want to protect in the world, the soul who most fills me with joy, is a terrifying thing to own and I live my life with the knowledge of it. I have never hit my son and I never expect to intentionally harm him. We exist with an inherent power imbalance that dramatically skews in our favor, though, as adult humans. We cannot do whatever we want to simply because we have the privileges, preferences and opportunities: we should have learned as young children that this is not a moral way to operate.

All beings want to live without imprisonment and cruelty: if we are honest, we will admit that humans are not unique in this regard. We will also admit that all beings want the same for their babies. As consuming others as products is both unnecessary and necessitates violence, then it is an indulgence and there is a moral imperative to withdraw our support from it.  

All beings tremble before violence.
Of course we do.

All fear death.
 This only makes sense.

All love life.
All beings crave the things that make us feel good: warm sun, affection, the pure, visceral joy that shoots through us on that first beautiful spring day. To deny this is arrogance.

See yourself in others.
If you do, it will be hard to maintain your privileges.

Then whom can you hurt? 

What harm can you do? 

Monday, November 14, 2011

World Vegan Month Tip #14

Looking for work that doesn't compromise your values but also is something you can be passionate about? Try Vegan Jobs, the VegNews work classified section, Vegan Mainstream and the Facebook Vegan Jobs page for ideas!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

World Vegan Month Tip #13

Looking for shoes without animal hides? It used to be much harder to find stylish shoes that were leather-free. Today, you can find them anywhere from vegan boutiques (both online and in shops) like Moo Shoes and Alternative Outfitters to giant shoe emporiums, like Zappos.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

World Vegan Month Tip #12

Even as a new vegan, you can find almost any recipe you're looking for online. Using simple terms like "vegan stroganoff recipe" can give you quite a few results. Eventually, you'll starts to find websites and blogs that are to your liking. Bookmarking these will help you to hone your cooking skills.

Friday, November 11, 2011

World Vegan Month Tip #11

Take things easy on yourself while setting goals. If you goal is to reduce consumption of animal products, setting specific goals week after week is a good way to move forward. For example, if you consume eggs or dairy daily, try to get that to once a day for a week. From there, keep decreasing animal products and increasing plant foods you enjoy instead. Setting realistic, specific goals rather than aspiring to something vague will get you close to achieving what you want to see.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

World Vegan Month Tip #10

Keep a well-stocked pantry. It's the little things that can make a big difference when it comes to the ease with which one can transition into or maintain a vegan lifestyle. Make things easier on yourself by keeping some staple items on hand so you can create simple but delicious meals without too much effort. Some things I always like to have on hand are beans (chickpeas, black beans, etc.), grains (rice and quinoa, for example), tomato sauce, onions, garlic, potatoes (white and sweet), tomato sauce, coconut milk, tamari, olive oil, peanut or almond butter, pasta, marinara, frozen corn and frozen peas. With a few staples on hand, you will never be at a loss for what to cook.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

World Vegan Month Tip #9

Slow Cooker! What is a better feeling than coming home after a long day to the delicious aroma of a home-cooked meal that's already prepared? Slow cookers - and their high-energy cousins, pressure cookers - make nutritious meals a breeze with very little effort. Just some chopping in the morning, a quick sauté, combine things in the cooker and you are set.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

World Vegan Month Tip #8

Often vegans are vulnerable to scare tactics from people who don't really understand nutrition, including the opinions of those in the medical profession, many of whom lack in-depth, up-to-date dietary expertise. If you are concerned about a vegan diet meeting your nutritional needs, why not consult with a professional who is an expert in the field? The Vegetarian Nutrition group of the American Dietetic Association is a great place to start.

Monday, November 7, 2011

World Vegan Month Tip #7

Many people are overwhelmed with cooking for the week as it is and feel utterly lost trying to figure out what to eat as vegans. Here is what I suggest to everyone: write a weekly menu. Go through your cookbooks, look online, or just plain brainstorm ideas. While you're writing the menu, you can also make your grocery list. It's efficient, it can save money (especially if you don't allow yourself any impulse purchases off your list) and it can be a healthier way to live when you plan what to eat. Simplify: make a weekly menu!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

World Vegan Month Tip #6

Soups! Especially this time of year, soups are a nourishing way to fill ourselves up with a delicious and enriching meal. For creamy soups, try coconut milk, pureed potatoes or cashew cream; for vegetable soups, make or use a vegetable stock and fill it with all kinds of goodies. Soups are also great to improvise: add pasta, frozen peas or corn, rice or barley, sauteed vegetables, beans, fresh herbs, tempeh "croutons" and more. Sometimes a good bowl of soup is the very best thing in the world!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

World Vegan Month Tip #5

Supporting local vegetarian and vegan festivals gives you the opportunity to sample food, support businesses and learn about non-profits you might be interested in along with many other benefits. Maybe you should go to one today. :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

World Vegan Month Tip #4

Volunteering at a local animal shelter is a great way help these places that often desperately need our time. Socializing dogs and cats, scooping boxes, helping to fold towels, walking dogs, grooming and even fostering them are some of the ways you can help support homeless animals and shelters. Raising funds for them through vegan bake sales and donating blankets and towels is another very worthwhile contribution.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

World Vegan Month Tip #3

Finding community is a huge factor in enjoying your life as a vegan or finding the support you need to explore it further. Although online groups are great for daily maintenance, finding a group that meets in person can be an essential factor in feeling a deeper commitment and enjoying life. We are social animals! Please check out groups on websites like for local groups of like-minded people. Don't see one? Consider starting your own.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

World Vegan Day Tip #2

One of the best ways to learn more about vegan living is to read books on it and one of your very best resources is the public library. From cookbooks to informative books, you can "test drive" a book without any money down by checking it out from your local library. (And then buy the ones you like because we must support the good work of our hardworking vegan authors!)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

World Vegan Month Tip #1

Conventional cleaning products are not only often laden with nasty chemicals that harm us and the environment but also are tested on laboratory animals in the most cruel, crude ways possible. Please consider making your own cleaning products with common household products like vinegar and baking soda: not only are you reducing plastic consumption, these homemade cleaners cost pennies to make, they are effective, and you are not supporting companies that torture animals. You will breath and sleep easier as a result!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Ay yi yi! Chicago VeganMania!

So it has been too long and I have a million good reasons but they can all be found at Chicago VeganMania, which is happening November 5 at the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse, 1419 W. Blackhawk Speakers! Performers! Cooking demos! Culture Café! Family Activity Area! Dozens of cruelty-free vendors! And all-vegan food court! Seriously, its going to be bad-ass in the best possible way. I've even heard tell of a Vegan Rock Star photo booth. I hope to see you there and as soon as that is off my plate, oh, there will be so much more to talk about. Hope to see you Saturday and for those who don't live near Chicago, long-distance air kisses. Mwaaah!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

How a vegan is born...

Most future vegans come into the world via one common approach or another nine or so months after conception. Most of us are not raised vegan, though. The path we take to get here is as unique to us as a snowflake that has fallen on the sidewalk and melts under the shoe of a 22-year-old anthropology graduate student walking in the door of Angelica Kitchen with his girlfriend.

Here is how it happened for me, though. If you want it to happen for you, you may want to pursue a path similar to mine.

Be born into an omnivorous family in the latter half of the 20th century and, in keeping with the trends of the day, have a bottle of infant formula placed in your newly born mouth shortly after your arrival. You are not even a few hours old and you are drinking the milk intended for another baby. Pureed meat will follow before you know it. Well, you really don’t know it but you’re officially an omnivore. Congratulations.

Point at the birds, toddle after squirrels, gasp at butterflies. Be afraid of spiders but that’s about it. Family folklore maintains that the first time you are observed laughing, it is because a troupe of poodles is doing the cha-cha on a variety show.

Decide that you really, really want a dog. Express this with your limited but ever-expanding vocabulary at every opportunity. Use your considerable persuasive skills and charms to your advantage. Spring out of bed every morning with the goal of wearing your parents down as your sole mission. You should excel at this.  

You have a puppy! You are in love! You love his puppy breath, the piggy grunting sounds he makes when you pick him up, the way he looks when he sleeps, how he rolls in the grass, the sweet little pink spots on his belly and nose and paws, the cute wrinkles between his eyes that make him look a little wise and worried. You love the all of him. The puppy, however, has arrived with teeth like needles and nails like little razors and he has this thing about relieving himself on your mother’s new carpet. She is not so enamored. He will live in your home for only two weeks until he is sent packing with his squeaky toys to another, more patient home and you will remember this sad day for the rest of your life. The legacy of your experience will be that you are now aware of the disposability of animals and the power humans wield over their lives.

Somehow you survive the loss of your puppy. You have lost a little innocence, though.

You go to kindergarten. There is a play kitchen there with a refrigerator and stove, wooden eggs, pretend milk cartons and cereal boxes, plastic steaks that look like they something Wilma Flintstone would cook for Fred. This is your favorite part of the classroom. Pretend to crack eggs on the edge of the table; sizzle the classroom’s single prized pork chop on the stovetop.  

Your will totally adore your grandparents.  Your mother doesn’t like to cook or bake, so when whenever you’re in your grandmother’s apartment in the city, working in the little yellow kitchen is what you do together. You learn to crack the eggs without getting any shell in the bowl, whisk liquids until frothy, grate potatoes, roll sugar cookies. Your grandmother often tells you that you are so much help in the kitchen and you believe her. You are rewarded with meltingly tender rugelach, brisket and roasted potatoes, evocative Yiddish expressions to add to your collection, and, most cherished, your grandmother’s company.

If you could go back in time and interview yourself as an eight-year-old, you would say that favorite movie is “The Wizard of Oz,” your favorite singer is Donny Osmond, your favorite friend is Suzanne Lane, your favorite toy is your Easy-Bake Oven, your favorite activity is reading or drawing, your favorite drink is Orange Crush, your favorite candy bar is Twix and without hesitation, you would say that favorite food is spaghetti and meatballs.

When you are in fourth grade, your school takes a field trip to the Museum of Science and Industry. You see a little chick in a giant, crowded incubator being pecked to death by the other chicks. Some boys point and laugh. You try to knock on the glass to try to get them to stop and the museum guard reprimands at you. You imagine reaching in and running away with that chick. The memory and vision of that little bird, so bloodied and helpless and vulnerable, will be burnished in your brain for the rest of your life.

You go to junior high. Your life is one trauma-inflicting event that’s stuck on a lather-rinse-repeat cycle for three interminable years. Plus pimples.

In high school, you begin freshman year wearing kilt skirts and monogrammed sweaters with turtlenecks and abide by the rules set forth in the Preppy Handbook until you discover The Smiths and gradually phase your closet into an all-black wardrobe along with matching nail polish. When Morrissey sings that “Meat is Murder,” it makes an impression and goes through your head on a constant loop sometimes.  You never thought about that before.  

Then, in sophomore year biology, there is a fetal pig. It (he? she?) is bobbing in formaldehyde, and you are supposed to learn about the organs. Just the smell of the room makes you so nauseated that you can instantly recall it many years later. You pick up the sharp instrument and try to cut the grayish-pinkish flesh as your teacher instructs. You retch instead. Your lab partner rolls his eyes. You can’t. You’ll read the materials and do the homework instead. Thankfully you can do this from the computer room during your class’s unit on dissection.

Around this same time, you are going away on a school trip for a weekend and you need to fill out a form that asks if you require special meals. The fetal pig pops in your mind, you write yes and check the box that says vegetarian. You don’t know any other vegetarians except for some kooky neighbors who have a peanut grinder in their home and eat carob. You think that you will try it for the weekend and see if you survive.

You survive! But being a vegetarian means that you will never eat your grandmother’s brisket again, or her corned beef and cabbage, or her matzo ball soup, or that one chicken Kiev that your mother makes that you like, or her spaghetti and meatballs, or a hot dog from Irving’s. This overwhelms you to think about so you choose not to think about it. One meal at a time, one day at a time, it begins to sink in and there is no denying that you are a vegetarian.

You will never regret it.

In retrospect, you will look back at that quotidian form that you filled out your sophomore year of high school as a kind of divine intervention. Everyone tells you that you will last only a week, that you’re probably secretly eating hamburgers in the middle of the night, and your family claims - even though you’re uncharacteristically quiet about your new way of living – that you just want attention. Your mother tells you that she can’t stop you from being a vegetarian but that she will not cook you any special meals. Okay then. You learn to cook for yourself.  You enjoy your cooking. That form and your checking of that little box has set the wheels in motion for changing the trajectory of your life and your entire worldview.

You leave home for college and:
1.     Meet amazing people from all over the world.
2.     Have long, heartfelt chocolate-covered espresso bean-fueled conversations with your new friends until the café workers starts putting up chairs and sweeping.  
3.     Enjoy heretofore unavailable to you novelties such as:
A). Eating cereal for dinner and ice cream for breakfast.
B). Staying up all night just because you can.
C). Sleeping in a mock shantytown constructed on campus to raise awareness about apartheid. 
D). Falling in and out of love a million times.
4.     Learn about the U.S. involvement in Central America, get on a two-day bus to march in Washington, D.C., march, eat Chinese food while sitting on the dirty floor behind the counter with your friends because there are no more seats, take the bus back home and dream for the next week that you are still riding on a Greyhound.
5.     Read books well into the night, go wild painting in your studio, date people who are not great for you, get a laughably fake I.D., learn where all the drink specials are for every night of the week, fight with your roommate, move off campus and get your own apartment.
6.     Become such a feminist it’s almost ridiculous.
7.     Hear the word vegan at the co-op for the first time. Decide that the person who said that was probably a confused bumpkin who just didn’t know the right word.
8.     Graduate. Sob. Time to leave wonderland.

Leave the wheat fields and move to the city near where you grew up. Work in an animal shelter. Almost no one who works is a vegetarian and this is confusing to you.

Meet a boy! He’s a vegetarian, too. Fall in love, this time for keeps.

Make new friends. Start getting active with an animal rights group. Meet an activist from New York who thinks it’s ridiculous that all the local animal rights people are vegetarian rather than vegan. You hate him. He’s so smug and self-righteous and arrogant.

He’s also right.

Spend about a year going back and forth until you see a movie with dairy cows in confinement bellowing for their babies and layer hens with their featherless flesh rubbed raw and that does it. Something shifts in you permanently. There’s no more denying reality. You are vegan on the spot.

That is how a vegan is born.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Of Babies and Bath Water: Insistence on Another's Purity is a Losing Battle

I’ll admit it.

A most fervent wish of mine is that one bright morning, everyone will wake up refreshed, take a nice stretch, and right before breakfast, have a sort of mass epiphany. We could be in the shower, we could be walking the dog, we could be reading our morning affirmation, but in that singular, crystallized moment of our epiphany, people will recognize the fundamental injustice of deciding that we will use others as we wish because we can. We will understand that there’s really not any difference between a human and a fish when it comes to a desire to live free from harm. We will finally know deep in our marrow that because we legally can do something we desire, it does not confer a moral license to do it. Immediately after this epiphany, humanity will shake off our privileges of entitlement as if it were all just a bad dream and with a resolute clap of the hands a la Mary Poppins - “Chop chop!” - we would all move on. From that point on, we would all be vegan.

In this fantasy of mine, the human race would evolve in one giant, collective leap toward a consciousness of expansiveness and connection that would cut out all that unnecessary suffering that occurs before everyone’s fully on board. We could all go to the deli at the grocery store and not have to ask what’s in anything and we could buy birthday presents for each other without ever having to check for wool, leather or silk. We wouldn’t have to look for the rabbit symbol on shampoo or be ill at ease when we don’t know if the glycerine is of animal or plant origin. Everything would be easy, so free of stress. Our children wouldn’t have to avoid the McDonald’s Playland and they could keep all of their Halloween candy. There would be no need to stand outside shivering in the cold as we protest the circus in November. There would be no more time wasted giving dirty looks to people in fur coats. Life would be so easy.

God, just imagine what Thanksgiving would be like.

As much as I want people to adopt a new way of living because it is deeply wrong to ruin or take another’s life to indulge our fleeting, random pleasures, I have been vegan for long enough to realize that this wish is a luxury that is quite outside of my control. It is also rather, well, dictatorial for me to insist that unless others are motivated by my very same values, their reasons are unworthy. It is not enough that the rest of the world go vegan: they must do it for reasons that I approve of, damn it, or else it doesn’t count.

I have noticed a grumbling resentment and condescension towards those who “just” follow a vegan diet, even though that influences the most animals’ lives by far. Speaking hypothetically, what if a very influential person, say a former president of the United States, publicly credits a vegan diet with saving his life? Should we yell and scream and stomp our feet because he’s not vegan enough? Should we stare at his shoes, the same way people check out our shoes when they first hear that we’re vegan? Should we insist upon inspecting his medicine cabinet before we are willing to sign off on it? Or should we be damn grateful and elated for the fact that someone so prominent is normalizing a subject that many feel is inaccessible and beyond their reach? While we need that outer edge to be pushing society toward a new consciousness, we also need these people, human breadcrumbs in a sense, who draw others in and show them a path. Shouting on street corners or demanding personal purity as we sit on our self-built mountaintops of piety may feel good but if we are honest with ourselves, we will see that it’s not going to help the animals. If people think that giving up all animal products and familiar foods sounds radically unsettling – and it does to the vast majority - should we keep judging and nitpicking until they have given up on the notion altogether?

This has been a gradual evolution toward a middle path for me. For years I towed the party line that unless people adopted a vegan diet due to deep ethical convictions, that it was superficial, that it would never stick. I have also seen the contradiction of this idealistic notion many times. (To be fair, I have also seen it reinforced many times.) I have seen people come to veganism through the doorway of environmentalism and I have seen the lifestyle stick. I have seen others motivated primarily by their health, something ethical vegans look especially down upon probably because it smacks of flaky narcissism, but I have seen these same people become the most ardent, most persuasive and unequivocal advocates for vegan living over time.

I have also seen people become vegan for “the right reasons” – people I have felt a deep kinship with, people I have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with at protests - decide over time that they really miss cheese. Like really miss it a lot even though they know about dairy cows and veal calves and the whole bleak picture. They know it. They have read the books, they have watched the movies, and most important, they have felt it in their hearts. One day or over time, though, something just changes. They think, Is a little organic cheese so awful? Oh, and since they’re eating a little cheese anyway, would it be so terrible if they ate some free-range eggs, too? And if they’re already doing that, is it the worst thing in the world to eat a little wild-caught salmon? With the slippery slope fully rolled out before them, they then realize that consuming one is not much more or less justifiable than the rest and these once-ethical vegans become fully omnivorous.  I have heard and read the assertion many times that former vegans who start eating animal foods were probably never really committed to begin with and that is true sometimes but not always. Somewhere along the line, they switch off or detour. I have seen it with my own eyes. It threatens us to think that someone who has had a consciousness shift could renounce that and go more or less back to where they were before but it does happen.

While we need to unapologetically reinforce the very core ethical conviction of compassionate living that is at the root of veganism, I think we need to make space at the party for those who came in through a side door. We don’t have the luxury of veganism being an exclusive, members only club, not if we really want there to be less suffering in the world. We can create our little islands of vegan purity where only those with what we deem to possess the right attitudes can dwell, but we are deluding ourselves if we think that this kind of moral turf patrolling is really going to result in less suffering in the world. If someone is getting a foot in the door through the gateway of health, should we push them back out because we have taken out our moral checklists and they do not meet our standards? No, not unless we want to be isolated islands of angry but righteous vegan separatists. Instead, we should encourage people who are trying to get a foot in the door. We should support them. We should share our knowledge.

Ethics provide the strongest foundation of veganism, I have no doubt about that. While we are continually hacking away at the webs of disconnection humanity weaves, the stories people repeat to justify their privileges, we must keep the door open. The apple cart we are upsetting is a massive one culturally and historically but it is also a very personal inner-shift, one after the next, that is going to create the sea change. It is going to take time and it is going to take patience but we are well on our way: progress is happening every day in deep-seated and lasting ways. Until people are fully on board then, let’s throw out some lifelines.

I am going to hold on to my fantasy for now. It comforts me, makes me smile. It is just a fantasy, though. The real change will come from challenging our comfort zones, digging our hands into the mucky mess of it, being creative and giving up the notion that we can make others think the way we want them to think. The core convictions behind veganism are powerful beyond description. Let’s keep chipping away at the lies humanity tells and, most important, let’s keep the door open while we’re doing it.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Soy will kill you DEAD.

I am buried under work this week so I'm offering this guest post until I can dive back into vegan feminist agitating. In an effort to prove that I am as fair and balanced as they come, I'm offering this article submitted by someone who wished to remain anonymous from the Weston A. Price Foundation’s Office of Soybean Literacy. I hope you enjoy it and find it enlightening.

Dear Vegans,

If you don’t value your own life, please at least care about the future of others. There is a looming green menace, a bean determined to wreak havoc any place where its roots can burrow into the ground like hungry, greedy tentacles. It is dire but it’s not too late: we must do our part now to uproot this vicious plant until it becomes fully indestructible and sends our planet on a collision course with obliteration. It is truly the Bad Bean. (The following footnoted article was peer-reviewed by the board of directors of the Weston A. Price Foundation.)

To put it bluntly, soy will kill you DEAD. 1

Women, soy will turn your ovaries inside out before they shrink into themselves, drain down your legs and settle into your feet. This will eventually cripple you. This is a small matter because your muscles would have atrophied long before this due to Toxic Estrogenic-Legume Syndrome and your brain will have become porous with Tofu Spongiform Edamamepathy. Then you will die. 2

Men, exposure to soy will make you grow giant breasts sloshing with soymilk. It will make your genitalia shrink into petunia-shaped little nubs 3 as the steady drip-drip-drip of phytoestrogens into your bloodstream transforms you into a grotesque quasi-female freak-form come to life. Your breasts will keep growing until they eventually smother you and endanger your community. Then you will die. 4

Children, the soy your parents give you today will make bright pink hair sprout on your concave chests (females) and on your enormous breasts (males). At around age thirteen, boys will metamorphose into girls and girls will metamorphose into boys in a horrific live mutation. As the erstwhile girls morph into aggressive, pimply males and the former males transmute into screeching, hormone-mad girls, all ages from puberty onward are fraught with peril as you lurch into marauding delinquency. Then you will die. 5

It is now known that soy shot Abraham Lincoln and the Archduke Ferdinand. 6 Soy insurgents caused the Spanish-American War and the Nicaraguan Civil war. 7

Further, it is well established that soy caused the Great Chicago Fire, the San Francisco Earthquake, the Dust Bowl and the Irish Potato Famine. 8

Soy returns movies late. Soy parks like an idiot. Soy plays horrible music too loud. Soy drunk dials. Soy leaves the faucet running. Soy never offers to pay. Soy is a sloppy drunk. Soy does not vacate its seat for the elderly or disabled on buses. Soy laughs at inappropriate times. Soy sends texts during movies. Soy eats loudly and with its mouth open. Soy relieves itself on your front yard. 9

Soy will know just what to say. Soy will make you think that you’re the only one. Soy will charm your pants off and then soy will never call again. You will run into soy on the street or at a party some time later and it will smirk at you in a way that makes you feel like dirt. 10

It gets worse.

Soy peers into your windows at night. Soy makes you feel uncomfortable on public transit. Soy stands too close to you in the checkout lane. Soy loiters on playgrounds. Soy makes your normally confident dog whimper then run and hide in the closet. Whenever soy appears, a foreboding storm rolls in out of nowhere. Soy drives by slowly, staring at you with a menacing look that sends chills down your spine. 11

Soy is watching you. Soy is not pleased. 12

Soy was engineered in an underground secret government laboratory with DNA from Darth Vader, Voldemort and Freddy Krueger and then one terrible night, soy overpowered the researchers and the evening watchman and got loose, running into the pitch-black night. 13

So please, if not for your own sake, if not for the sake of others, if not for the sake of everything decent and natural and good, please join us in this ultimate battle against the legume of death if only for the future of the planet. Once eradicated, we can celebrate over pureed organ meats, bone broth and unpasteurized milk. 14 Until that day, we must not rest! We must fight the green menace with all of our force.


1.     McKibble, Susan. “Soy, the Legume of Certain Painful Death” The Journal of Soya Conspiracies (August 2005)
2.     Keith, Frances. “Emerging Speculative Soy-Borne Diseases of the Dystopian Future,” The Daily Sun and Mail, 1 May 2008, sec. 2, p. 17.  
3.     Kellis, Mark. Penises Into Petunias: the Tofuification of Masculinity. Self-published, 1999.
4.     O’Connor, Mary. “Population Under Threat,” The Journal of Soya Conspiracies (June 2003)
5.     Keith, Frances. “Children: Soy’s Most Innocent Casualty,” The Daily Sun and Mail, 17 June 2004, sec. 2, p. 9.
6.     Kellis, Mark. The Secret History of the World’s Most Violent Legume. Self-published, 2001.  
7.     Ferdin, Josephine. “The Soybean Wars: Violence, Famine, Plagues, Disasters and the Plant that Caused Them All, Part One.” The Journal of Fringe Theories (September 2007)
8.     Ferdin, Josephine. “The Soybean Wars: Violence, Famine, Plagues, Disasters and the Plant that Caused Them All, Part Two.” The Journal of Fringe Theories (September 2008)
9.     Keith, Frances. “Soy, the World’s Worst Neighbor,” The Daily Sun and Mail, 15 October 2010, sec. 2, p. 11.
10.  Fawkes, Lisa. “The Misogyny of Soy: From Swaggering Tofu to Sadistic Tempeh,” The Nourishing Traditions Feminist Journal (April 2009).
11.   Rich, Carol. “The Coming Apocalypse: Soybeans as Lucifer.” The Weston A. Price Foundation Journal of Non-Secular Thought. (October 2010)
12.  Ferdin, Josephine. “The Soybean Wars: Violence, Famine, Plagues, Disasters and the Plant that Caused Them All, Part Three.” The Journal of Fringe Theories (September 2009)
13.  Polonis, Toby. “The True Story of Soy: From Experiment to Modern Day Horror Story.” The Journal of Fringe Theories (November 2003)
14.  O’Fairon, Fiona. Long Live Liver! The Weston A. Price Foundation’s Party Food for Nourishing Traditions. The Weston A. Price Foundation Press, 2005.