One thing that became even more clear during a tarot reading this year is that I am a steward for animals. They are my children. It’s my job, duty, dharma. Profound compassion for animals is where I'm coming from when I speak up for them. And the audience is varied. I understand some people are/will be triggered by some of my vegan posts on social media (which are actually pretty mild overall). So be it. I know there are many more who will respond to my mission messages in favor of the animals. I'm truly not trying to convert those who are just totally not interested.
The Truth Revealed.
The truth of the extreme suffering of animals on factory farms was revealed to me in 2007. I had been curious about the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle for many many years and even had a book called “Becoming Vegan”, which I had attempted to read but I was just too unfocused for it at the time. Eventually I found the book “Skinny Bitch” on display in a mall bookstore in Connecticut. The comical title caught my eye and as I thumbed through, it was clearly a funny book with a message of good health so I bought it. It was also a small book, a light read, perfect for this unfocused reader. I didn’t know the book would end up being mostly about vegansim until I started reading it, well into the chapters. They talked about some basic “how to be healthy” points like not smoking and drinking too much. Then I got to the “meat” of it, so to speak. They were able to inform me in this small but potent book enough about what’s going on in the world of factory farming to change my diet forever. And just like that, I was vegan.
Facebook wasn’t around so much then but I was on MySpace and found a few new vegan friends. I was living in small town Connecticut then and knew of no vegans. There was a little health food market in town though so I know there were some around. In this MySpace realm, I discovered online activism, then found Vegan Outreach and their adopt-a-college leafleting program. “I could do that” I thought. And do it I did! I ordered a box of their mini magazine leaflets and went to the first college campus I could find near me. It was Johnson County Community College in Kansas City, where I happened to be at the time. I felt a little self conscious at first, but it was also exciting and easy. All I had to do was cruise through the campus and put a leaflet in as many hands as I could. I didn’t have to talk to anyone, didn’t have to get in a debate about it. Sometimes students would come up to me a bit later to thank me for my efforts. Many went right in the trash can, but that’s just part of it. Occasionally some kid would shout out “I Love meat!” but it was no big deal really. Just stay focused. And the effects of the advocacy were proven to work! I dedicated 2 years of my life to leafleting as often as I could, wherever I was, and I happened to travel a lot back then. I also leafletted concerts, big arenas and also smaller venues.
Something I feel is very very important in animal advocacy, with promoting veganism in particular, is understanding that not everyone is like you and will not transition the same way or in the same timing. It was easy for me, and I made the switch instantly. Others keep eating cheese or eggs for a while until they’re ready. For some, that might be a few months and others a few years. In addition, I happen to be very much into the healthier side of vegan eating and promote that as well to some degree. Like I’ve said before, I still like a vegan donut from time to time. Some self professed “junk food vegans” that I know and love regularly eat things that may not be the healthiest choices and some vegans I know are 100% raw or fruitarian and eschew anything processed or cooked.
Speaking to the majority.
Trying to convince omnivores coming from a standard American diet who are interested in the possibility of veganism simply are not going to go directly to complete pure eating like that. If vegansim is promoted like that to them, there is a good chance they’ll just say no if that’s what they think it is. Many still don’t know exactly what veganism is, so if they’re learning it from a raw foodie, they’ll likely have a hard time. (Someone even very recently said to me “is wheat vegan?")
I’ll post posts about a new vegan pizza or vegan cheeze on the market. It’s important for those considering to know there are options. One of the most common questions for those considering veganism is “what will I eat?”
And if people knew that Pizza Hut had a new option of vegan cheeze, the vegan curious person would likely try it!
As many people journey into their new vegan lifestyle, it’s quite likely they are also beginning to learn more and more about being healthier.
These vegan processed foods are especially for those in transition.
My number one concern is the animals. Their plight is so big. When communicating to those open to vegansim (and some who don't even know they're open until they see some info about it) my mission message is "leave the animals out of your diet (and clothing) and then learn more about being the healthiest version of yourself along the way".
Do you need some vegan guidance?
There is tons out there but check out vegan.com as a good starting point.