Posts Tagged ‘Angel Flinn’

Vegan Adventures

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Indiana Jones Theme

I was fortunate to be offered the amazing experience of going with my diverse family on a Mediterranean cruise recently, to Spain and Portugal. While it was intriguing to witness other cultures and get far from my prairie home, it also seemed to motivate me to keep the adventure going upon my return. With the devastation that is climate change reminding us all to use energy sparingly, it seemed that there must be someway to find  creative opportunities for exploration and discovery especially for those of us with the vegan ethos.

Traveling Online

One of the ways I have been traveling without leaving home is through the wonderful podcasts of Travel with Rick Steves, available free on iTunes. I had taken a few on my iPod to listen to on my recent vacation, but found a world more upon my return. Mr. Steves does an admirable job of making each destination come alive just by listening to his show. I would avoid the food episodes though; I find them disturbing, and you might as well. Here is a clip to give you an idea of how intriguing his presentations are:

Travel with Rick Steves

Not only do I now enjoy traveling the world with Mr. Steves, but he also led to me discover another creative armchair traveler, Sasha Martin.

Eating Around the Globe: The Global Table Adventure

Sasha called in to one of his podcasts as I was listening, and proved to be positively inspirational. Sasha has a website, complete with a global map, that shares her journey cooking the globe. While Sasha is not vegan, at least not yet, she does have both vegetarian and vegan recipes galore. I was amazed at some of the wonderful possibilities for increasing my vegan food repertoire after perusing her blog. Sasha is trying to bring the world together by increasing understanding and familiarity with other cultures. Expect to hear more from this amazing, creative woman in the future. Here is part of my conversation with Sasha:

Sasha Martin interview

Global Table Adventure Vegan Recipes  

One of the ways we helped our children and grandchildren to experience the world was by hosting foreign exchange students. We had students from Sweden, Japan and Denmark over the years.  We had a French sailor over for dinner, an opportunity that arose from my French class when I was a high school student. After our first Japanese student spent one summer with us, she returned to attend the International School in Los Angeles, and continued visiting us, often bringing one or more friends with her from various parts of the world. At one point, she came back to see us with a room full of young students, some who had never been in an American home before they came into our tiny condominium. These kids graced our home with enthusiasm, appreciation, and affection. It was a wonderful way to learn about the rest of the world through other young people and truly enriched life for the children in the family, too.

Jurassic Park Theme

Supporting Sanctuaries: Adventures That Help

Since animals are a priority for me, I have a particular interest in sanctuaries around the world. I was fortunate to be able to visit a couple here in Texas, including the beautiful primate sanctuary, Primarily Primates, located in San Antonio. Unlike our exchange students, who would be returning to their native lands, these animals would never return home, but fortunately have found a safe and beautiful home far from their birthplace. Listening to the individual stories of so many animals helped to bridge not only the geographic differences but also the species barrier. I just discovered an old elephant friend is residing in a sanctuary in a nearby state and hope to visit her someday soon. (My Not Forgotten Friend, Tarra) There is also a farm animal sanctuary that may be an upcoming meetup destination for our local animal rights groups. And, there are sanctuaries in far away places like Africa that use volunteer labor — a way to incorporate a visit with doing something constructive to improve the lives of animals abroad. Your local sanctuary may also allow volunteers; many need every bit of help they can find to survive these days, so any financial support is much appreciated as well. Encourage your local sanctuary to adopt a vegan message, too, if at all possible.

Vegan Resources for Travelers Online

If you are fortunate enough to be able to travel, there are many vegan resources to assist you. There is Vegan Backpacker, a site which provides information for vegan travelers around the globe. You can find nation-specific information as well as global hints for ease in traveling. If you would like to connect with vegans around the globe, consider Vegan Around the World Network, a website that boasts over 2,000 members from most corners of the planet. And Marty’s Flying Vegan Review has information for those traveling in the U.S. as he offers reviews from places he visits as a charter pilot. There are also many vegan retreats, spas, and bed & breakfast establishments geared toward pleasing vegan travelers, from a Paris B&B to an upstate New York forested retreat. For further information, check out the listings on The Vegans Directory.

Gentle World: The Ultimate Vegan Destination

Gentle World is also a possible destination for the vegan adventurer. With locations in both Hawaii and New Zealand, Gentle World has worked for decades to educate and provide resources advocating the benefits of a vegan lifestyle. With me today to help us learn more about this unique community is Angel Flinn.

Angel Flinn Interview

[NOTE: WWOOF stands for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms.]

There is an excellent article called Vegan Travel: A Beginner’s Guide  on the Gentle World website that is sure to help you in planning your next move. Be sure to check out the Gentle World site for excellent informational articles for vegans, too.

A word of caution. If you are traveling with young children, please consider their special needs. It will make your experiences much more enjoyable for everyone if the children involved are content, too. Packing a few special items may make all the difference in how they view travel in the future. Plan events geared to their enjoyment and keep the long, formal dinners to a minimum. A few trinkets wrapped and timed to be opened hourly on a long trip can also keep the child engaged and full of the spirit of fun. Consider integrating geocaching or other adventures within your adventures.

I was touched when, midway through our travels, my middle grandson leaned over during our long wait for dinner, and sang me a vegan song he had created, just for me. Sometimes just by standing up for what we believe, we make a statement that gets through all the world’s speciesism. Thanks, Nick – that was the highlight of my travels.

Tape of We Are Vegans, Hear Us Roar

Assessing the Adventure

I feel very fortunate to have been given such a generous opportunity to see a new part of the world when I traveled at the end of last year with my family. It has motivated me to consider exploring not only my local environment, but possibilities for connecting with the larger world, too — especially with other vegans. Of course, all of life is an adventure, but being vegan puts a definite spin on potential destinations as well. With online vegan friends from around the globe and special places like Gentle World, there is no reason to let being vegan be anything but an asset when considering your next adventure.  And remember, the more of us vegans that others encounter, the more we become a normal part of everyday life. I am looking for ways to get to Gentle World someday and visit some of my online friends from New Zealand, too.

What are you waiting for? Is it time to start your next vegan adventure?

Outro: Indiana Jones

Gluten Free Vegan? Try this article for further information.

Progressive Disappointments

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Recently, I have become very disappointed in progressive media.  It would seem that when it comes to animal rights, things are not all that progressive.

Huffington Post Misses the Irony in Recent Post by Jamie Lee Curtis

Huffington Post recently published an article by Jamie Lee Curtis, lamenting the Conklin Dairy Abuse revealed by undercover videos.  We now know there will be no cruelty charges for the owner of the dairy (see linked article by Angel Flinn), no matter how distressing the videos.  Where there is demand, the brutality continues.  How does Ms. Curtis think that the very product she touts, yogurt, is created? By raping the cows with artificial insemination, stealing the baby calf from his or her mother, and then stealing the mother’s secretions from her, secretions made for the survival of her baby, not for adult humans. I always find those yogurt commercials to be interesting.  They suggest their brand of yogurt will help people with digestive problems, the very problems that come from eating a highly processed, animal-based diet. The solution? Another highly processed, animal-based product of course! Perhaps Ms. Curtis has never considered the cost for other beings of the products she sells. But when she wrote that article, obviously distressed at seeing animals treated as objects, devoid of any consideration for their personhood, she missed an important connection between what she does for a living and the act of living for other beings. And Huff Post missed a chance to post an article based on the stark and horrendous reality of the more than sixty billion land animals that perish for the pleasure of human appetite each year.

Mother Jones Appears to Have Lost the “Fearless” in Their Journalism

Even more egregious, Mother Jones (July/August 2010) published an article by Kiera Butler, a “lifelong vegetarian,” who broke her no-meat stance to dine on “grass-fed beef” (an interesting term denoting how devoid of acknowledgement of animal personhood our thinking is — cows eat, not beef; beef is a dead animal.)  She shared that it was delicious and she felt satisfied.  In the article, Get Behind Me, Seitan, Ms. Butler reports that the “vegetarian-equals-green argument” is not so cut and dried.  She then proceeds to offer a comparison between highly processed fake meat and grass fed animal flesh. She notes that her Berkeley, California crowd is really moving towards eating more meat, not less, and she seems to move along with them. One wonders why she ever became vegetarian; she did not mention any moral concerns, health concerns, certainly no consideration for the impact on the animals themselves, no discussion of violence or cruelty.  This was all about the trend and “local buzz.”  It seems preying on baby animals is all the rage these days.

Touting the “great caloric bargains” of things like fish, there is no mention of the toxins that accumulate the higher you go up the food chain. There is no mention of the dying oceans, respect for nature, or a moral baseline; there is plenty of talk about crab feeds and pig roasts.  There is discussion of hexane, used to remove soybean oil and keep soyburgers low in fat, a registered air pollutant and suspected neurotoxin.  Ms. Kiera reports that with a processed soyburger, there are numerous ingredients but with grass-fed beef there is only one, making it somehow purer. This defies everything we know about the accumulation of pesticides and other toxins as one moves up the foodchain, making it more and more dangerous to eat other  beings. There is no discussion of the impossibility of providing enough grazing land for the way the world now consumes animals. And worst of all, there is no discussion of the animals themselves, discussed solely as a commodity for humans throughout the entire article.

The progressive media needs to become truly progressive in the arena of animal rights and veganism. A start would be to post the work of one of the really good vegan advocates who are talented writers — Gary Francione, Roger Yates, Dan Cudahy, Angel Flinn, Tim Gier, Nathan Schneider, Jeff Perz, Mylène Oullet, and many, many others.  They could select someone to write who actually has a philosophical stance that does not move with the crowd, and leaves the “fearless” in their ability to stand alone when necessary, to actually take a position based on something beside their own health, coolness or gustatory delight.  It is  much easier to be oh-so-flexible when dining out, selling out the suffering of animals at every turn, and keeping in lockstep with mainstream thinking. This is progressive? NOT!

The article in Mother Jones did:

  • present some of the problems with highly processed foods
  • discussed some of the problems with unnatural methods of feeding animals that result in disease
  • highlighted that Great Plains pastureland stores 54% more CO2 per acre than cropland

The article failed to:

  • mention the many ways to eat a vegan diet that provides plenty of protein and keeps you fully satisfied
  • investigate the consequences should the nation move towards grass fed animals
  • mention the high levels of toxins in flesh products
  • look at the fact that a vegetarian diet may not offer any moral, environmental, or welfare benefits over an omnivorous diet
  • mention anything about the lives of animals as living, feeling beings
  • mention the correlation between animal slaughter and violence in society
  • even consider a whole foods vegan diet
  • address the false dichotomy presented: there are infinite choices besides eat animals and eating fake meat.

In the end, Ms. Kiera decides to eat mostly plants, but with an occasional “indulgence.” Most vegetarians and vegans would not consider eating meat an indulgence; they would find it disgusting and nauseating. The callous disregard for the various ways these decisions impacts other living beings, the environment, or public health seems out of sync with the purpose of magazines like Mother Jones. The complete lack of any consideration for social justice towards animals, human or non-human, is a glaring omission.

Other articles online at Mother Jones include one about a “kinder, gentler, more convenient abattoir,” a man who kills animals six days a week. This sounds like ancient history, not “fearless journalism.”  Buying into the humane slaughter myth, the happy meat myth, and misrepresenting the positive aspects of healthy vegan cuisine seems more like something one would hear on Rush Limbaugh. Et tu, Mother Jones?