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Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

A recent post in the rad queer ladies’ blog Autostraddle named Queer Vegan Food a top queer food blog. (Hooray!) Since the post went up, I’ve gotten a bunch of new readers, many new blog views and comments on older posts. I mention these things because I’m really grateful that more LGBTQ people are checking out this blog. Not all of the food blogs mentioned in the Autostraddle post were vegan or vegetarian, and while I respect the diversity in our community on all levels, I do feel strongly that a compassionate diet deserves a place at the queer table, so to speak.

I created Queer Vegan Food because I wanted to contribute to broader discussions about the interconnections between oppression against LGBTQ folks and against non-human animals. I believe that people of all sexual orientations can benefit from a compassionate diet, and that there are particular overlaps between the marginalization of queer human animals and our non-human animals companions, and I wanted to use this blog to talk about and help each other understand them.

I’m glad that more queer ladies may find my blog thanks to Autostraddle. I hope that this will continue to be a blog where people of all orientations and genders feel welcome.

Since I created this blog, I’ve heard from numerous people on all ends of the sexuality/gender spectrums who feel similarly passionate about these connections. I’ve read many inspiring pieces online that inspire me to keep learning and sharing about this topic. Check out what some of our queer community bloggers are doing in the realm of vegan food, culture and activism:

  •  Our Hen House has a section called The Gay Animal which addresses queer-vegan interconnections.
  •  Ari Solomon and others participated in a Veg News discussion that is a great primer on many of these issues.
  • My friend and former Vassar classmate Rachel Lee authors the hilarious and amazing blog Vegan Gluten Free Karaoke. Tegan and Sara karaoke and vegan food? Yes please!

I appreciate that this blog can add to these discussions. I thank you for reading, and hope to keep sharing recipes and ideas that broaden the discourse on how we can nourish our communities and ourselves.

Image.

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I became vegetarian at age 12, right after my family spent the summer in the south of France. That trip, I remember my family ate lots of dead animals that were often served in forms that did not try to hide what these animals had looked like while alive: fish and lobsters were served with their eyes bulging out of their poor steamed heads, cooked frogs were served in frog shape, etc. In the United States (and elsewhere) our food culture tends to disassociate meat consumed from its living animal origin. Carol J. Adams, one of my personal heroines and author of The Sexual Politics of Meat, points out in SPOM that our culture has specific language that renders dead animals “absent referents,” and thus keeps us from acknowledging the life and creature who suffered before reaching the dinner table. This defense mechanism keeps people from feeling what I felt in France–uncomfortable with eating animals after realizing the connection between what was on my plate and the cruelty it endured to arrive there.

After one particularly creature-filled meal eaten while traveling in the Loire Valley, my brother took me aside and told me why he thought I should become a vegetarian like him. My brother became vegetarian at age 11. When I was 12, he helped me realize that in order to live in accordance with my beliefs, I needed to be vegetarian (Note: later, I realized that for the reasons I became vegetarian, it was hypocritical for me not to be vegan. I wrote a post about this, if you want to read it here.) My brother became vegan around the same time I did, and now our parents largely eat vegan, too. He and I have both been vegan for more than six years, and our parents eat almost 100% vegan when we, the spawn, are visiting them, which I think is just about the most respectful, kind thing a family can do to support their vegan offspring (and animals, and the planet!) My mom owns stacks of vegan cookbooks, including Courtney Pool’s Spirulina Recipes Ebook, which she just cooked from the other day!

This weekend, my brother hosted an engagement party dinner for two of his lovely women friends who just proposed to each other a little over a week ago. Eight of us vegans and vegetarians enjoyed an entirely vegan, delicious home-cooked meal. I met a vegan fashion blogger who was as worldly and interesting as she was kind, and shared great conversation and laughs with some old friends. While our gay friends can’t yet get married in California at the time, they have been together for more than three years and are committed to being engaged in the hopes that one day the government will honor their union and right to equality. In the meantime, they will be honored by the friends and family who love them.

A friend serves the home-cooked plated vegan dinners prepared by my brother.

It felt fitting, this vegan lesbian engagement party. On this blog, I attempt to illuminate some of the connections between human- and non-human animal rights and welfare, and so it made perfect sense that a night of celebrating our hope for equality for our friends naturally involved compassionate cuisine. As I sipped kombucha out of a champagne flute, and later ate the delicious braised kale-beet salad, white bean mash, pan-seared citrus marinated tofu strips and Kind Kreme vegan ice cream that my brother so lovingly prepared for us, I felt deep gratitude for the family and friends and compassion this meal represented.

Whether our vegan family is blood-related or otherwise, the connections we create and sustain with those around us have the potential to elevate our activism, and inspire us to live truthfully and earnestly. I am so proud of my extended vegan family. Whether individuals are totally vegan or not, it helps animals and the environment to seriously reduce animal product consumption.  I am totally vegan (Note: I am 100% vegan to the best of my ability–I recognize that by driving cars I support animal products in the tires, etc. but I choose to not use animal products in anything I wear, consume, use or own to the best of my ability), but I also honor those in my life who are not fully vegan but support the vegan cause through eating mostly vegan and supporting the vegans in their lives.

May we all be blessed to be surrounded by folks who really understand and appreciate our mission and purpose to spread compassion for human- and non-human animals! I would love to hear about your family, vegan, blood-related or not, or whatever group supports you on your path in the comments.

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Hello Queer Vegan Food readers! It is a joy to write to you from Berkeley, Calif., where it is currently foggy and mild temps. This August is super special for me, because it marks my six-year vegan anniversary! Six years isn’t very long in the scheme of things, but as a twenty-four year old, that’s 1/4th of my life spent eschewing animal products in food, products, clothing, and trying my best to support animal welfare whenever possible. It’s been an incredible journey, and I thought I’d take this opportunity to share a bit about my journey to veganism, and say a bit about what being vegan has meant to me in my life.

I became vegetarian at age 12 after my older brother Asher convinced me it was just plain silly to eat meat. I am grateful for my amazing big bro for many, many reasons, but his cajoling me to drop the dead flesh in my life was a huge gift. Thanks, Asher!

My vegan brother Asher's LA film studio, Pollution Studios.

My vegan journey officially began at 18. I was working as a sailing instructor at a camp which served absolutely the nastiest processed food ever. It was deep fried everything, vegetables drenched in butter, sugar cereals and lots of meat, eggs, and other processed foods. It was a nutrition disaster for everyone, and as a vegetarian I started to get really jealous of this vegan girl who was working as an assistant counselor. She had absolutely no choice but to buy her own food, and what she was eating looked so much better! While I was picking at the iceberg lettuce at the salad bar, this chick was noshing on fresh fruits and veggies, organic cereals and nut milk, vegan cookies, even. She seemed happy, healthy, and very energetic. Before I could ask her why she was vegan, her session ended and she was gone.

I suddenly had to know why this girl was vegan and not vegetarian. Was there something I was missing? I went online and researched vegan primers. The first one I saw was what I ordered: Vegan Freak by Bob and Jenna Torres. After reading it, I realized that for all of the reasons I’d decided to be vegetarian (animal welfare, environmental concerns, social justice) it was just plain hypocritical of me not to go completely vegan. Some people have a hard time transitioning away from animal products and do it gradually; I totally respect that, but that wasn’t how it was for me. As soon as I put the book down, I knew what I had to do and didn’t look back.

As most vegans can attest, veganism can feel liberating on all levels, not only in the sense that there’s an abundance of foods, products and opportunities that are available to us vegans, but also in that it provides the feeling of doing everything in our power to reduce harm we cause to animals and non-human animals through consumption habits.

As a vegan, I have met tons of incredible people such as my idol and author of The Sexual Politics of Meat Carol J. Adams, and have gotten the chance to do activism through writing, hosting events, and being that visible presence that can be a catalyst for change for others. My brother, once vegetarian, is now vegan (way to go, bro!). I’ve helped some of my professors at Vassar come out of the vegan closet, and have nudged more than a handful of friends, many of whom are still vegan!

Carol J. Adams' The Sexual Politics of Meat

For me, veganism has always been primarily about animal welfare and environmental and social justice concerns. Luckily, it is also a path to healthful nourishment. When I learned about raw foods, it made my vegan experience even more fun and enjoyable, and now I incorporate a high-raw diet into my vegan activist diet. It’s pretty cool to make the connection between what’s on our plate and how it got there, and whether you’re eating mostly cooked vegan foods, raw vegan foods or a combination of raw and cooked vegan foods, I feel the key is to feel great about the choices you’re making for yourself and for the planet.

Fresh, local vegan bounty from the Berkeley Farmers' Market

One of the things I’ve realized as a vegan is how much of a privilege it is to have access to raw, organic vegan produce. Sadly, the way our twisted food economy is set up, many low-income communities just do not have access to their basic human right to healthful, nutritious produce. Food Empowerment Project leader Lauren Ornelas makes great efforts to make vegan food accessible, and my new favorite champion of raw foods for everyone, Brandi Rollins, has a sweet new book out with ingenious strategies to live an exclusively raw organic vegan diet or incorporate more raw foods into your diet without breaking the bank.

My vegan inspirations include AJ from Queer Vegan Runner, a fellow Vassar grad who shows how living a vegan lifestyle can help reduce cruelty towards animals and can also make you fit to run many miles and enjoy life! My friend Allen, whose epicurean blog Le Seitan Au Vin never fails to crack me up (wish he’d update it more..it’s SO good!) and I used to throw juice parties for our creative writing group at Vassar with our friends Nate, Joshua, and Ladee I am also inspired by JL Goes Vegan, whose entertaining and information-filled blog highlights the good life as a smart, sassy warrior woman who went vegan post-forty.

Raw vegan salad at The Tree of Life Cafe in Patagonia, Ariz.

Our Hen House is a fellow queer vegan blog that blends activism with sass. I couldn’t neglect to include nutritionist/doctor-to-be and editor wiz Gena Hamshaw’s super amazing raw vegan and vegan blog Choosing Raw, which has helped thousands of people make the connection between deliciousness and veganism. Gena’s blog is also very special because of its section Green Recovery, which highlights stories and insights that show how veganism can help people heal from eating disorders. Groundbreaking work, indeed. Whenever I need a good dose of vegan laughter or inspiration, I turn to SF-based vegan blog Vegansaurus (I’m also a semi-regular contributor as their ‘raw correspondent’). Laura Beck and the team prove veganism can be hip and hilarious.

My good friends Ivory King and Jonathan Mann have created an amazing song called “Vegan Myths Debunked,” which highlights the common myths around veganism with a tune that you’ll be humming in your sleep.

I have to give a shout out to my amazing partner and best friend Courtney Pool. Courtney is coincidentally also celebrating her six-year veganniversary this month! Her beautiful blog Radical Radiance inspires people with her insights, anecdotes and mouth-watering pictures. She also coaches and teaches about the benefits of juice feasting and fasting and cleansing on a vegan diet, which can be helpful for longtime vegans and gateways to the vegan path for those interested in health. Courtney’s new blog, Spirulina Junkie, is really exciting for vegans, as it explains how to incorporate protein and nutrient-rich spirulina into our diets, and teaches how spirulina can be grown sustainably and cost-effectively to improve global human health and the health of our planet.

Raw vegan goddess and nutrition coach Courtney Pool.

I am also grateful to raw vegan holistic medical doctor Gabriel Cousens, M.D. for leading the way with the links between veganism, spirituality and health, Co-Founder of Vivapura Chris Whitcoe, raw vegan chef/author and holistic health champion Elaina Love of Pure Joy Planet, Aviva and Yosef Funke for their work in bringing holistic health and vegan nutrition to under-represented populations of youth in Nogales, Arizona. I also am super inspired by my dear friend Mariano Caino, who proves you can be a very happy and healthy vegan in Buenos Aires, Argentina!

My friend Boaz Love-Bliss with homemade raw vegan chocolate!

In addition to everyone I’ve mentioned here, there are many other bloggers and writers whose work has inspired me and is really helping the vegan movement. I wish I could fit them all into this post! Thanks to them (and to you, reader!) for promoting compassion.

Hitting up farmers’ markets and learning how to grow our own produce are goals that I think would be great for more vegans to incorporate (many already do), but however we get our plants, it’s an enormous help just to avoid participating in animal exploitation.

Like that girl I met the summer when I was 18 (whose name I wish I had learned!), just being willing to be a visible vegan person can be enough to challenge someone to consider making the choice themselves. I never preach, but I know my friends and loved ones feel like they can come to me and ask for resources if they want them. And they do, often! It’s a great feeling to help spread compassion on a basis that people are ready for and interested in. For me, my veganism has been a path to activism, fun, community, sustainable living and joy. I’m excited to see what will happen in my own life and in the vegan movement over the next six years. ;)

In the comments, I’d love to hear how long you’ve been vegan or vegetarian! Thanks for reading.

Love, Sarah

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