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Vegans Come in All Stripes

Story ID:2890
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:various various USA
Year:2007
Person:various
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Vegans Come in All Stripes

Vegans Come in All Stripes

Vegans Come in All Stripes

Vegans Come in All Stripes

What would we do without the internet and e-mail? I can't believe that we ever lived without this medium before. Of course, it has its detractors and if we spend an inordinate amount of time on the computer, that certainly
is something to be concerned about. As they say "All things in moderation." I think that's why my cat Paulie sometimes jumps on the table holding my computer and well -it's kind of hard typing around him at times and so I take
a break. But I don't think I have a real problem and I find time for all the other mundane things we have to do like -pulling weeds, cutting grass, feeding my animals, shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. However, my sister Anna may disagree. Seven years my senior - on her visit this week she noticed
that my weeds came back and bless her heart wanted to help me pull them!

Today's reading of e-mails found me amazed by an interesting article on Ricardo Moreira being named IDA's (In Defense of Animals) Guardian of the Month. Of the 5 vegans I will be profiling, he for me is the most surprising. As the article starts "Ricardo Moreira is a rarity in the world of Ultimate Fighting--an extreme sport that pits martial (HAVE TO TAKE A BREAK -PAULIE'S BACK AND HE HAS CLICKED ON THE CAPS BUTTON.) Am back....that pits martial
artists of all fighting styles against each other, often inside a cage, where they punch, kick and wrestle one another."

Truth be told, I really don't like to watch men OR women engage in this type of "sport" but Ricardo at least makes me appreciate that in such a demanding exercize of strength he is amazingly a VEGAN. For those who have never
heard the term before - a vegan (vee-gun) is a strict vegetarian--no meat, no eggs, no dairy products - no animal products of any kind - period. I will not buy leather shoes even though they are suppose to help our feet breathe better than synthetic ones. I even try hard to buy vegan supplements, but believe me, this
is challenging. After ordering two bottles of Joint Support ($40 plus postage), I had to give them away when I spotted chicken collagen in the ingredients. Silly? Not to me or other ethical vegans. I feel strongly about seeing dying,
starving children in the third world. And I also feel strongly about seeing animals mistreated in research, in factory farms, and in slaughterhouses. How can kindness be reserved only for humans?

Re the starving children whose frail little bodies are little more than skin and bones - why didn't we pour at least half of the billions of dollars used to help the Iraqis become independent and democratic to help them as well? And sadly, the Iraqis don't even seem to want democracy, and it seems they are hell
bent on going their own way --pursuing their Sunni, Shitte, or Kurdish inclinations.

Someone suggested that Iraq be carved up into three parts reflecting these ideologies. Might not be a bad idea. Maybe then we can turn our attention to the starving children in the world, though sadly I believe we are now trillions
of dollars in debt because of Iraq. God bless the Gates Foundation and organizations like Bread for the World for trying to address these pressing human needs. Sadly, it doesn't seem to be enough. Hopefully, one day our foreign policies will allow us to address the needs of these innocent dying, starving children.

I guess, I find, as many of you, that digressions when writing can't be helped. So
here's one more which relates to vegan Ricardo. A friend keeps trying to tell me that animal protein is a must for humans and dogs. How can he say this when a fighter of the calibre of Ricardo eats no animal protein? Is he a solitary exception to the rule? I don't think so - simply because, though our bodies need protein - WE DON'T NEED ANIMAL PROTEIN. There are plants like soy and beans to name two
which satisfy vegan protein needs. And even too much animal protein is actually bad for us.

As for dogs, I've told him countless number of times about the English-bred vegan collie-Brambles who in 2003 was 27 years old! How I wish that I could have reared my beloved Peaches on a vegan diet. In my opinion -14 was too young for her to die.

Moreira says that only he and the King of the Cage World Champion- Mac Danzig are vegans in Ultimate Fighting. But according to him "the most important fight is not in the ring, but out in the world where animals need our help." Growing up in a tough San Francisco neighborhood, he learned to defend himself and others who could not. He also got into many a scuffle in the schoolyard and on the street with
boys who derived pleasure from kicking pigeons or stomping on ants. (Even Pope John XXXIII of blessed memory said he would not wantonly kill a fly.) I am much impressed by both a man of God and this muscular fighter for their tender spirits. And my last quote from Ricardo: "It takes both inner and outer strength to help
animals."

VEGAN #2 - Dennis Kucinich, a congressman from Ohio is probably the only vegan in Congress. I applaud this little guy of Croatian descent for trying twice to buck the "Big Boys" club of presidential nominees. Dennis doesn't walk to any drummer but his own. He bucked the big bank establishment while Cleveland Mayor and saved the Muny Light Division from being sold to the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. The bank promptly pulled in the City notes and the City went into default. I call this blackmail by the bank. I don't know what others called it, but the voters in the next election booted out a courageous politician for something which I believe WAS NOT HIS FAULT.

Recently he was snubbed by both AARP and PBS in exluding him from the recent Democratic candidate debate forum. My sister wondered why. Well, in my opinion, it is because his stances have not pleased big business orporations. From the get go, he was against the war with Iraq. Sorry if I sound cynical, but I believe that big business saw supporting the war a way to fill their monetary coffers. Dennis is not big business. Dennis envisions a government run by the small guy. How sad that
the small guys can't offer him the financial support and backing he needs.

Having given him his due, surprisingly though I no longer support him. His ultra liberal platform doesn't jive with my more conservative one. I respect his vegan life style but do not applaud his political views. Maybe its a good thing that he doesn't have the monetary support he needs.

VEGAN #3 Alicia Silverstone. The acting profession, as all professions, has spawned
many different personalities. This week I was quite shocked to hear the remarks Kathy Griffith gave after accepting an award. I too hastily deleted this message and can only paraphrase it. I believe she said that "Jesus sucks and this award is for me - not for God." How sad that she obviously knows NOTHING about the gentle historical Jesus. No one could say anything so uncouth if they did. And as for
taking credit for one's gifts without acknowledging God's hand in our daily lives is also very sad and arrogant. How lucky are we who give due honor and thanks to the Supreme
Being for His gifts to us. I hope and pray
that one day she will too.

I cannot imagine Alicia Silversone saying anything even remotely close to this untoward remark. I recently saw her beautiful face pictured on an October 2006 Redbook magazine cover and naturally read her story. I am sure that there are a number of other actors who are vegan, but I was impressed by her simple but sincere answers to the questions posed her re her marriage, acting, and her social concerns.

The interview started with the writer taking note of Alicia's mouth watering over a faux mozzarella panini (a glorified toasted cheese sandwich made with good bread on a special panini press). She was asked whether she was surprised that her diet choice (veganism) had become a deeper commitment. She answered: "It actually started because I love animals, but all of sudden I started to feel a million times
better. My body started to look better. My skin started to look better. My nails got
really strong. I started to realize I'm honoring my body. I began to wonder why did
I have such little self-worth that I didn't want to take care of my body before? I think it changed me as a woman. It made me realize I have the power to make decisions; I have the power to stand up for what I believe in......."

I found her answer refreshing. Everyone being asked why they became vegan will answer in their own inimitable way and certainly she is no exception. Way to go Alicia.

VEGANS #4 AND 5. I guess we always look up to those who climbed higher on the educational rung than we. Bob and Jenna Torres, both of whom hold PhDs from Cornell University captured my attention not only for being vegan but for being
vegans with a PhD.

They also collaborated on a book called VEGAN FREAK subtitled - Being vegan in a non-vegan world. Even though the book is oriented primarily towards vegans who are vegans for ethical reasons, that doesn't mean that they feel that others won't find lots of good stuff in the book. As they observe: "It just means that like any other book it approaches its topic through a particular lens."

Bob Torres is currently a professor of sociology at a liberal arts college in upstate New York. His next book, "Making a Killing: The Political Economy of Animals Rights" will be published this fall. Jenna received her PhD in Romance Linguistics and is currently a visiting assistant professor of modern languages at a liberal arts college where she teaches classes on Spanish.

I hope no one has taken offense in reading about the vegan condition. It is meant only to inform. Maybe the Torres couple hopes that the world will one day become vegan, but both they and I know that this will not happen. But just like all of us who hope and pray that one day we will eradicate world poverty and see no more heart-rending pictures of boney children or mistreated animals, we only know too well that this too will probably not happen in our life time either. But that shouldn't stop us from trying to make even small baby steps in trying to alleviate these ills.