Tuesday, 1 August 2006

Carnival of Empty Cages 3

In our call for submissions for this Third Carnival of Empty Cages, we asked people to address five big questions about being a veg*n. We have organised most of the posts featured in this carnival under one of each of these headings, but a couple of people made the heroic effort of addressing all five of them and so we have included this post upfront as a great overview for the rest of the Carnival.

First up we have vegankid with the post “hey, vegan….” over at Taking Place. We were glad to hear that the questions were fun to answer, and particularly liked this quote (which runs counter to the belief of so many non-veg*ns that veg*ns are all suffering from boring starvation diets):
the most rewarding aspect has been the great love of food that i now have. I have yet to meet a vegan that doesn't LOVE food. [...] Seriously, there is nothing like a kitchen full of vegans cooking up a great meal or a room full of vegans at a potluck.
Over at Bibliobillabong, Ron has also addressed all of our questions in his carnival submission, and concludes with this great summary:
I am a vegan solely for moral reasons: any health benefits as a result are an added bonus. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve had to spend a lot of time re-learning nutrition, shopping and cooking but it has been worth it. I don’t ever see myself eating animal flesh again and, hopefully, any other animal-derived food.
Becoming a veg*n
One of our favourite vegan blogs is Vegan Lunchbox, so we were very interested to read this interview, over at New Heritage Cooking with its author Jennifer McCann about when and why she became a vegan. In it she shares the story of reading a book’s dedication to a “glossy black calf on its way to the slaughterhouse” and says that this made her decision an easy one.

Vegcat at Two Vegans emphasizes that it really wasn’t as difficult as she had always assumed in her post Simply Vegan:
Before I tried it myself, I thought being vegan was something that required loads of self discipline and denial. I thought vegans were hungry people with no social life.

Imagine my delight then, when after only a couple of weeks eating vegan, I realised with a start how easy it is, how incredibly simple. I felt fantastic, I looked better - my skin was clearer, my breath was sweeter, I slept better and I wasn't wasting away eating lettuce. I could even have a vegan version of my favourite - cappuccino with chocolate sprinkles!
Nick Kiddle, over at Livejournal, also shares his story, which is perhaps more unusual than most, but does show that transferring our concerns from ourselves to the impact of our food choices on others can help to reduce our own neurosis and insecurities around food. Over at Pure Zucchini, Pure Zuke shares a personally familiar story about some of her reasons for switching from a vegetarian to a vegan diet in “Veganized Kitchen, Evil cheese & Chocolate Bliss”:
I’m constantly appalled by what I read about the dairy industry (organic or otherwise). I’m appalled with how the animals are treated, with what is allowed in our milk (pus, ewwww), with how closely in bed they are with the meat industry.
And, finally, Ashley, at MySpace, shares a list of 30 reasons for taking up a veg*n lifestyle.

Being a veg*n
Sujay Prabhu, over at Dangerous Intersection has written a beautiful post, “Do animals have rights?” about giving a class presentation about Sujay’s reasons for being a vegan. Although the presentation focused on factory farming, Sujay emphasises that “my convictions about vegetarianism are rooted in a larger moral framework, one which recognizes the rights of all forms of substantial intelligence, including animals.” The discussion of rights that follows challenges those people who believe that rights ought to be reserved for humans, and is really worth a read.


The folk over at Las Vegas Restaurant and Food Blog: The Vegas Table have written about the frustrations that vegans can sometimes experience when eating out and trying to find something worth eating on the menu. However, in her post, The Hunt for Spicy Eggplant, the author describe the common experience of having her eyes opened to new food possibilities, (in this case; Spicy Eggplant):
CUE THE CLOUDS PARTING AND THE LIGHT OF HEAVEN BREAKING FORTH WHILE ANGELS SING! The spicy eggplant was like nothing I’d ever eaten! Sensing he was in the presence of a life-altering experience, Mark turned his meal over to me, secure in the knowledge that we would be eating Chinese food much more frequently in the future.

And so began a quest to find the greatest dish of spicy eggplant in Las Vegas and beyond…
Over at Martin’s Rants, Martin also shows the silver lining of one of the main frustrations of being a vegan – being surround by food that you cannot eat and of (initially) having to read all the labels on food in order to work out what you can actually eat – in that it enables you to make more informed choices, and that it becomes easier as time passes.

Finally, Wannabealtruist, over at LiveJournal, writes about the frustrations that many veg*ns in share houses experience when their meat-eating housemates decide to eat the veggie food rather than their own, in her post “It's lunchtime in the big brother house....”.


Over at A Drop In The Stream Doug shares his story of being vegan, and also shares a few of the side benefits that he has reaped since taking the plunge two years ago:
  • I lost 50 pounds
  • I have no problems controlling my food consumption
  • I experience no cravings for sweets
  • I don’t experience the urgent need to snack mid afternoon
  • I don’t get sleepy after meals
  • I have more energy and feel better than I’ve ever felt in my life
  • I have no problem controlling my weight anymore
  • My cholesterol level dropped 30 points and remains low
There is much more to be said about the inner workings of this diet and its ripple effects into a person’s sense of well being but I’ll have to end here for now and pick up this thread in a later post.
Kristy, over at Kblog, writes about how vegan friendly Melbourne is, and links to a new blog, Melbourne Vegan, to prove her point. Peter Carman of Melbourne’s Vegan Voice puts Melbourne Vegan together and in it he lists all of the vegan and vegan-friendly activities that are taking place in Melbourne (in addition to throwing in some posts about current animal rights issues).

Converting others
Catswym, over at cat(s)wymming, shares her story of being a vegan in her post Vegetable Medley and in this story she beautifully addresses the very personal issue of whether or not to try to convert others:
but mostly i live this life quietly. i don't proselytize. if people ask, i'll explain my reasons. but i also know many people aren't ready for the truth. aren't ready to change what they do, and who they are. what i hope most is only to show that this life can be lived. that it isn't hard, it isn't out there. i recommend cookbooks, recipes. i cook for people. i live my life to show other people that this life can be lived. i think that is how change often begins. that's how it began for me.
Itsmallo, over at LiveJournal, also rejects the idea of being an “evangelistic vegetarian”. However, Itsmallo also adds, “If someone's thinking of going veggie, I'll encourage them, but I don't like to try to change people. Not my prerogative”, and then proceeds to list facts that may well compel people to consider adopting a vegetarian lifestyle.

For a slightly different take on the topic check out Veganfreak’s Why Veganism Alone Isn't Enough. Veganfreak argues that it’s not really enough “just to avoid products of cruelty”, but that we must also “educate and to be activists in our lives.”
The movement against animal suffering is broad and deep, and I guarantee you that there’s a place in it for you and your talents. Your boycott of animal products should be coupled with some kind of activism, outreach, or support in some way that you’re comfortable with.
Animal Rights
We also had some submissions on some broader animals rights themes:

Bull, over at The Bull Speaks!, writes about the ease of assisting animals in shelters, in his post “One Rescue that is Cheap to Feed!”.

Starling Hunter, over at The Business of America is Business, writes about a shocking story of the slaughter of greyhounds who are no longer considered to be fit enough to race.

Lakshmi, over at Babblogue XL, writes about her concerns over seeing a sign in a butcher’s shop window announcing that the meat was “dressed live”.

Finally, Eric, over at An Animal Friendly Life, critiques a Washington Post article entitled “Is There Anything Left That We Can Eat?” which discusses the dilemmas facing consumers who wish to be ethical while making the glaring omission of completely failing to mention veganism as a option.


Finally, for a bit of inspiration, here are some fantastic veg*n recipes that have been posted in the ‘sphere over the last couple of months:

SusanV at Fatfree Vegan Kitchen posted a delicious looking recipe for Inari Sushi and Kale with Mushrooms and Water Chestnuts. While Bryanna from Notes from the Vegan Feast Kitchen has a mouth watering fresh tofu scramble, Indian-style. For a different type of treat, try the Grilled Tofu, Mashed Potatoes with Mushroom Gravy, Braised Leeks, Steamed Broccoli, Ciabatta at What The Hell Does A Vegan Eat Anyway? or try a veganised version of una vera cena italiana [a real italian dinner] at the urban vegan.

Then it’s time for desert, so why not try that traditional Australian favourite – lamingtons, vegan style, prepared by Jennifer over at Shmooed Food.

And that's it for this Third Carnival of Empty Cages. The next Carnival is scheduled to take place on the first of October and is currently open. If you'd like to host it, contact vegankid on veganwonder at gmail dot com.

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