VOTE VEGAN!

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There is a huge debate within the Vegan community as to whether it is a good thing to support non-vegan businesses that offer vegan options or not. There are, I believe, two possible situations with this issue, which may appear contradictory. But read on.

As some of you know, I was born in France, then lived in Los Angeles, California for over 17 years and became vegan there. Being vegan in a big city is so easy. You have tons of vegan restaurants, you can easily find whole foods that you can prepare at home etc… What I noticed, however, is this tendency from some vegans to believe that by supporting non-vegan businesses that have one vegan option, they are encouraging them to promote veganism more. I would like to point out a few facts:

  1. If you purchase from a non-vegan company, you will likely buy from a giant corporation who makes millions or billions of dollars which they use to continue to kill more animals. Do they also need money from vegans?
  1. Several people have reported that companies, like Chipotle for instance, have given them « vegan options » which in fact had animal flesh in them. It happened to me as well a few years ago at another non-veg restaurant when I ordered a vegan burrito and got one with chicken in it. So much for your vegan option.
  1. Why is it that the Animal Advocacy Museum in Los Angeles can obtain free food from Veggie Grill or good discounts for large happenings while a big (supposedly vegan) festival like WorldFest hires El Polo Loco, a large animal killing corporation, to feed its volunteers? Why not make a deal with vegan chains like Veggie Grill or Native Foods which truly support veganism and instead settle for an animal killing industry? This still baffles me and I find it very disappointing and a betrayal for the animals we pretend to defend.
  1. If you think your vegan option at Chipotle (or other non-veg place with one « vegan dish ») is vegan, think again. Do you really believe that they cook your food on a separate grill than the one used to grill animal body parts? Your food is certainly contaminated and as I pointed above, the chances that it contains what you don’t want to eat are high.
  1. Vegan businesses are usually owned by small entrepreneurs who want to do the right thing. When I was in Los Angeles, I tried to support the L.A. Vegan Crepe, whose owners are not only ethical vegans but do bunny rescues. In other words, they had no life. I created movie/dinner events there to encourage our community to support them instead of supporting their local Burger King (because it has a vegetarian burger). As vegans, isn’t it the right thing to support our own first when they are the ones struggling the most to do the right thing? Or is it just because some vegans, still conditioned by mainstream non-vegan thinking, choose convenience over doing the right thing?

Now, my opinion on this is finite when it comes to big cities like Los Angeles which have all the vegan convenience we can get. There is no excuse to do otherwise.

The problem is that not everyone lives in Los Angeles. Some of you live in small towns or villages where there is absolutely nothing. But should you support non-vegan businesses?

One approach in this case, is to encourage them to offer what big cities have: more vegan choice. I also wish there were more courageous entrepreneurs in these places who tried to bring the vegan message to their local places by creating 100% vegan businesses. But we have an economic crises all over the world and I understand that starting a vegan business is extremely hard. That is why the L.A. Vegan Crepe (and a few others) eventually closed down, not just for lack of support from vegans themselves but because it was a very hard and brave thing to do in the first place.

The second approach is to start your own whole foods vegan delivery system and stop relying on your local businesses to provide for you. You can also find a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in the US which supports local small farmers (which is better than a giant corporation). In Europe, we have tons of farmers’ markets with local produce.

Get your butt in the kitchen! Cooking is an art that is getting lost and a lot of vegans choose the junk food route (which is not healthy in the long term) instead of reconnecting with their food. You can find vegan cookbooks everywhere to help you. Even in small towns, there is always a veg section in bookstores and at least one vegan cookbook. If I can find them in a small pro-bullfighting French city like Nimes (France), you definitely can!

When I moved to France in August, I discovered there were nearly no vegan products on the market unless I lived in Paris (or another big city), which has several vegan restaurants. (I am not counting the abundance of fruits, vegetables, and so on) but I also realized that I needed to encourage local businesses (not big corporations) to see the bigger picture and see what their advantages were at increasing or changing their businesses to more veg-friendly outlooks.

They are very aware of the millions of tourists visiting France each year. Paris is the most visited city in the world for instance. Nimes is famous for its Roman buildings and therefore attracts a lot of tourists from England and Germany (which we know have more vegetarians and vegans).

In France, a lot of local small businesses still flourish and I am not talking about giving money to giant corporations (aka giant killing machines). I therefore connected with Happy Cow and started visiting my local businesses to show them that there is worldwide demand for veganism/vegetarianism and I found out that they were in fact excited to be included and offer a choice to vegan customers. The more we encourage them, the more some of them and new ones may in fact turn to a 100% vegan way of living.

That is the situation for small places where there are no vegan restaurants or businesses easy to find.

How about voting at the booth for the people who really matter. Dennis Kucinich (who is known as the only – now former – vegan congressman) had a bid for being chosen as the candidate for the democratic party in the 2004 election. But what did vegans (and others) do? Instead of voting with their conscience (and it doesn’t have to be Kucinich, it can be anyone you really feel strongly about), they voted for the lesser of two evils as usual (or as Michael Moore, who is becoming more vegan each day according to Victoria Moran, once said « the evil of two lessers »).

According to this article on the Raw Food World website (16 Millions Vegans and Vegetarians in the USA), we have 16 millions vegans and vegetarians in the USA. If these 16 millions voted with their conscience now instead for settling down for the status quo, we could have sent a strong message to the fascists who control us all.

Think about it and stop settling down for that lesser of two evils and actually join together to make your statement. The worse scenario that can happen is that the majority will still vote for the idiots but that more people who vote for the alternative will be heard.

In France, when we are not happy with something, we strike. Our government is scared of us. In America, people are scared of the government (to quote what an American woman living in Paris said in the movie Sicko by Michael Moore).

Isn’t it time that we really vote the right way? Let’s vote with our wallets first. That is our biggest power. There are places where I can find vegan products and I found them and that is my vote. When I was in Los Angeles, I voted by supporting vegan only businesses because they need our help to stay, non only in business, but to inspire others to do the same. In small places, it is about creating more awareness so the options increase and it eventually inspires some people to go all the way.

The choice is yours today. Make it the right one.

Picture: courtesy www.Pixabay.com

© Copyright VeganEmpowerment/Veronique Perrot – November 2014 – No republishing allowed unless permitted. Sharing is encouraged.

Why Being a Judgmental Vegan Doesn't Win Hearts

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One of the most disturbing or annoying trend I see in the Vegan community is people who judge non-Vegans for not being Vegans (or Vegan enough) or falling off the wagon. I have struggled with this issue then came around that situation just tonight while surfing Facebook groups.

In substance, someone in a group said he tried to be Vegan for 30 days but was confronted by Vegans whom he felt very turned off by and he decided to go back to his pre-Vegan days. As soon as he announced it, he was then called words like « douche » and so on. As soon as I noticed what was happening, I jumped on the bandwagon and asked him to contact me so I could talk him into changing his mind. And he did!

We have to understand that not everyone is where we are. As Vegans, our mindset has been changed either recently or long ago by what we have learned about other animals, their suffering, diet, the environment. And obviously our perspective is one of bigger awareness. But not everyone is there yet.

After talking to this man, he recommitted to try Veganism for another 30 days. He comes to it from a health perspective and, obviously, Veganism not being about diet, it ruffles some feathers for some of us. But this man is obviously willing to learn and expand his awareness and he should be encouraged and not trashed because he has not reached our level of « Vegan awareness ». What good is it to turn him off? Every small step is a good step. Let’s cultivate this newly found awareness and help him expand his.

In 2011, I became a Holistic Vegan Health Coach because I realized that a lot of people looked at Veganism as a diet primarily and were scared (by all the disinformation in the media) about their health if they went Vegan. I started getting the usual questions when doing Vegan outreach like « where do you get your proteins? » and so on. In my early days of being vegan, my diet was a junk Vegan food one and I had no answers for them. I decided that it was important to reach people where they are and slowly expand on their current mindset by slowly introducing new ideas and new concepts as well as reassuring them about their health.

Some people will never get to Veganism through animal rights first. So what? It doesn’t mean they can’t get there eventually. I found this to be true for everyone I coached first from a health perspective.

When we open to people, but don’t judge them, we quickly make them feel encouraged to learn more.

Being Vegan is not about being judgmental of others. It is about expanding awareness in any way that works for the people we are trying to reach in order to get them to grow. After this man talked to me, he regained his enthusiasm for the lifestyle and started posting information about Vegan programs in his area! So anything is possible if we put our egos to the side.

We can do so much better and really walk the talk if we are who we say we are: kind, compassionate, aware and willing to grow ourselves. Veganism is indeed about other animals, but we are animals too and when we have to change too. When we do, we become better equipped to change others.

 

Photo courtesy of http://www.Pixabay.com

© Copyright May 2014 – All Rights Reserved. Printing by authorization only.

A View from Utopia

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Please check out my new essay published on The Flaming Vegan website.

….I look back in time and see a world I seldom imagine. I was raised to believe in goodness and kindness but what my history teacher taught me really distraught me. I opened my electronic history book and contemplated how lucky I was to be born now and not a hundred years ago. I look at how the Earth is now thriving again with awe and love and try to remember that it wasn’t always so….

http://www.theflamingvegan.com/view-post/THE-VIEW-FROM-UTOPIA

Photo courtesy of http://www.Pixabay.com

© The Flaming Vegan and VeganEmpowerment.com – March 2014 – All Rights Reserved. Printing by permission only.

CONDITIONING, HISTORY & SCIENCE: Breaking Free to better Advocate for Non-Humans and Humans

March 2nd, 2014

The Animal Advocacy Museum presents a talk by Veronique N. Perrot, World Peace Diet Facilitator, Holistic Vegan Coach and Certified in Plant-Based Nutrition, on the power of our society to condition us and how we can break free and help others get free by recognizing the signs of our own conditioning.

Part 1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ij0IRH0molw

Part 2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TM7pB9M6980

Part 3 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgOGeyn-3bE

Why Oils Should Be Avoided

oil-159855_640In our highly processed society, we process not just our lives with stress and difficult jobs, but we also add to this toll with our food choices. Oils, for instance, are in everything. The chances are that if you eat processed foods, you are loading your body with oils. But is that a problem?

It helps to first understand that oils are nothing but processed foods. We took a whole food, say olives, stripped it of all its fat-binding fiber, and added it directly to our body fat stores within minutes. One tablespoon of olive oil (or any oil) is a whopping 120 empty calories.

Whole foods such as walnuts, pecans and seeds contain beneficial compounds like flavonoids, fibers, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, lignans, bioflavonoids, minerals and other antioxidants which are stripped and destroyed in the processing of oils. Plant sterols naturally lower cholesterol and help prevent cancer. However, oils raise LDL (bad) cholesterol and are linked to heart disease and even breast cancer. In fact, olive oil consumption can reduce blood flow in your body by up to 31%! Excessive consumption of oil can generally lead to not only excess weight but also diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and various forms of cancer.

According to Dr. Neal Barnard: « Avoid partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. These oils do exactly the opposite of what you would like: They raise LDL cholesterol and reduce HDL. Be sure to read the fine print on labels, especially on pastries and snack foods. » Better yet, stay away from processed foods in the first place. Nothing good comes from them. Instead, eat unprocessed whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains.

When you eat fat from whole foods like walnuts, the fat is bound by the plant fibers and only a small portion remains in your body. It in fact helps bind fat from other sources in the digestive track and the bad fat gets flushed in the stool. Even though nuts and seeds are high in calories, their consumption suppress appetite and help people get rid of diabetes and lose weight. Oils have the exact opposite effect. Nature doesn’t make mistakes when it « packages » its food, humans do.

The reason why some people are healthier in some parts of the world like the Mediterranean is not because they consume oils but because they eat a lot more plant foods than most people in the United States.

However, this does not mean eating a full bag of walnuts each day, particularly if you are overweight. Keep it to an ounce a day if you are very overweight. If you are thin and active, you can get by with 2 to 4 ounces a day. And that is enough to give you all the nutritional benefits including helping the absorption of phytochemicals from other foods.

It is easy to learn to cook without using oils. I learned to use water instead of oils and I found that my food is a lot less greasy and more delicious and I avoided at least 120 calories of artery clogging grease. If you are using oils in some recipes, keep them to the minimum or if possible, eliminate them completely. Avoid processed foods like salad dressings and packaged foods like crackers, cookies, etc where most of the oils are hidden. Eat a whole foods (that is unprocessed) diet and make salad dressings without oils.

Eat your nuts and seeds raw. Roasted nuts and seeds form carcinogenic acrylamides and contain less protein, amino acids, calcium, iron, selenium and other minerals. It is easy to add them to your salads or other greens and it is delicious and filling.

As Vegans, let’s not neglect our health. Being a healthy vegan is also a way we can help animals by showing how good our food is and how healthy it makes us.

 

Here’s a simple oil-free dressing I love to use:

– 1 tablespoon chia seeds

– 1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

– Italian herbs to taste

– Pinch Pepper

– Dijon mustard to taste

– 1 teaspoon of Agave nectar or maple syrup (or to taste) to lower the bitterness (optional).

 

Sources:

Dr. Joel Furhman: « Super Immunity, The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body’s Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free »

Neal D. Barnard M.D.: Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes: The Scientifically Proven System for Reversing Diabetes without Drugs

Dr. Pam Popper: Both Oils and Wealth Increase your Risk of Obesity and Disease video at http://youtu.be/e6v9HitLvXA

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn: No Oil! Not Even Olive Oil video at http://youtu.be/b_o4YBQPKtQ

Jeff Novicks R.D.: Olive Oil is NOT Health Food but Sick Food video at http://youtu.be/GfBKauKVi4M

Photo from Pixabay.com (free stock photos)

© Copyright December 2013 – All rights reserved – Printing by authorization only.

The Vegan Solution to the Politics of Breast Cancer

Please check out my new article published on The Flaming Vegan website today called The Vegan Solution to the Politics of Breast Cancer.

http://www.theflamingvegan.com/view-post/THE-VEGAN-SOLUTION-TO-THE-POLITICS-OF-BREAST-CANCER

Update 12/4/2013: Further evidence confirms the problem of mammograms. Check out this article on Dr. McDougall’s newsletter.

http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2013nl/nov/welch.htm

Why Health and Self-Care Should Matter to Vegans

When I was in my early 20s, I decided to be vegetarian for spiritual reasons. At the time, I was a trim, healthy blonde living in Paris, France. I never imagined myself moving to the United States and I had no idea what my future had in store. Like most twenty something, health was a non issue. I could dance, walk, run or just be plain lazy. I smoke (in France, really?), drank a lot and I was also unconcerned and ignorant about the food on my plate and its link to the suffering to other animals or the consequences to me later on in life. Because I was struggling with depression and later a nervous breakdown, I was mostly an alcoholic from age 16 to about 25. I was not a pretty picture.

This article was published on the new World Peace Writers collective. Continue reading here: http://worldpeacewriters.org/2013/11/health-self-care-matter-vegans/

NEWS FROM YOUR VEG LIFE May !

Do you feel like a cog in the machine and that nothing is really happening in the world? Do you have this feeling of helplessness in your daily life that nothing seems to get better?
We all have these moments of powerlessness in our lives. But does it mean that there is nothing that you can do? Yes there is. But it involves looking inside yourself. This issue, I invite you to take a look inside your belief system and how it keeps you and people around you enslaved to the status quo. This is about empowerment. Again, always strive, each day, to be an example of peace, love and kindness.
© Copyright May 2013 – All Rights Reserved.