A View from Utopia


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….


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

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


Protests have been part of our history and all cultures of the world for the longest. People have protested all sorts of things, from war to poverty to women’s rights and animal rights. But how useful is it to even protest? With this article, I am possibly bringing a controversial take on the effectiveness of protests but I need to make a point here.

The need to protest is something I completely understand. I did protest in the past, against wars, for immigrant rights, against fur and animal cruelty. Then I came to realize that it was a waste of my time. The reason for this is that it has little educational value.

During the Vietnam War, thousands of people were drafted against their will and even though there were a lot of protests, the war was ended because a strong minority of people were against the draft and refused to go to war.

When Bush decided on the war in Iraq, there was no draft forcing some of us to go to war. War is now a voluntary venture. If you decide to put a uniform on, you are for war, whether you think you have a valid reason or not. The decision to start the Iraq war prompted the largest peaceful protest in human history, with millions of people all over the world peacefully protesting against it. Did it stop the war? Well we know the answer to that one. But why not?

Let’s look at how society functions and for that matter it applies to animal rights as well. Most people are cogs in a machine. They don’t function consciously. There is so much going on in their daily routine that they can’t see beyond what’s going on in their lives. No one is making a case to them that there is value in changing a few things in their lives and opening their minds to a different way of thinking. There are however a lot of groups out there to tell them to change their light bulbs, change their cars and buy so-called “free range” eggs, that’s about it. Where is the profound shift? Telling someone to change light bulbs or buying “free range” doesn’t create a meaningful or profound shift in the person’s belief system; it keeps the status quo in place. However, challenging peoples’ deepest held beliefs in a peaceful and non-preaching way forces them to think (maybe for the first time in their lives).  People are made to believe in myths, whether these myths are about what’s good for their country or what’s important in their daily lives. Societies are built on conditioning and false beliefs to which people are held hostage to. All of this is controlled by a tiny elite who has all the financial power to keep the status quo going and no incentive to change in order to keep said power in place. The Iraq war happened because some of us put on a uniform and were ok going to war, therefore feeding our masters. Most people are not even aware that they are being controlled and manipulated against their own interests. Can talking to people possibly change them? Yes. Will it change a lot of people? That will depend on our effectiveness as speakers and how we make our case. But if we are ourselves still part of the general conditioning, we need to change first so we don’t become the blind leading the blind.

It is the same in the animal rights movement. We protest but we keep buying from corporations, McDonald or Wal-Mart types corporations as well as animal type corporations (read the large animal “rights” organization). The latter are telling us that protesting is good and that giving them money is good because it will make a difference to the animals just like we believe that shopping at Wal-Mart is good for us or that sending our sons and daughters to war is good for our country.

In all cases, this is delusional. We are still manipulated and brainwashed. If protests worked, they would have stopped most wars and killed the animal industries a long time ago. But they simply don’t because they do not change people from the inside and deprogram or change their habits. Protests may get others to think but there is usually little education done. Protests usually attack the institutions but they do not change the ones who feed these institutions. As long as you have soldiers, you will have wars. As long as you have people who believe that a piece of land is more important than your neighbor’s well being, you have wars. As long as you believe that your religious beliefs matter, you have wars. As long as people eat animals, you will have starvation and therefore wars. Violence feeds violence and ignorance keeps people enslaved and pawns to the elites who are the ones who keep profiting. If you believe all the above doesn’t apply to you, you are even more brainwashed than you think. As long as you have people spending money at McDonald’s or Wal-Mart you have corporate masters who buy governments. As long as you don’t create peaceful community education, you won’t change how people think and show them how to stop feeding the system which enslaves them and other beings. The only changes possible are those which address the roots of our problems and not its symptoms.

What can be done? So far the Peace Movement has not made the connection with the Vegan Movement and recognized that they are part of the same fight. The first step is for the peace movement to connect ALL the dots. You can’t have peace in the world if you have violence on your plate three times a day. How do you expect to feed the starving when you munch on a cow’s corpse for lunch and dinner? Your meat is directly linked to starvation in the world as most of the grain (which could feed people) is fed to cattles (up to 80% of the US grain currently). Your meat is also directly linked to environmental devastation as the Rainforest is currently torn down for cattle grazing and feed for bovine slaves. Animal “foods” are behind most of the soil erosion and water and air pollution of the word. Don’t believe me; check what the United Nations’ report “Livestock Long Shadow” and the WorldWatch Institute say about this. If you care about the environment and desire peace, you have to change your lifestyle completely. Your health is directly linked to what you eat. When you eat that steak today, think about what it does to your body and how this benefits big pharma and their drug industry. You directly contribute to a disease care system which keeps you drugged and docile.

Second, people who want peace (and are vegan) need to truly educate others as to the reasons why they should do everything in their power to starve the system. Once again it is a matter of individual choices. If you pretend to be for peace but you are ok with your son taking on the uniform to become cannon fodder for the rich, you are living a dream. If you are ok with feeding the system by shopping at Wal-Mart, you are feeding those who profit from it, the ones at the very top or the 1% as we call them. You are not a human being anymore, you are just a consumer. Why do you think Bush said to people to go shop after 9/11? Because he knew that people’s habit of consuming would dumb them down and the power elites could do whatever they want. If you have a dumbed down and ignorant citizenry, it is easy to dupe them and do whatever you want for profit.

The Peace movement just like the Animal Rights movement is somehow cowardly when it comes to truly educating people. The large animal “rights” organizations waste millions of dollars on managing exploitation. In the 19th century, if abolitionists had wasted their time on regulating exploitation of slaves, we would still have institutionalized slavery. Slavery, in itself, is unfortunately not gone, but no one (except maybe a few staunch racists out there and giant corporations who profit from slave labor) would agree that it is ok to enslave other humans. If instead of protesting, we had tables everywhere in the country (and possibly the world) on peaceful vegan education and how to be true citizens (as opposed to consumers), we could educate thousands of people. And better yet, educating people on how to be true earthlings would be even more empowering than the idea of nationalist citizenry which just continues to reinforce separatism among people and other beings of this planet.  

Maybe you will perceive me as fantasist and unrealistic. Possibly. However, I have never seen any real effectiveness in protests, except as a good way to vent our frustrations. Tomorrow, we can all have a town hall and decide to band together to provide solar panels to our communities to reduce the demand for fossil fuels. Tomorrow we can have a town hall and explain to people why their demand for flesh is starving others and destroying the environment, their health and the lives of non-human victims uselessly. Instead of blindly following the so-called non-profits, we can have groups of people setting up educational workshops. Why don’t we do this? Because of the constant brainwashing that our institutions and the so-called peace and animal rights organizations impose upon us because we let them. There is no profit in Vegan/Peace education. But there is a lot of money to be made in single campaign issues for either humans or non-humans.

We will never change the system by protesting the institutional abusers (of humans and non-human animals) if we don’t eliminate demand for everything which oppresses us. But we have to become conscious of our own oppression and conditioning. We will however make changes when all of us finally decide to work together and peacefully educate others on how to de-condition and deprogram each others. Then and only then can we hope for a better world. Peaceful Vegan education is the key, so go out there and talk to people.

© copyright May 2013. All rights reserved. No printing without authorization.


Before I go through these stages, I want to make sure that the definition of Veganism is clear as based on the creator of the word, Donald Watson:


“We can see quite plainly that our present civilization is built on the exploitation of animals, just as past civilizations were built on the exploitation of slaves, and we believe the spiritual destiny of man is such that in time he will view with abhorrence the idea that men once fed on the products of animals’ bodies. »

 “[Veganism is] A way of living which excludes all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, the animal kingdom, and includes a reverence for life. It applies to the practice of living on the products of the plant kingdom to the exclusion of flesh, fish, fowl, eggs, honey, animal milk and its derivatives, and encourages the use of alternatives for all commodities derived wholly or in part from animals.”


There is a strong distinction between adopting a plant based diet and being Vegan, as we can see from the words of Donald Watson above. I am always astonished that people who adopt a plant based diet for health reasons call themselves Vegans. The word is so watered down nowadays that I think it is time for Vegans to defend the meaning of the word.

I have nothing against people who want to improve their health. After all, that is how I help people every day through my health coaching work. However, this, to me is just a tool to get them to become Vegans. As happy as I am that President Clinton has gone on a plant based diet, I can’t tell if he has shifted to Veganism for ethical reasons at all. We have also seen examples of so-called Vegans going back to their old omnivorous ways once they thought it “didn’t work” and realized that these people adopted a plant-based diet but were never Vegans (as we understand it to be, for the animals) in the first place. Being Vegan is about others, not ourselves.

People can get to Veganism through what I call “back doors”: environmental reasons and health reasons. Or through “the front door”: Ethical. That was my case. Then I discovered the health and environmental benefits were a welcome bonus. I will focus only on those who come through the front door directly into Veganism. There are various stages of how we evolve as Vegans. Your experience may be different than most but you will likely find something to relate with.


Stage 1: the “omg” stage.

You were exposed to the cruelty of the meat industry and decided that you couldn’t participate in it. Therefore you decided to go Vegan on the spot or Vegetarian because you most likely don’t know about the egg and dairy industries at this point. Perhaps you have not met a Vegan who told you the whole truth and you are left in limbo trying to figure out what to do. That is a likely scenario if you became concerned about animals but knew no one else who could help. This is still common for a lot of people new to animal rights. And that is why we so need Vegan education above all else.


Stage 2: “I wish I could make them…”

If you have not gone Vegan yet, you have now because you finally learned about the cruelty of dairy and how babies are torn from their mothers etc… If you were already Vegan in the first stage, you probably got the information faster. You now feel a lot of anger. The first reason for your anger is that you have been part of all this cruelty and second, you have become sensitized to the cruelty around you and it is painful, as one would expect. The blinders are off, what can you do? You feel like yelling at your best friend because she/he “doesn’t get it”! Your family drives you crazy and frankly, the world is crap. You want to take a bulldozer and destroy the animal abusing industries.

I call this stage the normal anger stage. All of us, as ethical Vegans, have been through that in one way or another. If you have not, you’re made of steel or something.


Stage 3: the “I’d rather go naked than…” stage.

You need to do something about it. You just don’t know what. But the anger has to be channeled and transformed into action. You want to join protests hoping that people who hear you will change. So you go to all these protests where activists yell at the animal abusers and shout slogans “what do you want? Animal liberation”, “when do you want it? Now!” And so on…

You’re in that stage where you feel if you go out there and participate in this, people will actually change or at least you will feel better because you are “doing something”. There is truth in both. Some people may actually hear the message and think about it and you will likely feel better for doing this. You may even get caught up into the sexist campaigns where they tell you if you go naked for the animals, you will make a difference. You just don’t realize yet that there is no difference between commodification of animals, women or black people. You have not made the link between the issues and buy into the welfarist agenda of gratuitous shock demos.

This is also the stage where you either stay stuck in this same paradigm of protest or move on to something else which is true Vegan education.


Stage 4: the “Vegan Toastmasters” stage

Welcome to Stage 4; if you actually moved on from stage 3. You have tempered your anger and realized that you are not really making much of a change around you by protesting and screaming at the institutional abusers. However, you start to realize that talking calmly about Veganism by using logical arguments is in fact more effective. A friend may have heard you and thought about what you said. Your parents may start changing. You may also find ways of articulating your Veganism by using peaceful means of reaching people. It could be through writing, tableling, doing Vegan outreach education and talk to people on the street. You try to become a more effective speaker so you can clearly give the message. There are tons of ways we can get people to go Vegan which don’t involve screaming at them for things that we used to do ourselves. That is the stage where you make the essential connection between all the forms of exploitations in the world being the result of a mostly patriarchal culture of domination. You are at the age of reason. At this point, the anger is used to give you strength as effective communicator.


Stage 5: The “Mahatma Gandhi” stage

If you’ve come this far, you have now realized that peace on Earth starts with peace in yourselves. Unless you learn to be centered, calm and inspiring, you will never inspire others to be the same, let alone to go Vegan.

“We Must become the Change We Want to See”. Mahatma Gandhi

How do we expect to change others when we don’t change ourselves? It is easy to be angry when we see the violence we are trying to fight against but projecting that violence out there doesn’t change hearts and minds, it closes them. The chances are that you became Vegan because either someone or something triggered your inner compassion, not because someone yelled at you that you were a monster. Let’s extend the same kind regard to others.


Excellent interview with Donald Watson by George D Rodger, chair of the Vegan Society, here: http://www.veganmeans.com/vegan_who/Donald_Watson.htm

© Copyright April 2013- All rights reserved – No printing allowed without permission.

The World Peace Diet by Dr. Will Tuttle

This is a copy of my Amazon.com review of this very important book:


5.0 out of 5 stars The most important book you may read in your life. September 19, 2011


As a Vegan of a few years, I have read many books on the subject of Veganism, animal rights, Vegan cooking, and so on. As I was researching reading more interesting books, I came upon The World Peace Diet by Dr. Will Tuttle. I have since had the honor of meeting and talking to Dr. Tuttle on a couple of occasions and was able to measure the man with the extraordinary book he has written. He is indeed everything he preaches and more in his wonderful book. Discussing this book could take a book in itself so I will just mention some of the most important points.

I was astonished by the degree of connections Will makes between so many subjects which, on the outset, may not seem related: women’s issues, environmental issues, animals’ issue, history, anthropology, sexuality, the environment, etc… But he brilliantly connects the dots between them all. There is a degree of kindness, love and connection in this book which is impossible NOT to make while reading this book. I can’t help but think of what type of person can read this book and come out of it unchanged. I don’t see how it is possible and would then speak to a high degree of disconnection and maybe hate of the living world if it happens.

As a vegan, this is the book I want to give to non-vegans. I actually recommend it when I do vegan outreaches and am at a loss for words on some issues. Instead of arguing with someone, I recommend the book as it is the best speech I can make on behalf of animals.

Of course, Will Tuttle goes into details about the various aspects of abuses done to animals but a lot of books do that. This one, however, just goes a lot further. It is not just a detailed description of the abuses, it deconstructs the psychology and perversity of our programming behind these acts. We are all indoctrinated since birth (and beyond aka past lives).

As a woman, this book has touched me to the core. The link between the abuse of women and the abuse of female animals (for their milk, eggs) is inescapable and comes from the same mentality which has ruled our world for the last 10,000 years or so. It is what Will calls the « herding » mentality: patriarchal, aggressive, dominating, warlike, exploitative of the natural world, other humans and non-humans. He calls for the rebirth of the « Sophia » principle (named for the goddess) therefore the rebirth of the feminine values of compassion, peace and respect for all beings. There is truly no peace without peace towards all beings. The connection between our wars and what we do to animals is undeniable. The fact that most violent criminals also have a history of animal abuse is a well recognized fact in our society.

There is only one way out of reading all this which makes sane sense: The will to free ourselves of our social brainwashing and regain our true selves. Will Tuttle is someone who connects with nature, the spirit and recommends that we do the same with meditation and connection with nature. This allows us to see the interconnectedness of all nature and all beings. When we abuse animals, we also abuse ourselves. When we eat animals, we kill others by contributing to the starvation of other humans on this planet. When we eat animals, we also destroy the earth’s abundance, destroy the Amazon forest, pollute the rivers, contribute to Global Warming (biggest contributor is in fact animal agriculture, per the United Nations and the WorldWatch Institute). We also contribute to the growing poverty of the human spirit which pushes us ever further away from our higher selves.

« Personal choice » is no longer a justification for eating animals and their excretions. Doing so is the most selfish thing that can currently be done. And it is also a very unhealthy choice for our bodies. The alternatives to eating animal bodies and excretions have never been so obvious. How hard is it to pick up a good vegan cookbook or browse the internet (thousands of vegan recipes online for free) and try some delicious healthy foods that will totally liberate the planet. This book has answered a lot of my questions, prayers and needs. I could read it over and over again and still find something new to understand or connect. This is how rich I think this book is.

Someone said: « There are no valid reasons to eat meat, only excuses ».