Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Taking care of this animal

Though I stopped making regular updates over a year ago, New Vegan Age continues to receive a few thousand visitors a month. With that in mind, I thought it'd be nice to give readers an update. Some years ago, there was an article criticizing vegans who take a great interest in helping animals but almost none in themselves. Well, that criticism started to hit home when I crossed into the low end of the obese BMI range late last year.

I was disgusted with myself, and I was ready to do better. Over the past year, I went from being a "mostly junk food" vegan to a "mostly raw and whole foods" vegan. I didn't get into veganism for the health benefits, but being a healthy vegan is now as permanent for me as going vegetarian was in 1997 and as going vegan was in 2010.

This guy convinced me I could do it. This guy taught me what changes I needed to make. And these guys sum up why it wasn't difficult:

Have you ever caught yourself saying “I’ll try,” when it comes to a fitness goal, or life in general?

You’ve probably heard the phrase “burn the ships.”

If you truly want to succeed, leave yourself no other option. Burn the mediocrity ship to the ground. Don’t allow failure to be an option.

1. Decide on your goal.

2. Learn what you need to do to achieve your goal.

3. Take consistent action knowing that your success is inevitable.

I wish you a happy, safe, and healthy 2016. Make this your year to become a better vegan!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A new direction

Not long before starting New Vegan Age, I painted New Direction, a modernist, falling swoop of texture that twists into a steady uplift. In retrospect, I believe the downward trajectory of its bold stripe represented the five years of my life before that time; its concentrated redirection stood for all that happened (including this blog) in the next few years; and that the steady, upward movement of its final line is the new direction of contentment and accomplishment I'm now enjoying.

Four years is a good run for a blog, and I'm pleased that New Vegan Age continues to receive thousands of visitors each month—even without promotion or new updates. Though I'm moving on, I'll leave its articles and interviews posted and may still return for an occasional "guest post" from time to time.

Thank you to our readers, to guest writers Kim, Nikki, and John, to our many wonderful interview subjects, and to friends (like Vegan Bloggers Unite and Spiritual Pop Culture) who will continue to make our New Vegan Age a success!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A perfect time to stop eating animals

This deliciously-seasoned, nutritious,
colorful holiday stuffing is just one

of thousands of recipes that prove
giving up meat isn't a sacrifice. 
Would you be able to kill an animal? If not, and you still eat meat, you're not living in alignment with your values.

I know, I know. People sometimes say, "Animals kill and eat each other. We're no different."

Well, as one of my heroes, Harvey Diamond, first pointed out to me in his brilliant Fit For Life books, could you kill an animal yourself? Could you do what other animals do—chase it down, strangle or smother it, tear it apart with your bare hands, and swallow it raw?

If you react to this question with disgust—and couldn't or wouldn't yourself actually go through with killing a living being—you're already a vegetarian in belief, if not yet practice. In addition to the growing number of health and environmental reasons to turn exclusively to plants for nutrition, many vegans and vegetarians stop eating animals because they would not ask someone else to do for them what they themselves would not do.

"I would not kill a creature," said another of my heroes, Peace Pilgrim. "And I would not ask someone else to kill it for me, so I will not eat the flesh of the creature."

Other signs that you might "already" be a vegetarian or vegan include:

  • You find the sight—or even idea—of a butchered animal or slaughterhouse unsettling
  • You sometimes sense a "vague uneasiness" when you buy, order, or eat animal products
  • You sometimes feel like you're not living in alignment with your "true self" 
  • You've wondered why some cultures eat certain animals and not others, and why they're not always the same animals
  • You've stopped and thought about how eating horses, cats, pigs, dogs, chickens, fish, or cows is any different—especially if this happened when your beloved pet was gazing at you

After Thanksgiving 1997, I realized I no longer wanted to have others kill on my behalf, and I declared that Holiday the last time I'd ever eat turkey. A month later, I made Christmas the last time I'd ever eat ham. That New Year's Day's became a natural time to celebrate the "good luck" tradition of pork and sauerkraut with the resolution to never eat animals again. (In the years since then, delicious vegan alternatives for all of these products have become available.)

You know, the Holidays are the perfect time to give yourself, the planet, and animals this gift. It's already a time of reflection, of renewal, of gratitude, of introspection, of compassion, and, of course, of commitment. If the thought of killing your dog or cat—or any animal—gives you a lump in your throat and a knot in your stomach, you're already a vegetarian in belief, and you're ready to take this exciting next step.

Best of all, there's no sacrifice at all in being vegetarian or vegan—only the rewards of a rich variety in food, improved health, and a much lighter spirit.

A version of this article originally appeared on this site on November 21, 2011.