Tag Archive: Vegetarianism


Proposed Return to Veganism

The more I’ve interacted with Krishna Das’s page and those of his friends, the more I have felt I really should return to veganism.  On my last few shops I have felt really bad about stocking up with meat and fish and thought maybe next time I’ll cut it out and buy vegan.

A couple of days ago I did it!  I submitted an online order then went back to it and cut out all the meat and dairy and replaced them with vegan products.  I had a serious wobble about it when I went to see my mum.  I think I’m a good cook for my own purposes (and actually I’d love to cook for more people, but I AM a bit slow so I don’t think I could make a career out of it) and I was saying how much I would miss everything, named each meat, fish, dairy and honey product with great anguish!  And all the things I won’t be able to eat in restaurants . . . .

The last time I went vegan, about 10 years ago, I was very evangelistic and Pentecostal about it. Everything had to change all at once, very fervent and much resolve.  Took all my meat and whey protein powder to a local homeless project.  This time, however, I’m being much more – organic? – about it, more relaxed and liberal, less intense.  I’ve still got a lot of meat and fish in my freezer so I’m going to eat it.  I’ve got a whole jar of delicious honey, I’m going to eat that, too.  I’ve got dairy cheese (I expect to miss that, especially Stilton) and one egg left, and I will enjoy those, too.  But once they have gone I’m intending not to replace them (I feel I should make a more committed statement than that, but I won’t – what I write here won’t change anything anyway).

When I’ve heard people talking about changing to veganism in the past and doing it gradually, choice by choice, that’s been an approach I have despised as ethically inferior.  I don’t know now, though.  It took me decades before I actually got to grips with making the leap in the first place.  And maybe it is more realistic to think that ethical actions don’t have to be backed up with self-conscious, anxious, instant conversions. No one’s life is 100% ethically pure, anyway.

This post is not a statement or commitment, just an account of my thoughts and recent choices.  I expect a more relaxed approach than before to work better for me this time, it will be easier to maintain and integrate psychologically, I am sure.  I maintained it for about six years last time, it wasn’t a flash in the pan.  So I’ll try this approach and see how it works differently, if it does.  I think it may be like slipping into something more comfortable.

Oh, also, I’ve managed to find some vegan wines, stout and cider at Sainsbury’s online, much cheaper than going to specialists.  Just put the word ‘vegan’ before what you are looking for and the options appear.  The wines I expect to be fine, they are varieties I like, anyway.  The cider and stout is a bit more of an experiment for me.

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Christianity and Veganism – Either/Or?

Today I went to a Zizzi restaurant in Newark.  All I wanted was a glass of wine but I thought I had better at least buy an Italian bread bucket, as it is a restaurant not a pub.  As a vegan I was not thinking that the fining process for the wine had probably involved the use of animal or fish products.  I wasn’t thinking, all I wanted was a glass of wine after over two weeks not drinking anything.  In the end I had two glasses of wine, sea bream and tiramisu.  Some vegan I am?  Yes, absolutely.  I keep wanting to ‘eat normally’, ie, not vegan, and sometimes I give in to the urge.  The last two or three months I have given in a few times.  Until tonight, over the last two weeks I have been OK and stuck to the straight and narrow path of being a vegan.  It’s been better for my digestion as well.

Today, before this, I was thinking that the reason I am a vegan is that eating non-vegan harms animals, even just using their products, given the farming methods used, and that it brutalises people, especially at the extreme end of those who work in slaughter houses.  I wanted to be a vegan because I wanted to affirm myself as a human being who does not harm or cause suffering to animals and is not in any way involved with it.  There are people who say they would never harm a fly who eat meat and fish and their products regularly.  They are in denial.  Other people are being paid to do the dirty work for them and they buy the sanitised product at the end, and obviously recognise no link between themselves and any harm or suffering caused to an animal.  If they say they would never harm a fly and mean it, their thoughts and feelings lack clarity.

At the moment, though, I could joyfully abandon veganism.  I often crave foods that are not vegan, the vegan equivalents are just a bit harder to get hold of and a bit more expensive, and there have been times when I have eaten seitan when I have wanted to cut into some real flesh.

Christianity and Veganism – either/or?  Apart from two years in my teens I have always considered myself a Christian.  Even during the first years of being hospitalised I sometimes had difficulty seeing myself as Christian, but in those days I considered myself to be in a bad place in my life.  In my teens I embraced a life without God for two years.

The one thing we know about the things Jesus ate, if we believe the Bible, is that he ate fish.  For a few years now I have held to a position in my thinking if not always in my practice, that abstinence from all things animal is morally superior to indulgence.  So I was asking myself earlier today, where does that leave Jesus?  If it is better not to eat flesh or any of its products, where does that put the Saviour of the world, morally?  I get embarrassed when I don’t eat vegan.  I would be embarrassed to give up my vegan position, and have often seen my slips as sin.  If my slips are sin, did Jesus sin in eating fish?  Yet I have seen my veganism as part of my Christianity.  I have thought a great deal of the vegans I have met, robust and beautiful people.  Is it enough to say that Jesus was a man of his time and ate flesh without sinning?  I think vegetarians and vegans existed in those days as well.

I don’t know about veganism, but vegetarianism is an important part of some Eastern religions.  When the apostle Paul wrote to the Romans he recognised that some people did not eat meat and saw them as the weaker brethren with weaker consciences, and said that if his eating meat caused any of them to stumble he would never eat meat again.  There is no reason in the text to believe he did not mean this and it seems possible that he might have become vegetarian himself, because undoubtedly there were people who would have been stumbled by his eating meat.  I’m wondering if I am making too big a thing of this in believing that holding to a position that veganism is morally superior and preferable is incompatible with me calling myself a Christian in the traditional sense.  The kind of Christianity I have believed in says that Jesus was sinless, yet He ate fish, at the very least.

This Moment IS

The staff on the ward have found my blog, without me giving them the address but saying angrily a few times that I was going to blog.  The ward manager collared me twice, once quite softly and the second time in a way which made me feel they wanted to take my computer and my leave away.  The second time she approached me with 2 other female staff members and in public.  She said she wanted to talk about my use of my computer on the ward.  I said it was music and that I have no internet connection on the ward.  She asked me quite crossly where I wrote my blog and how I wrote it and I pointed out that I have 5 1/2 hours total off the ward and I go where I can get a connection and that I have the same freedoms as everyone else in that time.  They said they did not like having their names associated with certain things.  I said that I have things associated with my name which I don’t like also, and that they were free to write or comment.  It was probably in that context that she said that it was a matter of confidentiality, but I took it to mean that she was saying I was breaking a duty of confidentiality which I was quick to point out that I do not have but that they do.  They talked about seeking advice.  I said OK.  I hope if and when they do the outcome will make a big difference in society and for people who are held against their wishes and with other forms of abuse, harassment and bullying thrown in.

This is good.

They saw me coming towards the office/ward exit this afternoon and it seemed to me they deliberately closed the office door and I stood outside knocking with them ignoring me.  This happens often.  The staff last night were calling people rude.  I’m not sure who they meant.  At the time it seemed it was obvious they meant me.

2 nights ago a woman had 2 separate instances of being forcibly medicated.  Hefty men called and involved, on an all-female ward.  If anyone knows how that is appropriate I would appreciate the feedback through comments.  She said they had hurt her hand and it was all swollen and red.  I know I have been there, in London.  It took 6 months for my hand to stop hurting, and the man doing it at the time, when I said he was hurting me, said ‘well, you will learn your lesson, then, won’t you?’  I was never contemptuous of my own life until I felt betrayed by the church and came under the psychiatric services.

We appear to have a large degree of revolt and anarchy on the ward at the moment.  Everyone is angry and the staff are, to my mind, often unprofessional.  Everyone knows what is happening but the staff say nothing, and I think most of us patients know they know more than they are allowing us to be party to and that, if we were allowed to be party to the staff’s knowledge of what everyone knows, a lot of things might be called into question.  Just a thought.

This blog is exactly what it says in the title, that and nothing else – the thoughts and observations of a certified nut.  Why would anyone want to seek advice over that?

Did I say that I had had a bad week as a vegan last week?  I was tempted again earlier this week but I talked myself through it.  I went through the ‘so I’ll feel guilty’ bit and realised afresh that it is about the suffering or death or utilisation of an animal in a way which is not ideal.  I decided we are different from most of the animal world in that we have a conscience and can think, philosophise and moralise about our behaviour.  I had tears in my eyes as I thought it through.  I was happy about that.  It is about the animal and about me, living according to my light.

Jesus is wonderful and I love Him.  He ate fish.  I’m not sure how to harmonise that.  It is said that the prophets were vegetarian and that the Essenes were also.  And I believe it is right not to use animals.  So I can’t deal with the Jesus and fish thing – not at all, in that context.  I think I was taught at Bible College that John the Baptist was an Essene.  So while they might have said ‘but Jesus ate fish so it isn’t wrong’, why would John the Baptist have lived by a higher morality?  We were told that when it says JTB ate locusts, it actually means the locust bean, and not the insect.

I left a comment on Tommy Boyd’s blog on Friday, about how the way people treat me sometimes makes me feel, emotionally, that I want to hit back.

At the time I left it, I was aware, listening back, that it seemed as if my comments were being tracked by the radio hosts I was listening to.  When it got to the time that I left that comment, the host who was on at that time said something sarcastically and derisively about unfailing love.

Apart from the obvious fact that it is God who is perfect love, and not me, I wasn’t aware he had access to my unpublished comments in the middle of me writing them anyway.  Well, I was, and have been for ages.   Unless it is a psychic thing, and I don’t think it is.  Sometimes, but probably rarely.

So it is stalking and harassment.  Hostage-taking and keeping, maybe.  And they love bomb you like a cult.

That kind of sarcasm, if it factored in something in Biology, for example, would be called an inhibitor or a limiting factor.  It is something I came across when I got interested in vegetarian food and was given a couple of books which went into detail about it.  Talking about available protein.

If I remember it right, proteins are made up of amino acids, the composition of which can be pictured as a star shape with unequal protrusions, the shorter ones limiting the availability, release and utilisation of the rest, and therefore the amount of available protein.  It was presented as a part of the idea of complementary protein, where, for instance, rice and beans complement each other and make more protein available when eaten together than is available if you add them up separately.  Wheat and milk is another one (that was vegetarianism, not veganism).  And there are others.  Some people say that is an outdated theory now, but the diet and nutrition industry being what it is, who knows?  I suppose if it was scientifically proved it must still stand.  It isn’t something which depends on individual metabolism, it is the protein available in combined foods, and that is testable in a laboratory (I think!) before the food enters the body.  Although thinking about it I am wondering how the necessary blending of the foodstuffs would take place apart from digestive breakdown, but that probably shows the limitation of my own knowledge due to inadequate study and experience.

But in relationships, I don’t want people behaving as inhibitors towards me in that way and thinking it is good or clever.  He went on to say something about ‘don’t cry, woman’, or something like that.  But by that time I wasn’t open to anything else which came from him, and I stopped listening.

PS – the WordPress system has just informed me that this is my 275th post and called me a dope.  Honestly!  “Dope!” – just like that.

Variation On A Theme.

I adapted one of Nigel Slater’s simple meal ideas tonight, and it worked perfectly.

One of his ideas is to have pasta and peas, tossed in olive oil and garlic, I think, but I’m not sure about that bit.

I did pasta and peas with black olive tapenade.  Beautiful, with ground black pepper and a glass of white wine.

Really quick, really simple, really beautiful and spot on and delicious and I couldn’t have been better pleased with a meal which had taken a lot of preparation.

I first came across him when I bought one of his books, ‘Real Fast Food’, and I was attracted by the idea of speed and simplicity with delicious substantiality and unpretentiousness.

I can’t remember if I had ever been there before, with anything in a different class from beans on toast.  His book gave me the ideas, and the vision, and the enthusiasm, and the confidence and permission.

Another one I like of his is green lentils boiled with a bay leaf and topped with butter (sunflower margarine now, which to me is just as good) and black pepper (or is that my addition?)

I love his style anyway.  Really, really fantastic.

So, Nigel, many thanks for the introduction to simple and delicious good cooking.  It is a pure delight.

OMG!!!

First published 9th December 2010, after a post on veganism.

Edit:  This is a Sticky Post – Stuck to the front page for future reference.  It didn’t appear in any of the tag categories I selected, I assume because it has too many tags, although plenty of others that HAVE appeared have more than the 10 suggested in WordPress Help.

I brainstormed on the tags.  One reason I have stuck this on the front page, so you can search the categories any time, and so can I.  And what I say in this is relevant much of the time.   If you look at my tags in this you get an idea of how I think and feel about what is happening and how I think it should be perceived, understood and treated.

Spread the word, please, if you are with me.  Maybe if I break up the tags into easier to handle chunks I can get the post into all the categories I want, if I reproduce it or something.

Just listen to the sickly sweetness on Premier right now.  You have an hour.  I wouldn’t mind if it wasn’t criminally fuelled sarcasm, teasing and stalking.  They are not sincere people, even if they sound it.

Listen, you will hear them using my blog.  Even this.

They are taunting people, maybe me, with ‘Ah, you think YOU are always right, do you?’ But whether I am or not, I’m not using criminal means to enforce my opinion.  They are.  These Christians.  If you can’t win and you want to cry, mock and laugh, they say.  These carers for souls and God’s vision for humanity as a whole.  Unfit for purpose.

What’s it like, playing God? Esther says.  You’re asking the wrong person, Esther.  I wouldn’t know.  You would though, if you think He authorises the use of criminality and everything else in my tags to destroy a person.  Croaking and squeaking, most of it is deliberate and to hurt and offend FOR NO GOOD REASON EXCEPT TO WIN FOR YOUR ORGANISATION and you have no right to my sympathy.  I am not you, I am weak, you are abusing your position.

And you keep teasing, making out you’re going to comment or pass an opinion on what I say, but talk about something else.  I can hear the mockery in your voices, past experience of you all helps.

I love it when John Pantry gets hsi knickers in a twist about something being blatant.  If he’s talking about me, he’s projecting.  he is seeing things that were not intended at the time of writing, but I am awfully glad they are there.  But they weren’t intentional, so it is all, for him, a product of his mind, guilty and sneaky as it is.

Thank you for seeming sweet, guys, even if you are not.  We all need our illusions, especially at this time in the morning.  Pity mine don’t hold.

Got it – they are taking the message to their own consciences and forcing them outwards. That’s what this kind of Christianity does, all the time.  Look at the blogs, see how often they talk about they rather than I or we.  They think it is a sign of good authority to stand out in the street complaining loudly or pointing the finger, literally, in someone else’s face, a member of their congregation.  I’ve seen and heard it all, and deliberately recoil from and distance myself from it.  Buzz, buzz.

I’m being censored.  This doesn’t appear in any of my tag categories, 50 minutes on, and the Premier news just had something said with firm sternness about needing medical help.  It’s not new.  Maybe that is why Premier felt able to mock so freely and why it was so effective.  They caught me on my blind side.  I assumed it was going out and being shown in the categories.

Rick Easter, I have no responsibility.  I’ve already tried to meet it many times over, and you continue to taunt and terrorise based on the consequences.  You are angry, degrading people.

THAT Was Ages Ago!

I was just thinking about something I read or heard that, after a couple of years being a vegetarian or vegan, your body loses the ability to process non-vegetarian/vegan food sources.  I felt slightly worried, just in case it really should turn out that you need animal nutrition to be healthy, and what would I do if my body couldn’t even cope with it?

Then I thought of the days when I was fascinated by the fact that Pete Murray was a vegetarian, and wondered how he could possibly do it, and thought it couldn’t be possible, and that it was very interesting, but scary territory, and very much ‘out there’.  It wasn’t something I could ever do. People like me can’t.

I went to Happy Grill the other day, for a cup of coffee.  I decided to look at the menu, and decided that, as a vegan, I was in trouble.  I wanted everything I shouldn’t want.  Not just eggs, but meat and fish.  It felt like the most normal, natural and easy thing to do, just tuck into a chicken, meat or fish meal.  I am wishing I was still a fish eater, and am trying to justify a thought that I could keep my own egg producing hen.  With me it would be free and well cared for.

I also keep deciding it can’t be right, as a vegan.  I keep coming back to the belief that, if I do that, I will be validating the system of exploitation that gives me access to the hen in the first place.

But is it different in the countryside, and in Bulgaria?  Is it OK to eat animals and their products if the animal has a free and natural life?  Is being a vegan a bit extreme?

I sometimes feel it is, and that I am being stupid and depriving myself just because I said that I would be a vegan for life, and I don’t want to be teased about giving it up.  Why not, I don’t know, really.  Vegans are no nicer than – I was going to say ‘the rest of us’, this is not a good place for a vegan to be – anyone else, and there are more of us than there are of them, that is more meat eaters than vegans, and this is my thought process which, as a vegan, I’m not entitled to, but it is where I’m at.

OK, muddle.  I have not felt embraced by vegans, any more than by anyone else.  As a human and a vegan, I have felt enraged and deeply wounded and betrayed by this, because part of my vegan expectation is that people will matter to vegans as much as any other living creature does.  As a vegan, especially in Bulgaria, I am really lonely.

I don’t know what is wrong with the vegetarian/vegan people here.  Their prejudice and misogynistic hatred and contempt seem to run just as deep, if not deeper – I mean, if you are a vegetarian or vegan out of conviction, that’s a love stance, isn’t it?  So how can you be cruel/rejecting/controlling towards a human being, especially if they share your convictions and believe in and practise the lifestyle?  And if you claim to embrace a peaceful and loving spirituality to boot?

I wonder if they read this.  I wonder if the people the media continually directs my attention back to are really wanting me to go back to them? Because if they do and if they read this, I’d like to say to them,

‘wake up and smell the coffee, guys.  I am gutted and devastated by the way you have treated me in this, the way you have turned away from me and turned in on yourselves, the way you have accepted a bad report about me from people who have no right even to have access to some of the things they say, let alone be spreading them’.

Maybe I made a mistake.  I believed in the vegan community, the kind, compassionate, caring, Christian, spiritual community.  I saw the sharing of values as a bond and covenant of friendship.  I still do.

I was going to liken it to believing in the disabled community, or a racial or ethnic community, but about those things you have no choice.  But is it still true that, even given who you say you are in the paragraph above, it is no more covenantal than being disabled or of a particular ethnic background?

There is one thing we all are, and that is human.  But even that is not a respected covenant.  So just as I am not going to find a friend in every human being just because I am human (we might be different in every other way), it probably follows that I am not going to find a friend in every vegan or spiritual person and shouldn’t believe in the idea of community anymore than I should believe in a disabled community.  The fact that we share a situation or cause or believe we share a conviction doesn’t mean we have what it takes to be friends and find friends.

This is garbage, isn’t it?  It is also a place of real pain and heartbreak for me.  And parading it on a page on the internet makes me feel less able to deal with it in a way that might heal relationships in real life.  It’s about motive.  Who am I writing for, and why?  They have as much right to feel betrayed as I do, maybe, if not more.

Non-vegans tease you all the time, pushing the boundaries of what you will or won’t embrace as acceptable and your reasons.  A question I keep coming back to is, if some animals are bred only for their usefulness or food value, if we were all vegan would they all become extinct?  These lovely, fluffy lambs we don’t want to kill and eat, the horses and the donkeys we don’t want to exploit.  If they only existed in the wild, would they soon become extinct, and our lives be perceptibly poorer for their absence?

Another question: is using an electronic sound deterrent on household pests and vermin a form of animal cruelty?  I’ve got a rat or 2, they are getting bolder.  They do my bedroom now.  I read they don’t like peppermint, so I put some peppermint teabags out all around the kitchen, and at the hole I know about.  They shifted them out of the way and carried on regardless.  I can’t afford rat catchers all the time, and I think they would be unsympathetic to a vegan approach anyway, the only other option seems to be to let dogs and cats eat them.  Or kill them and leave them for me. Lovely!  And inconsistent, to my mind.  So what do you do?

Vegetarian Bulgaria Sucks!

Here I am in Bulgaria, right?  Sofia, to be exact.

I checked Happycow.net for vegetarian restaurant outlets in Bulgaria, and the only ones seem to be in Sofia.  Only two of those are completely vegetarian, and don’t the buggers feel their power!

The food is great, but I have never experienced such harassment anywhere.

I got to Sofia, eventually, yesterday, hoping to go to my favourite vegetarian restaurant, which turns out to be closed until 15th August.

Why is it my favourite restaurant?  Is it because English media has been flooded, to my mind, at least, with images of it and suggestions that that is where I should go?  I am a very suggestible person, and I might have got that wrong.

So here I am, back in the only viable alternative, really – Dream House, the restaurant where one of the chefs broke into an aggressive cackle and said I was restaurant crawling (but not to ME, you understand), and then, the last time I was here, he put a CD on, just as I was leaving, which was what I understand to be heavy metal, saying something about a man shoving his cock in a woman’s mouth (please excuse me, those are the words of the song, which I need to repeat so you can understand how sexually molested I felt as I left that day.

Anyway, today here I am, having needed somewhere to eat.  It started off OK, I was fairly much in control of how I was relating and of my experience.  The man didn’t seem to be around, so that felt safe enough.

I watched some TV on the internet, yesterday’s news, and as I was packing up to go the woman behind the desk said, in English, ‘she’s so rude!’

When I went to pay, I asked her about it, and she denied that it had happened.  She said she always spoke in Bulgarian,  So I said possibly it had been a customer, and accepted I might have been wrong.  Then she became defiant and started laughing at me, saying it was my paranoia, not  theirs. Like, it’s paranoid to call restaurant staff on their rudeness and be upset when they lie about it, especially when my own reason for adopting veganism was spiritual and moral.  I don’t get it.

Anyway, no one stuck up for me, and just now the second girl on shift sat down with a couple of friends, and they were turning round and looking at me and talking.  I can only assume that they were saying what had happened.  They seem to think there is never an excuse for being angry, at least not for me, but they themselves are so rude and either they don’t care about putting it right, or they have strange ideas of how they should.

I hate Bulgaria so far. Every time I try and adjust that and be happy I’m faced with the same stuff.  I have no idea what they are trying to do.  Do they want a bit of me to rub off on them because I am English and they think I am charmed?  I’ve got to praying, ‘OK, God, let them have it.  Let them know how it feels to be me.  Let them experience it themselves’.  I hope they do.  RT et al are dishonest people hiding in the shadows if they refuse to recognise that imprecatory prayers belong to the New Testament as well as the Old.  Peter and Paul both prayed them.  RT et al are hiding behind cowardly dishonesty if they refuse people’s right today to do the same thing.  Anyway, these guys here think they are above anything negative.  I have to carry it on my own, and it’s my problem if I have a problem with that.  It’s my problem if I don’t like restaurant staff calling me rude, laughing with each other, then when I ask them about it they deny it and laugh at me, calling me paranoid.  Squeeky clean vegetarian restaurant, even when they are being abusive.  I’m the one that is supposed to come down out of my miff tree, and if it wasn’t an expectation that I was being vilified for not meeting, that would be the most comfortable thing for me to do.

Fuck em.  It’s not that I don’t care.  How can I not in a situation with such limited options that I thought was going to be good but has turned out to be so thuggishly cruel?

But fuck em anyway.

The worst thing is, when push comes to shove, my ‘favourite’ restaurant is just as bad.  Yesterday I felt we could make progress.  Why?  never mind.  But I get the impression they are reporting me to each other, so I suppse today’s people are going to mess it up for me, even if it could have turned round.  How is it that I always manage to end up being made to feel like the one in the wrong?

Shortly after I came in the man said ‘Jesus’.  In view of the fact that he has subsequently been completely offensive to me and allowed his staff to be (is he the owner?) without making an effort to put it right, I find that in itself completely offensive.  I’m tired of feeling I have to go through life making allowances for everyone but myself.

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