Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Every year for the past 8 or 9 years my husband and I have attended the annual
Farm Aid concert. Starting in 1985, Farm Aid is the longest running benefit concert.
Founded by Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young, Farm Aid has raised
nearly $36 million to promote a strong and resilient family farm system of
agriculture. Based on the belief that healthier food is grown on family farms rather
than "factory farms", Farm Aid seeks to educate and promote fair farm policies and
grassroots organizations. Donations can be made through the website but the best way to support the cause of healthy food for America
is by the way we spend our money buying food. Buy organic, buy local, buy fresh
and, if you eat meat, buy chemical/hormone free meats. Buy cage-free eggs, clothes
made from organic cotton and visit farmers' markets whenever possible.
Yes, you may have to pay more for some of these items, but this is for an important
cause that has a widespread and multi-generational impact. Listen to Willie!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Short Story

I like to write poetry and have taken several creative writing classes, however
most of my education has been in the sciences, as I am a health care provider.
I can recall the attitude my contemporaries had of the liberal arts students--
that they majored in such things as Literature or English because those classes
were so much "easier", or, they were not "smart enough" to pass the math and
science courses. One Sunday, a couple years ago, I attended a workshop on
Spiritual Writing. It was mostly attended by MFA people, advanced writers
and other literary types. I was astonished (I guess naively) to hear them talk
disdainfully about scientists, accountants, business people and others of the
so-called precise or exact disciplines. I mean, I knew We talked bad about Them,
but I didn't know They talked bad about US! I felt like I needed to defend the
creative side of the sciences...where do you think discovery and inventions come from?
Somebody has to think them up! But I kept silent and just pondered my own
prejudices. I bring this up because it reminds me a little of the way vegetarians
and omnivores view each other. Both camps seem to enjoy throwing barbs at the
others. And not just in private, witness the bumper stickers and T-shirts now
available. I view it as both impolite and ineffective. Nobody ever changed their mind
because they were insulted did they? Will anybody ever be converted to another
perspective or idea if they are humiliated? The best way to promote a position is
to make it attractive, that is, point out the positive, not tear down the humanity
of the other. There are numerous reasons I believe eating vegetables is preferable
to eating meat, but, in the end it has to be an individual decision.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Another topic I seldom hear mention of--slips. I do not mean the type of "slip" where
a committed vegetarian decides to one day eat a steak, I'm referring more to accidents.
Like when you think something contains no meat or meat broth but find later it does.
This is not an uncommon occurrence if one is not vigilant. The most frequent venues
I have this problem with are pot-luck style dinners and cafeterias. I work in a hospital
that has a lunchroom cafeteria with a "hot bar", salad bar and a grill. Often times
items on the hot-bar are not readily identifiable, and they are never labeled. I recall
once spooning some scalloped potatoes onto my plate. I pushed them around a bit and
didn't see anything meatlike. Later, I could see they contained baconbits. Some vegetarians
would have discarded the whole thing, I just picked them out and pushed them to the side
of my plate. The soups in the hospital cafeteria are another potential pitfall. It's hard to
tell exactly whats in there! And again, no labels. I think it would be a great service to
vegetarians everywhere if food items were more clearly marked as to their contents.
People with allergies would probably appreciate it too.

Monday, May 25, 2009


For me it started with Lent. You know, that period of 40 days prior to Easter
where Christians typically "give up" something, or, sometimes take on a new
commitment to prayer or tithing etc. In past years I had given up 1 meal a
day for the season of Lent, eating 2 meals a day instead of 3. This time I
decided to give up meat, meat being chicken, turkey, beef, pork, basically
any meat except fish. In my particular church denomination, Lent only applies to
Monday-Saturday. That is, the weeks after Ash Wednesday prior to Easter,
but not including Sundays. So, for example, if one gives up chocolate for Lent,
they need do so only 6 days of the week, it is allowable to eat chocolate on Sundays.
So, this is how I started. I ate no meat Mon-Sat and on Sunday I would a
hamburger, or chicken wings. Actually this worked very well.
It provided me with a transition period and a chance to get used to my new
"diet". It was also mentally easier I suppose, because I embarked on it all
for only a limited period of time. (For "the rest of your life" is a hard concept
to commit to!). However, after Easter rolled around I had already made up
my mind I would continue. And I have. And no meat on Sundays either!
There are lots of great reasons to eat vegetarian, include health, ethical treatment
of animals, efficient use of farmland etc. But, I think in the end, it is really a
"calling". Perhaps you are being "called" to be vegetarian. Only you can
answer this question. It is a discipline--physical, mental and spiritual.
Think of it as a one-day-at-a-time commitment. It's a good thing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why be a vegetarian?

I suppose there are two main reasons people become vegetarians. One
is for overall health. Plenty of reports are available singing the praises
of an all vegetable diet, and the ill-effects of meat, especially red meat.
The other big reason has to do with the ethics of raising animals to
kill them. Especially considering the conditions nowadays of "factory
farms" and the mass production of animals bred only to gain more
and faster profit.
However, noble and true as both of these arguments are (and perfectly
good reasons enough), neither is actually what started me off on this path.
More on that another day.

Monday, May 11, 2009

For New Vegetarians

When I became vegetarian, after many years of being a meat eater, I didn't
really know where to go for information. I mean, yes, there were plenty
of cookbooks available and numerous items in the grocery store, but exactly
where should I go to learn the things that would prepare me mentally and socially for
what I was embarking on? How does one deal with the day-to-day lifestyle
of eating meat for a lifetime, to not?
This blog will share some experiences which may prove helpful.