Saturday, August 18, 2012

Vegan Travel

Vegan On The Road
Photo Courtesy of
I'm going on vacation, starting today, so I think I should post today instead. For the next two weeks, my posts might be a little... er... spontaneous. It is hard to know when I'll have access to the computer, you know?
But here is my post.... about how to be vegan while travelling!
Preparation is key. You should either bring your own food, or money to buy it at a grocery store, or you should research vegan restaurants along your route.
Bringing your own food can mean a lot of packing and lugging around coolers. Of course, if you are going on a road trip, this shouldn't be a problem, but if you are flying or taking a train or taking another less predictable form of transportation, you need to buy most of your food along the way. If you can't bring all your food with you, bring along some non-perishables, like crackers, granola bars, and cookies. Make sure you use eco-friendly packaging-- take a look at my blog post on Hug A Tree Today, Seriously for ideas about eco-friendly camping for more information. You can also buy special containers of soy milk that don't have to be refrigerated until you open them (these are usually only individual boxes, though).
Grocery/Health Food Stores can be useful, since you can buy things like fruits and vegetables. You can whip up some of the foods you eat at home in your hotel room.
For a directory of vegan restaurants, go to

I'd love to write more, but I can't spend any more time on the computer because I have to finish packing!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

How to Raise Vegan Kids Who Care About Animal Rights

If you have young children or plan to have kids when you are older, this post is for you!
You might think it is hypocritical for me to tell you how to raise your kids, since I am not even out of high school yet and definitely don't have kids, but I hope that my perspective will help you all the same. I am a vegan, and I have thought a lot about how animal rights should play a role in young children's lives.
Here is my advice:
  1. Don't let them eat animal products. To refuse to let them eat animals is not torture or abuse or meanness in any way. Think about all the awful chemicals and hormones that can be found in meat and milk and eggs. Studies have shown that the growth hormones in cattle, pigs, chickens, etc. pass themselves on to the consumer and can even cause obesity. The chemicals can also be dangerous and toxic-- if you would not feed your child arsenic or anti-freeze, then why would you feed him industrially produced animal products? Even organically-grown animal products are unhealthy, and can cause cancer, diabetes, and a shorter life-span. If you need further convincing on the health implications of animal-product-eating, please go to, where you will find more information and links. Another thing to keep in mind is that vegetarians and vegans tend to be more mindful and conscientious than meat-eaters. To conclude, not allowing them access to animal products is actually doing them a favour. When you combine the health implications with the environmental and animal rights arguments, there is really no way you can compassionately feed them meat, milk, and eggs.
  2. Once they become teenagers, the choice is more up to them. However, this does not mean that you should cook them animal products if they ask you to, nor should you buy anything that came from an animal. Tell them that if they want to eat animal products, they must do it outside the house or in their room, and they must buy it themselves. I am writing this from the perspective of a teenager, remember, and it sounds about right to me. Hopefully, if you have raised them properly, they will not want to eat animal products, which leads to my next points...
  3. From the time when they are very young, educate them on why your family is vegan. Remember, the rest of society is constantly indoctrinating anyone in it that eating animals is normal. If you live in society (which I'll bet you do), then they will constantly be around people who, from time to time, will challenge their beliefs. Over time they will make up their minds for themselves, but that does not mean you can not try to teach them ethics beforehand. To teach them, you can read them books, show them kid-friendly animal-rights movies, or simply explain to them when the topic comes up. Here is a list of children's books that might help:
  4. Take them to volunteer at an animal-friendly organization on a regular basis.
  5. Take them to natural places, so that they earn an appreciation for nature, where most animals live!
  6. If you send them to school (I think that home-schooling and unschooling is better, however; click here for details), encourage them to talk about what they experience at school and whether anyone talked about them being vegan. You need to make sure that they are not being bullied about being a vegan.
Food ideas and more:
Nutritional details:
One-stop site for lots of information:
Something to further convince yourself:

Ellen, who was raised as a vegan and still is at 17. Photo Courtesy of

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Not Dead Yet!

To begin this post, let me tell you a true story.

The Tale of 6 Dead Insects
Or, The Case of The Undead Snail

One day (this most recent Wednesday), a girl named Carolyn (me) was working her volunteer shift at the raw organic vegan gluten-free take-out place, washing vegetables. While taking apart the lettuce and the kale to be washed, she found 6 dead insects in the vegetables. By the time her shift was over, she had uncovered 1 dead little winged black bug, 1 bronze-coloured winged insect, 1 wingless green one, 1 wingless black one, and 2 snails (well, snails aren't really insects, but the title of this story is meant to be decieving anyway).
At first, she had dumped the bronze one outside, and then the first snail. She figured that they were both dead.
Upon finding more insects and the second "dead" snail, she stopped bothering taking individual trips outside for each find. Instead, she just left them on the counter. She continued to wash the produce, spin them in a spinner, and then dump them in the right bins.
Then she noticed something strange.
The second snail had moved ever so slightly up the counter from where she had last seen it.
Ew, she thought, I must have bumped it with the lettuce. Gross. It's dead, though. It couldn't have survived for so long in the freezer, where the lettuce had been. And besides, it just looks dead.
She forgot about it for a while, washing more lettuce. Until she looked again, that is.
It had moved again. Had she bumped it again with the lettuce, or was it still alive?
The snail wasn't dead. But Carolyn refused to accept that it was alive. That left only one possibility... It was undead!

Sometimes we think that a creature is dead, when really, it isn't dead at all. This can definitely lead to problems. I might have thrown that snail in the compost bin or out on the pavement if I had not noticed soon enough that it was alive-- er, sorry, I mean, undead.
Insects are not the only creatures who we think are dead when they really aren't. What about pet fish? People often flush their sick fish down the toilet because they can not help them recover. But please, have compassion. Imagine getting sick with the flu and suddenly someone comes in and flushes you down the toilet! It will not kill the fish right away, but will slowly suffocate them in feces.
And then there is the lobster scenario. When people cook lobsters, they boil them alive. People re-assure themselves that lobsters can not feel or think, so they are perfectly okay with it, or at least, they try to be okay with it. Why, then, do lobsters desperately struggle to escape while being boiled?

Of course, you can't always save every little insect (or snail), but it is important to help when you can. Here are some ways to help:
  1. Don't assume an insect is dead if you find one unmoving; take it outside and let it recover. At worst, it will be eaten by a bird, and at best, it will recover and fly away. Either way, someone wins.
  2. Be the goldfish saviour. Every time someone you know has an ill goldfish, make sure that they do not flush it down the toilet.
  3. Don't eat lobster, obviously.
  4. Sign my petition against lobster-boiling. See the gadget to the side of my blog for details. It will be there for most of 2012.
  5. Let people know about how lobsters do, indeed, have sensitivity and feelings. You might need to quote some researchers to convince them of this.
See you next week!