'Vegan Spring' is a festival in Hanover, Germany, which took place on April 13, and had a high attendance according to this article from Deutsche Welle. Vendors sold vegan food and promoted vegan clothing and in general promoted the vegan lifestyle. Over 1000 people attended the fair which was good for vendors and a sign of the times. With veganism attracting more interest in the U.S., it's nice to see similar trends in other countries with meat-focused cuisines!
U.S. Vegetarian Week starts on April 22 and goes through the 28th. Many are preparing to take the 7 day vegetarian pledge including a couple politicians from California. California State Senator Ted Lieu and Assemblymember Das Williams both plan to give it a try which is great news!
LA has become a major hub of vegetarian and vegan activity with cool restaurants and festivals. It is nice to see the city embracing the vegan lifestyle and influencing everyone to try compassionate eating and living. The 7 day pledge of eating no meat is doable and a good way to try new meals with a plant based focus. Taste buds do change and learning to enjoy vegetables as the main course just takes trying new recipes and appreciating the flavor and freshness of well cooked food.
US Vegetarian Week has a lot of momentum behind it with more people trying veganism and vegetarianism in 2013. Hopefully the one week pledge will turn in the two weeks and then three!
The chart above suggests that interest in everything vegan is growing based on Google search term frequency and is peaking this year.
The Vegan Society of the UK reports that vegan pledges on its website are up 40% this year according to this article. VegFests around the U.S. are also experiencing surges in attendance such as at the DC VegFest in 2012 and the recent VegFest in Seattle. Many people are veg-curious and want to learn more about the diet and lifestyle while others looking for new ideas to complement their existing vegan cooking habits. It great to read about so many people interesting in trying a healthy and compassionate way of live!
That includes Sakile Chenzira, a 58-year-old Cincinnati woman who was fired from Cincinnati Children's Hospital in December 2010 for refusing to get the shot as required of all employees at the hospital, although it's unclear whether she had any direct contact with patients. Chenzira cited her veganism, whose practitioners do not consume any animal products; the flu vaccine contains a small amount of egg protein.
It is not unusual for vegans to want to extend the cruelty free lifestyle beyond just the dinner table and what they wear. Once the understanding of the animal suffering involved to produce any product containing an animal ingredient hits home, many prefer every product they use to be vegan. This includes medicine and health care products and services.
Maybe is not too far-fetched to visualize vegan hospitals in the near future. With the enormous profits that pharmaceutical companies make, they could most likely invest in developing cruelty free prescription drugs. Or, at the very least, try to remove animal ingredients from existing common medicines, like gelatin found in capsules. They may also be able to find ways to develop new drugs without animal testing, although the FDA regulations still require it.
While preventative health is the best health care strategy, which can be aided by eating vegan as much as possible, or all the time, when medical conditions or chronic health problems occur, it would be nice to know that the medicine administered didn't require suffering to develop or manufacture. Here is another example from one of the authors of Veganissimo, Reuben Proctor:
After a surgical procedure, co-author Proctor asked his doctor not to use heparin as part of his treatment because it's derived from pig tissue. (For 24 hours, he did have to endure its use, and was clearly unhappy about it.) Source (heparin is an anticoagulent)
While we may be a long way from being able to visit a vegan hospital, it will be nice one day to know that even our medicine is vegan and cruelty free. It can be done!
Reducing destruction is a major theme of the vegan lifestyle. Whether it means avoiding taking animal life for food, reusing stuff rather than harming the environment to manufacture new things, or simply being kind to people, the more you can do of it, the better the world will be!
By being alive we cause destruction, if not actively, then passively. When a bug hits the window of your car when you're out for a drive, it's a form of destruction. No harm was intended, but it just happens. So how far can we go to avoid harm and reduce suffering?
It's hard to say. The first step most vegans take is to avoid consuming, using, or wearing things with animal ingredients or which used animals in the manufacturing or testing process. This is why vegans don't eat meat or fish, don't wear leather, fur, or wool, and use household cleaning products that weren't tested on animals. Even this approach has limitations, since animal ingredients can be hidden in so many common products and even in medicine and medical products as mentioned in this article from NPR.
Does it take the philosophy to far? I don't think so. When I started avoiding products with animal ingredients, I thought it was going to be hard. For many things I used, however, I was easily able to find vegan replacements. As I learned more about what was in products, it became simpler to spot ones that didn't support what I believed in, and it became less of a struggle to find ones that were OK with me. There were some things that took some searching to replace, but once I found a replacement, it just became normal to use it very quickly.
As more people adopted this philosophy and driven, in part, by celebrity and non-profit advocates, more vegan alternatives have become available for everyday things we use and need. Yes, there are some products today that are impossible to purchase vegan such as some prescription medicine and health products, but unless people seek alternatives it will never change. By pushing the envelope and demanding more products be made vegan, we will have alternatives for everything, but it doesn't happen by accepting that we can't live differently and more compassionately. Some people may call it extremism, but it's how the world changes for the better. There will always be early adopters of a lifestyle, who are then followed by the mainstream, which is how veganism has taken center stage.
Having said this, you don't have to refuse to go outside and walk around for fear of destroying something, or refuse a drug that may save your life because it caused suffering to develop. You can accomplish as much by encouraging others to change their habits or lifestyle and live more compassionately. Matt Ball of Vegan Outreach explains it nicely:
What we personally consume (especially at the margins) is almost irrelevant compared to what we can accomplish with thoughtful, honest advocacy for the animals. For example, influencing just one person to stop eating chickens and eggs — or even simply cutting back! — has an almost infinitely larger impact than if I avoid yet another obscure, miniscule animal product.
While more governments start to acknowledge that global warming may impact how we live in the future, some communities are already making adaptations. This is especially true among island nations and coastal cities that are exposed to rising ocean levels.
In Lagos, Nigeria, one of the world's largest cities and one which is very prone to damages from rising seas, the swampy economically deprived community of Makoko, a floating community school has been built in anticipation that land based buildings may be in jeopardy in the future. Images of the school show an A-framed wooden building atop a barge like platform.
The architect is Kunle Adeyemi and he proposes that this may be a model for other at risk cities. His idea is gaining attention as storms ravage east coast cities this last year like New York and Boston as mentioned in this article. Maybe we can extend this idea to include floating gardens and crops. This could help preserve precious land resources and prevent overuse. Some thought leaders have already conceptualized floating cities and near shore based urban buildings in which people live and work and which also have large urban gardens supporting the off-shore community.
Whether its changing climates, land overuse, or diminishing resources to supporting land based mega-population centers, evaluating near-shore platform cities may lead to acceptable living options in the future.
Asparagus is in season during spring and you may see prices dropping in the store for this vegetable usually sold by the pound. I can't encourage you enough to eat as much of it as you can! Its flavor is light and delicate, and mildly sweet. It cooks very quickly especially in a saute. I normally make asparagus soup with it with lemon, ginger, and garlic.
Asparagus spears have as many as 25 minerals and vitamins with vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, iron, vitamin B1, and vitamin C topping the list. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and is a source of anti-oxidants which help prevent chronic illness. This vegetable is rich in fiber as well and aids the digestive system.
When cooking asparagus, keep it simple! Try to get the most from the vegetable by eating it as directly as possible and make meals where enjoy eating it as much as you can! Check out my asparagus soup recipe - it's a simple way to make the most of this nutritious vegetable!
While an unlimited supply of skin cream and weekly facials at the spa are popular ways to beautify skin and reverse aging, research suggests the a vegan diet may have the same impact. Many vegan ingredients have a high water content which helps hydrate the skin and makes it glow according to this article from the Huff Post.
Vegan ingredients also reduce acne and skin inflammation. According to this research from the NIH, which studied the possible linkage between Western diets and acne, it found that, among 47,355 high school women, there was a "positive association with acne for intake of total milk and skim milk."
So if a youthful, glowing complexion is a priority, try eating healthy beautiful meals with a variety of colorful vegetables and look amazing every day!
Make Simple Vegan Meals