Saturday, 28 March 2009

The longest of journeys start with a single blog...


So here it is! My brand new blog, dedicated to the discussion of the difficulties and joys of living out both my Christian faith and my vegan lifestyle (and of course expressing my firm belief that these two things go together very well). I hope that it'll be a thought-provoking read for vegans, christians, vegan christians, and of course all you meat-eaters out there! You know who you are...

I'll be posting up general musings, rants about animal rights, interesting articles and useful links to websites, relaying distressing yet humorous experiences at restaurants (oh there are so many), talking about vegan cooking successes and failures, and of course giving you my general take on the highs and lows of being a vegan christian.

I've only been a vegan for about two months now, after realising the ridiculousness of being a vegetarian who wore leather, used products containing animal derived ingredients, and consumed dairy which is actually part of the meat industry (I only recently discovered how milk is produced). Looking back, I'm not quite sure how I reconciled these behaviours, but I think it was mostly down to ignorance and perhaps laziness. After spending a lot of time researching, thinking, and talking with friends and family, I came to the conclusion that difficult though it may be to live a vegan lifestyle, I could not justify living any other way.

So the process began. Swapping over my shampoo, shower gel, cosmetics, and household cleaning products to vegan cruelty free brands took a fair while, and indeed this is still a work in progress. Some things you just don't think about. Like furniture polish. (Incidentally, today I discovered that Oxfam sell Vegan Society approved eco-friendly furniture polish, so things are looking up!).

Changing my diet was easier than I thought it was going to be, and I have never felt healthier. At first I really missed cheese, but I'm over it now. Really. I am. I don't fantasise about cheese on toast at all. Nope. Never.

Note to self: Change your leather watch strap. It does not look good with your 'Go Vegan' t-shirt.

So, why am I passionate about veganism? Is it because I like cute fluffy animals and get upset at the thought of eating them? In a word: No.* As a christian, I believe that we are called to eliminate suffering wherever we can, and the animal industry (both food and anything dealing with animal products) is unethical, unenvironmental, and horrifyingly violent. I firmly believe that animals have a right to health and happiness, just as we do, and that this suffering is unacceptable. I am not going to discuss the issue of whether eating meat is, in itself, wrong; I personally wouldn't want to take a life for the sake of a chicken sandwich, but that's each individual's personal dicision to make. I do however think that in our current situation the meat industry is fraught with injustice and suffering, and it is impossible to eat meat and not be implicated in this suffering - buying it is funding it.

When challenged a lot of people say: 'Well, I care more about people than animals'. Veganism is about caring for people. Being a vegan is about trying to reverse the impact our consumerist attitude here in the West has on developing countries, and about caring for the environment (I recently read that the pollution caused by the animal industry is more than all other industries in the world put together). Our meat consumption is not energy efficient or sustainable; I'm no economist, and I am unable to give an accurate description of the movement of grain that is involved in feeding our animals, but in my research it keeps coming up time and time again that grain is being used to feed animals (that are going to be eaten) rather than people. This is a pretty succinct read regarding the problem:

http://letters.salon.com/news/feature/2009/03/16/turse/permalink/b9289ca695fcd7d03920173d059487a5.html

How can we as christians reconcile caring for our brothers and sisters and being involved in this injustice? I'm not sure we can, but thoughts are welcome...

I believe, too, that God cares about everything in creation, and that we are asked to be good stewards of that creation. We are certainly not called to go stomping around doing as we please and eating as we please, regardless of the impact we are having on others and the environment.

So there you have it, a little glimpse of where I'm coming from. It is always hard swimming against the tide, which is what being either a vegan or a christian can feel like at times. Yet despite the effort it takes, if you believe in something strongly enough you have to try to live in line with those beliefs, otherwise nothing will ever change.
A friend from church emailed me today saying: 'I've decided that however great or small an impact I might have by being vegan, if that's the right thing to do then I'm gonna do it.' I think this is the real question we need to ask ourselves: Not will it be too hard? or what if I don't like soya milk? or does that mean no ice cream?, but is it the right thing to do?

Is it the right thing to do? I think it is.

This has been a bit of heavy post - tomorrow's will be about vegan cupcakes and wine!

vegan christian love to you all

xxxx
* Well okay, maybe a little bit. Have you not seen Babe?!

6 comments:

  1. Very thought provoking blog, I think you summarise a lot of the main issues very succinctly...I am however, very much looking forward to the cupcakes and wine post.

    Also, I am reminded of a quote from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington:

    'My father used to say that the lost causes are the only causes worth fighting for'

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  2. Well, Hayles, a very thought provoking and well-written blog you've got going on there. Lots and lots to think about, especially as a (cringe) meat eater and as a Christian. To be honest, it's not something that jumps on to my radar (i'm a city girl and have never been near animals in my life- except a pet hamster which i was terrified of and hated), but I'm glad you've out it on my radar, it's soemthign i should be thinking about. Look forward to reaidng more xxx

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  3. How can I get in touch with you? I'm a Christian vegan as well, and I'm seeking out like-minded friends. I'm on Facebook (are you)? I used to have a blog for other's to read, but, alas, it is now just for me..You have a nice layout! I will be following you, but I don't use "Google friend connect". Thanks for your blog! Trish Sutton, Grinnell, Iowa, sutton.trish@gmail.com.

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  4. Thanks so much for your comment, Trish. I've contacted you via email which is the best way to get in touch with me for vegan banter!

    God bless

    xxxx

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  5. It's hard being vegan when everyone else who is is more concerned about worshipping the earth than the One who created it. So glad to have found this blog. Looking forward to reading future posts. Blessings!

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  6. Hi - Rad vegan site! I'm planning to feature it on a VegVine.com browser bar for vegetarians. We are a group of vegan volunteers connecting people with veg resources like yours. Our goal is a world with greater compassion. It seems like we share that. If you can squeeze it into your schedule I'd love to chat. Ryan, president http://www.VegVine.com (Ryan@VegVine.com or 215-589-2437) VegVineRyan@Gmail.com

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