Choose life – November is World Vegan Month

As increasingly usual these days because of my Facebook distaste and extreme Twitter filtering, I’m unplugged and out of touch with anything except work, my work RSS feeds and my tweeting friends. This is why it took two colleagues to inform me that November is World Vegan Month.

So, things to do

  • Eat vegan for a month, which if you don’t already you’ll find very interesting indeed. Register at GoVegan for companionship and see their Agony Aunt entries for troubleshooting some frequently-encountered transitional hiccups.
  • Before the vegans descend on Parliament on 31st October, quickly contact your MP to tell him (or there may be a tiny possibility he is a she) that you’ve stopped eating animals.
  • Include a picture of a badger, if you want to drive that particular point home.
  • See these things to do including posting an event.

I will attempt a stimulating daily blog and to prevent myself from over-pondering it, it will be rigidly structured under the following headings: animals in the news, my consumption; and vegan encounters. Starting now (in October).

Animals in the news

I didn’t read the papers today but I can guarantee there was something close to the front page because it’s apparent that we can’t get enough news about other creatures. Try this test yourself – take any newspaper and see if there’s a piece not far from the front involving non-human beasts. From the web, a sample:

  • Evening Standard – Bank worker’s pet whippet ‘torn to shreds in frenzied attack by pack of Staffies’ and See lifesaving dogs in action on the Serpentine
  • The Sun – nope, nothing today. Odd – they’re usually right up there.
  • The Metro – False widow spider: 8 things you need to know , Inquisitive elk chases couple on motorbike, Man wakes up to find pet dog has eaten his toes, and Goats cheese crisis sends chevre down middle class spines.
  • The Mail – Take me home! Five abandoned kittens are named after One Direction by animal hospital staff because they are ‘good-looking with scruffy hair’ (biggest picture on the page), On the trunk road! Elephants’ shortcut to the watering hole.

Consumption

Breakfast – Sainsbury’s Maple & Pecan cereal, dry out of a mug at my desk (because it’s already like eating biscuits and anyway I always did prefer dry cereal). Fairtrade ground coffee.

Lunch – kakiage tempura udon with tofu steak and sasou tea. It was the (paid) intern’s birthday, she’s Japanese-ish and told me about Itadaki Zen vegan Japanese restaurant on Kings Cross Road which does a lunch of 2 plates and drink for £6. A bunch of us went – I thought it was just brilliant.

Snack – my colleague gave me a rice cake (Kallo, salt and vinegar) and then I opened up my kilo packet of Sainsbury’s Fruit and Fibre (the maple and pecan cereal being finished, and anyway too decadent both in price and sugar content).

Dinner – Sainsbury’s Indian lentil and spinach burgers, with (all in the steamer) potato, kale, carrot and broccoli. I made an onion gravy with some free cooking wine we somehow acquired in a massive box (freegan rather than vegan). Too late I remembered that wine and Indian spices fight. Oh well, it was pretty nice.

More snack, possibly – popcorn with caramel sauce, if I can be bothered to make the sauce. No, it’s too late. I have to do yoga on the bedroom floor, try to unkink this office body of mine.

Finally I spent a considerable sum (but not over the odds for such a long-lived product) on a pair of winter boots from Vegetarian Shoes. My criteria were: flat, without porous zips, don’t look like children’s shoes (another vegan problem, and a particularly repellent one for me, is wearing shoes that look like they should belong to an outsized 5-year-old – grow up, vegan shoemakers).

Encounters

My colleagues are both women, both becoming vegan for a month, one because of empathy with suffering animals, and another who is very interested in constraints around food.

The dear intern wore rabbit skin to the vegan restaurant – I made a big hammy scene and her eyes filled with tears. Felt dreadful.

Prosperous Northerners eating animal is callous and ignorant at best, and you can only wonder about the politics and ethics of anybody who eats animal – what other blind spots do they have? Still more disturbing are the socialists, feminists, etc who yet feed off the corpses of brutally farmed and slaughtered animals. And they call vegans kooks!

Of course though, being vegan doesn’t help you with politics and ethics either. Celebrity vegan and selective underdog simpleton Benjamin Zephaniah joins in with the cultural ostracisation of fellow musicians and artists if they’re from Israel. I wonder if he also turns his back on Vegan Anonymous, the Israeli vegan organisation. Hopefully the mainstreaming attempt that is World Vegan Month will help to marginalise the pious ignoramuses who currently make up the highest profile campaigning vegans along with all the celebrities (you, Gwynnie Paltrow) for whom it was a fad. And it is becoming more mainstream – see for example Slice of Vegas.

Meanwhile I, erm, type. Unpositively. For positivity see Powered By Peanut Butter.

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