This post is inspired by one of my greatest and most wonderful friends: Jasmine.
She's a babe. She's hilarious. She rocks.
Above is Jaz and I with our other amazing friend Georgie. (Jaz is on the left!) I just love this photo of us.
Jaz moved to Manchester last year to pursue her dreams and now we are pretty much neighbors! After studying at university together, becoming super close and climbing a few creative mountains, I can't believe I now have her in the UK! It's been incredible having a piece of home here and a friend who knows me inside out.
For her first two weeks - Jaz kipped with me in my tiny flat while house hunting and we had a ball.
I do get a bit nervous having guests, due to my severe lack of "normal" staples. I do not stock milk, butter or eggs obviously, which wouldn't be easy for a non-vegan to suddenly not have basics! Making a cup of tea.... making toast.... making cereal.....
But Jaz was an amazing guest and embraced my wacky vegan pantry. There was a lot of vegan meals in those few weeks for poor, old Jaz, but also, lots of late night conversations, True Blood marathons, porridge and even a park picnic.
Now she's all sorted in her own place, job, brilliant friends, a busy social life and Manchester is lapping her up (clever city.) If it weren't for the foul weather, life would be roses.
A few weeks ago, the girl nearly had me in tears.
In a good way.
Totally by surprise.
Jaz spoke to me, in one of the most genuine ways I have experienced yet, about wanting to possibly go vegan.
Whenever people say these words to me (and it doesn't happen too often) I get so excited and nervous I freak out that I'll say all the wrong things and turn them off the idea immediately. It's hilarious how my brain works. I tried to stay calm, but couldn't deny the overwhelming joy I was experiencing.
She spoke about the health benefits... how little things I'd said had made sense and how, really, something just "clicked" in her mind. Jaz is not a closed-minded person. She is a smart woman who doesn't deny logic and facts. The idea of factory farming, the reality of where most commercial meat and dairy come from, the reality that we don't NEED these foods.... she was open to all of it.
She was understanding all of it and wanting to know more....
Cue overwhelming excitement from me, trying to rein it in and not appear like a crazy person.
Of course Jaz has been aware of veganism for years. I'm vegan, we have other vegan friends.... but perspective doesn't change overnight. It takes time. Or it takes that one logical thought or that one weird moment or that one scary documentary.
Veganism is a very complex ideal and it comes in lots of packages. All it takes is one weird vegan to put you off the whole thing for life. One vegan in an annoying t-shirt, or one skinny anemic! Or one mention of "animal rights" to make the whole thing sound hilarious and illogical.
But on the flip side, if you hear just one of the many logical sides, it can flip on a switch.
A scary switch. A switch that's nearly impossible to then turn off.
I cannot believe this switch has flipped for Jasmine. I can and I can't at the same time.
The girl nearly had me in tears describing her change in perspective and how her eyes were opening. Naturally - it's terrifying when you feel this way. When you start to question things. It's not an easy or lighthearted move. It's a big deal that will change your life!
It does feel scary, but exciting too.
Am I ready to change my life? Can I do this? Can I change a massive part of who I am? What will this mean?
For a few weeks Jaz transitioned and handled things amazingly, in my opinion. Every time we saw each other, she spoke about when she was still eating meat and dairy, the circumstances, but how she could feel her body genuinely not really wanting these foods anymore (save a 3am kebab, but we are all human!) and how it was usually born out of total convenience or a social pressure.
Last time we were together (yes, a True Blood marathon) I did something I don't usually do. I showed Jaz a few of my favorite You Tube videos about vegansim and... the holy grail....I gave her Skinny Bitch.
If you have not yet read Skinny Bitch, or you have a friend who you think needs a bit of a kick up the but on ANYTHING in life - give them this book.
It puts veganism in the most sensible, logical and empowering way I've ever heard.
It would be nearly impossible to read this book and eat meat again. In fact - I challenge you to!
Like I say, I wouldn't normally go down those routes of bombarding friends with vegan ideas and videos and what-not, but this was different.
When Jasmine sat there and said "I WANT to be a vegan..." she wasn't saying it for anyone other than herself.
Jaz doesn't bull-shit you, she doesn't say things because you want to hear them and she wasn't trying to get in my pants. She meant it. She felt a 100% genuine connection with the ideals behind being vegan. Her switch had flipped.
So, why shouldn't I help her in any way I can? Why did I feel nervous about showing her a great video or giving her an amazing book? Because I am now so terrified of looking like I'm trying to convert people I'm scared to actually do it?
Yes. If I'm honest - yes.
As a vegan I am so afraid of looking bad, I shy away from actually HELPING people. People complement me on this blog, but the truth is: it's a cowards way out.
I write on this blog everything I'm scared to say and rant about in real life. Anyone who knows me, knows that I never make a face if you order dairy, I never judge a meat-eater, I never rant about factory farms. But I want to. So I do it here...
This blog is my way of living a socially acceptable life.
I know that going vegan is one of the healthiest and most incredible things anyone could do. So why do I stay quiet about it? Because I want to be "cool" and "liked"?
It's these little social pressures that have built up over time, so now when someone sits opposite me, GENUINELY wanting to discuss veganism with me, I feel automatic censors on everything I say.
"Don't sound too eager!" "Don't sound like a crazy vegan!"
Well, fuck it. I AM a crazy vegan. I am eager! And if you come to me and say you want to go vegan I'm going to jump from the rooftops and scream and cry with joy. because it is the BEST THING YOU CAN DO FOR YOURSELF AND FOR OTHERS!! Why shouldn't we celebrate it?!
So my dear Jasmine - I am going to do for you what no one did for me: CONGRATULAIONS, WELL DONE.... and, most importantly: YOU ARE A SUPERHERO.
You are a superhero for opening your eyes, for taking responsibility for what you buy! For taking responsibility over what you eat, what you support. You are standing up for innocent, tortured animals! You are trying to make the world a better place for your children! You are going to be healthy and vibrant! You are a superhero for going against what EVERYONE says. What we've grown up with. The lies of the industries!
You now join the ranks of Alicia Silverstone, Bill Clinton, Joaquin Phoenix, Casey Affleck, Ellen DeGeneres, Jared Leto, Woody Harrelson, Russell Brand, James Cameron, T Cooper, Alan Cumming and all the other vegan superheros out there trying to save animals and make the world a better place.
I hope this journey is as amazing for you as it was for me. You are an inspiration. I lurve ya!
Love and Sweet Potatoes ;)
1. Egg Production is responsible for more animal deaths than any other
animal related Industry.
Each year, in the US alone, approximately 200 million male chickens are killed within 72 hours of being born. Why? They will never lay eggs or grow breasts big enough for humans to want to eat - therefore they are useless.
This picture is from a "Free Range" egg farm. I wish everyone knew this.
2. Veal would not exist without the Milk Industry.
What is "Veal"?
Veal is a baby cow. If baby cows drank their mother's milk, like they are supposed to, humans couldn't pump it out of them and drink it ourselves. This is why Veal exists. Baby cows become food and the milk remains OURS.
If you are a vegetarian and drink milk....please consider links like these. All commercial animal industries are connected.
I wish everyone knew this...
See if you can read this article without wanting to shoot the writer in the face -
3. Humans are Not Carnivores
This is not up for debate, though many still try.
It can be debated that we are "omnivores", because we can digest meat, but we can also digest cardboard. Let's be logical people, just because our bodies CAN break something down, doesn't mean it is good for you.
All I ever ask people to do is research. Research everything and see what YOU think. Don't just accept what you've been told your whole life. Research the similarities and comparisons between the human body and other animals. Animal proteins do not break down easily in human bodies; we do not have sharp teeth, we do not have claws, we do not have sufficient acid in our stomachs.
AND - most telling of all - many humans live and THRIVE without meat in their diets!! They are often in BETTER health, free of diabetes, free of heart disease, free of high cholesterol.
Do the research.
I WISH EVERYONE KNEW THIS!
4. Raising animals for food uses a staggering 30% of the Earth's land mass
Speaks for itself.
It's f**king disgusting. The land animals literally stand on, the land used to grow their "food" (that we should be eating ourselves), the land used to build the factory farms, the slaughterhouses... all of it.
And this is TODAY. If demand continues to increase....what will we do then? Are burgers so delicious that animals will end up taking up more space on the planet than US just so we can eat them?
The madness..... I wish everyone knew this.....
5. There is nothing your body requires that cannot be acquired from plant sources.
So many misconceptions and this is one of the biggest. When I started researching my desire to be vegan - my mind was BLOWN when I found the overwhelming research proving that there is NOTHING my body needed not found in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
The two exceptions are Vitamin D (the sun) and Vitamin B12 (a bacteria found in our soil).
Overwhelmingly I would say that every human being in the world should supplement B12, not just vegans.
I WISH EVERYONE KNEW THIS.
6. Dairy does NOT give you Calcium.
This website is a great resource: http://saveourbones.com/osteoporosis-milk-myth/
"Like all animal protein, milk acidifies the body pH which in turn triggers a biological correction. You see, calcium is an excellent acid neutralizer and the biggest storage of calcium in the body is – you guessed it… in the bones. So the very same calcium that our bones need to stay strong is utilized to neutralize the acidifying effect of milk. Once calcium is pulled out of the bones, it leaves the body via the urine, so that the surprising net result after this is an actual calcium deficit.
Knowing this, you’ll understand why statistics show that countries with the lowest consumption of dairy products also have the lowest fracture incidence in their population..."
I WISH EVERYONE KNEW THIS.
7. If you are properly hydrated - your urine is clear.
Let's get into the gritty stuff.
Is your urine yellow?
Guess what - you need to drink more water :)
This will change your life!
And I wish everyone knew it.
This post could go on and on forever.
How many staggering, unfortunate and horrible facts are there that most have no idea about? I can't imagine how much I don't know about the world.
But we should never stop trying to find out. Contrary to popular belief - I believe we CAN do something about it. Don't be of the opinion that it's "too late" or "who cares" or it's all too screwed up now to be fixed.
We are the customers. We are in charge. We are the money. Please stop putting your dollars into evil places and most importantly - stop using your money to abuse innocent animals.
If you want to eat meat, avoid factory farms that support the mass abuse of animals. If you want to drink milk, find a real farm where cows are treated with respect and allowed to keep their babies.
Or, ya know... just go vegan ;)
Feel empowered by these facts. The world needs a lot of repairing and it's up to us to do it.
Oh, and drink your water!
Last night I did something I never ever do.
I bought a magazine.
I used to love a good "trashy mag" now and then. Total therapy. Read some garbage about celebrities, check out your invented horoscope, look at how expensive all the latest coat designs are... harmless. If in the right (intelligent) hands, who cares how shitty this stuff is? Brainless fun.
But last night was different. I was facing some empty time, had no book or laptop, so I thought: 'hey, I'll go invest in one of my favorite past times and get a trashy mag!' After a little browse, I was surprised to see a huge range of "healthy living" magazines in my local grocery store! Who knew?
I won't say the magazine I ended up choosing, but let's just say it was "Healthy Living", aimed at women.
So - women beware.
Beware and prepare.
Prepare to feel clueless, useless, confused and like your life will only be worth living if you are some kind of magical superhero with no job, all the time in the world and the perfect body.
Guess how she got that tummy? A PILL!! A pill in a bottle!! Isn't that amazing!?
Are you ready for my rant to begin? It may not be what you're expecting.
I'm not sure if you're ready.
Okay... you excited?
WHAT THE FAAAAAAARRRRRRKKKKKKK????? This magazine made me want to THROW THINGS, SCREAM, YELL and RAISE HELL!
I was not threatened by any of its nonsense. I was not confused by any of its messages. I understood it all perfectly.
Which is exactly what made me terrified. I see through this shit. But that doesn't mean everyone will.
The women who buy these magazines are surely buying them because they are genuinely interested in taking better care of themselves. They want to feel better, look better and have a better INSIDE as apposed to just looking like a skinny celebrity.
Ladies - I am telling you - it would be IMPOSSIBLE to follow all the advice in this magazine.
Who edits this crap?!?! Does the editor even have a job? Do they just check the spelling and look at the pretty pictures? Does the editor realize that if a person tried to follow all their advice it would be crossing over all over the place! It would be like trying to follow every rule in the Bible! A lot of it is nonsense, it would be impossible and it's all contradictory.
I'm not stupid: I know what you're thinking: "Hannah, you aren't meant to follow ALL the advice - they just present you with information and you can take or leave what you like."
Well - sorry, but NO.
Time for an example? Page Two on the bottom: "take two tablespoons of fish oil a day to decrease your risk of heart disease!" (RAGE) and then on page 20 they have an article promoting a high protein (yawn) low fat diet - talking about oils specifically as an "anti" food.
I'M NOT KIDDING. I understand that the diet industry is rife with contradictions... but this is the whole problem. People have no idea how to be healthy anymore because everyone gives different information. Surely we can draw the line at messages given in ONE MAGAZINE. Can't this one magazine at least agree what kind of diet they are passionate about? What the believe in?
Wait....it's almost like....
The diet industry doesn't ACTUALLY care about my health?!
People: it's all about money. No one cares about giving real health advice (or even doing the adequate research.) Fish oil for heart disease?! Are you kidding me? Heart disease is the result of clogged arteries! Extra animal FAT, especially from OILS is NOT going to unclog your arteries!!!!!
It's about pushing out content, finding "experts" with no clue and promoting whatever is popular (and paying) at that time.
Veganism is gaining popularity - so often I'll see articles like this one where they almost do a good job, but ultimately fail. It's being written because it's "topical", they know people will "click", so they've done a quick Google and think this entitles them to write about Omega 3 and give vague advice that is highly flawed. It even perpetuates the long-debunked myth about "complete proteins"! YAAAWWWWWNNNNNNNN. We know this is total bollocks now; you don't need to combine protein in any wanky way. But someone who wants to cash in, writing on "health", will still say it because they aren't up to date with developments in vegan nutrition. Therefore: someone reading this article thinks they're being "educated" on how to eat vegan they when aren't at all.
I enjoy a good rant now and then, hope you don't mind.
Going along with what's topical - this magazine did a lot of "Here's the Latest Fad Diet for You to Try". The diet they promoted (I number crunched the meal plans) had you on THIRTEEN HUNDRED CALORIES A DAY!! Ladies - that is starvation. I'm not saying no one lives on that, I'm just saying if you started following it tomorrow after a lifetime of eating a lot more calories: you will become a hungry zombie.
Do not slow your metabolism down like that, PLEASE. You will gain weight long term. Cutting calories is a recipe for disaster unless you are seriously overweight. If you are chugging down thousands of empty calories a day and unhappy with your weight - well, yeah, obviously cut down, but I am a big advocate of consuming ENOUGH, especially if your body is asking for it. 2000 calories is the recommended daily intake across the board and this suits me really well. I have friends who eat less than that and seem totally happy. Do what your body is asking for, not what a magazine tells you to. Your body doesn't know what 1300 calories is - all it knows is "am I satisfied?" "Have I got enough" "Do I have vitamin C"? No? Well then I'll send signals for more food.
Obviously, 2000 calories of chocolate is not recommended. 2000 calories of the right kind of food (PLANT BASED WHOLE FOODS) you'll be sittin' pretty.
Another thing that pisses me off about this magazine (and most of them, I suppose) is that they will spurt out "information" to meet deadlines, talk about whats faddy and not take responsibility for women genuinely relying on them for advice. That's a big responsibility and should be taken seriously.
Their readers obviously want to know what to eat, how to eat... what's good, what will help them, etc. They may follow this diet, not feel great (hungry zombie) and then think "well, eating healthy SUCKS. I'm hungry, I hate salad, at least when I was eating whatever I wanted I was happy and full!"
The whole world of "healthy living" looks like a world of deprivation and depression, all because the genius who magicked that "diet plan" together didn't do a basic calorie count. And if they DID then they're bonkers. Bonkers promoting a starvation diet that will send most people up the wall.
With a Trashy Mag, you know what you're getting. The cover tells you it's bonkers. Everyone knows Scarlett Johansson ain't "curvacious" (this is a whole other blog post!) and everyone knows Liz Hurley didn't have an affair with Bill Clinton, but it's trash to indulge in and TURN OUR BRAINS OFF.
With a "health" focused magazine, "gurus" on the cover, green drinks, "cleanses" and all that jazz - you are attracting a different kind of reader and therefore have a different kind of responsibility. If you put yourself up there as being a magazine with good content - fucking put out good content!! If you call yourself a health expert - don't talk bollocks! I beg you.
I never call myself any kind of expert on anything. When I give an opinion, it's my OPINION, based on what has worked and, more importantly, not worked for me. I would say I'm pretty fucking "well-read", that's about it.
After a mere hour of flipping through this magazine - I felt bamboozled. I felt baffled. I took a moment to imagine that I wasn't a vegan, wasn't remotely health conscious and wanted to be. Basically - I transported myself back five years to when I lived in a share house and didn't know what a green vegetable was.
If I'd read this magazine back then I wouldn't have a clue where to start. Should I cut out sugar? Does that include fruit? Should I start their page 27 "At Home Gym Plan" or should I start the diet plan? The cleanse one or the seven day one? Can I do that AND they gym routine or will I be exhausted? Should I do the fish oil thing or the vegan thing?
WHAT DO I DO?!?!?!?
I think what I'm trying to say is - please don't read these magazines as anything other than TRASH. I'm not saying they all are, I'm sure there are good Health Magazines out there (are there?!?! Tell me!)
The world of gossip and fashion is its own world of brilliance and problems, today I'm talking about Health Magazines. I don't read them often, so I can't speak for them all, but please relish how much conflicting information you can soak up in one issue. It's bonkers!
When you want to start being healthy (I've said it before) you need to activate your logical mind. You need to be logical. You need to switch on your brain.
Magazines will make us dumber, not smarter. It's a bold statement, but I'm saying it confidently. I genuinely read that magazine and couldn't remember how to think for myself.
I imagined the woman who has a monthly subscription to that shit. How does she know how to do anything for herself? Does she change her routine every month?!
Please - just be logical, QUESTION EVERYTHING. Research. And laugh at the research! Find the research that makes you not want to laugh.
Find the stuff you find hard to debunk. But try to debunk it first.
That's why... um.... Oops, I'm a vegan.
How To Spread The Vegan Word Without Being a Preachy A***hole
10 Reasons to F**king LOVE Ricky Gervais