Tag Archives: Vegan

Out & Into The World

bicycle reduced

I don’t really have the time to maintain a blog, or the inclination to spend so much of my own time sat in front of a screen, when I do more than enough of it for a living.   I’ve been wondering whether to do a summary, to tie up some loose ends, for this blog.  I’ve tried to keep political, with a capital ‘P’, stuff elsewhere, so it can be found on links in the sidebar on a couple of separate blogs; politics will intrude onto this post, including via links to the more recent of those blogs.

Backtracking, the first post on this blog summarised how the vegan and ecology movements do not necessarily have the same goals.  The ‘small is beautiful’ world-view of the ecology movement ought to be compatible with veganism, if we can overcome the use of animals, as well as humans, as production units; ie expendable ‘resources’.  Where I do agree with the ecology movement and the now defunct Ecology Party (the origin of which is mentioned in the previous blog post) is that of society being structured from the bottom-up, not the top-down; of democracy existing at the lowest level.

The Green Party, which succeeded the Ecology Party, has betrayed this democratic principle, through its support of political decisions being made by an unaccountable supranational bureaucracy.  Until about a decade ago, the Green Party was at most ambivalent about the European Union, but under the influence of its leadership, the ‘Greens’ have become fully-fledged Euro-whores.  It is difficult to know what the Green Party stands for nowadays other then idiotic ‘intersectional’ identity politics, which includes certain people who identify as ‘vegan’ solely because they like to be part of as many ‘oppressed’ groups as possible; such people are as shallow as slebs.

Why the Green Party has changed is not that difficult to ascertain, as it has become part of the political establishment and in doing so ditched its principles in favour of a focus-group driven approach; its target demographic being those who cling to a contrived ‘European’ identity which has been forged by large-scale international human migration.  This is environmentally unsustainable, all the more so given that it has been significantly facilitated by budget air travel.  To put it bluntly, the ‘Greens’ look to attract the votes of those who are too young to remember the world as it was before Easyjet and Ryanair; and who take for granted being able to use these to travel to and from Continental Europe, treating them a bus service.

By contrast, the Trumpkins and their hero jumped on the ‘Brexit’ bandwagon, in order to present themselves as ‘anti-establishment’; fairly ludicrous given the political party he represents and now that he has shown himself to be just as much a warmonger as his presidential predecessors, Republican and Democrat alike.  The reason for ‘Brexit’ has nothing to do with Trump, though he wants to take the credit for it.  ‘Brexit’ is based on there never having been a vote for ‘Brentry’, with the consequence that the longer a vote on the issue was deferred the more likely a ‘Leave’ outcome would become, summarised here.  I’m not going to condemn the ‘millennials’ who sulked at the result, but nor do I empathise with those among them who genuinely and arrogantly believe that their votes should be more heavily weighted than those of us who are older.

However the root cause of ‘Brexit’ dates right back to the 1960’s when our French neighbours twice vetoed British membership of what was then the European Economic Community, because they considered that we Britons were not fully European as we tend to look beyond Europe to the outside world.  The vegan movement is strongest in the Anglosphere but that doesn’t mean that we should abandon it in those countries where it faces stronger challenges, France most obviously – with the exception of Brigitte Bardot as a role model – where adherence to animal welfare, let alone animal rights, has never been as strong as here in Britain.  I met some animal rights activists in Toulouse fifteen years ago; they have to change their country from within and hopefully they are succeeding, but we can’t change it for them; the French tend to be protectionist against the English-speaking world, something which I have summarised in a link to the right, which shows a photo of French farmer José Bové.

In dietary terms, veganism is still viewed in an eccentric light by most people, which is hardly surpising when a well-known vlogger advocates shoving thirty bananas down her cakehole every day.  There’s nothing wrong with emphasising physical fitness as a benefit of a vegan diet, but that certainly isn’t it!  Probably the world’s best known ‘bikini body’ belongs to her fellow Aussie, a vegan fashion and fitness model, whose ads for dietary supplements of dubious benefit, have now been banned in London by the mayor, though not because said adverts are misleading; for cultural reasons he wants a cover-up and has succeeded where feminists failed.  Ironic that said feminists complained about ‘body shaming’ whilst practicing it, as well as being bitchy towards a career woman making her own choices in life, including her own branded swimwear.

Anyway, on other matters totally unrelated, since I last updated this blog my fiftieth birthday has been and gone; I could have called it a ‘veganniversary’, but it wasn’t, though I did celebrate with a week of abstinence: no e-mails, phone calls, meetings or driving to and from meetings.  I’ve spent quite a bit of time in and around Manchester and visited the Unicorn Vegan Grocery Co-op in Chorlton for the first time, the nearest thing to an entirely vegan supermarket that I have been to, though I think it has too much emphasis on ‘organic’ (ie expensive) which restricts its demographic catchment.  I tend to think of South Manchester as Morrisseyland, which inspired me to type this:  The World Won’t Listen.  Thanks for reading.

Vegan Origins

vegan-magazine-winter-1989-shrunk

This ‘festive’ edition of the Vegan Society’s quarterly magazine was published in December 1989.  I am guessing that this edition is now long since out of print, so to summarise what was in it, the 1989 AGM Report; an article entitled ‘Animals-in-law’ summarising their legal status; a ‘Cookless Cuisine’ article on ‘raw foods’; several recipes on the centre pages; a couple of articles on pregnancy and one on acupuncture; two travel articles on visiting Egypt (though why I don’t know as it would have been way beyond the budget of most of the readership); a noticeboard with events and local groups; book reviews; classifieds, as you’d expect; news featuring various snippets from the mainstream media submitted by readers; and the feature below written by Vegan Society founder Donald Watson on the society’s origins.  I don’t have a pdf writer so I’ve photographed it and had to shrink it to such a size that WordPress would upload it.  So I hope that it is legible enough to read (note that it is better viewed using WordPress Reader as the image reproduces bigger).

donald-watson-article

I cannot recall seeing any previous editions on sale, which is why I do not have earlier parts of this column on the Vegan Society’s origins in order to post on here.  There are different reasons why different people may adopt a vegan diet and broaden into non-dietary issues: the most common is usually a combination of ethics and health, for some people ecology is a reason, for others there may also be esoteric reasons.  When the article was published, obesity was not as common as it is now and when the Vegan Society was founded 45 years previously, it would have been rare given the food rationing that existed during the 1940’s.  The article does raise the issue of whether it is fair to propose a diet which could be restrictive at a time when the population was already experiencing a restrictive diet, or would a vegan diet have been easier then for people to adapt to?  Reading the article it would be nice to travel back in time and meet not just Donald Watson, but the people that he mentions (and to get a train from Leicester to London and back for five bob).

This article forms part of my hypothesis that the vegan movement is sociologically a development of English non-conformism (as was the vegetarian movement before it), though in a secular, rather than a religious, sense.   From the article, the first public vegan meal was held in Coventry, a city with a dissenting tradition and which later (in 1973) gave birth to the Ecology Party.

At the time of this edition’s publication during the Winter of 1989/90, Generation Snowflake had yet to be conceived, so in no part of the magazine was there any of the Newspeak nonsense of ‘intersectionality’ or ‘safe spaces’ peddled by some idiots who have tried attaching them to veganism in recent years.

Of the news articles, here’s one that shows how times have changed:

As predicted in the Spring 1989 Vegan, gelatine-free photography is now a reality.  The Canon Ion Camera is in the shops for about £500.  Instead of using film it uses a two-inch floppy disk similar to those used in computers.  Immediately after pictures are taken, the camera is plugged into the aerial socket of a TV and the pictures appear on the screen.  No processing is required and the 50-image capacity £5 floppies can be erased and re-used an almost indefinite number of times.  Although not intended to produce prints, this is now possible using desktop publishing systems.  Meanwhile, Toshiba and Fuji have joined forces to produce the IC Memory Card which uses a card containing 18 individual 1-megabit chips.  Its makers claim that the resulting pictures are superior to those produced by the Canon Ion.  Retailing at around £2,000, the IC Memory Card will be available by Christmas.

Sources: Daily Telegraph 29.9.89 and New Scientist 11.11.89

Oh and if you are curious, I bought this magazine when visiting Durham from a shop called Earthcare, which was located in Saddler Street, but which has long since closed down.  It was a non-food shop, which sold various ‘green’ and esoteric ‘new age’ type publications; postcards, stationery and possibly a small range of household ‘green’ stuff.  I recall buying one of those big cubes of olive oil soap, which were too big to use and difficult to cut even with a bread knife.  Back then, a few minutes walk away in New Elvet, there was a wholefood shop, also run as a workers’ co-op, called Maggie’s Farm (named after the Bob Dylan song presumably).  The North East of England was pretty good back then as there were four vegetarian restaurants (including The Red Herring) in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, as well as the Beanpot wholefood shop at the bottom of Westgate Hill.

Vegan Philosophy

This is slightly edited for grammatical tense from something which I originally posted just over four months ago, but deleted as part of a process of winding this blog down.  (I deleted the subsequent post as well, as it was too autobiographical).  I am reposting this because there is something else I intend to publish on here before the end of this year dealing with the origins of the vegan movement.vegan

The world’s first vegetarian society was founded in Manchester, England in the mid-19th Century.  Nearly a century later and also in England, it was from within the Leicester Vegetarian Society that the world’s first vegan society was founded.  Vegan ethics developed out of a long tradition of English radicalism dating back to the Lollards and the Levellers; through Thomas Paine and William Wilberforce to Donald Watson.  It should be no surprise that vegan ethics have been most receptive in those countries with the same tradition, broadly speaking most of the Anglosphere.

As I mentioned on this blog when exposing the fake libertarians who continually attack vegans, these fake libertarians do so because they are too ignorant to realise that the reason that so many people adopt vegan ethics is because they are non-conformists, free thinkers, who are willing to challenge social and political orthodoxies.  Within ‘Western’ societies one of the greatest orthodoxies is that animals are nothing more than industrial production units.  Donald Watson challenged this and his views have been adopted by people who have similarly radical views.

Such radical views can only flourish in those societies where dissent is tolerated, where freedom of speech is encouraged.  This is not the case in the ‘European Union’, which is by stealth becoming increasingly totalitarian, not in a military sense, but in a more subtle one, gradually outlawing any criticism of it.  There ought to be a greater awareness of and opposition to this in those continental European countries which experienced fascist or communist governments during the last century, but most of the populations there are sleepwalking, believing that they can ‘reform’ what no longer can be.

All of which is a way of saying that in our long overdue referendum, I voted for Brexit.  Britain leaving the EU will not in itself mean an end to subsidies of the meat, dairy and poultry industries, but it should allow political debate on these to be opened up within our Parliament.  Any ‘debate’ in a parliament without legislative powers is meaningless.  It should also mean there will be a greater chance of banning live animal exports to continental Europe; such a ban can never happen within the EU where such exports are considered as merely commodity transfers from one state to another.

However this isn’t an argument for English or British isolationism.  I am a great supporter in the principal of international co-operation, but why should our relationships with countries outside of Europe be defined by a political project which is seeking to create an artificial and conformist ‘European’ identity, one which seeks to eradicate the tradition mentioned in the first paragraph?  The Vegan Society was founded at a time when Britain stood alone in Europe against fascism; that it was allowed to exist is because freedom of expression was and still is valued here.

If we remain within the EU we will find ourselves trapped in a superstate, where dissent will be eradicated, where criticism of any of its foundation stones, such as the Common Agricultural Policy, detailed in this blog post, will not be tolerated.  Brexit should be the first step in dismantling the EU and with it the CAP, restoring democracy and with it the chance of radical change, to national parliaments throughout Europe.  I feel very strongly about this, I am well into middle age and I had never, to date, been allowed a vote on Britain being within the EU.

Be careful out there!

2840492d00000578-3065675-image-a-19_1430602979979

We are experiencing a ‘heatwave’ here in Blighty, which means that the temperature might get up to about 22 degrees Celsuis (don’t laugh, though the tabloids are bound to quote the temperature in Fahrenheit to make it appear ‘hot’).  Whilst this is very pleasant when accompanied by strong sunshine, it is not unknown for May Day Bank Holiday week.  It is in this weather that a lot of people will, if they can, head for the nearest beach.

Last year the health supplement company Protein World decided to promote its products with a ‘beach body’ theme, to the ire of many misanthropic feminists who wanted to censor its adverts.  The woman whose ‘beach body’ adorned the ads was Renee Somerfield, an Australian fashion and fitness model, with a well-toned athletic physique, the result of genetics, a good fitness regime and a vegan diet.  So the ads were misleading in so far as the only Protein World products which she does consume are those which are suitable for a vegan diet.  However, the adverts were not offensive by any stretch of the imagination.  As with most censorship campaigns, this one backfired, giving Protein World far more publicity and custom than its owners could have hoped for.  The would-be censors refused to respect Renee Somerfield’s right to choose her profession.

If you are a pasty-faced fair-skinned Brit then of course you are not going to look like a well-bronzed Aussie beach bum, unless you get a spray tan with that stuff that is used to treat fence panels.  But do I have a ‘beach body’?  Having been vegan for more than a quarter of a century, I am neither overweight nor underweight; I have a ‘normal’ body mass index, a good bit lower than most lard-arsed British men, though that isn’t really saying much.  I’m not as slim as I was 15 years ago, when I could run 5 miles in sub-32 mins, but then I am now way the wrong side of 40.  Some factor 30 plus staying out of the midday sun and I would head for the nearest beach if there were one anywhere near to where I live.  Superdrug own-brand sun-block, which is vegan, fulfils the first criterion anyway.  Have a good summer.

sunblock

Anti-Vegan Fake Libertarians

I read quite a few libertarian blogs, not that I necessarily agree with everything in them, but I do feel that the state should exist to serve the people, not the other way round (one reason among several why I loathe the EU).  The most common feature of libertarianism is that people should be free to choose how to live their lives, as long as their lifestyle doesn’t infringe on the rights of others.  Libertarians rarely extend this principal to include animals, which is why a lot of the gun lobby consider themselves to be ‘libertarians’; they must also believe that retaining the ‘right’ to shoot other people to pieces does not infringe on the rights of those other people.

Rarely do any libertarian bloggers make any reference to vegans or veganism because to them, it is just another lifestyle, which they could if they choose, wish to adopt.  OK, fair enough, genuine libertarians are open-minded and intelligent people, so they may be receptive to discussion on vegan ethics as long as we are willing to listen to their side of the debate.   They could share Richard Dawkins’ views that veganism is something to aspire to, that humans should try to move towards, without taking an absolutist position of screaming murder at all those who have been brought up to eat meat.  Unfortunately, some vegans do like to scream murder at other people and in doing so, become perfect fodder for the fake libertarians, the anti-vegans.

pjw ls

The two internet personae who have become the most well-known in this regard are Paul Joseph Watson and Lauren Southern.  With his tousled hair and designer stubble, which went out of fashion with Miami Vice, PJW has become a northern, ‘conservative’ version of Russell Brand, making a media career out of ranting at ‘SJW’s’ (an ‘SJW’ apparently being anyone who disagrees with PJW).  Some of his videos are entertaining, though he has become a cheerleader for the American Establishment stooge who pretends not to be, whom he once labelled as a ‘Hillary Plant’.  Think of Rush Limbaugh with a South Yorkshire accent removed of any of the ‘ey up cocker’ charm and you get the idea.  PJW never rants about the taxpayer subsidies that go to the meat, dairy and poultry industries, because opposing those taxpayer subsidies would be too libertarian for him.

Southern initially made a name for herself by challenging some ‘slut-walkers’ in her home town of Vancouver with the obvious, that in a genuine rape culture a ‘slut-walk’ would be impossible.  Feminists are not all ‘slut-walkers’, many must view such things as ridiculous, products of the politically confused millennial generation.  Southern however falls into the same trap as Watson, as viewing everyone who disagrees with her as falling into a one-dimensional stereotype with certain ‘SJW’ tastes.  So because some ‘SJW’s’ are – or claim to be – vegan then, in the Watson/Southern world-view, all vegans are Millie Tant style screaming harpies.  Except that the vast majority of us aren’t, nor are most of us politically aligned.  Most vegans I know or have met in the past are open-minded intelligent people, which is precisely whey they have adopted vegan ethics in the first place.

Fitting in with the libertarian outlook, most libertarians want to reduce to role of the state.  Many oppose publicly-funded health care.  I don’t share these views as I support us having a taxpayer-funded National Health Service, from the cradle to the grave.  I do however believe that people should take some responsibility for their health and in that, those who adopt a vegan diet are considerably less likely to be obese, to suffer from coronary heart disease and illnesses of affluence, such as gout, which is making a comeback in developed countries.  A healthy vegan diet is also dirt cheap, so doesn’t require any amount of elitism to follow.  Genuine libertarians would recognise this, even if they choose not to adopt it.  From a purely health perspective therefore, ranting about vegans is pathetic.  It is ironic that these supposed ‘libertarians’ feel threatened by some of the people who are least likely to require the taxpayer-funded health care, the provision of which they disagree with in the first place.

 

High Carb Raw Vegan Fruitcakes

Freelee-the-Banana-Girl-103

Two years ago, whilst looking through the virtual veganosphere, I became aware of the 10-dump-a-day narcissistic bikini bod diet .  Any vegan diet is by default most likely going to be low in fat and high in carbohydrates because that is the nature of fruit, grains and pulses; some nuts do have a high fat content; so do avocados which are healthy in moderation.  However there is no need to divide your carbs/fat/protein intake into a 80/10/10 ratio unless you really are a fruitcake!  Eccentric faddish diets come and go.  This particular ‘raw’ diet fad is vegan by default, but the motivations of those who have adopted it fit into that of Orthorexia Nervosa, with an added vanity aspect to it of taking selfies and posting them on the internet as a form of oneupwomanship, to say that I’ve got a better body than you.

Whilst the selfie craze is not unique to this diet fad, in this context it must have been influenced by female slebs who have adopted such diets, with their appearances in trashy magazines published by and for women, telling them how to obtain the perfect body.  Although as I’ve already put on my previous post, it can be snobbish and elitist to criticise someone for adopting a vegan diet for whatever reason, it would be folly to ignore the media influence of ‘vegan’ being equated with a faddish diet which could have serious health implications for anyone adopting it.  Those of us promoting veganism need to point out to the media that a sensible, balanced, vegan diet does not mean going to such extremes.  There is nothing wrong with desiring to have a ‘bikini body’, but if you do at least try to be rational about it.

Vegan Sleb-Cred

The Vegetarian Society (UK) used to publish on a semi-regular basis The Vegetarian Handbook, The Guide to Living a Vegetarian Lifestyle!  It was very informative listing all branded manufactured foods that (at the time) were vegetarian, with specific reference to those which were vegan; it also listed recommended retailers.  Additionally, it had a list of food additives and how they were derived, which I found very useful as for many of these I was unaware of their origins.  I have the 17th and 18th editions of this guide, published respectively in January 1989 and October 1990.  On pp 12-13 of the latter there is a list of Famous Vegetarians, some of whom were well known at the time, some were not very well known at the time and had had their 15 mins of fame as it were during the year or two leading up to publication.  Some have long-since fallen off the vegetarian wagon and some are now sadly deceased.  The list did have a caveat:

Occasionally celebs claim to be vegetarian and then in a later article reveal that they eat fish, so although every effort is made to keep the list up-to-date, we can’t be 100% certain of its accuracy.

Of those in the list, some such as Carol Royle and Martin Shaw have regularly supported the Vegetarian Society, since before the list was published and one can assume that both are still vegetarian (though neither has ever claimed to be vegan).  Doing a google search on some of the others reveals that they are (or were) ‘pescetarians’, so the Vegetarian Society’s disclaimer was as well.  One can understand why this list was published, as even as recently as two and a half decades ago the vegetarian diet was still perceived to be outside the mainstream, whilst the vegan diet was, well, well beyond the pale.  By focusing on celebs the Vegetarian Society was trying to bring the former diet at least into the mainstream.  Unfortunately however it didn’t really help, as although these talented thespians may not be that rich, their lifestyles – by vocation alone – were and are still somewhat removed from the mainstream.

Possibly because so few celebrities back then were, or claimed to be, vegan, the Vegan Society has never made a big deal of trying to have celebrity supporters; Rastafarian poet Benjamin Zephaniah, who sometimes appears at vegan festivals, is the nearest to fit into that category, but he is the exception rather than the rule.  However it has now become fashionable for celebrities to claim to be vegan and for this we can thank PETA, for providing them with a free career platform.  Declaring one’s self to be vegan is now the Hollywood thing to do.  Whilst some of these celebrities, Joaquin Phoenix and Alicia Silverstone, for example are genuine, expressing the vegan ethos in more than just dietary terms, for others it has become just a faddish ‘detox’ diet, with a bit of politically correct career publicity thrown in for good measure.  Vegan Sleb-Cred, in other words.

Miley Cyrus: MTV Unplugged - Fixed Show

I accept that criticising someone for adopting a vegan diet for whatever reason is in itself a snobbish and elitist attitude; many people make a correct decision for a ‘wrong’ reason and then look into the broader issues afterwards.  Someone who adopts a vegan diet for health reasons is more likely to be won over by the ethical arguments than someone who is omnivorous; hence that dietary vegan is more likely to give up wearing leather, fur, wool, silk.  Some of those who have done it for publicity might well see it a bit beyond that.  And really one shouldn’t be too harsh.  Search for ‘vegan celebrities’ or such and you’ll find several lists of which the longest I’ve found is this one, from just over a decade ago which appears to be derived from the list of a quarter of a century ago, mentioned in the first paragraph.  These lists, by volume of names, not just the names themselves, are obviously fulfilling a need, or a wish, for those looking.