Good Day,
When my kids were little and still living at home, I would always try to make meals that I thought were nutritious and above all, easy to make  and easy to serve as leftunders (this is what my daughter used to call leftovers-not sure why, but we use it to this day). One pot meals were always a favourite. Chili, Shepherd’s Pie ( my son loves mashed potatoes), Cowboy Hot Pot, soups and stews.
I still like to make one pot meals. Of course, back in the day, I used nonhuman animal flesh and secretions in many of these meals- something I am not all that proud of, knowing what I know today.
But, that is the beauty of learning. When we are willing to be open to newer, better, kinder philosophies, we can choose a different path. We can recognize that what we did was a result of knowledge and tradition passed down to us.  We don’t have to adopt it or claim it as our own.
So, while I regret my past food choices, I do not blame myself for them. I choose instead to embrace and celebrate my kinder footprint in this world.
Chopped walnuts

  Edamame (Soybeans)                                                                             More chopped walnuts

                             Sunflower Seeds                                                         Stir Fried Tofu

 Toasted almonds
Lima Beans
 
 
To this end, I have altered a lot of my children’s childhood meals, so that they reflect the compassion I feel in my heart. Gone is the chicken, pig, cow, chicken’s eggs, cow’s milk, fish and seafood and so on…..

To replace these products, in my kitchen you will find, nut milk, coconut milk, organic tofu, organic nuts and seeds, all manner and type of legume (organic dried and nonorganic canned, except for mung beans, of course LOL), and nutritional yeast (high in Vitamin B 12 and tastes a bit cheesy), to name a few.
Before I started on my path of veganism, I was motivated by some persistent, serious enough health issues that had been plaguing me for some time. I wanted to feel better, I wanted to be better. So, I started looking for a solution.
I like to think that I am a compassionate human animal who tries not to cause harm to other beings, either individually or globally. When my daughter continued to talk to me about veganism and the plight of nonhuman animals in this all too human animal oriented world, I stopped to think about what I was doing daily with my fork, knife and spoon.
So you can say that my health and compassion led me to stop eating nonhuman animal products. I started calling myself vegan-even though I wasn’t. Truthfully, I did not really understand the true meaning of being a vegan. I guess that I should have called myself a plant food eater.
I had a couple of slips in this journey-not because I missed nonhuman animal flesh and secretions, but because I had some health care professionals telling me that I needed these products of cruelty in my diet in order to get well. These slips were short lived, because my feelings about not doing unnecessary harm were stronger than my need to get well on somebody else’s terms.
A vegan, in the truest sense of the word eschews, wherever possible, the personal use of nonhuman animal products. In a nutshell, we do not use these beings for our food, our entertainment, our clothing and accessories, our furniture and for medical research.
Now, this is the sticky part. I call myself a vegan, but I drive a car with leather (nonhuman animal skins) seats. I would love to get rid of my car with the leather seats, but cars are very expensive, so it is just not in the cards for me right now. I try to accept that this was a purchase made before I understood what using leather means to the beings who once wore their own skin.
There are other items in my house that I can change and that is what I am in the process of doing. The latest to be replaced are two leather dining room chairs. I just did not feel right having them in my house.
One of the new non leather chairs
Presently, I am looking to replace a leather chair and love seat that we have in our family room. 
I think I mentioned to you in one of my first posts that I love dishes and cutlery. Some remind me so much of the important people in my life to whom they belonged. Others are gifts from loved ones and some I have purchased. But, I have recently learned that the stamp on the underside of some of my beloved dishes does not simply mean good quality as I have always thought.
Bone china is 50% ground up cow bones-Bone Ash, as it is called. I don’t know the process involved in turning Bone Ash into fine china and I guess I don’t need to know right now.
 
 You might have laughed if you had seen me running around the house checking the underside of every dish looking for that now forbidding looking stamp. I was always saddened when I discovered yet another one-sad for myself and the nonhuman animals.
One of my three china cabinets
Some dishes I have put aside
 I mulled this info over for a few weeks and talked to a good friend, who is vegan and to my daughter as well. I explained to them my reluctance to give up some of these dishes because they were gifts from or once belonged to, my mother  who is my forever hero.
My mom with her great-grandaughter
 
But I also am very unsettled about keeping things that were made using nonhuman animals.
My daughter suggested that I could choose to keep those items that are cruelty free. That this could be enough to honour the memory of my mom and everything that she means to me. My friend said that, in the final analysis, things are just things.
So, I decided that the kitchen dishes that had belonged to Mom and had been a gift to her from her children, could go. So, family, if any of you are reading this and would like to have and can pick up said dishes, let me know.
The kitchen dishes that I bought using some birthday money my mom gave me have also been put aside.

The antique bone handled carving set that my parents gave to me and for which I definitely have no more use, has been given away, along with some bone handled forks and knives that were a wedding gift.
My wedding dishes are Bone China. I remember the day Mom and I shopped for them at Hemsley’s in downtown Montreal-nearly forty years ago. I haven’t used them since I made my discovery, but I have not replaced them either. It is something that I am sure I will do, but can’t just yet.
And then there is the Bone China Bowl, a wedding gift we received from my Aunt Simone and Uncle Maurice. It has occupied a place of honour in my home for many years.
What would you do if you were in my non leather, funny feet shoes? Thoughts and comments welcome.
 GRAMMIE ANNIE’S VEGAN VIEW
What really defines us as compassionate beings? Is it the things that are easily given up or is it the things to which we have emotional attachment that are not so easily given up? What meaning do these cherished items have if there is any sort of cruelty attached to them?
Until next time,
May all beings be happy and free!
Anne
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5 thoughts on “HOW I TRY TO BE AND LIVE AS A VEGAN!

  • March 22, 2014 at 3:37 pm
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    I agree that some items should be considered on the fact that the person who gave them to you did not know that the gift was made from parts of an animal. We have to put more emphasis on the gesture.

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  • March 24, 2014 at 2:58 pm
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    Thank you for your comment. It is, as you say, important to recognize the gesture behind the gift and to thank people appropriately. I believe that there is very little stigma or disgust attached to the use of bone ash in some fine china. Yes, some people would not buy it if they knew, but many would think there is no problem. That is why we continue to buy leather, wool, silk, and other products made from the slavery, torture and murder of nonhuman animals, not to mention the “food” that we eat.
    My difficult choice is about me and how I view current state of nonhuman animal welfare and rights in our society. Just trying to make a statement and a stand-never trying to diss anyone for their kindness. I am trying to wake people up to recognize the kindness inherent in making different choices that do not harm.

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    • March 24, 2014 at 3:43 pm
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      Let me rephrase this!! Tried to edit it, but can’t seem to find out how-not unusual for me.
      What I am really hoping to do is to understand where how my core values and ethics fit into veganism. How committed am I to being what I espouse? I mentioned in an earlier post that I take a medication that most certainly developed using nonhuman animals for research and contains, I believe a nonhuman animal by-product. I wish that I did not have to take it, but unfortunately there is no cure for my medical condition and there are no natural, harm free substitutes for this med. If I did not take it, I would be very ill. so, I live with this difficult choice, even though I don’t like it.
      There are other areas in my life where I can make choices and that is what I am endeavouring to do. I will always respect the gesture made by these persons who gave me these gifts, even though I do not feel right keeping them and/or using them. It is a hard choice, but not as hard as the harm done to the nonhuman animals in the making of these items.
      As I re-read this I am not sure that “waking up people” is the right way to express what I feel. I am trying to remind people of their inherent kindness, which needs to be extended to all of our nonhuman companions on this earth.
      Many thanks, again for continuing the dialogue. I think it is one of the best ways to learn and to change and to become kinder, gentler people on this earth.

      Reply
  • September 7, 2016 at 3:18 pm
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    Hi Anne.
    Thank you for this. I enjoyed reading it and have to admit that I feel quite ashamed. It had not even registered with me that bone china was made from bones. Of course I know it is but it had completely slipped my mind that I do still have a few cups and a teapot that are made from bone China. They were not gifts so I do not face the same predicament as you and I totally understand why you feel the way you do but in saying that I think if your mum knew you now and how important this all is to you that she would understand from what I can gather.

    I also take antidepressant prescription drugs (Prozac) that have not only probably been tested on animals but also come in capsule form which contains gelatine. It does come in liquid form but my doctor will not prescribe me this as it is much more expensive than the capsules. I also take a number of other medications for both mental and physical health which probably will have been tested on animals. I have tried to do without them with dire consequences, so for now at least I am continuing to take them. I feel bad about this but I know I am doing my best to reduce as far as is practical any suffering to animals. I hope for a day when no animals will be tested on for these drugs as I believe it is completely unnecessary and the data gathered from this research is completely invalid.

    Rachel Weightman

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  • September 8, 2016 at 3:29 pm
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    Hi Rachel,
    i actually did not make the connection between bone china and actual bones until quite some time after I became vegan. I struggled with what to do about these dishes but, in the final analysis, have decided to keep them. I may change my mind at some point-time will tell.
    I understand about the medications, but sometimes using products which are not cruelty free and vegan is unavoidable, especially in the area of human health. It is our intention that is key and plays a major role in what we do in most of our daily life. i would not worry about it if I were you. You are already doing so much to raise awareness as well as to bring your daily life in line with your ethics. It is the most that any of us can do, living as we do in a pre-vegan world.
    Take care.
    Anne

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