Back in the early 1980s, being a vegetarian was a lot harder than it is more than thirty years later. If you don't know, just ask Alex Hershaft, founder of FARM, and Mark Braunstein, author of Radical Vegetarianism, a book as nuggety, nutritious, and nutty as some of the meatloafs that no doubt graced the tables of veggies back then.
Actually, Radical Vegetarianism makes a strong case not simply for vegetarianism, but for raw foodism, and for all of us, however we might name our diet, to examine our food choices playfully but profoundly, for none of us is pure. Another book to do just that is Sistah Vegan, which explores a plant-based diet in the context of race, class, women's body image and gender as a whole, and a raft of other issues that remind us that being vegetarian or vegan can never simply be simply about which animal products you leave out of your diet.
Flummoxed about moving from omnivorousness to vegetarianism, let alone veganism? Want someone to be your cheerleader and BFF as you make the transition? Then Donna Beaudoin, a.k.a. Sister Vegetarian, is right there for you. Sister Vegetarian's 31 Days of Drama-Free Living is so fresh that it's like a bariatic chamberful of pure oxygen for your mind and body. She's got recipes, mantras, and a whole bunch of good ideas to get you from meat to veg, and then veg to vegan. Check it out!
If you're completely baffled about just what it is that vegetarians or vegans eat, then Lantern has a bunch of books that will help you embrace the plant-based diet without having to tell anyone that you've become a (sssh!) vegetarian. You'll see them listed below as images.
One of the great spiritual mandates of Judaism is "tikkun olam," which means "to heal the world."
From God's first injunction, "Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed, to you it shall be for food," (Gen. 1:29) the Hebrew Bible offers countless examples of how God intends a compassionate and caring attitude toward animals, our health, and the well-being of the planet. In Judaism and Vegetarianism, professor emeritus in New York Richard Schwartz shows how respect for animals and the environment can revitalize one's Jewish faith, while in Judaism and Global Survival he argues that a rediscovery of basic Jewish teachings and mandates, such as to seek peace and justice, to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to act as co-workers with God in protecting and preserving the earth, can build a better world.
For more on Judaism and vegetarianism, click here.
Lantern is putting together an anthology of international contributors who are Latina and vegan, and wonder if you're interested in writing for the project.
Two years ago we published SISTAH VEGAN, which includes writing from a very diverse group of African-American women about veganism. The volume is interesting because it's not just stories of why or how individuals went vegan, but it is heavily cultured, discussing hair, music, health, body types, tradition(s), religion(s), black politics, and more.
We are hoping to create a similar (and yet completely different!) book by vegan women from Mexican, Brazilian, Peruvian, Guatemalan, Argentinian, Puerto Rican (and more) backgrounds.
Topics written about should be based in personal experience, and avoid references and footnotes if at all possible.
If you are able to write in English and Spanish or Portuguese, we'd love to have your piece in multiple languages. The non-English pieces will not be in the printed book, but we hope to make them available digitally. However, they will not be able to be proofed and corrected by Lantern.
We cannot provide payment, but we are planning to donate proceeds to the Food Empowerment Project. The word count is 2,500-5,000 words. The deadline is December 15th, 2012.
Spread the word!
Email submissions to wendy (at) lanternbooks (dot) com and kara (at) lanternbooks (dot) com.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of forty-seven and not getting satisfactory answers from her physicians, Ruth Heidrich began her journey to fitness. She has now lived three decades without a recurrence of symptoms—a story she writes about in her extraordinary and inspirational A Race for Life.
"[I learned] I was responsible for my own health care," she reports. Heidrich went on to receive her Ph.D. in Health Management. Affectionately known as "the other Dr. Ruth," (whom we also publish, by the way) Heidrich is sharing what she has learned and changing the way people view their senior years. In Senior Fitness, Ruth shows us how to maintain and even increase physical and sexual fitness at any age, as well as how to reduce the risks of prostate cancer, varicose veins, osteoporosis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, Alzheimer's, and a host of other ailments associated with aging. Since her diagnoses of cancer, Ruth Heidrich has gone on to win more than nine hundred athletic trophies and metals. She has been cancer-free for more than twenty years.
Donna Beaudoin was, like Fannie Lou Hamer, sick and tired of being sick and tired. She'd put on weight, experienced aching joints and chronic stomach pains, and generally felt blah. She'd tried a vegetarian diet before, but the drama of dealing with family, friends, co-workers, and others not supportive of her lifestyle, had always gotten in the way. In Sister Vegetarian's 31 Days of Drama-Free Living, Donna shows you how to leave the drama behind, get off your butt, and have fun moving and eating great-tasting and health-giving food. It sure worked for her: she lost weight, gained energy, and her ailments left her. This is the book for anyone who needs motivation to change their lives for the healthier!
And we have more! In The Joy of Weight Loss and The Love-Powered Diet, Norris Chumley and Victoria Moran (both of whom were critically overweight) respectively encourage you to lose weight by feeling good about yourself rather than forcing yourself onto a restrictive diet and demanding that you suffer for your sins. In the former, Norris Chumley lost over 180 pounds, and kept it off, by learning to love himself and enjoy movement, and this is his secret to shedding the pounds. In the latter, Victoria learned that her dieting was only leading her to binge, and that a crucial step to a healthy body was to nurture a healthy attitude toward food.
Of course, a healthful diet wouldn't be much use if you didn't know one end of a vegetable from the other. Never fear, Lantern is here to help. How to Eat Like a Vegetarian Even If You Never Want to Be One provides steps, strategies, and simple recipes to start a healthy meat-free lifestyle without you even having to call yourself the "v" word.
In a world that values sunshine over the saturnine and hope over harrumphing, it's hard to be a professional curmudgeon. In the animal rights community (where the competition for Chief Grouch is fierce), that vital role was ably handled by the late Cleveland Amory, whose dyspepsia was a key component of the barbs he so effectively aimed at hunters and other animal exploiters. The banner of bile is now waved by Kim Stallwood, a.k.a. the grumpy vegan, who first refined discontent and dysphoria into an art form in his editing of The Animals' Agenda magazine, and then in two books he edited for Lantern: Speaking Out for Animals and The Primer on Animal Rights.
Actually, I'm kidding. Those two books are inspiring and thoughtful examinations of how one can help animals in distress and through policy changes rather than belly-aching about how awful everything is. Plus, Kim is distressingly sweet-tempered when you get to know him (which, of course, you are thoroughly discouraged from doing), and now that he is back in his native England after doing time in the U.S. for many years, he's distressed to find unwelcome shafts of sunlight brightening the winter of his discontent.
Fortunately, this being the world we live in and our exploitation of other animals showing no sign of stopping any time soon, Kim retains a measure of grouchy glory. He's currently working on a couple of books: Animal Dharma and The Animal Rights Challenge, which I'm sure will be glorious ill-tempered and full of pique. Whatever he turns his hand to, Lantern wishes him luck, and hope that we don't see him around.
See Donna Michelle Beaudoin talk about her book Sister Vegetarian 31 day's of Drama-Free Living. She answers what her book is about, why people will find her book useful, and why she wrote it.
Check it out.
The question is always thrown at me in the most random moments—in the middle of a biology lab, during a tennis team pasta party, or even at a Yale campus interview. And each time, I wonder how to answer it. Throughout most of high school, I gave people an answer that was easy to grasp: for the environment. Not many people bother to argue with hard numbers—who would dispute the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air per pound of meat, the inefficiency of producing a given weight of beef as opposed to potatoes, deforestation per half-pound hamburger? But I always knew that the reason for my vegetarianism was far more complex than just being purely environmental.
A few months ago, my cell phone buzzed late at night, signaling a text message. I was awake reading a book, and fumbled around before flipping my phone open. "So," it read, "I'm vegetarian now…"
Lucas the pig enjoys a mud bath at Peaceful Prairie
A Practical Peacemaker Ponders . . .
Last Sunday, I participated in a group tour at the nearest farmed animal sanctuary, Peaceful Prairie, about an hour's drive east of Denver. Both we and the animals we visited were fortunate to have a warm, clear day to enjoy each other.
The first thing we noticed as we approached the property was a herd of llamas. I'd never seen that many, about fifteen, in one place. Then we drove through the gate and up to the house. Peaceful Prairie's founders and directors, Chris and Michele Alley-Grubb, welcomed us.
Tesla, one of Vegucated's three featured participants, making friends with a chicken
A Practical Peacemaker Ponders . . .
I'd been hearing great praise for the documentary Vegucated, and this week was able to see it at a vegan potluck/movie event. Three average meat-eating New Yorkers agree to go vegan for six weeks and have their experience filmed. They get lots--and I mean lots--of support and expert advice. It begins with the filmmakers, who show them vegan advocacy films, take them grocery shopping, dining out, and to a farmed animal sanctuary. Their "vegucation" is also provided by such luminaries as Howard Lyman (a contributor to Lantern's book The Way of Compassion), Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Dr. Milton Mills, T. Colin Campbell, and other speakers and participants at the Vegetarian Summerfest, which the three attend as part of the experiment. How fortunate they were to get this kind of solid information and encouragement, compared to those of us who went vegan years ago and had to figure it all out for ourselves! Viewers, of course, get all the same encouragement vicariously by watching the film, and can find more at the Get Vegucated website, including the movie trailer; Vegan at Heart, a four-week-long daily email coaching program; tips on making social connections with other local vegans; the DVD available for purchase ($19.99); and info on hosting a screening.
A news story this week reports that a lab-grown or in vitro burger will be available from a science lab in the Netherlands by October. The burger grown from animal stem cells will cost $330,000 to produce, and scientists working on it say that it will be at least 20 years before the process will be efficient enough for large scale and cost effective production. Such meat is not imitation meat or a meat analog, but actual meat grown from animal stem cells.
Today I sent the following letter to my alma mater, the University of Kansas, in protest of an upcoming exhibit at the university's Spencer Art Museum called "The Story of Chickens." This project will encourage townspeople to get to know and care about five chickens over a period of time, then the chickens will be slaughtered in public and served at a potluck.
Here was a surprising link in my inbox: CPI Financial, a website dedicated to offering advice and analysis for bankers and business leaders throughout the Middle East, headlined the recommendation to go vegan.
The article, begins as follows: Ok, here's the bad news. You're going to have to become vegetarian. Sorry. As soon as possible, so you may as well put down that chicken sandwich and start now. Not just you though, all of us are going to have to stop eating meat and dairy products if the world has any hope of not going to hell in a hand basket.
What? Did I read that correctly? Of the myriad reasons for veganism, why were investment bankers being urged in that direction?
One of the big problems that people have with the idea that Jesus was a vegetarian is the "fish stories" in the New Testament -- stories in which Jesus distributes fish as food to people, or in one case actually eats fish. If Jesus was a vegetarian, then what are these stories doing in the New Testament?
We can get an important clue as to what they are doing in the New Testament if we take a quick look at what their effect is and has been. From the point of view of a meat-eater, these fish stories are very convenient. Jesus ate fish, therefore eating meat must be all right.
Vegetarianism is not simply an act of replacing meat with vegetables. It is an act of creativity and imagination, as every meal you conceive of another possibility of relating to other animals, oneself, and the planet.
Carol Adams celebrates that creativity in The Inner Art of Vegetarianism and Meditations on the Inner Art of Vegetarianism. She shows how those interested in the creative life and in spiritual practice can find sustenance in vegetarianism, while those who are vegetarians can explore spiritual practices to sustain them in their activism. These books are also wonderful primers for the creative life: suitable for everyone who values a practice to enable them to fulfill their potential and have a rich and rewarding day.
Judy Carman also celebrates the meaning of living a vegetarian life in Peace to All Beings. This set of reflections from the world's religions and thoughts on the meaning of ahimsa, or non-violence, is the perfect companion for all those who want to live peacefully and fully the non-violent life.
Finally, going vegan is one of the messages of Kate Lawrence's The Practical Peacemaker. Veganism is a way to live nonviolence and spirituality every time you decide what to eat. This also happens to be the modus operandi of a healthy life, as Victoria Moran makes clear in her The Love-Powered Diet.