Basically, I’m a Burrito

When I was a younger whipper-snapper, I would try to convince by parents that ice cream for dinner ‘IS what I needed’. This plea almost certainly ended in failure, but ice cream is what I was craving. And well, worth a shot since my dad’s only sweet tooth indulgence was ice cream. It was always in my family’s freezer. And if we ran out, there would be a request to, “call your mom at work and ask her to bring US home some ice cream”. Or if we were super lucky, a trip to Dairy Queen in dad’s pick-up truck to stock up on Buster Bars would be in order. I had a wonderfully happy childhood and I know in my heart that everything my parents did for me was all in the goodwill of growing a happy and healthy little girl.

Like most American families (I imagine) our family dinner plates contained this example meal: Some type of meat, potatoes and carrots. Sub the potato for spaghetti and sub the carrots for peas — well you get the picture. The common seat always was open and inviting for some type of meat. Because why? Well because people blindly think that meat is protein your body needs. We need protein, so we must need meat. No! It is this exact lie that the dairy and cattle industry wants you to believe is true! They don’t want you to know that plants, nuts and beans have lots of good protein! By navigating protein through plants and beans we jump over those nasty guaranteed health risks meat and dairy always bring to the table: heart disease, stroke, clogged arteries, cancer, Alzheimer's, arthritis, headaches, osteoporosis, anxiety and the list goes on. We don’t need to do this to ourselves and our loved ones. We can live a healthier and a happier life by adopting a plant based diet. By adopting a balanced plant based diet you do not even need to think about protein. When is the last time you heard of someone having a protein deficiency? Probably never. How hard is it to be vegan? It is easy if you are open to it and willing to try something new.

“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” -Hippocrates

And to go along with our nightly meals always a tall glass of cow’s milk. I write cow’s milk as I still find it fascinating that as a culture —bullied by and financially influenced by the dairy industry — we have dropped the cow (what other animal’s milk is there?) and instead are fed marketing lies that milk and cheese are so good for us. We laugh at ads featuring celebrities with silly white moustaches. So funny to look at milk that way! Much nicer then looking at the truth. We are taught “Milk, it does a body good”. When actually it doesn’t; it does the exact opposite. Dairy contributes to osteoporosis, not prevents it. Interestingly enough the less dairy you take in, combined with the introduction of a plant based diet, the healthier you are and the stronger your bones and the lower your cholesterol levels become.

By cutting out meat and dairy you can not only slow but reverse heart disease and certain types of diabetes. You are also saying “I do not think it is right” to repeatedly impregnate a cow (artificially inseminate her with a large metal rod) over and over and over again so she will live a life of only growing and birthing calves that she will never be able to love, bond and know for more then a day. We do this to her so that she is always producing milk in her teats so that we humans can then take her milk, intended by nature for her baby calf, and instead serve it on our family tables. And her baby? His life will come to a violent death so that there is veal for the industry to sell as he cannot be impregnated and harvested for his milk (our consumption) because he is a male and so basically useless to the dairy industry. A cow’s milk is meant to grow and develop a calf to maturity as a 2,000 lb. bull or heifer as quick as possible. No wonder this is not good for us. It is not for us. This is another species folks. We drink our own mother’s milk until we have developed to a certain age and level and then we stop. We stop because we no longer need that from our mom anymore and there are healthy options our body needs at that point and assuredly cow’s milk has never been one of them. Vanilla Almond milk, now THAT is delicious and healthy!

If it is true that: “We do what we can, with what we have, where you are” -Theodore Roosevelt, then we can make a change for a better world and end animal cruelty and increase our health ten fold. We can make the decision to cut out dairy and meat and not contribute to this injustice. We can instead invest in trying the many meat and dairy substitutes that are out there that are healthy and seriously delicious! We have supermarkets that are providing us with vegan options every day and online supermarkets if we are unable to navigate this easily in the area we currently live. Supermarkets such as Market Basket, Hannaford, Trader Joes, Thrive (online) all have amazing selections of vegan options (to name just a few). Most every town has a health food market or farmers market within reach that is ready to be explored. Online guides such as Pinterest can be useful in finding vegan recipes that are simple and fresh and delicious. Your local library can be a useful tool in checking out books on how to start on the path to leading a more peaceful life through a plant based diet. Carrots and beans are cheaper then meat so don’t be fooled by thinking that a change in diet will break the bank, I assure you it will not!

If ‘we are what we eat’ then basically, I’m a burrito. I eat them at least once a week, filled with caramelized onions, green peppers, black beans and salsa. Baked to perfection and then removed from my oven and promptly smothered in guacamole. I am not waifish, I do not especially like tie-die and may appear to actually be quite normal should we pass on the street. I have friends that are vegan and friends that are not. I love them both equally. I try not to discriminate with four legged or two legged animals (including humans) but instead to care for all living beings and to treat them with kindness. I have learned much on this earth and get excited at the notion that I still have so much to learn. Alas, I am much more then a burrito!

“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are” — Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

So I love burritos, but what am I really? I am a compassionate, loving and caring individual that is doing my best to spread love and peace to all sentient beings through education, exploration and experience. I also like to feel included and I love it when people think I’m funny. I want what most people want I suppose. I want to experience life to the fullest, to explore the magic of this world and it’s many compassionate beings. I was unaware when I moved from being an omnivore to a vegetarian into veganism that I would be wowed by this experience and feel so excited and comfortable and confident about veganism! The smallest step in the right direction can end up being the biggest step of your life. To begin the change to a plant based diet remember that it starts with a step. One step, one change, one decision at a time.

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