Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why Do You, or Don't You Eat Meat?

Avo Toasts I made from the VegCookbook 
Club's January VegCookbook, Crazy Sexy Kitchen
Over the last 43 years, I've been a vegan, a vegetarian, and a meat-eater. Now I think of myself as vegan-ish. Because of how animals are treated in factory farms, the connection between meat-eating, climate change and poverty, and for health reasons, I want to eat a more plant-based diet.

I say I'm vegan-ish because I often fall short of my aspirations. Sometimes I get really hungry, and the only thing that will fill me up is an egg, or cheese. And then there is my monthly PMS pepperoni pizza craving, which cannot be ignored.

I'm also a social gal, and I don't like asking my host to make something special for me, plus, because I had a childhood full of food allergies and restrictions, I hate bringing my own food.

Hawaiian "plate lunch" I ate on our honeymoon
Finally, I like to try new food, in particular, food that is the specialty of a restaurant, region, or culture. For example, when we went to Spain last fall, I ate more meat and cheese than I've probably eaten in my life.

And then, I'll read a book, or see a movie that reminds me of why I need to try harder not to eat animal products. Last week, when I went to see Samsara, I was deeply disturbed by a scene from a poultry farm. The Atlantic describes it in its article, The Stories Behind the 5 Most Difficult-to-Film Scenes in Samsara: "At the Mariesminde Poultry Farm in Denmark, we watch a bizarre vehicle sucking up live chickens with a vacuuming snout; seconds later we watch an automated kill line slitting poultry throats."


I don't want to support that kind of treatment of animals.

And yet, I stumble.

So, I continue on my vegan-ish journey. I use the VegCookbook Club community to keep me VegCooking on a regular basis, and I struggle between doing what I know is right for the planet, and my cravings, culinary curiosities, and social niceness.

I share this story because I'm wondering if any of you have had a similar experience. I would also love to hear why you eat, or don't eat meat, and other animal projects.

I've been holding onto this post for three days because I'm afraid to out myself as an imperfect VegEater. I know that talking about eating, or not eating meat can be a hot button issue for people. I would love to have a discussion about this, but not a shouting match. Please be a considerate commenter (:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Host an ARTBreak in your community

"The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls." ~  Pablo Picasso

Do you think you get more done if you focus, nose-to-the-grindstone, or if you take lots of breaks?

According to a recent New York Times article, Relax! You'll Be More Productive, taking frequent breaks, naps, vacations, and sleeping longer help us to do more, not less. I'd love to see a study about if you're more productive after making art during your break. I bet you are.

September 6, 2013 is ARTBreak Day, a project of Art is Moving. During ARTBreak Day, Art Sites are set up in cities for people to take a break, and make art for free.

To facilitate more cities' participating in ARTBreak Day, Art is Moving is offering an Artist in Residence program for artists to bring ARTBreak Day to their communities. Each Artist in Residence will receive $500 in art supplies, guidance from Art is Moving's co-founders, and promotional materials to help them create an Art Site on ARTBreak Day in their city. Click here for more information about how to apply. The application deadline is April 1, 2013.

 Do you take ARTbreaks?

Monday, February 04, 2013

Pollination Project: $1,000 seed grants to individual change makers

Do you have an idea for a world-changing project that could bloom with some seed money? 

The new Pollination Project
is giving $1,000 seed grants to individual changemakers, every day, 365 days a year.

You can find information about how to apply on the Pollination Project website, follow them on Twitter at @Pollinationproj, and like them on Facebook.

The issues they fund include:

  • Compassion towards all life (people, planet, animals)
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Justice in all forms
  • Community health and wellness
  • Putting consciousness into action
  • Social change-oriented arts and culture

I've compiled a list people they funded in January 2013 below, and created a PollinationProject Twitter list so that you can browse through all of these inspiring projects.

  1. Adam Sugalski, @CircusProtest 
  2. Adela Raffa, Women in AWE, Bread for the Journey, Atlanta @BFJ_Intl 
  3. Carolyn Mullin, National Museum of Animals and Society Oral History Project @AnimalMuseum 
  4. Chloe Falkenheim, Youth Vegetarian Alliance 
  5. Dana Mahon, Child’s Pose Yoga  
  6. Elizabeth Rider, International Charter for Human Values in Healthcare @charter4values 
  7. Emily Hime, Ke Kontan English Class @HimeForHelp 
  8. Greg Singer, Vegtoons @vegtoons 
  9. Gwen Sofer, The Women’s Circle 
  10. Heather Laurie, Olly the Activist Dog @OllyActivistDog 
  11. Ingrid Cordes, Neighborhood Cat Advocates  
  12. Janet McKee, Bethany’s Story @BethanysStory 
  13. Jennie Kay, Detroit Sanctuary Project @DetroitSnctry 
  14. José Ramon, Edible Ahmedabad  
  15. Keith McHenry, Food Not Bombs Free Skool @NikRye 
  16. Laura Henderson, Growing Places Indy @GrowingPlacesIN 
  17. Leah Lamb, My Planet @_myplanet_ 
  18. Lisa Benham, Gardening and Environmental Literacy at San Quentin Prison  
  19. Melody Moore, The (Inner) Beauty Shop 
  20. Megan Lipsett, Copia Health  
  21. Megan Pincus Kajitani, Giraffe Revolution @thinkgiraffe 
  22. Meg Stockdale, Imagine Yoga Project 
  23. Michael Meng, Paint the World @paint_theworld 
  24. Mina Girgis, The Nile Project @nileproject  
  25. Nawal Basheer, Promoting Community Service  
  26. Nikki Myers, Yoga for 12 Step Recovery @Y12SR 
  27. Nora Kramer, Protecting Playas  
  28. Sarah Hanson, Labyrinthine @LabyrinthineOrg 
  29. Shital Mehta, Generosity at Shantivan Gardens 
  30. Steven Prussack, VegWorld Magazine @vegworld1 
  31. Vandana Agarwal, Happy Hospitals

Full disclosure: I am a Pollination Project Ambassador.