Friday, July 29, 2011

An Evening with Gene Baur

Tonight, I had the pleasure of hearing Gene Baur, the president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary speak at Tranquil Space's Benefit for the Animals. Gene spoke about his decision to become a vegan, the work he does with mistreated farm animals and how we can inspire others to eat healthier and with more compassion.  I purchased a copy of Gene's book, Farm Sanctuary, and I very much look forward to reading it!

I talk more about the process of preparing food here than food philosophy, and that's by design.  When I started my vegetarian adventures, I promised myself not to become holier than thou about my eating lifestyle.  After a lot of research and reading books like Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals, I decided I didn't want to support the current system that provides beef, chicken, pork and fish for consumption.  It was my personal decision, and I recognize that it's not for everyone.

But, I did want to pass along some of the things that Gene mentioned in terms of misconceptions about vegetarianism and veganism.  I know a lot of people are concerned about plant based diets not providing enough protein and nutrients to maintain an active lifestyle.  I'm no pro-athlete, but I'm fairly active, and my energy levels have been great since I went veg (I do, as recommended, take a B-12 supplement).  But, if you're looking for pro-athletes that have excelled as vegans, you can look to Prince Fielder, who "feels amazing" without eating meat,  and Carl Lewis, who attributes his success to a vegan diet.  While not an athlete, Russell Simmons is a pretty busy guy who is a yogi and a vegan.

One thing that Gene mentioned tonight that really struck me was "Don't let perfect be the enemy of good."  I am so guilty of abandoning things that are hard for me (Exhibit A - driving).  Rather than making my veg journey all or nothing, I phased things out gradually.  I do the best that I can when my meals are not under my control. So, I am going to try and remember to do my best to "do good" rather than "be perfect" as I work to phase dairy out of my regular diet.  In February, when I gave up fish, it was because I felt ready.  I'm getting that feeling about dairy, especially when I'm eating out and I don't know what process it went through to get to my plate.  Between Gene's talk &  Forks Over Knives and some other things I've been reading, I want to give it a shot.  It may not happen overnight, but I'd like to see where it leads. 

So, you might start seeing more vegan cooking experiments here, and reviews of vegan options at restaurants.  We'll see where things lead.

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