Why I believe animals deserve a higher place in modern society

This is a subject that usually causes a riot when discussed. A lot of people are against this idea, because it’s their believe that animals don’t have feelings and are put on this earth for humans to dominate and use them and to rule over their lives. Most humans believe they are at the top of the food chain.

However, there are also those who do believe in this statement. I’m one of those people and I strongly believe animals should have a higher place in modern society.

First of all, I don’t believe people even have a higher place in society than animals. We’re an arrogant specie, entitling ourselves to be superior over other species and dumbing animals down, claiming they don’t have feelings and are worthless to society, other than providing food and needs for humans. I always wonder why humans believe they are at the top of the food chain. We’re not faster or stronger than a great deal of animals. Yes, we humans have a great deal of intelligence at our disposal. But then again we’re also the only species who are bent on killing the very planet that sustains all life. Intelligence is relative.

Also, animals don’t have a voice to speak up for themselves, so I believe humans should do that for them. Do I think animals should rule human society? No, I don’t. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay to kill, abuse, starve, torture and slaughter other living creatures. It’s illegal to kill another human being, but somehow it’s okay to kill and harm animals, as if that’s any less worse. It’s an illusion that our treatment of animals has no moral significance.

Finally, animals are not ours, animals are not things. They are living creatures, just like humans. Animals actually do have feelings. By not responding on the torture that’s going on, we actually do respond. We are equally responsible for what we don’t do. To me, it’s not about if animals can reason or talk, but about the question “Can they suffer?”.

I want to believe in Leonardo da Vinci’s wish: that one day the time will come when men will look upon the murder and harm of animals as they now look upon the murder of men. And if slaughterhouses and factory farms would have glass walls, would you still be able to look an animal in the eyes and say you can’t see the pain we humans are causing? Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace.

Hopes, dreams and thanks

My birthday is coming up, it’s on saturday to be exact. I’ll be turning 23 and the last 10 or so years have been challenging. There have been good times, but also many bad times. I won’t be going into it too much, but I’m just glad I somehow found the strength to carry on. So, 23. Not really a magical number and I never feel any older when my birthday comes and goes, but still, it has been another year on this wonderful planet, which gives some food for thought.

First, I have many thanks. I have a great family who stick with me no matter what, a wonderful boyfriend whom I dearly love, great in-laws who are always there to help, I have amazing friends, I have a roof above my head, I never need to worry about food or water, I have clothes to keep me warm, books to widen my imaginary horizon and I’m going to college to study to become something, out of many other things, I’ve always wanted to become (when it comes to my career that is). I also have the great pleasure to have two feline friends in my life. They thought me one of the most valuable lessons in life: The best things in life are free. For that, I’m enternily grateful.

So, what about my hopes and dreams… Because a girl has got to dream, right? My first and foremost dream is to have as little stuff as possible. Over the past few years I’ve gone from being a over consumer to a semi-minimalist and I’ve never been feeling better. I no longer define my self-worth by the amount of stuff I own. Owning less makes me happy, peaceful and humble. My second dream is to keep up the good spirit I’ve been having for the past year. Of course, there have been ups and downs, but so far, when it comes to my mood and view on things, this year was one of the best years I can remember. My third and last wish is to forgive myself when things do not go the way I planned it. I’m my own worst enemy and I would really like to be my best friend. I have some goals I really want to work on, like staying vegan at least most of the time and focusing on college, without forgetting to have fun. And because I’m a true believer in making your own dreams come true, I’m pretty sure I’ll be fine!

Getting Rapunzel-like hair

Every time I go to the hairdresser, the boyfriend is saying the same thing: “Don’t cut it off, OK?” He loves loves loves long hair, and so do I! But when I’m at the hairdresser, looking at all those cute short hairstyles, I have the tendency to cave in and think: “ Who cares?! My hair will grow back on again.” And so I let it get cut off … and regret it when I come home … I guess that because my hair isn’t that long (just above my shoulders) it’s easier to cut it off. If I would have really long hair it would be a lot harder, I’m pretty sure about that. But I really want long hair, I just never had the patient to let it grow. So boyfriend, this must be your lucky day: I’m finally ready to let my hair grow.

My hair is 31 centimeters long (that’s 12,2 inches). So, how I’m going to get it to grow long(er)?

Step 1: I’ve visited my hairdresser. Yes, I started growing my hair by cutting it off. Not that much, just the split ends, so I have a fresh start to start growing my hair.

Step 2: Resist the temptation of coloring my hair! I’ve colored my hair for years, and stopped doing it a while ago. There is no hair dye in my hair anymore right now, but when I see a picture of a girl with beautiful red hair, I have to hold myself back not to run to the drugstore and get some hair dye.

Step 3: Pick up on the No ‘Poo method again. I was no ‘poo for a long time, but when I went on a long holiday I got lazy and started using regular shampoo again. I also started using regular conditioner again because I wasn’t satisfied with the apple cider vinegar as a conditioner. I will stop using regular conditioner, but instead I’ll be putting some serum in my hair after washing it. Not because my hair is unable to get through with a brush when there isn’t something like a conditioner or serum in it, but just because I like my hair better when there is. Yes, I’m sooo vain …

Step 4: Eat healthy. I know, easier said than done. I’m a huge sugar addict. While writing this, I already ate seven little chocolates. So it’s another lucky day for the boyfriend, because he’s been nagging me for months now to start eating more healthy (and I know, he’s saying it because he cares … and he’s right, I should eat healthier). But what foods while help you grow healthier hair (better hair seems like a good motivation to me for eating healthier :P)? Think about nuts (especially walnuts and almonds) and milk, stuff with vitamin B in it (like bananas, spinach and potatoes) and food with folic acids in them (tomatoes, citrus fruits, beans, lentils and whole grain products). I know fish, meat and poultry are also major sources of B-12, but that’s one step to far for a vegetarian like me. Don’t forget to eat some protein. You can find protein in products like lean meat, eggs and soy products. And if you want to be really sure that you get everything you need: take a multivitamin. Basically it just comes down to: eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables and don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Cliché? Yes. True? Most likely.

Step 5: Don’t go to the hairdresser anymore. Years ago, my hair was the longest and healthiest it had ever been. Back then, I never went to see a hairdresser. Every once in a while, I would just cut off the ends of my hair myself and my hair was looking great. I hate going to the hairdresser: it’s expensive and my hair rarely turns out the way I wanted it to be. So bye bye hairdresser, I’ll just be cutting my hair myself when I think I have to. Really, there’s no use in seeing a hairdresser every six weeks when you want to grow your hair longer. Hair only grows approximately half an inch per month. By cutting your hair every six weeks it will take for ever to grow your hair longer. So, just judge for yourself when you think it’s time to cut your hair. If you notice your hair is getting dry at the ends or the ends are splitting, it might be time to cut them off.

And last but not least: some quick 101’s for getting healthier hair:

  • Don’t use hot water to wash and rinse your hair. Instead, go for cooler water (it doesn’t has to be ice-cold, just don’t use steaming hot water).
  • When you dry your hair, don’t rub it with a towel. It will damage your hair.
  • Never brush wet hair! Because wet hair is stretchier it has a tendency to snap. Use a wide toothed comb instead.
  • Don’t use too much hair products, they will dry out your hair.
  • Let your hair dry naturally when you can. If you do need to use a blow dryer or straightening iron, don’t forget to use a heat protector on your hair.
  • Don’t brush your hair too much. Two times a day is enough.
  • Don’t wash your hair every single day.
  • Sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase–cotton pillowcases make hair look dry; they suck out the moisture and can cause frizz.
  • If you notice your hair is becoming dry, wash it less frequently, so the natural oil balance can be restored.

Don’t get upset when your hair just doesn’t seems to get any longer. Be patient, it takes a while.

Vegan chocolate banana pie

Vegan boring and tasteless? Well, think again! There are many nice things you can make vegan-style if you just do some research. I’m new to the whole vegan thing. As you can read in a previous post I only have experience with vegetarian dishes.

Some beginner mistakes when I first made the vegan chocolate banana pie:

  • I didn’t let the tofu leak until all the water was out. Result: moist pie that was falling apart.
  • I didn’t blend the tofu enough. Result: big pieces of tofu in the pie.

Recipe for 6/8 people

Cooking time: 30–60 minuts

Ingredients:

Stuffing:

  • 400 tofu
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tablespoons (soja)margarine
  • 1 bar of pure chocolate or 125 grams of cacao powder
  • 1 cup of sugar

Crusty bottom:

  • 1 package of cookies (you can go with what ever you like)
  • 0,5 cup of sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (soja)margarine

Preparation:

Stuffing:

  • Melt the chocolate with 2 tablespoons of margarine OR mix the cacao powder with 2 table spoons of margarine
  • Mix the banana (you can blend it first with a blender or just use a fork), tofu (make sure you pressed all the water out and blend it in a blender until it’s smooth), sugar and the chocolate mixture until it’s smooth

Crusty bottom:

  • Crumble up the cookies and mix them with 6 tablespoons of margarine until the cookie crumbles stick together
  • Put the cookiemixture into a baking tin
  • Poor the stuffing into the baking tin and bake the pie for about 15/20 minutes at 150/175 Celsius degree

And that’s just how the cookie crumbles! Bon appétit!

Live simply, so that others can simply live

While being away on my little camping trip, I somehow managed to have a lot of time to read some books and think about stuff. I think it might had something to do with not bringing the laptop and not having any access to the internet what so ever …

Anyway, I brought a book along about veganism as a lifestyle. It got me thinking about my days as a vegetarian.

I used to eat meat, but when I was 19 I decided to become a vegetarian. I don’t really know what happened anymore, but after a while I found myself eating meat again. Ever since I’ve been living on my own, I rarely bought meat, but I did ate it at other people’s place.

The question I got the most when I mentioned I didn’t ate meat was:

Why?

When I first stopped eating meat I hated that question. I felt like I was being judged, and sometimes even attacked, for not eating meat. After a while I had my answers ready and those kind of questions didn’t bother me anymore. I guess I just stopped caring about what others thought of what I ate and didn’t ate.

My main reason for not to eating meat was because I thought the way most meat is provided is inextricably connected with animal cruelty. I just didn’t want animals to suffer for me.

After reading the book about becoming vegan, I realised that being, or becoming, a vegan seems a whole lot more difficult than being a vegetarian. Being a vegetarian is about not eating meat. Being a vegan is about not using any kind of products from animals. So it’s not only about the meat, but also about not using milk, eggs, honey, leather etcetera.

But despite the difficulty-level going up, veganism did enlight a spark of interest inside me. However, if it was just about me cooking for myself and the boyfriend and not having a social life at all, it would have been a lot easier. But I do have some kind of social life, and that’s where the trouble starts. How can I eat at someone elses place when I have to tell them I don’t eat anything that comes from animals … ? Maybe it’s just me, but I do see that as somewhat of an obstacle. But it’s not a big enough obstacle when I think about all the reasons to become a vegan (or at least a vegetarian).

Some information that might change your mind about eating meat:

  • The meat that lies on your plate comes from animals, living beings, who die alone, in terror, sadness and pain, so you can eat their meat.
  • How would you like to spend your last hours locked up in a truck, packed into a cage with hundreds of other terrified animal and then cruelly pushed into a blood soaked death chamber? Anyone who eats meat condones and supports the way animals are treated
  • Meat contains a lot of fat. So if you want to cut down on your fat consumption, not eating meat is a good way to start.
  • Every single day, thousands of animals are suffering and being killed for the meat that’s on your plate.
  • There’s nothing in meat you can’t get from vegan food (like proteins, vitamins and minerals)
  • If we eat the plants we grow instead of feeding them to slaughter animals, it would have an enormous impact on the world’s food shortage. Why? Because 100 acres of land will produce enough beef for 20 people, while that same 100 acres of land will produce enough wheat to feed 240 people
  • There’s more in meat than just meat. How about the tail, head, feet, rectum and spinal cord of the animal? Not so yummy isn’t it?
  • Every day millions of male chicks are killed because they ar not able to provide eggs. They get massed slaughtered by gassing them, throwing them into a crusher (sometimes even alive) or they get suffocated to death.
  • Rainforests get destroyed to clear ground for cattle (who will become a beefburger) to graze. Another side-effect of the destruction of the rainforests is that roughly 1000 species a year become extinct.
  • Some farmers use tranquilizers to keep animals calm or routinely use antibiotics to starve off infection. When you eat meat you are eating those drugs.

So, how to become a vegan (or at least a vegetarian)?

  • Stop eating meat. Just stop. Don’t buy it anymore, don’t eat it, just don’t. Yes, you might miss eating burgers at McCruelty, yes, you might get some wise-ass remarks, but at least you’re not contributing to the death of animals.
  • Think about why you’re becoming a vegan/vegetarian. This is a huge change in your lifestyle, so don’t take it lightly. Having your reasons lined out will not only ensure that you don’t waste your time and efforts doing something you’re not really passionate about, but it’ll also help you stick with it.
  • Please, don’t think “Oh well, that animal is dead already, why shouldn’t I eat it?” Because that’s how you keep things the way they are.
  • Get some more knowledge about food. Know where to get your vitamins and minerals from, how to make sure you get the amount of calcium you need etcetera. You can find a lot of information online, but also at the library or local bookstore.
  • Do some research on ways to become a vegan. I could give you all the tips in the world on how to become a vegan, but I’m pretty sure that what works for me, doesn’t neceseraliy has to work for you as well. Maybe you want to ease into the whole process or just go cold turkey (how suitable …) right away.
  • Try some new, vegan, recipes. You can find a lot of nice recipes online. If you would like to show your friends or family that eating vegan isn’t bad, invite them for dinner.
  • Keep having fun. Becoming a vegan shouldn’t feel like a burden on your shoulders. Eating shouldn’t become a heavy subject. There are so many delicious foods out there, experiment with them. See what works for you. Try some new stuff, maybe you find out there’s a whole new world opening up for you when quitting meat.

People will criticize you no matter what. Just let them be. I think that the main reason why people will criticize your lifestyle is because they somehow feel like your criticizing on their lifestyle.

Visit http://www.peta.org/ for more information