Politics of How & Why I Became a Largely Self-Sustaining (DIY) Raw Vegan
I believe in (and am firmly committed to) living a life of absolute consciousness, particularly when it comes to consumerism. My distaste for corporate handling and greed when it comes to target marketing toward “the vegan dynamic” eventually led me to my current lifestyle as a vegan following a raw, plant-based diet.
Please allow me to give an example:
Boca was acquired in the year 2000 by Kraft foods. Before the time of acquisition, Boca Burgers were organic, non-GMO and also vegan.
Here is where it all went downhill…
Kraft is the number one manufacturer of genetically modified “food” products on the market today. They use clever wording to hide the fact that every one of their products is a “Frankenfood,” but they taint everything they touch with genetically modified organisms (GMO). “Made with organic soy” can mean that they used a certain percentage of organic material in their product, while the remainder may legally be GMO. Yes, they are legally allowed to print that something is made with organic materials, provided at least a small percentage of what they used is organic. [Addendum: New, higher guidelines have been set since the original post date of this article. However, there is still a set percentage of GMO allowed in products labelled as “made with organic” & are by no means non-GMO]
Let’s move on to the even better stuff.
Kraft is owned by Philip Morris, a company now known as Altria. Philip Morris changed their name as a PR/marketing tactic which was a rather clever attempt to distract consumers from the bad press they had been getting for problems related to their tobacco products as well as animal testing.
So let’s do the equation:
Altria = Philip Morris = Kraft = Boca = vegan? Absolutely not.
Supporting corporations who test on animals for ANY of their products still funds their unethical behaviour & perpetuates the blood spilling.
Another thing I would like to add here is that PeTA and PeTA2 have often encouraged members of the public to patronise various fast food/burger establishments (such as Johnny Rockets) once they agree to add highly processed meat alternatives to their menu. Care to make a guess as to who is providing Johnny Rockets with their “awesome vegan burger”?
PeTA runs the smokinganimals.com website which speaks out against Philip Morris for their animal testing. I’m disgusted that they would use one hand to point a finger at a company and the other to fondle them under the proverbial table.
SHAME ON PETA.
Morningstar farms uses eggs in many of their products. The eggs they use in their manufacturing plants come from factory farms which debeak chicks and force their birds to live in horrendous, unsanitary conditions. Are their so-called “veggie burgers” really vegan either?
Again, I’m thinking no.
I could list dozens of examples, but it really can become depressing after awhile. Ethically speaking, the majority of processed items presently available on the market fall dramatically short as far as being truly “vegan friendly” is concerned.
For many years, I also revelled in the ignorant bliss derived from reading labels on processed (junk) “food” items to discover that they were “accidentally vegan” (& blindly assumed that buying that garbage would encourage companies to make more products not containing animal-derived ingredients). Little did I understand that my purchases Sorry folks, Oreos (or anything else made by Nabisco/Kraft–a.k.a. Monsanto’s filthy bedfellow) are NOT vegan at all. Aside from the fact that a fair percentage of refined sugar is still processed with bone char from factory farmed animals (generally used as part of the bleaching process), use of palm oil (cleverly disguised under a ridiculously lengthy number of names) is another issue upon which many self-professed “vegan” people seem to have entirely missed the mark. If one’s intentions lean toward healing our ailing planet (in addition to ourselves–as all living entities coexisting on Earth are intrinsically holistically connected), it is important to understand that where there is demand for these items (created EXCLUSIVELY by CONSUMERS—”vegan” or otherwise), production will continue. Long story short, each purchase of these nonessential junk items is in fact a CHOICE, and absolutely NOT based upon necessity. It is based upon the same false logic as used perpetually by those who continue to make foolish excuses for ongoing consumption of animals and their secretions–despite overwhelming evidence now available. Shall I even begin to address future health issues (diabetes, respiratory issues, arthritis, CANCER, etc.) brought on by regular consumption of heavily processed “food” items?
Please take a moment to think about how pharmaceuticals are made which are most used commonly to treat such things, and the government mandates (& relative taxation) for animal testing on all of these “medical miracles” so readily put into the hands of anyone and everyone so inclined to shroud their symptoms behind drugs instead of aiming to heal themselves properly. Why is this? Addiction? Mass induction via mainstream media? Whatever the case may be, the bottom line remains the same:
So long as a majority of seemingly well-meaning (or otherwise) consumers continue to make excuses for their addictions, the killing & environmental destruction will continue until there isn’t anything decent left for anyone—of any species.
Upon having reached this sort of “epiphany” after about 15 years of ethically-motivated veganism, my ethics evolved to consider the entire planet and the ongoing plight of all fellow inhabitants forced to live under conditions created for them by corporations and fellow human residents of the imperialist countries in which I had always chosen to live. I now understood that such lifestyle choices could not actually be deemed “vegan” or even relatively conducive to Ahimsa co-existence—as veganism is, by true definition, an ethical stance which goes well beyond dietary choices in their most rudimentary form. This realisation, and relative research into all matters stated above, changed my habits rather dramatically (“Whoa, look at all of the money I’m saving!”) and led to my present inclination to seek positive, healthy alternatives to assist me in my journey toward healing and maintaining my ability to live mindfully and peacefully without impinging upon the wellbeing or basic natural (“God-given”) rights of others.
The journey continues!
Of course there were also several additional factors to consider along the way – my newly discovered gluten intolerance (gluten free + vegan + WHOLE ingredients = not easy to find in most dining establishments or pre-made products), my unreasonable addiction (& subsequent allergy development) to soya, the amazing high and rejuvenated sensation I felt on days/weeks/months when I would adhere to an entirely raw diet, and finally my eventual realisation that most things I was consuming in cooked form (such as rice/grains, beans & other high-volume bulk ingredients) were coming from massive manufacturing sources where the lives or habitats of other animal species were barely considered or spared by large machinery when it came to harvest time.
In recent years I’ve become sensitive to the plight of migrant workers, displaced indigenous communities, and other fellow humans who have been suffering endlessly under the system of slavery so long perpetuated by corporate entities and consumer habits encouraged by policies so popularly supported by blind consumerism within imperialist, ego-driven societies.
Several points worth careful consideration:
- Do you know where your tomatoes come from, how they were grown, or much of anything in relation to their cultivation/harvest/transportation to your table?
- Do you know if they contain animal-derived genetic matter, if not grown in accordance with “organic” standards?
- If they were artificially ripened using chemicals, and how said chemicals may affect your health?
- Which chemicals are allowed by the USDA under “organic” labelling rules for commercial growering operations?
- How said chemicals affect your health, the workers’, or our environment?
- Did you know that corporate grocery chains (such as Kroger & a vast multitude of others) refuse to stop supporting these unethical practices?
- Or how much of the money spent on food in such supermarkets actually makes it to a farmer?
Please follow the links, do your own research, and then look into offering assistance with formation of communities based on sustainability, compassion, and respect for everyone–including ourselves.
The bottom line
In any case I suppose in retrospect my decision was as highly politically and consciously motivated as my adherence to an entirely vegan diet for so many years preceding the change.
It really did seem at that point that a 100% raw diet was the best answer after years of endless boggling over research and juggling between one company gone bad to the next one sold.
Now that I have been eating only organically grown/raw/chemical-free/grower-direct/minmally processed foods year-round since 2006, I suppose I continue to stick with it because of the way I feel: healthy, energetic, strong and truly able to enjoy vibrant flavours of fresh food with all nutrients and enzymes fully intact. =)
The majority of this article (save a few amendments here, there, and just below) was originally composed in 2007 for a vegan social media support group, and subsequently reposted on my original blog at DarkStardust.com.
In closing, I would also like to add the following in relation to further evolution from a healing/wellness perspective:
After having been injured in a cycling accident which occurred in Los Angeles (circa late 2011), I was subsequently confined to a wheelchair for over a year without hope of ever walking on my own again without surgical and pharmaceutical assistance – or so said the allopathic medical community. Fortuitously, I had connected with some brilliant souls at community farm markets and was well taken care of by a number of kind, chemical-free growers by way of one very kind avocado aficionado with whom I had made an appointment on behalf of LORAX Community‘s veganic food cooperative project back home in New York City. Thanks to his kindness and willingness to help his friends/fellow-growers, we quickly became friends and I was able to continue preparing my own food using fresh raw ingredients. Each week I was offered a new bounty of gorgeous seaonal joy, and a great deal of knowledge as to the origin and production of many plant species with which I had never been exposed previous to this experience. It is my belief that learning is the prime directive in our collective life experience as a whole, and I found this new education to be an invaluable blessing for the benefit of myself and others with whom I am privileged to work and share. Although the wheelchair had temporarily hampered my confidence (and correlative willingness) as far as live performances/presentations/teaching workshops were concerned, my eagerness to continue sharing as I learned was never dampened. Thus, we arrive at my motivation for having initially creating this blog and sharing my resources with others as I move forward in my own journey.
By the way, without medical “assistance” (which, in my view, seemed abit more like duress) I pulled myself out of the wheelchair once and for all in early 2013. I am grateful to all of the wonderful people in my life who helped to make this possible, including my kind wellness colleagues, family/etended family, favourite farms in Southern California, Central Florida, and Southern Ohio (by way of Indiana), and friends with whom I have been blessed to connect online via this blog, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Facebook, VeganWall, etc.
Thank you all so very much, and may all beings live happy and FREE!