Today is the high holy day of American consumerism, and every year my family and I ritualistically participate in the all night and all day liturgy of spending—it is a cultural celebration. Spain has its Holy Week parades, Germany has its Oberammergau, and we have credit card debt. In the spirit of the day, I offer below some online stores where you can purchase vegetarian goods.
Yes, I am a vegetarian. I have been one for ten years, and before that, I was occasionally vegetarian on and off since I was a small child. Yet, those early attempts always ended violently, with my exasperated mother’s shoving dead animal product down my throat. When I became too big for such parental oppression, it was just a matter of time until I climbed on the wagon for good.
I am also one of the “crazy” ones who does it out of principle. I liked the taste of meat, and I am not particularly health conscious. I just do not wish to kill animals if I do not have to do so to survive—except for the few species on which I have declared an unending war. For them, I aim at genocide to the extent that swatters, shoes, or rolled newspapers allow. These enemies are house flies inside buildings, pestilent cockroaches inside buildings, and mosquitoes anywhere—for there is no neutral zone for mankind’s deadliest foe. Besides these targets of personal warfare, I try to cause no harm.
I am not a vegan most of the time, though I realize the hypocrisy involved. I have no principled objection to dairy, but I do find the dairy industry objectionable. For I know that they butcher old cows who have given a lifetime of milk, and they sell the male offspring for meat, as well. Were I strong enough, I would probably go vegan for the whole year—but I love cheese, milk, butter, and all the lovely items made with whey. The dairy free fasting seasons throughout the year teach me well how much I crave those products.
I do not wear leather, eat gelatin, or consume anything made with carmine or cochinea extract. I do not have any problem with wool or honey. Unlike the PETA crowd, I do think that human beings should reap the harvest of our land’s natural resources, as long as it is done responsibly. My idea of stewardship, however, does not involve killing. It is a small way of trying to avoid participation in the fall—though I certainly involve myself constantly in other ways.
Sometimes folks ask me how I can stand Thanksgiving as a vegetarian, but it is wonderful. I can eat most of the dishes, and my sister, who is a superb cook, fixes special sweet potatoes and stuffing for me without any meat product. As a Cincinnatian, chili is a hard thing to give up, but my mother makes a delicious vegetarian Cincinnati style chili. Many chili parlors in the city also offer vegetarian versions, now, as well. That really just leaves goetta—our speciality breakfast meat. Last year, I finally tried vegetarian goetta at Honey in Northside, and I have put in requests to my sister to develop her own vegetarian version for me.
As for dairy free items, I recommend Silk soy milk and WholeSoy yogurt.
Below are some vegetarian and vegan links, which you might find useful.
Christian Vegetarian Association
Dole 5 a Day
Grass Roots Natural Goods
Institute for Plant Based Nutrition
International Vegetarian Union
Leafy Greens Council
Pangea Vegan Products
Shopper’s Guide to Leather Alternatives
Veg 4 Lent
Vegetarian Life Tips
Vegetarian Resource Group
Vegetarianism and Vegetarian Nutrition
We have all heard the omnivore propaganda. Return to Eden and eat your veggies.
Like most Americans growing up with too much time and leisure, I made several “favorites” lists. Feeling the need to designate a favorite bird, I chose the puffin. You probably know those obnoxious people who want to be different—they listen to indie music, watch foreign films, and generally act like snobby arses. Well, I have always been one of those folks, and my favorite bird could not be an obvious choice like a bald eagle, hummingbird, mockingbird, or cardinal. No, I fell in love with puffins.
Why are puffins so great? Well, they are adorable. They are cute in that clumsy, penguin-like way, but they can actually fly—though not admirably well. Like penguins, they are graceful and agile in the water. They live on rocky cliffs near the sea in colder regions, and everyone knows that mountains and water make for the most aesthetically pleasing landscape. Puffins have good taste . . .
Except with breakfast. See, puffins have their own cardboard-tasting healthy cereal from Barbara’s Bakery that white people eat. It is not actually that bad; you just have to get used to the texture. I actually have come to like it—and it was much easier than the feat that I achieved when I developed a taste for Marmite after several years of struggle.
Visit the Audubon Society’s page for Project Puffin, and consider helping the little guys out. You can also learn all about puffins there.
If conservation sites are too stuffy for you, you can always visit Puffinpalooza.
Thank God for the puffins.