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Hello beautiful people!<br />

VEGANISM IS A WAY OF LIVING THAT<br />

INTERSECTS EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE.<br />

At the very core of the <strong>vegan</strong> philosophy<br />

is a striving for justice and a willingness<br />

to extend this not only to our animal<br />

friends but also to our human brothers<br />

and sisters. Justice is the theme of our<br />

third <strong>issue</strong> and we narrow it down by<br />

looking at the sub-topics of feminism<br />

and food supply. Therefore I’m honoured<br />

to feature the inspirational Tracye<br />

McQuirter as our cover story. Not only is<br />

Tracye a powerhouse in the black <strong>vegan</strong><br />

community, she works tirelessly<br />

campaigning on <strong>issue</strong>s relating to<br />

empowering women and calling for food<br />

justice. In keeping with our theme we’ve got regular contributor Juliet Gellatley from Viva!<br />

talking about <strong>vegan</strong> pregnancy; Jane Legge introduces us to the intriguing world of ‘Red<br />

Tents’; Dr. Justine Butler explains why milk is a feminist <strong>issue</strong>, and we also meet the folks<br />

behind Skipchen and Chili On Wheels - serving up nourishing food with a good helping of<br />

justice! We give food for thought on the often controversial subject of feeding cats and dogs a<br />

<strong>vegan</strong> diet, and I’m also pleased to feature an article from Anneka Svenska on foxhounds, as<br />

she describes the hidden suffering of these dogs used for hunting. As always, thank you so<br />

much for being part of this community. The more we learn about <strong>vegan</strong>ism, the more we<br />

come to understand how the influence of this compassionate lifestyle reaches far beyond<br />

simply what we put on our plates and how we adorn ourselves and our surroundings.<br />

Everything is inextricably connected. Justice for all!<br />

With love,<br />

Emma Letessier


Juliet Gellatley is the founder &<br />

director of Viva! She has a degree<br />

in zoology & psychology (BSc<br />

hons) & is a qualified nutritional<br />

therapist. Connect with her on<br />

Facebook and visit:<br />

www.viva.org.uk.<br />

Juliet Gellatley<br />

Anneka Svenska<br />

Anneka Svenska is the founder<br />

of ‘Green World Television’ &<br />

‘Angels for the Innocent<br />

Foundation’, & she also shares<br />

her expertise in juicing,<br />

smoothies & raw <strong>vegan</strong> eating.<br />

To view some of the Green<br />

World TV Films Anneka has<br />

released please click here . You<br />

can also visit her website and<br />

connect with her on Facebook<br />

and Twitter.<br />

4 | BarefootVegan


September/October 2015<br />

Laura Koniver, MD is the<br />

Intuition Physician. She infuses<br />

modern medicine with intuition<br />

for a deeper understanding of<br />

health & healing. You can<br />

connect with her via<br />

www.intuition-physician.com<br />

and Facebook.<br />

www.BarefootVegan.com<br />

Emma Letessier<br />

editor@<strong>barefoot</strong><strong>vegan</strong>.com<br />

advertising@<strong>barefoot</strong><strong>vegan</strong>.com<br />

Lee is the author of the <strong>vegan</strong><br />

cookbook 'Peace and Parsnips'<br />

& is a food adventurer who<br />

travels the world <strong>vegan</strong>izing<br />

local dishes, combining two of<br />

his main passions; travel &<br />

cooking. Lee lives with his<br />

partner Jane in the Beach<br />

House, from where he writes<br />

the blog 'The Beach House<br />

Kitchen'. Connect with Lee via<br />

Facebook and Twitter.<br />

Click here to find out<br />

about writing for<br />

Barefoot Vegan...<br />

Emma Letessier<br />

‘Barefoot Vegan’ is a trade mark of Letessier<br />

Communications Ltd.<br />

ISSN 2058-9840<br />

© 2015 Letessier Communications Ltd. All<br />

rights reserved.<br />

While every effort has been made to ensure that<br />

information is correct at the time of publication, the<br />

authors and publisher cannot be held responsible<br />

for the outcome of any action or decision based on<br />

the information contained in this publication.<br />

The publishers or authors do not give any warranty<br />

for the completeness or accuracy for this<br />

publication’s content, explanation or opinion.<br />

This magazine is not intended as a substitute for the<br />

medical advice of physicians. The reader should<br />

regularly consult a physician in matters relating to<br />

his/her health and particularly with respect to any<br />

symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical<br />

attention.<br />

No part of this publication may be reproduced or<br />

transmitted in any form without prior written<br />

permission of the publisher. Permission is only<br />

deemed valid if approval is in writing.<br />

All images used have been sourced via Shutterstock,<br />

Dreamstime, FreeImages & Unsplash. Images used<br />

in editorial context have been credited.


Mamma<br />

Mia<br />

58<br />

CONTENTS<br />

ON THE COVER<br />

14 Vegan singer/songwriter Emaline<br />

Delapaix<br />

Your chance to win a copy of her latest album<br />

26 Mind Over Matter<br />

Dr. Laura Koniver, MD, describes the impact that<br />

outlook & spirituality can have on our health<br />

58 Mamma Mia: Vegan Pregnancy<br />

Juliet Gellatley explains how to have a healthy,<br />

happy pregnancy<br />

78 Milk is a Feminist Issue<br />

Dr. Justine Butler, on the treatment of cows in the<br />

dairy industry<br />

103 The Food Empowerment Project<br />

lauren Ornelas on how food justice intersects with<br />

<strong>vegan</strong>ism<br />

8 WHAT YOU’RE SAYING<br />

Your letters to the editor<br />

10 IN CASE YOU MISSED IT<br />

News round-up<br />

18 The 1/100/100 Challenge<br />

With Samantha Turnbull<br />

FRONT COVER<br />

48<br />

Tracye McQuirter: We spoke with<br />

author and nutritionist Tracye to<br />

discuss African American health,<br />

empowering women & food justice.<br />

Front cover photo by ‘A Little Bit of<br />

Whimsy Photography’.


76<br />

103<br />

MIND, BODY, SPIRIT<br />

30 Red Tents: Celebrate our femininity<br />

14<br />

With Jane Legge<br />

36 Will Travel for Vegan Food<br />

We meet author & traveller Kristin Lajeunesse<br />

42 For the Love of Vegan, Barefoot Running<br />

66<br />

With Alyson C Laskas<br />

ANIMALS<br />

66 Plant-Based Diets for Cats & Dogs?<br />

By Akshay Verma<br />

72 The Fox and The Hounds<br />

Anneka Svenska highlights the suffering of hunting dogs<br />

76 The Water Meadow<br />

A short story by Mark Stewart<br />

MOTHER NATURE<br />

88 Chilis On Wheels<br />

Feeding the homeless in New York a <strong>vegan</strong> meal<br />

94 Eating for the Earth<br />

How a <strong>vegan</strong> diet saves the environment, by Lee Watson<br />

98 Justice is Served<br />

Skipchen brings food justice to Bristol, UK<br />

42


Here’s some of the feedback we’ve received on the<br />

July/August <strong>issue</strong>! Thank you for taking the time to<br />

send in your thoughts. Got something to say? Get in<br />

touch! We’d love to hear from you! The ‘Editor’s Pick’<br />

for this <strong>issue</strong> goes to Ang. Enjoy your goodies from<br />

Thesis Beauty, Ang!<br />

Editor’s Pick<br />

This is now officially my favourite <strong>vegan</strong><br />

magazine! I have read both <strong>issue</strong>s and think<br />

all the articles are just wonderful. Barefoot<br />

Vegan skilfully reflects so many different aspects<br />

and avenues of <strong>vegan</strong>ism and sustainable living. I<br />

have read every single article, both great and<br />

small. I particularly love how you aren't afraid to<br />

address <strong>vegan</strong>ism's close tie with spirituality. My<br />

favourite article in the last <strong>issue</strong> was definitely<br />

'Veganism, Animals and the Ascension'. It was<br />

very exciting to hear Tim Whild<br />

describe an unconventional understanding of the<br />

origins of the human race that deeply resonates<br />

with me, and one that fits in with a lot of other<br />

spiritual theories I have encountered on this topic<br />

before. Please continue to embrace the spiritual<br />

side of <strong>vegan</strong>ism, as well as all the lovely pieces<br />

you have on the ethical, environmental and health<br />

aspects of the <strong>vegan</strong> movement. Warmest regards,<br />

Ang Sumalde<br />

I liked everything about the last <strong>issue</strong>. I think<br />

it's great and very informative. I guess I found<br />

the most value for me in the article about<br />

mood boosting foods, a lot of new information. I<br />

enjoyed Noel's pic and the self-love article.<br />

Claudia Elena<br />

I stumbled upon this magazine today and my<br />

heart skipped a beat. This is one of those<br />

rare finds that just lights me up.<br />

Renee from Rowdy Girl Sanctuary<br />

I have read the magazine on my phone.<br />

Brilliant. You should be very proud!<br />

Jane Ramsden<br />

It's fantastic!!!!! Love it! Jeanette Despart<br />

Big congratulations on another<br />

AWESOME edition. Trinity<br />

Get in touch to win!<br />

The ‘Editor’s Pick’ for the next <strong>issue</strong><br />

will win a trio of superfood blends<br />

from raw, <strong>vegan</strong>, gluten-free and<br />

organic company Be. Valued at $60US.<br />

editor@<strong>barefoot</strong><strong>vegan</strong>.com<br />

Earthlings August 2011 - boom <strong>vegan</strong>!!<br />

THANK YOU for what you do!!!! Elissa Davis<br />

facebook.com/<strong>barefoot</strong><strong>vegan</strong>magazine<br />

twitter.com/Barefoot_Vegan<br />

8 | BarefootVegan


Help Us Fund<br />

Barefoot Vegan Magazine<br />

15% Raised


News - Veganism - Health - Animals - Environment<br />

Vegan Ultramarathon Runner<br />

breaks Appalachian Trial<br />

speed record<br />

Scott Jurek has once again<br />

showcased the prowess of<br />

plant power by breaking the<br />

speed record for the<br />

Appalachian Trial by three<br />

hours. Starting in Georgia<br />

and finishing in Maine, the 41<br />

-year-old ran the trail’s 2,189<br />

miles in 46 days and a little<br />

over eight hours.<br />

Photo credit: scottjurek.com<br />

Google search interest for <strong>vegan</strong>ism<br />

has doubled<br />

According to Google Trends, a tool that analyses the popularity of<br />

search terms over time, the interest in “<strong>vegan</strong>ism” on Google has<br />

been on a global incline since 2009. In fact, it’s more than doubled<br />

in the last six years. Google Trends is a tool to gauge public<br />

sentiment, generally used to track the zeitgeist and help researchers<br />

analyse cultural phenomenon and popular topics.<br />

New Smartphone game:<br />

Butcher goes <strong>vegan</strong><br />

A recently<br />

launched,<br />

single-touch<br />

smartphone<br />

game created<br />

by Arvin of<br />

Arvin<br />

Games, aims<br />

to help<br />

animals and<br />

encourage<br />

compassion. Image credit: Facebook<br />

In ‘Butcher<br />

goes Vegan’<br />

players lead farm animals away from<br />

dangerous obstacles and the game also<br />

addresses other animal rights <strong>issue</strong>s. The<br />

game is free and available in both the<br />

Apple App Store and through Google Play.<br />

150 School Districts in the<br />

US Have Introduced Veggie-<br />

Friendly Meals<br />

Thanks in large<br />

part to the<br />

efforts of the<br />

Humane<br />

Society of the<br />

U.S.’ (HSUS)<br />

Farm Animal<br />

Protection<br />

Division,<br />

around 150<br />

school districts, Photo credit: FreeImages.com/elias minasi<br />

20 private<br />

schools, almost 100 colleges/universities and 45 hospitals<br />

have all introduced veggie-friendly meals with a view to<br />

reduce meat consumption and make their students’ and<br />

patients’ meals healthier and more sustainable. Depending on<br />

the institution and its implementation strategy, meal options<br />

can include both vegetarian and/or <strong>vegan</strong> choices.<br />

10 | BarefootVegan


Photo credit: FreeImages.com/Willie Cloete<br />

News - Veganism - Health - Animals - Environment<br />

Vegan Society calls upon DEFRA to help farmers diversify<br />

away from dairy industry in the UK<br />

Photo credit: FreeImages.com/SCapture<br />

Due to consistent falls in the sale of bovine milk and dairy<br />

products in the UK, the chairman of the Farmers Union of<br />

Wales’ milk committee had recently suggested a cull of<br />

cattle to halt overproduction. CEO of The Vegan Society,<br />

Jasmijn de Boo described this solution as ‘highly<br />

demonstrative of the industry’s treatment of cows as<br />

objects and props, lacking sentience or feeling’ and it<br />

would be ‘a callous quick-fix to an unsustainable industry<br />

that will continue to struggle as more and more people<br />

turn to plant milk’. The Vegan Society is sympathetic to<br />

workers losing their livelihoods, but is calling for<br />

governmental measures to help farmers diversify away<br />

from this failing industry by providing subsidies to move<br />

into sustainable plant-based agriculture.<br />

28% of special catering<br />

requests are for <strong>vegan</strong> meals<br />

In a recent<br />

survey to<br />

discover 2015<br />

trends,<br />

Catersource<br />

Magazine<br />

polled its<br />

readers to<br />

find out which requests they receive most<br />

often when it comes to dietary restrictions.<br />

Six choices were offered, as well as an area to<br />

write in other requests. Vegetarian came in<br />

first at just over 75%, gluten-free second<br />

with 69% and <strong>vegan</strong> third at 28%.<br />

Mr Universe Goes Vegan<br />

Mr. Universe 2014,<br />

Barny Du Plessis has<br />

announced in a recent<br />

interview that he’s<br />

now a <strong>vegan</strong>. Du<br />

Plessis won Mr.<br />

Universe 2014 and<br />

shortly afterward<br />

Image credit: YouTube.com<br />

transitioned to being a<br />

“one-hundred percent,<br />

wholehearted, staunch warrior <strong>vegan</strong>”. Since going <strong>vegan</strong>,<br />

he has actually gained even more mass, now at 107 Kilos,<br />

and he claims that there have been no negatives. He wakes<br />

up with more energy and recovers faster.<br />

Costa Rico to close down its zoos<br />

Costa Rica will be the first country<br />

in the world to shut down its zoos<br />

and release captive animals. The<br />

nation has also recently banned<br />

hunting for sport. Environmental<br />

Minister René Castro said: “We<br />

are getting rid of the cages and<br />

reinforcing the idea of interacting<br />

with biodiversity in botanical<br />

parks in a natural way. We don’t<br />

want animals in captivity or<br />

enclosed in any way unless it is to<br />

rescue or save them.”<br />

Photo credit: FreeImages.com/Sally bradshaw<br />

11 | BarefootVegan


First <strong>vegan</strong> butcher shop to open in Minneapolis<br />

America’s very first <strong>vegan</strong> butcher will be opening up in Minneapolis, Minnesota<br />

after a successful Kickstarter campaign raised more than $60,000. Created by<br />

siblings Aubrey and Kale Walch, the meat-free meats are handmade in small<br />

batches and contain protein-rich ingredients like wheat gluten, yeast, soy, and<br />

miso. They make items such as meat-free ribs, bacon, sausage, chicken, chorizo,<br />

and more. The Herbivorous Butcher got its start this summer by selling meatless<br />

meat at local farmers markets to rave reviews from both <strong>vegan</strong>s and omnivores.<br />

The shop will look like a “typical butcher’s shop” with cold cases full of fresh<br />

“meat,” rotating specials, and a section for selling <strong>vegan</strong> cheeses, deli meats, meat<br />

rubs, marinades, and breads.<br />

Scotland bans GMOs<br />

Scotland’s rural affairs secretary has<br />

announced that the country will ban the<br />

growing of genetically modified crops. Richard<br />

Lochhead will request that Scotland be<br />

excluded from any European consents for the<br />

cultivation of GM crops. The announcement<br />

was welcomed by Scottish Green MSP Alison<br />

Johnstone, who agreed that the cultivation of<br />

GM crops would harm the country's<br />

environment and reputation for high quality<br />

food and drink.<br />

Vegan Medical Centre to Open<br />

in Washington, DC.<br />

Opening this<br />

November, the<br />

Barnard Medical<br />

Center (BMC) in<br />

Washington, DC,<br />

will be one of the<br />

first clinics in the US<br />

to address the<br />

country's chronic<br />

health <strong>issue</strong>s<br />

through nutrition<br />

and preventive<br />

medicine. Neal<br />

Barnard, MD, founder and president of Physicians<br />

Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and<br />

now founder and medical director of BMC, will work<br />

with physicians, nurse practitioners, and dietitians to<br />

help thousands of patients every year with weight<br />

loss, heart health, diabetes, cancer prevention,<br />

and childhood nutrition. Could this be the future of<br />

medicine?<br />

NYC Restaurant Sued for Being Vegan<br />

GustOrganics, an establishment that operates in the Greenwich<br />

Village section of New York City has been sued by investors after the<br />

owners watched several documentaries about the environmental<br />

devastation caused by animal agriculture, and decided they could no<br />

longer continue to serve animal products. Investors filed a lawsuit<br />

with the New York Supreme Court stating that the management has<br />

“damaged the reputation and sales of the business” and<br />

misrepresented the company by not telling investors in advance that<br />

the establishment would transition to plant-based foods. Investors are<br />

also sparring with management over the businesses finances.<br />

They’re trying to paint the move to <strong>vegan</strong>ism as hurting the bottom<br />

line, but management says the company actually started making<br />

money for the first time in years after switching to plant-based foods.<br />

12 | BarefootVegan


Photography by Binne Gestaltung<br />

Emaline Delapaix<br />

Emaline Delapaix is a <strong>vegan</strong> singer and<br />

songwriter, hailing from Australia and<br />

currently living in Berlin, Germany with her<br />

cat Reece. Her ethereal style comes from a love<br />

and close connection to nature and her music<br />

has been described as being able to ‘invoke<br />

the weather, like storms and warm sunsets’.<br />

Emaline is embarking on a tour of the UK in<br />

October 2015, so we spoke with her to find out<br />

what it’s like to travel as a <strong>vegan</strong> musician<br />

and how a compassionate lifestyle and<br />

relationship with nature can aid in coping with<br />

depression.<br />

15 | BarefootVegan


Photography by Binne Gestaltung<br />

Click here to<br />

listen to a<br />

sample of<br />

Emaline’s<br />

beautiful work<br />

Tell us about yourself…<br />

My name is Emaline Delapaix and I am an Australian<br />

singer/songwriter/musician living in Berlin and living<br />

full time as a musician for just over four years now.<br />

How/why did you become <strong>vegan</strong> and<br />

what impact has that had on your life?<br />

I became <strong>vegan</strong> after being vegetarian for a few years.<br />

For a long time something inside me told me it was<br />

wrong to eat animal products so it was only a matter<br />

of time before I made changes as I grew up with many<br />

animals around the house. I remember the big change<br />

happened in a place called Ithaca, New York in a coop<br />

when I was reading about a dairy cow with two<br />

broken legs and the farmer left her like that and her<br />

leg was dragging on the ground. It just broke my heart<br />

and opened the door to <strong>vegan</strong>ism.<br />

How would you describe your music?<br />

Alternative folk-pop is the simplest description, I am<br />

not sure. What do you think? :)<br />

I know that in some of your song lyrics,<br />

you focus on nature. How important is<br />

nature to you as a source of inspiration/<br />

creative influence?<br />

Nature is so important to me for inspiration and<br />

creative influence but also to me as a human being<br />

who suffers from depression. I enjoy being in the city<br />

but start to get a bit anxious if I don't get out into<br />

nature and peace at least once a month. Ideally I<br />

would prefer to live on the edges of Berlin in a little<br />

village so I can grow vegetables and walk my cat safely<br />

-he is a very free spirit :) - but I still haven't found the<br />

right place yet. Fingers crossed for 2016.<br />

You suffer from depression and credit<br />

your <strong>vegan</strong> lifestyle and becoming<br />

a musician as things that help you to deal<br />

with it. How important do you<br />

feel authenticity is in helping to lead a<br />

happy life?<br />

Depression is a lifelong illness but I definitely eased<br />

the pain when it comes to dealing with it every day.<br />

Years ago I was given many pills including antidepressants<br />

and anti-psychotics which made me put on a<br />

lot of weight and made my brain very fuzzy. In the end I<br />

decided to take on my illness head-on and to do all I could<br />

to make my life more manageable, which included reading<br />

a lot of books and educating myself about my illness. I<br />

found that eating a healthy, raw heavy diet and my<br />

environment was so important to me. I began getting rid<br />

of the negative, toxic people in my life and tried to do the<br />

same with the thoughts in my head, changing the way I<br />

think to become more positive. Becoming <strong>vegan</strong> also<br />

helped because naturally I turned to more fresh fruit and<br />

veg but also it felt more ethical and right for me. But I'm<br />

not done yet, still lots of work to do on myself and I am<br />

working on that every day.<br />

You promote yourself as a <strong>vegan</strong> singer/<br />

songwriter. What opportunities or barriers<br />

does that present to what you’re doing?<br />

I thought that it would present barriers at the start but<br />

decided if it put people off then it was probably for the<br />

best anyway as they probably wouldn't get a good chunk of<br />

my music or where I am coming from. Being a <strong>vegan</strong><br />

songwriter is great. I get invited to veggie events and meet<br />

amazing people who have inspired and enriched my life so<br />

for that I am grateful.<br />

You get to travel a lot when touring. What do<br />

you enjoy most about being on the road?<br />

I find traveling expands my heart and mind and I find<br />

myself even more on those big open highways. Meeting<br />

people and making new friends and bringing my music to<br />

them of course is also wonderful.<br />

What’s your best advice for other travelling<br />

<strong>vegan</strong>s?<br />

Do a little research before you travel and carry back up<br />

snacks like nuts, protein bars, fruit and veg.<br />

16 | BarefootVegan


Photography by Binne Gestaltung<br />

When you’re at home, you’ve<br />

started growing a few of your<br />

own vegetables and foraging.<br />

What’s inspired you to do that?<br />

I feel that as humans we are very disconnected from everything<br />

around us including what we eat. For me, trying to grow some<br />

of my own food is just one step closer to reconnecting with the<br />

world around me. This year I grew potatoes from kitchen scraps<br />

and when I ate those potatoes for me this was far more precious<br />

and amazing than the new iPhone that's just come out or what<br />

Miley Cyrus did at the awards show last week. Taking some<br />

responsibility and also learning some skills to take care of<br />

myself is really important.<br />

Tell us about your tour coming up in the UK…<br />

I will be doing my first real UK tour in October with 12 shows<br />

booked in England and one in Cardiff accompanied by my<br />

Leeds born guitarist so that's pretty exciting, especially since a<br />

few will be in <strong>vegan</strong>/veg restaurants. The booking went so well<br />

that we're going to come back in March so I’m hoping to add<br />

some Scottish/Irish shows to that second tour. So if anyone in<br />

the UK wants to book us then please drop me a line. BV<br />

To find out more about Emaline & her<br />

music visit her website or connect with<br />

her on Facebook & Twitter.<br />

The cover artwork for Emaline’s<br />

new 5 track EP CD 'Exorcism'.<br />

The title track refers to the<br />

ritual of taking your power back<br />

from someone who stole it from<br />

you: emotionally, physically and<br />

spiritually.<br />

UK TOUR DATES: OCTOBER 2015<br />

1st October - The Green Kitchen, Saint Albans - (veg)<br />

2nd October - Caffi Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff<br />

3rd October - The Garden Shed Café, Leamington Spa - (veg)<br />

4th October - The Royal Oak, Tetbury - (veg)<br />

8th October - Kava Café, Todmorden - (veg)<br />

9th October - Florence Arts Centre, Egremont<br />

10th October - Wirral Arts Centre, Merseyside<br />

11th October - Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Maidenhead<br />

12th October - Samphire Brasserie, Plymouth - (veg)<br />

15th October - Lillico's, Barnstaple<br />

16th October - The Arthouse, Southampton - (veg)<br />

17th October - The Alehouse, Colwall Stone<br />

18th October - The Spice of Life, London<br />

We have five digital copies of<br />

Emaline’s brand new EP to<br />

giveaway. If you’d like a copy<br />

just send us an email. Please<br />

check our website for<br />

competition terms &<br />

conditions.<br />

WIN!<br />

17 | BarefootVegan


By Samantha Turnbull<br />

ou know what drives me crazy? When people think <strong>vegan</strong>s eat nothing<br />

Y<br />

but salad and tofu. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a mean salad and some<br />

crispy tofu nuggets, (gosh I am drooling already) but we all know that<br />

these are not the only <strong>vegan</strong> options. In fact did you know that there are over<br />

20,000 edible plant species in the world, but the average diet is mostly made<br />

up of only 20 of those!? Eek. Sounds a little boring if you ask me!<br />

So this past year on my blog It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken, I decided to start<br />

what I call the 1/100/100 challenge. In one year I made it my goal to post 100<br />

recipes featuring 100 different ingredients. Guess what guys, I did it! Hooray!<br />

Celebrate, get your boogey on, your forks ready, napkin tucked into shirt, it’s<br />

plant eating time.<br />

20 recipes for tofu? No way. 16 chickpea recipes? Absolutely not, (although<br />

there is nothing wrong with either of those). This is about showing how much<br />

there is to eating <strong>vegan</strong>. How many options there really are. How the <strong>vegan</strong><br />

diet is anything but limiting. It’s the spice of life!<br />

Here are five of my favourite recipes from the 1/100/100 challenge, featuring<br />

the five amazing ingredients: eggplant, sweet potato, mushrooms, maple<br />

syrup, and chocolate. Visit itdoesnttastelikechicken.com to see them all.<br />

Bon Appetegan!<br />

Sam<br />

18 | BarefootVegan


Prep time: 15 mins<br />

Cook time: 20 mins<br />

Total time: 35 mins<br />

Serves: 30-40 nuggets<br />

Ingredients<br />

The Eggplant (aubergine)<br />

Medium Eggplant<br />

1 teaspoon Salt<br />

Bowl 1<br />

½ Cup Whole Wheat Flour (or any flour of your<br />

choice)<br />

Salt & Pepper<br />

Bowl 2<br />

3 Tablespoons Ground Flax<br />

⅔ Cup Warm Water<br />

Bowl 3<br />

½ Cup Panko<br />

½ Cup Fine Coconut Flakes<br />

If you’re frying your nuggets:<br />

Oil for frying, canola or coconut oil would work well.<br />

Instructions<br />

If you are baking your nuggets preheat the oven to<br />

450F (230C).<br />

Use a potato peeler to peel off all of the skin on the<br />

eggplant. Chop off the stem on the top and bottom of<br />

the eggplant and discard, and then chop the eggplant<br />

into nugget sized pieces. Try to make them roughly<br />

the same size so that they cook evenly. Put the<br />

eggplant nuggets in a colander in the sink, or over a<br />

bowl. Sprinkle the salt across the eggplant and toss<br />

with your hands to evenly coat. Let the eggplant sit<br />

with the salt on it in the colander while you prepare<br />

the rest. Some liquid might drip out of the eggplant,<br />

and this is good. In the meantime get three medium<br />

bowls ready. In the first bowl, add the flour, and<br />

season with a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper.<br />

Stir to combine. I used whole wheat flour but almost<br />

any flour will work here. In bowl two, mix together<br />

the ground flax with the warm water and set aside.<br />

The flax mixture will need to rest for about 5-10<br />

minutes to thicken. In bowl three mix together the<br />

coconut and panko.<br />

Now take your first eggplant nugget and dip it in the<br />

flour covering all sides. Shake off excess, then dip it in<br />

the flax. Shake off excess, and toss in the coconut and<br />

panko. Set the nugget on a plate and continue with<br />

this process for the remaining nuggets. I found it<br />

easiest to do this with a fork as your fingers will get all<br />

goopy. As you go along the flax mixture might get too<br />

thick, so just stir in a bit of water as needed. If any of<br />

the bowls run out, just add more.<br />

If you are baking your nuggets: line a baking sheet<br />

with parchment paper. Lay the nuggets out in a single<br />

layer so they aren't touching. Bake in a 450F (230C)<br />

oven for 18-20 minutes, flipping them halfway<br />

through, until they are golden on all sides. If you are<br />

frying your nuggets: pour about ½" of oil in a pan.<br />

Heat up and test that it is ready by dropping in a small<br />

piece. If it bubbles and sizzles you are good to go! If<br />

the oil starts smoking, lower the heat. Careful!<br />

Working with oil is dangerous. Put several nuggets in<br />

the pan and fry them for about 2 minutes on each side<br />

until they are golden brown all over. Set them on a<br />

plate covered in a paper towel while you finish the<br />

rest. Serve the nuggets while hot with your favourite<br />

dipping sauce.<br />

Notes: For gluten free option use whatever your<br />

favourite gluten free flour is, (any flour should work<br />

fine), and use gluten free Panko, which you should be<br />

able to find in health stores.<br />

><br />

19 | BarefootVegan


Instructions<br />

Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into roughly the<br />

same sized cubes.<br />

Mince or grate the ginger and garlic.<br />

Add the sweet potatoes, ginger, garlic, vegetable<br />

broth, coconut milk, red curry paste, and soy sauce to<br />

a large soup pot. Bring to a gentle boil and cover with<br />

lid. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes until the sweet<br />

potato is completely cooked and falls apart easily<br />

when pierced with a fork.<br />

Use an immersion blender and blend the sweet<br />

potato mixture until it is a smooth sauce.<br />

Alternatively, you could use a standing blender, but<br />

make sure to blend only small batches at a time to<br />

keep from the hot liquid exploding out of your<br />

blender.<br />

Prep time: 10 mins<br />

Cook time: 30 mins<br />

Total time: 40 mins<br />

Serves: 4-6<br />

Ingredients<br />

For the Sweet Potato Sauce:<br />

2 Medium Sweet Potatoes<br />

1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger<br />

3 Cloves Garlic<br />

2½ Cups Vegetable Broth<br />

1 Cup Canned Coconut Milk (shaken before measuring)<br />

3 Tablespoons Thai Red Curry Paste<br />

2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce<br />

For the Vegetables:<br />

1 Medium Yellow Onion<br />

½ of a Head of Cauliflower<br />

1 Tablespoon Canola or Peanut Oil<br />

1½ Cups Frozen Peas<br />

Salt & Pepper to taste<br />

Wedges of Lime for Garnish<br />

Cilantro for Garnish<br />

Cooked Rice to serve with<br />

In the meantime slice the onion into thick or thin<br />

slices (depending on your preference). Chop the<br />

cauliflower into small florets.<br />

Heat the oil in a separate pan and sauté the<br />

cauliflower and onion until they are a beautiful<br />

golden colour on all sides. It's okay if your cauliflower<br />

is not completely cooked, you are just looking for<br />

some nice colour. If you are feeling lazy, you can just<br />

skip this step and move onto the next step. The<br />

reason I do it is because it adds a little extra texture<br />

and flavour when you caramelize the onions and<br />

cauliflower.<br />

Now add the cauliflower and onion mixture to the<br />

sweet potato sauce. Cover and heat through. Check<br />

your cauliflower by piercing it with a fork. When it is<br />

soft, but not mushy, it's ready. Add the peas and cook<br />

for another minute to heat through. If your curry is<br />

too thick you can thin it with a bit more vegetable<br />

broth or water.<br />

Season with salt and pepper if desired, and then serve<br />

with rice, a wedge of lime, and some cilantro<br />

(coriander).<br />

20 | BarefootVegan


Prep time: 5 mins<br />

Cook time: 10 mins<br />

Total time: 15 mins<br />

Serves: 4 as a side<br />

Ingredients<br />

16 oz of Mushrooms (2 of those little boxes or 1 of<br />

the bigger guys)<br />

4 Cloves of Garlic<br />

1 Tablespoon of Coconut Oil<br />

⅓ Cup Coconut Milk + more as needed (shake can<br />

before measuring)<br />

½ teaspoon Dried Thyme<br />

½ teaspoon Dried Oregano<br />

Salt and Pepper to Taste<br />

1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast (optional)<br />

2 Tablespoons Cilantro (coriander) or Parsley<br />

Instructions<br />

Slice the mushrooms and mince the garlic.<br />

Heat the coconut oil in a pan over medium high<br />

heat. When it's hot, add the mushrooms and garlic.<br />

Sauté the mushrooms for about 5 minutes until they<br />

soften and begin to release their juices.<br />

Stir in the coconut milk, thyme, oregano, salt and<br />

pepper. Reduce heat to a simmer.<br />

Continue to cook for about another 5 minutes.<br />

Stir in nutritional yeast if using, and cilantro or<br />

parsley. If you feel it needs a bit more sauce, add a<br />

dash more coconut milk as desired.<br />

Serve right away.<br />

><br />

21 | BarefootVegan


Instructions<br />

Preheat your oven to 350F (180C).<br />

Chop up your nuts. I just did this with a knife, but<br />

you could pulse them in a food processor,<br />

whatever you prefer.<br />

Now add the maple syrup, chili powder, vanilla<br />

extract, and ⅛ teaspoon (or a small pinch) of salt<br />

in a bowl and mix it up.<br />

Line a muffin tin with parchment muffin liners, or<br />

you could use a silicone muffin pan, or your could<br />

use a larger sheet of parchment paper in a dish<br />

with sides, which would give you one giant cluster.<br />

Serves: 12 Clusters<br />

Inspired by Quiche - A - Week<br />

Ingredients<br />

1 Cup Unsalted Nuts of Choice (I used almonds and<br />

walnuts, but use whatever nuts you like).<br />

3 Tablespoons Real Maple Syrup<br />

½ teaspoon Chili Powder (optional but fun)<br />

½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract<br />

⅛ teaspoon Salt<br />

Couple Pinches of Flake Salt<br />

Divide the mixture evenly among the cups, making<br />

sure that the maple syrup liquid is about the same<br />

in each cup.<br />

You might look down and think, there is no way<br />

these nuts are ever going to cluster, but just pat<br />

them down with a spoon and trust me on this.<br />

Pop them in the oven for 10-12 minutes. The maple<br />

syrup will be boiling when you take them out.<br />

Sprinkle a bit of flake salt on each one, then let<br />

them cool a bit. Pop them in the fridge to finish<br />

firming up (just speeds up the process).<br />

Store in an air tight container. They will be<br />

crunchy the first day, and if they make it to the<br />

second day, the will begin to soften up and become<br />

chewier. Try to be nice and share with friends.<br />

Make no promises.<br />

Note: These work well with agave instead of<br />

maple syrup too! Of course then they would be<br />

Salted Caramel Agave Nut Clusters. If you go this<br />

route, they won't be bubbling when you take the<br />

out of the oven, but should look tightened up.<br />

22 | BarefootVegan


Prep time: 15 mins<br />

Cook time: 35 mins<br />

Total time: 50 mins<br />

Serves: 9 Servings<br />

Ingredients<br />

Bottom Cake Layer:<br />

¾ Cup White Granulated Sugar<br />

1 Cup All Purpose Flour<br />

¼ Cup Cocoa Powder<br />

2 teaspoons Instant Espresso Powder<br />

2 teaspoons Baking Powder<br />

⅓ Cup Melted Coconut Oil<br />

½ Cup Non-Dairy Milk (such as soy or almond<br />

milk)<br />

2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract<br />

Middle Powder Layer:<br />

½ Cup White Granulated Sugar<br />

½ Cup Brown Sugar<br />

¼ Cup Cocoa Powder<br />

Top Water Layer:<br />

1¼ Cup Hot Water<br />

Non-Dairy Vanilla Ice Cream for Serving.<br />

Instructions<br />

Preheat your oven to 350F (180C).<br />

Lightly grease an 8"x8" pan and set aside.<br />

To make the bottom cake layer, in a large bowl, mix<br />

together the dry ingredients: the sugar, flour, cocoa,<br />

instant espresso, and baking powder. Melt the coconut oil<br />

if it isn't already liquid, then add that to the dry<br />

ingredients along with the non-dairy milk and vanilla.<br />

Don't over mix.<br />

Pour the batter into the greased pan, and use a spatula to<br />

spread the mixture evenly across the pan.<br />

To make the middle powder layer, in another bowl, mix<br />

together the white sugar, brown sugar, and cocoa powder.<br />

Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the bottom cake layer in<br />

the pan. Give the pan a shake, so the powder layer evenly<br />

covers the batter layer.<br />

Finally for the top water layer, pour the hot water on top<br />

of the powder layer. Do not mix. It will look like a puddle,<br />

and that's the way it should be. Put it in the oven and<br />

bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the centre is almost set<br />

looking.<br />

Let cool for 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm with<br />

non-dairy ice-cream on the side if you like.<br />

Note: The instant espresso powder enhances the<br />

flavour of the chocolate, you can't taste the espresso. If<br />

you don't have or don't want to use the espresso powder<br />

you can skip it.<br />

BV<br />

23 | BarefootVegan


Original artwork by Laura Koniver.<br />

Mind Over Matter<br />

How outlook and spirituality impacts our health<br />

By Dr. Laura Koniver, MD<br />

D<br />

o you know what the single most important factor<br />

in long-term health is? Is it drinking enough water<br />

each day? Is it eating only raw foods? Is it getting highquality<br />

sleep? Nope. All of those things are amazing, of<br />

course but here is the ONE factor that is controlling our<br />

current state of health completely… our thinking. Don’t<br />

believe me? Look at it this way; every few years, our body<br />

is completely renewed both inside and out. All of our<br />

organs (except for one) completely regenerates, repairs<br />

and optimises on a continuous basis. Our bodies are<br />

made up of 37.2 trillion cells and each of these cells has a<br />

consciousness that depends on the instructions (some of<br />

which are influenced by our thoughts) that are given by<br />

our brains.<br />

Some parts of our body are so fresh and new that they<br />

are only one day old – the cornea of our eye, for example,<br />

which can completely regenerate every 24 hours. Some<br />

parts are a little older – the lining of our intestines, for<br />

example, is about three days old. Our skin is about one<br />

month old. Our fingernails have completely grown out<br />

and replaced themselves in about six months. Our taste<br />

buds are only little 10-day-old cuties when they get<br />

replaced. Our liver is totally regenerated ever five months.<br />

Our lungs are renewed every two years. Even our bones,<br />

the support system of our body, is on a 10-year<br />

replacement program!<br />

There is only one organ system that sticks with us for<br />

our entire lifetime… and it is our brain. Nervous t<strong>issue</strong> is<br />

the slowest to repair, never increases in number and only<br />

declines in cell quantity. Now there are plenty of<br />

things we can do to stimulate new adaptations and<br />

promote brain health; however, for the most part, the<br />

brain we have now is the brain we will always have.<br />

Here’s the thing though, while we might be stuck<br />

with our brain, the thoughts we think don’t have to be<br />

the same ones we’ve always had. Every other part of<br />

our body has the ability to be made anew and replaced<br />

many, many times in our lifetime. So that means that<br />

we can out-grow conditions. We CAN improve the<br />

health of our t<strong>issue</strong>s. We CAN begin to repair past<br />

damage and let go what isn’t working for us and enjoy<br />

manifesting a new body entirely… this is why it is<br />

NEVER too late to quit smoking. Within days of<br />

quitting an ex-smoker’s cardiovascular system<br />

improves, within months the lungs are repairing, and<br />

within years their chances of getting lung cancer are<br />

half of what they used to be.<br />

So why then, do we still struggle with those chronic<br />

health problems? Why the skin conditions that won’t<br />

go away? The irritable bowel that won’t quit or the<br />

allergies we just haven’t outgrown? Since we can get a<br />

new body every ten years, why do we carry the same<br />

problems for decade after decade? It’s because our<br />

thinking hasn’t changed.<br />

Medical studies have shown that a poor mindframe<br />

(pessimism) actually causes dementia! And a positive<br />

mindframe (optimism) decreases dementia risk. That’s<br />

because every single day we get the chance to wake up<br />

><br />

27 | BarefootVegan


“The bottom line here<br />

is that belief<br />

MATTERS. Spirituality<br />

MATTERS. How we feel<br />

about what we are<br />

going through makes a<br />

physical, mental and<br />

emotional difference<br />

in outcome.”<br />

and reinvent ourselves. A chance to see things from a new<br />

perspective and breathe a new breath, have a new thought.<br />

It takes work to change our thinking and it takes patience<br />

to see this manifest in our bodies. After all, lots of these<br />

health conditions are our life’s work! They were not meant<br />

to clear up overnight, nor could they.<br />

So the next time you get frustrated with your body, the<br />

next time your curse your bad posture or sensitive<br />

stomach, your ingrown toenail or your seasonal allergies,<br />

just remember that those t<strong>issue</strong>s in your body are literally<br />

in the process of being replaced right now. If you can let<br />

the illness die away and be replaced along with this natural<br />

process, you can help unfold a new body that works how<br />

you want it to work. The only thing you are carrying with<br />

you, decade after decade, isn’t that red blood cell (lifespan<br />

of about four months) or that stomach lining (lifespan of<br />

about two days) it is the way you feel about your body and<br />

the thoughts you think about it.<br />

And as for spiritual beliefs? Well, a recent medical study<br />

looked at the effect of spirituality and religion on quality of<br />

life in cancer patients. Participants could be spiritual,<br />

religious, both or none. Scientists wanted to look at what<br />

effect, if any, spirituality and religiosity had on patient<br />

outcomes, and if being religious worked synergistically<br />

with spirituality or independently from it. Over 550<br />

patients were entered into this study, all were cancer<br />

patients undergoing treatment for various cancers… these<br />

patients were followed for one year and were assessed for<br />

quality of life.It turns out that religious patients had better<br />

quality of life if they were highly spiritual. The opposite<br />

was not true. However, among highly spiritual patients,<br />

there was no significant difference between patients who<br />

had low or no religiosity and those with high religiosity.<br />

The worst outcomes were found among patients who had<br />

both low spirituality and low religiosity. The best outcomes<br />

were found among patients who had high spirituality,<br />

regardless of religiosity. Spirituality, it seems, stands as a<br />

better predictor for improved quality of life than holding<br />

religious beliefs. Why?<br />

28 | BarefootVegan<br />

Original artwork by Laura Koniver.<br />

One theory is that some religions may view cancer (or<br />

other illnesses, for example, AIDS) as punishment from<br />

God. Other thoughts are that religion can be more of an<br />

intellectual practice, with guidelines and rules, whereas<br />

spirituality can be more of a heart-based experience,<br />

helping patients find intrinsic meaning in their condition.<br />

The bottom line here is that belief MATTERS.<br />

Spirituality MATTERS. How we feel about what we are<br />

going through makes a physical, mental and emotional<br />

difference in outcome. Even conventionally minded<br />

physicians and other health care practitioners that<br />

typically would shy away from addressing the spiritual<br />

needs of their patients now have medical proof that is<br />

undeniable: spiritual support makes a clinical difference.<br />

You should not be working with a health care practitioner<br />

that isn’t interested in your wellbeing in all ways -<br />

including interest in how you are feeling and your<br />

spiritual and/or religious beliefs.<br />

Disease is a real thing, it’s not just in your head at all,<br />

and there is much more we can do to support and<br />

facilitate health than just changing our thought patterns<br />

and belief systems. However, I write this so that you can<br />

give yourself a chance to be open to the fact that the<br />

conditions you have now are not the conditions that you<br />

need to be saddled with forever. The health reality you are<br />

dealing with right at this very moment has the potential<br />

to shift and change and release.<br />

Because I know that your body is literally a self-healing<br />

machine... capable of fully replacing itself. It is worth<br />

being very positive and aware of the thoughts you think<br />

and the baseline activity of your brain; the only part of<br />

you that you need to be carrying with you in 10 years’<br />

time. Addressing illness from both a mindframe and<br />

spiritual outlook angle is important and can measurably<br />

improve our quality of life. It’s an extremely valuable part<br />

of the healing process. BV<br />

To find out more, visit<br />

Laura’s website.


Photo by Al Richardson<br />

The Red Tent<br />

A Place to Celebrate our Femininity<br />

By Jane Legge<br />

A red tent global phenomenon is currently sweeping<br />

its way across the world, as women are feeling the<br />

call to gather, spend time together, meet new women<br />

from their community, and take ‘me’ time out of<br />

their busy lives.<br />

Women who attend often say it<br />

changes their lives for the better,<br />

and that they return home feeling<br />

recharged energised blissful and<br />

blessed.<br />

Perhaps foremost in this vital<br />

emergent women’s tradition came<br />

the novel ‘The Red Tent’ by Anita<br />

Diamant; a biblical story starting<br />

with the coming of age of a young<br />

girl, and her excitement as she’s<br />

finally permitted to take her place<br />

amongst her mother and sisters in<br />

the mysterious sacred menstrual<br />

tent. Diamant captures the essence<br />

of feminine community in her<br />

beautiful prose “In the ruddy shade<br />

of the red tent, the menstrual tent, they<br />

ran their fingers through my curls,<br />

repeating the escapades of their youths,<br />

the sagas of their childbirths. Their<br />

stories were like offerings of hope and<br />

strength…”. She tapped into and<br />

highlighted a deep inner feminine<br />

calling for sisterhood, seemingly being<br />

unfulfilled by current society.<br />

Soon afterwards came ‘Operation red<br />

tent’ in Australia, the ‘Red tent temple<br />

movement’ in USA, and ‘Red tent<br />

directory’ in the UK, all inspiring<br />

women to find a local tent or start up<br />

their own, their collective goal being<br />

tents in every town and village of the<br />

world. A documentary film was made in<br />

the USA in 2012 called ‘Red tent<br />

movie – things we don’t talk about’.<br />

The interesting thing about the<br />

modern day red tent concept is that<br />

it’s not a new one; red tents have<br />

their roots in something far more<br />

ancient….<br />

Long ago several cultures had ‘red<br />

tents’ where women of the<br />

community gathered around new<br />

moon to retreat from society. In<br />

Native American culture these were<br />

called Moon lodges, which<br />

traditionally performed a number of<br />

functions. Rite of passage instruction<br />

and ceremonies, teaching and<br />

sharing of healing methods, teaching<br />

and sharing of pampering and beauty<br />

treatments, meditation and healing<br />

for self and the greater community,<br />

sharing of recipes, child rearing tips<br />

and life experience, sharing of<br />

><br />

31 | BarefootVegan


32 | BarefootVegan


“There is another way of<br />

describing what happens in<br />

a red tent: It’s like<br />

popping a champagne cork<br />

and watching the bubbles<br />

stream out. Eyes shine,<br />

smiles are from the heart.<br />

It is joy, giggles and<br />

raucous cackles and<br />

sometimes sadness and<br />

frustration.”<br />

personal stories and parables for spiritual teaching,<br />

counselling and emotional support, lunar and seasonal<br />

sacred ceremonies, and teaching and sharing of crafts, to<br />

name but a few.<br />

So what happens in a modern day red tent?<br />

In my experience, modern day red tents welcome women<br />

of all ages, meeting once a month in one of the women’s<br />

homes or a community space, usually around the new<br />

moon. Red tents universally share the hope that women<br />

can have somewhere to rest and relax, share food, cover<br />

speaking topics or activities, sing, dance, read poems, tell<br />

inspirational stories, or just do nothing and ‘be’.<br />

To open our circle at ‘Red Tent Gwynedd’ we light a red<br />

candle and have a short space of peace and silence. This<br />

helps us focus on ‘leaving everything else at the door’ and<br />

prepares us for the practice of mindful speaking and<br />

listening. Typically many tents begin with women taking<br />

it in turns to speak to the rest of the circle, being listened<br />

to without interruption. Women can choose to talk about<br />

how their ‘inner’ month has been (often dramatically<br />

different from how their outer month has appeared to<br />

everyone else!), how they are feeling in the moment; or<br />

sometimes they may wish to share an interesting<br />

observation about life. Some women just prefer to listen.<br />

In this space of mutual respect, sharing, equality, and<br />

‘down-to-earthedness’ we get to practice a way of<br />

expressing ourselves by speaking out loud for as long as<br />

we want. This is often much more surprising, interesting<br />

and intuitive than anything we might have planned to say!<br />

It goes way beyond the general “How are you? What do<br />

you do for a living?” kind of conversation. When we listen<br />

to a person speaking in this free unrestricted way it feels<br />

real and honest. Being truly listened to, accepted and<br />

valued for what we are in the moment is also one of the<br />

most empowering confidence-building gifts we can give<br />

to another. Witnessing someone speaking without trying<br />

to fix a situation, comment, or interrupting is an<br />

opportunity to practice active attentive concentration<br />

and empathy. The talking circle is like medicine, and it<br />

really strengthens the bond of the group. Often wise<br />

words ‘pop out of nowhere’ and we gaze in wonderment<br />

at each other and laugh. These ‘aha’ moments offer us all<br />

support on our life journeys, give us gentle motivation,<br />

and help us to set empowering intentions. Each tent is<br />

uniquely different yet familiar, because of the different<br />

women that come each month and what they bring to<br />

the circle.<br />

When everyone has spoken and we have drank another<br />

cup of tea(!) we might start a discussion centred around<br />

a relevant topic; or a woman might bring in a book,<br />

contribute a story, song or poem, craft, alternate therapy<br />

or activity. Recent discussions have covered menopause,<br />

menarche, the eco-alternatives to plastic disposable<br />

menstrual products, the phases of the Celtic year,<br />

menstruation, health tips, birthing, rearing of children,<br />

sex, healing and eco-cleaning tips. Anything goes in our<br />

red tent; it just flows along beautifully with no rigid set<br />

pattern. At the end of the tent there is always food.<br />

Beautifully prepared edible flower salads, home grown<br />

veggies, soups, stews, dips, freshly baked breads cakes<br />

and fruit; almost all of it is <strong>vegan</strong> because many of the<br />

women are; and all of it is made with love.<br />

33 | BarefootVegan<br />

>


“The red tent is a<br />

place where women<br />

can be nurtured by<br />

each other, ask<br />

questions, re-set,<br />

and re-address<br />

what being a women<br />

means to them. The<br />

red tent is<br />

empowering.”<br />

There is another way of describing what happens in a red<br />

tent: It’s like popping a champagne cork and watching the<br />

bubbles stream out. Eyes shine, smiles are from the heart.<br />

It is joy giggles and raucous cackles and sometimes<br />

sadness and frustration. The tent marks the passage of<br />

time, helps us become more present in our own life<br />

because each month we share, listen, and rest in the<br />

moment together. The women become each other’s guides<br />

in a way that is so natural it is as if time was lost and we<br />

were back in each other’s houses, or sitting beneath the<br />

stars around the mystical cooking fire with our ancient<br />

ancestors, our great grandmothers.<br />

The red tent as a movement of change…<br />

For me, the conversations, discussions, frustrations and<br />

discoveries that evolve naturally in our circle are essential<br />

to galvanise us, strengthen us. Our society celebrates<br />

babies and youth, but tends to neglect the special and<br />

essential feminine <strong>issue</strong>s such as menarche menstruation<br />

menopause (and sadly old age, which affects us all). The<br />

only way to inspire change at societal level is do as Gandhi<br />

said and ‘be the change you want to see in the world’. I<br />

believe that meeting with people, talking openly frankly<br />

positively and fearlessly about subjects like these is the key<br />

to a more balanced society.<br />

Perhaps the most wonderful thing about red tents for me<br />

is the post-tent glow. I have been told by many a woman<br />

that her partner / children notice a whopping difference<br />

between the woman that went and the woman that<br />

returned; emerging more joyful and ‘filled up from the<br />

inside’. When we are fulfilled and happy we radiate it out<br />

to everyone we meet, positively impacting many more<br />

lives than we could imagine!<br />

Time spent in this environment restores to many<br />

women a feeling of deep trust and sisterhood,<br />

especially to those who say they have few good<br />

feminine friendships. The red tent is a place where<br />

women can be nurtured by each other, ask questions,<br />

re-set, and re-address what being a women means to<br />

them. The red tent is empowering. “For me it was one<br />

of those magical times which will long remain in my<br />

memory – the hot sunshine; the gorgeous swags of red<br />

material and ribbons draped from bush and tree; the<br />

song of the grasshoppers; the spectacular views over<br />

some of the most beautiful countryside in the world;<br />

the glorious fresh salads and tasty foods, warm loving<br />

company, laughter and wise words of support and<br />

wisdom…. Surely yesterday we really did touch the<br />

absolute essence of the Red Tent – long may we grow in<br />

our feminine community and prosper together!”<br />

As for my story?<br />

As a child I loved ‘things you weren’t supposed to talk<br />

about’ and if I could get a despairing look from my<br />

mum, then I was elated! Things haven’t changed a lot,<br />

other than now I channel this energy into my new<br />

project called www.womanswheel.com, feminine<br />

empowerment through menstrual cycle awareness<br />

workshops, eco-activism regarding the eco-alternatives<br />

to plastic disposable menstrual products, womb healing<br />

reiki, and hosting and facilitating red tents…all juggled<br />

around my day job! My boyfriend Lee is author of<br />

‘Peace and Parsnips – Vegan cooking for everyone’ and<br />

I am very fortunate to be the other half of the<br />

www.beachhousekitchen.com, happily experimenting<br />

with <strong>vegan</strong> food in my spare time. For more<br />

information about red tents do visit woman’s wheel,<br />

and please contact me if you have any questions. BV<br />

34 | BarefootVegan


“There were a lot of fears, truly. But at the<br />

end of the day it came down to one question:<br />

Was I willing to live a life full of ‘What<br />

ifs’ or one full of ‘Oh wells’?”


Photo Credit: Phil Payson<br />

Kristin Lajeunesse<br />

Ever wanted to just ditch your job & head out on the open road? Back in 2011,<br />

author Kristin Lajeunesse did just that, setting out on a journey with a goal to<br />

eat at and write about every single <strong>vegan</strong> restaurant in the United States.<br />

Now after two years, 48 states, 547 <strong>vegan</strong> restaurants and more than 39,000<br />

miles, she’s documented her adventures of the ultimate foodie-inspired road trip<br />

in her recently published book; Will Travel for Vegan Food.<br />

We caught up with her to find out more about her story of unparalleled<br />

freedom, love and amazing self-discovery.<br />

37 | BarefootVegan


Photo by Joel Capolongo<br />

“I love telling people who<br />

ask about my diet how<br />

much more I enjoy everything<br />

about food now; from<br />

shopping to cooking,<br />

prepping, and purchasing a<br />

ridiculous number of <strong>vegan</strong><br />

cook books. It feels like it<br />

has so much more meaning now<br />

and I take pride in the<br />

meals I prepare. I never<br />

felt this way as a meat<br />

eater…not even as a<br />

vegetarian for that matter.”<br />

Tell us about how you became <strong>vegan</strong>…<br />

I was 16 years old when my parents told me that they<br />

wanted to become vegetarian as a family. My brother,<br />

Josh is five years older than me and he introduced the<br />

idea of vegetarianism to my parents. When they found<br />

out that he had already become vegetarian they were<br />

immediately worried about his health, as they thought—<br />

at that time—that eating meat was necessary for optimal<br />

nutrition. But instead of telling him why he was wrong or<br />

shunning him entirely, they did what awesome parents<br />

do: they researched the heck out of vegetarianism. I think<br />

they were looking for a way to prove to him why this diet<br />

was bad, but instead they came to the undeniable<br />

conclusion that not eating meat is a much better way to<br />

live.<br />

So, there we were in 1999 transitioning to vegetarianism<br />

as a family. I wasn’t particularly thrilled, but decided to<br />

give it a go. I went off to college and my parents kept up<br />

their research, joined a local vegetarian group and<br />

continued to learn about the influence that diet has on<br />

health, the environment, and animals. Every time I came<br />

home for a break or holiday there was something new and<br />

“healthy” in the refrigerator—or worse, something<br />

missing. I still remember coming home one summer to no<br />

more milk or cheese. It was gone and I was devastated:<br />

not the ice cream!<br />

By the time I finished college my parents were full-on<br />

<strong>vegan</strong> and I was still chowing down my beloved dairy ice<br />

cream and cheese pizzas. Aside from the fact that I had<br />

maintained a vegetarian diet, was eating <strong>vegan</strong> meals<br />

when visiting home, and gifted <strong>vegan</strong>-labelled<br />

sweatshirts, stickers, and buttons whenever my parents<br />

were given the opportunity, I couldn’t fathom giving up<br />

dairy. And then, in the summer of 2006, at a veg event in<br />

upstate NY, the sea parted and in walked Registered<br />

Dietitian, George Eisman. Despite the fact that my<br />

parents had at one time or another gently provided the<br />

same information that Mr. Eisman presented on this day,<br />

once I decided to listen and truly understand how very<br />

bad dairy was for my body and for animals, I was done<br />

with it. That very night I ate my last cheese pizza and<br />

never looked back. Well, I might have looked back once,<br />

or five times, but never did go back. It took me a good<br />

year as a relatively unhealthy <strong>vegan</strong> to start doing even<br />

more research—like learning how to prepare meals<br />

instead of buying ready-made ones. But some new<br />

reading material (hello VegNews Magazine) and a change<br />

in my environment (hey there, Boston) soon helped me<br />

learn how to live a healthy <strong>vegan</strong> lifestyle.<br />

In the fall of 2007 I moved to Boston for graduate<br />

school. I joined the Boston Vegan Association and started<br />

working part-time for the New England Anti-Vivisection<br />

Society. The friends that I made in these two<br />

organisations led me to so much support, inspiration, and<br />

so many new resources that being <strong>vegan</strong> became a cinch.<br />

I love telling people who ask about my diet how<br />

much more I enjoy everything about food now; from<br />

shopping to cooking, prepping, and purchasing a<br />

ridiculous number of <strong>vegan</strong> cook books. It feels like it has<br />

><br />

38 | BarefootVegan


Photo by Laurelee Blanchard, at Leilani Farm Sanctuary of Maui.


so much more meaning now and I take pride in the<br />

meals I prepare. I never felt this way as a meat<br />

eater…not even as a vegetarian for that matter.<br />

Today my parents help run the Albany Vegan<br />

Network and host an annual Vegan Expo (now in its<br />

seventh year!) in upstate New York. It all started<br />

with my brother, was followed by my parents’<br />

amazing support, and then happily grew into an<br />

education, a group of friends, and a lifestyle that I<br />

wouldn’t trade for anything.<br />

I know before you started up as an<br />

entrepreneur that you were working for<br />

a company that seemed aligned with<br />

your <strong>vegan</strong> values. What was it about<br />

going it alone that held so much<br />

appeal?<br />

What was so appealing about it was setting my own<br />

schedule, keeping my own hours, being able to work<br />

from anywhere that had internet, being able to<br />

continue living nomadically and traveling while still<br />

earning an income to pay bills, not having a set<br />

schedule or a cubicle, having more flexibility in my<br />

days and travel times, and most of all the drive to be<br />

creative and innovative—as in, if I slow down at all<br />

or stop being creative I could lose clients and<br />

money. While that can be scary (and is) at times, it<br />

also feeds my desire to remain active, in more ways<br />

than one.<br />

What were the biggest fears that you had<br />

to overcome before setting off on your<br />

adventure?<br />

Some fears I had that bordered on keeping me from<br />

fully jumping in included committing to quitting a<br />

secure job and the whole living out of a vehicle thing<br />

(which I'd never done before). There were moments I<br />

was afraid the Kickstarter campaign I created wouldn't<br />

reach its goal. I was afraid that the near stranger I<br />

invited to come with me would turn out to be a not-sogreat<br />

match for me (that one came true). I was afraid of<br />

what it meant to venture so far outside my comfort<br />

zone that I might not have been able to find my way<br />

back—and what that could have meant in terms of<br />

“throwing it all away,” all I had worked to achieve up<br />

until that point. There were a lot of fears, truly. But at<br />

the end of the day it came down to one question: Was I<br />

willing to live a life full of “what ifs” or one full of “oh<br />

wells.” (That’s a variation of a quote from Pat Flynn).<br />

What would you say was the most<br />

important lesson you learned from the<br />

entire experience?<br />

That most people truly are good people.<br />

If you could pick one favourite moment<br />

during your journey, what would it be and<br />

why?<br />

Wow that's a really tough question. There were so many<br />

incredible, life changing moments. I'd say one of the<br />

standouts was meeting James the teddy bear (chapter 23<br />

in the book). It's a bit of a long story but one that truly<br />

made me come to terms with how valuable our time<br />

here on Earth is, and to not waste a single moment of it.<br />

Kristin’s trusty van for<br />

the journey...Gerty<br />

40 | BarefootVegan


“What I do trust now more<br />

than ever though, is my<br />

intuition. I've learned to<br />

turn inward for guidance<br />

before panicking about<br />

something or even day-to-day<br />

situations that require some<br />

deep consideration. I ask<br />

myself for honest feedback:<br />

What does my gut say?”<br />

I read in the book that you weren’t really a<br />

big believer in life purposes. What are your<br />

thoughts about that now?<br />

More so than not believing in life's purposes was<br />

realising I hadn't discovered mine. What I do trust now<br />

more than ever though, is my intuition. I've learned to<br />

turn inward for guidance before panicking about<br />

something or even day-to-day situations that require<br />

some deep consideration. I ask myself for honest<br />

feedback: what does my gut say? Sometimes it's unclear<br />

or clouded by preconceived notions of certain situations.<br />

But I've come to greatly value my intuition and let my<br />

passions lead the way. During the road trip, and since its<br />

conclusion, I've found greater appreciation for the<br />

projects I work on, and the ways in which I spend each<br />

day—aiming to live with greater intention and purpose<br />

as defined by what I enjoy and value vs. what society<br />

says I should enjoy and value.<br />

What kind of feedback have you had from<br />

the book? How has it inspired others?<br />

The book is doing well. The publisher seems to be<br />

pleased with sales and reviews have been largely<br />

positive. The coolest feedback has been hearing about<br />

how others' courage or passions have been reignited<br />

after reading about the journey.<br />

You work now to help other people turn<br />

their passions into careers. What is the one<br />

best piece of advice you give to clients?<br />

Start before you're ready.<br />

What other goals and aspirations do you<br />

have?<br />

I'm currently out on my first-ever book tour,<br />

sponsored by 'More Than Salad' a veg food finder<br />

app. My aim is to make the book tour different from<br />

traditional ones in that I'll be giving my book away<br />

to those who attend. I'm also going to have mini<br />

performances during the tour stops, from local<br />

artists. The goal is to encourage people to use the<br />

$20 they would have spent on the book to instead<br />

buy a meal for someone in need.<br />

As the book tour winds down I'll be focused on<br />

building my business clarity coaching business. I'm<br />

co-hosting a lifestyle retreat next February in Costa<br />

Rica and after that hope to embark on a 2.0 version<br />

of the trip—taking it international. I'd like to spend<br />

2-3 months in one city in a new country, and really<br />

dive into the food culture, community, and <strong>vegan</strong><br />

scene. That until, you now, Ellen calls offering me<br />

the position of a TV show travel host for <strong>vegan</strong> food<br />

spotting around the world! BV<br />

Will Travel for Vegan<br />

Food is available on<br />

Amazon. To connect<br />

with Kristin check out<br />

her website or follow<br />

her on Facebook,<br />

Instagram or Twitter.<br />

41 | BarefootVegan


Alyson C Laskas<br />

43 | BarefootVegan


“I believe that<br />

running <strong>barefoot</strong><br />

is how I'm<br />

supposed to run,<br />

how I am meant to<br />

be. I have an<br />

understanding<br />

that this is what<br />

my creator<br />

intended. Nature<br />

worked hard for<br />

many thousands of<br />

years to make me<br />

this way & I want<br />

to honour that.”


“It all comes<br />

back to one<br />

thing… Love.<br />

That is why I<br />

am <strong>vegan</strong>;<br />

Love.”<br />

My name is Alyson C Laskas. Some call me Barefoot Aly. I<br />

was born in Fort Worth Texas and I was adopted by two<br />

amazing people, John and Eileen Laskas. I grew up on a<br />

beautiful 29 acre farm, Honey Hill Farm, just outside of<br />

Media, Pennsylvania. I was brought up learning about<br />

working the land. As a family we grew veggies, berries, fruit<br />

trees, and raised animals. We had chickens for eggs, Black<br />

Angus cattle and pigs for meat. There were sheep, cats,<br />

dogs, guinea pigs, bunnies and honeybees. There was even<br />

a llama named "Dolly".<br />

This was my parents’ way to teach my three younger<br />

brothers and me about "the birds and the bees". And we<br />

learned about life, death and rebirth. I learned to respect<br />

the animals and to be grateful for all they gave. I, like<br />

many, believed that the consumption of their flesh was an<br />

absolute necessary part of life for our species.<br />

I grew a deep and permanent connection to the Earth.<br />

Throughout high school and college I worked in various<br />

greenhouses, garden centres and nurseries. I loved it and I<br />

was good at it.<br />

I earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts from Tyler School of Art,<br />

Temple University and went right into managing a<br />

commercial greenhouse operation near my folks where I<br />

had worked as a teen. The owner and I fell in love, worked<br />

hard, planned our beautiful flower-growing life together<br />

and in just over year, Ed was diagnosed with colon cancer.<br />

He died just a few weeks later. I was devastated.<br />

Within eight months I purchased 10 acres of land in<br />

gorgeous Chester County, PA, disassembled the<br />

greenhouses where Eddie and I had planned our life,<br />

reassembled them and founded my own commercial<br />

greenhouse business. It became a huge success. I grew<br />

flowering plants for hundreds of local independent garden<br />

centres, florists, landscape designers and estates. I customgrew<br />

plants for locations such as Longwood Gardens and<br />

Nemours Mansion and Gardens.<br />

Due to a very difficult marriage and business partnership,<br />

after nearly 15 years I chose to leave my wonderful<br />

greenhouses and start up again on my own. I now own<br />

Barefoot Aly Artworks, an online based small business. I<br />

make handmade wreaths for seasons, holidays and special<br />

events as well as custom designs and themes. It's going<br />

really well. I'm so pleased with its almost immediate<br />

success. And I run. A lot.<br />

About three and a half years ago my life fell apart.<br />

Through years of pain, heartache, trauma and abuse I<br />

had become a very seriously addicted and self-loathing<br />

alcoholic.<br />

And I was dying. In and out. I had lost myself<br />

completely to the disease. I had no idea who I was<br />

anymore. I felt betrayed by life itself and everyone in it.<br />

I felt forlorn, forgotten and abandoned. I was ashamed.<br />

I felt isolated, alone and afraid. I racked up a few DUI's<br />

and was facing jail time, which I eventually did. And I<br />

walked in with my head held high. I got sober.<br />

My family, specifically two of my brothers, from pure,<br />

complete and utter love, convinced their insane<br />

alcoholic sister to get help. On March 11, 2012 I entered<br />

a treatment facility, Mirmont Treatment Center in<br />

Media, near where I grew up. I stayed an inpatient for<br />

37 days and I have been sober ever since.<br />

Wow. I wanted to live. Life was getting better and<br />

better. I even began to love myself. I wanted to live a<br />

long, healthy life. What could I do to achieve this?<br />

For me, a <strong>vegan</strong> diet had all the right answers. It just<br />

made sense. The switch happened practically<br />

overnight. As I began to care more and more for myself,<br />

it became very clear that this plant-based diet wasn't<br />

only good for me. It was the ultimate gift that I could<br />

give to myself, to other people, to all living things, to<br />

this amazing planet which we share. To future<br />

generations. It all comes back to one thing… Love. That<br />

is why I am <strong>vegan</strong>; Love.<br />

Many folks ask me why or how I started running<br />

<strong>barefoot</strong>. I found that difficult to answer. I didn't<br />

decide to take off my running shoes one day and see<br />

what happened. I run BECAUSE I'm <strong>barefoot</strong>. Barefoot<br />

came first. I ditched my shoes and it changed my life. I<br />

was inspired by my dear friend since childhood, Tracy.<br />

Tracy has her own business in the UK where she<br />

promotes <strong>barefoot</strong> style running and fitness and is a<br />

<strong>barefoot</strong> runner herself. She just completed her third<br />

<strong>barefoot</strong> marathon! For me, footwear was in the way.<br />

Once I lost the shoes, I began moving differently. My<br />

running was born of being <strong>barefoot</strong>. It was the freedom<br />

of natural movement, gracefulness and mindfulness<br />

that came with being <strong>barefoot</strong> that facilitated my<br />

running. Being <strong>barefoot</strong> made me a runner. I feel more<br />

alert, whole, more at peace and more connected since<br />

being <strong>barefoot</strong>. I believe that running <strong>barefoot</strong> is how<br />

I'm supposed to run, how I am meant to be. I have an<br />

understanding that this is what my creator intended.<br />

It's perfect just the way it is. Nature worked hard for<br />

many thousands of years to make me this way. And I<br />

want to honour that.<br />

The biggest challenge to <strong>barefoot</strong> running for me was in<br />

the very beginning, some terrain was pretty tricky.<br />

Over time it seems that it was mostly in my mind, and I<br />

now know how capable of moving across all surfaces my<br />

45 | BarefootVegan<br />

>


“There is always hope, for<br />

all of us, for everyone. No<br />

matter if we feel lost and<br />

helpless in a lousy<br />

relationship, or if we are<br />

overweight and out of shape,<br />

or if we are addicted to<br />

chemicals that are destroying<br />

our lives, or if we just want<br />

out. There is hope.“<br />

feet really are. The early days of sensory overload that<br />

translated into pain now serves as information. Each<br />

and every lump, bump, pebble and chunk of sharp<br />

gravel. Each pointy stick and slick, slimy rock. The<br />

squishy mud, deep snow and slippery ice. They all tell<br />

me how to land, how to balance, how to move into the<br />

next step. It feels completely right and it keeps getting<br />

better.<br />

I believe that each individual is unique in how they<br />

should best transfer to <strong>barefoot</strong> running. Many runners<br />

have developed a running form from habitually<br />

running in footwear that is very different from the form<br />

of most seasoned <strong>barefoot</strong> runners. Based on their<br />

current form, how long they have run in this form,<br />

whether they have injuries or not, etc., can make a<br />

difference in the best way to move into <strong>barefoot</strong><br />

running. I do believe, that for many, simply getting<br />

used to feeling the ground with the bare bottoms of<br />

their feet, just by walking and standing without shoes is<br />

important. Shoes change the way we move. In my<br />

opinion, the best way for many is to remove all<br />

covering from the feet, find a nice smooth stretch of<br />

ground, such as a concrete sidewalk and start a slow<br />

paced run.<br />

Our skin itself on the soles of our feet will teach us how<br />

to move if we take our time, be patient and listen. I<br />

mainly hear supportive and encouraging remarks from<br />

other athletes, especially at events such as races. Many<br />

are in awe and some pure disbelief. Some are under the<br />

impression that I am damaging my joints by running<br />

without cushioned shoes. Studies have absolutely<br />

shown this to be false and in fact do show quite the<br />

opposite. Surprising to most. Some folks seem to<br />

believe that the world is covered in broken glass and<br />

that what I'm doing is reckless, uncalculated and<br />

stupid. I have run and walked through parks, suburban<br />

sidewalks and city streets, hundreds and hundreds of<br />

miles, and the idea that most ground we walk or run on<br />

around town is covered in countless hazards is simply<br />

untrue. Barefoot running encourages mindfulness. I<br />

am very aware of the terrain beneath my feet, way<br />

before I land. I continually watch the ground. I have<br />

never had any serious injuries or damage. I have only<br />

VERY rarely sustained a small splinter or scratch. On<br />

the other hand (or foot), I have seen the painful blisters,<br />

bunions, hammertoes, detached toenails, athlete's foot<br />

fungus, atrophied foot muscles and much more<br />

associated with running in traditional running footwear.<br />

I say, "No thanks!” Running <strong>barefoot</strong> or running in<br />

shoes is a choice, and it's ours to make.<br />

As far as nutrition, I believe everything we need is right<br />

there in the whole form of plant-based food, with the<br />

exception of B-12 which I supplement in the form of<br />

<strong>vegan</strong> sublingual lozenges. I eat practically all plant<br />

foods I can get a hold of. Most of my calories come<br />

from fruit and berries and I am well nourished, full of<br />

spunk and healthy as ever. Above all, I am an artist.<br />

Perhaps to me that just means my perception of the<br />

world. And that I am the work of art itself. I feel that if<br />

I just show up as the artist I believe that I am, that's all I<br />

need to do. It's deep in my marrow. All I touch, all I<br />

see. All that I am is art to me. The paint on my canvas,<br />

the image on the LCD, the wet clay in my hands. The<br />

food I eat, the flowers on my garden and the rocks in the<br />

trail that connect with my feet and teach me who I am.<br />

It's all art to me because it's what I choose to believe.<br />

There is always hope, for all of us, for everyone. No<br />

matter if we feel lost and helpless in a lousy relationship,<br />

or if we are overweight and out of shape, or if we are<br />

addicted to chemicals that are destroying our lives, or if<br />

we just want out. There is hope. I have survived the<br />

unsurvivable. I've been to the depths of hell and today,<br />

just a few short years later, here I am. Truly happy,<br />

healthy, so very much at peace, and completely in love<br />

with life. Even the awful stuff. BV<br />

Alyson is the owner of Barefoot Aly Artworks,<br />

where she specialises in making handmade<br />

wreaths. Connect with her on Facebook or<br />

check out her shop on Etsy.<br />

46 | BarefootVegan


Photography by: A Little Bit of Whimsy Photography


Tracye McQuirter<br />

“Veganism is a<br />

communal & global act<br />

of love, care,<br />

preservation, &<br />

liberation”<br />

A <strong>vegan</strong> trailblazer, public health<br />

nutritionist, author, lecturer, and 30-year<br />

<strong>vegan</strong>, Tracye McQuirter, MPH, has been named<br />

a national food hero who is changing the way<br />

America eats for the better. We caught up<br />

with Tracye to discuss food justice, feminism<br />

and her work to empower African Americans to<br />

better health.<br />

49 | BarefootVegan


“Veganism has given me the template<br />

to do other things that I found<br />

daunting at first--like becoming a<br />

successful author and entrepreneur.<br />

It’s a continuous source of<br />

inspiration for me in my own life.”<br />

Why <strong>vegan</strong>?<br />

First, as someone who’s been <strong>vegan</strong> for almost 30 years,<br />

I can tell you that being <strong>vegan</strong> is a liberating, joyful,<br />

healthful, and delicious way of living in this world! I<br />

see it as second nature to living a long, healthy,<br />

satisfying life, just like breathing, exercising, loving,<br />

and relaxing.<br />

On a more scientific note, as a public health<br />

nutritionist, I can tell you that we’ve known for<br />

decades that plant foods are the healthiest foods to eat.<br />

The research has been clear and consistent for more<br />

than 50 years. Plant foods can prevent and reverse<br />

heart disease, our number one killer, as well as prevent<br />

and often reverse our other leading causes of death and<br />

disability, including stroke, diabetes, certain cancers,<br />

and obesity. And plant foods can help save the planet<br />

and the lives of animals, too.<br />

Unlike plant food production, livestock production for<br />

meat and dairy causes more global warming than the<br />

entire world’s transportation combined. The methane<br />

gas emitted from the burps and poop of billions of<br />

factory-farm animals accounts for more greenhouse<br />

gas emissions than the carbon monoxide from cars. As<br />

I often say, a hamburger damages Mother Earth more<br />

Tracye with Dick Gregory; the man<br />

who inspired her to go <strong>vegan</strong> almost<br />

30 years ago<br />

than a Hummer does. In addition to damaging the<br />

atmosphere, producing animals for meat is a leading<br />

cause of degradation and pollution of the earth’s soil<br />

and water.<br />

And consumption of more plant foods will help prevent<br />

billions of innocent, sentient animals from being<br />

brutally produced, raised, and slaughtered to be used as<br />

food. Of course, plant foods are scrumptious too! In this<br />

day and age, that should go without saying, but I’m<br />

saying it anyway. I love good food, always have, and<br />

with plant foods it’s even better. Being <strong>vegan</strong> is a winwin-win,<br />

all-around.<br />

In your book, By Any Greens Necessary,<br />

you describe a talk from Dick Gregory as<br />

being the catalyst in your transition to a<br />

vegetarian/<strong>vegan</strong> lifestyle. What was it<br />

exactly about what he said that touched<br />

you?<br />

Our Black Student Union at Amherst College had<br />

actually brought Dick Gregory to campus to talk about<br />

the political, economic, and social state of black<br />

America. And instead, Dick Gregory flipped the script<br />

on us and decided to talk about the plate of black<br />

America. This was in 1986, and what we didn’t know was<br />

that Gregory had become a vegetarian nutrition guru.<br />

We only knew him as a Civil Rights icon and legendary<br />

humourist. So his talk was a surprise to all of us.<br />

And honestly, if I had known he was going to talk about<br />

vegetarianism, I might not have shown up. I was first<br />

introduced to vegetarianism in the 7th grade at Sidwell<br />

Friends School in DC (which is where the Obama<br />

daughters are now attending). My 7th grade teachers<br />

wanted our class camping trip to be all-vegetarian and I<br />

thought this was a horrible idea. So, I wrote a petition<br />

against it and got a few of my classmates to sign it--but I<br />

was overruled.<br />

So fast forward seven years to my sophomore year at<br />

Amherst, and there was Dick Gregory talking about<br />

going vegetarian. Well, I started to tune him out, but<br />

what really grabbed me was that he started to trace--<br />

graphically--the path of a hamburger from a cow on a<br />

factory farm, through the slaughterhouse process, to a<br />

fast food restaurant, to a clogged artery, to a heart<br />

attack. I had never heard anything like that before.<br />

><br />

50 | BarefootVegan


“As someone who’s been<br />

<strong>vegan</strong> for almost 30<br />

years, I can tell you<br />

that being <strong>vegan</strong> is a<br />

liberating, joyful,<br />

healthful, and<br />

delicious way of living<br />

in this world! I see it<br />

as second nature to<br />

living a long, healthy,<br />

satisfying life, just<br />

like breathing,<br />

exercising, loving, and<br />

relaxing.”<br />

Photography by: A Little Bit of Whimsy Photography


Now at the time, I was going through a paradigm shift in<br />

my life. I was taking a lot of political science and African<br />

American studies classes, and I was learning about<br />

imperialism, racism, sexism, homophobia, and classism<br />

for the first time or in new ways, and it was changing my<br />

awareness and sense of self. I had also decided to stop<br />

relaxing my hair and wear it naturally. And it was with<br />

this new consciousness that I listened to Dick Gregory’s<br />

lecture. So I was ready and open to questioning the way I<br />

ate, too. All this was happening at the same time, and<br />

looking back, it was a beautiful thing!<br />

So, after Dick Gregory’s lecture, I read everything I could<br />

get my hands on about vegetarianism, and I decided to<br />

go vegetarian first, and then <strong>vegan</strong> after about a year or<br />

so. There were some stops and starts along the way,<br />

which included a safari in Kenya, but folks can read<br />

more about that in my book.<br />

Personally, what were some of the physical,<br />

psychological and spiritual changes you<br />

noticed when you went <strong>vegan</strong>?<br />

Well, I had gained 25 pounds during my freshman year<br />

(the year before Dick Gregory’s lecture) because I was<br />

away from home for the first time and could eat<br />

anything I wanted. (Did I mention that I hated<br />

vegetables and healthy food before I became <strong>vegan</strong>?!) So<br />

after I went <strong>vegan</strong>, the weight just came off naturally.<br />

Spiritually, I gained greater clarity and sense of purpose,<br />

and I took up yoga to deepen my self-discovery and selfcare.<br />

I also became more attuned to how my body<br />

functions by paying attention to how it responded to<br />

different foods. For example, my menses became lighter<br />

and shorter, and I rarely have cramps.<br />

And I have to say that being <strong>vegan</strong> for 30 years has given<br />

me the template to do other things that I found<br />

daunting at first--like becoming a successful author and<br />

entrepreneur. It’s a continuous source of inspiration for<br />

me in my own life. Like James Brown said, “Sometimes I<br />

jump back, I wanna kiss myself!”<br />

You work a lot on <strong>issue</strong>s that explore the<br />

intersectionality of <strong>vegan</strong>ism and other<br />

movements for social justice. In your view,<br />

what is it about <strong>vegan</strong>ism that promotes<br />

harmony in all these areas?<br />

My being <strong>vegan</strong>, eating the healthiest way I can, is an act<br />

of self-love, self-care, self-preservation, and selfliberation.<br />

And when I help other people learn how to<br />

eat healthier, it’s a communal and global act of love,<br />

care, preservation, and liberation. So, how we nourish<br />

ourselves is inextricably linked to every aspect of how<br />

we live our lives, including being activists in the fight<br />

for justice and equality.<br />

Right now, many of us are fighting to end these statesanctioned<br />

21st century lynchings of black women and<br />

men and girls and boys by white police officers and<br />

vigilantes that are happening almost daily. According<br />

to Operation Ghetto Storm, there were more than 300<br />

of these killings in 2012.<br />

And, at the same time, according to the Centers for<br />

Disease Control, there were more than 300,000<br />

preventable deaths of black people in 2010 caused by<br />

diet-related chronic diseases, including heart disease,<br />

stroke, and hypertensive disease.<br />

That’s 300 and 300,000. Both numbers represent tragic,<br />

preventable deaths. So, while this is not a comparison<br />

game, it is a call to action around the fact that<br />

unhealthful diets are a social and human rights <strong>issue</strong>,<br />

too, since there are state-sanctioned reasons lowincome<br />

African Americans, in particular do not have<br />

access to healthful foods.<br />

That said, we do not want to be active participants in<br />

our own genocide. As activists, and everyday folks<br />

dealing with multiple forms of oppressions on a daily<br />

basis, we are in a heightened state of moving, thinking,<br />

organizing, resisting, multi-tasking, and stress. Our<br />

immune systems are taking a hit and we need to be<br />

sure they’re being strengthened. This is precisely the<br />

reason to increase the amount of healthful foods we’re<br />

eating right now and on a lifelong basis.<br />

52 | BarefootVegan


Photography by: A Little Bit of Whimsy Photography<br />

“African Americans are<br />

pioneers in the plant-based<br />

food movement in this<br />

country. In fact, the first<br />

all-<strong>vegan</strong> health food stores<br />

and cafes in the nation’s<br />

capital were started by<br />

African Americans in the<br />

1980s, many of them<br />

influenced by their<br />

involvement in the Civil<br />

Rights and Black Liberation<br />

Movements.”<br />

You say that Dick Gregory’s talk in 1986<br />

focused on how unhealthful most Black<br />

people (and most Americans, in general)<br />

were eating. How does the situation<br />

compare now?<br />

Well, the good news is that there are an estimated 3<br />

million African American vegetarians and <strong>vegan</strong>s (about<br />

6% of the black population), according to a 2012 Harris<br />

Interactive study. And there are millions more who eat<br />

plant-based foods a significant amount of time, as part of<br />

the 100 million (or one-third) of all Americans who do.<br />

When I was doing research for my By Any Greens<br />

Necessary book, I found that African Americans were 25%<br />

more likely than whites to buy organic foods, according to<br />

the Hartman Group, which is a leading market research<br />

firm. I was surprised, but I really should not have been.<br />

Most of us are only a generation or two removed from the<br />

South--and not that many more generations removed<br />

from West Africa--where are forebears ate organic fruits,<br />

vegetables, grains, and beans daily that they grew on their<br />

own farms. And, of course, African Americans are<br />

pioneers in the plant-based food movement in this<br />

country. In fact, the first all-<strong>vegan</strong> health food stores and<br />

cafes in the nation’s capital were started by African<br />

Americans in the 1980s, many of them influenced by their<br />

involvement in the Civil Rights and Black Liberation<br />

Movements. I actually learned how to be <strong>vegan</strong> from this<br />

community when I came home to DC after that fateful<br />

lecture by Dick Gregory in 1986.<br />

Dick Gregory wrote his plant-based classic, Cooking with<br />

Mother Nature, in 1974 with Alvenia Fulton, a<br />

naturopathic physician who opened the first health food<br />

establishment on the south side of Chicago in the<br />

1950s. Also, the longest-running raw <strong>vegan</strong> restaurant<br />

in the country is owned by Karen Calabrese in<br />

Chicago, and the father of gourmet raw <strong>vegan</strong> cuisine<br />

is Aris LaTham from Panama. And Soul Vegetarian<br />

restaurants were (until recently) the largest chain of<br />

<strong>vegan</strong> restaurants in the world. There are many more<br />

examples of black <strong>vegan</strong> pioneers, which I’ve written<br />

about on my blog. So, eating healthful <strong>vegan</strong> foods is<br />

a part of our cultural heritage.<br />

That said, we still have a long way to go. We’re<br />

experiencing an enormous health crisis based on the<br />

unhealthful foods the majority of us are still eating<br />

today (for a variety of reasons). That’s reflected in the<br />

300,000 preventable, diet-related deaths each year<br />

that I mentioned earlier.<br />

How is the food on our plate relative to<br />

our social, economic and political<br />

situation?<br />

In the U.S., rich and affluent people have access to<br />

and eat the healthiest foods, while poor and<br />

oppressed people have access to and eat the<br />

unhealthiest foods. That’s generally how this country<br />

has designed its social, economic, and political<br />

systems as it relates to food, and most other basic<br />

necessities of life.<br />

We see this played out in food deserts in cities and<br />

rural areas across the country, where fresh, healthy,<br />

and affordable foods are not available because of no<br />

or low-quality supermarkets, farmers markets, and<br />

food gardens. What’s available instead are cheap,<br />

processed foods from higher numbers of fast food<br />

places, corner stores, and carry-outs. This results in<br />

unhealthful diets and higher chronic disease rates for<br />

about 25 million Americans.<br />

53 | BarefootVegan


“I have zero tolerance for<br />

sexism. None. Just like I<br />

have zero tolerance for<br />

racism… As Angela Davis<br />

said, “I don’t accept the<br />

things I cannot change. I<br />

change the things I cannot<br />

accept.” Black women are the<br />

creators of the feminist<br />

movement in this country and<br />

the embodiment of it.”<br />

We also see this played out in enormous profits and federal<br />

subsidies (corporate welfare) for the food industry, which is<br />

one of the largest industries in the country. The USDA<br />

provides federal subsidies to the food industry to make the<br />

cost of production of processed foods cheaper, resulting in<br />

larger profits. The food industry gets these federal subsidies<br />

because they give large campaign contributions to members<br />

of Congress running for reelection. And the food industry<br />

has powerful lobbyists that pressure Congress to maintain<br />

subsidies and other federal regulations, and skew the<br />

federal dietary guidelines, to favor the food industry.<br />

So what this means is that cheap, processed foods like<br />

hamburger mix, white bread, instant macaroni and cheese,<br />

and canned string beans are pretty cheap and available<br />

compared to fresh, organic fruits, vegetables, and whole<br />

grains.<br />

And to get us to want to eat this unhealthy food, the food<br />

industry loads it with fat, salt, and sugar, and spends more<br />

than 35 billion dollars a year on food advertising to<br />

influence us to buy it. Seventy percent of that food<br />

advertising is for fast food, processed foods, snacks, and<br />

sweets. Only 2% of that food advertising is for fresh fruits<br />

and veggies. Now which of these foods do Americans eat<br />

the most?<br />

The food industry, by way of the USDA, also determines<br />

what will be fed to millions of schoolchildren in 95% of<br />

public schools and many private schools each day, and what<br />

food will be provided to poor mothers and their infants on<br />

public assistance, and what is served to the military and the<br />

imprisoned population. The food industry, by way of the<br />

USDA, also determines what nutrition information gets fed<br />

to the media and healthcare providers, and gets placed on<br />

the food products we buy in the store.<br />

I laugh when people call <strong>vegan</strong>s the food police! It’s the<br />

corporate food industry that controls every aspect of what<br />

we eat. Until we decide to take back control.<br />

You’ve been actively involved in many health<br />

initiatives on both a community and national<br />

level. In your experience what is the best<br />

advice you’d give others to get these sorts of<br />

outreach projects going?<br />

My advice is to research and get in touch with existing<br />

organisations that you admire and find out how they’re<br />

doing it. There’s no need to go it alone or try to figure<br />

everything out for yourself when it comes to starting<br />

community classes or designing school programs or<br />

even promoting local or state policies to help people<br />

eat more plant-based foods. There are more than<br />

enough people and organizations doing this work today<br />

in creative and successful ways that you can collaborate<br />

with and model after to address your own community’s<br />

needs.<br />

When I worked with the Vegetarian Society of DC in<br />

2004 to create Eat Smart, which was the first federally<br />

funded <strong>vegan</strong> nutrition program in the country, I had<br />

already been doing community cooking classes and<br />

lectures in the DC area for about 15 years. So I already<br />

knew and had worked with the other folks in the field<br />

who were doing the same work, and that made it easier<br />

to get the word out about Eat Smart and make it<br />

successful. Collaboration is key.<br />

Feminism means different things to<br />

different people. What does it mean to<br />

you?<br />

I’ve always been a feminist and womanist, even before I<br />

could articulate those terms or study them in college.<br />

My mother raised us that way, so it’s just natural and<br />

second nature to me. I’ve never in my life thought boys<br />

or men were superior to me! My mom was ahead of her<br />

time in instilling that in us (and in so many other ways)<br />

and I’m truly grateful for that.<br />

So, because of this, I have zero tolerance for sexism.<br />

None. Just like I have zero tolerance for racism. So you<br />

can imagine that I’ve been a fighter and activist all my<br />

life, challenging folks left and right since childhood!<br />

But this is nothing remarkable to me. As Angela Davis<br />

said, “I don’t accept the things I cannot change. I<br />

change the things I cannot accept.” Black women are<br />

the creators of the feminist movement in this country<br />

and the embodiment of it. That’s just how we roll.<br />

What impact does empowering women<br />

have on society?<br />

So again, I’m used to being around empowered women.<br />

Black women have always been personally empowered<br />

to me. This is not something that is given to us outside<br />

of ourselves. What we’ve fought for is to have society<br />

catch up to us, to bend that arc toward justice.<br />

Now, having said that, I do of course know that sexism,<br />

male privilege, this false notion of male supremacy, is<br />

systemic in this society and most other countries<br />

around the world. And the economic, political, and<br />

><br />

54 | BarefootVegan


Tracye & her<br />

mother: One of Tracye's<br />

proudest moments was<br />

helping her mum, Mary<br />

McQuirter, go <strong>vegan</strong><br />

almost 30 years ago. She's<br />

still a healthy, active <strong>vegan</strong><br />

today at 79.<br />

Tracye and Dr. Sojin<br />

Kim with Michelle<br />

Obama at the White<br />

House.<br />

From left to<br />

right: Neal<br />

Barnard of the<br />

Physicians<br />

Committee for<br />

Responsible<br />

Medicine, Gene<br />

Baur of Farm<br />

Sanctuary,<br />

Tracye, and<br />

Michael Greger<br />

of Nutrition<br />

Facts.


Photography by: A Little Bit of Whimsy Photography<br />

social consequences are oppressive and exhaustive. Just like<br />

with racism.<br />

So, the question really is about changing society, as much as<br />

it is about women owning their power. Because the problem<br />

with sexism isn’t women. The problem is the<br />

institutionalization of sexism for the benefit of white men.<br />

But women can still be personally empowered within that<br />

system. Just like the problem with racism isn’t black people.<br />

The problem is the institutionalization of racism for the<br />

benefit of white men and women. Black people, and for this<br />

question, black women, can still be personally empowered<br />

within that system. In fact, that is required for us to resist<br />

and defeat both of those systems.<br />

How does <strong>vegan</strong>ism relate to feminism?<br />

In addition to what I’ve said earlier about feminism, I also<br />

agree with Carol J. Adams in her seminal work The Sexual<br />

Politics of Meat about the enslavement, rape, and torture of<br />

female animals for food as a manifestation of systemic male<br />

supremacy--as is the food industry’s relentless conflation of<br />

meat with masculinity and strength, and vegetables with<br />

femininity and weakness.<br />

Sistah Vegan, edited by A. Breeze Harper, is another groundbreaking<br />

book that explores <strong>issue</strong>s of identity, food, health,<br />

and society in a series of essays written by more than 20<br />

black women <strong>vegan</strong>s.<br />

Both of these books are truly eye-opening and should be<br />

required reading for everyone who eats.<br />

Why was it so important to target your book<br />

particularly to black women?<br />

Toni Morrison said to write the books you want to read.<br />

When I was going <strong>vegan</strong>, I would have loved to have read a<br />

<strong>vegan</strong> book for black women that was written by a black<br />

woman who was a long-time <strong>vegan</strong> and a nutritionist.<br />

That would have been a dream come true. So I wrote<br />

that book!<br />

And my sister and I had already started the first <strong>vegan</strong><br />

website for and by African Americans, and we had<br />

thousands of subscribers, so I knew there was a hungry<br />

<strong>vegan</strong> audience for the book.<br />

I also wanted to engage with black women directly<br />

about liberating the way we think about food and<br />

taking back control of our health because we<br />

experience the worst health outcomes of any group in<br />

the U.S. We have the power to turn this around and I<br />

wanted to provide a manifesto to help us do that.<br />

You’ve already achieved so much in your<br />

career to date. What’s been the highlight<br />

so far?<br />

Thank you. On a kind of large scale, I’m really deeply<br />

honoured and proud that I’ve had the opportunity to<br />

help grow that number of 3 million-plus African<br />

American <strong>vegan</strong>s and vegetarians, in particular, and to<br />

help folks from all walks of life and around the world<br />

think about, or start, or affirm their <strong>vegan</strong> journeys.<br />

Although it oftentimes feels intangible, it’s made real<br />

for me when I get an emotional email or an exuberant<br />

hug at a book-signing because someone has let me<br />

know I made a difference in their lives. I love that and<br />

it always makes me tear up a little (like now).<br />

On a more personal level, the highlight has been<br />

without a doubt the fact that my mom and middle<br />

sister went <strong>vegan</strong> with me 30 years ago. And just to talk<br />

about my mom in particular, she was 50 at the time.<br />

She’s now 79 and still <strong>vegan</strong> and healthy and vibrant,<br />

with no chronic disease <strong>issue</strong>s. And she exercises 5 days<br />

56 | BarefootVegan


a week! She’s truly my inspiration. Like I said earlier, my<br />

mom was way ahead of her time and still is.<br />

What advice would you give others on how to<br />

promote a healthy <strong>vegan</strong> lifestyle to their<br />

loved ones?<br />

Focus first on you and be an example. Even if you’re a new<br />

<strong>vegan</strong> and you want your loved ones to know how horrible<br />

it is for chickens and cows on factory farms, and how<br />

unhealthy it is to eat them. Even with all that urgency, my<br />

best advice is to focus on you and be an example. If your<br />

loved ones ask, then talk, and watch videos, and read books,<br />

and go to <strong>vegan</strong> meetups, and visit <strong>vegan</strong> restaurants. And if<br />

they want to continue, great. If they don’t, just continue on<br />

your journey and let things flow organically. Also, don’t be<br />

self-righteous about your <strong>vegan</strong>ism. There will always be<br />

people who eats less healthfully than you and more<br />

healthfully than you, so why judge? (At least not publically!)<br />

I can get away with being a bit more pushy about <strong>vegan</strong>ism<br />

because it’s my profession, not just my way of life. But in my<br />

personal life, I really try not to be judgemental (I used to be<br />

very self-righteous in my early <strong>vegan</strong> days, until I learned<br />

better). Nowadays, I try to only offer advice or suggestions<br />

when folks have already let me know they're trying to<br />

change. That said, I never like to talk about <strong>vegan</strong>ism at the<br />

dinner table in a mixed group of omnivores and <strong>vegan</strong>s. If<br />

I’m asked, I usually suggest we talk about it a little later, if<br />

they’d like. This has served me well over the years.<br />

What’s next for you? What other aspirations<br />

do you still have?<br />

Well, I’ll be turning 50 next year (I hope that surprises some<br />

of you and you look at these photos again in amazement!),<br />

and I’m making some transitions in my life, along with the<br />

ones that are happening naturally in my body. I’m starting<br />

by being more adventurous and bold. I’m also going to write<br />

more - more books, articles, plays, poetry - about<br />

whatever I want. Writing is my first love and I’m most<br />

fulfilled when I’m doing it. It’s kind of taken a back<br />

seat to my <strong>vegan</strong> work in the past, but I’m turning that<br />

around. In the meantime, though, I’m working on my<br />

second <strong>vegan</strong> book, so look out for it next year.<br />

I’m also organising group <strong>vegan</strong> travel trips. I’ve been<br />

all over the world as a <strong>vegan</strong> and I want to share that<br />

experience with other <strong>vegan</strong>s and like-minded folks.<br />

We have a trip to Amsterdam coming up in June 2016,<br />

so stay tuned for that.<br />

Is there anything else you’d like readers<br />

to know about?<br />

Just that I hope you’re inspired by my story to start or<br />

stay on your <strong>vegan</strong> journey. It’s a beautiful life and you<br />

can do it! BV<br />

To find out more about Tracye’s<br />

work and how to purchase ‘By Any<br />

Greens Necessary’ visit her<br />

website and you can also connect<br />

with her on Facebook and<br />

Twitter.<br />

57 | BarefootVegan


Mamma Mia!<br />

Why being <strong>vegan</strong> before and during<br />

pregnancy helps you have a vivacious and<br />

robust baby. By Juliet Gellatley, founder<br />

& director of Viva!, nutritional<br />

therapist and mum of twin sons!<br />

M<br />

y nutritional therapy clients who want to<br />

become pregnant tend to fall into two<br />

categories - those who eat fast-food meat<br />

diets and know they shouldn’t and those<br />

who are already veggie or <strong>vegan</strong> but need<br />

reassurance. After all, having a baby is truly momentous –<br />

you want to do everything you can to give him or her the<br />

best start in life.<br />

The truth is, a balanced <strong>vegan</strong> diet is packed with disease<br />

busting, body and brain nurturing nutrients and is ideal<br />

for a healthy pregnancy. Just as importantly, a <strong>vegan</strong> diet<br />

particularly lacks the nasties you need to avoid - saturated<br />

fats, cholesterol, concentrated pesticides, cancer<br />

promoters, dioxins and mercury. The latter two are in<br />

practically all fish.<br />

And few people realise that cows’ milk contains 35<br />

hormones and 11 growth factors, including those linked to<br />

breast cancer.<br />

A healthy pregnancy should just be an extension of your<br />

normally healthy diet. If you eat well anyway, then eating<br />

right for your unborn child won’t be such a radical<br />

change. If, however, your diet has always been based<br />

around junk food, meat and dairy produce, then it’s time<br />

it wasn’t, for both your sakes, and of course the animals!<br />

The secret of healthy eating before and during<br />

pregnancy is variety but focusing on wholegrains (3<br />

servings daily), pulses (peas, beans and lentils of all<br />

types plus unsalted mixed nuts* and seeds (2 to 3<br />

portions daily), and fresh fruit and vegetables (7-10<br />

servings daily), as well as some healthy essential fats<br />

and vitamin B12 fortified foods.<br />

There is plenty of scope for adventurous, creative<br />

cookery. With herbs, spices, stock cubes, flavourings<br />

such as soya sauce and creamed coconut, soya cheese<br />

and a host of other extras, you can create the most<br />

wonderfully exotic dishes, as well as all the traditional<br />

favourites. For inspiration try:<br />

www.<strong>vegan</strong>recipeclub.org.uk<br />

A weighty <strong>issue</strong><br />

Being underweight or overweight affects your baby.<br />

Many studies show that mums who under eat increase<br />

their child’s risk of developing obesity and related<br />

diseases (e.g. heart disease, diabetes, cancer). It is<br />

believed that the foetus makes physiological<br />

adaptations to the ‘famine’ to prepare him or herself for<br />

life after birth. Far from being protective, these changes<br />

make the child more vulnerable to obesity and disease.<br />

59 | BarefootVegan<br />

>


Recent research has also shown that when mums eat a<br />

high fat and/or high sugar diet during pregnancy it can<br />

result in their baby being predisposed to obesity and their<br />

children having metabolic syndrome (the precursor to<br />

diabetes type 2). To state the obvious, it’s important to<br />

not under eat or overeat during pregnancy! And it’s<br />

important to eat the right types of foods.<br />

How much energy does a woman need<br />

during pregnancy?<br />

(Calories are sometimes called kilocalories or Kcals.)<br />

A woman who is not pregnant needs approximately 2,100<br />

calories per day. A pregnant woman needs approximately<br />

2,500 calories per day. A breastfeeding woman needs<br />

approximately 3,000 calories per day<br />

Increasing your nutrients for pregnancy<br />

During pregnancy, your daily nutrient requirements do<br />

increase - but you don’t need to eat twice as much! The<br />

growing baby gets all his/her nourishment from mum<br />

through the umbilical cord, so diet is very important. If<br />

mum is lacking in any vitamins and nutrients her baby<br />

might lack them too.<br />

Iron, B vitamins (especially folic acid) as well as beta<br />

carotene, C and D, calcium, zinc and protein are all<br />

needed in greater amounts. It’s not surprising - you’re<br />

making a whole new person.<br />

Protein<br />

Protein is needed for growth, repair of t<strong>issue</strong> and<br />

protection against infection and is high in all types of<br />

pulses and seeds. The humble soya bean, particularly<br />

when eaten as edamame, is very high in protein –<br />

comprised of all the protein building blocks (amino<br />

acids). Quinoa seeds also contain all essential amino<br />

acids. Use as you would rice.<br />

Preeclampsia, causing reduced blood flow to the placenta<br />

and premature delivery, has been attributed to<br />

insufficient protein so it is prudent to increase your<br />

intake. The good news - medical studies on 775 <strong>vegan</strong><br />

mothers showed them to be less prone to preeclampsia.<br />

Fats<br />

Avoid saturated animal fats and go for unsaturated types -<br />

the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6. These<br />

have many functions and are a main constituent of the<br />

brain and eyes. The developing foetus needs a constant<br />

supply of omega-3 and this can only come from the<br />

mother!<br />

One of the best oils to cook with is virgin olive oil - high<br />

in omega-9, a beneficial, non-essential fatty acid. As for<br />

*Going Nuts?<br />

Pregnant or lactating women from allergyprone<br />

(atopic) families - should avoid eating<br />

peanuts and nuts entirely as sensitisation to<br />

them can occur in the womb and later<br />

through breastfeeding. Children of atopic<br />

mothers shouldn’t be given them until at least<br />

three years old or when recommended by a<br />

d<strong>oct</strong>or. But for the majority of infants, nuts are<br />

an important addition to the diet and can be<br />

introduced from six months old in the form of<br />

smooth nut butters. Whole nuts should not be<br />

given to children under five years of age due to<br />

the risk of choking.<br />

getting omega-3s from fish - don’t! Pregnant women are<br />

strongly advised by government to limit their oily fish<br />

intake because of contamination with pollutants that<br />

can damage the nervous system, affect development<br />

and create learning problems. Avoid cod liver oil as it<br />

contains excessive vitamin A which can damage your<br />

unborn baby.<br />

Calcium<br />

A mineral needed for healthy nervous systems, blood<br />

clotting and bone and tooth formation in mother and<br />

baby. Surprisingly, cow’s milk does not guarantee<br />

strong bones – in fact, it can cause osteoporosis. (See:<br />

www.vivahealth.org.uk/bones)<br />

Iron<br />

The need for iron increases during pregnancy because<br />

both mother and baby are creating new blood. About<br />

one-third of pregnant women are mildly anaemic. I was<br />

the first mum-to-be of twins who d<strong>oct</strong>ors at my hospital<br />

found high in iron! I beamed “it’s because I’m <strong>vegan</strong>!”<br />

Zinc<br />

Probably plays the biggest role in reproduction. A<br />

deficiency increases the chance of miscarriage. Needed<br />

for hormone balance, development of the egg,<br />

successful fertilisation and implantation.<br />

><br />

60 | BarefootVegan


Fiona Phillips, GMTV<br />

Presenter<br />

“As a healthy vegetarian I enjoyed a<br />

perfectly normal pregnancy and had no<br />

concerns about bringing up my baby on a<br />

meat-free diet. Indeed, Nathaniel is reaping<br />

the benefits being robustly healthy! I<br />

consider a vegetarian diet to be not only<br />

perfectly safe but more healthy for you and<br />

your baby.”<br />

Jo Lacey with Melika, pictured at 1<br />

year<br />

“I’ve been <strong>vegan</strong> for 16 years and I had a healthy<br />

pregnancy followed by a natural home birth.<br />

Breastfeeding our daughter, Melika, has given her a<br />

good source of natural immunity and this combined<br />

with a <strong>vegan</strong> diet has meant that she is rarely poorly. I<br />

wanted to do the best for my baby and it made sense<br />

to offer her foods that I knew to be healthy and cruelty<br />

-free. Now a very bouncy, happy two-year-old, Melika<br />

is really thriving on a diet of fruits and vegetables,<br />

lentils, nuts and soya products such as tofu and veggie<br />

sausages”.<br />

Yolanda Soryl<br />

On the wall from left to right:<br />

Te Koha, 3 yrs, Neve, 7, Asher, 9<br />

and Ella, 12<br />

“My four <strong>vegan</strong> babies were all born with<br />

beautiful skin, calm natures and with above<br />

average birth weights. Active and busy, their<br />

sporting efforts include representing their<br />

schools in athletics, swimming and netball.<br />

We never had a doubt that a <strong>vegan</strong> diet was<br />

the best possible choice for our family.”<br />

62 | BarefootVegan


Vitamins A, C and E<br />

Vegans get plenty of vitamin A from betacarotene.<br />

It is needed to implant the fertilised<br />

egg.<br />

All fruits and veg contain vitamin C but some<br />

are particularly rich sources. It keeps the<br />

protective membrane around your baby strong.<br />

Vitamin E protects vital RNA and DNA<br />

reducing risk of congenital defects.<br />

These three ACE vitamins are vital antioxidants<br />

that also protect against disease, including heart disease,<br />

stroke, diabetes type II and cancer. There is very little in<br />

meat!<br />

The B Vitamins<br />

Many B vitamins are involved in releasing energy from<br />

food and help to aid growth and repair of the body.<br />

Folic acid (vitamin B9) is required for protein synthesis,<br />

formation of blood, metabolism of DNA (our genetic<br />

blueprint) and helps prevent neural tube defects (Spina<br />

Bifida) in the developing foetus. It is therefore essential<br />

before conception and during early pregnancy.<br />

Vitamin B12 is vital for you and your baby's nervous system<br />

and blood formation. If <strong>vegan</strong>, take a B12 supplement and<br />

ensure a daily serving of foods fortified with B12.<br />

Watch Words!<br />

Vegetarians beware - dairy may cause food poisoning.<br />

Ripened soft cheeses such as Brie and Camembert must be<br />

avoided as they may contain listeria which can lead to<br />

listeriosis and possible miscarriage, still-birth or severe<br />

illness in a new-born baby. Eggs carry the risk of<br />

salmonella.<br />

Caffeine in coffee and cola have been suspected (not<br />

proved) of producing birth defects or miscarriage.<br />

Alcohol is a no-go and smoking is clearly bad for you and<br />

your baby, associated with low birth weight and cot death.<br />

It’s never too late to give up.<br />

Vegetarian and <strong>vegan</strong> women have been producing<br />

healthy, beautiful babies for thousands of years. Trust your<br />

body and Mother Nature. We are a great ape and<br />

essentially evolved to thrive on a <strong>vegan</strong> diet. For<br />

reassurance see Wheat eaters or Meat eaters<br />

www.vivahealth.org.uk/guides. Vegan diets are the most<br />

natural in the world so have faith and a wonderful, happy<br />

pregnancy! BV<br />

Juliet with her twin<br />

sons, Jazz & Finn<br />

Juliet is the co-author of Vegetarian<br />

and Vegan Mother and Baby Guide<br />

with Rose Elliot, published by Viva!<br />

63 | BarefootVegan


66 | BarefootVegan


Plant-Based<br />

Diets for Cats<br />

and Dogs?<br />

By Akshay Verma<br />

A heavily debated, and often heated, topic of<br />

discussion among <strong>vegan</strong>s is whether or not it’s<br />

right and ethical to feed our companion<br />

animals (cats and dogs) a <strong>vegan</strong> diet. Here,<br />

<strong>vegan</strong> veterinary student Akshay Verma shines<br />

some light on the history of human and animal<br />

companionship, the evolution of their diets<br />

and current scientific understanding.<br />

P<br />

eople interested in dog and<br />

cat nutrition often point to<br />

what our companion<br />

animals would have eaten<br />

“in the wild” as an indicator<br />

of how they should eat today. While<br />

evolution does provide some dietary<br />

clues if we have a clear understanding<br />

of their domestication, it is important<br />

to realize the limited usefulness of<br />

this thinking in companion animal<br />

nutrition. Before I explain why our<br />

best friends’ survival-of-the-fittest<br />

history does not necessarily indicate<br />

their ideal diet, I will first discuss<br />

what that history is.<br />

The dog, or Canis familiaris, has had<br />

a historical presence in nearly every<br />

human society around the world. In<br />

fact, the species’ very existence is the<br />

result of domestication by humans<br />

from wolves as early as 33,000 years<br />

ago (1, 2). Although wolves consume<br />

some vegetable and fruit matter, they<br />

primarily consume other animals (3,<br />

4). Since early dogs were dependent<br />

on human food scraps, however,<br />

adaptation to a more human-like diet<br />

was critical to their survival as a<br />

domestic companion. In fact,<br />

genomic sequencing supports their<br />

adaptation to a starch-rich diet.<br />

Compared to carnivorous wolves,<br />

omnivorous dogs have<br />

significantly increased gene<br />

expression for pancreatic<br />

amylase, maltose to glucose<br />

conversion, and intestinal glucose<br />

uptake (5).<br />

The cat, or Felis silvestris catus,<br />

was domesticated roughly 10,000<br />

years ago (6). Genetic research<br />

suggests that the cat’s<br />

domestication did not depend on<br />

dietary adaptation as much as the<br />

dog’s domestication. As a result,<br />

the domestic cat’s nutrient<br />

requirements remain similar to<br />

those of its hypercarnivorous felid<br />

relatives, such as tigers and snow<br />

leopards, whose wild diets are<br />

comprised of at least 70% meat<br />

(7, 8). This is likely related to<br />

humans keeping cats to hunt<br />

animals deemed as pests as well<br />

as domestic cats being historically<br />

allowed to roam outdoors,<br />

preying on wildlife and mating<br />

with feral counterparts (9).<br />

67 | BarefootVegan<br />

>


Hatchi & Boris: Photo by Raymon Foget<br />

While understanding what food sources dogs, cats, and<br />

their ancestors relied on in the past sheds some light on<br />

their nutrient requirements, it is important to realize<br />

natural selection favors diets that allow animals to live<br />

long enough to reproduce given their current<br />

environment. It does not necessarily favor diets that help<br />

relatively sedentary, sterilized companion animals have<br />

the longest and healthiest lives possible in a world where<br />

we have access to many sources of nutrients. For<br />

instance, an animal might evolve to prefer calorie dense<br />

foods in order to survive in the wild, but its housebound<br />

progeny might develop obesity from consuming<br />

such foods in the same amounts. Scientific research can<br />

“As a <strong>vegan</strong> veterinary student, I am<br />

often asked if our companion animals can<br />

thrive on plant-based diets. The answer<br />

is quite different for our canine friends<br />

than our feline ones.”<br />

help fill gaps in knowledge that extrapolation from<br />

historical evidence cannot close. Since animals were and<br />

are seen as expendable by some, there have been many<br />

tightly controlled experiments in the past seventy years<br />

involving feeding nutrient deficient diets to companion<br />

68 | BarefootVegan<br />

animals. Thus, we have an evolving but solid foundation<br />

of knowledge regarding the minimum nutrient<br />

requirements dogs and cats have at different stages of<br />

their lives. In the United States, the National Research<br />

Council (NRC) and the Association of American Feed<br />

Control Officials (AAFCO) set nutrient intake<br />

recommendations for dog and cats based on published<br />

research.<br />

As a <strong>vegan</strong> veterinary student, I am often asked if our<br />

companion animals can thrive on plant-based diets. The<br />

answer is quite different for our canine friends than our<br />

feline ones. For dogs, commercial vegetarian diets have<br />

been available for decades,<br />

typically using legumes and grains<br />

to meet standards set by AAFCO<br />

and similar bodies. While there<br />

have anecdotally been many<br />

healthy dogs eating these diets,<br />

most of these diets have not been<br />

formally tested. Those companies<br />

claiming to meet AAFCO<br />

guidelines need only test their<br />

foods on live animals if they state<br />

on their packaging they<br />

performed feeding trials. The vast majority of holistic<br />

and natural brands, meat-based or <strong>vegan</strong>, do not<br />

formally test their products. This is likely due to both<br />

the economic cost associated with the trials and the<br />

ethical dilemmas related to lab animal environments.


Veterinarians commonly prescribe vegetarian diets to dogs<br />

with urate stones (most often Dalmatians) and food<br />

allergies. The Purina HA diet, which is marketed as<br />

vegetarian, has passed AAFCO feeding trial criteria for<br />

both puppies and adult dogs. However, the vitamin D3 and<br />

possibly other supplemental nutrients are derived from<br />

non-<strong>vegan</strong> sources. Furthermore, the Purina HA diet<br />

contains trans fat. This type of fat has not been wellstudied<br />

in dogs, but is known to be harmful to humans,<br />

who albeit are innately more prone to diet-induced<br />

atherosclerosis. Additional formal research was conducted<br />

on competitive sledding dogs who showed no difference in<br />

their hematological values whether eating meat-based or<br />

meat-free diets over sixteen weeks (10). A new company<br />

called Indogo Canine Nutrition Company is setting out to<br />

conduct humane, scientifically sound research on dogs<br />

eating <strong>vegan</strong> diets. The research results will be made<br />

public, and they plan to sell foods based on the data. To<br />

learn more about this initiative, go to www.indogolife.com.<br />

Although cats are considered obligate carnivores, it seems<br />

likely that some day there will be a sound, cruelty free<br />

product that meets their nutrient requirements. Vegan<br />

sources of nutrients that were previously understood to be<br />

only animal-derived like DHA/EPA and vitamin D3 are<br />

becoming increasingly popular. Even taurine, an essential<br />

amino acid for cats, is most commonly added to cat food<br />

from synthetic, non-animal sources. In addition, in vitro<br />

meat seems to be an ever more plausible reality. Still, a safe<br />

non-animal derived cat food product would require strict<br />

quality control and substantial evidence supporting its<br />

digestibility—both of these traits are unfortunately lacking<br />

in all current <strong>vegan</strong> feeding options for cats. In 2004, one<br />

sample each of Evolution Vegetable Stew and Gourmet<br />

Entree and Vegecat KibbleMix were found deficient in<br />

several key nutrients (11). Without even knowing their<br />

digestibility, these products failed to contain the nutrients<br />

they claimed to on their label. A later study found that all<br />

seventeen cats eating commercial or homemade vegetarian<br />

diets had adequate blood levels of vitamin B12 and<br />

fourteen of them had adequate levels of taurine (12). Both<br />

of these nutrients are regularly supplemented in<br />

companion animal food from <strong>vegan</strong> sources. While there is<br />

anecdotal evidence of a few veterinarians maintaining<br />

some cats on commercial <strong>vegan</strong> diets, there is also<br />

anecdotal evidence of veterinarians seeing cats eating<br />

these diets who develop dilated cardiomyopathy among<br />

other health problems. Overall, I do not see myself ><br />

“Although cats are<br />

considered obligate<br />

carnivores, it seems<br />

likely that someday<br />

there will be a<br />

sound, cruelty free<br />

product that meets<br />

their nutrient<br />

requirements.”<br />

recommending currently available <strong>vegan</strong> cat food<br />

products once I am in practice. It is hard to say what<br />

is the most ethical way to feed your cat animal<br />

products beyond meeting his or her health needs.<br />

One possibility is feeding a homemade diet that<br />

includes shrimp if one views certain crustaceans as<br />

capable of less suffering than other animals. Another<br />

ethically debatable choice is feeding flesh from larger<br />

animals, such as cows, so fewer lives are taken. Given<br />

the resources that beef production requires, however,<br />

there are many collateral animal casualties that<br />

should be considered. A third possibility is feeding<br />

only foods with meat by-products for which animals<br />

are not specifically slaughtered. I will let the <strong>vegan</strong><br />

ethicists debate this topic from here.<br />

69 | BarefootVegan


Many animal guardians wish to cook at<br />

home for their companions. For dogs, it is<br />

possible to make a homemade plant-based<br />

diet with appropriate <strong>vegan</strong> supplements.<br />

The most reliable products currently on the<br />

market are the BalanceIt supplements,<br />

which are designed by board-certified<br />

veterinary nutritionists. Customized<br />

balanced <strong>vegan</strong> recipes for healthy adult<br />

dogs can easily be obtained for free from<br />

their website, www.balanceit.com. BalanceIt recommends<br />

regular testing of blood taurine levels for vegetarian dogs.<br />

Although dogs do not require dietary taurine, they require<br />

adequate dietary methionine to produce sufficient amounts of<br />

taurine and carnitine. Thus, their recipes often include<br />

methionine supplementation because <strong>vegan</strong> diets can be low<br />

in methionine, which interestingly in humans, rats and mice is<br />

associated with longer lifespans (13). For healthy adult cats,<br />

balanced homemade diets that include animal products are<br />

also available from BalanceIt. Animals with medical problems<br />

or special needs should receive a consult from a knowledgeable<br />

veterinarian or credentialed specialist. If your general<br />

veterinarian is unable to assist you, a good rule-of-thumb is to<br />

obtain a referral to a veterinarian board certified by the<br />

American College of Veterinary Nutrition or European College<br />

of Veterinary and Comparative Nutrition. These veterinarians<br />

received years of additional training in the field of clinical<br />

nutrition after earning their veterinary degrees. A list of them<br />

can be found on the BalanceIt website, and several offer<br />

consultations online. BV<br />

Akshay Verma is a D<strong>oct</strong>or of Veterinary Medicine student at Michigan<br />

State University. He entered veterinary school conscious of the need for<br />

veterinarians to advocate for progressive animal welfare policies. As such,<br />

he is President and Co-Founder of the school’s chapter of the Humane<br />

Society Veterinary Medical Association, which among other activities has<br />

worked to get veterinary students involved in the legislative process. He<br />

serves as a Development Committee Member for Michigan Friends of<br />

Companion Animals and as a consultant to Indogo Canine Nutrition Company. He<br />

previously earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where he was<br />

awarded highest honors for his thesis on the welfare, scientific, and social concerns associated with<br />

appearance-based dog breeding. At U of M, he served as Director of the Michigan Animal Respect<br />

Society (currently Michigan Animal Rights Society). His personal website is www.thedoghugger.com,and<br />

his email address is progressivedvm@gmail.com.<br />

70 | BarefootVegan


Sources Cited:<br />

1. Skoglund, Pontus, et al. "Ancient Wolf Genome<br />

Reveals an Early Divergence of Domestic Dog<br />

Ancestors and Admixture into High-Latitude Breeds."<br />

Current Biology 25.11 (2015): 1515-1519.<br />

2. Ovodov, Nikolai D., et al. "A 33,000-year-old<br />

incipient dog from the Altai Mountains of Siberia:<br />

Evidence of the earliest domestication disrupted by<br />

the Last Glacial Maximum." PLoS One 6.7 (2011).<br />

3. Meriggi, Alberto, et al. "Habitat use and diet of the<br />

wolf in northern Italy." Acta theriologica 36.1-2 (1991):<br />

141-152.<br />

4. Salvador, A., and P. L. Abad. "Food habits of a wolf<br />

population (Canis lupus) in León province, Spain."<br />

Mammalia 51.1 (1987): 45-52.<br />

5. Axelsson, Erik, et al. "The genomic signature of dog<br />

domestication reveals adaptation to a starch-rich diet."<br />

Nature 495.7441 (2013): 360-364.<br />

6. Driscoll, Carlos A., et al. "The Near Eastern origin of<br />

cat domestication." Science 317.5837 (2007): 519-523.<br />

7. Montague, Michael J., et al. "Comparative analysis of<br />

the domestic cat genome reveals genetic signatures<br />

underlying feline biology and domestication."<br />

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111.48<br />

(2014): 17230-17235.<br />

8. Holliday, Jill A., and Scott J. Steppan. "Evolution of<br />

hypercarnivory: the effect of specialization on<br />

morphological and taxonomic diversity." Paleobiology<br />

30.1 (2004): 108-128.<br />

9. Driscoll, Carlos A., David W. Macdonald, and<br />

Stephen J. O'Brien. "From wild animals to domestic<br />

pets, an evolutionary view of domestication."<br />

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106.<br />

Supplement 1 (2009): 9971-9978.<br />

10. Brown, Wendy Y., et al. "An experimental meatfree<br />

diet maintained haematological characteristics in<br />

sprint-racing sled dogs." British Journal of Nutrition<br />

102.09 (2009): 1318-1323.<br />

11. Gray, Christina M., Rance K. Sellon, and Lisa M.<br />

Freeman. "Nutritional adequacy of two <strong>vegan</strong> diets for<br />

cats." Journal of the American Veterinary Medical<br />

Association 225 (2005): 1670-5.<br />

12. Wakefield, Lorelei A., Frances S. Shofer, and<br />

Kathryn E. Michel. "Evaluation of cats fed vegetarian<br />

diets and attitudes of their caregivers." Journal of the<br />

American Veterinary Medical Association 229.1 (2006):<br />

70-73.<br />

13. McCarty, Mark F., Jorge Barroso-Aranda, and<br />

Francisco Contreras. "The low-methionine content of<br />

<strong>vegan</strong> diets may make methionine restriction feasible<br />

as a life extension strategy." Medical hypotheses 72.2<br />

(2009): 125-128.<br />

71 | BarefootVegan


The fox<br />

+ the hounds<br />

By Anneka Svenska<br />

This year in the UK, activists<br />

have been desperately trying to<br />

prevent a return to fox hunting<br />

with hounds, as the Conservative<br />

government decided to plan a<br />

vote on whether to bring the<br />

English hunting act in line with<br />

the Scottish one. This would<br />

allow limitless numbers of<br />

hounds to be used to flush out a<br />

fox from its den to be shot.<br />

L<br />

uckily this vote was postponed due to both the<br />

embarrassment from the huge amount of public proban<br />

supporters and celebrities who rallied in<br />

parliament square but also from the humiliation that<br />

Scottish MPs delivered when they said they would not be<br />

supporting the change in English legislation to match their own.<br />

For the last ten years, the UK has seen a ban to hunting with<br />

hounds, where a hound is allowed to actively track and kill a<br />

live fox. Instead hunts have been employing a technique called<br />

‘trail hunting’ where one of the huntsmen runs on ahead and<br />

lays a pre-set trail.<br />

I thought I would talk briefly about trail hunting, as<br />

there still seems to be a lot of confusion about the<br />

terms drag and trail hunting. When fox hunting<br />

was banned in 2005 with The Hunting Act, this<br />

meant that the hunting of wild mammals (notably<br />

foxes, deer, hares and mink) with dogs in England<br />

and Wales was made illegal.<br />

The huntsmen in their need to continue their ‘fun’<br />

on horseback turned to other ways of replicating<br />

the chase. They thus ‘invented’ a new type of<br />

hunting called ‘Trail Hunting’, where a scent would<br />

be laid along their original line of quarry, so that<br />

they could continue on original trails that they had<br />

enjoyed over many years. The scent used is often<br />

fox urine (which is disastrous as it never trains the<br />

fox hounds off tracking a fox!)<br />

Drag Hunting, on the other hand, is the property of<br />

the Masters of Drag and Bloodhounds Association<br />

and is an equestrian activity where a drag is laid<br />

over a pre-determined and generally known route<br />

taking lines over fences and open countryside. This<br />

practice has been in action for hundreds of years<br />

and never chooses to intentionally hurt or illegally<br />

pursue an animal. The Drag Hunting association is<br />

very keen to make the distinction between what it<br />

does and the trail hunting created by the Masters of<br />

73 | BarefootVegan<br />

>


As the huntsmen<br />

laughed and socialised<br />

at the start of the hunt,<br />

drinking alcohol and<br />

eating snacks, the<br />

hounds ran to the Hunt<br />

Sabs. The sabs cuddled<br />

and hugged these poor,<br />

desperate dogs... I was<br />

told that this is the only<br />

positive attention the<br />

hounds will ever<br />

experience.<br />

Foxhounds Association, due to many ‘accidental’ animal<br />

deaths and controversies surrounding the hunting<br />

practices of the Red Coats.<br />

Now, through all of this mania, people are often left<br />

forgetting the poor hounds over the foxes. Several wellknown<br />

newspapers did publish a couple of articles on the<br />

hounds this year, which was really good, but<br />

nethertheless, the hounds do get forgotten.<br />

It has been estimated that around 4,000 fox hounds are<br />

killed every year for a variety of reasons. Older dogs are<br />

shot at the age of 6-7 when the huntsmen feel they have<br />

outlived their abilities, puppies are killed at birth for<br />

being ‘weak’ and throughout the dogs lives, individuals<br />

are picked off for different reasons, such as not working<br />

as hard as they should, going off scent, being weak<br />

specimens. Many foxhounds are killed on roads ever year<br />

as the hunts takes them over and alongside busy main<br />

roads where they are knocked down on a regular basis.<br />

I was privileged to join The Hunt Sab Association and<br />

run with these brave volunteers in order to experience<br />

what it was like to watch a Trail Hunt. The first thing<br />

which struck me was the desperation of the foxhounds for<br />

attention. As the huntsmen laughed and socialised at the<br />

start of the hunt, drinking alcohol and eating snacks, the<br />

poor hounds ran to the Hunt Sabs, as they instantly<br />

recognised that they would get attention from these<br />

people. The sabs cuddled and hugged these poor<br />

desperate dogs, who were scarred up from running<br />

through barbed wire fences and probably clashing with<br />

one another. I was told by the sabs that this is the only<br />

positive attention the hounds will ever experience.<br />

When the hounds are home, they are shut away in<br />

stables and pens, which can lead to fighting and injuring<br />

one another. They exist with as much attention as a<br />

factory farmed cow or chicken. It is amazing that they<br />

have such gentle and affectionate depositions after all<br />

the neglect. They are gentle breeds by nature and it<br />

seems that the huntsmen have created monsters by<br />

reputation and by training, as in the flesh the dogs were<br />

delightful. They do not seem naturally inclined to be<br />

aggressive or mean and simply have a taste for pursuing<br />

small mammals, that’s all. This does not mean that they<br />

could or would be aggressive to a human in any way or<br />

form any more than any other dog. Like an abused or<br />

neglected dog which has needed to adapt to survive,<br />

these dogs have been taught that it’s good to chase and<br />

kill foxes.<br />

The huntsmen claim that the hounds cannot be<br />

rehomed and like a greyhound, they have developed<br />

extreme predatory instincts. However, many ex-racing<br />

greyhounds are successfully rehomed. I am not saying<br />

that a foxhound could be homed with small animals<br />

such as cats, but they could be homed into similar<br />

homes to which these greyhounds go to. Instead they are<br />

put down at age 6-7 and I have been told, by a bullet,<br />

rather than lethal injection. This is not regulated and I<br />

shudder to think about the various means to how the<br />

death could transpire.<br />

Several online films have shown foxhounds living in very<br />

crowded conditions in barns, with barely a pin to put<br />

between them at night. Clean? Yes, but that doesn’t<br />

matter as they are crowded and never touched. Some<br />

people have argued that they are happy and that is how<br />

they like to live, but remember, these are the same<br />

people who argue that its fine to rip a fox into little<br />

pieces while it is still alive… I rest my case.<br />

So my article is intended to draw everyone’s attention a<br />

little bit more towards the hounds as well as the fox. If<br />

hundreds are being bred to be killed every year, as they<br />

don’t make the grade, are ignored, neglected and shot<br />

young, then we need to look more towards the rights of<br />

these animals. If a person can be prosecuted for abusing<br />

a pet dog, then why is no one doing more about the<br />

protection of these poor hunting dogs?<br />

Perhaps now we can start to fight for the rights of the<br />

hounds as well as the fox. BV<br />

74 | BarefootVegan


The Water Meadow<br />

A short story by Mark Stewart<br />

Illustration by David Sandrock<br />

76 | BarefootVegan


T<br />

he ramp beneath his feet was made of metal – it was<br />

always metal or concrete, never grass or hay, or even<br />

sawdust – and the ridges in the metal surface that he had to<br />

clamber over hurt his feet, knocking and jarring, adding to<br />

the numerous bruises that had already been inflicted. He<br />

was beaten with a stick as he climbed; savage blows as<br />

harsh as the shouts and curses that also fell upon him,<br />

goading him into the narrow, roofed enclosure.<br />

There were slats in the walls he could see through,<br />

offering the narrowest of views. His world had always been<br />

thus, a place of confinement and restriction. It was hot<br />

inside the enclosure even before they shut the ramp. He<br />

knew there would be no water but he searched for it<br />

anyway, the pain in his throat a dry rasping grunt that also<br />

came from his companions, a rough asthmatic wheeze.<br />

They shuffled close together, too many for the space that<br />

had been provided. Soon the floor began to shake, a<br />

mechanical vibration that transmitted itself to his body,<br />

and there was a sense of forward motion.<br />

He went back to one of the slats and peered out at walls<br />

made of brick and stone, barriers that rushed by one after<br />

another. Once briefly he glimpsed a field, a place so utterly<br />

different from the factory-sized shed into which he had<br />

been born and in which he’d lived his entire life. The field<br />

reminded him of a place he sometimes dreamt about, a<br />

meadow containing an ancient oak, its roots a favourite<br />

spot where he could search for food, snuffling and<br />

rummaging, while the tall boughs shaded him from the<br />

sun. And in the meadow there was a brook he could drink<br />

from so he need never be thirsty, a brook which often<br />

overflowed especially during the spring rains, turning one<br />

corner of the field into a water meadow, a kingdom of<br />

dragonflies and amphibians.<br />

The herding began again when the forward motion<br />

stopped. Always the corralling, the hectoring, the beating<br />

sticks, the funnelling into another place, this time the final<br />

place. As soon as the ramp came down they could smell the<br />

blood and the excrement, the one offering a sharp metallic<br />

tang to his nose, the other a reminder of the place he’d<br />

come from. Even in the iron barn, with all its deprivations<br />

and casual cruelties, he had lived long enough to<br />

experience each of the seasons twice over, and he knew<br />

winter as an absence of light and warmth. He knew that<br />

“Once briefly he<br />

glimpsed a field, a place<br />

so utterly different from<br />

the factory-sized shed<br />

into which he had been<br />

born and in which he’d<br />

lived his entire life.”<br />

this was such a place, a place of emptiness, a place<br />

where life faded away.<br />

He ran, they all did, because it was all they could do,<br />

running towards the men in white coats and dirty<br />

boots. The men with death in their hands, men whose<br />

trade was extinction. He felt the cold muzzle of the bolt<br />

gun pressed against the top of his head but the impact,<br />

the killing concussion, was too quick to feel. For the<br />

briefest instant he remembered being born and then<br />

there was nothing. One moment he was alive, the next<br />

he simply wasn’t. There was no sense of falling asleep,<br />

no drift into unconscious, just the sudden onset of<br />

nullity.<br />

He would never know, of course, what became of his<br />

body, that it would be dismembered - legs, head, even<br />

the tail - his bowels eviscerated, the meat carved, the<br />

bones cracked apart, the various components of what<br />

had once been a living thing auctioned and sold off, the<br />

pieces going to destinations he could never have<br />

imagined. Still less would he know that those pieces<br />

would be bought again and cut up again, cooked and<br />

ingested, with the remnants finally expelled into<br />

sewers.<br />

Before all of that happened, his last thought was of a<br />

meadow filled with sunlight, rich with grass, where<br />

there was water to drink and others of his own kind to<br />

keep him company. A green field he might have called<br />

home, where the boughs of an ancient oak moved in a<br />

gentle breeze while he hunted for truffles between root<br />

and stem. And where the ground beneath his feet<br />

would always be soft. BV<br />

Mark Stewart is the author of a<br />

series of short stories and essays<br />

relating to animal welfare.<br />

Loosely entitled “In Defence of<br />

the Ark” these can be found on<br />

his Facebook page. He writes<br />

exclusively for the animal welfare movement.<br />

Mark lives in Surrey; members of his non-human<br />

family include rabbits, foxes and hedgehogs.<br />

77 | BarefootVegan


Photo: ©Veronika Powell - Viva!<br />

78 | BarefootVegan


Milk is<br />

a<br />

Feminist<br />

Issue<br />

By Dr Justine Butler, Senior Health<br />

Researcher & Writer, Viva!<br />

79 | BarefootVegan


“I am a <strong>vegan</strong>feminist<br />

because I<br />

am one animal among<br />

many, and I don’t<br />

wish to impose a<br />

hierarchy of<br />

consumption upon<br />

this relationship.”<br />

Carol J. Adams<br />

A<br />

s a feminist, I wonder how other non-<strong>vegan</strong><br />

feminists feel about consuming cow’s milk –<br />

do they know how milk is produced? Do<br />

they care? Would they carry on drinking<br />

milk if they knew what goes on behind the closed doors<br />

of the modern dairy farm?<br />

We are shocked and outraged at stories of violence<br />

against women – stories of rape, forced pregnancy and<br />

forced adoption yet these are all a routine part of<br />

modern dairy farming. We fight for and value the right<br />

to choose, to control what happens to our own bodies –<br />

cows have no choice, these things are done to them over<br />

and over again, on an industrial scale. The<br />

uncomfortable truth is, milk comes from grieving<br />

mothers.<br />

Feminism combines a range of ideas that share a<br />

common goal supporting the rights and equality of<br />

women. Some feminists understand the term ‘woman’<br />

not as a sex term but as a gender term that depends on<br />

social and cultural factors. Transgender people (who<br />

identify with a gender other than the sex they were<br />

‘assigned at birth’) are coming forward to fight for an<br />

equal place in society. This offers the potential for feminist<br />

politics to be more inclusive. In addition, some feminists<br />

believe that men’s identification with the movement can<br />

also help further feminist causes.<br />

Of course, this is controversial but most people agree that<br />

women – including transgender people who identify as<br />

women – should have an equal place in society.<br />

A key <strong>issue</strong> in feminist politics is a woman’s right to<br />

control her own sexuality and reproductive system,<br />

including access to contraceptives and abortion. It is welldocumented<br />

how sexual violence is used as a means of<br />

control and how it is linked to patriarchy, capitalism and<br />

other forms of oppression.<br />

For example, it wasn’t until 1991 that rape within marriage<br />

became a crime and it wasn’t until 2003 that the Sexual<br />

Offences Act gave ‘consent’ a legal definition in England<br />

and Wales. Before this, exemption from prosecution for<br />

raping their wives was based on the notion that marriage<br />

implied consent to sex and when married, a woman<br />

became the property of her husband. These relatively<br />

recent changes were vigorously campaigned for since the<br />

second wave of feminism in the 1960s – suffragettes being<br />

80 | BarefootVegan


Photo: ©Veronika Powell - Viva!<br />

Cows share with us the<br />

basic brain architecture<br />

responsible for emotion.<br />

Mother cows feel very<br />

distressed when their<br />

offspring are taken from<br />

them, they cry and<br />

bellow. They are still<br />

grieving as the milking<br />

machines suck the milk<br />

from their udders.<br />

the first wave.<br />

In the 1980s a third wave of feminism emerged linking<br />

women with nature, combining feminism with ecology. It<br />

was called ‘ecofeminism’. Feminist protestors at the<br />

Greenham Common women’s peace camp used their<br />

identity as mothers and concern for their children and<br />

future generations to legitimise their protest against<br />

nuclear weapons. Vegetarian ecofeminism became popular<br />

with those who identified with the oppression of farmed<br />

animals. However, ecofeminism was associated with some<br />

ideas that alienated other feminists: all pornography is bad,<br />

all sex workers are victims (whether they know it or not)<br />

and having surgery and hormonal treatment to transform<br />

your sex or gender is unnatural.<br />

In the 1990s, ecofeminism became unfashionable. Critics<br />

said it was misguided linking women to some mystified<br />

notion of nature and that it was not a liberating ideology<br />

but regressive. Ecofeminists were labelled as ethnocentric,<br />

anti-academic, irrational goddess-worshipers and<br />

ecofeminism lost favour. The links between animal abuse<br />

and women’s oppression were dismissed as a postmodern<br />

feminism focused primarily on humans, with little concern<br />

for animals or the environment. Human-centred<br />

(anthropocentric) feminism came to dominate feminist<br />

thinking of the early 2000’s.<br />

In 2015, we are apparently going through the fourth<br />

wave of feminism. Some feminists are asking why it’s<br />

okay for humans to violently control an animal’s<br />

reproductive rights while we fundamentally oppose<br />

such treatment of women. Can there be a divide<br />

between social justice, feminist and animal rights<br />

movements? It could be argued that the connections<br />

between the reproductive freedom of women and<br />

animals are both intrinsically linked to patriarchy,<br />

capitalism and other forms of oppression so why pick<br />

and choose which form of oppression we oppose? This<br />

type of thinking is referred to as speciesism. It<br />

involves the assignment of different moral values,<br />

rights or special consideration to individuals on the<br />

basis of what species they belong to.<br />

Some people argue that speciesism is a prejudice<br />

similar to racism. Analogies are often made between<br />

livestock farming and slavery. In her book The<br />

Dreaded Comparison: Animal Slavery and Human<br />

Slavery, Marjorie Spiegel says: “Both humans and<br />

animals share the ability to suffer from restricted<br />

freedom of movement, from the loss of social freedom<br />

and to experience pain at the loss of a loved one. Both<br />

groups suffer or suffered from their common capacity<br />

to be terrified, by being hunted, tormented or injured.<br />

Both have been objectified, treated as property rather<br />

than as feeling, self-directed individuals…”<br />

Interestingly, in the foreword to this book, Alice<br />

Walker says: “The animals of the world exist for their<br />

own reasons. They were not made for humans any more<br />

than black people were made for whites or women for<br />

men.”<br />

But why should we feel empathy for non-human<br />

animals? The assumption that farm animals don’t<br />

suffer when kept in conditions that would be<br />

considered intolerable for humans is largely based on<br />

the idea that they are less intelligent than humans and<br />

81 | BarefootVegan<br />

>


have no sense of self. Increasingly, however, research<br />

is revealing this to be untrue. John Webster,<br />

Emeritus Professor in Animal Husbandry at Bristol<br />

University says: “People have assumed that<br />

intelligence is linked to the ability to suffer and that<br />

because animals have smaller brains they suffer less than<br />

humans. That is a pathetic piece of logic”.<br />

It’s a misconception that cows are docile and stupid.<br />

Research shows that cows nurture friendships, bear<br />

grudges and become excited over intellectual challenges.<br />

Cows are capable of feeling strong emotions such as pain,<br />

fear and anxiety. They worry about the future, but can also<br />

feel great happiness. Similar traits have been found in pigs,<br />

goats, chickens and other animals. Scientists suggest that<br />

such animals may be so emotionally similar to humans<br />

that welfare laws need to be rethought. Christine Nicol,<br />

Professor of Animal Welfare at Bristol University, says:<br />

“Remarkable cognitive abilities and cultural innovations<br />

have been revealed”.<br />

Another misconception is that it is natural for cows to<br />

constantly produce milk. Just like us, a cow only produces<br />

milk after a nine-month pregnancy and birth.<br />

The bucolic image of a cow and her calf in a pastoral<br />

setting is a myth. A modern dairy cow will be confined and<br />

forcibly impregnated shortly after her first birthday, using<br />

restraining apparatus commonly called a ‘rape rack’. Once<br />

she has given birth, her offspring will be taken from her so<br />

that humans can have her milk. She would naturally suckle<br />

her calf for nine months to a year but in dairy farming,<br />

calves are removed within a day or two. Male calves are<br />

unwanted by-products and every year in the UK 100,000 or<br />

more are shot, others being sold for veal production.<br />

She will yield over 20 litres of milk each day, much more<br />

than her calf would naturally drink. To keep up<br />

production, she will be re-impregnated soon after giving<br />

birth. Modern intensive dairy farming employs a highly<br />

regulated regime of pregnancy and lactation concurrently,<br />

meaning that cows are both pregnant and being milked at<br />

the same time for most of the year. Shackles are sometimes<br />

used on her hind legs if she has suffered muscle or nerve<br />

damage during calving and cannot stand unaided.<br />

This intensive physical demand puts a tremendous strain<br />

on the dairy cow and while still young is likely to suffer<br />

82 | BarefootVegan<br />

Milk is the product of<br />

exploitation of the<br />

reproductive capacities<br />

of female bodies – for<br />

profit. To consider this<br />

a feminist <strong>issue</strong> is an<br />

entirely defensible<br />

political position.<br />

from infertility and severe infections such as mastitis<br />

and laminitis, cutting short her economic and<br />

productive life. These painful ailments are a direct result<br />

of her exploitation. Physically ravaged from the abuse<br />

she has experienced, she is eventually killed to be eaten<br />

in cheap products such as pies and pasties – and baby<br />

food! The average lifespan of a modern dairy cow is<br />

about five years and three or four lactations, when she<br />

could naturally live for 20 to 30 years.<br />

Milk is the product of rape, kidnapping,<br />

torture and murder<br />

Acts of sexual violence or forced sexual activity<br />

performed with animals disgust most people. Why is it<br />

we turn a blind eye to this treatment of dairy cows? Milk<br />

is the product of exploitation of the reproductive<br />

capacities of female bodies – for profit. To consider this a<br />

feminist <strong>issue</strong> is an entirely defensible political position.<br />

American writer, feminist, activist and animal rights<br />

advocate, Carol J. Adams, says: “I would like to see<br />

reproductive freedom for all female animals, not just<br />

human females”. She was just 23 when she realised a<br />

connection existed between feminism and<br />

vegetarianism, between meat-eating and a patriarchal<br />

world. In her ground-breaking book, The Sexual Politics<br />

of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory, she<br />

examines the links between different forms of violence<br />

used against human and non-human animals.<br />

Cows share with us the basic brain architecture<br />

responsible for emotion. Mother cows feel very<br />

distressed when their offspring are taken from them,<br />

they cry and bellow. They are still grieving as the<br />

milking machines suck the milk from their udders.<br />

Is milk a feminist <strong>issue</strong>? I would argue that of course it is<br />

and that the sexual and reproductive choices we enjoy<br />

are denied cows. A torturous cycle of physical and<br />

emotional torment is enforced upon them until they<br />

break. Milk comes from a grieving mother. BV >


Photo: ©Veronika Powell - Viva!<br />

83 | BarefootVegan


Want to know more about how to<br />

drop dairy or where to get<br />

calcium? There’s a whole range<br />

of dairy-free products to choose<br />

from that can supply calcium,<br />

protein and vitamin B12.<br />

Everyone's Going<br />

Dairy-Free £2.00<br />

Discover the delights of dairy-free cuisine<br />

with our new step-by-step guide.<br />

Informative and easy-to-read, it includes 20<br />

mouth-watering dairy-free recipes as well as<br />

helpful shopping and cooking tips.<br />

Order by post from: Viva!,<br />

8 York Court, Wilder St,<br />

Bristol BS2 8QH.<br />

Or call 0117 944 1000 (Mon-<br />

Fri 9am-6pm) or order online<br />

at www.vivashop.org.uk<br />

Why You Don't Need Dairy<br />

£2.50<br />

Viva!’s easy-to-read guide explains how milk<br />

impacts your health and why it is linked to<br />

‘Western diseases’, from cancers and heart<br />

disease to osteoporosis and acne. It also contains<br />

the disturbing facts about the life of dairy cows<br />

and calves as well as outlining good sources of<br />

calcium.<br />

White Lies report £5.50<br />

If you want the science behind dairy’s damaging<br />

impact on health, look no further! This 124-page<br />

health report reviews over 400 research papers<br />

which have examined dairy and health.<br />

1<br />

Dr Justine Butler is the Senior Health Researcher & Writer at the charity Viva! Justine holds<br />

a PhD in Molecular Biology, BSc Biochemistry and Diploma in Nutrition. Armed with peerreviewed<br />

science, Justine has written a series of scientific reports, guides and factsheets for<br />

Viva!Health (the health branch of Viva!) including: Fish-Free for Life, One in Nine (breast<br />

cancer and diet) and White Lies the substantial report on the detrimental health effects of<br />

consuming dairy which accompanied Viva!’s report The Dark Side of Dairy which spelt out<br />

the inherent cruelty of dairy farming.<br />

84 | BarefootVegan


Chilis On Wheels<br />

“It’s amazing<br />

how powerful<br />

love can be”<br />

Michelle Carrera and her son Ollie are on<br />

a mission; a mission to evoke the spirit<br />

of community and feed the homeless people<br />

of New York City with a nourishing <strong>vegan</strong><br />

chili meal.<br />

We spoke with Michelle, the founder and<br />

director of Chilis On Wheels to learn how<br />

her initiative is inspiring others through<br />

<strong>vegan</strong>ism and compassion to show loving<br />

kindness in their own communities.<br />

88 | BarefootVegan


“Children pick up what is around<br />

them. They learn by watching. If<br />

we want our kids to be kind<br />

people, they have to see people<br />

being kind.”<br />

Tell us about your <strong>vegan</strong> journey…<br />

My sister was given a baby chick for Easter in her school.<br />

We took care of this baby chick and he grew into an<br />

amazing rooster who came when called, who liked to<br />

cuddle, who was a member of our family. Piolín (Spanish<br />

word for Tweety Bird) changed the way I thought about<br />

food, and he started me on the path of <strong>vegan</strong>ism. As I<br />

became an activist later and helped some people transition<br />

to <strong>vegan</strong>ism, and as I raise my son <strong>vegan</strong>, I think about all<br />

the animals this one particular rooster saved, and it is sort<br />

of amazing how powerful love can be. The love that he<br />

showed me changed me, and has allowed me to change<br />

others.<br />

What was it about the plight of the homeless<br />

in particular that spurred you into setting up<br />

Chilis On Wheels?<br />

In the beginning, our work did not have a name. I wanted<br />

my son, Ollie, who is four years old, to experience<br />

volunteer work with people. We are always talking about<br />

<strong>vegan</strong>ism and the plight of animals, and I realised that he<br />

needed to understand the plight of people too. I wanted<br />

him to know about building community and helping one<br />

another, because we too are animals, and my definition of<br />

Click here to watch a<br />

video of Ollie talking<br />

about Chilis On Wheels.<br />

90 | BarefootVegan<br />

<strong>vegan</strong>ism includes compassion for everyone. There are<br />

no <strong>vegan</strong> soup kitchens in NYC, so we decided to make<br />

the food ourselves and distribute it. After that initial<br />

outing, in the winter, seeing people shiver, seeing people<br />

eat very fast because they were hungry, I could not<br />

ignore it again. And I committed myself to doing it more<br />

often, and more often, and right now we operate weekly,<br />

but that still does not seem like enough.<br />

Have there been any challenges that you’ve<br />

had to overcome in setting the charity up?<br />

We have run out of room in my kitchen and so we can<br />

only make 100-200 chili a week. We are trying to look for<br />

a rent-free kitchen in churches or community centres, so<br />

that we can serve more people in need, but we have not<br />

had any luck so far.<br />

What has been the highlight since you’ve<br />

launched?<br />

The highlight is always the people. As we kept returning,<br />

people started getting to know us. Some call us “The<br />

Chili Ladies” or “The Chili Group” and some share little<br />

bits of their story, and that is always the highlight, it’s<br />

what keeps me going.<br />

We met Chris, who is a young Rastafarian. He is a<br />

vegetarian, and he finds it really hard to find options in<br />

the soup kitchens. He has such a positive attitude, and<br />

he always smiles when he sees us. The first time that we<br />

met him, he said he had read about us in the paper. I felt<br />

like a star!<br />

We have also met Matthew who receives a big bag of<br />

leftover bread from a bakery and who takes it back to the<br />

park to distribute among his friends. He also always has<br />

an inner shine and his presence enthrals you.<br />

We have met Jesus, who begs us to keep coming back<br />

because “people are hurting”. And we have met Esi Grant<br />

who had just come out of the hospital and who recited a<br />

poem for us. You can find it on our website’s blog.<br />

We also love our volunteers, Veganteers as we call them,<br />

some of whom have become an extended part of our<br />

family. The teenagers from Edward Murrow High School


are an integral part of the team, and I am so inspired by<br />

their commitment and hard work.<br />

How has the charity expanded/evolved since<br />

your initial chili run?<br />

Chilis on Wheels now serves once a week in NYC, and 100-<br />

200 meals a week. Chapters have sprung up across the<br />

country in San Diego, Portland, Denver, and Puerto Rico.<br />

What are your further aspirations for Chilis<br />

On Wheels?<br />

In the immediate future we are looking for a kitchen that<br />

will allow us to increase the amount of food that we<br />

distribute. In NYC there are approximately 60,000 people<br />

living in the streets. 1 in 6 Americans struggle with<br />

hunger. The need is there and it is staggering. It is up to<br />

us to do something about it.<br />

Within a couple of years we hope to create a sort of <strong>vegan</strong><br />

food hub where we can get the community together<br />

around food. Provide daily meals, give <strong>vegan</strong> cooking<br />

classes on a budget to the community. Perhaps have a<br />

community garden and rally people on how to grow some<br />

of their own food. Collaborate with other agencies, for<br />

example work readiness organisations, have cooking<br />

training, internships, etc.<br />

We hope to help people that are hurting, and at the same<br />

time spread the message of <strong>vegan</strong>ism, and help people go<br />

<strong>vegan</strong>.<br />

In your view, how does <strong>vegan</strong>ism intersect<br />

with <strong>issue</strong>s relating to justice?<br />

All struggles are connected, all suffering is connected. I<br />

like to maximise my impact, so I like to work the<br />

intersections. With <strong>vegan</strong>ism and poverty for example, it’s<br />

><br />

To find out more about Chilis On<br />

Wheels (to donate, volunteer or open up<br />

a chapter near you) visit the Chilis on<br />

Wheels website. You can also keep in<br />

touch with Michelle and Ollie via<br />

Facebook and Twitter.<br />

91 | BarefootVegan


Chilis On Wheels<br />

Michelle’s Official Recipe<br />

Ingredients:<br />

(Serves 15)<br />

1 16 oz bag of dry black beans OR<br />

4 cans of black beans<br />

1 16 oz bag of dry red beans OR<br />

4 cans of Red beans<br />

1 16 oz of dry pinto beans OR<br />

4 cans of pinto beans<br />

4 cups of veggie broth/stock<br />

4 cups of water<br />

2 cups of tomato sauce<br />

2 large cans of tomatoes<br />

1 can of corn<br />

4 garlic cloves<br />

1 medium yellow onion<br />

2 green and 2 red bell peppers<br />

chopped<br />

3 medium sized potatoes<br />

1 yam<br />

1 tablespoon salt<br />

1 tablespoon black pepper<br />

2 tablespoons chili powder<br />

1/4th cup of olive oil<br />

Method:<br />

Soak beans overnight or boil the beans for two minutes<br />

and let soak in hot water for about an hour. (You may<br />

substitute for canned beans, but this will raise the<br />

price).<br />

Mash the canned tomatoes and set aside for later (using<br />

your hands is okay).<br />

In another pan, place the olive oil, the peppers, and<br />

onion and let them soften, then stir in the garlic<br />

browning slightly. Add in the potatoes, yam, the<br />

cilantro, and the tomatoes for a few minutes, just to mix<br />

in well with the oil and the peppers. Add the beans,<br />

broth, water and spices. (I try not to make it spicy since<br />

I do not know how it might affect some people).<br />

Cook at a low temperature until all veggies are cooked<br />

and tender, approximately 45 minutes.<br />

Before serving, add the can of corn and stir well. BV<br />

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W<br />

hen I first became <strong>vegan</strong>, I had no idea of the<br />

positive environmental effects it has. Even though<br />

I'd been a vegetarian for years, the information didn't<br />

seem to pop up anywhere. The truth I found was that my<br />

new lifestyle dramatically decreased the demands I placed<br />

on the environment. This powerful eco message is now<br />

spreading far and wide and awareness is rising, although<br />

the media in general still seems a little shy about the<br />

subject. Surely this is information that could dramatically<br />

transform our society for the better! It should be front<br />

page news. Everyday.<br />

We are waking up to a new dawn in our relationship<br />

with food, scratching the surface of how it is produced<br />

and the important role diet plays in keeping us fit and<br />

well. These are fine times to be alive as stigmas shift and<br />

<strong>vegan</strong>s rise! We are surely some of the most effective 'ecoactivists'<br />

just by simply munching gorgeous plant based<br />

foods and embodying a peaceful and inclusive message of<br />

hope. But all is not rosy in our global veg patch. This<br />

seems like just the beginning of a long journey of<br />

collective re-evaluation and change. Things are shifting<br />

little by little as we move towards a more heart centred<br />

society. After all, these days of industrialised, mass<br />

consumerism have almost been the death of us!<br />

I am no expert in the field of environmentalism, I am<br />

predominately a cook after all and my place is in the<br />

kitchen, but I am passionate about learning new and<br />

“Make ethical choices in<br />

what we buy, do, and<br />

watch. In a consumerdriven<br />

society our<br />

individual choices, used<br />

collectively for the good<br />

of animals and nature,<br />

can change the world<br />

faster than laws.”<br />

Mark Bekoff<br />

creative methods which can move us all closer to a<br />

sustainable existence and am deeply concerned about<br />

the harm we are doing to our planet.<br />

Eating a plant-based diet is the future of food. All the<br />

movers and shakers know about it, from Bill Gates to<br />

Jamie Oliver, Beyonce to James Cameron. A glut of<br />

scientists, politicians and public figures are coming out<br />

the veggie-closet and speaking with heart-felt concern<br />

for our environmental situation and promoting plant<br />

alternatives to meat and dairy. We are making some<br />

progress and reforms in Britain and many other wealthy,<br />

capitalist countries, but is the shift happening quick<br />

enough? Vegans are still a distinct minority, only 2% in<br />

the USA and even less in the UK (although Sweden is 4%<br />

<strong>vegan</strong>, well done!)<br />

94 | BarefootVegan


Eating<br />

for The<br />

Earth<br />

By Lee Watson<br />

I believe that the environment is close to the majority of<br />

peoples hearts and yet most folk are still unaware of the<br />

ecological destruction that the meat industry creates<br />

globally. This is a highly accessible and engaging message<br />

and a key to promoting <strong>vegan</strong>ism to a larger audience.<br />

Animal rights are essential from an ethical <strong>vegan</strong>'s stand<br />

point but the environment is a lot easier to talk about at a<br />

dinner party! One third of the overall arable land on<br />

earth is used to grow crops to be fed to cattle and not<br />

humans and 70% of this land suffers from overgrazing. I<br />

think most people would be concerned by this.<br />

According to the UN Report entitled 'Livestocks Long<br />

Shadow' industrialised agriculture contributes on a<br />

'massive scale' to global warming, air pollution, land<br />

degradation, energy use, deforestation and biodiversity<br />

decline. With an ever increasing global population,<br />

alternatives to fossil fuel consumption are being explored,<br />

but we all have to eat right! Only a huge shift in our<br />

collective eating habits and the way we grow and produce<br />

food will avert a potential environmental disaster. Many<br />

of the problems relating to environmental destruction<br />

related to diet just seem too large to tackle or even<br />

comprehend. It is important to know the basics and<br />

focus on them; the livestock industry uses fossil fuels,<br />

fertile top soil and water at unsustainable rates and we<br />

are mismanaging, on a grand scale, the limited resources<br />

we have been blessed with. We are sustaining ourselves<br />

in the most unsustainable ways!<br />

Meat consumption is expected to double by 2050.<br />

Formerly predominately vegetarian countries like Indian<br />

and China are experiencing a rise. Many countries are<br />

reviewing the subsidies given to the livestock industry<br />

and 'price distortion'; animals, grains, water, land etc are<br />

turned into commodities with low value, which does not<br />

reflect their true worth and scarcity. The meat and<br />

dairy industry is hugely resource heavy. 8% of the<br />

global fresh water supply is used and colossal areas of<br />

thriving ecosystems are destroyed daily to accommodate<br />

industrialised cattle farms (the size of which can be seen<br />

from space!) 70% of land formerly forested in the<br />

Amazon and 10% of the energy in the US is used in the<br />

rearing of livestock. Of course, we are not regularly<br />

confronted by the spectacle of this type of farming,<br />

primarily because these farms are located in out of<br />

town/ remote areas or developing countries with less<br />

focused environmental laws, where labour and land is<br />

generally cheaper. 80% of the growth in the livestock<br />

sector comes from industrial production. As consumers<br />

we have the opportunity, the power and responsibility<br />

to put pressure on commercial and political institutions<br />

to bring about positive environmental reforms.<br />

There is a growing trend towards people eating less<br />

meat and dairy in Britain, with a huge surge in the<br />

popularity of <strong>vegan</strong>ism in the last five years.<br />

><br />

95 | BarefootVegan


Veganism is a long<br />

term, wholesale<br />

solution and gets<br />

straight to the root<br />

of these<br />

environmental <strong>issue</strong>s:<br />

Livestock production creates 40% more<br />

greenhouse emissions than the entire global<br />

transport industry combined.<br />

Half of the worlds animals have disappeared<br />

in the last 40 years and 35 of the worlds<br />

'hotspots for diversity' are threatened by<br />

habitat loss brought about by livestock<br />

production.<br />

Lowering consumption of animal products in richer,<br />

Western countries, is a massive boost to the global<br />

environment. Unfortunately there are also many<br />

'health' diets being promoted at the minute that seem<br />

to lose track of the responsibility we have to the planet.<br />

Diets that promote 'resource rich' foods, meat and<br />

dairy, that actually harm our health and the<br />

environment. Surely this is a giant leap backwards in<br />

our evolution and development. Choosing only organic<br />

meat is growing in popularity, but this type of meat<br />

'production' is normally worse for the environment and<br />

does not mean a better quality of life for the animals.<br />

It's also expensive and completely unnecessary when a<br />

<strong>vegan</strong> diet is so accessible, nutritious and inexpensive.<br />

Why go only part of the way to saving the planet when<br />

we can join the <strong>vegan</strong> fiesta and dance ourselves to a<br />

brighter and cleaner future?<br />

It appears to me that our society is geared to making us<br />

feel small and detached, when in reality, and modern<br />

science now supports this, we are part of a whole. Each<br />

individual is interconnected with all things. With this<br />

in mind, causing harm to others and the environment<br />

is actually harming ourselves. Veganism offers up a<br />

holistic, effective and ultimately peaceful way of living,<br />

negating harmful behavioural patterns and habits,<br />

whilst deepening our connection with each other and<br />

all things. Every action has an effect and we may<br />

choose to become the point at which everything shifts<br />

in the most beautiful and empowering of directions.<br />

It seems that now is the time to review the way we<br />

approach both our external and internal environments,<br />

taking steps to ensure both are in harmony and<br />

creating the suitable conditions for peaceful and<br />

fulfilling lives for all living beings. It will no doubt take<br />

patience, understanding and compassion. Good things<br />

will naturally follow and entrenched opinions will<br />

gradually soften. We may begin, as a society, to eat for<br />

the earth, taking small steps towards our goal; ever<br />

planting positive seeds with skill and care and with a<br />

strong intention to one day end the needless killing of<br />

all innocent animals and the healing of our home. BV<br />

37% of the worlds anthropogenic methane<br />

emissions are attribute to the livestock<br />

industry, along with 65% of nitrous oxide, 9%<br />

of carbon dioxide emissions and two thirds of<br />

ammonia production (responsible for acid<br />

rain and acidification of ecosystems).<br />

27 kgs of CO2 for 1 kilo beef, compared with<br />

0.9kg for 1 kg lentils.<br />

An acre of land can produce 40,000 pounds of<br />

potatoes, 50,000 pounds of tomatoes or 250<br />

pounds of beef.<br />

95% of the oats grown in the US are fed to<br />

livestock, along with 80% of the corn. The<br />

grain and soya bean fed to cattle in the US<br />

alone could feed 1.3 billion people.<br />

It takes 7 kilos of grain to make 1 kilo of beef,<br />

4 kilos for 1 kilo of pork, 2 kilos for 1 kilo<br />

chicken.<br />

Animal agriculture uses 37% of all pesticides,<br />

which in turn is consumed by the animals,<br />

then humans. Pesticide also runs off into<br />

water courses.<br />

It takes 2,400 gallons of water per 1 pound of<br />

beef, 25 gallons for 1 pound of wheat. The<br />

average Brit eats 80kg meat per year (125kg in<br />

the USA)<br />

These figures surely<br />

represent a huge wake up<br />

call.<br />

96 | BarefootVegan


Is Served...<br />

Each year in the UK alone, around 15 million<br />

tonnes of food is wasted. Skipchen is a<br />

campaign café in Bristol, UK that seeks to<br />

abolish avoidable food waste. The team behind<br />

Skipchen aims to highlight the need for<br />

systemic change and community engagement.<br />

Their project represents an alternative to devaluing<br />

edible food-waste and the worth of<br />

people. We spoke to one of the founders and co<br />

-directors, Catie Jarman to find out more.<br />

Can you tell me a little bit<br />

about yourself and how you<br />

came to be involved in<br />

Skipchen?<br />

We’re a group of people who’ve just<br />

finished university and we all had a<br />

very personal interest in<br />

environmental <strong>issue</strong>s as well as food,<br />

this includes the climate and the social<br />

problems and critical <strong>issue</strong>s that<br />

they’re connected to. Predominantly<br />

that interest is born out of an inherent<br />

passion to challenge the social<br />

problems that arise from<br />

environmental destruction. Also we<br />

see that these <strong>issue</strong>s are connected to<br />

the need for change at a political level.<br />

Was Skipchen always going<br />

to be a ‘pay as you feel’<br />

format?<br />

It definitely was. It was born out of a<br />

similar concept from Australia,<br />

Lentil As Anything. In the UK the<br />

first to start this concept was ‘The<br />

Real Junk Food Project’ who opened<br />

a Leeds café. A few of us from the<br />

Bristol Skipchen were studying in<br />

Leeds and so got involved in The<br />

Real Junk Food Project café. We then<br />

moved to Bristol for our personal<br />

interest and set up Skipchen. It has<br />

exactly the same concept as the<br />

other cafés, which is 100% food<br />

surplus and we get by with<br />

donations and customers paying as<br />

they feel.<br />

So when you looked at<br />

starting up Skipchen what<br />

challenges did you have to<br />

overcome in the initial<br />

stages?<br />

Initially, it was created out of a lot of<br />

personal energy that we had as a<br />

starting group. We were fresh out of<br />

university and wanted to make an<br />

impact in the world by contributing<br />

our energy to something more<br />

physical and practical. And the<br />

challenges that we faced were just in<br />

terms of our own capacity and trying<br />

to find a space in the city. For us,<br />

that was a block but only for about a<br />

week until we just got out there and<br />

spoke to people and looked for some<br />

spaces. The challenge was really just<br />

getting in and doing it. We didn’t<br />

really save any time talking about it.<br />

We just thought that we’ve got to<br />

create the space. We knew that the<br />

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>


food was there and we knew that there was going to be<br />

people to eat it. All we needed was a space with some<br />

tables, some forks and a cooker.<br />

individuals who might be moving out of their house or<br />

clearing out the cupboards. On any one day in the café,<br />

the food could have come from up to 12 different places.<br />

So were all those things, such as space and<br />

the practical things you needed, donated?<br />

Yes. We had one initial meeting with a few people to talk<br />

about what Bristol was doing in terms of redistributing<br />

food waste and then we just literally got out into the city<br />

one day on our bikes and cycled around, looking for<br />

empty spaces, and speaking to people. We found a café<br />

space that had a kitchen in it and wasn’t being used. It<br />

was a reasonable size, it had all the equipment we<br />

needed, and it was in a very central location. It just made<br />

sense.<br />

And in terms of sourcing the food, how did<br />

you go about it? Is it skip-diving or is it<br />

donated from supermarkets? How does it<br />

work?<br />

So it’s really open and basically we’re not really concerned<br />

about the origin of the food because we know that there<br />

is food being wasted at every stage of the supply change -<br />

from the farm to the fork. So food may come from<br />

individual farmers and food market contract farmers,<br />

wholesalers, distributors, people who are marketing food,<br />

PR agencies, restaurants, cafés, farm shops and even<br />

Are there any kinds of regulations that you<br />

have to be aware of in terms of dealing<br />

with the food?<br />

“In running Skipchen the way we do,<br />

sometimes we operate outside of the law by<br />

obtaining food from the supermarket that has<br />

been deemed unsellable and we’re still<br />

serving it. So in that sense we're quite<br />

happy to come out and say that we operate<br />

illegally, if that's what the law says. And<br />

we feel that law should be changed.”<br />

We describe ourselves as a campaign café and so it’s not<br />

just a café dealing with food surplus. It’s also a café<br />

that’s campaigning to change specific things about the<br />

law and the politics of food. We feel there are injustices<br />

and they need to be changed. One of<br />

these is holding supermarkets<br />

responsible for the level and the scale of<br />

food waste that we see from the farm to<br />

the supermarket shelf. In running<br />

Skipchen the way we do, sometimes we<br />

operate outside of the law by obtaining<br />

food from the supermarket that has<br />

been deemed unsellable and we’re still<br />

serving it. So in that sense we're quite<br />

happy to come out and say that we<br />

operate illegally, if that's what the law says. And we feel<br />

that law should be changed.<br />

Most people don’t believe pay-as-you-feel<br />

or gift economies can work. What do you<br />

have to say about that?<br />

I think sometimes people think that if they don’t have a<br />

good understanding. So for example there are people<br />

that don't pay or put pennies in or put a minimal<br />

amount that wouldn't be considered to be a lot to<br />

people with money. The reason for that is that they<br />

either have drug or alcohol abuse problems, or they<br />

maybe they don't have a home and they've been shut<br />

out by the housing system. So there are I think a lot of<br />

misunderstandings as to why people might not be as<br />

generous as other people with their disposable income. I<br />

100 | BarefootVegan


think that's part of the reason why we exist, just to support<br />

those people who need it most in obtaining a meal that<br />

they're not being provided with by society. Skipchen is just<br />

about really trying to change people’s idea of the value and<br />

worth of money and the value and worth of food and<br />

people; the labour and the energy and transport and all<br />

those resources, natural and man-made, that enable food to<br />

be eaten by humans. I think it's basically about<br />

understanding and communication and trying to change<br />

our conditioned minds to a slightly more positive and<br />

beautiful view of money.<br />

I saw that you went recently to the<br />

immigration camp in Calais, which I just<br />

thought was such a fantastic, kind,<br />

compassionate thing to do, especially in light<br />

of the way the UK media portrays<br />

immigration. What was that experience like?<br />

It seemed like a pretty simple solution to us. The whole<br />

situation with the immigration camp there is really, really<br />

traumatic and it just shouldn't be in existence, due to the<br />

fact that we know there is so much food wasted and<br />

available. We had the resources to try and provide food.<br />

We decided we had to organise and get ourselves there.<br />

Hopefully we provided some energy and a bit of hope to the<br />

people living in the camp. On reflection it was actually<br />

pretty shocking to see how badly and incorrectly the<br />

media portrays the situation and the politics of the<br />

situation. We used the media attention that we gained<br />

from it as a platform to point out that this <strong>issue</strong> and<br />

the ones we campaign on are connected. You know the<br />

food that we get through the café is predominantly<br />

from the origins where these people are escaping and<br />

fleeing. And why are these people leaving there? What<br />

are they in search of here? And why are we not being<br />

given this information by the media? It became a more<br />

complex story and I think we're going to continue to<br />

try and raise awareness of it in whatever way we can.<br />

We’d love to be able to try and do more rather than<br />

just spend five or six days in the camp. We lived and<br />

we were welcomed into where the camp residents<br />

were living, where they created their temporary<br />

homes. It was an eye opener to see how resourceful<br />

and positive they are. The media looks at the situation<br />

from an outsider’s perspective and isn't really<br />

narrowing in on the full scale of the problem or the<br />

solution. It's just kind of exasperating to see the fear<br />

cultivated in people’s minds about what immigrants<br />

are going to do when they get here and the reasons<br />

why they leave their homes in the first place.<br />

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>


You're also looking at doing school<br />

programmes. What can you tell us about that?<br />

Well so far, we’ve visited three schools in May this year and<br />

that was just a basic breakfast programme that we had set up.<br />

A couple of us have experience working with kids and our<br />

subject is something that we see is lacking from the<br />

curriculum. In the future we're going to aim for it to become<br />

something that can be used as a resource for schools, so<br />

something that we can also sustain ourselves from. So in<br />

terms of money, that's what we’re looking to do because<br />

there's a lot of funding for alternatives to the curriculum. We<br />

see it as a really practical way to engage with school kids and<br />

let them know what is going on and how they can get<br />

involved with making positive change outside of school. It’s<br />

about trying to be honest with them about the problems but<br />

not burdening kids with the situation that we're in.<br />

Community outreach is at the heart of what we’re doing.<br />

Is there anything else that you want readers to<br />

know about?<br />

From September we’ll be back in Bristol, planning what<br />

Skipchen should be doing next, how it should provide for the<br />

people of Bristol and also how it should tackle political <strong>issue</strong>s. BV<br />

To find out more about<br />

Skipchen, the ‘pay-asyou-feel’<br />

movement and<br />

food justice, visit<br />

their website. You can<br />

also connect with them<br />

on Facebook.<br />

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103 | BarefootVegan


lauren Ornelas<br />

The Food<br />

Empowerment<br />

Project<br />

For many of us, we believe that once we go <strong>vegan</strong> our<br />

food choices no longer inflict harm. However,<br />

today’s global food system is such that many farm<br />

workers face little pay and hazardous conditions,<br />

low-income neighbourhoods don’t have access to<br />

wholesome, nutritious food and child and slave<br />

labour are used in several countries that produce<br />

commodity products such as chocolate, coffee and<br />

bananas. lauren Ornelas saw that while <strong>vegan</strong>ism<br />

could help alleviate some of these <strong>issue</strong>s, there was<br />

s t i l l m o r e t o b e d o n e a n d s e t u p T h e F o o d<br />

Empowerment Project to raise awareness and fight<br />

injustice.<br />

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what<br />

inspired you to set up the Food Empowerment<br />

Project?<br />

For more than 25 years now I have been a social justice<br />

activist. When I first began my activism, I was a vegetarian<br />

and gravitated towards human rights <strong>issue</strong>s (such as<br />

consumer campaigns to help end apartheid in South Africa).<br />

Then in the 1980s, when I learned about the exploitation of<br />

non-human animals, I went <strong>vegan</strong> and began to work on<br />

animal rights <strong>issue</strong>s. After many years of focussing on animal<br />

rights and having my attempts to connect these <strong>issue</strong>s of<br />

injustice to others not be fully understood or appreciated, I<br />

knew that I needed to do something.<br />

In 2006, I had the opportunity to speak at the World<br />

Social Forum in Caracas, Venezuela. It was refreshing<br />

to learn even more about so many of the <strong>issue</strong>s I cared<br />

about. That is when I knew I had to start an<br />

organisation that focussed on food justice where I<br />

could connect many of the <strong>issue</strong>s that I cared strongly<br />

about—an organisation to help create change and<br />

empower people with their food choices!<br />

The <strong>issue</strong>s that are encompassed within<br />

the term food justice are many. What are<br />

some of the most pressing <strong>issue</strong>s that you<br />

are currently campaigning on?<br />

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For us, working for food justice means seeing if there are<br />

ways we can higlight not only the entire supply chain of food<br />

as it’s grown, picked, and distributed, and pointing out the<br />

need for fair and just treatment of the workers, but also<br />

shining a light on the need for healthy food to be accessible<br />

to everyone in all communities, which includes being<br />

affordable too. Because we are a <strong>vegan</strong> organisation, we take<br />

the non-human animals into consideration as well. We want<br />

justice and equity for all, and we don’t feel one life has to be<br />

sacrificed for another. These <strong>issue</strong>s are all connected.<br />

Some of the <strong>issue</strong>s we are addressing include getting people<br />

to go and stay <strong>vegan</strong> with our Food Chain newsletter,<br />

organising a monthly outreach at a chicken slaughterhouse,<br />

helping farm workers and their families (we are just<br />

wrapping up a school supply drive for the children of farm<br />

workers who pick our food), doing research in areas that<br />

lack access to healthy foods (we are finishing up our<br />

research in Vallejo, CA), and working on getting companies<br />

to be more transparent about where their chocolate is<br />

sourced from.<br />

Why do you believe more people aren’t aware<br />

of these <strong>issue</strong>s?<br />

For those of us who are <strong>vegan</strong> (not just when it comes to<br />

food), we know that many people are unaware of the<br />

suffering that goes into the making of a milk shake or<br />

watching dolphins perform tricks in places like Six Flags. It<br />

is no different when it comes to the suffering of farm<br />

workers in the fields and the suffering of children for the<br />

production of chocolate. We are removed from the<br />

true cost. Companies aren’t going to teach us about<br />

these important <strong>issue</strong>s—it’s more advantageous to<br />

keep these <strong>issue</strong>s out of the public eye.<br />

What is environmental racism and what<br />

can be done about it?<br />

Let me start by saying that one of the reasons we talk<br />

about environmental racism is because many in the<br />

U.S. aren’t aware that communities of colour are more<br />

impacted by pollution (from oil refineries, toxics,<br />

dumps) than white communities (there are some<br />

exceptions, for example in Appalachia). This inequity<br />

can also be found when it comes to those impacted by<br />

factory farms. Our website cites information about<br />

North Carolina pig farms being located in primarily<br />

black neighborhoods and California dairy farms being<br />

located in primarily Latino neighborhoods. Living near<br />

these facilities means that residents are forced to live<br />

with health problems such as headaches, nose bleeds,<br />

respiratory problems, and other <strong>issue</strong>s such as<br />

depression (imagine not being able to open your<br />

windows because of the smell and the flies), along with<br />

obviously lower property values. What can be done is a<br />

tough question – people can inform others about these<br />

<strong>issue</strong>s and support those community groups that are<br />

working to fight corporations that are poisoning their<br />

communities.<br />

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>


What are food deserts and why do they<br />

exist?<br />

If you look at geographic areas where residents’ access<br />

to affordable, healthy food options (especially fresh<br />

fruits and vegetables) is restricted or nonexistent due to<br />

the absence of grocery stores, gardens, or other ways to<br />

access produce within convenient travelling distance,<br />

that would be a good description of a food desert. F.E.P.<br />

works on access to healthy foods in communities of<br />

colour and low-income communities because it is not<br />

just a matter of proximity, but of cost as well, and we<br />

feel available foods should also be culturally<br />

appropriate.<br />

Unfortunately, there are many who do not have access<br />

to healthy foods in their communities and are not only<br />

time poor but cash poor. I’m not necessarily referring to<br />

people who are working jobs that they love and working<br />

behind a desk all day. I’m referring to people who are<br />

working service jobs (fast food, grocery stores, hotels,<br />

etc.) and are absolutely worn out and exhausted when<br />

they get home. Then, of course, some of these people<br />

work more than one job to help make ends meet.<br />

These are complicated <strong>issue</strong>s. Being paid a living wage<br />

would certainly help many of these workers afford<br />

healthier foods.<br />

Click here to watch<br />

lauren’s TEDx talk<br />

on the power of our<br />

food choices.<br />

Most people believe that slavery is a thing<br />

of the past; however, your organisation is<br />

discovering that slave and child labour still<br />

exist. What have been some of the<br />

experiences that you and your colleagues<br />

have born witness to and where is this<br />

taking place?<br />

Our organisation has not personally witnessed it taking<br />

place. However, slavery and child labour is still prevalent<br />

around the globe in a variety of forms. In our work, we<br />

focus more on those involved in the food industry. We<br />

do know that both exist in the United States and abroad<br />

as documented by both the U.S. Department of Labor,<br />

extensive first-hand accounts, documentaries, and other<br />

sources. Our work focuses on farm workers in the U.S.<br />

and those working in the chocolate industry. Slavery and<br />

horrific labour conditions are well documented in both<br />

these areas.<br />

What are the most common foods that<br />

people consume worldwide that have a<br />

system of exploitation behind them?<br />

Any animal products that people consume are directly<br />

connected to a system of exploitation, from the nonhuman<br />

animal whose life was taken to the workers at<br />

factory farms and slaughterhouses. But even fruits and<br />

vegetables can be connected to this same system as most<br />

farm workers are exposed to agricultural chemicals, do<br />

not have benefits, do not make living wages, and endure<br />

other abuses on the job, including sexual harassment.<br />

Adding to the list, many commodity products such as<br />

chocolate, bananas, coffee, and palm oil are also<br />

connected to this system of exploitation.<br />

Are ethical, fairtrade and organic labels that<br />

we can trust?<br />

I am less familiar with organic, but as many <strong>vegan</strong>s know,<br />

just because milk from a cow may come from an organic<br />

farm, that does not make it acceptable, and it is the same<br />

with farm workers. Organic does not mean the farm<br />

workers are treated any better; it just means that they are<br />

not being exposed to agricultural chemicals. When it<br />

comes to the other types of certifications, it is a complex<br />

106 | BarefootVegan


<strong>issue</strong>, and for products such as chocolate, bananas, and coffee,<br />

we have companies that we recommend as we do not go by<br />

certifications for these.<br />

How does living a <strong>vegan</strong> lifestyle support food<br />

justice?<br />

Although I know that not everyone has access to healthy foods,<br />

which makes being <strong>vegan</strong> difficult to impossible, for those who<br />

can go <strong>vegan</strong>, it definitely helps to alleviate some of the<br />

suffering and exploitation in the world. But for me, being <strong>vegan</strong><br />

means to also work to fight injustices and do what I can to<br />

remove myself from systems that support them, which is why I<br />

include human animals in my fight for food justice.<br />

What can each of us do as individuals, no matter<br />

where we live, to ensure our buying choices do<br />

the least amount of harm?<br />

For those who have access to healthy foods, going <strong>vegan</strong> is a<br />

good start, as is making sure you are not buying chocolate that<br />

comes from areas where the worst forms of child labour,<br />

including slavery, are taking place. Of course, it is not just about<br />

what you buy as an individual; it is about supporting other<br />

efforts, including corporate campaigns, legislation, and other<br />

systematic changes. Talking about these <strong>issue</strong>s and encouraging<br />

others to act can also be very effective.<br />

Tell us about the school supply drive for farm<br />

workers' children that you’ve organised…<br />

In just a few days we'll be going to deliver the school supplies,<br />

which is something I really look forward to. This project is close<br />

to my heart. As a <strong>vegan</strong> of more than 27 years and as the<br />

director of an organisation that promotes <strong>vegan</strong>ism, I feel<br />

strongly that we can do more to support the farmworkers who<br />

harvest our food. Of course, we support corporate campaigns, ><br />

Click here for the Food<br />

Empowerment Project’s<br />

list of <strong>vegan</strong> & country<br />

of origin chocolate<br />

suppliers<br />

107 | BarefootVegan


pro-worker legislation, and good regulatory changes, but<br />

in some ways, that was not enough for me. In 2011, I went<br />

on a farm worker reality tour with the Center for<br />

Farmworker Families. We were asked to bring some<br />

school supplies. When a 13-year-old boy picked up a pack<br />

of pencils with sheer joy, the idea came to me to do a<br />

school supply drive.We did our first drive in 2013 and this<br />

year is our second. The response has been overwhelming!<br />

Both the <strong>vegan</strong> and Latino communities have been so<br />

incredibly generous.<br />

One of the things you encourage on your<br />

website is for people to grow their own<br />

food or to get involved in a community coop<br />

project for example. In your experience,<br />

what kind of impact do these activities<br />

have on a community?<br />

We encourage people to grow their own food in order to<br />

get off of a system and become more self-reliant, thus<br />

empowering themselves by growing their own food. We<br />

strongly believe that working and acting at the local level<br />

can truly bring communities together. Though, since we<br />

know that many people (including myself) have not lived<br />

in a house or had the ability to have a garden,<br />

cooperatives seem like another great solution to ensure<br />

that the workers not only make the decisions, but also<br />

profit from the cooperative since corporations are not<br />

truly invested in the community.<br />

Anything else you’d like people to know<br />

about?<br />

We also have a website in English and Spanish full of<br />

recipes, www.<strong>vegan</strong>mexicanfood.com and if people want<br />

to stay informed they can sign up to our monthly email<br />

newsletter. More than anything we want people to be<br />

empowered by their food choices and realise they can and<br />

should act at more than a consumer level to make a<br />

different and fight injustices in the food industry. BV<br />

For more information on the<br />

Food Empowerment Project and<br />

their current campaigns, visit<br />

their website or you can connect<br />

with them via Facebook or<br />

Twitter.<br />

For more information on<br />

food justice, download<br />

the Food Empowerment<br />

Project’s 12-page<br />

brochure here<br />

108 | BarefootVegan


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