FamousVeggie.com's Celebrity Interview with
1. What type of vegetarian are you?(vegan,lacto,lacto ovo,etc.)
2.At what age did you make the decision to go vegetarian?
I was thirteen when I first made the connection between the meat on my plate being the body of a dead animal. I quit eating mammals and called myself "vegetarian"...(but I wasn't really as I still ate birds and fish) My diet followed a gradual evolution as I learned more and thought more carefully about the impact that my choices have upon others. By 29 I was vegan.
3. What was your reason for going vegetarian?
Initially it was because I didn't want to kill beings that I could relate to. Over the years my reasons multiplied and sometimes changed. For awhile, while studying microbiology in college my views even embraced a "survival of the fittest" attitude -- but still I continued to be vegetarian because by then, I had seen how much healthier I was being a veggie, plus after years of not eating meat it grossed it me out. Eventually I came full circle and embraced veganism because I didn't want to cause any suffering, because I felt it was healthier and because I felt it was better for the planet as a whole.
4.What (if anything) do you find hard about being vegetarian?
So much of our culture centers around food based celebrations. Participating in these is offensive to me, and yet I still want the sense of community. So I tend to host most major holidays and events at my home. All my friends and family know that we keep a vegan home, and not to bring any non-vegan food. Invariably I do almost all the food prep. It's starting to wear me out -- especially now that I have two small children. I wish there were more vegan families around for a sense of community, without me having to put out so much effort all the time.
5. Do you find that you feel better or worse since going vegetarian?
Absolutely better -- physically, and emotionally!
6.What about animal rights do you have any thoughts on that?
I think animal rights, human rights, women's rights, gay rights, are all basically saying the same thing -- that consideration for the suffering of others should not be denied upon that other being a member of some disempowered group. While in theory I support animal rights, I seldom get involved with animal rights activities. I feel that influencing people to quit eating animal products does far more to reduce suffering then working on all the other animal rights issues. As long as we (as a culture) are not shocked at the idea of killing another being purely on the basis of appetite -- we will never convince people to see animals as anything other then property or useful "things."
7.Are your husband and two daughters also vegetarian?
Yes, my children have been vegan since conception.
8.So you live in Kansas. Is that a vegetarian friendly state?
It is on our fifteen acres!
9.Tell the readers about your book Compassionate Souls..
I wrote Compassionate Souls after years of research and soul searching trying to figure out how I would raise my children to have the best odds of a long healthy, good life, while becoming good citizens who would be good stewards of the planet. While I found many wonderful ideas and good sources of information not readily available through the mainstream media and establishment, I had to search out these things from many different places. And I kept finding many parents also seeking "alterna" information who hadn't even considered some of the many arena's that they might look into.
For instance while attachment parenting is growing in popularity, many of the families who consider themselves AP really aren't aware of how unhealthy their chosen diets are, and how the foods that they are feeding their children might be predisposing them to serious health problems. Or parents might be aware of the debate over vaccines, and looking into that, but not have given any thought to be exposed to sonograms, over the counter medicines, and molecules of plastic from food and beverage containers while pregnant.
I wanted to put all of my information on vegan pregnancy, conscious birth, attachment parenting, discipline, creating a peaceful home, vaccinations, dealing with the extended family, the importance of community, toys, and teaching your children to swim against the tide in one place....with additional references available for a more in depth look at any of these topics. My website Compassionate Souls.com has additional information for those who are interested.
10.Do you have any new projects coming up in the future?
My parents fiftieth anniversary bash is at my house (vegan of course) That is about all I can think of right now!
11.What are some of your favorite things to eat?
I love fresh ripe fruit of all types in the prime of its season, Tofu "icecream" Tossed salads with some really yummy vegan dressings. I make awesome seitan crepes with a creamy white wine sauce, My husband's potato latkes are terrific too. Let's see......... I love black been burritos, stuffed mushrooms, Amy's Roasted Vegetable Pizza, My remake of Lox, Bagel and Cream cheese (it's in my book) Shepherd's pie, Vegetable lentil soup, scalloped potatoes, Blueberry Tofu Cheesecake.....
12.What do you think is the biggest mistake parents make these days?
Blindly thinking that following the path laid out by mainstream institutions (medical specialists, schools, media, etc etc) will help them to raise healthy, well-adjusted compassionate children. I saw it quoted somewhere recently something like, "learning to adapt to a sick society is not a sign of health" If parents want what is best for their children, they will have to begin an earnest search to discover what lifestyle choices are most consistent with our fundamental biological and spiritual needs. And they will have to be willing to question some our cultures "unquestionable assumptions" Then they must be prepared to be challenged and occasionally condemned for not doing things just like everyone else.
13.Have any last thoughts or words of wisdom?
When Dr Benjamin Spock first proposed an approach to parenting, that relative to that time period was far more compassionate then the norm, it set the stage for a whole revolution when those young people grew up, more thoughtful, more questioning, and willing to stand up for principles that they believed in. Although the 60's are long gone, the strides that we made then in terms of civil rights, and women's rights and environmental activism, have become part of the tapestry of our culture. Right now, all over this country a new ideological revolution is fomenting. It is starting with a philosophy called attachment parenting -- popularized by another pediatrician -- Dr William Sears. Compared to many of the parenting practices that are now the norm, attachment parenting is far more compassionate. When a critical mass of children raised AP grow up, they will face the greatest challenges in terms of worldwide environmental and population pressures that humans have ever encountered. I believe that these AP children will be the leaders in a new ideological revolution. But instead of this one being fueled by civil rights, I believe this next one will be about animal rights, and humans will once again extend their circle of compassion even farther.