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MEME Monday 8.28.2017

I’m sure you can all relate to the image but I LITERALLY felt like this the other day.

I went to buy bread at the local Stop And Shop. They were out of the stuff I like and that I have verified 1,000 f*cking times that it has no stuff in it because, well; I have to. Since they were out this meant I was now invested in some research.

I started reading ingredients. Milk in this one, honey in this one. Milk in that one, honey in that other one. Just for good measure, there was even some that still have azodicarbonamide in them as a levener, who does that sh*t anymore? Some had eggs. You know the drill, keep reading…

Finally I found a loaf from Arnold’s (not all of them from Arnold’s were “safe”) and was able buy some dang bread. It was an overwhelming sense of elation that washed over me. The sun had shone on this dark bread aisle and alas, I was able to walk away and make a sandwich.

What kind of sandwich you ask? Oh just a few slices of Tofurky Roast Beef, a slice of Follow Your Heart  Provolone, a little tomato and lettuce w/ some Just Mayo and a smidge of mustard. All was right with the world at that moment. And then I realized Trump was still president.


Meme Monday 7.23.2017

This excuse gets me all the time, “Veganism is just too extreme for me!”

If you seriously think eating plants and foods that are just as similar as your every day foods, than you are just making excuses to live an unhealthy, and an non-compassionate life.

Don’t get me wrong, you can be a vegan and be unhealthy too. There’s tons of stuff you can eat like Oreo’s, ice cream, chips and all sorts of garbage if that’s what you are worried about missing. It’s not extreme to give a fuck about your health.

If it’s meat you are missing than I ask this; why? Is it taste? Because if that is the reason you can simply use those same spices to flavor up your meat on a piece of seitan or tempeh. It’s not extreme to give a shit about animals.

What is extreme is to know that what you are eating is killing you and continuing to do it, knowing full well at some point in your life you will have a health disaster. Cholesterol kills. It’s not anything your body needs extra of, it produces plenty of it’s own. Saturated fats? Yea that chicken breast has plenty, so much so that all that sugar you eat can’t be absorbed and now you get diagnosed with diabetes.

According to the CDC 1 in 4 deaths in the United States is due to heart disease. The same one that, if diagnosed early, can be treated by opening up your chest cavity and having a vein from your leg transplanted into your heart; as the meme states. EXTREME DUDE!

Normally I write more about the memes in this series of articles, but this one really speaks for itself.

Meme Monday 11.27.16

buddhistveganmemeThis topic is probably something that’s a little more heavy than just writing up a quick piece based on a meme, but it’s also something I’ve wanted to talk about for a while. This seemed like the right place and the right time.

I’ve had experience with a variety of Buddhist traditions though the past 10 years. I’ve sat with Kwan Um Zen teachers and have taken precepts with them as well as sat for kong-an interviews.

I’ve been on Vipassana retreats where it’s just meditation practice all day long, with no speaking, for the length of the retreat.

I took precepts with the Drikung tradition of Buddhism and also received the Chenrezig Empowerment.

I once had a Tibetan teacher (from the Sakya tradition) give me precepts and the Green Tara empowerment. He also gave me a ngöndro practice in which I gave up on after a while based on the fact it felt like I was going through the motions rather than accomplishing anything.

I’ve even been lucky enough to have been in the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and here him talk. This was one of the most humbling moments of my life.

I spent years blogging about my experiences, if interested you can check them out at https://preciousmetal.wordpress.com

Why post this seemingly meaningless resume of sorts? Mainly because I experienced the following issue with all traditions (not necessarily every practitioner); most Buddhists eat meat and consume dairy products. It was a shock to me also, even when I wasn’t vegan. How could it be that a group of people so concerned about suffering cause such suffering? Do they not know what goes on in a slaughterhouse? I mean, they have to right? It was part of the reason I went vegetarian before becoming vegan.

There’s this one teacher (and I use that term loosely with this guy), Bhante Vimalaramsi, from the Theravada tradition who actually says, “When you go into the store and buy some meat, is it a living being? Not was it a living being, is it a living being? No. Did you have intention to kill that living being? No. Did you take a weapon and use that weapon and the being die? No. So there’s no wrong doing in that.”

What the flying f*ck? Are you kidding me dude?! Listen, I understand the idea of intentionality (is that even a real word) but for crying out loud man, when you eat another animals carcass you know that some other person intentionally had to kill it for you, the consumer. So don’t give me that noise, it doesn’t work here.

My 13 year old just sat next to me as I was transcribing that from this video, listened to it and looked at me and said, “WHAT?” He continued to shake his head as it made no sense to him. He is still sitting here nodding his head in disbelief, as I am as well. We continued to watch and listen in horror. I know for sh*t sure that this ignorant, and shameful excuse for a teacher is only a small percentage of those that follow the Buddha’s path, but it is still bewildering none the less. It’s ignorance like this that pushed me away.

Here’s another asinine piece I found online, it’s not a video but will blow you away with irrational ideas such as, “Unless one actually kills an animal oneself (which seldom happens today) by eating meat one is not directly responsible for the animal’s death and in this sense the non- vegetarian is no different from the vegetarian. The latter can only eat his vegetables because the farmer has ploughed his fields (thus killing many creatures) and sprayed the crop (again killing many creatures).” What does that even mean?

Others go on to excuse those monks that seek alms. In some countries, each morning monks walk through villages seeking meals with their outstretched alms bowl. Some believe that they should eat whatever is put in their bowl and be appreciative of the meal that was offered. I understand the respect, but it’s not up to the monk to take on that karma. That’s not their job. You killed, or paid someone else to kill, that animal you deal with that consequence. True respect would be to give that monk food that will nourish their souls and provide them with proper health.

While doing more research, the ignorance is soon washed away by one of the most venerable teachers, and wholesome beings to grace this earth: Thich Nhat Hanh. I watched this video where he speaks about not consuming dairy and meat as to not cause suffering. Now that’s something I can understand and get behind. I went on to learn that Plum Village, the community in which Thay lives and his community practices, in 2007 they switched from vegetarian meals to purely vegan. Again, this made sense.

I guess what I’m getting at and what I’m questioning is this, how can someone who lives a life that’s main purpose is to create the least amount of suffering possible, consume animal products?

I will leave this post on a positive note with one of my favorite quotes from another inspired being, Matthieu Ricard. He says, “It just takes one second to decide to stop. The main reason not to eat meat and fish is to spare others’ lives. This is not an extreme perspective. This is a most reasonable and compassionate point of view.”

Is this to complex of an issue to get into? What are your thoughts?

Thanksliving 2016

Here we are just a few days from one of the nations largest holidays, Thanksgiving. Without trying to overly politicize this post, at it’s core, Thanksgiving was a way for people to come together and put their sh*t aside and enjoy one another’s company. We can talk about how wrong the menu was from the beginning, and how Native Americans have been crapped on since that day. I’m not here to get into that because you can go on Google and find someone who has already written that article.

Meet my virtual friend Shlomo. He is a resident at Tamerlaine Farms. This year I donated to Taermaine to make sure his Thanksgiving was spent in a safe and loving environment.
Meet my virtual friend Shlomo. He is a resident at Tamerlaine Farms. This year I donated to Tamerlaine to make sure his Thanksgiving was spent in a safe and loving environment. You can sponsor a turkey too by clicking on Shlomo and picking your new friend to donate to!

I’m writing this to point out just how awesome animals are, specifically one, and why you should leave them off of your plate this thanksgiving; Turkeys! You can search all over the web for this info, again others have written this article before, but I’ve nitpicked a bit from each of them. At this bottom of this post, after the video, is links to many of those sites.

So here’s 5 fun facts about Turkeys and prove, like other animals, they are just as sentient as us and deserve to live their lives until their natural deaths. It’s not up to us when they die, it’s up to the universe to decide that stuff.

1. Turkeys are fantastic navigators and are know to remember areas they’ve previously traveled after only being their one time before. Imagine if you had that talent, we wouldn’t need GPS apps right?

2. Turkeys are fast as f*ck and can fly up to nearly 60mph! What?

3. Although they have large bodies, wild turkeys roost in trees at night to stay away from predators.

4. They may all sound the same to us, but using a variety of sounds and intonation they have different voices just like we do.

5. Lastly, like other sentient animals, Turkeys create lasting friendships and even become part of huge groups. Wild one’s, like those seen here on Cape Cod, can be found foraging with 30-40 (or more) other turkeys.

Of course, I could go all PETA and tell you how horrific their lives while they are bred and brought up to be part of Thanksgiving. I could tell you that over 45 million of them are brutally slaughtered to be part of a barbaric tradition, but again, I will leave that to PETA and others who’ve written that before.

I’m trying to keep this post on the positive though and that’s why I am reposting the video below. It’s gone viral on vegan social media groups, etc. I must have listened to it a hundred times so far, it’s truly a gem and the artist behind it, Grey, is extremely talented.


Here’s some other sites that have interesting facts about Turkeys.

Mercy For Animals: http://www.chooseveg.com/7-facts-that-prove-turkeys-are-too-sweet
National Audubon Society: http://www.audubon.org/news/9-fun-facts-about-turkeys
One Kind: http://www.onekind.org/education/animals_a_z/turkey

Meme Monday 11.13.16

It took me a minute to get the right pic I was looking for, and I found it. This week I wanted to create an original meme. Today I offer this one up after an interaction I had on the red line in Boston.

I’ve said in the past, and my teammates can back me up on this one; when I wear my Strong Hearts Vegan Power gear I feel like a f*cking superhero. Seriously, I get a rush every time I pull my hoodie on or go running in my tank or tee; its powerful stuff.

superwink_veganSo after rocking my gear at the Spartan Race at Fenway, and feeling all zen like from the run, I was making my way back home. I was waiting for the red line after transferring from the green at Park St and across the track there was a young lady. She caught my attention and pointed to my shirt, back at herself and gave me that nod; yeah I’m vegan as f*ck too! There’s nothing like that feeling when you connect on a fundamental level of understanding with another vegan. Hell I didn’t even know her, but could we be friends? Hell yes! Let’s go get some damned vegan big macs and pet some goats for crying out loud.

All silliness aside, there are times when I waiver on that superhero like feeling. If you’ve seen the SHVP gear you know just how in your face the text is. Wearing it can evoke some serious primordial sh*t with non-vegans. I’ve had it on and had people yell “bacon” or other crap at me. It rolls off my back, to be honest, sometimes you just don’t want to deal with that. Yeah, it’s funny because it’s just their insecurities bubbling up and all; but sometimes you just want to keep the mojo without having to break off a lil something knowledge wise.

Wait what? That’s horsesh*t Nate!

I ALWAYS feel like a badass with my hoodie on!

When you’re wearing any of your stuff that has a vegan message on it you should flaunt the heck out of it. It’s just letting everyone else out there know you are a friend for animals, a friends for them and just straight up one righteously compassionate SOB! Spread that vegan love! So, to my new friend on the red line; keep on keepin’ on sister!!

How have some of your interactions been like out there in public with your vegan gear on?


Meme Monday 10.23.16

I’ve only recently learned that one of my favorite musicians and film makers is a vegan. To be honest, I wouldn’t have even known about it if I wasn’t scouring google for vegan memes for this column. I’m probably the last person to the party on this one too, but the reason I chose it was because of what I found while following the breadcrumbs of his veganism.

rob-zombie-veganSince roughly 1982 Rob Zombie has been a vegetarian because he had watched a slaughterhouse video in high school. I’m not sure the date in which he completely went vegan, but he and his wife (Sheri Moon) are ethical vegans. All the blood and violence you see in the film are obviously fake, as are any animals used in the filming. Yes the gore in the films might be over the top, but senselessly murdering or harming animals most certainly is over the top to them.

I found this amazing clip that Rob recorded some time ago for PETA. It was during Thanksgiving and I thought it was appropriate to share considering Thanksgiving is right around the corner. In it he says, “Turkeys often become painfully crippled because they are given drugs to make them grow so unnaturally large that their legs splinter.” He goes on to say, “In one Butterball slaughterhouse, PETA found a worker sexually assaulting birds and another stomping on birds’ heads until their skulls exploded.” (quotes taken from http://bit.ly/2eIT33i)

So while I normally could give a flying sh*t about someone’s celebrity status, I can appreciate the fact that Rob, in his infinite house of gore, can still hold some compassion in that cold black heart of his!

Meme Monday 10.17.2016

same-slaughterhouseSometimes a meme can be amusing, other times they can be outright frustrating, This weeks meme falls under the latter end of the spectrum; it’s about “humane meat” and is frustrating as all hell that some people believe it is a real thing.

Even for the least sensible human being, those two words put together should not make any sense. Somewhere along the line, they’ve been told the lie that “humane meat” is compassionate and the animals are taken care of better than those at industrialized factory farms. They will argue with you until they, or you, is blue in the face with frustration. In the end, they just don’t get it.

“Humane meat” is still the end result of another sentient beings death, there is no way around. Do they think at all that maybe that cow or that chicken didn’t want to die? Maybe they were hoping for a future of peace and tranquility, just living there days without worrying when the knife would slide across their throat.

Is there anything about death that is humane if one is not suffering, yet instead is happily enjoying their lives?

I’m sure it makes them feel all warm inside knowing that the dead chicken carcass on their plate was given the “good feed” and was given plenty of room to walk around. Or that the cow’s milk they are drinking came from one without antibiotics or other junk the big ag companies feed them. What they don’t want to hear about though is that cow’s milk belonged to its calf, not them. The same calf that was stolen from that cow at its moment of birth. I wonder if they ever heard a mother cry when their baby was taken away. Human, cow or whatever species of mother you put into the equation, they all cry for their babies when they are taken away.

Is it humane to put a mother through that type of misery?

99% of you reading this are already vegan, or are on your way. You probably already know all this. But for the 1% know this, there is nothing humane about meat. Death is death no matter how you define it, and no one want to die before it’s their time.

There is no such thing as humane meat, NO SUCH THING!


Meme Monday 9.19.16

vegan-apple-elephant-vegetarian-vegan-fbToday we got a two-fer that kind of tie together nicely.

You’ve all seen the one on the right and we had our funny moment of clarity. We maybe even tried it on a friend or two, “haha you are eating veeegan and don’t even knooow it!” It was fun while it lasted. Then we realized the mocking and condescending tone we used with only the intention to poke fun a bit. I know I do it at times and I hate being one of “those vegans.” That’s another post for another day.

You see, for the most part people are already vegan and they just don’t know it. The second meme lists all sorts of foods that are already vegan, and just like the apple, people are eating it. The dudes over at Vegan Bros talk about the world being vegan and or going vegan. They will walk over to a park or something, or go watch a baseball game talking about how everyone there is vegan. They Snapchat from outside of a McDonald’s talking about “all the vegans inside.” To be honest, at first it drove me nuts and felt very “schtick-ish.” I wanted to bang my head against a wall every time they said it in one of their videos. That veil of irritation cleared though and I see what they intended to mean.

youmayalreadybeeatingveganfood-lgI never got it until searching for a meme for today’s posts. I’m not sure on stats but yes, most people are already nearly vegan. Not just because they are against cruelty to animals, but because most of the meals are already plant based.

Spaghetti w/ red sauce? Vegan

Peanut Butter & Jelly? Vegan

Minestrone soup? Vegan

There’s more right over to your right. You get the idea though, yes? What we need to do, as caring and considerate vegans, is help them embrace what they already know and help build off of that.

Lately you’ve noticed how I’ve been posting a bunch of recipes. I’m no cook, but I can take an everyday meal and veganize it. Some of my worst critics live right in this house, yet they are all full at the end of a meal. Meat eaters think it’s hard to be vegan, but it’s so easy.

Rather than act loathsome because they are as conditioned to eat meat as we once were, approach them with the same compassion you expect from them. They are already vegan, they just don’t know it yet!

MEME Monday 8.29.16

firstruleIt’s been a slow week, again, here at VCG but I wanted to make sure the weekly posts keep getting published. At first I felt like doing posts like this would be a cop out as they were somewhat easy to do and might be considered “fluff” pieces. This week though I’ve chosen a meme that hits home for me.

You see, until this last year I’ve kind of been coy about my veganism. I would talk about it with my wife, my kids and fellow vegans. I would gladly go on tangents on “vegan safe” group pages. It’s odd to say, but I didn’t really want to make it an “in your face” kind of thing.

I’m not a huge activist in the sense that I would pick up a sign and protest. I envy those folks, but it’s not where I feel my activism can best be used. I am a computer nerd, social media and blogging/ writing are in my wheelhouse. We could sit in a room chatting about all sorts of issues that are important to us and I may not be as verbose, but here in the world of edits and such; it’s where I excel.

That said, I’m finding my voice in the “real world” more and more. For instance, I was at a house the other day and saw some chickpeas draining and tofu being pressed on a customers counter. I mentioned how it looked like my kitchen. She asked if I was vegan and the conversation started from there.

My wife was telling me how she had bumped into one of my sons friends mothers at the grocery store. They started talking about a bunch of stuff and the woman told my wife how she had been talking to a friend about food and health. She said They started talking about this guy they mutually knew, turned out they were talking about me. They were talking about how amazing it is to run the races I do, to them, and still only eat plants. Things is, the person they were talking to happens to be a coworker who I’ve spoken with about veganism and running as he is a fellow runner.

So yeah, slowly I’m telling people about the club. And maybe, by being the advocate for this lifestyle that I would’ve preferred to meet at the beginning, maybe I can turn some folks around and get them to join up.

Meme Monday 8.21.16


Ok, so this meme has nothing to do with veganism, but I wanted to post it anyway. If you have binge watched “Stranger Things” like the rest of the world has, you will understand it. Maybe, just maybe, this meme does have something to do with veganism; let’s see if we can get it there.

I hate being that guy to continually correct people. When I am out at a restaurant, or just grabbing a quick bite to eat at a cafe, people constantly remind me of what I “cannot have.” Maybe it’s me being nit picky, but that drives me up the wall. It gets to me more than the “where do you get your protein” question or any of the other vegan stereotypes.

You see, I CAN have whatever the heck I want. I choose to not eat than product.

There is no “can’t”, there is only “I choose not to!”

It’s unhealthy and gross, but if for some ludicrous reason I want to eat a meat hamburger; I can. But the fact of the matter is, I’ve gone beyond that and choose not to cause harm to myself and to animals.

I’ve chosen to to live a life of kindness and compassion, not one that endorses pain and misery.

I’ve chosen to eat a veggie burger instead of a hamburger because my health is important to me.

I’ve chosen almond milk over dairy because leaving a sustainable planet for my children is important.

I choose because I can, not because I can’t.

So maybe the 10’s are just the regular folks that just live life without the thought to choose but to just be and do. And maybe the 11’s are the free thinkers? Whatwver, I thought it sounded good in my head, haha!