“Being Vegan Is Too Hard”… 2/365

Today I’d just like to address the statement “Being a Vegan is too Hard”. I uploaded the picture on instagram, click here, of this incredible, 100% vegan burger, I ate at a local restaurant and it just made me think. Being vegan is now easier than ever. More and more companies are taking responsibility and offering food and products which are safe for vegans. Granted, they are only doing this for profit, supply meets demand and all that, but it still means that veganism is being presented to the mainstream and is easily accessible. It feels like every week I see an announcement that a shop or restaurant has a new range of vegan food/has changed the recipe of a meal to make it vegan. For example; just last week Sainsburys released a delicious range of vegan cheeses, now nicknamed Gary, and even McDonald’s have made their burger (if you ask for no mayo) and fries vegan friendly. The food industry really is revolutionising, the dairy industry is declining rapidly and veganism is rising at that same pace. Just look at the statistics for veganunary. 2016 saw a rise of 5x the amount of people participating, and 6 months on 50% of them had remained vegan, that’s a lot of people.

Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked. I guess what I’m trying to say is this. Don’t use the excuse that being vegan is too hard, educate yourself and come to the decision based on actual logic rather than laziness. Yes, we might have to read labels and such, but what’s 5 minutes out of your day.

Please see yesterday’s post here, if you wish.

Thanks for reading day 2/365 and keep smiling, Harrison 🙂

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Backpacking Thailand Days 1&2 – Bangkok

Okay. So day 1 & 2 in Bangkok: Thailand are over and already it has been a pretty hectic experience. From being attacked by vicious wild animals to enjoying extremely cheap food at a delicious vegan restaurant; my experience, like Bankok itself, has been crazy.

Day 1 (well 2 days really however I am counting it as 1 due to it being my blog meaning I can do as I please, sorry for the tangent) consisted of the actual journey to Bangkok itself, and I have come to the realisation that I’m not a fan of long haul flights. Granted the service provided by Air India (not sponsored) was really good, it’s just, and anyone who knows me can vouch for this, I’m incredibly figety and can’t sit still for more than 5 minutes. That combined with the fact that I fiddle (sounds dodgy but I couldn’t think of another word) with everything in sight made for an unpleasant experience both for me, and the people around me. Although I did knock back a few whiskeys which helped a substantial amount, I must admit.
So after 15 hours flying and a 3 hour stop over in New Delhi, I landed in Bangkok, eager as ever to get to my apartment so I could sleep off the impending jet lag that would come to make me it’s bitch for the next 24 hours. But it wasn’t that simple. Suvarnabhumi Airport is rather huge and to get to the exit you have to trek, what feels like, 10km of escalators and hallways and negotaite your way past numerous security guards, checks and finally, immigration. After all that’s over you are finally free, free to roam Bangkok and it’s not so welcoming 30 degrees of pure humidity. Yayyy…
From there I went and got a taxi, they actually had an extremely efficient method for booking a taxi so that didnt take long, thank god. 25 minutes later, and only £2 poorer, I reached my accommodation, gratefully put on the life saving air conditioning, cooked some noodles I had purchased from 7-Eleven, before going to bed and taking a much needed sleep.
Day 2 (1.5) was basically me just trying to recover from fatigue and severe jet lag. My apartment was way out the way from anything anyway so I didn’t mind using this day to just recover.
Day 3 (2) is when the adventure really began. Me being me I forgot checkout was at 11 so the girl who owns the apartment walked in on me… In minimal clothing, but she was super nice so it was okay, despite the awkwardness. I then got a taxi to my new apartment, but due to language barriers I had to walk 40 minutes to find the B&B as apparently I didn’t explain it quite clearly enough. Bearing in mind Bangkok is hot, like really hot, and busy, like super busy, so this was not a fun experience By the end of it I could wring my shirt out it was that sweaty. However I finally found my apartment, and what a surprise it was. Located in a shop which sells mirrors, oddly enough, and decorated from top to bottom with quite beautiful stained glass windows and ceilings, it was a lovely apartment and somewhere I was very grateful to be spending my next 3 nights. Not to mention the fact my host was an absolute star, answering all of my many questions, some of which quite stupid; for example, asking for the wifi password 4 times because I had forgot it by the time I walked up the stairs, and providing me with a very good vegan breakfast. I cant thank her enough.
Now it was time, time to start the Bangkok adventure, which meant crossing busy roads. If you’ve ever been to Bangkok you will know that crossing roads is an art form, an art form that you kind of have to master in a very short period of time, and I’d like to say I have done just that. There are literally thousands of cars and even more motorbikes at all times as well as minimal crossing assistance and traffic lights. What I have learnt is that you basically just have to go for it. Walk out into the road with your arm adjacent to your body and palm facing towards the car/s, they will always stop. Thankfully the drivers are very polite with pedestrians in the fact they just accept this, and do actually stop with no fuss or bother, but obviously as a first time tourist to Bangkok, the roads were somewhat daunting to begin with. Of inside just walk right behind a local, that’s what I did to begin with.

I didn’t really have much time left now, all of this had took me to about 3pm but thankfully where I was staying was very close (just 2 minutes on the MRT) to Lumpini Park, which is kind of like Central Park in New York only in Bangkok, and not New York. Everything I have read/watched regarding Bangkok recommended a visit to Lumpini Park, and it didn’t dissapoint. Packed full of people doing exercise, lush grass and flowerbeds and glistening lakes and streams, it was quite wonderful. It took me around 1 hour and a half to walk around the whole park, although I obviously did stop to take many pictures, watch local Thai’s dance and practise Tai Chu as well as interact with wild animals. Speaking of wild animals, there was an evil turtle which was not only extremely ugly, but massively aggressive. I only wanted a nice close up picture of his devil like face and he went straight for my throat, snapping his jaw like a madman. I took that as a warning to stay away and quickly retreated, he seemed to mean business. Maybe he just didn’t like the name Iggy. But yeah the park was amazing, very chilled and exactly what I needed after that long night and stressful start to the day.
That traumatic experience with devil turtle left me hungry so I hopped on the MRT again to a nearby Vegan restaurant I had been eager to try since my arrival, ‘May’s Veggie Kitchen’. Upon my entrance I was greeted with lovely smiling waiters/waitresses and a menu packed full of a variety of vegan options. From any kind of fake meat to traditional Thai meals, there was something for everyone. I ordered the Thai Green Curry and a water and about 20 minutes later (the perfect waiting time imo) my huge portion of steamy green curry and rice entered my vicinity and I couldn’t have been happier, it was truly delicious. Only cost me around 200 baht, which is little over £4 and in my opinion an absolute bargain. Although one tip, in Asia, spicy means spicy, so be wary when ordering ‘spicy’ food. I made that mistake in India.

So that was the end of my first proper day in Thailand, and what a day it was. Bangkok is such a worlwind of a city. You can hate it one minute and love it the next, but it is definitely somewhere you should try and visit if you want to experience somewhere completely unique and bursting with culture.

I hope you enjoyed reading this, and stay tuned for the next post. Keep smiling, Harrison 🙂

“But Hitler Was Vegetarian, So That Means All Vegans Are Evil” – Anti-Vegan Argument #4

Believe it or not this is actually an argument us vegans hear, quite regularly as well unfortunately. And it is a quite simple one to refute, simply by saying no; Hitler wasn’t a vegetarian, not even close. Hitler was advised by his doctors to follow a vegetarian diet from ‘time to time’, emphasises on the time to time part of the sentence, due to the fact he suffered from severe flatulence, however; he was never an actual vegetarian. Just by looking at the facts we can decipher this. Biographers who wrote about Hitler (and who knew him quite well on a personal basis) openly describe his love for Bavarian sausages and game pie (“game” meaning wild meat from birds and other creatures) and Hitler’s own personal chef described his favourite meal as stuffed pigeon, not very vegetarian huh. Thanks to ‘naturalnews.com’ for the info. But let’s play it your way, let’s pretend Hitler was a vegetarian. The problem with that is the argument is a logical fallacy, aka an argument with extremely poor reasoning. To put it simply, one does not impact the other. You can be evil and you can be vegan, the two are by no means mutually inclusive. If you want to play that card then allow me to play mine. Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot… the list goes on, were all meat eaters, so surely that means meat eaters are also evil serial killers, right? No. Of course not, so can we agree to put this argument to bed now, as it really is a stupid one and just makes the arguer look like an idiot. Granted it is usually played at the end of debates when said party realises they have lost, but go out with dignity for goodness sakes. So, to clear up, no Hitler was not a vegetarian, but who cares if he was?

Keep smiling, Harrison.

Anti Vegan Argument #2 “You Must Take Life To Have Life”

This, believe it or not, is another anti-vegan argument that people love to use. Something has to die in order for us to survive so why can’t we just eat whatever we want. That’s the argument and I’m surprised people actually think this is a good reason to contribute to the needless death and suffering of animals, but apparently it is, hence this post.

Now this probably won’t be a long post because of how stupid this argument is but here goes.

The quote I have seen articles refuting veganism use is this:

“If we truly believe that no living thing should have to die for our dinner, we shouldn’t eat at all. If we truly believe that all life deserves equal respect, why not equalize ourselves by embracing the elegant fact that we are all, as Nelson writes, “driven by the same hungers that motivate any other creature— the squirrel in the forest, the vole in the meadow, the bear on the mountainside, the deer in the valley”?

This quote can be made irrelevant purely by the definition of veganism. Vegans believe that, as far as possible and practical, we should abstain from all forms of cruelty and suffering of sentient beings for food, clothing or any other purpose. Emphasis on the ‘as far as possible and practical’ bit. Humans have to eat something, that much is obvious, so vegans just choose the lifestyle that provides animals, and the environment, with the least amount of suffering as possible, it’s quite simple.

Now for the part of the quote which states humans are ‘driven by the same hungers that motivate any other creature’, that is quite simply ridiculous. Obviously we experience hunger like any other animal and therefore go and seek food to satisfy this hunger; however, humans certainly have no instincts to kill and eat meat. Animals with these instincts, for example a lion or bear, see an animal and immediately think food, they even salivate at the sight of these animals. Humans have zero carnivorous instincts and have to cook our meat before it is even safe for us to eat, and even then we struggle with digestion. As activist Gary Yourofsky says: If you put a baby in a crib with an apple and a rabbit, tell me the time where the baby plays with the apple and eats the rabbit, it will never happen. Humans go to a supermarket and buy meat with names such as bacon, sausage or steak, nothing about that is natural or shows carnivorous instincts and definitely doesn’t resemble the behaviour of other animals who do actually need meat in their diet to survive, unlike humans.

People also like to say the classic line of ‘but lions kill other animals for food, it’s the circle of life’. The circle of life definitely doesn’t involve breeding animals purely for the purpose of being food/used for dairy, pumping them full of steroids and antibiotics, using them for their bodies and then finally killing them for food, that doesn’t sound like nature at work at all to me. Also, isn’t it unfair to replicate one trait of a lion and ignore all of the other things they do? Like you don’t see many humans licking their own anuses, killing their infants, or urinating in bushes to mark their territory.

Pardon my ridiculous reasoning in that last paragraph but I feel it is okay and relevant when such a ludicrous statement like this is used to try and dispute veganism. So yeah, hope you enjoyed. Keep smiling, Harrison.

circle of life

Bro, Where Do Vegans Get Their Protein???

This question is possibly the funniest argument against veganism I will ever hear, and ironically it’s usually the, let’s say larger, people that I hear this from. For some reason the Western world is obsessed with protein nowadays, going as far as saying we need 1 gram per pound of body weight, or even more if you want to build muscle! It’s crazy. The Dietary Reference Index is 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight, so around 50 grams per day, and obviously, if you eat enough calories of anything, this can easily be achieved each day. But even this is unnecessary. There have never been any reported medical cases of protein deficiency, there isn’t even a medical term for the condition, no human has ever, or ever will, got/get it. As long as you eat enough food, you get enough protein, it’s really that simple. I recommend watching this video as Dr Michael Gregor can explain it way better than me http://nutritionfacts.org/video/do-vegetarians-get-enough-protein/.

However; if you are building muscle and worrying that a vegan diet won’t give you enough protein, then again, there is no need to worry. First off, protein is nowhere near as important as society may have led you to believe. There are no benefits from using supplements such as whey or casein, in fact quite the opposite, since these products are unregulated, large amounts of them were found to contain dangerous levels of toxic metals (check out this study http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/04/protein-drinks/index.htm), but if you really wanted a protein supplement go for something that is actually healthy, like brown rice protein. Most of the bodybuilder guys that sell and promote supplements are sponsored and rely on steroids for their ‘gains’, the effect of supplements in negligible. The best way to get your protein is from food, and really the only healthy protein out there is plant based protein. The World Health Organisation categorised meat as a high level carcinogen, alongside cigarettes, and lengthy studies like The China Study support this fact using evidence obtained through 27 years of detailed research. But don’t worry, the myth that plants don’t contain enough protein is nothing you need to worry about, in fact foods like beans, nuts, soy etc contain very high levels of protein, in many cases more than meat (in terms of per calorie), and when combined with a grain like wheat or rice, this makes a ‘complete protein’, you know that thing people say you can only get with meat?

So yeah obviously I’m no scientist but the proof is in the pudding, I mean do you really think world record holding strong man Patrik Baboumian (vegan) or Mr Universe Barny Du Plessis (also vegan) struggle with protein? If you still aren’t convinced just do some simple research yourself, make sure to avoid studies which are subsidised by the meat and dairy industries though, there’s lots out there. Keep smiling, Harrison. 🙂