Monthly Archives: January 2011

Announcing our First Annual Vegan Chili Cookoff!

Break out your best Vegan chili recipe for our next potluck because we’re hosting a chili cookoff!!

Join us on Saturday, January 22nd at X’s to O’s Vegan Bakery with a pot of vegan chili, a list of your ingredients, your own place setting and a beverage.

Remember, vegan means no meat, eggs, dairy, refined sugar, honey or gelatin – the bakery is a 100% dedicated vegan facility and no animal products may be brought on premises.

Saturday, January 22nd
5:00PM
X’s to O’s Vegan Bakery
97 4th Street
Troy

You’ll get to try all of the chilis and vote for your favorite!  The person who made the chili with the most votes gets a prize!

becoming vegan

Happy new year friends! I am grateful to be a part of Adirondack Animal Rights  and the fight for those who can’t fight for themselves. Working with dedicated and compassionate activists has shaped a large portion of my perspective and inspired me to share my experience of being vegan. More posts forthcoming! Questions & feedback are welcome!

-Sheila

first published 1/1/11 & x-posted to veganicorn.

2011 nears and a nearby citrus & cilantro candle rekindles the very specific memory of my first and last taste of ceviche, my first meal of 2010. Unavailable in the climes of upstate New York raw fish marinated in citrus seemed a novel culinary exploit that suited the confines of my voluntary dietary restrictions.

Before deciding to go vegan I followed what I called “pesceveganism.” Such classification permitted (on the side of a “mostly” plant pased diet) lox bagels with capers and onions with my BFF after an art school all-nighter. I could grab endless plates from the sushi-go-round with my family on Christmas. I nonchalantly snacked on octopus, recalling the time my dad tricked me into trying calamari and me secretly enjoying it… not even fried. I was into fish tacos before they were “relevant.” I could load up on coconut shrimp at an awkward super bowl party, and because that was my final instance of animal consumption I will stop there.

“Pescevegan” seemed the most convenient description for a diet abstaining from animal consumption with the exception of seafood. Vegans might abhor the blasphemous inclusion of “vegan” in my terminology, in that true veganism transcends diet. I now understand veganism to be a lifestyle rooted in compassion that seeks to exclude the use of nonhuman animals for any purpose, and a rejection of speciesism and all forms of oppression. Even strict adherence to a vegan diet solely for health reasons is not livingvegan: diet is only one manifestation of lifestyle. Continuing to eat animals dispite ongoing awareness of nonhuman animal suffering would foster more guilt than I could have imagined. When anyone questioned my convoluted habits I would preface, “it’s not about animal rights” or “it’s not an ethical choice,” thereby ignoring my own inner hypocrisy, while parrying any criticism—at least I wasn’t going around claiming to love animals, right? Of course, I would choose wild caught fish when available, to reduce suffering… not that fish really even suffer, right? That “health-based” choices spared some possible suffering was just a bonus. My underexamined attitudes could have been described as welfarist at best.

While going vegan is the most meaningful decision I have made all year (and perhaps ever), sometimes I forget that it didn’t happen overnight or without hesitance. Seasoned friends who challenge me, and nonhuman friends who give and forgive and ask nothing in return, make vegan living feel natural. However, most vegans do not have a vegan job, vegan potlucks, a vegan living arrangement, and going entire days without speaking to a non-vegan at their fingertips. For some well-intentioned people who lack the nutritional resources and support network that facilitates transition, maintaining this lifestyle might feel sacrificial or compromising. The lurid details of what I have specifically abandoned are not intended to fetishise something for which I feel deprived. Instead, remembering the reasons I continued to eat animals for so long might be necessary to empathise with others in transition. Aren’t we all in transition anyway? Constantly learning, improving, and humbled?

Swedish Fish emerge from red velvet cupcake at X's to O's Vegan Bakery.

Omnivores have heard this & vegans preach it: it’s not meat we crave, it’s the preparation and seasoning. Citrus & cilantro evokes the memory of hugging my best fried at midnight, sheltered from freezing rain, amidst warmth of glitter and people. Between prosperous spoonfuls of black eyed peas and cathartic sips of champagne, relief for closure overshadowed whatever goals had been loosely considered for the coming year—becoming vegan was barely within my purview. New years morn, sundrenched cobblestones bore the most poignant quiet I have ever felt in New York. The amount of learning, unlearning, and earning forgiveness that would take place in the following year, the fact that I would abandon suffering and disordered eating & enjoy diversity of food as never before, the powerful friendships I would form with nonhuman animals—perhaps the peace I felt that morning foreshadowed these changes. The scented candle beside me rekindles not guilt: only light.


Happy New Year from Adirondack Animal Rights

We’d like to wish you all a happy, safe and compassionate new year!

Our first year was a busy and productive one.  We held six vegan potlucks at X’s to O’s Vegan Bakery; three included presentations by Michael Budkie of Stop Animal Exploitation Now!, Anthony Marr of Heal our Planet Earth and Global Anti-Hunting Coalition, and Jenny Brown of Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary.  We tabled at the NY’s Capital Region Vegetarian Expo, handed out literature outlining the cruelties of the dairy industry at a Got Milk? event at Empire State Plaza, collected petition signatures against the legalization of commercial whaling, against marine mammal captivity at Miami Seaquarium, in support of Skye’s Law and against the proposed Bion slaughterhouse in Oswego County.  We organized many protests against vivisection at Albany Medical College, Ringling Bros. and Walker Bros. circuses, the Adirondack Stampede Charity Rodeo, and the fur industry on Fur Free Friday.  We held a vegan bake sale as part of the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale, organized film screenings of The Cove and Sharkwater and campaigned to raise awareness of a beaver skinning demonstration held at the Adirondack Museum.  We had an article discussing the cruel and unnecessary nature of hunting published in the Adirondack Explorer, countless letters to editors were printed in area papers, a few of our events were covered by local news stations and newspapers and we were even blogged about a couple of times.  You can now follow us on Facebook and Twitter, join us on Meetup and ask us any questions you have about animal rights and veganism anonymously on Formspring.

The new year will be bringing many new and exciting things.  We’re revamping the website and we’ve organized our first event of the year: our First Annual Vegan Chili Cookoff at X’s to O’s Vegan Bakery on January 22nd.  (More details to come on that soon!)  We’re also introducing blog posts about many different subjects, so you’ll be seeing much more than just news and updates about events here.  This is going to be a very exciting addition to the website.  If you’d like to submit a blog entry, please send it to us at adkanimalrights@gmail.com for our review.

Is your New Year’s Resolution to go vegan? It’s never too late to choose compassion in the new year! We’ll be releasing details soon about vegan resolution support. Stay tuned for more!

Thank you for your support and keep on fighting for animals’ rights!