Tag Archive: vegetarian


My Facebook friend S’thabiso gives this topic a little bit of a different spin as she addresses:

5 questions you ask guaranteed to break the peace with any ‘black’ vegetarian‏

s'thabiso

If you have prior to reading this asked any of the below please kindly proceed to the nearest tree and hug it tightly and ask Zeus to advocate on your behalf for mother nature to forgive you – repeat this three times whiles doing a hippie dance around the chosen tree two times clockwise while walking backwards to erase the stupidity of it all.
(1) “You a vegetarian? Are you really vegetarian? So you don’t eat meat? I don’t believe you.”

I said vegetarian the first time no matter how many other times you ask this question in variations the answer will still remain. I.e: why should your believing my lifestyle choice matter – I find this question personally irritating like how on earth do you expect me to prove my statement? Why should I have to prove this again? I don’t dispute your claim to eating meat. You know what, just follow me around all day ok?’

(2) “You kidding right? You got to be joking right?’ I have never met a ‘black’ vegan before. So unusual.”

Uhmm really I have a whole phone book filled with them you would be surprised how many of us are not somewhere out in the woods playing with unicorns. We are your neighbors/friends/colleagues/family members and yes we exist right here on planet earth amongst you.

(3) “So what do you eat?”

This is my favorite most hated question, as if all ‘blacks’ eat is meat? They ask this as if meat is all we HAVE to eat like how all ‘blacks’ MUST hate the DA.

(4) “were you raised vegetarian from birth?”

This question at face value seems all good and well, until you kind of realise by the 15th inquiry this question is thrown out there as a tool to show you – “hey you just like me” no matter that you been vegetarian/vegan for 9 years, “you too once ate bacon” – trust me had I been given a choice to baby talk my request to be raised vegetarian to my parents I would have done it just after the umbilical cord was cut.

(4) “why you trying be white?”/ “were you adopted?”

Cause white people don’t eat meat? Question is why are you trying to be white and eating meat yes we see you there at ocean basket with the plate of Salmon.

(5) “why you still fat?”

Oh right cause all meat eaters are skinny yes? Any diet regiment one chooses to follow must be healthy and well balanced. Being a vegetarian is not a lose weight get skinny gimmick it’s a full-time conscious life choice which includes ensuring a healthy balanced daily food intake. My genes and jeans have nothing to do with it.

Do us all a favor the next time you come across vegetarian Bheki or Gugu please resist the urge to be ignorant and ask any infuriatingly stupid questions above, we do not mind answering your question of the differences between vegetarians and vegans though.

NB: Dear fellow ‘black’ community we are not brainwashed nor need saving please be more like my white friends they don’t ask me silly questions they just respect my decision and make sure I have a proper stand alone meal at the next dinner at they house and not be resigned to your side plate salads as a main meal.

Peace and Color be with you all the days of your life.

[For a range of stories from different people relating to different aspects of vegetarianism, click here]

bryan

I was always taught to show love to animals, dogs, cats, cows, pigs, horses, etc. But never was I really challenged to think about the meat that was lying in front of me to eat. Meat was different than those cute animals we would see in someone’s yard or pasture. Or at least I thought.

I made the decision to switch to being a vegetarian 12 years ago. Being born and raised in Texas it was a shocker to my parents and everyone else. They thought I had gone crazy, which was probably true. After being posed with the question “how can we love animals but eat them too?” by the punk rock community, I made the decision.

Fast forward a few years, I began to take the Christian faith more seriously. And when it came to what I ate it made more sense to not only be a vegetarian but to remain a vegetarian because I was a Christian.

Lots of people are not all that familiar with how factory farms operate. Not only the miserable conditions for chickens, cows and pigs, but the enormous toll it takes on the environment and the human body. There are up to 400 types of gasses released in the air, water near factories contaminated with antibiotics from animal waste, amongst other issues. Odors from gasses released by factories are known to cause respiratory problems, nausea, and allergies in residents nearby. These are just a few of the issues with factory farms. Please, research more of the issues.

There was a time when I first made the change that I was arrogant about it, tried to make people feel bad for eating meat (I am really sorry to those people!). Now when I am presented with the question of why I am a vegetarian I bring up the issues above but they are usually ignored with jokes, or just plain shot down by the comment “but God gave us animals to eat”. After so many years of living this way, it is just exhausting when people try to debate me or convert me. I have come to the point to where I don’t want to bring it up because I want to avoid the criticism that comes along with most conversations.

In Genesis 1:26 (NRSV) God is quoted saying, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth”. God has given humanity the responsibility to rule the world with compassion, and we are accountable with how we treat God’s creation.

So I believe it is our duty as Christians to learn where our food comes from and be guided in the prayer Jesus taught us “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven”, to decide whether a diet containing animals, a diet that is supported by cruelty not compassion, is in line with making way for the Kingdom of God to enter the world.

[For more stories shared by people about their vegetarian choices, click here]

majay

Growing up I was never the world’s greatest lover of animals. I liked dogs because they were fun and horses because well… Zorro, but most of the rest of the animal kingdom tended to inspire fear more than awe.

I remember as a kid going to the Cape Town museum and having nightmares of blue whales eating me. Later I developed a slightly irrational fear of birds and monkeys… So it was quite a surprise (to myself especially) when I turned vegetarian. What follows is mostly a journey of theology, but hopefully one that is relatable beyond theology.

My journey towards vegetarianism began when I got a bit disillusioned with Evangelical Christianity. I had grown up most of my life in an Evangelical community which emphasised salvation from the world as the greatest hope for a Christian. And this idea began to trouble me.

One of the biggest turning points for me in my faith and my thoughts on vegetarianism came about when I started reading a book by NT Wright called ‘Surprised by Hope’. I’m quite confident the word vegetarianism doesn’t even appear in the book, so I’m sure Wright would be surprised about my culinary conversion.

In the book Wright argues that many in the Church have misunderstood the hope of Christianity. Instead of God plucking us up and depositing us in Heaven (as I had been taught most of my life), the real message is that God is ushering in a New Creation. God isn’t going to throw this Creation away and build us a new home, but rather, this home which we have will be transformed (and is being transformed). And in this New Creation there will be no killing and no pain and no hatred.

At one point Wright argues that if we believe that in the future there will be peace, then why do we not think to live out that peace today. If in the future we believe the lion will lie down with the lamb, why do we not start living that future now? That, surely, is what bringing the Kingdom of God is all about.

This really got the cogs turning. NT Wright, as one of the foremost Pauline scholars, spent a good section of ‘Surprised by Hope’ talking about Paul’s view of the cosmic nature of Christ’s redemptive act. Now I can’t help but notice it in, for example, Colossians 1 and Ephesians 1 and plenty others. Plus, when you read John you can’t miss the cosmic scope of Christ’s redemption. Christ died to reconcile all things, and if that really means ‘all things’ then what about animals or the environment? Should that reconciliation not also be extended to them?

And what about when Jesus speaks about God looking after the birds of the fields. And how do we understand passages in the Bible that talk about animals worshipping God, for example, Psalm 148, Job 12, and Psalm 36? One of the final moments for me was thinking about the lines in the popular hymn “All Creatures of Our God and King, lift up your voice and with us sing ‘O Praise Him’”. How can animals join us singing about our God and King if we’ve eaten them? If Christ died to reconcile animals (as part of the ‘all things in heaven and on earth’) then surely my killing of them stops them from celebrating in that redemption.

Now I’m never a fan of throwing Bible verses around, because in the end it becomes a competition of who can find more verses to back up their point. Truthfully it’s quite easy to find plenty of Bible verses to back up any opinion.

In the end I chose to align myself with a vision of Christianity that leads to less violence and killing and leads to more creatures being able to share in the redemptive work of Christ. I believe in a coming Kingdom where the lion will lie down with the lamb, where the oppressor will lie down with the oppressed, where the hunter will lie down with the hunted and there will be peace on earth. And then, and only then, will we have a New Creation.

Perhaps if you’re not a Christian this might all seem like mumbo jumbo, I’ve also been influenced by many arguments that are not exclusively Christian.

One of the ideas that finally convinced me to become a vegetarian was thinking about evolution and my relation to other animals. If we share a common ancestry with animals that kinda makes them family. Perhaps instead of seeing myself as the master species with some right to kill and enslave animals for my personal pleasure, I could see myself as an older brother whose decisions have real impact on fellow creatures.

People like Peter Singer have great arguments from a utilitarian perspective pointing out that we should increase the overall good and decrease the overall pain. If we don’t need to be eating animals (especially such intelligent and social creatures like pigs and cows) why do we? Because we’re stronger? Because it’s nicer for us? Because they’re not as developed as we are? Well, that quickly starts to sound like arguments used to support slavery.

I’m not saying you have to be a vegetarian to be a morally good person. But rather, I want to ask the question – How does it fit in with your view of the world?

If you believe that Christ has reconciled all things in heaven and on earth, then what does that mean about how we treat other creatures on earth? If you believe that we share a common ancestry with animals, how does that influence our understanding of our ‘right’ to exploit them? Do we want to create a world where there is less exploitation and abuse of the defenceless?

If so, maybe it would be good to take some time to think about why you eat meat?

You can read more from Majay on a variety of topics from the serious to the ridiculousical on his blog by clicking here.

[To read Bryan Hash’ story about his journey towards vegetarianism, click here]

ash

I quite like animals. Not in a crazy, dress them up like humans and pretend they’re people kinda way, but I do like them. (Having said that, I definitely officiated at least one wedding between my dogs as a child.)

But animals are great, and despite loving them [and praying that my dogs would go to heaven], I had no problem eating them. Only certain animals of course, like pigs and cows and chickens and goats, though just that one time in India. I never really thought there was any problem with it. I was that person who would joke with vegetarians that I was praying for them to convert back to being an omnivore. (Sorry!)

Eventually though, over a long period of time, I realised that the way we have commoditised animals was problematic for me. Why is it okay to eat the sweet, gentle cow, or the squawking, fluffy chicken but not the dog? Because the dog is cute? Because my pets make me happy? And why is it okay to treat sentient beings, who feel pain, fear and joy, like packages of meat?

I started off by only eating free range meat, because I struggled with the extreme cruelty that animals experienced in the battery farming industry. But eventually, that wasn’t enough. I didn’t need meat to survive. Each animal I ate felt pain, suffered, and died for no other reason than my gustatory pleasure.

(Disclaimer: I realise that the human race ate meat for millennia, in order to survive, but the reality is that I don’t need to. Some people might, and I can say that if I had to eat meat to survive, I would.)

It’s also better for the environment to eat less or no meat. The stats differ slightly depending on the source, but you need approximately 2.5x the amount of land to feed an omnivore than you need to feed a vegetarian. If you go vegan, you use 5x less land. Meat farming uses more water, more land, and creates more waste. I could go on, but this isn’t the place or time, nor is it my primary reason for going veg. It’s worth researching though.

However, most importantly, as a Christian, I was also influenced by the fact that all of creation seemed to matter to God, not just humans. Humans were given responsibility to care for creation, not exploit it for their pleasure. Scripture says that ALL of creation was reconciled to God, and seems to point to a future where ALL of creation will live at peace with itself and with God. I want to be part of bringing that peace now, as much as I can.

I’ve been a vegetarian for a year and half now, and I continue to be surprised by the comments I receive whenever people find out. Most people are respectful and ask loads of questions but some people can be remarkably aggressive in their desire to tell me why I am wrong, which is frustrating when I try so very hard not to do the same. I imagine that people may feel defensive because it’s easy to assume that the vegetarian is judging you as you tuck into your bacon burger. I’m not…well, at least I’m trying not to.

My biggest desire is that people would simply sit down and really consider why they eat meat, and if they are really okay with how the meat they eat is produced. If it’s the norm, like getting married and having children and aspiring to own a house, we rarely stop to question whether or not we really want that for ourselves. Maybe it’s just worth a bit of time, thought and research?

[If you’re interested in one like that shares some of the research Ash alluded to, click here]

[To read the story of MJ and his move towards vegetarianism, click here]

i have a lot of good friends who are vegetarians.

They are not a bunch of weirdos or hippies [as some non-vegetarians might presume] and for the most part if you met them as part of a group of people, you probably wouldn’t be able to pick them out as vegetarians. They are normal people. Normal people who have made a very specific choice.

veg

i am not a vegetarian [at the time of writing this]. But the reason i thought it might be important to create some space for some of my vegetarian friends to give us a glimpse of their stories and motivation is because of the following.

For me, by and large, the only time i have heard conversation about Vegetarianism, it has typically gone something like this:

Vegetarian person: Says no to offer of meat at the table or some other statement that suggests they’re vegetarian

Non-vegetarian person: Why don’t you eat meat?

Vegetarian: I’m a vegetarian.

Non-vegetarian person: [Tries to convince vegetarian why they should eat meat or that there is something wrong with them or makes a joke about them being vegetarian]

i know this, cos that ass used to be me. Fortunately a long time ago. And i think it can possibly be filed in that place of awkward space where people who don’t know what to say, say the first thing that comes into their heads [see: How are you? Fine. Or meeting someone and asking ‘What do you do?’ when you don’t in the slightest bit care and are just trying to fill space]

There are different reasons why people have chosen to be vegetarian and i can imagine the above scenario must be at the very least annoying and at most quite insulting. For the most part, the vegetarians i know don’t spend their lives trying to make me stop eating meat, although given some of their strong convictions as to why they don’t it would make a lot more sense if they did.

So i am hoping that in part, creating this space for some vegetarians to share with us why they made the change and perhaps some of the highs and lows [and stupid things that have been said to them], we can make vegetarianism less of a taboo topic and more of a perfectly normal and healthy conversation.

Also this is the latest on where these Andersons stand with regards to eating meat…

i know a lot of people have been looking forward to reading these stories that will follow…

Meet Ashleigh Holloway

Meet Michael-John Philip aka MJ

Meet Bryan Hash

Meet S’thabiso Khuluse – 5 questions you ask guaranteed to break the peace with any black vegetarian

Meet Abi Ornellis – Mostly a vegetarian [one who loves meat!]

Meet Amy Benn – Who was a vegetarian and then wasn’t and now kinda is but may totally be again soon

Meet Mary Twin Enslin – 10 Questions/Statements vegetarians are tired of hearing

PearlsbeforeKilling

As you all know by now, Pearls Before Swine is my favourite comic strip and if you ever have some time to enrich, you can take a look at a whole bunch of the cartoons i have shared over here. And usually he is just random or clever or biting cynically silly fun, but every now and then he draws a strip which makes you stop and go, “Wo!” and maybe even think for a minute.

i had saved this first strip to comment on some time and then he came up with the second one and i thought they worked quite well together so here they are. Appreciate them. Stop for a second and go, “Wo!” But also take a moment to think about your relationship to meat/killing. Because it is probably something that, unless you’re a vegetarian or more, is something you don’t think all that much about.

i have thought about it a lot more over the last couple of years and think our Americaland experience and some of the people we came into contact there definitely impacted my thinking in a number of ways. But here are three that come to mind:

[1] When it comes to people i am pro life, but perhaps not in the traditional way that that phrase is used. i believe that if you’re pro life you have to be pro all of life, so from babies that are still being formed to old people, from those suffering from disease to those who are going to be born with some kind of disability we have to be pro it all.

i do realise this is a tricky, sticky and potentially controversial opinion to hold. And that sometimes there might be an individual case by case scenario where some tough decisions need to be made. There might be a situation where a doctor has to choose between saving the mother and saving the unborn baby and i think probably the doctor in that scenario is going to be the best person to make that decision after consultation with the husband/father. While i disagree with the terminology [at the very least] of ‘assisted death’ i do think there are situations where we perhaps artificially help people ‘to live’ where it is not really living at all and so i do think we probably could rethink some of our artificial life preserving methods and be okay with allowing people to die when it’s their time to do so, although again i imagine these are really difficult decisions and should be taken situation by situation.

But we should hold life preciously, and the idea that someone would consider killing a child [because that is what it is!] because tests show it might be born blind or disabled or down syndrome actually sickens me. i cannot get my mind around that.

i absolutely believe the death penalty is wrong and don’t understand how so many christians are okay with their thinking that it is right. To kill someone to prove to people that killing is wrong just seems like the most ridiculous thing ever. Much more needs to be said about this.

[2] i came home from our time in Americaland with a greater appreciation of life. Now i have no doubt that i have vegetarian and vegan friends and possibly others who think i am way too far away from where i need to be. But i am definitely better than i was and i really like the change in myself. i have no idea what specifically caused it and again it might be simply from being around a lot more people who thought and lived a certain way.

The way i have seen it manifest is particularly with insects or bugs. Not that i think i would have gone out of my way to kill them before we went to Americaland. But i now have a mindset that says, ‘If i can avoid killing a bug or insect, then i will do that.’ i realised the extent of the change in me the other day when i carefully [this is going to blow too many peoples’ minds] removed a cockroach from my house and set it outside in the road as opposed to killing it. Before i wouldn’t have thought twice about killing a spider and now i will do my best – if it needs to be moved – to get it on a piece of newspaper or in a bag or on my hand and move it to a safer place. i will avoid stepping on ants if i see them – again, a really small mindset shift and a massive one as well.

Mosquitoes? Sorry, the change has not extended there. So maybe there is still some work to do. Or maybe that’s just ok.

The change can probably best be described as don’t go out of your way to hurt or kill a living creature. And if you are able to save/protect/rescue one then go for it. In some situations i probably will still kill ants and cockroaches and possibly even spiders, but i am now leaning more strongly towards avoiding it if possible. So that might not seem particularly significant to anyone, but it feels good to me. Small steps.

[3] Bacon. i imagine this one will seem silly to people on all sides of the spectrum, but i’m okay with that. i enjoy bacon as much as the next person and yet somehow i have gotten this reputation of being the number 1 bacon appreciator of the world. i am aware to some extent how i have helped create this impression and so it’s not completely surprising, but i don’t think it’s true. i mean i really do like bacon, just not THAT much. And one way it has been propogated is that any time anyone sees a t-shirt or a meme or a bacon-salad picture they immediately think of me and post it on my Facebook wall and so it helps build up the picture.

But it’s not particularly true. To be absolutely honest i think i could never eat another piece of bacon again for the rest of my life and be totally okay with that. i wouldn’t particularly choose to, cos like i said i do enjoy it. But it doesn’t feel like a need for me.

The weird point i wanted to make about bacon though is this. i’m not sure when or where it started and don’t even know why. And i don’t particularly do it with any other kind of meat although i do try to be grateful and appreciate all the food we have an eat. But particularly with bacon i started in the last couple of years, taking a moment to stop and be grateful and in a sense thank the pig. To some this will be ridiculous, to others maybe hypocritical and maybe it’s just me cashing in my senility chips earlier or something. But i think it might in some ways be linked to tradition of first nation people of celebrating the life of the animal they kill before they eat it. A real sense of gratitude and appreciation. A moment of stopping to give thanks and thank the pig for its sacrifice that was made, giving me an opportunity to eat. Maybe this means absolutely nothing and makes no difference at all, but for me it is an extra moment of gratitude and appreciation and i think that’s a good step in the right direction.

i imagine most meat eaters don’t take any time whatsoever to think much about their eating of meat. Perhaps if we did there would be more vegetarians among us. So maybe take a moment to think about your meat-eating-ness or not. If you’re happy with it, then by all means keep on. But maybe even within that we can find better ways to do it…

pearlsbeforekill

[For a range of other Pearls before Swine strips, click here]

so one of my favourite funny people in life is a guy called Jack Handey who used to write one liners that were used on SNL such as:

‘I remember how, in college, I got that part-time job as a circus clown, and how the children would laugh and laugh at me. I vowed, then and there, that I would get revenge.’ [Jack Handey]

or:

‘Any man, in the right situation, is capable of murder. But not any man is capable of being a good camper. So, murder and camping are not as similar as you might think.’ [Jack Handey]

and:

‘I remember when I was in the army, we had the toughest drill sergeant in the world. He’d get right up next to your face and yell, and if you didn’t have the right answers, mister, you’d be peeling potatoes or changing the latrine. Hey, wait. I wasn’t in the army. Then who WAS that guy?!’ [Jack Handey]

some random, some funny, some randomly funny, some just clever and i really dig most of them. So much so that i decided that it is time for me to reach deep within my misdirected randomised humour machine and see if there is anything lurking there that might make people smile or chuckle quietly to themself and hopefully even one day create a legitimate laughing out loud experience [milk or coke out the nose and i’ve reached the top!]

so i’ve started writing some brett [my first name] andy’s [shortened form of my last name, to avoid being sued] and i’m keen to have some feedback… please read thru the list of what i’ve got so far and if you hate them all that’s fine, but if there was one that, for you, contained the most humour and even possibly brought about the aforementioned smile or even chuckle, then please respond to the note with which one it was. So, basically, if any of these is funny, what would be your number one? [half of them are pretty horrible, but it’s early days – actually might be good to hear your best and your worst]

“They say ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth.’ I say, if broth is all you’re looking forward to, you’re pretty much in a heap of trouble already.” [brett andy]

“The art of hay-making must be quite a specified & delicate undertaking hence the urging to do it while sunlight prevails.” [brett andy]

Chuck Norris’ Texas Ranger drove a 1995 Dodge Ram for most of the series, why was he still called Walker? [brett andy]

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Give a man a vegetarian and a fish and he won’t even be allowed to eat the fish.” [brett andy]

“I’ve never been a huge fan of water polo. I think it’s the cruelty to the horses that gets to me.” [brett andy]

‘Gandhi once said “an eye for an eye only ends up leaving the whole world blind,” but surely if it was only one eye each it would be more a case of extremely bad global depth perception?’ [brett andy]

“I don’t understand why they call them miners when most of them are over 18. Probly cos they can’t drink while underground.” [brett andy]

Why is it called an avocado pear if you only ever have one of them at a time? [brett andy]

Do you think there are many funny those-formerly-known-as-“bushmen” people? I keep hearing lots about these comic sans… [brett andy]

“If you ever want to show-off to your long-term girlfriend a new shoelace-tying technique you’ve invented, i don’t think the best way to introduce it is by saying, “Hey I’ve got something to show you” and then going down on one knee.” [brett andy]

“I’ll bet rock, paper, scissors was a lot less fun before scissors were invented. And paper.”
[brett andy]

“Last nite i dreamt i ate a giant marshmallow and when i woke up my pillow was on the floor next to my bed. It probly got knocked off during the night i imagine.” [brett andy]

“I once read in a biology textbook that if you take your intestines and lay them across four tennis courts, you will die.” [brett andy]

and lastly a bonus one by my friend MJ affectionately known as a MJAndey [because his last name is Phillip] – ‘When life hands you lemons pretend they’re guavas and say ‘these guavas look a bit yellow. I’m going to leave them out to ripen’. Then put them on a table and slowly walk away.’

[to be mysteriously taken directly to the next page of brett andy’s simply click here]

%d bloggers like this: