Two hundred and forty-three

My first impression of Skinny Bitch (#1 New York Times Bestseller) 

The other day I was sitting in Urban Herbivore in Kensington Market (vegan sandwiches, grain bowls, salads, curries, juices) having lunch and I really wanted to bring out Skinny Bitch and continue reading it (a book I figured I had to read as it’s probably one of the highest selling/most popular books on veganism there is).  I was too embarrassed.

First of all, wouldn’t it be weird to read a “becoming vegan” book in a vegan restaurant?  Secondly, I knew from the moment I started reading it, I hated it.  I don’t hate the message – it’s all of the things I’ve mentioned in the blog in more detail with lots of scientific data and endnotes with all of the sources.  I actually don’t even hate as much the fact that it poses as a weight-loss book in order to get people to start reading, then bombards the reader with how they need to become vegan (my friend bought the book and was taken totally by surprise when the book started talking about animal slaughter).  The biggest problem I have with it is the language.  It’s as if throwing in a few “bitch”, “shut the f__k up” and “fat-pig syndrome” makes it hip.  As if adding “chemical shit storm”, calling meat “dead, rotting, decomposing flesh” and saying “go suck your mother’s tits” will shock the reader into listening to the message.

My second impressions of Skinny Bitch

I wrote this first paragraph before I really got in to the book .  And I still hate the way it is written with words like “big, steamy dump” and “cheap asshole”. But I do appreciate all the facts in each chapter and the message to empower everyone to “trust no one”, read labels, do your research and choose healthy foods to put in your body.  At the end authors Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin admit the book has nothing to do with being skinny, but instead being healthy and “treating your body like the temple it is”.  That’s a message I agree with, even if I hate the profanity used to get the message across.

Other interesting books to read on veganism

There are quite a few books out there published about veganism.  I bought Alicia Silverstone The Kind Life, but haven’t had time to really get into it.  It does look like it has some great recipes and lots of information in an easily digestible format.  Vesanto Melina and Brenda Davis wrote Becoming Vegan, as I mentioned on yesterday’s post.  Click here for a few other books from chooseveg.com.

Two hundred and twenty-seven

Every week I find I’m using the skills or knowledge I gained from my previous months.  Yesterday I ordered some a few vegan books online that people recommended or that I was interested in from Amazon.ca and they arrived today (free shipping and so fast).  The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone is a #1 New York Times Bestseller and I’ve seen on Oprah (the rare time I watch Oprah) as well as a friend told me I should read it.  Skinny Bitch, another #1 New York Times Bestseller, is supposed to be a great read on what crap we are eating and why it’s not good for us.  Finally, Animal Ingredients A to Z will help me sort out what is really vegan and what is not, including what beer and wine I can drink.  I’ll be writing more about these as I read them.

Interviews

I’ve decided to do a few interviews with people who are vegan and have been for a long time.  I’m interested to know why they chose a vegan diet and what the challenges are.  The questions I asked are:

1. When did you become vegan and why?
2. What is the hardest thing about being vegan?
3. Do you ever feel like you’re missing out (and do you ever cheat)?
4. How does it make you feel health wise?
5. Do you cook a lot or eat out at restaurants? What’s your fav recipe and/or restaurant?

My first interview is with a high school friend of mine, Amy Toon, who I found out was vegan when she responded to one of my Facebook comments on being vegan for the month.  Her response was as follows…

I became vegan about 7 years ago. The hardest thing about being vegan for me is finding good stylish boots. Seriously, it’s very hard.

I never feel like I’m missing out. I made this choice based on what I believe to be right. I never see a hunk of cheese or a slab of meat and think I wish that was going into my mouth.  I feel healthy. I’m not sure if I feel healthier than anyone else. I feel, I believe, like a 31 year old should feel. Some days I’m tired, I still get colds, but most days I feel just fine.

I eat out a lot. I’m not a cooker, I never have been. And when I do make things at home it’s usually sandwiches or vegan nachos. They have vegan cheese (daiya is the best) vegan sour cream, vegan ground round…

All in all, my ethics overrode my taste buds. I don’t push it on anyone, and I have found that more meat eaters give me a hard time and try to make me feel like I’ve made the wrong choice…to be honest I don’t know why they care so much about what I eat or wear…  And no I don’t cheat. I’m sure that at times when I go out to eat sometimes [animal] stock is used or something. I try to only eat at vegan or vegetarian places but I’m not going to make a massive deal out of it.

Thanks Amy. I find most interesting her comment about meat eaters giving her a hard time.  I just got a message from a friend saying she’s afraid of what this month will turn me in to.  She was saying it as a joke, but  I think a lot of people feel this way.  To be honest, until I started this month, I didn’t really understand why anyone would want to be vegan.  I’m now considering sticking with this after the month is over.  There’s something to be said about knowing what you are putting in your body and I feel really healthy.

One hundred and fifty-two

The things I missed this month

For my second to last day of only online shopping month, here are a few topics I didn’t get a chance to talk about but want to mention:

Books

As the top purchase of online goods according to Nielsen research, books are an easy thing to buy online that you rarely would need right away, are heavy to carry so easy to have shipped to you, and so simple to purchase online.  Chapters Indigo and Amazon are two websites I have used to buy books (and many other things in the case of Amazon) that are fantastic.  You can either buy them new and (if you spend a certain amount of money) get free shipping, or buy them used for a fraction of the price, but have to pay for shipping.  You can sample the books and read some of pages to get an idea of whether you are interested in purchasing the whole book.  They even suggest other books you might enjoy.

Music

I use iTunes to download music as I’m a Mac user, but there are also a lot of other places online to download music from.  Mp3obsession.com offers cheap mp3 downloads.  Limewire, a peer-to-peer file sharing system like Napster was when it first came out, used to be a way to get music for cheap, but is now under a court order to stop distributing the software because of unauthorized sharing of copyrighted works.  Napster is now a subscription-based music-buying software owned by the Best Buy company and only works with a PC.

Movies and television

More and more people are buying movies and tv online, instead of going to the video store or buying cable.  There are no commercials and you can choose what shows you want to see, instead of flipping channels through a bunch of crap.  You can stream a lot of things for free online with a time limit.  Or join Netflix  or megavideo to name a few subscription-based streaming sites.  You can also stream television from most channels’ websites, but you do have to watch the commercials.

VISA gift card

My friend mentioned this to me today.  It would have been a bit of a cheat, but I could have ordered a VISA gift card online and used it for things like transportation costs and emergency beers.  Too late now, but good to know for future gift giving.

Tomorrow I recap the month, talk about what I learned and my monthly Top Ten list!