This vegan is stuck on a hypothetical island with a chicken to determine how hypocritical I am. Let’s play!

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Dear omnivores of the world,

Happy New Year! Is it too late after January 1 to say that? I hope not. 2020 was a doozy and 2021 is shaping up to be, um…memorable, but, hey, it’s still a fresh year and in the spirit of new beginnings, there’s a little something I’d like to get some clarity on.

I just have to ask: What is it about you and your obsession with deserted islands with chickens and a single hungry vegan on it? Or sometimes it’s pigs instead of chickens, but either way, it’s weird already.

One of the things you may not realize as a meat-eater is that your people spend an inordinate amount of time trying to get vegans to imagine living on a desert island. Not just because our presence creates a buzzkill at every BBQ but because you just seem to really want to want us to spend time envisioning a hypothetical situation, namely what we would do if we were stranded on a deserted island with a chicken. …


If we are strategic and forward-thinking, we could take advantage of this time to create a better future for the planet, humanity, and the animals

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Photo by Andrea Lightfoot on Unsplash. Remix by editor.

So much has been written about how 2020 knocked us all for a loop with the coronavirus pandemic, nothing that I could contribute much to, but it has also exposed multiple points of entry for building a more compassionate and sustainable world. I thought I would explore just four of these areas of opportunity and what this could mean for the animals and a future with less needless cruelty.

1. Revamping How Vaccines and Medications Get to Market

At present, it is impossible to get a vaccine or take a medication that is entirely cruelty-free because even if the final products do not contain animal-derived ingredients, they have all been tested on animals to be approved for market. I am fortunate enough to not need any medications, but my husband, recovering from leukemia and a bone marrow transplant, is on several. He is also immunocompromised. …


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As someone who likes getting the word out about new plant-based food options on social media, I have learned the hard way that it’s wise to preface your shares with a litany of disclaimers. A variety of disclaimers that will preemptively reply to every spoken and unspoken question and acknowledge every possible concern. A list of disclaimers to address issues that not even the most neurotic person should have to conjure up even if they had a personal customer service agent at their beck and call. …


Pandemic or Not, Our Flawed World Means that Our Choices Are Also Imperfect

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Credit: Polina Tankilevitch/Pexels

I’ll just get this out of the way right from the get-go: On the last day of February in 2019, my husband was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia. There is no way to spruce up how this news landed. Sitting in that examination room, it is no exaggeration to say that I felt like the floor could have swallowed me up whole. This man — the father of my son, the guy who makes my fanciful ideas a reality and takes my turbulent moods in stride, this doggedly youthful and easy-going man — had a very stark and serious diagnosis. I went to bed on February 27 thinking one thing about my life and by the afternoon of the next day, everything suddenly and dramatically changed.

I met John when I was 26 in 1993 and we have been carving out this life together ever since. One of those things we did together was go vegan in 1995, full of heartfelt conviction, youthful naïveté and stubborn determination. We navigated those early days pretty easily, as people often do when they don’t know any better, but with the benefit of hindsight, I can feel just a little proud of how resourceful and sanguine we were during a time when being vegan was a lot less easy and convenient. …


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Credit: Doris Lessing/Literary Ladies Guide

December 3, 2020

Hey, kid —

It’s 1995 and you’re a new vegan. Way to go! High fives all around. You could probably wear fewer butterfly clips and should definitely stop plucking your eyebrows to death but, hey, it’s 1995 and you’re on a good path. (Otherwise.)

What’s interesting is that you will only realize that things are kind of rough for vegans in retrospect, from me sitting at my laptop and writing this in 2020 (don’t freaking ask me about this year), because in 1995, you’re so full of zeal and you also don’t have the foresight to know what’s coming around the bend. I don’t want to spend too much time telling you about the future because it’s not all that relevant to this letter but I will tell you that things are going to get dramatically better with regard to vegan food, both quality and availability. That cheese you’re eating in 1995 is scary — you can stop pretending otherwise, we both know it’s true, the sooner you give up the ghost, the better — and if you’re really smart, you’ll start experimenting with cashews but this is all to say that things get so much better, not that it would matter that much to you. …


With a little planning you can wake up to sumptuous sweets on Thanksgiving Day

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Image: “The Crosley Range Girl” via And Everything Else

So far this November, I have explored 50 vegan main dishes and 50 side dishes for Thanksgiving — all vegan, because that’s how I roll — just as I did last year. Instead of 50 desserts for Thanksgiving (as I did last year, too), this year I thought it’d be a fun and helpful challenge to find recipes that can be created overnight, meaning you wake up in the morning to your Thanksgiving dessert, all delicious and ready to go! …


We’ve got bread, we’ve got gravy, and of course we have stuffing — are you ready to get your vegan feast on again?

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Credit: Fifty Years Too Late

Last week, I established that this last year has nearly squeezed the life out of me so I am going to just copy-paste the introduction to last year’s collection of 50 amazing vegan side dishes for Thanksgiving because, you know what? It’s perfectly fine and nothing much has changed except that life has gotten even more complicated and fraught since last year. So here we go…

“I get it: Thanksgiving is very serious business in households across the U.S. If you dare to go rogue and stray from Aunt Eddie’s trusted cranberry sauce by using pecans instead of walnuts, grown-ass adults can transform into pouty toddlers faster than you can say “sacrilege.” So, if you suggest replacing the customary dead turkey with a plant-based main dish as the centerpiece, as I did earlier this week, you know things are going to get tense in some families. …


No dead animals? No problem! There are endless ways to enjoy your feast without compromising your taste buds or your values.

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Credit: Kay Lovelace Smith

I will admit, it’s a little lazy of me but I am just going to quote my introduction to last year’s epic (if I must say so myself, and indeed I must) collection of 50 vegan main dishes to enjoy for Thanksgiving instead of turkey.

“I will start this bluntly and unappetizingly: For the Thanksgiving holiday alone in the United States, approximately 46 million sensitive, innocent birds who have been intentionally bred for painful and short lifespans in cramped, miserable environments will be killed for meals in households across the country. A much smaller number of turkeys will be slaughtered against their will on smaller farms and in nature. Why? Because somehow eating a turkey’s body has come to mean celebrating gratitude in this country on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. …


Our spoons are magic wands, no biggie.

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Maybe it’s just on my mind because ’tis the season, but lately I’ve been thinking more and more about how vegan kitchen witches and wizards are real-life alchemists, combining ingredients and techniques in clever, creative and skillful ways to help create a more compassionate and sustainable world, one with less unnecessary suffering and harm. I have collected 24 recipes that will replace the cheese, eggs and meat in your life, or at least give you a good start in that direction, plus some extra fun little tidbits.

First, though, we must address the Big Why so many people wonder when they learn that vegans might like animal-free versions of these foods. Namely, if we gave up eating them, why bother recreating them? The answer is really quite simple: We didn’t necessarily quit eating these things because we didn’t like how they tasted but because we didn’t want to support cruelty. My grandmother was shocked when I went vegetarian at 15 because, as she lamented, I was the grandchild who loved her brisket the most. Again, though, it wasn’t the taste I didn’t like, it was the cruelty. If we are able to replace the animals from our diets with plant-based alternatives, why would we not? We get to have our cake and eat it, too. …


Start making your holiday plans now. Pretty please…

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My husband at last year’s Thanksgiving.

Last year for Thanksgiving my husband and I, along with our son, didn’t have our usual celebration with friends. The house was quiet, there was no buzz of activity, no greeting of guests, no counters full of aromatic dishes people had brought. In 2019, we had a quarantine Thanksgiving.

I’d like to tell you about it for one reason: We isolated on Thanksgiving and so can you. As rates of coronavirus infection are on the uptick in conjunction with the growing fatigue of using mitigation efforts and there is no end in sight, I am truly nervous about what will happen this November 26 through January 1. People are tired of it; participation enthusiasm is waning. I get it. At the same time, I will be blunt: I don’t think you should visit your friends and your families this Thanksgiving and holiday season. (Experts on infectious diseases don’t think you should, either.) I don’t think you should carry on as normal. This man just wanted to have a small family get-together and look what happened. We have not done what was necessary to get out ahead of this virus so a return to normalcy has been pushed further and further back. I know you are tired of virus spread mitigation efforts. I am, too.

About

Marla Rose

Marla Rose is a Chicago-area writer and co-founder of VeganStreet.com and VeganStreetMedia.com.

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