The Unlikely Vegan Explores Making Moral Choices by Phil Shainmark

Is your pleasure more important than your morals? It’s an interesting question, and one that I’ve never been able to answer, or even fully articulate, till now. The 16-25 year old me says “absolutely.” I drank, did drugs, committed crimes. Hurt whoever, whenever, and treated people that loved me horribly. I did awful things to people I should have cared about just so I could chase that NEW thing. It was pleasure, not in a sexual sense, but the pleasure of just doing whatever the hell I wanted, whenever I wanted, was the GOAL. Now I thank the gods every day that I still have friends from back then that put up with me.

My first inkling that maybe this WASN’T a good idea, came after I moved to Las Vegas. I drank and partied and did all those things I normally did. But then I met a woman who was NOT gonna put up with that behavior from me, and I had to decide what it was worth. So I opted to stay with her, and abide by her wishes. When she got pregnant and we had to have a discussion about what to do, my morals said we should get married, so we did. We had our son, and the drinking and the partying stopped (for her) almost at once. We decided to quit cigarettes when our son started “smoking” his crayons. I still chewed tobacco, but my wife went cold turkey. And I know she missed smoking, it was her “break from the world.” But she couldn’t do it anymore.

Then I got diagnosed with cancer and I decided to quit chewing tobacco. Of course, then I had to cut back on drinking with only one kidney. So in some ways, my decisions were forced, or rather I was hit in the head with a shovel and it made me see the right choice. Fast forward a few years, and I would tell anyone who’d listen (especially online) that “participation was consent” in relation to politics and those types of things. Then we came to Veganism. I’ve already spelled out why I chose to become a Vegan so we don’t need to go into that, but let me state again: I LOVE meat. It’s delicious. I don’t eat it anymore. My morals are more important than my pleasure.

As a more recent example, I gave up my Facebook account a few weeks ago, when I found out that they had deleted hundreds of anarchist and voluntarist pages. Facebook is a great way to keep up with family and friends, but if they’re censoring content because of a political agenda then I want no part of it. I hope I managed to get all the contact info from my online friends. But here, again, my morals are more important than my pleasure.

I went to a BBQ at a friends house last weekend. It was my first time at his home, even though we’d known each other for years. We had brought our own vegan food, and some snacks. However, more people showed up at once than my friend had expected, so I ended up helping out on the grill. Yes, I cooked everyone’s meat: burgers with bacon and cheese IN THEM. With cheese on top. And hotdogs. Once that was done, I cooked me and my wife’s food on the little section of the grill I hadn’t cooked any meat on. Here, helping my friend in a tight spot was more important than my pleasure – in this case from being the “unlikely vegan,” (because people NEVER suspect it and that’s good for some laughs).

What does this have to do with any of you? Well I got the idea for this article while talking to my mother, who is like 99% of the way Vegan. Any time I say, “Mom, you know how they get milk is screwed up?” or “You know what they do to male chicks at those egg farms is atrocious?” I get the response “I know, I know….” It’s the same with anyone else you talk to – you mention the horrible conditions in these factory farms and you get the “I know man, but….” I don’t judge, I really don’t. There is no “right” answer here. But what that tells me is, your pleasure is more important than your morals. And that’s something that everyone needs to address for themselves.


13 Ayurvedic Anti-Aging Herbs by Dr. Ram Mani Bhandari

In Ayurvedic herbal treatment, anti aging means principally keeping up a healthy body into herbal treatment and bringing down the operation of aging, degeneration and depreciation. The objective of herbal anti-aging treatment is to aim for a healthy aging mode, and to maintain both mind and body working at optimum level, so the treasures of old age can be relished with peace of mind and vitality.

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What Is Natto & How Do I Eat It?

Natto is a traditional Japanese food. It’s fermented soybeans that are rich in vegetable protein. Typically eaten with rice, natto has a mild cheese-like flavor and can be an acquired taste. It has a sort of sticky paste on its surface and once it is stirred, the paste increases its volume becoming even stickier. You will find that the paste pulls apart in such a way that resembles a web. This is another characteristic that sometimes turns people off. Still, the benefits make it worth exploring, and according to The New York Times, it’s catching on. If you’re the adventurous type or enjoy uncommon textures in your food, definitely try Natto! You can even make it yourself (video) if you want.

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The Unlikely Vegan Visits New York by Phil Shainmark

| by Phil Shainmark

So I went to NY to visit family, and while there I had some GREAT food. Got in on a 7 something flight that evening, and my Dad took me to an excellent Indian restaurant, with a buffet. They had a whole set up for Vegan/Vegetarian food. Not a surprise. But it was nice to walk into a place that wasn’t specifically a VEGAN restaurant, and not only have a ton of choices, but also have meat food for those who want. Yes, yes, I know, I’m supposed to be fighting the industry and trying to convince people that they shouldn’t be eating meat… But, I don’t want to. It’s a stupid move. And no one wants to listen to you tell them all the bad stuff about the food they’re about to eat. (More about this later.)

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Visit Nettle Meadow Farm for Artisanal (and Ethical) Cheese

Nettle Meadow Farm and Artisan Cheese is located about an hour north of Albany, NY. Lorraine Lambiase and Sheila Flanagan have tended to their beautiful farm in the Adirondack Mountains since 1990, with dozens of sheep, over 300 goats, chickens, ducks, and a couple of guard llamas living off of the land and providing their milk to be turned into some of America’s most incredible, award winning cheeses.

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Japanese Pumpkin Side Dish by Nancy Mehagian

| by Nancy Mehagian

It’s the season for sweets, including pumpkin pie, but professional cook, Nancy Mehagian shares a side dish recipe for Japanese pumpkin that’s fast, healthy and delicious. Nancy has been a massage therapist and Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner in Los Angeles for nearly 30 years. She is the author of the culinary memoir, “Siren’s Feast, an Edible Odyssey”.

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More from the Unlikely Vegan by Phil Shainmark

I wanted to write some more about the idea of trying something new, or changing the way you think about things. I was talking to my father in law, who is very much not a vegan, and he was saying that it’s strange to think about not eating things you like. And that’s when it hit me: the things we consume, come to define us. For years I smoked, I was a “smoker.” Even after friends started quitting, and restaurants started banning it, I still smoked. I could not picture myself without the cigarette hanging out of my mouth, or in my hand. But when my wife and I decided to quit, we quit.

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Common Foods that Moderate Cholesterol by Susun Weed

| by Merlian News

Renowned herbologist Susun Weed writes, “If you are concerned about cholesterol, I have some great news for you. A variety of delicious foods have been shown to be as effective at moderating cholesterol as any drug…. They have a positive impact on total cholesterol and triglycerides too. And, as a bonus, most of these foods help prevent diabetes and lower blood pressure. See below for a list of these cholesterol-lowering foods. And remember to eat them cooked, frozen, dehydrated, fermented, or coated in oil for maximum benefit. Enjoy! Here’s to a healthy heart the Wise Woman Way.” From www.susunweed.com

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The Unlikely Vegan – Part Two, by Phil Shainmark

| by Phil Shainmark

So after another month I can say that this is no longer even an “adjustment,” it’s now just the way I eat. And the benefits just keep coming – my energy levels are higher than they were pre-cancer. Hell, I barely drink coffee in the morning anymore. If I have a cup it’s because I like the taste, not because I need it. I found out this week that there’s a 100% Vegan doughnut place near the only other shop I ever worked at. Gonna have to head over there at some point. It’s not near anything I normally go to, but I LOVE doughnuts, so it’ll be worth the trip.

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Flax Seed: The Low Carb Whole Grain by Laura Dolson

| by Laura Dolson, About.com

“It may be tiny, but it’s mighty: The flax seed carries one of the biggest nutrient payloads on the planet. And while it’s not technically a grain, it has a similar vitamin and mineral profile to grains, while the amount of fiber, antioxidants, and Omega-3 fatty acids in flax leaves grains in the dust. Additionally, flax seed is very low in carbohydrates, making it ideal for people who limit their intake of starches and sugars. And its combination of healthy fat and high fiber content make it a great food for weight loss and maintenance — many dieters have found that flax seed has been a key to keeping them feeling satisfied. Flax seed is high in most of the B vitamins, magnesium, and manganese…”

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