What Happened When I Went Vegan

On December 2, 2015, I weighed 232 pounds… about 53 pounds overweight.

My “bad cholesterol” levels were too high.

Lab tests indicated I was heading towards diabetes and heart disease.

When I looked in the mirror, and saw the bloated, fat person staring back at me, I felt despair and self-loathing.

I wanted to die, and in fact, due to eating animal-derived food, I was dying.

The weird thing is, I’ve been an athlete most of my life.

I exercised daily, and yet I’d gained weight.

I tried all kinds of diets and eating fads: Paleo. Vegetarian. Pescatarian. Low fat.

You name it, I’d tried it.

But I still consumed dairy products.

I loved pizza, ice cream, gelato, brownies.

If there was a special occasion or social occasion, I sometimes ate meat.

I ate like almost all Americans eat, and it hurt me.

My exercise wasn’t exciting and fun like it used to be.

I was lethargic. I never felt that coveted “runner’s high” I used to feel.

I was trying hard not to be fat, but I was fat.

I was desperate to lose weight and have more energy.

But going vegan wasn’t just about improving my health.

I also did it because my conscience is troubled by the way humans treat animals and the biosphere.

In the months prior to going vegan, I’d been riding my bike on scenic farm roads in rural Michigan.

I’d stop at corrals, farms, and horse ranches and look into the eyes of the horses, cows, pigs, goats, chickens, and other imprisoned animals.

I watched them interact with each other, tried to “be” with the animals as if we were all equals, not the usual human superiority attitude.

It was easy to see that non-human animals have their own lives, thoughts, feelings, and social networks, their own “personhood.”

I realized that if I consume animal-derived food products, I’m complicit in a brutal system that harms me, the environment, and tens of millions of innocent animals.

I realized that all my life I’d been taught that other animals have no rights.

That we can do whatever we want to them.

And that we shouldn’t much care about the cruel ways we make them suffer and die.

So on December 3, 2015, I went 100% vegan.

As I write this today, only a few months later, I weigh 181 pounds. I’m elated to have dropped 51 pounds in less than four months!

I’ve cut the amount of money I spend on food by 35%.

I’m lighter, more agile, more energetic.

I have almost zero body fat.

The XL and XXL size clothes that I purchased as a fattie are literally falling off of me.

People don’t recognize me.

Athletic activities that had been painful or impossible, such as running long distances outdoors, became pleasurable again.

It feels so nice to rediscover my musculoskeletal system.

I realized that the fat was like an anchor, a suit of excess, that had been weighing me down.

My skin cleared up.

My mental clarity, mood, and self-esteem also improved.

My relationship to food has completely changed for the better.

No longer did I crave certain types of food, or feel controlled by food.

But is it hard to be a vegan?

In some ways it is, and that’s the main reason created The Vegan Samurai website and the Vegan Samurai code of honor.

Because as I’ve researched veganism, animal rights, health, culture and other related topics, I’ve discovered that being vegan is like being a samurai… a warrior.

As a Vegan Samurai, you battle internal cravings that come from being raised in a society that programs you to view animals as mere fodder for your dietary pleasure.

You also deal with moral qualms and PTSD that you as a person of conscience feel from living in a society based on harming animals and the earth.

You may feel socially ostracized, or even morally indignant, when you notice everyone around you blindly participates in harming animals and the earth.

The good news is that being a vegan samurai gives you the strength, knowledge, and encouragement so you can become vegan and stay vegan.

Read all the articles here on my website.  You’ll find information and inspiration so you experience the health, joy, and other benefits of being vegan.

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Vegan Parents, Vegan Children: Strong, Ethical, Healthy

Being a parent is probably the most important social role a person can take on.

And being a vegan parent is the most challenging form of parenting.

That’s because vegan parents are guiding children to be part of the very tiny minority of humans who prioritize empathy, ethics, and integrity when it comes to how they interact with animals and the earth.

Vegan parenting takes place within the cruel confines of a technoindustrial grid built from the blood and bones of innocent animals and the planet.

In a world where our entire human culture and infrastructure is constructed from gouging and otherwise using up the earth and its processes, and from imprisoning, exploiting, and killing BILLIONS of animals yearly, it’s hard to raise a gentle, kind, self-restrained child who believes harming  animals and the earth is wrong.

Our entire capitalist society is based on a con game in which individuals and businesses capture our minds as soon as we’re born so they can control what we perceive, think, and believe.

The biggest con of all tells we’re the “best” animal on the planet, so we have the right to do whatever we want to the planet and all other animals.

This is why 99.9% of the people think that torturing, killing, and eating other sentient animals is absolutely acceptable.

Hunting and fishing are enshrined as “nice outdoors things to do.”

Most parents feed their kids dead animal parts and products made from milk meant for baby cows.

Cruelty is an unavoidable aspect of modern food production. Being vegan is a rebuke against that cruelty.

It requires extraordinary courage and diligence to be a vegan parent, and I’m here to help you do the job well, and be proud of your efforts.

The War on Vegan Parents

Pregnant and breastfeeding women are falsely told that being a vegan isn’t good for their children.

Government agencies have tried to steal children away from vegan and vegetarian parents, acting under the dubious assumption that depriving children of flesh foods and dairy is bad for their health.

You see alarmist media articles such as this one, in which various experts (and the so-called journalist) are clearly shilling for a meat and dairy diet for children.

I have no problem calling out anti-vegan propagandists for what they are: liars.

The fact is, vegan moms are the healthiest moms, and their children are the healthiest children, as long as the parents follow sound nutritional advice as provided by ethical scientific and medical organizations like the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (read their dietary advice for children, here).

Ironically, it’s children whose mothers eat the standard American diet rich in meat, poultry, dairy, eggs, fish, and processed foods who are often born with or soon experience health problems created by that diet, especially if parents feed animal foods and processed foods to newborns and toddlers.

There are plenty of obese, pre-diabetic, and other sick children whose illnesses come from a non-vegan diet.

Non-vegan children are often fed breast milk substitute formulas that contain materials derived from animal exploitation, along with hormones, pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, artificial flavors, sugars, and other problematic materials found in processed and non-vegan, non-organic foods.

A vegan child, eating a properly-balanced vegan diet derived from organic grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts and other vegan sources, has an optimum diet from a nutritional and ethical perspective!

Raising Ethical, Kind Children in an Immoral, Unkind World

Another issue for vegan parents is having the courage to raise miniature vegan samurais.

The vegan parent is raising ethical, animal-defending warriors who are surrounded by a culture of death.

Some parents are afraid to educate their children about the realities of the dark forces at work in our corrupted world.

Other parents, in their admirable but misguided zeal not to “force veganism” onto their children like some parents force religious choices on their children, are unwilling to raise their children vegan, opting instead to “let their children make the choice.”

This is an odd and defeatist way of parenting, and parents rarely have this “let them make their own choices” approach for other issues that are as important as diet.

We know children don’t inherently know what’s right to eat.

In fact, they have to be trained about almost everything—how to use the toilet, how to walk and talk, how to interact with other humans, how to avoid danger, how and what to eat.

It’s not dictatorial or tyrannical for parents to provide only vegan food for their kids, and to explain to their kids (when the kids can understand such explanations) why vegan food is the family’s dietary choice.

When vegan parents are Vegan Samurai rather than Vegan Lite, they refuse to buy non-vegan foods for their kids and they work hard to ensure their children aren’t snared by non-vegan foods and the desire for them that come from influences outside the home.

Remember: carnism (the belief that humans should eat animals), is taught.

It’s a meme brainwashed into society by government, industry, family, and socialization.

The US government’s “food pyramid” and other USDA eating guidelines are wholly the result of animal food industry lobbying and pay-offs, rather than objective, holistic nutritional science.

It isn’t until children have been brainwashed by the dominant death culture that runs our world that they begin to think of other animals as “food.”

When vegan children see a cow, chicken, fish, rabbit, pig, or other animal, they don’t immediately rush over and start biting the animal, trying to eat it!

In fact, they’re more likely to identify with the animal and find it fascinating, cute, cuddly.

Well-raised children look at the world with innocent eyes that are full of love and empathy.

But when parents allow children to watch television, animal food commercials quickly program children to see other animals as burgers, wings, chicken nuggets, barbecued ribs, fried fish, and other food items.

When parents teach their kids to hunt or fish, they’re teaching cruelty and killing.

When vegan children socialize with non-vegan children, the dominant culture will try to make them feel like weirdoes because they don’t eat dead animals or drink milk meant for baby cows.

Vegan kids go to birthday parties, pool parties, picnics, the school cafeteria, relative’s houses, friend’s houses, and other places where pizza, ribs, steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream and other non-vegan foods are the only food choices.

Vegan parents find out that their relatives, especially the kid’s grandparents, are covertly or overtly trying to subvert veganism, giving kids bad foods, telling the kids veganism is wrong, slagging the vegan parents.

Thus, Vegan Samurai parents have to be very vigilant as they manage the educational and social environments for their children.

We must realize that society and 99% of the people around us are pressuring our kids to participate in an industrial food system that kills billions of animals per year in the United States.

Who’s Trying to Corrupt Your Kids?!?

Just like you don’t want your children going to a school, social event, relative’s house, or friendship setting where cigarette smoking, alcoholism, profanity, sexual perversion, or other antisocial behaviors are on display, you don’t want your vegan children hanging around with people who try to get your kids to eat animals, dairy products, and junk food.

Part of being a parent drawing boundaries for and around your child, to protect them from the world.

We all know about and detest child sexual predators, but your children are subject to a more generalized form of predation called consumer capitalism.

From the time your child is born, the outside world is trying to hook her attention to make her a consumer, a customer, a client.

Corporations try to get your kids hooked on miniaturized, ludicrously expensive, branded Nike clothing and accessories.

Junk food restaurants create playgrounds and lurid clowns like Ronald McDonald to lure your kids in and get them hooked on junk food.

Psychiatrists have created “diagnoses” like ADD and ADHD  so they can profit prescribing pharmaceutical psychotropic drugs even to tiny babies, even though the drugs haven’t been tested on children.

Ironically, the problems described as ADD and ADHD most often come from kids eating processed, high-sugar foods, kids trapped indoors, and kids given electronic devices and “entertainment” that entrains their brains to be hyperactive and distracted.

The gender dysphoria and gender reassignment industries tell your kids that their sexual, somatic, and psychological feelings come because “they were born the wrong gender.”

These burgeoning massively profitable industries pathologize and monetize nebulous feelings, reaping stacks of cash from dangerous, needless surgeries, counseling, and hormonal “therapies.”

The gender confusion industry’s marketing is full of false hope and promises.

The sad fact is that many people who buy into a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and get gender reassignment hormonal and/or surgical intervention discover too late that their born physical gender wasn’t the real cause of their problems.

But by then, they’ve been surgically or chemically altered, and sometimes that alteration endangers their physical and emotional health.

The make-up and cosmetics industry wants your daughters to start using their products (many of which are created using animal experimentation) at an earlier and earlier age.

Generalized hedonism culture wants to sexualize your children, and the standard non-vegan diet assists this because intake of meat, poultry, and dairy filled with industrial hormones is causing young girls to reach puberty at earlier and earlier ages.

Media, entertainment, and electronic device corporations want to hook your kids on movies, music, theme parks, computer games, phones, handhelds, and other mindless distractions. They want your kids to be slaves to electronica.

Sexualized music videos are marketed to pre-teens, tweeners, and teenagers.

The Internet is an electronic net, with chat rooms, advertising, entertainment, pornography, and other features where sexual predators and other miscreants lurk like demons, hoping to net your kids.

The military-industrial complex creates video games, ROTC, and other tactics, hoping your kids will love war and consider the military as a career option.

You correctly view your child’s world as a landscape of predators designed to attract them to a baited hook, hook them, and reel them in so they’re captured.

My point is: capitalist society is a predatory system where people with profit agendas are constantly trying to hook your children’s minds to make money off of them.

And the worldwide culture of death symbolized and embodied by the imprisonment, torture, and murder of billions of animals per year is among the most pervasive and societally-accepted predatory traps your children can fall into.

Vegan Parents Are on the Side of the Angels

When your sweet, innocent child, who used to love animals and want to cuddle them, is gradually corrupted by death culture so that he or she starts wanting to eat meat, dairy, fish, or poultry, it’s the same as if your sweet, innocent child started smoking cigarettes, hunting, or engaging in risky, precocious sexual behaviors.

I mean, let’s face it, what life lessons are non-vegan parents teaching their kids?

They’re teaching them it’s ok to create needless suffering and death for billions of animals that have just as much emotional capacity and will to live as the family’s dogs or cats have.

They’re teaching their kids to NOT have empathy, and that it’s ok for the strong to victimize the weak.

That’s what the non-vegan food system is all about: the strong victimizing the weak.

And they’re feeding their kids foods that are bad for them.

None of these are admirable parenting traits.

The good news is that raising a vegan child is more than feeding them the healthiest diet in the world.

It also teaches them character, integrity, self-respect, and respect for others.

A vegan child is a child of ahimsa (non-harm), an empath, a healthy role model, a beacon of kindness and compassion in a world of exploitation and death.

A vegan child is a child whose conscience is clean, who has no blood on his or her hands, who isn’t consuming products created by the death industries.

A Vegan Samurai child is a rare youngster who isn’t afraid to be different when it’s the ethical thing to do, who understands that humans with their dominant paradigms of speciesism and carnism are on the wrong track, are creating a world of hurt.

So be proud and vigilant as you raise your child to be a Vegan Samurai.

Your child will be healthier, happier, and more ethical than non-vegan children.

Your child raised on a plant-based diet will be part of the small but admirable tribe of humans who live ahimsa, who refuse to participate in death culture, and whose hearts and minds are evolved towards kindness, doing what’s right, and standing up for the billions of innocent, sentient beings who deserve better than to be consumed as food and otherwise exploited by our species.

Note that this article doesn’t address a situation where one parent is vegan and the other isn’t, or any other situation in which the children haven’t been raised vegan. I’ll be posting another article about that topic.

And please take a look at this article about a marriage and family dealing with a mixed situation in which the wife is vegan, but her husband and children aren’t.

For more information about vegan parenting, read here, and stay strong because… Vegan Samurai parents are the best parents in the world!

ZOOTOPIA: A Sweet 3-D Movie Vegans Will Love

Rest assured this article is NOT in any way a spoiler article about the fantastic new, animated Disney movie Zootopia.

This review  will enhance rather than take away from your enjoyment of this must-see film.

Here’s what I can safely tell you without spoiling this delightful cinematic adventure…

Zootopia is Full of Cute, Charismatic Animals

This movie has the highest cute animal quotient I’ve ever seen. From the opening scene to the rocking credits finale, you’re going to be saying “Aww, how cute.”

I saw Zootopia 3-D in a theater crowded with children of all ages, including tiny babies.

They laughed and squealed with delight at the animation’s vibrantly stylized, beautifully conceived renderings of animals from bunnies to elephants, and their astoundingly fanciful city habitat.

Zootopia is All About Biodiversity

The mainstream reviews (most of which are spoilers) say the movie’s about prejudice and human ethnic diversity, and I can see why they say that.

But they don’t even mention animal rights, biodiversity, animal liberation… all of which are embedded in Zootopia.

The film gives human-like characteristics and cultural habits to dozens of non-human species, but also showcases the actual species-specific talents of animals in ways that educate us that every animal species is as amazing as we are, in its own way.

Viewers leave the movie with way more appreciation for animal diversity than if they’d have gone to an animal imprisonment facility such as zoos and aquarium.

Zootopia is a Female Empowerment Film

In its choice of female protagonist, this sweet movie reminds one of another stellar animated movie: Inside Out.

The female lead character is an inspiring role model for all of us, especially young girls.

She’s a lot more admirable than Hannah Montana aka Miley Cyrus.

Zootopia is clearly making a vivid case for gender equality among all species!

Zootopia is Against Animal Experimentation & Vivisection

Part of the plot is driven by a theme about experimenting on animals, and contains warnings about greed, ego, and political corruption.

Zootopia is Eloquently Voiced By Top Actors & Actresses… And the Music is Great Too

The entire ensemble cast that voices this delightful movie is in top form.

With luminaries like Jason Bateman, Tommy Chong, Octavia Spencer, and Shakira, you’ll enjoy listening to this movie’s dialogue as much as seeing its flawless animation.

The musical score by Michael Giachhino is powerful and hip.

Shakira brings the house down with the cutest animal music video ever in the dance-friendly hit song Try Everything.

Zootopia is Receiving Rave Reviews & Big Box Office

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone calls Zootopia “subversive,” and that’s exactly what it is.

Especially for an animated film not released during school holidays, it’s grossing big at the box office, and both critics and audiences are giving it rave reviews.

One critic said it’s the best Disney film since Beauty and the Beast.

Others describe Zootopia as fascinating, thought-provoking, compelling, hilarious, extraordinarily imaginative, as meaningful for adults as for children, and revolutionary.

The film’s plot is funny, sassy, and non-stop fun.  There’s not a boring moment in its entire 108 minutes.

Don’t leave the theater until the last frame has run, because this high-quality movie keeps on delivering until the last word of the end credits!

That’s why I’m going back to the theater soon to see Zootopia 3-D again.

I didn’t even do that for Avatar.

Please support this adorable animal-loving movie by seeing it in 3-D on the big screen before it leaves your local theater!

 

Five Ways Being Vegan Includes More than Not Eating Animals

There’s a form of veganism that a Vegan Samurai calls “Vegan Lite.”

Vegan Lite is…

A person doesn’t consume any food products derived from the capture, domination of, enslavement, torture, or killing of animals.

This includes eggs, dairy, fish, and meat.

The Vegan Lite person limits their vegan activism to their dietary choices.

In contrast, an authentic “Vegan Samurai” refuses to participate in any industry that exploits and harm animals.

Here’s what I mean…

The Vegan Samurai Opposes the Animal Entertainment Industry

The animal entertainment industry includes circuses, Seaworld, zoos, rodeos, dolphin encounter businesses, and other facilities that take animals away from their natural habitats, biological pathways, and social groupings.

The zoo and animal theme park industries claim their facilities educate people about and expose them to animals, but the most pervasive message animal captivity facilities implant in peoples’ heads is that animals have no rights to live as Nature intended, and are ours to capture, cage, and gawk at.

There are limited exceptions one could make for wildlife rehab centers and farm animal sanctuaries, although I’ve seen examples where both of these categories are actually exploiting animals rather than helping them.

The Vegan Samurai Opposes Using Animals for Clothing & Other Materials

For centuries, trapping of animals for fur has been one of the most brutal ways humans abuse animals.

In the modern era, so-called “fur farms” imprison, enslave, and often electrocute animals so their furs can be made into fancy coats for humans.

We also see cows, pigs, and other animals skinned alive so leather, pigskin, and other materials can be made into wallets, shoes, gloves, coats, and other items that instead could  be made with materials from non-animal sources.

Animals in the wild are hunted for furs, or for ludicrous uses such as “bearskin rugs.”

The Vegan Samurai Opposes Hunting & Fishing

Other than the few remote, indigenous native peoples whose cultures have no choice but to rely on hunting for sustenance, nobody on the planet needs to hunt to eat.

They do it because they like to kill innocent animals, not because they have to do it.

Hunting and fishing are nothing more than humans invading the homes of other animals, using vehicles, dogs, hooks, boats, overwhelming firepower and other means to murder animals that haven’t done anything wrong, and can’t fight back.

The Vegan Samurai Opposes Vivisection (Animal Experimentation)

The horrors of vivisection in some cases are more disgusting even than the terrible atrocities you see in undercover videos that expose the animal foods industry.

And the “benefits” of vivisection are vastly overstated.

In fact, the defense given for vivisection is that vivisection helps humans develop medical treatments and medicines, and is wholly based on specieism (the belief that our species is more important than all other species).

I’ve spoken to animal experimenters who actually say things like, “If I have to stick electrodes into the heads of kittens so I can help even one human, it’s worth it.”

The real truth is that most vivisection is unnecessary if not inapplicable to human medical needs, experiments can be conducted without animals, and a lot of animal experimentation is conducted for ridiculous purposes, such as the torture done to rabbits by eye make-up companies.

A Vegan Samuria also opposes transgenic experimentation, such as the creation of chimeras that are part non-human animal, part human animal.

We oppose Frankenstein experiments done with animals!

The Vegan Samurai Opposes Animals Used for Labor

Have you seen the incredible movie War Horse?

One of the most powerful scenes is when majestic horses are harnessed and used to pull heavy military equipment, which injures and kills them.

Contrary to the nostalgic way we’ve been taught to look at oxen and horses hooked up to plows and other human machinery, the Vegan Samurai opposes ALL use of animals for labor.

Why? Because animals can never give us explicit, non-coerced, voluntary consent to what we want them to do.

And yes, this includes “service dogs.”

I realize that people who are Vegan Lite may initially feel the Vegan Samurai paradigm is challenging, shocking, or “too extreme.”

But I can assure you the Vegan Samurai paradigm is well-analyzed and totally solid from the perspective of logical, ethical consistency.

If it’s wrong to be a customer of a food industry that imprisons, enslaves, and harms animals, then it’s wrong to be a customer of other industries (such as zoos, aquariums, circuses, animal experimentation labs, rodeos, animal labor, etc.) that also harm animals by imprisoning and harming them.

I urge everyone who’s a vegan to adopt the Vegan Samurai paradigm as described above.

It’s the most all-encompassing, morally-consistent vegan paradigm, and it cleanses you from being a participant in any system that harms animals.

The Most Radical Vegan Activist Ever

Vegans are often accused of being angry, self-righteous, and offensive.

Such accusations are familiar to anyone who tells the truth in a corrupt society like ours.

The vegan activist who has been slagged more than any other vegan spokesperson is Gary Yourofsky.

His hard-hitting YouTube videos, essays, and in-person lectures are the most unforgiving condemnations of carnism and animal exploitation you’ll see.

But Yourofsky isn’t just a vegan media activist. He’s also been an animal rights activist who had the courage to engage in direct-action animal liberation.

Gary Yourofsky has been arrested more than a dozen times for animal activism.

He spent months in a Canadian maximum security prison for being part of an Animal Liberation Front action that invaded a mink farm and released hundreds of mink.

Yourofsky is  hardcore and uncompromising, and openly states he’s not a pacifist when it comes to defending animals.

In fact, the high-energy animal rights campaigner has gotten into physical altercations with people who were promoting animal exploitation.

Yourofsky was an official spokesperson for PETA for several years, but insiders say he became “too radical” even for PETA.

He now focuses on his own animal rights and vegan organization–Animals Deserve Absolute Protection Today and Tomorrow (ADAPTT).

One very inspiring aspect of Gary’s work is that he doesn’t limit himself to just promoting veganism.

He actively, physically confronts developers, animal exploitation facilities, politicians, and others to protest various animal harms, including hunting, circuses, fur farms, and habitat destruction.

The governments of the United Kingdom and Canada permanently banned Yourofsky from entering their countries, alleging that his beliefs and actions constitute “terrorism.”

For vegans who want to hear someone articulate the most uncompromising, indignant critiques of animal exploitation, Gary’s videos are powerful and compelling.

He definitely isn’t “politically correct,” or polite.

In one video embedded in this article, he speaks of his wish that people who eat animals or engage in animal exploitation be treated as badly as animals are treated.

He sometimes gets very worked up and appears to wish violence upon those who participate in or support animal exploitation industries.

Yourofsky is probably the most polarizing figure in the animal rights, animal liberation, and vegan movements.

You may watch these videos and come away saying, “I totally get where he’s coming from and appreciate his passion.”

Or you might say: “He’s way too angry and mean.”

I urge you to watch the videos regardless.

Sometimes I wince at the directness, fire, and in-your-face style he uses, but Gary Yourofsky has risked his life and freedom for innocent animals.

He truly embodies the qualities of a Vegan Samurai– he’s strong, unafraid, and willing to risk his safety and freedom to defend the defenseless.

The man well articulates the atrocities of the animal exploitation industries, and the feelings of outrage that most vegans feel when confronted with the brutal reality of what humans do to innocent animals.