A while back Saturday Night Live did a funny and yet disturbing skit called Complicit. In it, Scarlett Johansson plays an Ivanka Trump who is merely a puppet for her father. By going along with his agenda, she herself is almost just as guilty as he is. The skit ends with the quote
“For the woman who could stop all this, but won’t.”
When it comes to living my values, I’ve always thought moderation and acceptance of others was key. I’ve read about the horrors of commercial agricultural and animal feed operations, of the non-organic clothing industry, and the health crisis America now finds itself in. However, trying to tell people all of these things at once is overwhelming and often times counterproductive. Small steps seem to work better, and I thought that bending to eat a non-organic item here, or purchasing a made in china shirt there, was a good way to show that I’m not crazy.
But why do I feel so guilty? At my recent family reunion, I helped eat up extra salad and non-organic strawberries. They made me sick. Was it my conscious or the pesticides? Does it really matter? At a recent vegan meet up, I remember hearing all about how some members had fallen off the wagon and eaten a commercially produced animal product here or there. I remember being absolutely dumbfounded. How do you do that? You KNOW about how those animals were raised, you KNOW about all their pain and suffering, and you KNOW how bad ingesting all of that is for you, so how can you possibly ever cheat? If I would have read what I have read about the agricultural industry 20 years ago, I would have been a vegan 20 years ago. It’s as simple as that.
So why don’t I have that attitude with clothes? Why don’t I have that attitude with vegetables and fruit and even friends? How can I sit idly by and watch friends and family eat Chick-fil-a and buy from Old Navy? Gosh, am I turning into one of those crazy vegans everyone hates? But I keep looking around and wondering how all of this terrible stuff is the foundation of our modern society. I feel like Thorn from Soylent Green being carried away and yelling “Soylent Green is people!”
I think the key to all of this is the question “Am I turning into one of those vegans everyone hates”? Crazy vegan stereotypes are portrayed everywhere, and they make society laugh at those who are trying their best to live their values and do good in one of the most honest, practical, and effective ways possible. Why is that? And why am I so afraid of it? In this respect, Jesse (the boyfriend) has been my inspiration. He has such incredible drive and will power; the minute he decides something is better for him/the environment/society, he tackles it fearlessly and without compromise. I would like to do that. It seems that the first step is to eliminate fear. When Jesse makes changes to his lifestyle, his family and friends call him a radical and maybe a little crazy. However, if he doesn’t make a big deal about it, no one else does. Sometimes, they even start to question their own values.
I think it’s time to stop being afraid of being called the crazy vegan, and to just concentrate on living my values to the fullest and in the most effective manner possible. Furthermore, it’s time to not mind sharing those values when the moment and the timing is right. A single voice speaking in opposition may be viewed as an outlier. However, the more voices, the more we cannot be dismissed, and the more change is possible.
This week in updates: Heat Wave
The high today is 98, and that feels positively wonderful. As someone who not only works outside, but commutes exclusively without air conditioning, hot weeks can feel like hot yoga all day everyday. I do make sure to heat adapt as best I can, and I’ve done worse before. My last apartment was a basically a greenhouse, and I made it through that entire Sacramento summer without using the AC . Now days I have a roommate, and I think she would murder me if I didn’t let her turn the AC on once and awhile. We keep it at 82 degrees, which is a hell of a lot better than 110. Still, not only have I felt my body struggling especially on my motorcycle commutes (in full gear), but I have seen proof of that struggle as well. Despite trying my best to stuff my face, I have lost 5 pounds this week, and that can’t all be water weight.
I am proud of making it through, though. It’s funny. One bus ride to the airport, I sat and chatted with my fellow riders. They were lower income Sacramento residents, and they thought nothing of not using the AC all summer. My well funded military work mates think they just might die. What a divide! Sometimes I think money and resources make us underestimate ourselves. We are stronger than we give ourselves credit for.
The Recipe: Black Bean Sauce with Haitian Corn meal Pudding
Wow is this delicious! I don't know what it is, but the combination of the cornmeal, black beans, and spices is absolute magic. Cheap too. I spend $2 on the black beans, $1 on the cornmeal, $1 for the onion, $2 for scallions, and $2 for the fresh parsley. The garlic, thyme, and non dairy milk I already had and would only cost $1 all together for those quantities. I spend $4 for two avocados for topping. Thus, that is $13 for 8 servings of deliciousness!
- 2 cups dried black beans
- 1 onion , chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 scallions
- 1/2-1 cup veggie stock
- 1 cup non dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- 5 cups water
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 1/2 cup yellow course cornmeal
- For the black bean sauce, soak and cook the black beans.
- Saute the onion with the garlic and scallions. Divide this mixture in half. You will use 1/2 for the black bean sauce, and 1/2 for the pudding.
- Combine in a blender the cooked black beans with 1/2 of the sauteed veggies, the vegetable stock, non dairy milk, and 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Blend. Use the amount of veggie stock corresponding to how thick you want your sauce to be.
- For the pudding, boil the 5 cups of water.
- When it is boiling, add 1/2 of the sauteed veggie mixture, the thyme, and parsley.
- Slowly add the cornmeal to the boiling water while stirring, reduce heat, and simmer until thick.
- Serve the cornmeal pudding hot with the black bean sauce and chopped avocado. Enjoy!