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Does anything say “healthy” better than fresh fruit and vegetable juice?  I don’t think so!  It’s only been a month since I got back into a regular juicing habit, despite that I bought my “new” juicer at least 2 years ago.

I was re-inspired by listening to the Raw Vegan Radio podcast episode 0125:  “School of Juicing with Jay and Linda Kordich.”  Now that I’m loving juicing again, I said to myself…

What took me so long!?

I’ve vowed to keep this habit going at least several times a week.  (The last time I juiced regularly was about 20 years ago, when I got a Juiceman.  I enjoyed it, but unfortunately I let my juicing habit fall by the wayside.)

I initially bought my Omega 8003 Nutrition Center Juicer when I set out to do a short– 3 day– juice fast.  I wanted to replace my old centripetal juicer with one that would afford me the option to juice wheatgrass and leafy greens.

I chose the Omega because it’s a masticating juicer.  Using the blank plate also allows you to make frozen fruit “soft serve” desserts, among other food preparation options.  The one drawback of the Omega 8003 is that the food chute is only 1 1/2 inches in diameter, which means you have to cut the food pieces to fit down the chute.  But it’s a snap to assemble and to clean.  I timed the process:  25 minutes to wash, cut, and juice the fruits/vegetables and clean up the juicer parts.

So what took me so long to get back into juicing?  Self-reflection revealed that I had become a bit of a smoothie snob.  Ever since I bought my Vitamix blender, I was in love…In love with the Vitamix…In love with the green smoothie.

Even though I’d bought the new juicer, I’d done the juice fast, and I knew on an intellectual level that there are good reasons to blend your fruits/vegetables and to juice them, I still wasn’t doing both.  I was stuck in the mindset of picking just one.  “Don’t remove the fiber!” said my inner voice.  Yet, by choosing sides, I was missing out on all the added benefits of juicing.  By juicing, you pack an awful lot of goodness in one glass!

 

Now I share my love with my blender and juicer.  Like a plural marriage, I have room in my heart for more than one!

My “go-to” green smoothie is orange/tangerine, frozen banana and kale.  My “standby” juice is carrot, celery, cucumber, apple and lemon.  To this basic juice formula I mix it up by adding in beet or parsley.  Soon I’ll cycle in some fresh ginger.

One thing’s for sure…I’m going to keep juicing!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Today I was rollerblading on a paved trail near my house.  The side of the path had been freshly mowed.  There, I saw about 5 dead baby possums who must have been killed by the mower.  There was no blood, and the bodies were intact.  I think they were crushed.

Seeing them made me think about all the animals killed during the production of food crops:  field mice, moles, rabbits and others, who unknowingly get in the way of the farm machinery.

Some people like to use the fact that “animals die in the harvesting of plants” as an argument to discredit a vegan’s decision to leave animals off her plate.  I respond:  Should I go back to eating animals because I can’t help the small mammals who meet their untimely deaths out in the farm fields?

If I can’t help it that a bird got killed by my car while driving, does it mean that I should go back to eating chickens?  No.  I don’t want to kill either bird:  not a sparrow by accident or a chicken on purpose.  I want to cause as little harm as humanly possible.

Animals who are killed for food don’t just magically grow big and plump without eating.  Animals who are intentionally killed are fed plants first.  The two main “animal feed” crops in animal agriculture are corn and soybeans.  A high percentage are genetically modified and heavily sprayed with pesticides.

Animals eat plants and then people eat the animals.  More animal death is caused by eating animals than by simply eating plants directly.  Eat organic, non-GMO plants whenever possible.

What about “grass-fed” animals, you ask?  The fact is, grass-fed livestock are rarely 100% grass-fed.  Pastured livestock are raised on grassy pastures, but their diet is supplemented with grains, especially in colder climates.  Pastured cows, bison, pigs, turkeys and chickens are typically at least partially grain-fed even when they’re called “free-range,” “organic,” “heirloom,” and “heritage.”

In addition, numerous animals– wild horses, badgers, black bears, bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes, foxes, wolves, opossum, raccoons, skunks, beavers, nutrias, porcupines, prairie dogs, black birds, cattle egrets, and starlings– are killed for the purpose of “protecting” ranchers’ interests (i.e. their livestock, their livelihood.)

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Wildlife Services (WS) has been tasked to “help people resolve wildlife damage to a wide variety of resources.”  (In this case, “resources” means cattle.  The cattle are physically protected up until the time they are slaughtered.)  Wildlife Services (WS) uses the following methods of “resolution”:  poisoning, trapping, snaring, denning (denning = pouring kerosene into a den, setting fire to it, and burning young animals alive), shooting, and aerial gunning.

Back to my point.

Yes, even in the “best case scenario,” a certain percentage of animals will be killed through not so pain-free methods:  Animals are hit by cars, bugs get squashed, critters are unfortunate victims of combine harvesters and lawnmowers, and animals are routinely consumed by other animals.

I highly doubt that people routinely go into grocery stores thinking– while picking up pork chops– “Well I couldn’t save that possum from being killed by the mower, so I might as well be the reason this pig had to die.”

That’s not how it works.  People typically select animal products because 1) animal products taste good, 2) people are accustomed to buying animal products, and 3) people believe that animal products are essential to a healthy diet.

I think that some people who use the “animals die in the harvesting of plants” line of reasoning are simply looking for an reason to continue consuming animals.

Bottom line:  it all comes down to daily choices.  We can either choose to consume animals that we know for a fact were killed, or we can try our best to avoid unnecessary death.

When shopping for food, we can all choose fruits, vegetables, beans/legumes, nuts, seeds, grains, herbs and spices.  We can strive to choose whole, organic, non-GMO foods.  We can avoid animal products– including, but not limited to– chickens, pigs, cows, fishes, eggs, milk and cheese.

"There are those who are appalled because I am so vocal about injustice, yet I am equally appalled by their silence." Lujene Clark

“Every time you purchase animal products you pay assassins to murder sentient beings for you.”

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"My purpose is not to offend you, it is to provoke you to think." Unknown

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