Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Traveling Vegan: Salem, MA

"Alchemy" bowl and "Pure Alive" juice at Life Alive Organic Cafe

Salem YMCA

Goddess Bowl

Goddess Bowl and Life Alive Juice

I have some older posts about Gwen and I traveling vegan and staying in Salem. I'll just review, though, because I am doing a few things differently this trip.

I always pack most of my food while traveling. My motto is that "a mini fridge is the traveling vegan's best friend." My hotel room is pretty low rent but does have a fridge and I can use the microwave or toaster in the breakfast area of the lobby all day. So when I travel (here or other places) I tend to:

1) make sure I know where I am staying and what my storage/cooking capacity will be
2) scope out the local stores, health food stores, and vegan resteraunts via www.happycow.net.
3) do recon at said stores and get some supplies. I still limit perishables even if I have a fridge. they tend to snowball on you really fast and may spoil.
4) use farmer's markets if in season also to get some really high quality produce (right now I have some cukes and tomatoes and some blackberries that I scored at a farmstand on my way out of Maine)
5) make sure I have cutlery, plates, dish soap and cloth, sandwich bags and travel mugs, etc. to make living out of my room easy

And on this trip I added the following:

6) find a local health club or walking/jogging trail and make arrangements to have one or two workouts while on the road

So on most trips I tend to live out of my room and not bother with resteraunts. It is usually so hard to find vegan friendly resteraunts that I have just gotten to the place where I'd rather save the money I might have spent on expensive dining and use that for other aspects of the trip. But on this trip I found Life Alive Cafe right on Essex Street in Salem (the main drag, and right across the street from the YMCA). I did bring my juicer on the trip but I haven't felt like trying to use it in my hotel because of the mess. I will be using it more on the upstate New York leg of this trip when I visit my dad (I will post on that later).

Fortunately, Life Alive has a huge array of juices and smoothies as well as super-nutritional rice bowls, wraps, or salads. So I've been treating myself there once a day.


I discovered that, as a member of my local YMCA in Maine, that all the Y's in New England honor your membership. So I have membership priviledges at the Salem Y and am taking a couple zumba classes there (which is what I do at home). This feels great and really lets me relax, kind of feeling more like a member of the community than a tourist. I've really been enjoying it. I also found a multi use recreational trail in Danvers (where I am staying) but, frankly, I've been walking around Salem so much that I haven't felt that I need the trail.

So - just some tips for making vegan travel as healthy, economical, and relaxing as possible. And fun! I really enjoy it tons more than I ever did when I was ovo lacto vegetarian and eating at fast food places or something on my trips. I feel so much better now on every level. Try it out on your next trip...I bet you'll like it too!

I'll be blogging about vegan travel when I move on to my dad's place, though. That has a different vibe and different strengths/challenges. More to come!

tea, stevia, dry snacks, peanut butter for the toast/bagels at the continental breakfast

more dry snacks, plus a shelf-stable box of squash soup for microwaving
the vegan traveler's best friend...mini fridge! I have produce, soymilk, pickles, a couple frozen burritos, etc. hidden within.

In Salem for Laurie Cabot's Witchcraft 2

Well here I am in Salem, MA for Laurie Cabot's Witchcraft II class. You can see in the blog archives my trip to take Witchcraft I. Class one was about "the science of witchcraft" - meaning basic beliefs and practices that tie magic practice into quantum physics and natural science...plus the spirituality and ethics of her Cabot Kent Tradition.

Witchcraft II is about basic magical work including circle casting, spells, potions, and the stuff a practicing witch does in the Cabot Kent Trad. Fortunately we are allowed to record the classes because Laurie just sits there and holds forth for a couple of hours at a time, and there is tons of information. I love the classes though.

I can see so many rich opportunities to incorporate vegan paganism into the trad and I can't wait to continue developing along those lines. An example is in healing...doing magical work to heal the spirits of animals being slaughtered by humans, and doing neutralizing work to keep helping to reduce that predation. I guess this is the work we all have to do at "veganizing" whatever pagan tradition/s we feel a part of.

The classes are held at Enchantments (see photo below). It is a great class, as I knew it would be, but a little overwhelming. So much to do when I get home!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Lammas - Blessing from the Corn King

            Lammas marks when our ancestors celebrated the first fruits of their harvest and prayed for the rest of the growing season to go well. People living close to the earth without connections to outside resources depended on their own harvest for the survival and growth of their communities.

            In the story of the Goddess and God, the harvest has a strong connection to sacrifice. The Oak King takes on a new role, in which he is also known as the Corn King. As the corn king, he begins the process of dying so that the creatures of the earth can live. It is a sacrificial death that many young gods throughout world mythology undergo, and of course is reflected in the story of Jesus Christ.

            The concept of sacrifice in connection to food and hunger is a fascinating one for the vegan pagan. It is a great time of year to be mindful of the full cost of food, in terms of compassion, environmentalism, justice, etc. As vegans we already spend a lot of time thinking about these interconnections. Lammas is therefore a holiday where we can earnestly celebrate and be grateful for the food that we have. We can also be grateful for the spread of veganism and the availability of cruelty free, ethically obtained items (to a greater and greater extent).

            Pagan concepts of wheat or corn (or other plants) as a gift from a deity are a deep metaphor for sustainable food on our earth. This is despite what modern agriculture has done to plants with genetically modified seeds and lack of crop diversity. Plants are a renewable resource that our planet naturally produces if we get out of the way. We can also easily produce crops of plants if we study environmentally sound ways to do so (most of which harken back to practices our pagan ancestors used).

I think Lammas is the perfect time to explore the work of A Well Fed World (www.awellfedworld.org). This organization's work is very connected to the spirit of the Corn King's gift. That there is enough bounty in plant crops to feed people everywhere. If we farm in environmentally responsible ways, everyone should have enough to eat. This practice would also liberate our animal brothers and sisters from our exploitative animal agriculture.