Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Vegan Earth Day

Now both Ostara and Easter are behind us, and Beltane is just around the corner! I am very excited to see my baby garlic peeping cautiously (yet with increasing optimism) out of the garden beds. It was preceded by the brash chocolate mint, which was clawing it's way through last year's dead tangle. And in the front yard the chives are at least three inches tall...leading the way for everyone (along with the dandelions and crocuses). Yay! Spring! The beaver-built pond in our back field is now populous with birds, including a lovely pair of geese. It is so good to see them all again!

I think earth day and the activities that go with it are a great way to head into Beltane. Beltane is full of spring energy and passion. For those of us who want to turn this metaphor toward activism, earth day is a great avenue.

Never forget that veganism is great for the environment. It always makes me a little sad to watch environmental education type movies that totally miss animal agriculture as a major part of the problem. But environmental groups are catching on. Just recently, the Center for Biological Diversity put up a new campaign urging people toward a vegan diet due to environmental impact of animal foods. For instance, they give this sobering piece of info:

"Every minute, seven football fields’ worth of land is bulldozed to create room for more livestock and feed crops — land that was once habitat for wild animals and biologically diverse ecosystems that play a key role in absorbing carbon dioxide and filtering water sources."  (Smithsonian Institution, 2002)

They don't start people off as full-bore vegan, but suggest reduction. And their campaign slogan is great: "You have at least three chances a day to save the planet."

Their campaign is called "take extinction off your plate" and I love this message, as well. We need to remember that it isn't only the slaughtered animals who are killed when we consume meat. Other species are going extinct because animal agriculture is taking away their habitats and their water. It is such an important set of facts for vegans to know. To get some great info and talking points from their site, check it out at: 

Also FARM (farmed animal rights movement) has a great earth day campaign with tons of environmental info. And their beginner's' veg pledge is going on right now! Check them out at:

and I hope you had a lovely earth day!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

5 Ways to Celebrate Vegan Easter

A sure sign of spring is the Easter holiday making its pastel-presence known in every marketplace. “Easter” is a Christian holiday, but it has become a cultural celebration as well. Easter also occurs in the same time window as Passover and other religious holidays, like the neo-pagan holiday of Ostara. All three of these religious holidays have an egg as part of the seasonal motif, and they all do something to celebrate springtime energies.

Whether it is the secular event or a religious tradition, this is the time of year to celebrate themes like new birth and fresh beginnings. If you have children, they may be seeing their peers celebrate and want to join in. You may have a community or family tradition that celebrates, as well. So here are five ideas for veganizing what I will call “Easter,” though you may call it something else.


1)      Use plastic eggs for baskets and hunts. Fill them with vegan sweets. Sites like have whole sections of Easter-basket friendly candy. You can also make your own vegan chocolates or egg-shaped cookies. If your children want to decorate eggs, craft stores sell wooden or plaster versions.

2)      Donate to a vegan education and advocacy organization so they can educate the public about Easter holiday risks to animals like rabbits, chicks, and ducklings.

3)      Donate (time, wish list items, or money) to a pet shelter or animal sanctuary. These organizations often get flooded with “Easter” animals who have been surrendered or abandoned. Perhaps your family can do a volunteer day or an educational visit.

4)      Take veganized Easter or Passover type foods to family dinners, religious celebrations, and potlucks. “Betty Goes Vegan,” by Dan and Annie Shannon, has a whole Easter menu and Passover menu. Mayim Bialik has great, traditional Passover fare in “Mayim’s Vegan Table.” Between the two books we’re talking maple roasted tofurkey, hot cross buns, sweet treats and matzo ball soup. So much of these holiday traditions has to do with “comfort food.” By giving people cruelty-free options, we can help them see it is possible to move away from reliance on items like eggs and ham.

5)      Tap into the energy of the season to plan your garden. You can micro-garden inside with containers, or have an edible landscape outside. Two books that might help are “Lasagna Gardening for Small Spaces” by Patricia Lanza, or “Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture” by Toby Hemenway.


Let’s celebrate spring right along with the rest, and be proud our cruelty-free choices. I’m wishing you a happy holiday season and a beautiful, peace-filled spring.

Monday, April 7, 2014


Here we are at Ostara again, a spring celebration that focuses on fertility and other types of new beginnings. It is a time for "growth" of many different kinds. One of the key symbols of the season is the egg. This is not limited to pagan Ostara, but can also be seen in Jewish Passover feasting and in Christian Easter. Not to mention the secularized holiday, which is all about new spring clothes, egg hunts, candy, and ham dinners. Sigh. But we can counter these exploitative practices in vegan paganism. The Shannons suggest in "Betty" that an avocado can be used instead of an egg in ritual feasts because it has the same shape and the same "germination" energy, since it has a giant seed in the middle. I really like this idea.

I made a maple glazed holiday roast from "Betty Goes Vegan" for our Ostara night feast. This has a vegan flavor profile that is about as close to honey-roasted ham as we would want it to be. And for our ritual we honored the Goddess Eostre, as well as the animals who are so often exploited this time of year, like rabbits, chickens, pigs and ducks.

I took the opportunity to get some egg-shaped candles from a local craft store, and we also got little wooden egg cutouts for divination sets. We thought that colored "eggs" made into divination tools would satisfy the urge to have colored eggs around. It was fun to make the "eggs" and I made mine in the seven chakra colors. I figured I could pull one once in a while and use it to inspire a meditation on that chakra. As a reiki practitioner and musical healing enthusiast, I always want to work with the chakras and their correspondences.

Here are some pictures. Enjoy and here's hoping you have a great Spring!

Shadow is sulking a little because I wouldn't let him eat the egg candles. :^)

Eostre in the center, with a vegan sugar-bunny. The wooden eggs we turned into divination sets are behind her.

maple roast from betty goes vegan