I vividly recall my first meeting with Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. It was 10 years ago, and I interviewed her for Satya magazine. We both live in the Bay Area, so we met for lunch at a vegan restaurant not far from her home in Oakland. What I remember most is how busy Colleen was: screening Meet Your Meat to passersby on a sidewalk in nearby Berkeley, giving talks, writing about animals, teaching vegan cooking classes, promotiong a DVD she had recently created, and working a “day” job. Soon after, she launched a popular podcast called “Food for Thought,” which is still going strong. She also started an animal activist support group, and she invited me to participate. About five or six of us would get together every few weeks at Colleen’s house, and we’d bare our collective anguish over what we were learning about animal exploitation. It…
Day 12, Colleen makes the case that what we really mean when we say we crave animals as food is that we crave “fat, salt, flavour, texture and familiarity”. This seems like an odd claim at first, and I am still not sure it is 100% right. Eggs taste like eggs. Meat tastes like meat. You know this when you first go vegan, and then you forget. But there is definitely something to Colleen’s argument. A craving is not a taste.
If you find yourself craving animal products, what are you going to do? This is where the question becomes – What do I really want?
Obviously, everyone goes vegan for a reason. I think the key is to tap back into that reason, to remind yourself of the motivation. I expected cravings to be a problem when I first went vegan. Ironically, the opposite was true. I was revolted by foods only a few weeks ago I had loved.
… you don’t know how much of this stuff you’re eating until you stop
… it takes three weeks to change a habit
… our habits do not reflect who we really are
.. a habit is just a behavioural pattern we’ve created over time
Some habits you never thought you’d be able to let go of will fall away effortlessly and some habits you never though you’d form become second nature.
Colleen Patrick Goudreau, 30 Day Vegan Challenge
This time last year, if you had told me that I would voluntarily choose to never eat cheese or eggs again I would have thought that was impossible. In large part this was based on ignorance of what I was really eating, The knowledge was deliberately, by myself and my culture, keep just out of sight. Every now and then I would glimpse its shadow, and quickly turn away. A not insignificant part of my not knowing, was not wanting to know.
Even if you do not care about animals these are statistics we cannot ignore. As the impacts of climate change start to really kick in, land available for agriculture and water become even scarcer than they are now. As we increase the populations of our own species and the animals we eat, we consume resources faster than they can be replaced. We destroy habits for countless species.
Our extraordinary little planet has had mass extinctions in the past. Why are we so hell bent on going there again?
If we could just stop and do things differently, we could feed everybody, and our grandchildren would not have to live through the ecological nightmare that will be their inheritance.
Now, is the time we need to stop and rethink – Right Now!