Let me preface this post with a little bit about myself (although I’ve touched on this before):  I am a vegan, which means I do not eat any animal products whatsoever.  No meat, no dairy, etc.  You’ve all met at least one crazy, skinny, hippy-dippy stoner vegan in your time, am I right?

But I’m not one of those vegans.  I don’t go around screaming and yelling about the cruelties of the factory farm industry.  I keep my opinions to myself, largely because people are SO damned sensitive about what they eat.  You should hear the apologies I hear from people who are eating meat around me:  “Oh, I’m so sorry, I shouldn’t be eating this in front of you… you know, I don’t eat that much red meat..” etc etc.  I’m sure fellow vegans and vegetarians can relate.  But you can eat a 5 pound rare ribeye right in front of me and I don’t give a shit.  Why?  Oh, because I’m a live-and-let-die sort of person.  Do what you want, it’s your body.

Don’t get me wrong, though – nothing boils my blood or nauseates me quite like animal cruelty.  It is beyond despicable to me.  Those now-and-again news reports you hear of people leaving dogs and cats in cages in large numbers to starve to death… I can’t even tell you how much that kind of shit enrages me.  And I don’t have any pets (the reasons for which are perhaps fodder for a future post – stay tuned) but puppies and baby cows and ducks and kittens get me all warm and fuzzy.

But I am certainly not a card-carrying member of PETA.  Yes, I believe animals have rights – but I don’t shoo every house fly and mosquito out the door.  No sir.  If a tick or a mosquito or a fly lands of me, it’s gonzo for the poor little bastard.

Can you even believe the wackos over at PETA are calling Obama to the carpet for killing that fly?  Honest to christ, what the fuck is wrong with these people?  Sorry – being a Jain and tiptoeing around in life wearing a gauze mask in front of your unwashed face is not my idea of loftiness.  I’m far from perfect – but what I do works for me and I’m not harming anyone – except that I eat what I’m willing to kill.  Life is about extracting life from the living things around you – it’s called survival.  I mean, we’re human mammals, for crying out loud.

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My passion for a healthy diet is about as passionate as my atheism, and yet, I’ve barely written of it here.

There is a specific issue I wish to address, and perhaps you faithful readers can offer your opinions on the matter.

First of all, I should say that I am a vegan – no meat, dairy, poultry, fish, eggs. I also do not eat any simple sugars – cane sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, etc. etc. (Read Sugar Blues by William Dufty.) No, I don’t listen to Victory Records bands or wear Earth Crisis or PETA hoodies. My philosophy is: I eat what I’m willing to kill. I am willing to pluck a carrot from the ground; I am unwilling to pluck a chicken.

My dilemma, however, is this: I buy organic exclusively. Yes, it does cost more – but I feel that it’s worth it to know that I’m not eating pesticides. I also strongly believe in buying, for example, an organic broccoli from the grocery store, which was trucked to that store from California (I live in New England) rather than buying a “conventionally” grown (sprayed) broccoli from the farm stand down the street.

I’ve taken hell for this from some environmentalists, who say my support of organic farming is actually harming the planet, due to long distances over which the handful of large organic farms need to ship their produce.

I say this: if I continue to support organic farming as fervently as I do and have, and as long as I remain vocal to the local farm stand about my feelings (“you know, if you didn’t spray your food, I’d buy my groceries here”), then demand will only increase for organic foods. And I also say that if I don’t take the best care of my own self – which, in my opinion, includes eating organic foods – then I won’t be able to live a long and healthy life, and that’s gotta count for something.

What d’y’all think?