Becoming an empowered foodie

Moving to the Bay Area, I knew there was a continually growing vegetarian and vegan community, which intrigued me. I’d thought of “crossing over” to this lifestyle for many years and, as an environmentalist, it seemed like a logical step in trying to help the planet. My boyfriend, in contrast, has never had an interest in giving up meat. No matter how many mature conversations we have had about it, he comes up with new reasons as to why to eat meat. As of late, we are trying to co-exist as an omnivore/vegetarian relationship.

Growing up on a meat & potatoes farm diet in Indiana, trying to be creative with my diet is not something I was taught. Though my absorption of the vegetarian diet is partly environmental and ethical, it is also a welcomed challenge to learn how to prepare healthier and more sustainable food. The San Francisco Vegetarian Society and the Bay Area Vegetarians groups have been a wonderful resource for information, but at the top of my list is Compassionate Cooks of Oakland.

Though their website is full of helpful info about the truths of the food industry and our diets, CC’s founder Colleen Patrick-Goudreau has a podcast on iTunes called Vegetarian Food for Thought. Without being preachy or “holier-than-thou”, Colleen does rockin job of informing listeners about what we have been taught by the meat, dairy, and fish industries in elementary school and just how they got that kind of access to our young minds. From reading other websites and pamphlets about being vegetarian or vegan, you learn a bit about these things, but she delivers the facts so smoothly and intelligently that all of the logic starts to kick in.

Whether or not you become a vegetarian or vegan is solely up to you and no one is going to force you to do so. Simply become a more educated eater is an important factor in our lives – one that many overlook and prefer to be ignorant to the truth. I was uber excited to learn that Compassionate Cooks recently came out with a DVD about vegetarian cooking – something there needs to be more of. They also host monthly cooking classes in Oakland, workshops and lectures, as well as farmed animal sanctuary tours. Toying with the idea or not, CC is a fantastic source for info about healthy cooking, tasty recipes, and a starter of astute conversation.

As a writer, I’d love to co-author a cookbook or info-guide with Colleen – where’s the Compassionate Cooks book!?

2 Comments so far

  1. SFGary (unregistered) on October 3rd, 2006 @ 5:23 pm

    Its good that you are taking on a low key advocacy mode. It gets the hard core meat eaters bent out of shape when newly transformed vegetarians get strident. I grew up vegetarian, adopted meat eating here in the good old US.of A but am going back full circle. So it is kind of amusing when either group takes a hard line and rant on about the virtues of their preferred diets.


  2. Victoria E (unregistered) on October 3rd, 2006 @ 6:38 pm

    Thank you for the support :) I’ve seen far too many people become preachy and that is no way to be an example of a subculture that you are representing. If you want change to happen, you have to make yourself a part of it.



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