Zoo Cooks Up Their Own Animals

October 22, 2014

highway 5 ruby roth

My 6-hour solo drive on the barren Highway 5 from L.A. to the San Francisco World Veg Fest last week was surprisingly full of vegan-related sightings and news (wait until you hear my favorite):

• First, a roadside sign advertising an Indian vegan food stop (this, in central California farm/trucking/fast food territory is quite outstanding). 

• A chance landing on a live Seventh Day Adventist radio show interviewing the awesome Dr. Gregor, who was promoting veganism...and the host was already on board—joy! (This, amidst several other bible shows encouraging "compassion" was also outstanding.)

• I passed Harris Ranch, the largest West Coast cattle feedlot (150 million pounds of beef per year—the stench is radical, even miles away), and then heard about them on the news moments later...the pollution they cause has created a "hot zone" in the atmosphere, one of the worst over the entire nation. The host's take: the environmentalist critique of the cattle industry and methane pollution is likely a coverup for the "ulterior motives of people like Paul McCartney, who want us all to be vegetarians."  Dumb-dumb didn't take his thinking any farther to consider what the ulterior motives of veganism might be. Regardless, I'd say he was kind of right, except most "environmentalists" leading the movement are not even vegan (yet). We work for the day when they are.

• My favorite: a morning radio show's report that a Swiss wildlife park is serving up their overpopulated animals on the cafeteria menu. Of course, the public is outraged and disgusted, ha! The radio hosts took an opinion call from an L.A. Zoo volunteer, who said he would never eat the exhibition animals. Why not? they asked. Not even the hooved animals? What's the difference between them and a cow?

The volunteer's answer was really revealing. He said, "Uhh...hmm...errr...because, well...the exhibit animals are animals, but they're not part of ouuuurrrr food chain." 

You know I just love this stuff, right? I figuratively squeal with delight when the media exposes the poor rationale that shapes all public thinking.

The zoo volunteer (representing most people) takes for granted our consumption of cows, pigs, chickens, and fish as a kind of God-given, a naturally ordered system in human life—like photosynthesis. Cows are to humans as the sun is to the grass. 

The truth is that the four main animals in our "food chain" are arbitrary and culturally relative—the result of history unfolding, not natural order. Our offense at the thought of eating some animals but not others is just evidence that we are not true omnivores.

If we were, then when our bodies "crave" or "tell us" that we need meat, we'd lick our lips at the bounty around us—our dogs, our neighbor's cat, the spiders on the wall, ants, worms, grub. The gates at the zoo would be necessary to keep us out, not the animals in

Change will never be fast enough, but the best things are happening now—the word "vegan" is rapidly making its way into mainstream consciousness, environmental and animal issues are in the news more than ever, and you, *|FNAME|*, are pointing out the relationship between the two to all your friends and community...right? 

Go do it!

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Help! I Love a Meat-Eater!

September 16, 2014

You guys, one of my oldest and best friends is a butcher.


He has worked at Whole Foods, and now he’s at an organic, grass-fed, blah-blah-blah meat company. He's not on the killing floor, but he does carve up bodies. "Wow," I told him recently, "we do the complete opposite things in life."  

"Yeah" he said, "I sell gross animal products." He accepts my stance.
Every time I’m in Northern California, we see each other, we laugh, and have a great time. He visits my family, we feed him plates-full of vegan food. He loves it. I send him and his wife recipes to try.

Career-wise, I’m Mary-Had-a-Little-Lamb (minus the curds and whey), and he’s Freddy Krueger. But friendship-wise, we’ve been Bill and Ted, Burt and Ernie, Sherlock and Watson...I’m just morally and ethically opposed to things he has no problem doing every day.

 love a meat-eater
I mean, basically Bonnie and Clyde. Best prom picture ever, right?

So what do you do? How can you have a deep relationship—platonic, romantic, or familial—with a meat-eater, when you’re diametrically opposed to some of their major life choices? 

Love happens. And I don't think it should be denied. 
You won’t convert everyone you love, nor win every debate. So pick your battles. When I choose not to fight one outwardly, I’m still waging war—by being an excited, happy-about-it representative of veganism.

You know what that leads to? Questions. When he wants health advice, my friend knows who to turn to. 

One time, I got him off butter:

love a meateater2

See? So much love. :)

If you're struggling to reconcile your love for a person with their love for eating animals, look at the quandary practically.

What good would ending the relationship do? Would it cause any ripple of change to the exterior world? Would any animals be saved? Would any animal suffering be alleviated?
If you answered yes even once, you might consider ending the relationship (in severe cases), or more likely, modifying your role in it. 

If it’s an omnivorous spouse or child that you love, consider not enabling any meat-eating and animal-product-purchasing in your home. You can opt never to buy or cook animal products. If they want it, they'll have to figure that out themselves. One activist I know even refuses to dine with family unless the meal is vegan. Otherwise, he tells them, they see each other another time. 

Love who you want, and love big! But don't compromise your own morals and values.

Ultimately, you can not control anyone else's behavior but your own to save animals...fortunately, your behavior has a lot of power and influence. 

Keep on truckin' and watch what happens. 

Tell me about your struggle with your loves who still eat animals. Please share in the comments area below so others can may be part of the conversation, too. 

5 Foods to Put on Your Face

August 21, 2014

papaya skin mask vegan


Aloha! I'm writing to you from Kauai, Hawaii, where I was partly raised on an organic tree farm (mac nuts, cocos, citrus, and Surinam cherries galore—to see photos, join my Instagram: @ruby_roth). 

Besides some dabs of essential oils and rose water, I've worn nothing on my face for a week—not even a lick of mascara. But I have put some food on my face.

Never do I use any big name-brand skincare products, especially being that to purchase said items, one must often enter a drugstore, which is one of the places that makes me feel like the world has already ended.

The second I set foot under the fluorescent lights, my eye-brain is flooded with the idea that every shelf, every lighter, every package and stick of gum—basically every tangible surface inside the store will eventually end up in a landfill, or worse.

My avoidance of the drugstore is why, at our house, we are constantly running out of toilet paper.

Anyway, I'm off the plastic-upon-chemical face washes, eye creams, moisturizers, and especially commercially-produced exfoliating scrubs, whose perfectly-round polyethylene microbeads make up a portion of the masses of tiny plastic fragments (called "nurdles") in our ocean—and are perfectly bite-sized for all kinds of sea creatures, who gobble them up by the belly-full. (#ThatsWhyWeDontEatAnimals) 

So besides essential oil blends by boutique labels like Living Libations and Persephenie, my skincare repertoire sometime includes bits and pieces of food I use in the kitchen. Step one—eat the food. Step two, put the food on your face. 

Pretty much any raw plant food has benefits when placed directly on our skin—but here are just five I routinely dab on myself when I'min the kitchen (and btw, kids LOVE this food-on-the-face game).

5 Foods to Put on Your Face

1. Papaya: When I'm done eating one, I rip up the peel and lay them all over my face, gently rubbing them in. Rinse after you've "soaked." Papaya is known for its antioxidants, vitamin A, and especially its powerful enzyme papain, which "digests" and breaks down build up and toxins, leaving your face aglow. 

2. Avocado: The bright yellow-green insides of a freshly ripe avo really do glisten and always make me think, "you are what you eat—and what you put on your skin."  I take a pinkie-fingernail scrape of avocado and rub it onto the tops of my hands, the apples of my cheeks, or whatever else I want glistening.

3. Citrus peel: Before I toss the peel of an orange or grapefruit, I rub the insides of the peel on my face and neck. They have a cooling and cleansing effect (citrus is antibacterial), and in my mind, must be as good a practice as the vitamin C serum aestheticians are always praising. Go to the source! Rinse when you feel like it. 

4. Aloe: Aloe is so easy to grow (the leaves regenerate when you cut their ends), I highly suggest having a few plants. Even a very small, thin slice gives you enough goo to spread a layer across your whole face. Seriously, try the gel on your forehead before you go to a party. You can leave it on all night. As it dries, it pulls the skin amazingly taut! It's temporary, but highly satisfying. And of course, aloe gel is known to be nutrient dense and soothing to all kinds of skin issues. 

5. Coconut Oil: There are about 1 bajillion home uses for coco oil, but its healthy fat and vitamin E content is simply good all around for dryness, peeling, cracking, and all kinds of skin disorders. When I add coco oil to any of my recipes, I rub any excess into my cuticles, nails, and elbows.

Now gather your little ones, cover your face in food, take a pic, and tag me on Instagram: @ruby_roth

What food do you put on your face? Leave a comment below!