Sunday, December 22, 2013

Reading Cereal Labels!

We make changes all the time in our diets when we find out new information.  For instance, to be on the safe side, many people avoid aluminum cookware because all Alzheimers’ patients are found to have excess aluminum in their brains, even though they have not made a positive link to food or cookware.  I easily made the switch to non-aluminum baking powder, which works just as well.  Recently, I also stopped taking vitamins because a buildup of copper, iron and other metals can also accumulate in the brain.)  Now I must work on my choices of cereal to consume, and this is turning out to be more of a challenge!

I used to eat any vegan cereal including Reece’s Puffs and Life.  Then I became concerned about the hydrogenated oil in the cereal, the sugar and especially the BHT.  BHT has been linked very remotely to Cancer, but even remotely is enough for me to want to avoid it.  I loved Life cereal because of the name.  But after I took home two boxes from WalMart that smelled like they had been stored for three years in a mildew filled room, I switched to the generic version, which to my surprise was lower in oil and sugar, and didn’t contain any BHT!  I thought I was all set – until I heard about folic acid.

Folic acid is added into just about every carbohydrate due to the worry that pregnant women were not getting enough folate and that lack could cause birth defects.  Folate is good for you and is found in plants naturally, but folic acid is when they take folate and extract it and then put it back into carbohydrates in concentrated form.  Recent studies suggest it might constrict arteries!  Ugh!  Why did they have to add folic acid to my favorite food!

I started combing the cereal aisle, reading labels, and found cereals with 100% folic acid like boring Bran Flakes!  That’s not good!  What about Shredded Wheat?  60% folic acid!  Any cereal I found that was lower in folic acid was higher in sugar and oil!  Only one cereal in all of WalMart was really low in folic acid, 6% , and was also low in sugar.  It also tasted like it was low in everything and was too bland to stand! 

I walked around the cereal aisle in a daze, forgetting what I was looking for on the labels: fat, sugar, BHT, folic acid?  Sigh.  My favorite comfort food had suddenly become difficult.
Was I resigned to eat oatmeal all the time?  I really love my cold cereal – I must search on! 

Continuing over at Kroger I looked at some Mom’s Best Cereals, the Toasted Wheatfuls, the Safari Cocoa Crunch and the Toasted Cinnamon Squares.  None of them have any folic acid added!  I also bought Golden Grahams because it has 25% folic acid and I figured I could mix it with the Mom’s Best cereals and still have a lower folic acid count.  But I forgot about the BHT!  Golden Grahams will be off the list as soon as I finish the box.  So about those yummy sounding Safari Cocoa Crunch and Toasted Cinnamon Squares cereals: one has 6% saturated fat, and the other 5% total fat.  It’s a toss up whether I was doing better way back at the beginning with the generic Life cereal called Crunchy Oat Squares with 60% folic acid, because it was low in fat and sugar.  Maybe if I just combine it with the Mom’s Best Toasted Wheatfuls for a treat, and do some cereal rotations with cereals at 25% folic acid combined with the Wheatfuls.  Oh, this is too much like Chemistry!   

Now to check my crackers and breads.  Here we go again!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Is the Wall of Separation of Church and State Permeable?

If you hear the word “wall” do you think of it as a solid separation or something you can go through?  Recently, an editor (and owner) of a local newspaper claimed that Americans are taking this “wall of separation” thing too far. 
I have to wonder what he thinks a wall is!  And how can keeping church and state separate be taken too far?  

The editor talked about how he thought prayer was appropriate for government meetings and that he would always say “In Jesus name we pray, Amen” even when he was asked to be more inclusive.  I doubt he would agree if meetings he attended always had a Muslim prayer.  Anyway, here is the response I wrote in the Letter to the Editor section.  I have to commend him for printing what I wrote without editing (even though he did not correct one mistake I made) (I corrected the error in the text below). 
In another local paper, that editor takes out “anything offensive” and not much is left of any of my carefully worded articles!  This is one reason I prefer writing in this tiny paper! 

In case you cannot see the article above, here it is:


"It is my opinion that government meetings and any secular meetings should not open with a prayer, as prayers are not secular; and some of us see them as a waste of time.  What if it became a rule to open meetings with a hard rock song?  Some people would love that idea, but for those who do not like hard rock, they would have to sit through it at the start of every meeting, which would take a few minutes of the meeting for something that not everyone appreciates.  It is exactly the same with sitting through a prayer. 
By the way, “nothing fails like prayer.” It does not heal amputees, it does not make sick people well, it does not save people from typhoons or tornadoes, and prayer has not passed any studies or tests as being valid. 
Why do you even want a prayer before council meetings?  Will everyone act barbarically without the prayer?  Will they vote differently than if someone gave a prayer first?  If you feel that people need a prayer in order to conduct a meeting, then it does not say much for Christians absorbing or putting into practice the morals they have been taught their entire lives. 
It also reinforces the fact that atheists as a group are much more moralistic than Christians.  Perhaps it would be wiser to listen to a short speech by an atheist before the meeting, as atheists as a group are more educated and it actually could be beneficial.  Statistically, atheists have fewer divorces, fewer out-of-wedlock pregnancies, fewer abortions and they are among the least likely to be in jail. Perhaps atheists should garner a bit more respect than the clergy who are either deluded or putting one over on the congregation for the sake of revenue. 
This is not a Christian nation.  If a Christian nation were the goal of the founders, that concept would appear in the Constitution.  It does not.  Before, during and after the writing of the Constitution, there were people just like you, pushing to have religion added and criticizing the founding fathers’ decisions.  There was even an amendment proposed to the preamble (that Jefferson said had already been mutilated) to add “Jesus Christ” to it.  That was turned down. 
I find it amusing that you cannot say a prayer to God without mentioning Jesus for the sake of all the various people who may be listening.  That does not sound caring, kind or considerate.  You said that “praying to the Father through Jesus” gives validity to the prayer.  Apparently, you feel that only prayers with the name of Jesus are valid.  Prayers of all other religions, therefore, are not valid; prayers to God are not valid.   Well, as I said before, prayers are not valid.
There would be a simple solution to the prayer situation and you would not have to worry about what name is invoked.  You can pray at home, at church, or even have those from the meeting who want to pray in a group meet at your house before the meeting or after the meeting, and have a prayer for that “group effect.”However, I am sure that the suggestion to pray before one attends a meeting has been brought up before and I am sure Christians will continue to ignore the suggestion, because they would rather inflict their Christian beliefs on everyone."

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Alternative to Eating Pet Food!

This post is not to pick on poor people – I’m just scraping the bottom of the barrel myself.  It’s just an observation.  My husband has told me for years that elderly people who have little money will buy dog food and cat food to eat instead of regular food for humans.  I find this goes against logic.  First off, dogs will refuse dog food because they want people food.  Our food just tastes better!  It makes sense to find a cheaper source of people food.  Secondly, have you seen the price of dog food these days?  Even the dog treats are more expensive than a package of crackers.  There is just no justification for it, as far as I can see. 

People are so culturally immersed that their taste buds are fixated on eating meat.  Why not buy huge bags of different beans, corn, rice, potatoes, and pasta.  It only takes a few ingredients, like flour, to make vegan gravy or salsa, and a much nicer, more nutritious meal can be consumed.  

I am convinced that people who cooked their entire lives cannot figure out how to make a meal without meat.  There are so many tasty, affordable options that it is sad that they are resorting to more expensive pet food made of questionable ingredients.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Killing Turkeys "Humanely," "The Balance of Life" and "An Animal's Purpose"

I recently watched a video about a woman who kills turkeys “humanely” so that others can experience the whole process of killing what they will eat.  I personally thought it was horrid and mentally sickening, but others who were there tried to make it a good and spiritual experience because “they were connecting with what life is really about.”  They enjoyed the power of holding down their own turkey as it was dying and feeling a ‘life force” leave an animal. “Life force leaving the animal” was the way they put it – I call it murder. 

The woman, who seemed quite sad, justified her business and said, “The turkeys are here to be killed; that is their purpose.”  Two problems with that scenario:  1: People do not need meat in order to live, and 2:  Being eaten is not the purpose of a turkey.  If being eaten were the turkey’s purpose, then your purpose must be to be eaten as well.  If you were out in the wild, you would most likely be eaten by: tigers, lions, crocodiles, leopards, sharks, chimpanzees (rarely), polar bears, wolves, sloth bears, piranhas, one type of hyena, or humans (cannibalism). 

It’s kind of hard to claim that humans are different when we can be eaten by other animals, so we are not highest on the food chain.     

A person reading this may quote verses from the Bible that claim “animals are for our use” (when oddly, there are passages supporting vegetarianism in the Bible too); or a few may become convinced that humans do have the purpose of being food for other animals. “It is the way of life,” you say.  Then why are you not allowing yourself to fulfill your purpose?  Eating animals as their purpose or as your necessity fails.  Staying alive long enough to reproduce – does not require meat.  And, reproducing is not necessary either, since our population is skyrocketing.

When people claim that it is the “way of life” to eat animals, do they think it is the way of life to allow animals to be penned up on factory farms, or milked so your own milk can be fed to another species?  Humans are drinking milk that rightfully belongs to a calf, who is then raised  on formula, never having a drop of her own mother’s milk.  Is this “The way of life and what nature intended?” There is nothing natural about it.  If this is “The way of life,” then humans should also be penned up and bred simply to be eaten by all the animals named above who would reap some of the benefits of us imprisoning other humans for animal consumption. 

But let’s look at this sensibly.  If you want to call reproducing a purpose, it then becomes our “purpose” to avoid being eaten!  So eating a turkey is ruining the purpose of life for that turkey. 

The old phrases still stick because they seem to make sense to most people who don’t look at them critically.  Example:  “There is a balance of nature and we must consume animals – it is the natural, healthy cycle of the earth.”  But what do genetically modified turkeys, ground up baby male chicks and imprisoned animals have to do with the balance of nature?” 

I still think we have absolutely no purpose, because if we did not reproduce, then the genes would not be transferred and eventually humans would die out.  What of it?  Other life would be better off without us, as would the earth. Therefore, we have no valued, natural purpose; however, we do create our purposes culturally, and we can turn around a lot of the destructive ways of the earth. 

Why, then can we not see that it is not a necessary purpose of a turkey to be eaten by us?  It has been proven that we do not need meat in order to survive and thrive healthfully (unless you live in Siberia or upper Canada, or are very poor and have to hunt to survive. But move to a better climate – seriously!  I saw a documentary on Siberians’ lifestyles and I thought it was the worst way to live.)  Since we do not need meat (and we are healthier without it), it is counter-purposeful to eat turkeys.  It is done purely for cultural taste because it is not necessary; it therefore, is murder and it is immoral. 

Humans have the ability to block such realizations, even when they are told to them directly, and since I was one who did that, I understand.  But as soon as I saw the videos where it was not words on a page, but instead suffering before my eyes as I watched, I changed my ways.  I hope readers find what a turning point that will change their behaviors if they still eat meat or drink dairy.  Go watch some factory farm videos and challenge yourself!  It worked for me. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Ghosts and a Culture of Imaginary Spirits

I recently had a friend tell me that a ghost used to haunt her house.  The ghost knocked shampoo bottles into the shower, and her young son told her the ghost's name was Bob.  He walked around and around the circular porch at night.  So my friend and her husband tore out a portion of the porch so the ghost could not walk all the way around it anymore.  I have to say I laughed a lot when she told me this.  

Does anyone else see flaws?  Even if there were a ghost, taking out a portion of the porch would do nothing.  The ghost could float across, or he could walk on the grass.  Yet, these people actually ruined their circular porch to ward off this imaginary ghost, and I guess it worked!  He no longer bothered them!  Imagine that! 

Don’t you feel if you were a ghost you would do a lot more than knock over shampoo bottles and walk around outside?  I would be whispering mean things in a person’s ear, taking away their food when they were about to have a bite, throwing things in their paths – oh, there is so much a ghost could do!  

Why do they not realize that the ghost is culturally taught to them?  Animals do not have ghosts that haunt them; why do only “the smartest species” have all these mental issues? 

I tried explaining to my friend how ghosts could not remain in the room due to our physical laws of the universe, that a ghost with no matter and no mass would be whisked away at tens of thousands of miles an hour due to the laws of gravity and the earth’s rotation around the sun, but she just claimed it was there – she heard him. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

I wrote this sermon and sent it to 46 pastors in my area.  Amazing that an atheist can write such a religious sermon!  At times, the twisted logic I had to use and the pointing to Bible quotes for my "moral guide" were difficult, but I thought this would be the best way to reach a large audience and get them thinking about animals' rights. 
I decided writing anonymously was a good idea.  My hope is that people in churches will start to think and care about animals' situations, they will be less "self-important" and it will help loosen the bonds of their religion. They may realize their connections to the universe.  My hope is that it is like a house of cards, where one free thought leads to another one! 
The music, Bless the Beasts and the Children is a little hokey, and I wrote to the pastors and told them they could change this sermon however they pleased, but hoped they would address the animals' situations in some manner.  We will see if they do! 
I do have this sermon on another blogger page, under another name, just as a sermon, free for any pastor who needs something new to say on Sunday. 


Prelude Music


“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake.  Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”  This was said by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our sermon today will not be an uplifting sermon to help you get through the week.  For as much as we need help in these troubled times, there are those who are in worse shape than we are, and they are called animals. 

Today we will break down the walls of comfort we build around ourselves and examine our feelings toward animals.  This whole subject of rights for animals is not an official church stance; this is simply an issue for each of us to examine.


The sermon for today will be “Serving Animals.” And by serving animals I do not mean on a plate.  Today we will see what we can do to help the situation that animals find themselves in, and how we can be of service to help improve their conditions.  As you sit uncomfortably in your seats for a short time here at church and feel you do not want to know what is happening to animals, realize that on most factory farms the animals are sitting, standing and lying through much worse.  As Christians, we should not want to enslave innocent creatures, yet we are part of the blame for the enslavement, because we do nothing to help the situation.  As citizens in this fine town, we are trying to earn the title of “City of Compassion,” but how can we become a City of Compassion if the people of the City ignore what is happening to animals every day?

The sixth Commandment says, “Thou Shalt Not Kill.”  It did not say the rule applied only to humans.  Yet we make an assumption that it is fine to kill any being except humans.  When we go to the grocery store we see a large variety of delicious meats; our brains block out that the display contains parts of animals whose last thoughts were fear and horror at a slaughterhouse.  But those delicious meat pieces were animals who were just toddlers and teenagers when they were killed.  Broiler chickens are babies:  just 5 weeks old when they are killed, veal calves are 4 months old and beef cattle are 13 months old.  We always talk about protecting babies, but these are young ones that we have not protected. 

How do we feel about imprisonment of the innocent?  Most farm animals are imprisoned, whether they are in a cage, tied to a stall, or crowded in a barn with thousands of other animals.  How do we feel about slavery?  Dairy cows are our modern day slaves, as they work to produce for us three times a day, every day, with no holidays.  In Exodus 20:8-10 it says “Animals are to abstain from work on the Sabbath as well as the humans.”  But today’s dairy cows do not work regular hours. They are continuously kept pregnant so they will produce milk, and are bred to produce up to 20 times the milk they are meant to give. The dairy cows’ muscles waste away because all of their energy goes into producing milk. And their babies do not get one drop of mother’s milk because the baby calves are taken away, usually at one day of age and are raised on formula.  Do we, as Christians, support imprisonment and slavery of the innocent?  Do we support babies being taken from their mothers? 

When we hear of the daily treatment of animals in America, why are we not horrified?  We have become numb to the suffering of any creatures but humans.

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE IT? [written by Jenny Moxham]

How would you like it if right from the start,
Right from the day of your birth,
You were never allowed to have even one glimpse
Of this beautiful glorious Earth.
Not ever a glimpse of the sun or the sky
The grassy green meadows or trees,
Deprived of all knowledge of beauty and color
Of raindrops and sweet summer breeze.
Well this is the wanton and cruel deprivation
Imposed upon millions of hens,
Imposed upon chickens in windowless warehouses
Pigs and their piglets in pens.
Not permitted to know even if there's a world
Regardless of what shape or form,
Outside of the cobwebby, gloomy grey prison,
The hell into which they've been born.
But there does come a day when some do get a chance
To get a wee glimpse of the sky,
The dazzle of sunshine or grassy green field
As their transport goes hurtling by.
The sad irony is that this day of their life,
This day when their hearts should be filled,
Is the day that they're crammed into lorries and crates,
And are driven away to be killed.

Let us continue with looking at our own conversations, our own thoughts.  Have we ever said, “Animals are here for our use.”  Although people can reference the Bible for similar phrases, I am sure God did not want us to use animals by imprisoning them.  As an example, when we purchase eggs from the grocery store, 95% of the eggs come from chickens who are jammed into small cages, 8 to a cage, so tight they can never spread their wings.  Their cages are stacked one on top of another, so the droppings from the chickens in the top cages fall on the other chickens below them. This is just not a Godly image!  If you look at Genesis 1:29, God made a paradise for all His creatures and it says that nuts, seeds and plants were eaten in Paradise.  Do we want to live closer to being in “Paradise” or do we want to live as if we are in “The Fallen World?”  

There is another Bible verse we must discuss.  Have we ever said to another person, “The Bible says we have dominion over animals.”  This one word, dominion, has been misused for man’s greed and power.  Dominion means being the caregiver and ruler, but that does not mean being abusive. We have dominion over our children; but none of us would ever force feed our children, operate on them without anesthesia, or send them to stand in the slaughter line.  If we would not do this to a human, why would we do it to an animal?  They have feelings and emotions, and they do suffer and feel pain.  Yet we deny their pain and suffering in order to continue our gluttonous lifestyles.  Is our desire for a moment’s pleasure worth more than that animal’s entire life? 

Why do we specifically use Bible passages to justify abuse toward animals?  One phrase that is used often is: “Man is specially made in God’s image.”  Certainly, we can feel special that we are made in God’s image - but are we supposed to use this passage to separate ourselves from other creatures on this earth?  We humans should be looking for our connections, our shared elements with the earth and the stars, and not be ashamed that we have some DNA sequences the same as animals.  We are all created with some of the very same elements as animals, the earth and the stars.  After all, Adam was created from the dirt of the earth.  We should embrace how specially made we all are!

But instead of simply feeling grateful, we humans use this passage “Being specially made in God’s image” to make ourselves feel more important than animals.  Haven’t some of us said, “I would rather help starving children than animals; I think helping humans is more important.”  Look into your heart, and then ask yourself this:  Why is this an either/or statement?  Why only help humans when you can help both humans and animals?

In Proverbs 12:10 it says: “A righteous man regardeth his beast.”  Are we righteous regarding animals?  It is harder to tell now, as times have changed and we do not see a beast in our own fields.  Those beasts are hidden away and laws are enacted to prevent us from knowing what is going on inside those walls of windowless barns.  Are we righteous by ignoring what is being intentionally hidden from us?


There are many ways to help animals, but let us look first at our eating habits.  If we look in the Bible for whether or not we are to eat meat, we can find support for eating meat and we can find support for not eating meat. What do we do when we can find evidence for eating meat but also evidence for being vegetarian from the words of the Bible?  We must look into our hearts and converse with our God personally.  Each of you must search your soul to figure out what will please God.   

In the church, the word sacrifice is always used.  We Christians speak of sacrificing all the time, yet how many of us would give up eating a hamburger in order to save a cow’s life that we cannot see?   Most people will not even make a small substitute like drinking a glass of almond milk instead of cow’s milk for just one lunch!  We do not want to throw around words like sacrificing for God, when we are not making any effort to give up a food in order to save an animal’s life. 

But what is the harm of drinking cows’ milk or eating an egg?  Most of us probably do not know.  If we drink cow’s milk, whether it is regular milk, humanely farmed milk or organic milk, it means that a dairy cow worked for you and that she gave birth, probably several times.  If she had a boy, he either became a veal calf or he was shipped off to slaughter as a baby, to become soft leather.  So drinking milk affects the female cow’s own body and her children’s lives.  If we eat eggs, it means we are contributing to a farming operation in which all male chicks are killed at one day of age; after all, what use are males to the egg laying industry?  Male chicks are ground up or crushed, every day. So you can see that one glass of milk or one egg has a huge effect on a cow or a chicken.  Whether humane farming, organic farming or factory farming, the animals suffer, and nearly all animals from factory farms, organic farms and humane farms, go to the same kind of slaughterhouse.  It is time to help; it is time to change. 


People who want to continue eating meat and dairy claim it is their personal choice and they have a right to eat what they want.  It is your personal choice because there are very few laws to protect farm animals.  So you do have the personal choice to eat what you want.  But this personal choice has victims. 

Let us PRAY.  Dear Lord, let us find the mercy in our hearts to help those who need it, to recognize that need, when they cannot tell us they need help.  Let the people of our church be an example of your good grace and your mercy, as you gave your life so that we may know how important it is to sacrifice for those we do not know.   

OFFERTORY.  Let us give generously today, and we will donate a portion of our gatherings to an animal sanctuary in Gridley, Illinois, just above Bloomington.  The animals there are all rescued animals; these animals needed the help of humans in order to escape what other humans had done to them.  Wedrose Acres has a camel, cow, pigs, llamas, sheep, goats, horses, a turkey, ducks and more! 

With a growing population in the world, there will be more hungry people, more need for food, but more factory farms do not sound like the path of righteousness.  There will be more factory farms – it will get worse before it gets better.  Sometimes, we follow a path we know is not the right direction.  And as Christians we know how important it is to follow the right path.  The right path might be a difficult path, but just because helping animals is not easy, should we give up before we start? 

Helping animals can be one of your missions.  You see, you do not need to travel to another country to perform a mission.  You can help animals right here.  We must start by instructing our younger generation.  We must teach them to be kind to animals.  Have we taken our children outside and taught them to quietly look at birds, enjoy animals from a distance, and to drive slowly so as not to hit a squirrel by mistake?  These are lessons that seem to be forgotten.  Do we put out water for animals?  Most of us fear any animals coming into our yards, and we have stopped putting out scraps of food or water.  We have insulated ourselves and isolated ourselves, and only see cute animal pictures on Facebook.

And we can look to our diets to see what we can do.  If we read Daniel 1:3-16 in the Bible, “Daniel and his friends refuse to eat from the king’s table which has meat on it, but eat vegetables instead.  After ten days they are found to be healthier than those who eat at the king’s table.”  Daniel was ahead of his time.  We now know from research that arteries can clean back out and heal themselves when we stop eating cholesterol and saturated fat. We can reverse heart disease and Type II diabetes with a very low fat, plant and starch based diet.  So, we can heal ourselves of many illnesses while healing injustice in the world. 


Animals on factory farms have no choice and no voice. We must be their voice.  The strongest compassion can be for those innocent beings we do not see because they are hidden away.  The greatest compassion is when we do not personally get rewarded for our deeds.

There will be some helpers passing out papers in the back which tell of specific ways to help animals.  As you take the papers on your way out, realize that you are holding the key to a life of increased compassion.

May we bow our heads in prayer:

Oh Heavenly Father,
We thank you today for giving us a new message and a new challenge.  You have brought us this awareness of injustice toward animals, and we recognize we must improve our compassion and turn it into action.  Give us the strength to help those who are unseen but suffering.  In your name, we pray.  Amen



1.  Investigate the vegan diet; try some recipes.  Share some recipes on social networking sites.  You do not have to be a vegan to help!  If we all cut down, we can shut down the factory farms.
a.  Try adding starch to fill up instead of meat. (Potatoes, rice, corn, and pasta are not high in calories, and they are low in fat.  It’s what is put on them that can cause problems!) 
b.  Try any nondairy milk – soy, almond, coconut.

2.  Check into what laws need to be changed.  Write representatives about State and Federal laws. 

          3.  Request that crops be grown for human consumption.  Illinois lands should be filled with crops to feed people!  It would be more efficient.

4.  Look into the idea of hemp as a crop in our state. Hemp is grown to make rope, clothing, soap, foods, oil, wax, resin, pulp, paper, mulch and fuel.  It is not marijuana.  If it seems like a good idea to you, let your representatives know.

5.  Fight against Ag Gag laws (laws that make it illegal to film in barns).  We deserve to know all about our food and what is happening to the animals.

6.  Donate to grass roots organizations.  Look for small organizations like “The Sweet Bunny Project” or “Wedrose Acres” who really need your money.

7.  Speak about making rights for animals a true Social Justice Movement.

8.  Help.  Volunteer at an animal sanctuary or shelter.  Donate supplies like paper towels, note cards and pens.

9.  Pass out leaflets about animal injustice (available at  Take a look at these leaflets! 

10. Go to sites like Mercy for Animals,, and and watch some videos.  Make yourself watch them if you currently eat any form of meat, to educate yourself.  The video on called “If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls” currently on the Home Page with Paul McCartney as announcer, goes through what each animal endures: cows, pigs, goats, turkeys, chickens and fish. If you find these videos are too horrific to watch, it is a sign that you should not be eating meat. 

11. Contact a local Vegetarian Society, and they should be happy to answer any questions you have and you can attend their meetings to learn more.  They will help you find sources to make your journey easier.   All the products you can buy at the grocery store that are “accidentally vegan,” such as Oreos and Reeces Puffs!  This doctor writes books and lectures on starch based diets.  Fascinating reading!  Click on “Education” and then click “Health and Science,” then click on “Hot Topics” and scroll down – choose a subject and click and read the articles!  There are tons of articles there!  Also, read under “Star Mcdougallers” for personal success stories.

Video “The Last Heart Attack” with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
(Also probably on YouTube.)  It is a video about heart health and how plant based diets help and re-open arteries.  They find popular vegan recipes on the Internet and post them so you see 12 different pictures at once.

Any Local Vegetarian Society – A local group of vegetarians, vegans and those who want to explore vegetarianism who meet once a month.  Many also have a Facebook page and welcome questions and guests. (Compassion over Killing)  This is another activist site with a great variety of ways to get involved and learn. Loved by some, disliked by some, he has educated many!  Watch “The Greatest Speech You Will Ever Hear” by Gary Yourofsky. To learn more about vegan athletes.  Also,  Ultramarathon runner, World record holder, 160 mile races – on a vegan diet.  A physicians’ organization that helps stop medical experiments on animals and gives the latest information about the negative health effects of meat and dairy.  A blog with beautiful pictures of food and recipes.  Seems like practical foods and is a lovely, warm site and blog.

Vegucated.  (A movie).  You can rent it from for something like one dollar.  It gives a very good and entertaining introduction to all aspects of being vegan. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Is It Ethical To Shoot A Gun at a Target?

An odd thing happened today. I was walking through the woods as it was a fine autumn day, looking for deer so I could take their picture. I spent a lot of time just listening to the woods; a wren came over to scold me, a nuthatch crawled down the tree, squirrels scurried, and I heard blissful silence.
After close to an hour, the mood changed. I heard gunshots fairly close by and hurried on the trail, making noise so hunters who I thought were illegally hunting on the conservation department’s land would know I was a human. Then I saw them, on the right as I came to a clearing: two men shooting pumpkins on nearby property. I said, “I’m near you” so that they would not be startled, and they invited me to shoot.
Of course, my experience as a child shooting rifles and one time shooting a pistol kicked in and I thought, “Oh, this will be fun!” It felt like adrenaline had whizzed through my system and I really wanted to shoot! It must be the feeling of any hunter. I went over and one fellow handed me, a total stranger, a handgun. I got all set, aimed, and then the man asked if I needed ear plugs. I thought I should have them because I do have slight hearing damage, but the fellow realized he didn’t have an extra pair so he jumped on his tractor to go to his barn to get some more. I said, “No, don’t bother! It’s not that important!” He relented and I handed back the gun.
As I got back on the trail to head to my car, I heard the gunshots, very loudly, and my first thought was that I would not get any photos of deer today because the gunshots would scare them away. Then I kept hearing the gunshots and I realized I could not tell the direction the shots were coming from. I thought about all the animals that must be frightened and how those gunshots ruined the calm of listening to nature I had cherished earlier. There were more people now at the park and they would not enjoy the sounds of rustling leaves or scolding birds. Even from a mile away as I drove off, I still heard the gunshots. I am sure those two men obliterated the pumpkins.
All of this led up to my dilemma, and I wrestled with myself for quite some time. You all know I am a vegan and would never harm an animal, and those two men assured me they would not shoot any animals either. But if I were to travel the same path again and those two men invited me over for a shoot, would I go? At first, I really thought I would shoot whatever target they had – I love shooting at targets.
But my conscience was telling me that it is wrong. Humans ruin everything, and I was trying to deny the noise pollution that I know I would make if I shot a gun. This was a several hour struggle for me; yet I knew early on that I would eventually make the decision to decline any invitation to shoot a gun near a woods again. I am just surprised how difficult this decision was and I can’t be proud of how long it took for me to get over my desire for fun at the expense of others and to try to ignore that I would be harming humans and animals with the noise.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Response to Mike Archer's "There's More Animal Blood On Your Hands."

This is a response to an article by Mike Archer in The Conversation called, "Ordering the Vegetarian Meal? There's More Animal Blood On Your Hands." (16 December 2011) I have had to respond to this article several times, because it seems to be a “go to” article for meat eaters. Here is my response, made up of some of the comments under the article and my thoughts! It's rough, but I am sure I will use this again.

Interesting that Mike Archer speaks about cows in Australia where he can talk about the hilly land being bad for crops, instead of also talking about the U.S. (Archer has dual citizenship) where we have tons of flat land. The U.S. went to factory farming in the first place because we did not have the space for all our cattle to graze since each cow takes about 2 acres a piece, and we would still need the grains to feed the cattle and with growing populations, it will only get worse world-wide. With 56 million acres of cropland in the U.S., only 4 million acres are for vegetables for human consumption.

I live in central Illinois, the “Soy Capital of the World,” and we have corn and soy as far as the eye can see throughout this entire state: and it is all for cows and pigs to eat. Ridiculous. In Australia, the cows are actually destroying the arable hilly land, and Mike Archer does admit that both range lands and hills in Australia could be altered to produce crops, so he actually has no point that the hills and rangeland are only good for cows. He says it himself, though it is easy to miss.

Since this article was written, there have been two “humane certifications” awarded to two different pig factory farms in Australia, and both have been filmed undercover and found to have dead animals, inches of feces in the buildings, terrible overcrowding, etc. What actually happens to animals is not what is in the pretty pictures they show you.

Archer’s part about humans having “omnivore teeth and digestive system” is wrong. Is he talking about your tiny canine teeth? Do you claim because they are curved, almost to a point, that you were “designed” to rip flesh? Ever check out a hippo’s canines? A gorilla’s? A camel’s? A Gelada?, A Javelina? I guess Mr. Archer did not know that they all have very large canine teeth and all are vegetarian (vegan actually) unless stressed. Canine teeth have little to do with whether you are omnivore, carnivore or vegan. For humans, the point is moot since we have a huge variety of food to choose from, so why choose food that will clog your arteries and cause untold cruelty to animals with advanced brains, spinal cords and nervous systems?

If you still insist that you are “just following the cycle of life” and are an omnivore by nature, first look outside and see if you see cows, pigs or sheep walking by in nature. That will tell you that there is nothing natural about what you are eating. Then go outside with no tools, because you were not born with a weapon in your hand. Take those soft nails and your running speed and go after that squirrel (Idea from G. Yourofsky). If you catch it, tear into it. Well, actually, after you realize you can’t catch it and you start to get hungry, you will find yourself trying blades of grass, leaves and it will dawn on you that you might be better off digging for tubers in soft ground and eating nuts and berries.

I always find it odd that people defensive about their desire to kill animals in order to have a "fleeting pleasure of taste" will use something such as mice as their “evidence” of their kindness and love of animals. Vegans are much more likely to worry about mice, and would want farmers’ systems of growing and their machinery to improve. Archer’s worrying about mice, snakes, lizards, spiders and insects as his defense of eating large animals is suspect anyway, as most insects and spiders can either burrow or fly so I am not sure if they actually know how many actually are killed and how many are not.

Archer does not delineate between the supposed figure killed for insects or mice, but uses some interesting statistics for mice and the mice plague. He claims it is because planting crops destroys their homes, but actually, the plague is from a record amount of mice surviving and has nothing to do with crops! There has not been cold weather due to climate change (thanks in some part to cows and methane), so mice are not naturally killed. With warmer weather and rainfall, mice are running rampant in the fields, eating wheat, barley, and canola harvests. They love the crops! They are getting into the silos to eat the crops. Their population is getting so huge that disease from them might spread to humans! The other killer of mice (and Archer does mention this) is the poison farmers put near silos to keep mice out of the grain. Maybe they could make the silos more mice proof. As far as harvesting crops being a killer of animals, I do know that farmers here in Illinois take care to harvest after birds like pheasants are done with nesting, so they are not killed. They harvest corn by cutting the stalks high – not at ground level. I am not sure how harvesting "is killing all the insects and mice" that Archer claims are killed and I suspect his numbers came solely from the plague caused from climate change and some inflation of the figures for insects and spiders.

Archer first says that crops take up more room, then he admits that a lot of the crops are for “finishing” cattle off. The crops grown are for cattle and he is counting that into the numbers for his “sentient animals killed!” That crop land could be used for crops for humans. Archer worries about the herbicides and pesticides for crops for human use, but does not say that those are used on the crops for the cows - and of course, they are. Any of his statistics about hills being cleared for grains is piddles compared to our rain forests being cleared to make way for animal grazing! Another statistic that was used was how “mono-crops” will be bad for agriculture. Why not do what we have know how to do all along – crop rotation? This is a no brainer.

A red flag went up when Archer spoke in terms of “more sentient animals killed per gram of useable protein.” Why the weight reference? The only way to make his point, perhaps? Of course corn and wheat will take more room to have the same grams of useable protein as the cows (if you put the cows side by side to take up less room, and then include in your statistics about crops the overtaking mice population that are poisoned because they love the crops). But since grains give brain and body energy but less protein, they are favorable anyway! That is because most people get about six times the protein they need and are taxing their systems because of it. Archer claims “farming crops cause a great deal more animal cruelty than farming animals.” Really? Some snakes and spiders possibly get killed after living free their entire lives or mice get killed because they are overrunning the place and no one has handled the problem with mice birth control? Their lives are more cruel than our factory farming practices? That is just plain bunk, as is all of his article.

Friday, September 13, 2013

New Pig Concentration Farm in My Area

A huge pig farm has been constructed in Assumption, IL, a half hour from where I live. There was an open house to celebrate this future concentration camp; before the 2,400 pigs arrived of course. They assured people they will take good care of the pigs, and answered questions such as "keeping pigs indoors under controlled conditions keeps them safer." The newspaper article about it was sickening. Does the average reader realize pigs like to run, but can't even move around on these farms? I wonder if anyone noticed that the pigs come to the farm at 12 pounds and six months later are 260 pounds and "ready to leave." That is a tremendous amount of weight to put on in such a short amount of time. This genetic manipulation and feed manipulation and hormone manipulation should be seen as abuse in itself. Very frustrating to find out that 90 such facilities have popped up in Illinois in the past few years, and more are planned. They are advertising these farms as good supplements to corn and soy fields.

Searching for God, Oh! Part 2

The rabbit that is pulled out of the hat the most often is the magic of "free will." 20 school children are shot and God is silent. Why? People had free will. It's the excuse for every occasion that cannot be explained when God should have intervened but was silent. Interestingly, in the Bible, God gave free will way back in the story of Adam and Eve, yet tells Abraham years later to kill his son, manages wars and even participates on the ground in one, and comes down from the heavens very close to Moses and friends. He seemed to violate the free will argument right from the start, yet, now that we look for evidence of God, there is only toast.

Searching for God, Oh! Part 1

I have been asked so many times "Did someone hurt you and that's why you shy away from the Church?" And I have been told that I must be "searching, yearning, lost, depressed, angry . . . " It occurs to me that it is necessary to the Fundamentalist Christian storyline that I have some "need"; so that it can be fixed by becoming a Christian. I must be needy and broken in order to be saved. They try very hard to bring down happy people. Have a great and happy day everyone!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Kapparot Could Be Changed - By Using Change - Instead of Chickens

In the next few days, streets in upstate New York will be filled with dying chickens, as many of the non-inquisitive Jewish people will purchase a chicken, pick the chicken up in the manner shown below – by pinching its wings together - and swing the terrified chicken around their heads 3 times in order to absorb their sins. The reason I say non-inquisitive is because nowhere in the Torah or Talmud does it mention this practice. Now that the person is totally sinless and the chicken is filled with sin, it will be chopped up in front of the family to then given to the poor. A few rabbis are requesting better treatment of the chickens as in the article below. How will that be enforced? Better treatment means not breeding them for the Kapparot in the first place. Why not swing money in a kerchief instead? Seriously, look at picture– how is this good treatment of chickens?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Comparing and Combining Pagan and Christian Floors (or How I Amuse Myself on Saturday Instead of Vacuuming)

According to the Mesopotamians, the floors of Heaven each are constructed from a different stone. If you read the Bible at Exodus 24:9-10, the God of Israel is standing on a floor but not where he can be touched by Moses and others who climbed a mountain to be near him. In fact, the God of Israel is standing on a blue sapphire brick floor. This is repeated in Ezekiel 1:26-28 and Ezekiel 10:1. Could the blue sapphire floor be a lower level of Heaven? There are other gods, Anu and Igigi who are on stone floors of the upper and middle Heavens. The goddess Inanna (1500 B.C.) traveled through seven gates to get to the Underworld from Heaven (all above the earth, never touching the earth), so there is further evidence for layers of Heaven. The once huge and powerful Mesopotamian god Marduk (circa 3,000 B.C. -1,000 B.C.) may share the same floor with the God of Israel, because it is written that Marduk’s blue stone floor is visible when we look up and see the blue sky. Anyway, the floors are very good news for those going to Heaven, because you will have something more solid to stand on than clouds. It only makes sense that it would take something solid like a stone floor to support those heavy pearly gates; clouds do not seem like they would hold much weight. Most Bible versions, such as the King James version, call the floors Sapphire, but the New International Version calls the floors Lapis-Lazuli. What? Which is correct? I thought the Bible was the inspired word of God. Did God have his floors recently remodeled with Lapis Lazuli, or is this a mistake? It turns out that the stone used the most in ancient times (although both were present) was Lapis Lazuli, and many people in ancient times mistakenly called the Lapis Lazuli stone by the name of the gem, Sapphire. You would think God would have corrected the people and said, “I know you all call this rock on my brick floor Sapphire, but it is actually Lapis Lazuli.” You see, we have two very different substances here: Sapphires are made of corundum and the blue color comes from a bit of titanium and iron in it. Lapis Lazuli is a rock made of Lazurite, a silicate mineral, with sodalite lending blue color; and which often occurs as a result of contact metamorphism around intrusive igneous rocks. Oh, my, metamorphism and igneous words, they sound old, don’t they? We must ignore such talk if we are to believe the Bible literally. So, we will just say that the rock floors should be called Lapis Lazuli in the Bible, and that Heaven most likely has many floors of stone. *Some Foundation for these Heavenly Floor Notes came from Horowitz, Mesopotamian Cosmic Geography.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Jesus - Use Your Words!

How often have you heard a mother scold a tyke in the grocery store, pleading, “Use your words! You aren’t using your words!” Inadequate verbal expression seems to be a general failure of most societies, even within the most influential groups. It is dismaying that politicians send young men and women into battle because they call other countries “enemies,” or are not good enough with words to have peaceful and fruitful discussions. Worse yet is a Savior who could not convince all people that he was a Savior by his words, and had to perform tiny miracles (that had already been enacted by others and those original miracles happened to be written in Kings of the Septuagint by the time the authors of the New Testament were writing their stories). Anyway, the miracles still were not impressive enough for world-wide conversion to the new philosophy, soon to be religion called Christianity. Jesus was not given the gift of gab; sometimes sullen, sometimes condescending, often like a spoiled brat when dealing with his mother, and quite humorless; so he decided (or it was pre-decided) that he off himself by getting crucified, with a secondary purpose that it would be the ultimate sacrifice so that God would need no more blood from animals. Of course, animal sacrifice continued for some time after that and continues to this day in some other cultures, so once again, Jesus failed. Even with the “ultimate sacrifice,” 2000 years after Jesus supposedly died only 1/3 of the world is Christian and those numbers are decreasing. Jesus could have stayed alive and walked around his entire life, influencing people, but he did not choose to “use his words,” which is one of the first lessons we teach preschool aged children. Instead, Jesus believed a bloody violent killing/suicide was the way to be the best role model he could be. (I'm having a bit of trouble with my old computer and had to put this into HTML version.)

Friday, July 5, 2013

How Little Yaw Became Yahweh

If you enjoy puzzling parts of the Bible, check out Isaiah 27:1 which shows God, who has traveled down to earth to slay a sea monster.  God makes sure he kills only the female, because there were supposed to be two sea monsters, male and female, and he didn’t want a baby sea monster, so he killed the female and first cut her in two and then chopped her up to feed to the Jewish men in the wilderness. (In some parts of the Bible God gives the pieces to animals, in other explanations he gives the pieces to the wandering people.  I always wonder about the men perpetually wandering in the wilderness in the Bible.)  

Anyway, God kills the sea monster, but why?  What was it doing that was so bad?  Eating fish?  Mermaids?  An occasional fisherman who falls overboard? Where was this sea monster?  I hope not on the Sea of Galilee because that is really a lake, not deserving of all the wild sea tales.   People did believe a sea monster caused waves and there are people in the present who believe that one sea monster can cause an entire tsunami.  I just wonder why God didn’t leave the sea monster for humans to kill as he left everything else for humans to take care of all these years? 
Since God had just created the entire Cosmos with billions of stars and galaxies and black holes and all the cool stuff, slaying a sea monster is an unnecessary show of power.  But Baal , the Egyptian God slayed a sea monster in 1400 B.C., and Marduk, the Mesopotamian God also killed a sea monster, so it makes sense Yahweh would kill one too.  Whatever happened to Marduk the God anyway?  Never heard of him!  Here is his myth:  the storm god Marduk defeats the sea monster Tiamat and creates the earth and sky by cleaving her corpse in two. Sound familiar to the biblical passage about Yahweh’s military might? “Was it not you who split Rahab in half, who pierced the dragon through?”
Previous to that time, Baal, some other gods, and earlier forms of Yahweh (Yahwi and Yaw, names for a storm and river god) were part of the group of gods believed in by the polythestic people of that time.  The language of “twisting sea monster” that is in the Bible in Isaiah 27:1 is taken from the Baal tale - Canaanite texts, in which Baal defeats a dragon-like monster named Lotan: “You will crush Leviathan the fleeing serpent; you will consume the twisting serpent, the mighty one with seven heads.”
Other serpent tales:  In 3000 B.C. in Sumerian iconography depicting the myth of the god Ninurta overcoming the seven headed serpent; inUgaritic texts Lotan is given the epithets "wriggling serpent" and "mighty one with the seven heads."

God really became popular and blossomed when ancient tablets with pictures gave way to progress, and writing supplies such as paper-like materials and ink filled pages with alphabetical letters.  Then, for some reason, Yahweh really spoke to people.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Verbal Attacks on Vegans

A Facebook friend seems to have a great problem with people being vegan.  Anyone else can post medical articles supporting their particular problems, or diets they like, in response to the threads started by this FB friend.  But her threads are a ploy to get an argument going when a vegan posts a suggestion, and she responds with a vengeance, stating that “you have no business telling others what to eat.  “Eating is personal, and I will not be told on my page what to eat.”  When a vegan posts about how most Americans eat way too much fat and protein, and Americans’ health is horrible compared to other countries with our obesity levels skyrocketing, she always counters with, “There is no typical American diet” and then talks about “hungry children” in America.  Speaking about hungry children does not discount the obesity problem, but she likes to end her thread with a lecture, a mention about hunger and virtual applause from her meat-eating fans.

Hunger is one of her issues, and I also agree it is of utmost importance, but I pointed out that people can help animals by cutting down on meat and dairy, and while those people are snacking, they can be online, helping solve world hunger or any other issue.  It is never a “humans against animals” choice of which to help.  Both can be helped. 

My words thus far have fallen on deaf ears and also on ears of people who love to call names and taunt the vegan.  So far I have been called “Holier than thou” (on an atheist site) and “smarmy.”  I am always careful with my choice of words and do not tell people how they must eat – I usually say that I find an article credible and try to explain that because most people are not familiar with a very low fat, vegan diet and its health benefits, I think the article could be enjoyable for them to read.  The responses to my carefully worded statements are always hateful, and my article not appreciated at all (and usually not read).  

I cannot figure out how to get people to realize that even poor American children speak our language and stand a chance at being able to say to someone, “I am hungry.”  Adults can ask for help.  Animals are hidden away and are the true slaves of our era; abused, no, downright tortured for the entire short lives, and then painfully killed.  They are locked away so that they can be more easily hidden from our thoughts; a shameful practice of a “civilized society.” 

Yet people think that I have no right to suggest that our world needs to change.  They shout (as loud as a person can shout while typing) that they have the right to eat whatever they want, and that those nasty vegans always moralize: as if that is a bad thing to talk about making moral choices.  I just do not understand the hatred, especially from atheists, who criticize Christians for closing their ears and eyes to reality. 

I realize I am going against what people like and love, eating what they were raised with and what gives them comfort, happiness and pleasure.  Vegan foods also give the same feelings and one more feeling can be added:  pride.
I do not have a tidy ending to this blog post, but am just writing so that the next time I am drawn into a conversation, I will have a clear idea of what barriers I have, so perhaps I can find a way to explain better or break through barriers; and find a way for meat eaters to work with vegans (by eating even a little less meat and dairy) in order to make a collective effort – enough to shut down the factory farms.