Thursday, October 7, 2010

Four Lessons from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, Part One

I am not a morning person. My ideal way to spend a Saturday morning is to make blueberry pancakes, lie on the couch and watch cooking shows, or maybe “Hoarders.” But I sacrificed all of this last Saturday for something way better; a chance to see my favorite vegan, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. She was speaking at the World Veg Fest (more on that later), and gave a talk on “Effective Communication: Tips & Tactics for Compassionate Conversations.” This is something that is obviously important to me; otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this blog. I have Patrick-Goudreau’s book The Joy of Vegan Baking, and I’ve referenced it in my posts many times. So, needless to say, I was excited to see her in person.

First of all, the woman is a goddess. She is the single most compelling reason I’ve seen for being vegan. She has great hair, great skin, a great figure, a huge smile, and so much energy. She also looks a decade younger than her 40 years. But more importantly, I left her talk feeling so inspired and motivated by the things she said that I wanted to share some of them with all of you.

“Don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything.” I often feel frustrated by the status of our current food system, and its impact on our health, the environment and global climate change, animal treatment, school lunches, and more. There is so much to fix, and the system is so broken, and resistant to change, it feels hopeless. But this is exactly when we shouldn’t give up hope. It sounds cheesy, but truly, every little bit helps. Even when I feel guilty for slipping from my vegan principles, I remind myself, that every vegan meal I eat makes a difference. And even when I feel frustrated that the people around me aren’t embracing this change as much as I am, every time someone tells me that they made one of my recipes, I know I’ve made some difference. So, the message for all of you is this: even if you’re not ready to become a vegan, or a vegetarian all the time, don’t do nothing instead. Every time you eat a vegan meal, revel in all of the good you just did for the planet, the animals, and most of all yourself. Imagine what it would be like if you could multiply that good by two, or four, or twenty? Think of all of that change! The fact of the matter is, no matter what, you are already making a difference; whether that difference is for joy, health, and compassion is up to you. Wherever you are on this spectrum, you are capable of effecting a positive transformation, so just do something.

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