Yours truly at this year’s Farm Sanctuary Thanksgiving Celebration with Gene Baur and another friend.

My first vegetarian Thanksgiving was in 1972.

That was the same year that I met my husband, Dick Gregory came to campus to speak on his peace tour, I started teaching yoga, and I took up a meditation practice inspired by a sign posted at the local natty foods store, Etidorpha. Yes, that’s Aphrodite turned around.

It’s during that same period of time that I picked up a brochure that still sits on my plant-based bookshelf, titled Meat on the Menu – Who Needs It?

Copyrighted in 1974, this little booklet is jammed with still-relevant nuggets such as:

It takes twenty-one pounds of protein fed to cattle to get one pound of protein in return.  While one acre will produce, as beef, 77 days worth of protein for a man…the same acre would produce 877 days in whole wheat and 2,224 days in soybeans.


Two scientific theorems, based on fallacies, have encouraged the demand for meat

No matter where you stand on wheat and soy consumption, the point is made.  We’re still trying to get this point across, some forty years later.

The booklet continues with chapter titles including “Hitchhikers in the Kitchen”, “Where Are the Inspectors?” “The Cholesterol Connection”, and “Vegetable Sources of Protein”.

Sound familiar?

Each of these events underscores the reasons I went vegetarian – the launch of my plant-based journey – so many years ago.

The Three Reasons I Became a Vegetarian

Back then, my reasons for adopting a vegetarian diet were

  1. ahimsa – or non-violence toward other beings where I could help it.  Ahimsa is a Sanscrit term that translates as ‘not to injure’. This was my initial entry point into eating without consuming animals.
  2. the environment – even back then we knew it took multiple pounds of wheat to make one pound of beef. When you think about it, ahimsa extends to this reason as well, if we understand that we can have some degree of control over how much we injure the Earth, and
  3. health.  Though we still had a ways to go with the heart health and brain health connection to our diets in the research, the Seventh-Day Adventists were on to the precepts of good health long before many of the rest of us, and their veggie cookbooks were all over the shelves.  Though not a Seventh-Day Adventist, my first cookbook introduction to eating outside the meat-and-potatoes norm was the SDA classic Ten Talents .

And each of these reasons gives ongoing muscle to my journey today.

Farm Sanctuary Celebration to Launch the Season

How fitting, then, that the annual Celebration for the Turkeys at the Farm Sanctuary in Northern California – Ahimsa with a capital ‘A’ – marks the launch of holiday season around here.

It was no different this year, as early November saw us romping with the animals and other friends earlier this month.

True to his talents as a videographer, Greg captured the day in movies and pictures:

Farm Sanctuary is committed to ending cruelty to farm animals and promotes compassionate living through rescue, education, and advocacy efforts.

It is at Farm Sanctuary that many rescued animals live out their lives in a peaceable kingdom.


The pig barn is one of the most popular places at Farm Sanctuary. Here with my friend Lynda Kluck and another contented companion.

Profound peace and lots of smiles permeate Farm Sanctuary. If you ever get a chance to go, do it.

Other Farm Sanctuary locations are in New York and Los Angeles, in addition to the Orland location in Northern California where this video was filmed.


And The Winner Is…

The winner of The Harvest Collection giveaway from Miyoko’s Kitchen cultured nut products aka non-dairy cheese – drawn randomly thanks to the Rafflecopter software – is

Camille Estes

Congratulations Camille!  I’m sure that your multiple sharing with friends is one of the reasons your number is entries jumped – and now it’s paid off.

Thank you to everyone who participated, sharing your ideas and enthusiasm.

Nearly 500 Entries

Thank you everyone for entering the giveaway – we had nearly 500 and I’m grateful to the team at Miyoko’s Kitchen who so generously put together the discount coupon code for us!  So many people ordered using the coupon, I only hope we didn’t empty the inventory at MK headquarters!

What Kicks off YOUR Holiday Season?

Just as I mark the launch of the holiday season with Farm Sanctuary Celebrations, certainly there is something that stands out in your mind as the leverage point of the season for you – please tell me about it in comments below.


Happy Thanksgiving!


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