We hope these tips, link and bits of advice will help you on your 30 Day Go Vegan Challenge! 
Hi <<First Name>>! 

WELCOME TO DAY TWENTY-SIX!



 Clare's advice for day twenty-six: 
It’s really helpful to learn to read signs from other people of when to continue talking or walk away, returning later to discuss vegan philosophy and lifestyle or provide further information.
EXAMPLE: I recently met a friend I hadn’t seen for several years. He ordered food and I said ‘I’ll just have a drink as there’s nothing I can eat here as I don’t eat animals’. He said ‘Ok, but there is nothing you will do to convince me not to eat meat!’ I felt an immediate emotional reaction within me. It would have been easy to say e.g. ‘Do you know how animals suffer for us to eat meat’ or ‘I don’t know how you can eat animals when they are so badly treated in factory farms?’ It probably was what I felt like saying because of the intensity of my emotional reaction. However, would it have moved him along the continuum of increased awareness? Probably not, because after all, he was only ordering his dinner and my response would have triggered a strong emotional reaction in him and conflict would probably have resulted.

MY REPLY: I inferred from the brusqueness of his response that he was resistant to my comment that I didn’t eat animals. I looked for the signs of how best to respond. I then said ‘I’m not here to convince you to do anything. However, I really would like to share with you why I have chosen to be vegan. What you decide to do beyond that is your choice. Can we do that? Now, why don’t you order?’

NOTE: My response indicated that he wasn’t under pressure to change and increased the likelihood of him agreeing to talk further, which he did. Note that I asked him to agree to a conversation, rather than hoping we would return to the subject at some stage. As a vegan you have become aware of information about animal exploitation, food values and health that a lot of other people are yet to discover. Never assume a person’s response is given in light of the same knowledge you hold. Their criticism, ridicule or humour may be more to do with feeling embarrassed or judged rather than being indifferent to suffering or exploitation of which they are currently unaware.

TIP: Accept that often you will feel strong emotional reactions to people resisting the message of veganism or humorously undermining your lifestyle choices. Keep an open mind as to their level of knowledge and don’t assume that they are indifferent to suffering, exploitation or incorrect advertising. Take a deep breath and ask them if they want to hear more. If they say yes, then tell them. If they make light of the subject or show resistance, it’s probably a good sign that a cooling off period would strengthen your message when you finally share it. Agree a time with them to return to the subject.
 

Robyn's advice for day twenty-six:
Know the facts about fish – part 2
As mentioned in yesterday’s Tip, fish is a bad deal for your health, largely because of the toxins it contains. Here’s a brief list of the nasties in fish, and what they do:
  • Alkyphenols – endocrine-disrupting industrial pollutants that are linked to breast cancer, severe asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis (severe seasonal pollen allergy), and severe eczema. Breastfeeding women who ate fish at least twice a week were found to have the highest levels of alkyphenols in their breast milk, which may compromise the neurological development, growth and hormonal health of their babies. Anchovies, mackerel, salmon and cod are the species most heavily contaminated with alkylphenols.
  • Mercury – a toxic metal that accumulates in the brain and which passes through a woman’s placenta and breast milk to her baby. According to a study conducted by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, the negative effect of the mercury that babies are exposed to when their mothers eat fish – up to a 10 point drop in IQ when mothers eat long-lived predator fish such as salmon, tuna and perch – outweighs the beneficial effect of DHA on their child’s neurological development for most of the 33 species of fish that they studied.
  • Pharmaceutical drug residues: traces of drugs including antihistamines, blood pressure pills, anticonvulsants, cholesterol-lowering drugs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, antidepressants, steroids, antibiotics and barbiturates have been detected in fish caught for human consumption. While none of the drugs exceeded levels considered ‘safe’, the effects of frequent exposure on vulnerable individuals such as children and the elderly (who have reduced capacity to metabolise drugs) are simply unknown.
  • Persistent organic pollutants: these include PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), dioxins and dieldrin , which are endocrine (hormone) disrupters linked with impaired immune function; abnormal sexual development of babies within the womb; liver, biliary tract and breast cancer; liver damage; sperm count and motility; thyroid gland dysfunction; diabetes and Parkinson's disease.
Eating fish is just not worth the risk to your health – or your children’s!
 

Cassies' recipe idea for day twenty-six: 

Spelt Blueberry Muesli
Makes 4 cups
Ingredients
2 cups rolled spelt oats
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup craisins
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup flaxseed w/ Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Walnuts, CoQ10 (found in the health food section)
1/3 cup coconut oil
2 tbsp mollasses
1 tbsp light organic agave
200g blueberries
  1. Preheat a fan forced oven to 160C and line a 25cm x 25cm baking tray with canola oil spray and baking paper.
  2. In a bowl, place the spelt oats, almond meal, craisins, coconut, flaxseed mix, coconut oil, mollasses, agave and blueberries and toss to combine.
  3. Pour the mixture into the baking tray and even out using a spatula. Place into the oven for 30 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes.
 
 

Kym's advice for day twenty-six:
Can eggs ever be ethical? 

I'm sure you already know that vegans don't eat eggs. You may or may not have witnessed the terrible cruelty, harsh conditions and murder involved with the egg industry. On taking the challenge to go vegan you have decided not to eat eggs, however sooner or later someone may ask you: "What about if I keep chickens at home, look after them well and eat their eggs - is this ok? 

While it’s obvious to most of us that eating eggs is not a vegan thing to do at its very essence (as it conflicts and contradicts with the definition of veganism) being vegan is about much more than obeying rules and definitions. Veganism is about healthy, logical, and compassionate choices, a greater awareness, and common sense. Therefore, as many of you commented, sometimes it’s worthwhile to lookbeyond the definition, and try to truly understand the reasons behind the answers we give.

Understanding the ethics of eating eggs that come from home grown chickens is no easy task. Here are a few questions and guidelines that might help:

 
The egg industry is one of the cruelest industries out there, killing over 280 million male chicks a year, as soon as they are born, simply because they aren’t profitable.

Where are we getting the chickens from?
One of the first things to consider is how we came by these ‘home grown’ chickens. We all know that the egg industry is one of the cruelest industries out there, killing over 280 million male chicks a year, as soon as they are born, simply because they aren’t profitable.

Please don’t ever buy hens from chicken breeders, farms, or anyone connected to the chicken and egg industry. Buying chickens from these suppliers directly supports the cruelty and the death of other chickens. By contrast, adopting hens from a farm sanctuary not only saves hens from horrible conditions and a gruesome death, but also allows the farm sanctuary more space to open their arms to other chickens in need of rescue. With that said, even when adopting from a farm sanctuary, you should still be asking how the sanctuary came by those chickens: Did they rescue them? Did they pay the battery farm for them? Maybe they ‘found’ them? These questions might affect your decision as to whether you want to adopt from that animal sanctuary.

Are we really providing them with good living conditions?
Offering the chickens good living conditions doesn’t just mean not killing them once they are past their productive hen-laying lives, but also about providing proper vet care, having enough outdoor space, providing proper food, and proper shelter. Chickens should be treated like any pet with demands for love and attention. If you are truly interested in adopting chickens, try to read some of the sanctuary’s adoption policies first, to see if you can really commit.

Using the eggs for the chicken’s benefit rather than our taste buds
In their natural state, hens only lay eggs until they have a full nest. At this point, they would naturally stop laying eggs and start nesting. The egg industry interrupts this natural process by constantly removing the eggs, therefore constantly encouraging the chickens to lay more eggs to fill their nest.

The laying of every single egg involves great effort on the hen’s part. In intense farming situations, some chickens even die in the process as a result of the pressure on their laying organs.

Every egg also involves a tremendous loss of calcium from the hen. This goes to producing the shell of the egg, protecting what would be their future babies. In the egg industry, most hens have been genetically nurtured for productivity purposes; the animals are brought to the very edge of their egg production capabilities, and therefore suffer from a tremendous loss in calcium which in many cases leads to disease and painful deaths.

But what has this got to do with home grown eggs?
One of the ways hens can restore the terrible calcium loss is by eating their own eggs.

While many websites teach people how to prevent hens from eating their own eggs, so that they could get to steal them first, we must understand that by not taking their eggs, we are helping the hens in two ways:

 
    • We are not encouraging them to lay more eggs.
    • We are allowing them to restore the nutrients they have lost by allowing them to eat their own eggs.
To encourage the hens to eat their eggs and restore their nutritional needs, cracking the eggs slightly helps to initiate the consumption process. A cracked egg means an egg that won’t turn into a chick, which in turn allows the hen to eat it. Needless to say that in the egg and chicken industry, no one does them such favours.

What if the hen doesn’t eat them? What then?
One of the common concerns expressed by our community members was the wastage of the eggs, if they were not eaten by the hens, or collected and consumed. Assuming that there is no male around, and the eggs aren’t fertilized, will they not just be wasted?

For many of us it is very clear that even if they were “wasted”, they are better off wasted than consumed, due to the terrible health damages they cause to your arteries. The question for those of us who are vegan for ethical reasons still remains open though.

If there are still some eggs left after the hen’s consumption, there are still other ways to use the eggs for a better purpose:

Some farm sanctuaries sell leftover eggs to people who would otherwise buy eggs from the egg and chicken industry. While selling eggs to people has its problems – as it might seem to normalize the consumption of eggs – they are still achieving three goals with their actions:

 
    • The chickens get to enjoy their eggs for their nutritional benefits.
    • They are helping to minimize the profit of the cruel egg and chicken industry buy having people buying from them rather than the farmers.
    • All the money they make from the chicken’s eggs goes straight back to the chicken’s benefit in the form of the food they buy them, the shelter they provide and the veterinary care they need.
And if you are still not convinced, you could always use the leftover eggs for making compost.
 
TODAYS ASSIGNMENT: Memorise at least a few of these answers to the 'ethical eggs' question, so that you can answer it effectively :-)

WANT MORE INFO ABOUT THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF GOING VEGAN? 
Go to this page and check out some short videos about the benefits of eating more fruit!

CAN'T BE BOTHERED COOKING TONIGHT?
Check out our directory of over 100 eateries in Sydney with vegan options!  --> click here 

QUOTE FOR THE DAY:



Congratulations making it through DAY TWENTY-SIX of your 30 Day Go Vegan Challenge! 
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