Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Questions? Ask an expert.

Do you ever think of questions you just can't answer? You know, things like "Why is it called a pair of pliers, when there's only one?" or "If a synchronized swimmer drowns, do his teammates drown, too?" or "Why is it a bunny and not a chicken that carries Easter eggs?" Believe me, as a high school teacher, I get asked fifty of these questions a day from inquisitive students. Being around teenagers also raises many questions in my own mind, but that's a post for another day.

The question that's running through my mind today is this: "You wouldn't ask an Amish man for advice on your car, so why ask a vegan about animal products?" Ironic, huh? Yet many Americans consider celebrities "experts" in terms of diet and lifestyle choices. Here's a list of current vegan celebrities, according to the website Vegan Nutrista.
  • Ellen DeGeneres (She touts veganism on her talk show constantly.)
  • Joanquin Pheonix (actor)
  • Natalie Portman (actress)
  • Pamela Anderson (I'm sure you could insert a distasteful joke here about the importance of milk in her diet.)
  • Toby Maguire (actor)
  • Vanessa Williams (actress)
  • Chelsea Clinton (not sure what her title is)
  • Dennis Kucinich (U.S. Congressman)
  • Alanis Morissette (musician)
  • Brandy (musician)
  • Phil Collins (musician)
  • Shania Twain (musician)

Now, I greatly abbreviated this list to include people who I'd actually heard of. And, since I don't typically care about celebrities, I hadn't heard of a lot.
(Side note, when I Googled "vegan celebrities," it came back with a slew of responses. A similar search for "celebrities who eat meat," yielded few viable results.)
But, from this list alone, think of the influence and the platform they must have to share their thoughts and opinions. They could easily persuade others to become vegans as well. News flash: just because they sit on a talk show and share their opinions about food, doesn't make them experts! They can tell Americans all day how wrong it is to raise animals for food and nourishment and how much healthier they are without meat and milk in their diets, but they're not the best source of information.
You wouldn't ask an Amish man for advice on your car, so why ask a vegan about animals products?

Now that we've established that celebrities aren't the best source of information, where can you find information about vegan diets? The USDA MyPyramid outlines daily nutritional requirements and touts the importance of protein in a healthy diet. Healthguidance.org, a website of compiled medical discussions, lists some disadvantages of a vegetarian diet in an online article. A nutrition specialist at the University of Georgia shares her thoughts on the topic also. When it comes to information vegan diets, research institutions, doctors, and the USDA are great sources.

Many vegans choose their lifestyle on the premise that animals are raised unethically. If you have questions on how animals are raised, then ask someone who knows: a farmer! Most celebrities have never set foot on a modern farm. How can they profess that they know how animals are raised? Instead, here are some great sources of information on modern livestock production:
  • The American Farm Bureau has a wonderful website called "Conversations on Care," where consumers can Q and A with real farmers.
  • Learn the truth about modern pork production and watch videos at the Ohio Pork Council's website.
  • Want to know where steak comes from? Learn from a real beef producer.
  • Connect with farmers all over the country who are part of the Ag Chat Foundation and hear how they care for their animals.
  • Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the dairy story. Check out Dairy Farming Today to watch videos and hear from dairy farmers that are producing a safe and nutritious product.
Feel free to chime in with your own sources of information, also. Bottom line:
you wouldn't ask an Amish man for advice on your car, so why ask a vegan about animals products? Ask farmers instead. They would know; after all, they care for animals every day.

1 comment:

  1. Great sentiment re: vegan and animals. Love it!

    Looking forward to following / networking your blog for more!