Usually when people think of love they think about romance. To be truthful, I thought that way. I didn’t really understand the depths of love.
You see, there is so much more to love than marital status. As a Christian, mother, sister, daughter, and friend, I’ve learned too much about love that I have no room to wonder about it’s limitations. The old adage is true – love has no limits. Only we give it limits. We give love conditions. We give it a face, a name, an age, and so much more. I’d like to tell you about my perception of love as a verb and how it affects every aspect of my life… particularly my diet!
To truly love someone is to want what’s best for them regardless of where it leaves you.
My faith teaches me how to love:“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)
This sort of love isn’t reserved for only a significant other. You can love your family this way and you can love your friends this way. You can even love your co-workers and your neighbors this way. There is no harm in being positive, gentle, or kind to the people around you. In my experience, what prevents most people from expressing this sort of love toward all is pride and fear. We get wrapped up in what we want from others and we get offended if we don’t get anything back. Love costs nothing to give, why do we expect any payment in return?
“It does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.”
Ever since I was a child, I loved to take care of animals. We had lots of cats, dogs, hamsters, rats, turtles–you name it–around the house because we lived near the woods and we were always bringing creatures home. Even as I grew older, I got a job at a pet store and continued to care for critters. When I was nine, my love for animals inspired me to boldly claim that I would be giving up meat! Unfortunately, being just a child, that lasted all about a day before I gave in and just ate what my mom cooked for me. That was until around eight years later when I found out the truth of where the meat on my plate was coming from. Where did I learn about this truth? At a Silverchair concert!
I had gone to the Electric Factory in Philadelphia with my friend and when we walked in there were people giving out pamphlets from Fund for Animals and even an Australian campaign called “Free Chook” that was running at the time. The pamphlets I received had information about factory farms in the USA and the meat, egg, dairy, and fur industry. The information on the pamphlets shocked me and when I went home I dived into researching these claims on the Internet only to find even more horrific information about what goes on in factory farms and what animals slaughtered for clothing went through. It opened my eyes to the world of wrongdoing and once my eyes were opened, I couldn’t shut them again.
“…But rejoices in the truth.”
At first I went vegetarian but by the time May of 2000 rolled around I had adopted a puppy and gone completely vegan. Fifteen years ago veganism in Delaware was sadly extremely rare. Tofu? Where do you buy tofu? Why would you want to buy it? What’s a “vay-gun”? Or a “vedge-in?” Thank God there was a little co-op that sold vegan products! I started working and bought all my own groceries and learned how to cook because the rest of my family didn’t know what to feed me. I took in hours of videos, literature, and Internet searching for more information about the animal industries of the world and tried to share this truth with as many of my friends as I could. Some of them tried going vegan as well once they too learned the truth.
This change in my lifestyle didn’t only enlighten me to the truth and help me better show my love for animals, it also helped me to better love myself. You see, at seventeen I had a very low self image. Before I went vegan, I was actually anorexic. My new found veganism (and my wonderful puppy) gave me a new sense of purpose and a renewed passion for food. I wanted to show everyone that I could take care of myself as a vegan and that the vegan diet was healthy AND good for the animals. Forgetting about my previous obsession with weight loss, I began eating again and I felt better than I had ever felt in my life. My stomach pains were gone (something I thought was normal to have after eating), I felt lighter on my feet, more energized, and everyone complimented my skin and my overall appearance. Most of all, I felt like I was actually doing something good for the animals and that was my new focus.
“ It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
I could go on about how great the health benefits of veganism are, but what I really would like to emphasize is the connection between love for yourself, your fellow man, your planet, the animals, and veganism.
Love for Yourself
Did you know a vegan diet can reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce the risk of some forms of cancer, and is a weapon against type 2 diabetes, among other health benefits?
Love for your Fellow Man
Many of us can’t imagine killing our own food. Sure, there are plenty of hunters out there and some people who have grown up killing their own chickens (usually folks not raised in the USA), but many of the people of North America today have never slaughtered a chicken, cow, or pig. When you pay for animal products, you’re paying someone else to do the dirty work and unfortunately in this day and age, that means you could be unknowingly paying for horrible work conditions, low pay, and poor treatment of immigrant workers and people of color.
Love for the Planet
Three primary gases are responsible for global warming. Two of these gasses are methane and nitrus oxide. The food animal industry is the largest producer of both of these gasses. Going vegan reduces the demand for the products these companies make.
Love for the Animals
This should be a no brainer. Can you really say honestly that you love animals and continue to support the violent and horrific offenses they suffer at the hands of the animal industries? Love does not rejoice in wrong-doing. Love rejoices in the truth.
This post isn’t about making you feel bad if you’re not a vegetarian or vegan. Of course, if you’re not, be encouraged! Going vegan is easier than ever! And to sweeten the deal… I’ll even include my very own recipe for vegan cake-like brownies!
Evangelina’s Vegan Cake-Like Brownies
- 3 oz vegan chocolate chips or semi-sweet baking chocolate
- 1/3 cup vegan margarine
- 2/3 cup organic sugar
- 1/3 cup non-dairy milk
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- 1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, melt the chocolate (I used a microwave for this small amount, but you can also melt it using a double boiler), stir in margarine, then add your sugar to this mixture and set aside. Whisk non-dairy milk, cornstarch, and vanilla into a foamy mixture, then stir that into the chocolate until combined. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cocoa, and salt. Add this dry mixture to your chocolate mixture and combine the two, but don’t over mix. It’s okay if there are a few lumps! Use a non-stick, or grease a 8 inch square pan with a small bit of the vegan margarine, and pour the batter in. Bake for 22 minutes or until a toothpick goes in the middle and comes out with no goo! Thanks for reading and enjoy your brownies! Take a picture and tag @evangelinasvegandesserts on Instagram!
About the Author
Evangelina is a vegan mom, singer, and baker who found that the best way to help her kid out with that whole awkward birthday party situation is to bake vegan cupcakes for the whole class! She loves to bring cakes and vegan goods to grown up parties and family dinners as well, so she started her own vegan bakery. You can follow her on Facebook or Instagram.
Main picture by Carrie Viohl