Ahimsa Grove

Ahimsa Grove is a resource for vegan pagan living. It will include personal experiences and musings, recipes, shopping tips, vegan ethical and dietary considerations, and ideas for pagan practice including spells, rituals, and herbcraft.

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Ahimsa Grove: Is Veganism “Extreme?”


Hello again, and thanks for reading. Occasionally, though not always, I hear from my Pagan peers that veganism is extreme, or more to the point, extremely uncomfortable to talk about in omnivorous company. In general, I believe that the discomfort comes from simple lack of familiarity. I came across this quote today, shared by “The Thinking Vegan” (http://thethinkingvegan.com), and it helped me to find my way into this topic. First, the quote:


"The position we [vegans] hold is often said to be “extreme,” and those of us who hold it are said to be “extremists.” The unspoken suggestions are that extreme positions cannot be right, and that extremists must be wrong. But I am an extremist when it comes to rape — I am against it all the time. I am an extremist when it comes to child abuse — I am against it all the time. I am an extremist when it comes to sexual discrimination, racial discrimination — I am against it all the time. I am an extremist when it comes to abuse to the elderly — I am against it all the time. The plain fact is, moral truth often is extreme, and must be, for when the injustice is absolute, then one must oppose it — absolutely."


 ~ Dr. Tom Regan (Philosopher-Animal Rights Advocate)




Certainly I agree with this quote. I address speciesism in my own life for the same reasons that I feel the need to address sexism, racism, or heterosexism. I am certainly not always correct or sufficient in my attempts, but I try to overcome my discomfort and engage. I also want to point out that almost no vegans were born that way. We all have engaged in an active process to become who we are now, and are still going to be growing and changing as long as we live. So who knows what the future holds? Veganism is a process, not an event.


But in the meantime, there are ways to make veganism seem less “extreme.” Enjoy!



Tips for trying veg:


           Think about what you can eliminate beyond food. You could stop buying wool, silk, or other animal products. You could begin learning what cosmetic and cleaning products are certified cruelty-free. You could give up attending rodeos, circuses, and zoos.


           Instead of thinking about what you can’t eat if you go vegan, focus on what you can. Fill your plate with plant-based foods, find what you love, and watch the animals products slowly get pushed out!


           Do a vegan scavenger hunt. Check all your local stores for vegan products. If you use the internet, look for online vegan emporiums like “vegan essentials” or “fake meats.” New ones will pop up, all the time.


           When it comes to dietary veganism, many people eliminate meat first. There tend to be more options available in stores and restaurants for ovo-lacto (egg and dairy eating) vegetarians. Meat substitutes are becoming very widely available due to their health profile. Be aware, however, that some meat substitutes are not vegan. Often this is because they contain eggs.


           Experiment with non-dairy milks. Many on the market are gaining mainstream appeal due to their pleasant taste and entire lack of cholesterol.


           Now, be brave…try some vegan cheese! Know in advance that you will like some and not others. Ask vegans for their favorite brands and recipes. There are also whole cookbooks devoted to nothing but vegan cheeses!


           If there is one food that you can’t stand the thought of eliminating, don’t let that stall you forever. You can give up everything except ice cream, or everything except cheesy pizza, and see how you feel.


           If social eating stresses you out, you could be vegan at home, vegetarian in the world.


           Find local vegan meetups through www.meetup.com or other local sources. Many people who attend meetups are just getting started, or are just veg-curious.


The Center for Biodiversity is an environmental advocacy organization that has added plant-based eating to their strategies. On their page, “Take Extinction Off Your Plate,” they ask folks to consider reducing their consumption of animal products by 1/3. Their site has great information on environmental issues, and links to resources for vegan eating. http://www.takeextinctionoffyourplate.com/









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Tagged in: vegan veganism
Leslie earned her Master of Divinity Degree at Vanderbilt University and is a Wiccan Priestess, Ordained Interfaith and seeking ordination through the Temple of the Feminine Divine in Bangor. Her column in SageWoman, “Child of Artemis,” deals with women and our relationship with animals. Leslie considers herself a cultural worker, dealing with issues of violence and oppression as they impact humans and other species. She has worked at a rural domestic violence prevention program since 2001 and is a board member on VegME, Maine’s vegan advocacy group.  


  • Stephanie
    Stephanie Saturday, 30 May 2015

    Leslie, thank you SO much for this blog! I'm so excited to see a Wiccan vegan stand up in the community! I base my personal practice around veganism; abolition of animal use is one of my life missions.

    Looking forward to reading more!

  • C.S. MacCath
    C.S. MacCath Saturday, 30 May 2015

    Please let me echo Stephanie's thanks. It's so important that we be a voice for one another in the Pagan community, a voice for the animals and a voice for the Earth. I did a bit of that with the Vegan Pagan series some months ago, and I plan to do more with a Vegan Pagan podcast this year, but I'm very, very glad to see other Pagan writers and bloggers doing the same. You have my wholehearted, unequivocal support. (Also, can I interview you for the podcast at some point?)

  • Stephanie
    Stephanie Saturday, 30 May 2015

    Wow, I am psyched about your podcast! Please keep us updated!

  • C.S. MacCath
    C.S. MacCath Saturday, 30 May 2015

    Will do! I've taken a break from my own PaganSquare blogging, but I'll be sure and post about it once I've got it ready to go. In the meantime, you can sign up for the TVP newsletter here, if you like: http://theveganpagan.com.

  • C.S. MacCath
    C.S. MacCath Saturday, 30 May 2015

    Also, I'm in Nova Scotia. There is the possibility for actual face-to-face meetups, if you like.

  • Leslie J Linder
    Leslie J Linder Monday, 01 June 2015

    Thanks for the comments and support, ladies! I am also excited to hear about the podcast, and yes, you may certainly interview me at any time! I am looped into the world peace diet community, and working on a vegan pagan book. four hundred pages in...almost ready to polish it up! loving thoughts to all.... :D

  • C.S. MacCath
    C.S. MacCath Monday, 01 June 2015

    I'll keep you in mind for the podcast, and you'll want to publicize that book once it's picked up by a publisher, so perhaps we can time your interview to maximize that. If you like, please shoot me an email at csmaccath.com/contact, and I'll respond with my email address. That way we can keep in touch.

  • C.S. MacCath
    C.S. MacCath Monday, 01 June 2015

    http://csmaccath.com/contact. There. That link should click through correctly for you.

  • Stephanie
    Stephanie Monday, 01 June 2015

    Oh wow, that's awesome about the book! I was wondering if I'd need to write one, there's just nothing out there! Haha. I mean Cunningham's Wicca in the Kitchen is the closest thing I could find, and it's not close at all. Very excited!

  • Patricia A. Leslie
    Patricia A. Leslie Wednesday, 24 June 2015

    Sheer serendipity led me here from Facebook! I was on the verge of concluding that I couldn't even identify myself as Pagan/Wiccan any more, because of the hostility I have encountered, towards veganism, from other Pagans. But it appears the Goddess doesn't want me to give up yet, and here I've found confirmation that I'm not all that alone. I love the blog title Ahimsa Grove - sounds like a beautiful place to be! Ahimsa has been my guiding philosophy for 40 years.

  • Leslie J Linder
    Leslie J Linder Friday, 10 July 2015

    Hang in there, patricia! you are not alone. There is also a vegetarian/vegan occultists/pagans group on facebook. https://www.facebook.com/groups/vegpaganmagicmystic/

    and vegan pagans: https://www.facebook.com/merrynomeat

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