“Dolphin Safe” Does Not Mean “Tuna Safe” … [#GoVegan]

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Bottlenose Dolphin

Was Tweeting this morning (vegans are known to tweet five or more times a day due to the amount of fiber optics we get) and I came across this headline: “Dolphin Safe Does Not Mean Tuna Safe,” and it made me think about how often consumers are duped when shopping for food. They are led to believe that somehow their choices in what they are consuming is okay.

In this case, who is looking out for the tuna? Or, the other 250,000 species of marine life? And while the dolphin may be “safe” from this one company, they are hardly safe from the other human horrors that they face every day in their waters.

“Free-range” and “grass-fed” are two other examples. However the animal is treated in advance of being tortured and killed makes little difference to the animal. Sure, most animals can’t read (although chimps can use typewriters) so for the meat eater this probably makes a difference over factory-farmed animals but it’s not much of a consolation to the chickens, pigs, and cows it is referring to.

โ€œCage Freeโ€ indicates that birds are raised without cages, but does not describe other living conditions. Cage free eggs could have come from birds raised indoors, in overcrowded conditions, and without access to pasture. The USDA has not developed any standards for this label.

“Animal Welfare Approved” means the animals have access to the outdoors and are able to engage in natural behavior. No cages or crates may be used to confine the animals, and growth hormones and subtherapeutic antibiotics are not allowed. Although, surgical mutilations, such as beak-mutilation of egg-laying hens, are prohibited, while others, such as castration without anesthesia are permitted. Not sure if you’ve ever seen video of how farmers castrate baby pigs, but this act alone is enough for me to say I am vegan for life (by the way, the link to this video is so horrifying that you need to sign in and you’re warned in advance of watching it).

“Hormone-free” milk. This is so much better for you than other kind of milk … you know, the kind that contains Casein, a cancer-escalating phosphoproteins. Why doesn’t the milk container mention Casein? Probably because no one would ever buy milk again (which, would be quite a relief to those hormone-free, grass-fed, raped-by-a-farmer dairy cows).

Maybe one day the ridiculousness of this labeling will reach its apex with the rollout of labeling on meat products that reads: “Humanely Killed.” That’s when we’ll know there is little hope left for society.

Avoid labels … go vegan.

Will You Marry Me? Only if You’re #Vegan. [#GoVegan]

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Will You Marry Me? Only if You Vow to be #Vegan. [#GoVegan]

If you thought romance was passรฉ, all you have to do is look at the Paris lock bridges to see it being displayed in full force. This past May and June, Jen and I celebrated our love, our honeymoon, and our commitment … ย locking our love together forever in Paris — the undisputed most romantic city in the world.

The love padlocks have been a phenomenon in cities around the globe, from Belgium to Japan. Here’s the story. Jen and I wrote our names on a padlock and locked it onto the lock bridge in Paris. With a kiss, we threw the key into the Seine River as a symbol of our undying love.

The custom seems linked to a 2006 novel,ย Hoย Vogliaย diย Teย (I Want You),ย by Italian authorย Federicoย Moccia, in which two lovers attach a padlock engraved with their names to a lamppost on the Ponteย Milvioย in northern Rome, then throw the key into the Riverย Tiber. This same tradition is alive in Paris!

Our days in Paris were some of the most memorable days of my life and being with Jen and knowing we are together forever and vegan for eternity, only makes the memories more wonderful. While there (and earlier in London) we visited all the vegan restaurants of Paris and sampled some amazing food and saw some incredible sites. I long to return one day and kiss again on the Lock Bridge.

How is this relevant to MeatyVegan.com? Well, as it turns out, we promised to be forever vegan in our actual wedding vows when we were married last year in Chicago. A lifetime of being vegan and compassionate living together. And, now we are raising our son vegan as well.

Ah … love is in the air when you … go vegan.

Top Ten Reasons to Go Vegan. The PETA List.

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I was going to write my own top ten list when I found this list on the PETA website. It pretty much sums up everything I could say and pretty much is what I tell everyone when they ask why I am vegan.

1. SLIM DOWN AND BECOME ENERGIZED
Is shedding some extra pounds on your list of goals? Vegans are, on average, up to 20 pounds lighter than meat-eaters. And unlike unhealthy fad diets, which leave you feeling tired (and usually result in gaining all the weight back eventually), going vegan is the healthy way to keep the excess fat off for good while feeling full of energy.

2. IT’S THE BEST WAY TO HELP ANIMALS
Every vegan saves more than 100 animals a year from horrible abuse. There is simply no easier way to help so many animals and prevent so much suffering than by choosing vegan foods over meat, eggs, and dairy products.

3. ย A HEALTHIER, HAPPIER YOU
A vegan diet is great for your health! According to the American Dietetic Association, vegans are less likely to develop heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or high blood pressure than meat-eaters are. Vegans get all the nutrients they need to be healthy (e.g., plant protein, fiber, minerals, etc.) without all the nasty stuff in meat that slows you down and makes you sick, such as cholesterol and saturated animal fat.

4. VEGAN FOOD IS DELICIOUS
So you’re worried that if you go vegan, you’ll have to give up hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, and ice cream? You won’t. As the demand for vegan food skyrockets, companies are coming out with more and more delicious meat and dairy product alternatives that taste like the real thing but are much healthier and don’t hurt any animals.

5. MEAT IS GROSS
It’s disgusting but true: Meat is often contaminated with feces, blood, and other bodily fluidsโ€”all of which make animal products the top source of food poisoning in the United States. Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health tested supermarket chicken flesh and found that 96 percent of Tyson chicken was contaminated with campylobacter, a dangerous bacteria that causes 2.4 million cases of food poisoning each year, resulting in diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever.

6. HELP FEED THE WORLD
Eating meat doesn’t just hurt animalsโ€”it hurts people too. It takes tons of crops and water to raise farmed animals. In fact, it takes up to 13 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of animal flesh! All that plant food could be used much more efficiently if it were fed directly to people. The more people who go vegan, the more we can feed the hungry.

7. SAVE THE PLANET
Eating meat is one of the worst things that you can do for the Earth. It’s wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution, and the meat industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change. Adopting a vegan diet is more important than switching to a “greener” car in the fight against climate change.

8. ALL THE COOL KIDS ARE DOING IT
The list of stars who shun animal flesh is basically a “who’s who” of today’s hottest celebs. Joaquin Phoenix, Natalie Portman, Tobey McGuire, Shania Twain, Alicia Silverstone, Anthony Kiedis, Casey Affleck, Kristen Bell, INXS lead singer J.D. Fortune, Benji Madden, Alyssa Milano, Common, Joss Stone, Anne Hathaway, and Carrie Underwood are just a handful of famous vegans and vegetarians (they left out Steve-O).

9. LOOK SEXY AND BE SEXY
Vegans tend to be thinner than meat-eaters and have more energy, which is perfect for late-night romps with your special someone. (Guys: The cholesterol and saturated animal fat found in meat, eggs, and dairy products don’t just clog the arteries to your heart. Over time, they impede blood flow to other vital organs as well.) Plus, what’s sexier than someone who is not only mega-hot but also compassionate?

10. PIGS ARE SMARTER THAN YOUR DOG
While most people are less familiar with pigs, chickens, fish, and cows than they are with dogs and cats, animals used for food are every bit as intelligent and able to suffer as the animals who share our homes are. Pigs can learn to play video games, and chickens are so smart that their intelligence has been compared by scientists to that of monkeys.

Boom.

Go vegan.

WARNING: Reading this Blog May Be Beneficial to Your Health

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Life is one big warning label. We are surrounded by warnings meant to extend our lives or, at a minimum, keep us out of trouble. Some warnings we heed and others we ignore. A “beware of dog” sign is easy enough to understand and most people take it seriously.

Meanwhile, with as many warnings that exist about cigarette smoking, there are still people who are so addicted to nicotine that these warnings fall on deaf ears. I actually noticed recently the new warning on cigarettes that was rolled out in the UK. Along the shelves lined with Chesterfields, there are multiple, very readable, large signs that say: “SMOKING KILLS.”

And yet, people still smoke.

I wonder if those same people would walk up to Chernobyl and ignore the radioactive material warning signs. They may as well, since the damage they are doing by smoking is actually worse than breathing the air around the abandoned Ukraine nuclear power plant. Would they buy radioactive fuel at their local pharmacist? Probably not. Yet they continue smoking. People ignore the warning.

There are warning labels on alcohol. In the U.S.: GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) According to the Surgeon General, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects; (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems.

Most pregnant women are smart enough to not drink or smoke while pregnant but, obviously, some are not. These warning labels are meant to deter individuals from overindulging but could be, in my opinion, more informative about the adverse health effects and long-term risks of alcohol consumption. Alcohol-related deaths in the U.S. are nearly 80,000 per year. People ignore the warning.

Excessive alcohol consumption is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States after tobacco use and poor eating and exercise habits.

With all these warning labels, it would appear as though the government actually cares about our health. They want us to be safe and healthy. Then why are there no warning labels on meat, dairy, and eggs?

Meat causes cancer and heart disease. Casein, in milk, causes cancer. Eggs (specifically the yolks) cause heart disease. The cholesterol found in egg yolks accelerate atherosclerosis – otherwise known as coronary artery disease, where cholesterol builds up in the arteries – at almost two-thirds of the rate of smoking. All of these combined cause diabetes, high cholesterol levels, and obesity — yet the consumer is not warned. Slabs of meat, entire animals, can be purchased for consumption with no warning about the health risks associated with consuming it.

Nothing about how eating these foods is killing us all. People ignore the warning.

You’ve been warned.

Go vegan.

Welcome to Planet Vegan [vฤ“’-gun] – Please, Mind the Gap

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Welcome to Planet Vegan. The lushest planet in the solar system. A planet where animals live freely among humans, without fear of rape and torture. Planet Vegan, with its clean air and water and lavish vegetation; from its highest mountains to its wettest rain forests, enjoys a peaceful balance with all life forms.

No longer bound to diets consisting of dairy, meat, and eggs, the planet’s ecosystem has stabilized and all life flourishes for millions of species.

With an entire planet of vegans, inhabitants nourished by plants, 10,000,000,000 animals are no longer caged and farmed for their flesh and excretions, eliminating harmful affects on the atmosphere.

And with the elimination of factory farms, Planet Vegan no longer has concerns about animal waste, which in the past, caused dangerous levels of phosphorus and nitrogen in the water supply. In such excessive amounts, nitrogen robbed water of oxygen and destroyed aquatic life. Parity has been restored and all life forms enjoy freedom in their natural habitats; from desert to ocean.

Humans on this planet, who have an average life expectancy of 95, wear clothing made from cotton, linen, and hemp and other natural or man-made materials. Personal hygiene products are all organic and cruelty-free and GMOs have been eliminated.

All zoos and aquariums have been closed and have now become the subject of history books and museum visits.

On Planet Vegan, its human belief system is based on global Ahimsa. A culture that is centered on nonviolence, applied to all living beings; including animals.

It took nearly 4.7 billion years for Planet Vegan to fully form and its inhabitants to create the perfect harmony of all its resources. Evolution works at its own pace.

Planet Vegan is the third planet from the sun. Formerly known as Earth.

Go Vegan.

Less Meat. More Vegan. Modern Citrus Fruit Display, Florida

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Less #Meat. More #Vegan. Modern Citrus Fruit Display, Florida [#GoVegan]

A lot of people ask me where the idea for MeatyVegan.com came from and I point them to a tiny, three-bay citrus fruit stand in Kissimmee, Florida that my grandfather operated back in 1929.

Out there on Highway 17 at U.S. 192, he used to open the bays at dawn and stay open until sunset. I can remember visiting the stand when I was just a small boy and can still recall how grandpa ate lemons like apples and could juggle three grapefruits without ever dropping a single one.

He used to tell me the story about the day Bonnie and Clyde came by, running from the law as he tells it. My grandpa was out front squeezing lemons as their 1928 Chevrolet rolled up to the stand — having just run out of gas. ย According to Grandpa, Clyde Barrow leaned out the car window and said, “Mister … seems we’ve run out of juice.”

To which Grandpa replied, “Well then … let me come to your lemon-aid.”

Grandpa also said that he had never seen anyone as pretty as Bonnie Parker and my grandma reminded him of this comment every day.

Go vegan.

Celebrity Vegans I Have Known (or, almost known) …

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Since going vegan and since starting this blog I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know many vegan personalities, authorities, and celebrities. Some of whom I’ve met in person and others I’ve “met” online through Twitter, Facebook, or MeatyVegan.com.

Understandably, the vegan community is tightly knit. Or, is it tightly wound? We are all like-minded, compassionate people who have made the connection between animal rights and what we consume (both in terms of foods and other consumer goods). Ahimsa. Plus, we are all benefiting from this diet through excellent health and, I think, a positive life attitude.

So, I present … Celebrity Vegans I Have Known (or, almost known)

Met in person:

  • T. Colin Campbell – I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Campbell twice at Friday Dinner in Ithaca. Very nice man. Looks just like he does in Forks Over Knives. Only taller.
  • Dr. Milton Mills – Met him during Vegetarian Summerfest and got to hear his talk on humans and herbivores. In fact, he used me to demonstrate how he can’t knock me over. Almost started a fight.
  • Dr. Michael Greger – Met briefly at Summerfest and got to see his groundbreaking presentation that now has over 1,000,000 views! Honestly, this is the guy. Hands down.
  • Miyoko Schinner – The undisputed vegan cheese expert. To see how she operates a Vitamix is quite a religious experience. Also, we spent the night in her room (long story).
  • Chef AJ – ย She personally challenged me to not eat French fries for 30 days. If I didn’t, she was going to give me a set of her DVDs. I didn’t. But I did eat Tater Tots … so, I still think I lost. Damn you, Tater Tots.
  • Steve-O – Yes, that Steve-O. Met him before going vegan but got to spend the day with him talking about being vegan. Very nice guy. Not a jackass.
  • Mark Bittman – Not a vegan (after 6) but a nice man … and he’s trying.

Interacted online:

  • Ruby Roth – Children’s book author and illustrator. We connect on Twitter and I am a big fan of her work.
  • Dan Bordenstein – Just commented on a blog post today! Couldn’t believe the author of “Steven the Vegan” stopped by.
  • Austin Healey Aries – Professional wrestler and vegan. He picked up a Twitter feed and my readership skyrocketed. Most badass vegan out there.
  • Victoria Moran – Through Facebook and Twitter, I’ve been told she “loves” my blog. Quite flattering.
  • Kristin Lajeunesse – “Will Travel for Vegan Food” traveler and social media expert. Met at Summerfest and have stayed in touch online since. I want to one day star in one of her music videos.

I expect this list to grow over time but am so happy to have crossed paths with these exceptional human beings. Together, we can all make a difference.

Go vegan.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – Vegan Scene

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“I partake not in the meat, nor the breastmilk, nor the ovum, of any creature, with a face.”

~ Todd Ingram

Early Twinkle Records Release Goes to Auction

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Early Twinkle Records Release Reveals Old MacDonald Had a Cow - [Go #Vegan]

[TULSA, OK] A rare 1930’s Twinkle Records release that was pulled from national distribution in 1932 has resurfaced this week at auction. Twinkle Records was a product of Premier Albums, Inc. and many of their titles were focused on education and children’s songs. This early recording featured what the songwriter’s referred to as “the truth about farming” and specifically what takes place at a dairy farm. The song titled “Old Mac Donald Raped a Cow” was included on the original pressing and was later removed after numerous parent complaints.

“This is a rare recording,” said Melvin O’Malley, of O’Malley’s Auctionhouse in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “The original 33 1/3 record included a read-along songbook that showed drawings of a happy farmer with his arm up to his shoulder inside a cow. That’s how cow babies are made.” The lyrics continue to mention how “Old Mac Donald lubed his arm,” and “Old Mac Donald knocked her up,” and other references to the practice of artificially inseminating a dairy cow in order to keep her continually pregnant so she will lactate endlessly. The original color songbook is not included in the auction lot.

The long-playing record, which is being sold with no reserve, has an estimated auction value of around $300 but the message is priceless.

Go vegan.

You Can Have Results or Excuses … Not Both

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You can have results or excuses … not both. This adage applies to all aspects of your life. Whatever you want in life is yours for the taking — the only thing stopping you is you.

For example, if you’re unhappy in a relationship, fix it. If its not fixable, move on.

If you hate your job, change things at work. If they are unchangeable, get a new job.

If you’re a few pounds overweight or feeling out of shape. Start exercising. Even a little bit makes a huge difference. Your mental attitude will improve and your waistline will reduce.

And, if you feel as though you’re staring down the barrel of old age and concerned about your overall health. Go vegan. The number one prescription for excellent health is to subscribe to a plant-based diet and vegetarian is not enough. Dairy and eggs are as bad for you as smoking cigarettes. They really are. Not convinced? Check out T. Colin Campbell’s The China Study.

A 100% plant-based diet can actually turn your health, and life, around. It may seem daunting initially but the benefits far outweigh the sadness you’ll experience never eating “real” pizza again. Or a steak. Mark my words, one day there will be warning labels on meat, dairy, and eggs. It’s proven that a plant-based (vegan) diet will:

  • Assist in healthy weight loss (not so much as a diet, but as a lifestyle).
  • Lower your cholesterol. My sister’s went down over 100 points after two weeks vegan.
  • Reduce the risk of all types of cancer. In some cases, cure it.
  • Extend (ahem) your sexual prowess. How good is that for your overall attitude?
  • Cure your diabetes. Just by eating plants.
  • Reduce your chance of heart disease by as much as 25%.
  • Help you live happy knowing that you’re not contributing to rape, torture and violence against helpless animals.

The list goes on and on. There is an excellent article by James McWilliams about going vegan in the January 18, 2012ย Atlanticย where the author says, “… the most persuasive evidence supporting a healthy vegan diet is anecdotal. The vegans who frequent Casa de Luz, my breakfast (and often lunch) destination, are paragons of good health. Many of them are significantly older than I am — in their 50s, 60s, and 70s — but they rock on with glowing intensity, looking much younger (in some cases by 20 years) than they are. Every now and then a local vegan hero will drop in — John Mackey (founder of Whole Foods), Rip Esselstyn (pioneer of the Engine 2 diet), a noted musician who will remain unnamed — and we’ll gawk in admiration. The everyday reality, though, is that a dozen or so ordinary people with whom I eat have done extraordinary things as a direct result of intelligent veganism. They’ve conquered obesity, chronic disease, depression, and a host of food-related disorders by exclusively eating an exciting diversity of plants. If there’s one lesson I’ve learned by eating with seasoned vegans it is this: the diet empowers.”

Going vegan will help in all these aspects of your life. Work backwards from your own health and the well-being of all beings and you’ll soon discover that inside you is … you.

Go vegan.


This post is dedicated to Austin Healey Aries, professional wrestler and vegan. Yesterday, he retweeted my link to a post and it spiked more new readers than anything before. I am now a fan.

How to Shut Up a Vegan

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This post is dedicated to all the omnivores who think vegans are judgmental and to the vegetarians who, for reasons I still cannot comprehend, continue to consume dairy and eggs. As you all know, vegans are notorious for letting you know they’re vegan. Hand us an appetizer and, even if it’s vegan, we’re going to tell you we’re vegan. We wear shirts that let you know we’re vegan. Wind us up about the meat, dairy, and egg industries and watch us go! It’s really pretty annoying. But, I have a solution.

As a service to all the vegetarians who cannot commit and the omnivores who don’t see why eating meat (or cheese … or eggs benedict) is cruel, I submit: “How to Shut Up a Vegan.” Patent pending.

I know this will work on me, so I assume it will work on other vegans, as well. To get us to stop talking about being vegan and to stop us from reminding you that what you eat is directly tied to animal rape, torture and murder … I ask the following:

Come with me on a farm visit. Two actually.

Let’s start our day at the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen. Come meet the animals you so willingly consume or consume their excretions and hatchings. Watch them as they frolic and socialize. Get to know their names. Get a tour, wipe the poop off your boots, and stop in to the gift shop. I will buy you a souvenir t-shirt that you can wear to our next stop. A working farm. I’ll drive.

Now … choose your animal! Chicken, pig, or cow?

Let’s start with chickens. Watch as the chickens are cooped up in cages just barely big enough for them to breath. See how their beaks were cut off? Or how they’ve been so fattened that they can’t stand up? Now, walk with me as we see the male chicks being ground up alive. Alive. Peeping as their little skulls are crushed. Fun, huh?

Our next stop is the pig pen. Did you know most bacon comes from a pig that is not even a year old? Ever watch the movie “Babe”? Now, watch as they dunk the pig alive, hung by its hind leg, into a vat of boiling water as it squirms, squeals, and eventually dies. Or, witness the innocent pigs trying to avoid a bolt being driven into their brain. Notice how they all move into the corner? Terrified? This is as humane as it gets, people.

Now, onto the dairy farm. Dairy industry = meat industry. There is no difference. Want to help rape the cow? Or, would you rather be the assistant who attaches a chain to the newborn calf as the mother cries out in agony over her baby being dragged away? Not to worry! You can help get her pregnant again so she will continue to make milk for you (so you can enjoy that gooey grilled cheese sandwich). It’s even more fun when the newborn calf is male. He can be locked into a small plastic box and later killed for veal.

Don’t eat veal? Well, good for you … look how compassionate you are.

So, do you want to shut me up? I will stop preaching. I won’t even talk about the health advantages of being vegan. Nor will I write about cruelty to animals or animal rights. I will stop. I will turn off this blog. Forever.

If, after you witness this horrific treatment of helpless animals, you still decide to support the meat, dairy, and egg industries. If you can continue going about your life, unaffected and unchanged … then, I will stop. You will have shut up a vegan (warning: there are plenty more behind me).

Go vegan.

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Vegucated: A Crash Course in Veganism. A Review

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There are only a handful of must-see movies for and about vegans. “Forks Over Knives,” “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead,” and “Food, Inc.” are three of my personal favorites and probably the ones I recommend most often. “Forks Over Knives” and “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” were two movies I watched very early in my vegan journey that really convinced me to go vegan. “Vegucated” should have been part of that early list.

Take a young vegan filmmaker, Marisa Miller Wolfson, and provide her a podium where she hand-selects three omnivore New Yorkers willing to go vegan for six weeks. Enter Tesla, Brian, and Ellen.

How do you go vegan? Cold tofurkey, that’s how.

From the outset, you begin to doubt whether any of these three will be able to commit to the six weeks of veganism. Known meat and cheese lovers, I related with all three of them since I went vegan overnight. Early in the film, as they learn more about the health benefits and, ultimately, the cruelty inflicted on animals, they soon realize how much they’ve personally contributed to the meat, dairy, and egg industries. In the film, Wolfson takes them from some well-known New York City vegan restaurants to vegetarian Summerfest (where she captures some great dialogue with both T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Milton Mills) with stops along the way to area farms to get a true understanding of what happens to farm animals when they are subjected to rape, torture and murder.

A turning-point moment for Brian occurs when they happen upon three pigs that were literally thrown away. Providing a moment in the film where he and Tesla share the outright anger associated with knowing how animals are actually treated.

They are given a hard lesson the hard way. They are being vegucated.

Even with all the graphic displays of animal torture depicted in the film, one of the most moving moments in the film was when Tesla, a 22-year-old college student, admitted to Wolfson and two others that she didn’t think she would stay vegan after the six weeks — in spite of all she witnessed. Many of her feelings were the same feelings I had in the early days of going vegan and I related to her emotions and I thought she was very courageous. By the end of the movie, it is revealed who is going to commit to the lifestyle and who isn’t, as we get to catch up with the three at their final vegan dinner together.

As an independent filmmaker myself, I think Wolfson did an excellent job of piecing the film together and many of her points are many of the same points I publish on this blog. The one major flaw in the film for me is actually during the ending sequence when she tags some of the people in the film as being “mostly vegan.” By now, you know that I am firm in my stance that there is no such thing as any “part” vegan. It’s all or nothing.

Other than this point, I would recommend this film as I recommended Victoria Moran’s book “Main Street Vegan.” The perfect watch for the vegetarian on the fence or the vegan-curious omnivore.

“Vegucated” can be seen streaming on Netflix or you can buy or download it from the Vegucated website.

Go vegan.