Sunday, January 31, 2010

Rabbits are not gerbils!

I realize that title is not very profound, but it does require stating for many people who mindlessly adopt rabbits without doing any research about what living with rabbits entails. I know people who had rabbits as children who complain now that "my rabbit never did anything." As we enter February, which is Adopt-A-Rescue-Rabbit month, it is critical to understand why rabbits are not just pretty animals to look at and are not there for us simply to gape at and watch and be entertained by.

First of all, gerbils do not, generally live a long life. Rabbits are a 12 year commitment who need more than a little wheel to keep them stimulated.

Second, rabbits are social creatures, which means they need similar companionship with another rabbit (spayed and neutered, please!) or they need your undivided attention for SOME part of your day. This means playing with them, stroking them, providing them with toys (yes, rabbits do play and if they get bored, kiss your furniture goodbye! Assuming of course that you do the right thing and let your rabbits have at least 3 hours to roam around outside the cage you provide them).

Rabbits also need you to learn their normal behaviors because you need to be able to detect when something is wrong. Rabbits are prey animals and generally don't like to let predators know when they are ill; and when they are ill, be it teeth issues, GI stasis, or other common rabbit problems, time is of the essence. Rabbits can die easily if their condition is not detected and treated in time. Knowing how your rabbit eats (and yes, poops!) or behaves is critical to your ability to tell when they are ailing.

Finally, to those who are dismayed at the complexity of a rabbit's behavior as opposed to that of a gerbil, I have to ask, just why are you adopting--or more likely, buying : ( -- an animal, if you have no intention of sharing your life with him or her? Is this animal only to entertain your child as a plaything or toy? WRONG answer if you say yes! If that is the case, might I suggest a stuffed animal instead? More importantly, PLEASE do your research before bringing any animal into your house. I strongly urge you to visit

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Life After Cheese

So you wanna be vegan but you just can't kick the cheese habit? I understand. Been there. Done that. Cheese is a very hard habit to kick--check out Dr. Neal Bernard and Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine for the physiological reasons why cheese is addictive ( MY reason is, it just tastes so darn good! Especially with wine, or the gooey kind on pizza. And as someone from an Italian-American home, cheese was practically part of the family--ricotta cheese, parmasean cheese sprinkled on pasta, cannoli and other assorted cream-filled desserts from our local Italian bakery. Was it hard to give it up? You bet. Just two weeks ago, tt was almost torture being back in Massachusetts, socializing with friends, a box of mini-cannoli and eclairs sitting right before me at the table (I luckily had my Mexican chocolate snickerdoodles to satisfy my sweet tooth.) Yet I was able to resist. Why? So many reasons too long to get into here. It is enough for you just to watch the attached video. Had I not taken the veg pledge in September, this film would have done it for me. Bless Mercy for Animals for their fine work. (I promise you--there is life after cheese! Becoming a vegan is a fantastic voyage. Come and join me!)

And the truth shall set you free.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Joy of Freedom

While I am a proud, flag-waving American conservative vegan (yes, we do exist), the freedom I wish to talk about in today's blog concerns a matter near and dear to every vegan's heart and that is, the freedom of choice on restaurant menus.

When I first contemplated going vegan, the first depressing thought I had was, I would never be able to go out for dinner again. Or at least I didn't think it would be worth the effort. I am not one to make fusses at the table. "Yes, waitress, could I have the portobello steak sandwich but hold the steak, mayonaise, and oh could you be sure to cook it on a grill that has not been used for meat?" That is not me and never will be me. So what is a shy vegan to do? Obvious answer: only go to vegan restaurants. Problem: They are a rare breed, especially in my part of the world and my husband, an omnivore, would not be thrilled at such dietary restrictions (Welcome to my world, dear.)

While visiting family in Massachusetts this month, I had the rare joy of going to an all vegan and vegetarian restaurant in Watertown. The Red Lentil was an oasis for me. I did not have to settle for the one (usually bland) item on the menu that had no dairy, eggs or meat in it. I had OODLES of choices, and the sheer variety provoked such happiness that the food could have tasted like moldy cardboard and I still would have found the experience to be well worth it. Did I want the three bean chili or the vegan caesar salad? A tempeh reuben sandwich or the tuscan portobello sandwich? The spiced lentil nut patties sounded yummy too. Oh, decisions, decisions! What a sweet joy to be able to ask the waitress to give me a few extra minutes to decide on a vegan meal! Omnivores can never appreciate the joy of such freedom, the world has always been their oyster, so to speak, when it comes to dining out.

Still, this occasion is all too rare. I keep hoping that more restaurants will become more conscious of vegan diets and will provide more options on their menus. As chefs like Tal Ronnen (THE CONSCIOUS COOK) have proven, vegan meals are as delicious as any other, and provide pleasure to the consumer. Who wants to spend money on an evening out and have to settle for a garden salad and limp pasta primavera? Just give us a little freedom with our food options. That is all we vegans ask.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year

Willow demands that you have a happy 2010 or else!