During an anti-clutter purge I came across a card that has been missing presumed lost for the best part of three decades. This ‘Picture Meditation’ is entitled ‘The Pathway and is No.8 in a series published by Mirfield Publications, House of the Resurrection, Mirfield, West Yorkshire.
The Mirfield Monastery and its fund-raising publications are still going strong and a Google search reveals that this card is still available for purchase online at a modest price of £0.50. I can’t recall where I bought it but I probably found it in a cathedral bookshop.
As an atheist this is not something I would normally spend money on but I found the text attractive because it accurately describes the state of self-doubt I often feel when contemplating change in my life. Once you exclude the entreaties to God (addressed as ‘Lord’) it is remarkably secular and plain-spoken. Here is the full text with [—-] in place of ‘Lord’ to exclude the Christian slant:
[—-], I seem to have somehow lost my way. I keep trying to follow the old familiar ways that I have known for so many years, and now they no longer lead me anywhere. Most of the time I find myself back where I started. I want to move out from where I am, and I just seem to be going round in circles. Continue reading
Caffe Pascucci, Piazza Trattati di Roma, 1, Savignano del Rubicone, Italy
From the outside this looks like another typical café/ bar in Italy – it has the kind of smart, stylish understated elegance that citizens take for granted. It is in a run of the mill location, situated in the Savignano sul Rubicone shopping mall near the small coastal town of Cesenatico.
The green plant logo is the only thing that gives a clue that this is something different. Caffe Pascucci is the first 100% vegan bar in Italy! Three cheers for them! It officially opened in September this year and hopefully will give others the courage to follow suit.
A lot of restaurants, shops and cafés are responding to the rising number of customers seeking humane alternatives to the standard carnivore diet. These, however, only take a half way house approach by providing veggie friendly food without entirely sacrificing the ubiquitous ham and salami options.
After 17 years of living in Emilia-Romagna, it is a relief to finally find a place where there are no such compromises. All the drinks, snacks and light lunches at Pascucci are unapologetically 100% vegan. Continue reading
AVERAGE JOE ON THE RAW directed by Daniel Hayhurst (USA, 2013)
At the age of 30, Seth Hayhurst was beginning to show the onset of middle age spread but could not by any stretch of the imagination be called obese.
Actually, you would say that he looked in pretty good physical shape. Mentally, however, was another story.
He’d gone through a messy divorce and ,although now in a good relationship, he realized he had ‘anger issues’ and attitude problems that needed to be addressed. He declares that he wanted “to be shiny again”.
Above all, he felt his life was slipping into a mundane pattern in which he was destined to become just another average American with declining health and lower energy levels.
In the introduction to this documentary, directed by his brother Daniel, he says: “I looked in the mirror and saw complacency. I saw a man settling into normalcy ……so, I could just fall in line with the rest of the people on the assembly line of commonplace OR ….. I could make a push at my limitless potential. I could try to reset my intelligently designed body to heal itself!”
His radical solution is to ditch fatty meat orientated fast foods and embark on a 60 day raw vegan diet. Seeing how others who ate like this looked vibrant and alive convinced him that this was the life changing, clean living alternative he was looking for.
This weekend was the 4th edition of the Veg Fest near my home town of Cesena in Emilia Romagna. This has been an annual event for the past five years (one year was skipped as the original venue fell through).
For the past two years the festival has been held at Parco Fellini in Gambettola, a small town situated midway between Cesena and Rimini.
The organisers are the local group Lega Anti Vivisezione (LAV) whose broad goal is to promote Vegetarianism/Veganism as a more humane lifestyle choice.
I attend as one of the converted, having been a vegetarian for almost 40 years now. These days, I count myself more as a demi-vegan. To fall short of being a full-on vegan as this would mean the stiff challenge of foregoing most beers, wines, cheeses, cappuccino, dairy ice cream etc. etc. I’m working on it!
It is interesting to note the social changes over the past five years using this Veg Fest as a subjective indicator of some subtle ways in which attitudes are shifting. Continue reading
This free e-book from Vegan publishers by Casey Taft aims to destroy the common myths about veganism and promote domestic harmony on the basis that “the more we are able to communicate about the things that matter to us, the closer we will be as families and as a society”.
The nearest he gets to propaganda is when countering the malicious accusation that vegans care more about animals than people. Taft explains that veganism is about much more than just food but is a lifestyle choice which “emphasizes kindness and compassion toward all living things and bettering one’s health and the environment to improve conditions for humans and other animals now and in the future”.
The thrust of his argument is that this philosophy can be likened to a form of religious belief : “It is important to be mindful of the fact that the diet of a vegan may be important to them in the same way that a kosher diet would be to an Orthodox Jew”. Continue reading