Friday, December 30, 2016

The Best is Yet to Come

2016 was a year like no other.  Although life was fairly normal in terms of work, family, and our activities, in an unexpected twist Joy and I became vegans, launched our website, and began advocating for animal rights. We met Ziggy the Traveling Piggy, volunteered at the animal sanctuary that bears his name, and made new friends who share our interest in better health, a cleaner environment, and ending animal abuse and suffering.

So many things have weighed heavy on my heart this year...the ignorance most of us have regarding the abuse animals are subjected to in order that our appetites can be satisfied, the realization that we are destroying our planet and our health because of our food choices, and the desire to see my loved ones embrace a healthier lifestyle and experience the sense of well-being and happiness that a whole food plant-based diet provides. So many of my friends and family suffer from chronic conditions or serious illnesses that could be helped simply by changing the way they eat, yet they remain unconvinced that such a change would be possible or beneficial, even though I am living proof that a plant-based diet works.

In 2016, God gave me a new purpose and set my feet on a journey I never thought I would take.  He opened my eyes to injustice and the need for greater compassion toward all His creatures, human and non-human alike. I find myself praying for open doors to fulfill the purpose of educating others and sharing my experience as a new vegan and opportunities each day to positively impact and make a difference in the lives of the people and animals He has placed in my life.  Perhaps for the first time in my life, I feel driven to live for a cause much larger than myself and to take as many people with me as will come.

2017 is just around the corner. I believe that God is working and has exciting things in store for those of us who will heed His call and step into the great unknown with Him. My plan for the New Year is to do what I have done for the past several years -- wake up each morning, spend time in His Word and in prayer, and give Him permission to have His way in my life, knowing that each day will be an adventure as I do what I can to fulfill His purpose.

What will you do with the clean slate God is handing you? Will you continue living in your comfort zone or will you take a leap of faith and embrace the journey He has prepared for you?

I pray that 2017 will be a year of new beginnings, better health, and great adventure as you fulfill the purpose for which you were created.

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year,

Dee Dee



Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Thursday, December 29, 2016

I Have a Confession to Make

Before you gasp and exclaim, "OMG, she ate meat or dairy or eggs!" let me stop you right there. I have not eaten any meat, dairy, or eggs and I don't plan to for the rest of my life. This blog is about how I've been eating the past few months as a vegan. So I apologize if the title is misleading, but I do feel like I need to get something off my chest.

As some people may know I was vegetarian for about a month and a half before I went vegan late last spring. During the months of spring and summer I had access to a variety of fresh fruits. It was fantastic. But as summer turned into fall, and now winter, I haven't been consuming as much fruit and I've been consuming too many vegan sweets and meats. I love fruit and I'm a firm believer that the more you eat an abundance of fruit the less you will crave processed sweets and sugar. I've really missed eating a lot of fruit these last few months because fruits are so good! I look at all the different varieties there are and I'm in awe. I think to myself, "Wow. God created all these delicious and nutritious foods for us!"

Over the past few days I've started watching "what I eat in a day as a vegan" videos on YouTube. And as I've been watching these videos, I've realized that I am consuming vegan meats WAY too much. To be honest, I think I've know this for a little while now. But there's always that excuse that "they're plant-based," which is true, but that doesn't mean that they're healthier than whole plant foods.There is such a variety of plant foods, and endless combinations you can make with them, so there's really no need to consume vegan meats as much as I do. They should be more of a treat and less of a main course.

I think cutting out vegan sweets and treats will be fairly easy. The holidays are practically over and I can start fresh in the New Year, only consuming vegan sweets about once a month or so. Like I said before, if I'm eating an abundance of fruit there's no need to consume a lot of vegan sweets, especially ones that contain added sugars and oils. I love fruits, vegetables, and grains, and I've been missing out on them recently. I'm looking forward to indulging in more plant foods! I'm also excited to try new things this year, and healthier vegan recipes.

I'd be lying if I said I haven't been upset with myself for the way I've been eating the past few weeks. It isn't how I truly want to be eating. I know I can do better and I intend to. And I know that once I change the way I've been eating I'm going to feel so much better than I already do. I'm going to ditch the excess oils, limit my intake of vegan meats and sweets, and increase my intake of whole foods.

I encourage you all to join me. Jump on the vegan bandwagon in 2017! My mother and I will be posting healthy, weekly recipes for you all to try starting next week, January 6th, on our first ever #FeelingVeggieGoodFriday.

Wishing all of you better health in the new year,
                                 
                                   Joy

P.S. If you're struggling to go vegan, but you really want to, don't be afraid to try all the different and delicious vegan meats and cheeses out there. The fact that you're vegan is what really matters. These products aren't unhealthy but they're not as healthy as pure plant foods. The first couple of months I was vegan these vegan meats were really nice. But now that I'm several months into this I do think I need to limit my consumption of them. It's just my personal choice and what I feel like will be best for me.




Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Joy of Doing What We Can

It has been nearly nine months since Joy and I stopped consuming meat and animal products, began promoting a plant-based diet, and started advocating for animal rights. I can honestly say that I have never felt better physically or emotionally, even though my heart has at times been broken by the plight of animals slaughtered to satisfy the appetites of humankind.

Painfully aware of animal suffering and the harm to our environment and health as a result of factory farming, we are more committed than ever to eat vegan, consume products not made of or tested on animals, and to educate and encourage others to do the same.

More and more people are turning to a plant-based, whole food diet and we are excited to be part of a
movement that can change our world and foster peace and compassion toward all living beings.

In 2017, Joy and I plan to:

  • Meet in early January with Gloucester County, VA school officials to discuss the need for better nutrition and more vegetarian/vegan-friendly options in our school lunch and breakfast menus. We know that this is a first step, that we will likely encounter opposition, and that we will have to work hard in order to effect change, but we are determined. Your prayers would be greatly appreciated as we advocate for healthier nutrition in our schools.
  • Continue our work with Smithfield Pig Save, attending their monthly vigils to raise awareness and bear witness to the animals headed for slaughter at the meat packing plant at Smithfield Foods.
  • Support the work of Ziggy's Refuge, both financially and by volunteering as we are able.
    We had the privilege of volunteering there in early December, meeting Ziggy and his family, and founders Kristin Hartness and Jay Yontz, who have committed themselves to providing a loving, nurturing environment where rescued farm animals can happily live out their lives without fear of being abused or slaughtered.
  • Attend more vegan festivals and Save Movement events, both locally and regionally. We hope to make a trip to Toronto sometime in 2017 to participate in a Toronto Pig Save vigil.
  • Publish new blogs and information on our website, as well as on our Facebook page and Instagram account. 
Doing what we can to ease the suffering of animals and to promote a whole food, plant-based diet has been  one of the greatest joys we have ever known. Joy and I are thankful for the opportunity to raise awareness and fight for the well-being of all God's creatures -- human and non-human alike.  

May God grant you purpose, peace, and good health in 2017!

For the animals, the planet, and you -- 

Dee Dee




Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Monday, December 19, 2016

Dear Sweetheart

Dear Sweetheart,

I couldn’t wait to meet you. I had seen photos of you that your mom had posted and you looked beautiful. With your big pink ears and soft, sweet features your name perfectly suits you. It was so heart-warming to see you surrounded by your animal friends at Ziggy’s Refuge, because when I’ve seen your kind before it hasn’t been at a kind place like Ziggy’s.
            
I’ve seen your kind in scary silver trucks with holes in the sides on their way to a frightening place. They don’t get to grow up in a safe, peaceful, and loving environment. They grow up in cramped spaces in dark buildings with no ability to roam the outdoors, like you have the ability to do. And they only live a couple of months before they reach the end of their journey here on Earth. You are special, Sweetheart. This could have been your fate, but you were rescued and now get to grow up and live your life in a sanctuary.
            
It brought such joy to me seeing your smiling face as you wandered eagerly among a group of volunteers, seeking their attention and wanting to be loved on. You trotted alongside us as we toured the farm and were able to see your other animal friends at Ziggy’s Refuge. You’re special, Sweetheart. You have a wonderful home and wonderful parents who will love you as long as you live. I wish all of your kind could get to experience the love and compassion you receive at Ziggy’s Refuge. And there are people out there, like your mom and dad, who are trying to make that happen.
            
I thoroughly enjoyed seeing your other animal friends at Ziggy’s Refuge. Looking at Toby the turkey and petting his soft coat of feathers I was saddened to think that millions of people consume his kind every year. Toby is sweet and has his own personality, just like all the other animals at Ziggy’s, yet his kind are treated like objects instead of the sentient beings they are. They’re separated from their mothers and raised in closed up sheds with no access to the warmth of the sun. And after only a couple of months they too reach the end of their life here on Earth and are transported to that frightening place I mentioned earlier. The same can be said for the spunky chickens that you also share your home with, Sweetheart. Their kind live in hell every day and they don’t get to experience the feeling of dirt and grass beneath their feet. They don’t get to run around with their friends and play like the chickens at Ziggy’s Refuge.
             
You’re special, Sweetheart. You and Ziggy stand as a reminder that the farm animals we consume have personalities, emotions, feelings, and just want to live in peace on while they’re on this Earth! You and your parents show the world how your kind can live, and how all animals should live. I was blessed to meet you, Sweetheart. You make me want to fight even harder for the rights of animals. I’m sorry that every day my kind consume your kind and those like the other animal friends at Ziggy’s. I wish more people would open their eyes and their hearts to see the harsh reality of what all farmed animals have to go through. I miss you, Sweetheart, and all of your other animal friends at Ziggy’s, but I’ll be back soon. You’re special, Sweetheart, and you hold a very special place in my heart.    

All my love, 

Joy 

To the people who contributed to making Ziggy's Refuge a reality, I want to say thank you. We all helped make Kristin and Jay's dream a reality. I know most of Ziggy's supporters most likely do not eat meat, and may not eat other animal products, but for those of you who do I have something I'd like to say. 

All farmed animals deserve to live like Sweetheart and Ziggy do. Chickens, turkeys, cows, etc. are all abused and tortured every day just so we can consume them. Most of them live in absolute hell. I know it can be hard to open yourself up and allow yourself to see the harsh reality of what these animals go through, but sometimes it's necessary. It's okay to cry and get angry, and it's worth it because once you make that connection to what you're eating, and then you stop eating it, it's amazing. It's RELIEVING. You feel happy and awakened and filled with joy! 

If you eat other meat (except for pork), I would ask that you would take the plunge and ditch all meat and other animal products, because all farmed animals deserve to live like the animals at Ziggy's Refuge.  There are amazing meat and dairy alternatives out there so I promise you won't lack for anything. Please take the plunge and go all the way. My mother and I would be happy to offer help and suggestions for meal ideas and planning. 
"Peace begins on your plate."
Thank you again,
Joy




 Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Vegans are for Humans Too

I think a lot of people look at veganism as being crazy, far-off, or extreme because they believe that vegans are a group of radical animal lovers. However the truth is that a lot of people don't even come to veganism for the animals. Instead, they come for their health or the environment, and then later, learn about the horrendous things that happen to these animals. While the majority of vegans choose this lifestyle because of the animals, some vegans simply respect the animals enough to realize that what happens to these animals is wrong and unnecessary. They wouldn't want what happens to these animals, to happen to themselves.

Veganism is for a lot of things besides just saving animals. It's for our planet that is slowly self destructing because of global warming and the side effects of the animal agriculture industry. Veganism is for the health of our species, because having your chest cut open and taking five different medications everyday, in most cases, isn't necessary if you eat a plant-based (vegan) diet. Veganism is for the starving children in Africa who can't eat their own grain because we're taking it and feeding it to our livestock. Veganism is for EVERYTHING.

A lot of people may be hesitant to go vegan because of all the jobs that would be lost for slaughterhouse workers, which is reasonable because these people need to feed their families. But the sad thing is that slaughterhouse workers have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. "So you get a finger chopped off, that's not so bad." It's not as simple as that.

The following is a true story.

"At a National Beef plant in Liberal, Kansas, Homer Stull climbed into a blood-collection tank to clean it, a filthy tank thirty feet high. Stull was overcome by hydrogen sulfide fumes. Two coworkers climbed into the tank and tried to rescue him. All three men died." from the book Fast Food Nation

This isn't just an isolated incident. These things have happened before.

"Eight years earlier, Henry Wolf had been overcome by hydrogen sulfide fumes while cleaning the very same tank; Gary Sanders had tried to rescue him; both men died; and the OSHA later fined the National Beef for its negligence. The fine was $480 for each man's death." from the book Fast Food Nation

Think these slaughterhouse corporations care more about the workers than the animals? Think again. These huge corporations exploit animals, and humans. It's all about the money for them. And they don't care what the cost is. People in the slaughterhouse industries have lost limbs, suffered from internal illnesses and injuries (like having their lungs burned by toxic fumes), women have been harassed and fondled on assembly lines, people been decapitated and torn apart by the dangerous machines, and more. But the biggest one out of all of these is that people have died. And their deaths didn't go quickly or painlessly. The excerpts from above are prime examples. These men must have been terrified, and they probably knew that they were going to die. Can you even imagine how that must have been? Being drowned alive by chemicals? None of us would wish this on another human. But when we buy animal products, we're paying for these people to do these dangerous things. It is truly disturbing and horrific what happens to these people. And no one knows about it. These corporations don't want you to know about it, so they cover it up.

A lot of people in the animal agriculture business do their job because they need to support their family. On  the other hand, a lot of people do it because they're mentally sick and disturbed. As for these people, I believe that they deserve to rot in jail for the rest of their miserable lives, because these innocent animals, in this barbaric industry, do not deserve to be treated the way they do.

I've seen documentary evidence of workers shaking baby piglets and slamming their heads onto a concrete floor, of workers clubbing chickens and turkeys, and stomping on their heads with their feet. I've seen workers roughly spray cows with harsh water hoses and throw birds viciously into cages on transport trucks bound for slaughter. When they miss, they throw them again and again and again into those cages. I've personally heard the cries of 6-month old pigs on a truck bound for slaughter and seen up close the fear in their eyes. I've heard and seen just about everything. There is no justification for this kind of treatment for any living being whether they're human or not. These examples are real, and not just random or isolated. People do these things all the time, and those who choose to eat meat are paying them for this kind of abuse. If they did these things to a dog or cat they would be criminally charged. These animals, bred and raised on factory farms, are helpless and defenseless. They can't do anything, so they suffer in silence.

Veganism is for the human race, as well as the animal race. Animals aren't the only ones abused and mistreated in the animal agriculture (slaughterhouse) industry. You can help both humans and animals refusing to buy animal products, and by buying delicious vegan alternatives instead.

It's time for us to wake up.

Vegan for everything,

              ~Joy




 Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Don't Judge Me

"Don't judge me." Those are words that reverberate in my mind quite often, both as a reminder to not judge others and a desire to not be judged.

Everybody justs wants to be understood. We want our motives to be clear and our message to be communicated in such a way that we don't offend or hurt others. Or maybe we do hope to hit a nerve, thinking that person will get mad enough to do something about whatever it is that offends them.

I have many friends and family who simply don't get my decision to go vegan. No doubt they view my posts and my activism as a threat or condemnation for their decision not to change lifelong habits or to embrace change. I get that. But nothing could be further from the truth. I'll be the first to admit that change can be difficult, but often that which we fear is the best thing we can do for ourselves.

My decision to go vegan stems from the realization that I can do better for my health, the welfare of animals, and the environment. My motivation for sharing the things I do is quite simply that I was in the dark for most of my life, unaware of my contribution to the abuse of animals, damage to the environment, and deterioration of my physical health, all because of my dietary choices. I am a firm believer in the transforming power of truth and knowledge and I want to share the things that make life better for me with those I love.  I don't know of a single human being who wants to contribute to suffering or who wants to withhold something that could enrich and benefit the life of another.

Whether you are vegan or not you have at least one thing in your life that tugs at your heartstrings -- a passion that drives what you say, think, and do. It may be your faith or your grandchildren or your hobby. For others, it may be a cause that drives you to act on behalf of another living being, whether an unborn child, an abused animal, or a needy child in another country. Veganism just happens to be my passion.

Don't judge me for wanting something better for myself, the animals, and the planet. Don't judge my motive for sharing the knowledge I have acquired and the positive changes I have experienced as a result of this lifestyle change. My purpose is not to offend or condemn anyone, but rather to share a message of non-violence, encourage greater compassion, and provide information which will result in better health for those I love.

Because I care,

Dee Dee




Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Our First Vegan Thanksgiving (Better Than I Thought It Would Be)

Gardein Holiday Roast & Gravy with sweet potato
casserole (made with vegan marshmallows), roasted
vegetables, green beans, and cranberry sauce.
What a blessing it was to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner at the home of my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, who, despite my insistence not to alter the menu to accomodate Joy's and my preferences, were open-minded and receptive to us bringing our own "turkey", along with the sides and dessert we shared. Although they cooked a turkey and ham for their guests, they prepared side dishes and appetizers with us in mind, offering fresh fruit and veggie appetizers as well as a delicious corn and bean salsa. The sides served with dinner included mashed potatoes, stuffing, and the vegan green beans and sweet potato casserole we contributed to the meal. It was basically a very traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

I was pleased that we were welcomed with open arms and not ridiculed or criticized for our choice of a vegan alternative to the traditional turkey and dressing. My brother-in-law and a couple of other family guests even tried a bit of the Gardein Holiday Roast and were as amazed as we were that the texture and taste were so similar to turkey. We were able to share information about things like vegan wines and how to make simple changes to recipes, such as replacing dairy and eggs with other ingredients to make the delicious "from scratch" cake we enjoyed for dessert.

Joy would agree -- our first vegan Thanksgiving was a success. Everyone enjoyed their meal -- vegans and non-vegans alike -- and we all got along despite our differences. Truly a good time and great food were had by all!





Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

My First Vegan Thanksgiving (Making the Connection)

This year I am celebrating my first Thanksgiving as a vegan. Today, as in years past, I will gather with family to visit and celebrate our blessings. There will be turkey on the menu but not on my plate. Instead I will be taking a meatless version of the classic turkey and dressing to share with the curious in my family, as well as vegan green beans, sweet potato casserole, and chocolate cake. Being vegan will not hinder my enjoyment of the traditional Thanksgiving feast. On the contrary, for the first time ever I will enjoy my dinner knowing that no animals were harmed in the making of my meal and that the food on my plate is not only delicious but actually good for me.

As I count my blessings this year I am perhaps most thankful for "making the connection." I am thankful for the documentaries my daughter shared with me that opened my eyes to the horrific animal abuse, environmental destruction, and health issues resulting from factory farming and animal agriculture.

Making the connection between the meat on our plate and the animals -- sentient, intelligent creatures who feel pain and desire to live free, just as we do -- is what separates vegans from non-vegans. Most people claim to love animals, however very few understand that abusing and slaughtering farmed animals for meat is just as unethical as torturing and eating their beloved pet cat. They would never tolerate animal abuse when it comes to their pets, yet they fail to understand that animals raised for meat are as capable of feeling pain and fear as their dear Fluffy or Fido.

Making the connection is necessary not only to fully understand the benefits of a vegan lifestyle -- better health, a cleaner environment, and a greater compassion toward all God's creatures -- but to remain motivated and committed when others around us criticize or fail to understand our choice to leave meat off our plate.

More than anything I desire to be a vegan who can help others make the connection by demonstrating with my own life a greater compassion toward ALL creatures -- human and non-human -- and by sharing my experience with grace and patience, knowing that not everyone sees things the way I do or reaches that connecting point the same way. I want to be an activist who leads assertively but gently, without criticizing or browbeating others. Never do I want my love for animals and my conviction that we can survive and fare better without consuming them to overshadow my love and compassion for humanity.

I realize that the message of veganism, much like the message of Christianity, will be offensive to those not ready to receive it. But just as I am committed to living my life as a witness to all Christ has done for me, I will purpose to show my fellow man that veganism is a compassionate lifestyle with many benefits and that animal cruelty and abuse and the resulting destruction to our health and environment were never God's design.

I am thankful for so many things this year -- improved health, a heightened awareness of our world and those who inhabit it, and a greater sense of compassion toward all living creatures -- human and non-human alike.  I am thankful for those who read our blog and share our passion.  But even more, I am grateful for the opportunity to make a difference by helping others make the connection.

Wishing you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving,

Dee Dee





Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Ripple Effect

Everyday we have a chance to make a difference.  By following our dreams, using our gifts and abilities to fulfill our purpose, and taking a stand for the things we believe in, we are able to effect change even if the odds are stacked against us.  We don't give up because we think we can't make a difference; rather we press on because we must make a difference.  Our world needs more difference makers!

As a new vegan it is interesting to see how my choice to stop consuming animal products has impacted others. I know that there are few, if any, people who have embraced the vegan lifestyle simply because of the information Joy and I have shared, or because we have chosen to live differently than most of the people we know. Yet I am convinced that we are making a difference in small ways.

Early in our journey, just a few months back, we ran into a fellow vegan at Kroger. I was wearing a vegan t-shirt that caught her eye and started a conversation. That conversation led to her telling us about a vigil the next day, which we attended even though she could not. It was the beginning of a friendship that has resulted in mutual encouragement and in expanding our knowledge of the Save Movement, vegan groups in our area, and opportunities to take a stand against cruelty and injustice to animals. The ripple effect from that random encounter has been profound.

I have received gifts from friends who have shopped for cruelty free alternatives because they know of my choice to buy products not tested on animals.  A good friend brought us a vegan meal the night we volunteered to serve at a dinner where she knew non-vegan food would be served, all because of the ripple effect of our choice to go vegan.

My point in saying this is to encourage those who have chosen this lifestyle to press on in the face of opposition and stay true to your beliefs and convictions.

Even if you are not vegan or fighting for animal rights, there is surely some area of life where you want to see change and make a difference.  You may be working for the pro-life movement or to stop sex trafficking. Perhaps you are concerned about racial discrimination, environmental issues, or eradicating world hunger. Whatever your passion is, dare to make a difference. Commit yourself to the pursuit of peace and a better world. No matter how the odds are stacked against you or how little impact you feel you can have, trust in the ripple effect and know that you are making a difference!
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things" (Philippians 4:8, NIV).  
If ever there was a time to be a peaceful activist, it is now. Stand up for your beliefs and fight for what is right and good. Let your small acts of kindness and compassion start the ripple effect of change for a better world.

Making ripples,

Dee Dee



Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Monday, November 7, 2016

Our First Vegan Vacation

To celebrate my 56th birthday (and my first birthday as a vegan), Joy and I took my husband Steve to the Outer Banks for a weekend getaway.  Gracious friends offered us their beach home, complete with a fully-furnished kitchen which came in handy for late-night snacks and quick meals.  Of course, we didn't intend to spend all our time cooking -- what's the fun of a vacation if  you don't eat out, right?

On our trip down we stopped at Hardee's, where Joy and I enjoyed a large order of fries (about the only vegan option there) as a dinnertime snack, until we could stop by a Harris Teeter to pick up a few groceries.  Steve, who is not a vegan, ordered a chicken combo and after reading the nutritional information (750 calories, 42 fat grams, and 85 grams of cholesterol, JUST in the sandwich!) vowed never again to eat a Hardee's chicken sandwich.  By comparison, the large order of fries Joy and I shared had 530 calories, 26 fat grams, and 0 grams cholesterol.  Since we shared, we each consumed half the calories and fat grams but enjoyed all of the flavor with none of the guilt.

With a kitchen at our disposal and a grocery store nearby, Joy and I took advantage of the opportunity to purchase a few items that we had not yet tried and enjoy a late supper at the beach house.  We picked up a couple of Amy's frozen entrees for our dinner the first night.  We were pleasantly surprised by the taste and quality of the Thai Pad Thai and Enchilada with Spanish Rice and Beans!  We shared the entrees and found them delicious!


The next morning, before setting out on our day-long excursion to see lighthouses and ride the ferry to Ocracoke, we fired up the Keurig, popped a can of Annie's organic cinnamon rolls in the oven, and waited eagerly as the smell of cinnamon filled the air.  The cinnamon rolls were large and made a satisfying breakfast, served with a luscious cluster of crisp and juicy red seedless grapes.

Along the way we snacked on pretzels, peanuts, and Cracker Jacks to curb our hunger until we arrived at Jason's Restaurant in Ocracoke, where we enjoyed an early dinner.  Steve ordered a pizza with sausage and cheese, but Joy and I opted for a pizza with NO cheese and loaded with veggies.  It was a great choice for us -- all of the enjoyment with none of the guilt!


Our trip to Kill Devil Hills wouldn't have been complete without a trip to Stack 'Em High.  Joy and I had so enjoyed our breakfast on our visit in 2015 that I had to take Steve there.  Instead of bacon and pancakes this trip, I opted for grits (no butter) and fresh fruit and shared an order of their famous hash browns with Steve.  In 2015, before I went vegan, I confess I enjoyed their pancakes and bacon. Joy has found a recipe for vegan pancakes that are every bit as good, if not better, than the cakes at Stack 'Em High, so we eat them often at home.  Yum!

 

For the last meal of our mini-vacation we stopped at Subway, where Joy and I ordered foot-long veggie delight subs on Italian bread -- totally vegan and totally delicious!  With toasted bread, NO cheese, and lots of veggies (lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, banana peppers, onions, olives, with a drizzle of sweet onion dressing) we left nourished and satisfied.

We discovered that with a little planning and research (we Google restaurant menus) it is possible to eat vegan while traveling and enjoy it!







Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

What I Have Gained By Giving Up Meat

Since making the decision to give up all meat, dairy, and eggs, I have repeatedly heard the statement, "I could never give up meat (or cheese, eggs, milk, etc.)." Sometimes it is hard for me to believe that it has been six months since I have had a hamburger, pizza with "real" cheese, or a barbecue sandwich. Yet strangely I have not missed the things I gave up because I have found so many good nutritious and surprisingly delicious alternatives that I have not felt deprived. Sure, I get the occasional craving for chocolate, but even that craving can be easily satisfied by non-dairy alternatives, such as Enjoy Life chocolate chips or Oreo cookies (yes, they are vegan).

Being a vegan has not been so much about "giving up" the things I used to love but rather embracing a new normal and finding out that there are so many things I can now enjoy without guilt. The only things I have "lost" by giving up meat/dairy/eggs are 25 excess pounds, bad cholesterol numbers, frequent headaches, chronic acid reflux, and ignorance about the adverse effects of factory farming on our bodies, our planet, and the animals who share it with us.

I have gained so much more than I have lost. I have gained an awareness of animal suffering I never knew existed and an appreciation for our environment, as well as a sense of  urgency to do what I can to reduce my carbon footprint.  In addition, I have discovered a whole new world of foods and a new way of eating that benefits not only me but the animals whose lives are saved every time I choose not to eat them.

Embracing a vegan lifestyle has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. It has been challenging at times but I have learned to adapt by looking for vegan options at restaurants and making a few simple changes in the recipes that I share with family and friends.  Sometimes I have had to eat before attending a gathering, but the benefits have far outweighed any inconvenience in doing so.

As we approach the holidays the one thing I wish for is that others will educate themselves (check out some of the documentaries and resources posted here), make the connection between animal abuse and meat consumption, and embrace a vegan (whole food plant-based) lifestyle.

For the animals, the environment, and better health,

Dee Dee


Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Friday, October 21, 2016

They Could Have Had a Second Chance at Life

There have been two pig transport crashes this month. One in Burlington, Canada and one in Arizona, USA. The first crash happened on the 5th of October and the second one occurred earlier this week in Arizona. Okay, so two trucks bound for slaughter crashed, some pigs were killed and the ones that weren't were taken to slaughter. What's the big deal? The big deal is that some of these pigs could have had a second chance at life.

Shortly after the crash in Canada several animal activists gathered on the scene, including one of the parents of Esther The Wonder Pig. While forty of the one hundred pigs were killed in the crash, there were some that were injured, but due to the nature of their injuries, they were not fit for meat consumption. These pigs were lying a few hundred feet from the truck and while they were not able to walk, they were very much alive and conscious. One of Esther's parents was generous enough to ask if he could take them to a sanctuary, because while these animals were not able to be consumed for meat and were injured, their injuries could have healed and they could have lived out their days in peace. The request that they be taken to a sanctuary was completely ignored. And on that beautiful sunny day, these pigs who were injured, lying on the grass, were killed by a bolt gun to the head.

These injured pigs could have had a second chance at life. They could have lived out their days surrounded by love. Instead, this simple and generous request was ignored and they were killed. It wasn't painless, pretty, or quick. These pigs seized and seized, convulsed and convulsed, until they became unconscious and their hearts stopped. Once they were dead, they were picked up by forklifts and taken to be dumped, and disposed of.

Of course the workers couldn't do this in plain view because it would have upset the public. The workers, who were on the scene of the crash, held up large pieces of cardboard and tarps to cover up and conceal what was going on. Because if the public had really seen what was going on, they would have been appalled and saddened.

This crash was traumatizing for these pigs. After already having gone through the crash, they were then hoarded out of the tipped vehicle with what looked like giant fly swatters. Although there were people trying to cover up what was occurring at the scene, there are videos where you can hear the panicked screams of the pigs. You can just sense their distress and fear.

I don't know why these workers and officers couldn't have just let the few pigs go with Esther's parents to a sanctuary. It makes me sad that these injured pigs could have had a second chance at life, but because they were "defective" they were treated just like any other object. Their lives were ended and they were just thrown away.

These kinds of atrocities don't have to continue. Please just leave meat off your plate. Open your eyes to see that these animals deserve love and respect just like your dogs and cats.

Thank you to the parents of Esther The Wonder Pig for attempting to give these few pigs a second chance at life.

                 ~Joy



*Photo is not my own and was taken from Smithfield Pig Save Facebook's page. Original photo is by Andrea White*



Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Our First Vegan Presentation

Joy and I had the honor and privilege of sharing our vegan journey and feeding lunch to our church youth group, youth leaders, and special guests today and what a great time we had!

Since receiving the invitation a few weeks ago Joy and I have been planning our menu and working on a Powerpoint slideshow to share what we have learned about the animal cruelty and environmental destruction caused by factory farming as well as the health benefits of a plant-based diet.  In addition, Joy designed a brochure for all our guests to take home to answer questions they might have about how to go vegan as well as resources they can look to for more information.  She did such a great job presenting the information and making it relevant for her peer group!

Those who attended were not only attentive to our presentation but also receptive to trying new foods, which consisted of Mexican veggie and deli-style wraps, vegan mac and cheese, fresh fruit, chips with salsa and hummus, and of course, brownies and cookies.  Although I had planned to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the skeptics, I completely forgot to but that did not hinder anyone. We came home empty-handed, with not so much as a leftover sandwich!

Vegan Mac and Cheese
Joy prepping the avocados for the Mexican veggie and deli-style wraps

A nice array of wraps -- not one was left

Chips & dips, fresh fruit, and vegan desserts

Chef Joy and her proud mom

Joy's passion has been the driving force in our decision to go vegan and our desire to educate others.  We hope that this will be the first of many opportunities to share our journey to a healthier, more compassionate way of living.

"Feeling veggie good" and very very blessed!

Dee Dee and Joy





Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Hunting: Not Really Conservation

This subject is weighing very heavy on my heart this morning and I feel compelled to write about it. I know I'm not going to gain any friends by posting this blog because some people are very touchy about this subject. A lot of people probably won't even read this blog, and the ones that do may become defensive and angry. But that's okay, because I feel like it is my duty as a vegan to educate others and express my own thoughts and feelings on various subjects.

Shortly before going to bed last night, I saw a photo on Instagram that just made my heart sink. The photo I saw was of a girl,who's my age, and she was posing with an antelope that she had just killed. She was holding up a rifle with a scope in her left hand, and was holding up the neck of the antelope in her right hand. The caption read "I guess you could say I've got aim." I scrolled through the few comments and was saddened to read one that said "I'm so proud of you!!!!!." Yes, that's how many exclamation points were used. I'm not calling this girl out to point fingers and make her feel guilty, because I can assure you she doesn't. I'm just showing a real life example of hunting in this country. A teenager, one my age, who willingly shot and killed a creature. The sadder thing is kids far younger than sixteen and seventeen kill animals just like this. Why?

*this is the antelope that the girl shot*


Long before I ever went vegan I largely disliked hunting. The thought that someone could go into a creature's habitat and stalk, ambush, and kill them made me sad and sickened. Even more so when they posed with the poor creature and hung their head up on a wall as if to say, "Yeah. That's right. I just killed you. I'm bigger and stronger than you and I made a good shot." I just didn't understand. I believe that some people think that they're doing the right thing by hunting. They're helping to control the population. But then I believe that some people genuinely take delight in killing an innocent creature and for those people there's probably nothing I can do to change their minds. But for those who don't know about hunting, I'll provide you with some information.

Hunting does not conserve a species population, but actually leads to overpopulation. Hunters go into a species habitat and disrupt the natural cycle and order of species. Populations have a way of controlling themselves with the strong preying on the weak. However, hunters mess with this natural cycle by killing off the biggest, strongest, and fittest animals they can find. It's not just deer that hunters kill, they also kill other animals that prey on deer like bears, wolves, and coyotes. If these animals are taken out the ecosystem then there tends to be an increase in the population of certain animals, like deer. Ecosystems have been taking care of themselves for millions of years and the human population has no justifiable right to go into them and disrupt them.

Hunting is not a sport because usually in a sport you have two willing parties who are participating in a game where they are adhering to rules set by a referee, where the goal is to achieve the highest score. Hunting is not a sport because there is only one willing participant: the hunter. 

Hunters most likely never give thought to what they're killing. To them it's just a deer, bear, duck, coyote, etc. Do they ever dwell on the thought that they just killed a mother, father, son, or daughter? These animals that are hunted have families and lives. They have a home that we come and tramp into to take away their life. No animal wakes up on the day they're going to be killed and thinks "I wonder if I'm going to be shot today" because hunting is a surprise and complete shock to the animal. Hunters come into a habitat to wait, stalk, ambush, and ultimately kill their prey. The animals get no warning, no sign that something is coming. They only briefly hear the sound of the gun and then boom. They fall to the ground. Sometimes they won't even hear a sound, because they won't be shot, but impaled instead by a bow and arrow. What if they hunter misses the mark and doesn't strike the heart? Will the animal suffer in pain?

For many families hunting is the norm. My father did it, his father did it, I did it, and now I'm teaching you to do it.  What message are we sending to our children when we demonstrate to them that it's okay to kill another creature? How are we teaching our children respect, and compassion, when we go tramping into an animal's habitat and wipe them off the face of the earth. There are plenty of other ways to have bonding experiences with your children. Build a tree house, build something they can use like a tool box, play a REAL sport with them like golf, football, or Frisbee.

Hunting is not necessary and it's a sad "sport." Would that woman who commented on the girl's picture have said "I'm so proud of you!!!!!" if the girl had killed a person? Of course not, she would have been horrified, upset, saddened, confused, and probably angry. But because this animal had four legs and couldn't talk, what she did was totally justifiable and acceptable.

"Take a picture, not a trophy. This is how real men shoot animals." - Ricky Gervais

Want more information on hunting? Here are some links

"Hunters kill more than 200 million animals yearly"

"The delicate balance of ecosystems ensures their survival—if they are left unaltered."


Deere, ducks, bears, wolfs, coyotes, elk, birds, squirrels, turkeys, and any other animals that are hunted for recreation, deserve the right to live their lives on this planet that we share with them.

               Thank you for reading,
                                    
                                     Joy





Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Buzz About Bees

Along with not eating any meat, dairy, and eggs, vegans do not eat honey. Using these bees to get honey is just another form of exploitation.

Here's a cute simple answer why eating honey is wrong as told by a  bee: Bee Movie Clip

A lot people probably don't think that bees are harmed in the making of honey, but they are. Queen bees can actually have their wings cut by a honey producer so they can't leave the colony. Bees aren't free to fly around, instead they're kept in confined white boxes on farms. And let's not forget that the bees are often smoked too.

"To make one pound of honey, a colony must visit over two million flowers, flying over 55,000 miles, at up to 15 miles per hour to do so."-gentleworld.org

It takes a lot of effort to produce honey and even more to produce beeswax.

We need pees to pollinate fruit, vegetable, and seed crops. But we are abusing, misusing, and killing them to get a product we don't need. If bees disappear what will happen to the beautiful flowers you admire in the springtime? And the fruits and vegetables on your table?

There are other alternatives to honey like rice syrup, molasses, sorghum, Sucanat, barley malt, maple syrup, and organic cane sugar.

Bees need their honey just like baby calves need their mothers' milk. However, we are messing with the cycle of nature by abusing these creatures and robbing them of their natural ways of life.

"The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others." - St. John Chrysostom 

Even small creatures deserve kindness and respect,

                               Joy




Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Veganism for the Business Traveler

Those who embrace the vegan lifestyle think it is perhaps the greatest thing in the world. As a new vegan I am inclined to agree. It certainly has been a positive experience for me.  What's not to love about dropping 20 pounds, improving my cholesterol numbers, and seeing an overall improvement in my health and energy without feeling deprived or making choices that cause harm to animals and the environment?

Maybe you have considered trying a vegan diet but think it impractical or difficult because you travel a lot.  If you are a business traveler, you probably wonder, What's the point of having an expense account and meal allowance if I don't take full advantage of it and eat the things I wouldn't normally eat at home? Right? The problem with that mentality, particularly for those who are not disciplined, is that before long you pack on unwanted pounds. The convenience and allure of that expense account begins to take its toll on your health, leaving you with guilt and less energy to meet the busy demands of family life once you return home.

If you are enjoying the benefits of eating a plant-based diet at home, then perhaps with a little creative planning and discipline you can find it possible to eat vegan on the road. The possibilities truly are endless but here are a few suggestions off the top of my head to keep you healthy and energized while you are away from home.
  • If staying in a hotel that furnishes a fridge and microwave, use your expense account to do a little grocery shopping.
    • Stock the fridge with fresh fruit and veggies from the produce section or salad bar.
    • Purchase (or pack in your luggage) non-perishable nutritious snacks such as granola bars or nuts. Just read the labels carefully and stay away from added sugars or refined flours.
    • Vegan freezer meals prepared in the microwave could be a healthier alternative to a heavy restaurant meal. With the time you would save dining out, you could even hit the hotel workout facility and energize yourself with some cardio or weight training exercises.  What a bonus!
    • Worried about how to save unused portions?  Pack some Ziploc bags in your luggage to store leftovers in the fridge, especially if you will be staying the week.  If you have to throw away a little food before you check out, don't sweat it.  You probably saved the company quite a bit of money by shopping and eating in. If you shop wisely, there won't be much waste anyway.
    • Make sandwich wraps using whole wheat tortillas instead of bread. A package of tortillas and plant-based deli slices, topped with veggies from the store or salad bar, could keep you deliciously and nutritiously fed all week.  Don't forget to pack brown bags or a soft-sided lunchbox, too, so you can take your lunch to the office.
  • If you must dine out with a client or co-worker, choose restaurants that offer vegan options (no meat, dairy, eggs) for business dinners and lunches.
    • Most restaurants these days have vegetarian or vegan options, and those that don't will generally accommodate any reasonable request for altering a menu item to satisfy you, the customer.
    • Search online for restaurants that have vegan or vegetarian menus, or visit the website for the restaurant where you will be dining to see what they offer.  You may just be surprised!
Happy, healthy trails to you!

Dee Dee


Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Storytime: DC VegFest

Ugh! I feel like I haven't written a blog in forever! I've been getting back into the swing of school and figuring out my schedule. But hopefully now my blogs will be more frequent and consistent. I have really missed writing blogs these last few weeks and I guess it's because I never really realized how much I enjoy writing them.

Last Saturday my mom and I drove up to Washington, DC for the day to attend a vegan festival up there. There was music, activities for kids, lots of vendors, and of course awesome vegan food! We walked through the crowds of people, going to different vendors getting information and free handouts. My mom and I, having worn our "Vegan for the animals" and "Don't ask me why I'm a vegan ask yourself why you're not" t-shirts, got several compliments from kind strangers telling us that they loved our shirts.

One thing I haven't had since going vegan is macaroni and cheese, but last Saturday that longing was fulfilled. I had some REALLY good macaroni and cheese that was just as good, if not better, than dairy based macaroni and cheese. It just goes to show that anything can be made vegan.



My mom and I also shared some delicious potato salad, and a loaded cheese steak. Both were amazing!

If you have not been to a vegan/vegetarian festival I highly recommend going. The people at these events are so open and welcoming. They don't shun you and make you feel bad, they're just happy that you're there! These people are more than happy to answer any questions you might have and give you free information and ideas. If you're interested in attending a vegan/vegetarian festival... you have an opportunity next month! Come to the Festival Center in Virginia Beach for the first ever Hampton Roads VegFest! My mother and I are planning to attend and would love to see you there.



If you see a photo of vegan food and are intrigued, instead of just thinking "wow that looks really good" say "wow that looks really good and I want to learn how to make that!" Make an effort. Try looking up some vegan meal ideas and incorporating them into your weekly meal plan, try swapping out meat for vegan meat alternatives, or try going vegetarian or vegan! If our Facebook page, blog, and Instagram (@feelingveggiegood) inspire you to think outside of yourself and try some vegan food and cruelty-free products, then do it! Look for different food options in grocery stores and Google things! Don't be afraid to try something new. There's an entire vegan community out there cheering you on. You're not alone and your choices can make a difference.

  “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” -Albert Einstein

Finding veganism was a blessing and I'm so grateful God allowed me to find it.

                                 ~Joy


































Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Ostrich Complex

I know there are many people who don't care for some of my animal and vegan-related Facebook posts. Trust me, I don't like some of them either. Who wants to see pictures that paint a darker side of humanity or the evil that really does exist in this world?  If these images invoke sadness, anger, compassion, or indignation, somehow that makes them offensive to us.  But how else are we going to know that bad things really do happen and that sometimes it is incumbent upon us to do what we can to stop injustice and abuse?

I once suffered from what I call "the ostrich complex." Conveniently looking away from disturbing images amounted to sticking my head in the sand and pretending that such things didn't exist. Therefore I had no obligation to do what I could to to solve them.  That all changed a few months ago. Now as an advocate for animals and a vegan lifestyle, I do run across articles and posts that I think are important enough to share with those I care about. To be honest, I was ignorant of so many things but I have never regretted the day Joy sat me down to watch a documentary that broke my heart and set my world view on its side. She risked an adverse reaction from her mother but instead found a partner who would join and support her efforts to make this world a better place for her generation. This has become our mission and purpose because we believe it matters not only to our world and all its occupants -- human and non-human -- but also to the God who created each one of us.

Yes, Facebook would be a much happier place if people, including myself, stopped with the social injustice posts. God knows my heart's desire is to present the information I share with grace and compassion. But I'm not perfect and neither is the world in which we live.  If I risk offending someone because I care enough to share certain information, that is a risk I am willing to take,

God help us all if caring people cease to act on their convictions and strive to make a positive difference in our world.

If this post -- or any post I share -- offends you, I'm truly sorry.  You are free to unfriend or unfollow me as you wish. I will still consider you a friend.

Dee Dee


Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Veganism and Christianity

As a Christian and a vegan I am often asked about the compatibility of veganism (or vegetarianism) with Christianity. Am I less a Christian because I am vegan, or are you less a Christian because you eat meat? These are tough questions that require a great deal of time to fully explore, but the answer to both is pretty simple:  No.

In the first chapter of Genesis, when man lived freely in the light of his Creator's love, God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food" (Genesis 1:29-30, ESV). Could a plant-based diet have been God's original plan for man? Maybe.

The Bible teaches that it was only after the fall of man (Genesis 3) that the killing of animals entered the picture. After  Adam and Eve sinned by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,God killed animals in order to provide clothing to cover their nakedness (Genesis 3:21). Their sin and shame resulted in death -- the death of the very animals Adam himself had named (Genesis 2:19). Can you imagine the close relationship Adam must have had with the animals that had been provided to him as companions in the garden? How heartbreaking for Adam this must have been!

Scripture is full of references to animals as the sacrifice for sin, food for mankind, and of man's God-given dominion over them. But consider this:
When God gave humanity dominion over the animals, it was in order to care for, tend to, and use those animals to their fullest potential in a just manner. At the time that God gave mankind dominion over the animals, humans did not eat meat. Eating meat did not begin until after the Flood (Genesis 9:1–3), and it was at that time that animals started to fear humans. However, although God changed the way we interact with animals, in that they are now “meat,” we still bear a responsibility to treat animals humanely. Human rule over animals does not mean we have the right to mistreat or misuse those animals. (Source:  http://www.gotquestions.org/dominion-over-animals.html.)
Someone recently pointed out to me Peter's vision in Acts 10:9-16 and the Lord's command, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat" (verse 13). But, the story doesn't end there. In verses 17-29, we are told that Peter was perplexed about what the vision might mean (verse 17) and that God showed him that he should not call any person common or unclean (verse 28). The issue was not the cleanness or uncleanness of any animal for human consumption, but rather the tendency of our hearts to judge our fellow man as clean or unclean.

If someone wants to justify veganism or carnism on the basis of scripture, it wouldn't be difficult to support either position. As believers, we need to seek God's heart on the matter and live according to the call He places on our hearts.

The more I learn about the animal abuse and environmental destruction caused by factory farming, and the animal cruelty involved in product testing, the more heartbroken I become. I can't help but feel that God is too.
The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel (Proverbs 12:10, NIV).
For me, veganism is a spiritual journey -- a quest to honor God by being a better steward of my body (His temple, according to 1 Corinthians 3:16-17), our planet, and an advocate and defender of the animals who have no voice -- a lifestyle I gladly embrace and a purpose I am compelled to fulfill.

To God be the glory,

Dee Dee




Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Saturday, September 17, 2016

I Didn't Expect to Feel This Way

When I opened up the refrigerator this morning I knew what I would find there. Still, I was still totally caught off-guard by the wave of emotions that hit me when my eyes fell upon the package of Smithfield bacon. I didn't put it there  I didn't purchase it, nor was I asked to buy it by a non-vegan family member. He knows I wouldn't anyway. He simply purchased it to have a BLT when he sits down later today to have lunch with my mother-in-law who will be visiting for the afternoon.

This is the first package of bacon that has come into our home since Joy and I went vegan. When I looked at it, all I could see were the faces of the pigs on the trucks headed to the Smithfield packing plant. The ones Joy and I bore witness to as we stood at a rural highway intersection holding signs and watching them roll by truckload-by-truckload. The ones we had seen up close. The ones who had no voice. Knowing that she would probably come unglued at the sight of it I put the bacon in a brown bag so that she cannot see the label. Her heart would be broken too.

This is where it gets really hard to be vegan. We are entering fall -- the season of family get-togethers and holiday celebrations. Joy and I are going to be the odd ones out. We'll be the ones bringing the vegan side dishes and desserts. It will be hard for us, not because we will miss the turkey and ham but because we know animals were abused and killed to put those meals on the table. It will be hard because we will be asked why we have chosen this lifestyle, how we could possibly give up meat, how long we think we will "stick with it." We will have failed to convince those we love most that there is a better, healthier, more compassionate way to celebrate and enjoy one another.

Dear family and friends, when I come to your house for Thanksgiving or Christmas I promise to leave my tears at home and come with a smile on my face, though my heart is breaking. Thank you for understanding that my refusal to eat the meat you serve has nothing to do with my love for you but rather my choice to no longer contribute to the suffering of animals. I love you no less for choosing to eat meat. I respect your choice. Thank you for respecting my choice enough to not be offended when I say "none for me, thanks."





Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Monday, September 12, 2016

One of the Lucky Ones

"I can't go vegan because I could ever give up cheese." You can't imagine how many times Joy and I have heard someone say those very words after learning that we have adopted a vegan lifestyle. Their reaction to photos of abused animals on their way to slaughter or to documentaries touting the benefits of a whole food, plant-based diet has been much like ours, yet they remain unswayed. Even my own weight loss, added energy, and improved cholesterol levels have not convinced them.

Some of these people are friends and family I know well and love deeply. Others are strangers to me or friends I have met since starting this journey. So why was deciding to go vegan such an easy decision for me but remains so difficult a choice for them? I wish I had an answer.

All I can say is that when I watched that first life-changing documentary, something was awakened in me.  I saw the suffering of animals and environmental damage caused by factory farming to produce the food on my plate.  I knew that I needed to do something to contribute to the solution rather than perpetuate the problem.  I decided to re-think a lifetime of choices by embracing a vegan lifestyle and choosing cruelty-free products over products tested on animals.

My decision doesn't make me better than anyone else, but it definitely has made me happier and healthier than I have been in a very long time.

I saw. I knew. I decided. I'm one of the lucky ones.

Don't take my word for it. Try it yourself by taking the 30-Day Vegan Challenge. There are so many good foods out there that you need never feel deprived. I certainly don't. The benefits of minimizing my waistline, cholesterol levels, carbon footprint, and the suffering of the animals make it all worth it!

Feeling Veggie Good,
Dee Dee


Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

We all, at one time or another, have probably considered whether we eat to live or live to eat. Judging from the post views we have received on our Facebook page and blog the answer is clear:  we live to eat.  We love our food.  For many of us, our god is our appetite (Philippians 3:19) and we eat to satisfy our cravings. We eat what we want, when we want, without considering the far-reaching impact of our choices.

A few months ago Joy and I watched an eye-opening documentary that forever changed the way we view food, our health, and our world. As we continued researching animal rights, climate change, and the health benefits of a whole food, plant-based diet we were faced with a choice:  we could continue to stick our heads in the sand and ignore what we had seen or we could adopt a more compassionate lifestyle, giving up meat, dairy, and eggs and finding cruelty-free alternatives for cleaning products, cosmetics, and clothing. Why would we, or anyone, want to consider so drastic a change?  Because we realized that the dietary and lifestyle choices we had made all our lives resulted in destructive consequences for our health, our planet, and the animals who share it with us. We resolved not only to change the way we eat and live but also to share information with others in an effort to effect positive change in our world and in the health of those we love.

Sadly we are faced with the reality that people really don't care about the suffering and death of the animals they eat. Neither did we, until we began to open our minds to the effects of our choices, not just on our own health but on the lives of the farm animals slaughtered to clothe and feed us.

Maybe you don't care about saving the lives of animals. Maybe you don't consider a cow, pig, or chicken to be in the same class as your dog, cat, or guinea pig. But did you ever think that by embracing a plant-based diet, the life you save could be your own?




Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Run As Fast As You Can

There's no question that man likes to be in control. Since the dawn of time man has had a thirst for dominance. However, man cannot always be in control of other human beings so he takes control of animals. I've done some reading this past week about bull fighting and bull riding, and thought I would express my thoughts and understandings.

I had heard of bull fighting before, as I'm sure many people have, and never thought much of it except that the people who were fighting the bull were crazy. But after some reading I realized it's much more than just a guy swinging around a cape. These bulls are terrorized and tormented before they go into the arena; that's why they act the way they do. They run to get out of the hell they're in. They're drugged and kept in dark crates before they go into the arena, among other things. These bulls have spear/harpoon type instruments thrown into their neck and back area, they have a sword plunged into an artery near their heart, and once they collapse and can no longer fight they have their ears and tail cut off. After all the torment and abuse they are then pulled out of the arena by a pair of mules. There is nothing "macho" about this barbaric and abusive sport. Read more about bull fighting here: http://www.stopbullfighting.org.uk/facts.htm

Somewhat similar to bull fighting, is bull riding. These cowboys get money, ribbons, and highly-prized belt buckles for staying on a "wild" bull as long as possible. A flank strap is tied around the bull, just in front of their hind legs, to make the bull buck. These rodeo bulls are kept in a steel crate until the buzzer sounds and they're let out. Something I didn't know, although it's not surprising, is that once these bulls are no longer valuable to the sport they are sold for meat.

Another rodeo favorite is calf wrestling. These cowboys on horseback literally lasso a rope around a calf's neck (practically a baby!), jerk the calf back, throw it to the ground and tie it up. For what? So they can look manly? I'm sorry but there's nothing manly about preying on the weak and innocent. Read more about rodeo events here: http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-in-entertainment/cruel-sports/rodeos/

These bulls and calves don't want to do these things. It's not fun for them, but they have no choice. These innocent creatures, among many others, are taken advantage of for money, fame, and entertainment. There are plenty of other ways to prove whether or not you're manly and macho, than just killing and abusing innocent creatures.

"Animals do not 'give' their life to us, as the sugar-coated lie would have it. No, we take their lives. They struggle and fight to the last breath, just as we would do if we were in their place." -- John Robbins

If I can be a vegan, so can you.

         -- Joy  



*Information used for this article came from the websites linked*


 Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Thursday, September 1, 2016

It Comes with the Territory

It was bound to happen sooner or later. A response to a friend's Facebook post explaining why the use of animals for clothing -- in this case, sheep -- is not necessarily a good thing, at least for the sheep, resulted in a backlash of negative responses and name calling.  Me, a vegan Nazi?  Hardly.

In my short experience as a vegan I have learned that there are many who question my decision or feel as though they are being judged if they don't do as I do. Christian friends have been quick to point out in scripture the biblical justification for eating meat and wearing wool. That's not the issue here, but one I will address in another post.

No matter what we stand for in life -- whether it is our faith, our veganism, the LGBTQ agenda, or who's running for President -- people are going to come at us with negativity.  The question is, will you continue to stand and fight for what you believe is right according to your values, or will you cave in and back down from that for which you are so passionate?  Negativity comes with the territory.  No matter how nicely we try to position our point of view or live out our convictions, there will always be people who oppose us.

It's up to us -- to you -- to decide where you truly stand in the fight for animal rights and to be ready to give an answer in defense of your position.  It doesn't have to be a hostile defense, but we all need to be convinced that advocating for animals, the environment, and better health by embracing a more compassionate lifestyle is so important that we cannot be swayed from our conviction.

Don't let others shame or berate you. Often their negativity will come from eyes that haven't seen -- or choose not to see -- the atrocities committed against God's non-human creatures. Or they may oppose you simply because they do not understand how a vegan lifestyle can benefit them. All we can do is share what we have come to understand.

It is my desire to present what I have learned as lovingly and compassionately as I can, hoping that others will embrace a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle so that animals can have better lives, humans can have better health, and our environment will be sustained for the next generation. But that is all I can do. It's really all any of us can do. We are not here to judge or criticize anyone but to live as an example and hope that others will catch a vision of what could happen if they choose to leave meat off their plates and switch to cruelty-free products.

For a better life, better health, and a better world --

Dee Dee






Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Wait. I'm Eating What?

Pop-Tarts, candy, nail polish remover, and many other food and non-food items contain something called gelatin. What kid doesn't grow up eating gummy bears and Jell-O? I didn't know what gelatin was until a couple months ago. So what is gelatin? Well according to PETA, "gelatin is a protein obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones with water." Now I don't know about you, but I think if kids, and even grown-ups, knew what was in those gummy bears they love so much they wouldn't want to eat them. I mean, you just read what gelatin is, and it's gross!

I think if young kids actually knew what they were eating, they wouldn't want to eat a lot of things. No kid growing up is fed chicken and told, "son, that food that you're eating is from that sweet chicken that we saw at the petting zoo." Because if kids actually knew they were eating animals,  naturally they wouldn't want to eat them! Young kids instinctively love animals and want to protect them and be friends with them. Kids don't know that they're eating part of a cow, chicken, or pig. They're just told it's "food." Here's "lunch", "dinner", "breakfast." If they knew the cruelty that comes from producing milk and eggs, or if they actually knew what eggs were, they wouldn't want to eat eggs or drink milk.

I get that people who don't know the truth think that giving their child meat, eggs, and dairy is healthy and beneficial for their children. They are only doing what their parents did for them, and don't know any better. But if parents actually allowed their young children to know what they are eating, I think their children would choose to eat differently. So many people will continue to eat meat, dairy, and eggs because they don't know the truth about what happens to animals, the effects of meat, dairy, and eggs on their health, and the impact factory farming has on the earth.

"If a kid ever realized what was involved in factory farming, they would never touch meat again." --  James Cromwell

With veganism on the rise young kids have the opportunity to find out the truth sooner, as do their parents. Truth that, if acted on, will have an incredible impact on our Earth.

At the Smithfield Pig Save yesterday, it was so awesome to see young kids standing out there on the corner of the intersection holding stuffed pigs in protest. As kids we saw animals as our friends... at what age did we lose sight of that? Don't turn a blind eye to the cruelty; instead, think of your actions and how you can change them to better help the animals.

              -- Joy




Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com

Monday, August 29, 2016

Doing Right in a World Gone Wrong

So much in my life has changed in the five months since I stopped eating meat. I have lost twenty pounds, seen a dramatic improvement in my cholesterol numbers, and experienced the virtual elimination of acid reflux for which I was taking medication twice daily. I have met new friends, embraced new challenges, and discovered a happiness and sense of well-being I never knew existed. Most importantly, though, I have discovered that it is possible to do right in a world gone terribly wrong.

With all the social injustice in the world, not to mention our own personal struggles, many of us just float along on the river of life hoping that someone will throw us a rope and pull us out of our whirlpool of woe. Guess what? That's not how life works. It is up to us to take a stand and fight for what is right in order to effect positive change. Change doesn't just happen.

As Joy and I have partnered to educate others regarding the health, environmental, and ethical aspects of a vegan lifestyle it has occurred to us that this is how we will do right in a world gone wrong. We can't end sex trafficking or win the war on drugs. But we can show others -- by education and example -- that veganism is a better and more compassionate way of living which will have the positive results of alleviating needless suffering of abused farm animals, increasing physical health, and helping the environment. In my mind, that's reason enough to be vegan.

What are you doing to make this world a better place? Whatever your passion -- your cause -- go after it with everything in you! Dare to live out loud, make a difference, and be a game changer. You will never find a better reason to get up in the morning than knowing you have the power to effect positive change!


Copyright 2016 by Dee Dee Wike and Joy Wike. All rights reserved. www.feelingveggiegood.com