why i don’t eat animals

Cover of "Eating Animals"

Cover of Eating Animals

For my long trip this past week, I knew I would need something to keep me entertained in the car. I love to read, but doing it in a vehicle usually ends in tears (or at least nausea) for me. I decided to give audio books a try, and so I downloaded “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer (of “Everything Is Illuminated” fame) to my iPod.

“Eating Animals” is the story of Foer’s decision to delve into what exactly is it we’re eating when we pick up a pork chop or chicken nugget and pop it into our mouths, something that became important to him with the birth of his son. Though Foer is vegetarian, it’s not a book that tries to convince you that’s the only way to eat; instead, Foer discusses the horrors (and really, it’s awfully horrific) of factory farmed animals’ lives and deaths.

Before reading (or rather, listening to) this book, I was already a vegetarian. My reasons were mainly those of health: having psoriasis puts me at a higher risk of metabolic syndrome and, quite frankly, eating meat just made me feel bad and often triggered flares or mini-flares. It just wasn’t worth it to eat animals anymore.

After listening to this book, my decision to go veg is now also influenced for reasons of animal welfare, if not necessarily animal rights. The atrocities Foer mentions are unnecessary but an unsurprising by-product of a system (factory farming) that sees animals as dollar signs and workers as expendable.

I just don’t see the need to pay into that system, to give my farming proxy, as Foer put it, to some big corporation shoving antibiotics and God knows what else into these animals, keeping them as sick as possible because that maximizes profits.

So, now, my goal is to make sure none of my dollars go to factory farms: not for eggs or for dairy. In fact, I’m going to minimize my use of those two groups by either doing without or using substitutes. (If anyone knows of any good ones, please send them my way! I haven’t had much luck with dairy substitutes.)

Now, I’ve just got to convince the Professor to stop eating factory farmed meat and go with locally raised animals, and we’ll be all set. And if I could get people to stop accidentally feeding me animal products (I’m looking at you, quinoa cooked in beef bouillon) or telling me lobster/fish/poultry isn’t meat (duh, of course it is; those are all animals), then I’ll really be good to go.

So, if you’re interested in food, animal welfare or rights, public health, increases in autoimmune disorders, vegetarianism or you just eat meat, this is a must-read.

in the eye of the beholder

It’s no secret that I like lipstick; the name of my blog and my header both contain references to that most awesome of pigmented products.

Still, not all lipsticks are created equal. Some have great colour but dry out my lips. Some are moisturizing but have terrible colours or colours that don’t last. Having a lipstick that doesn’t dry out my lips is key; I don’t know if it’s my psoriasis or something else entirely, but when I have a bad psoriasis flare, my lips get all flaky and rough. That means, of course, lipstick doesn’t settle properly.

But, at last, I have found the holy grail of lipsticks: The Body Shop’s Colourglide Lipstick. (Disclosure: The Body Shop has not given me anything for this review. Though I wouldn’t turn it down it if they did!) Oh, and another thing that helps is their Lip Scuff, which feels like a mix of Burt’s Bees chapstick and an exfoliating scrub. Seriously, after one use my lips looked normal again.

But as for the lipstick, I have two colours: a nude (clover pink) and a lovely dark colour (midnight berry). Even though I normally find darker lipsticks really dry out my lips, after a few days’ exclusive use of the berry colour, they feel fantastic. They both wear well (instead of the odd patterns of wear that sometimes accompany lipstick), make me look great and feel amazing on.

It’s just another trick in my arsenal of looking healthy and normal, of not looking like someone with chronic, painful, embarrassing diseases.

Plus, of course, I love The Body Shop’s commitment to social justice: They don’t test on animals and they are huge supporters of the anti-human trafficking movement.

The bottom line: Every other lipstick I have in my collection should beware. The Body Shop’s Colourglide Lipstick is hands-down the best I’ve ever tried.

Frank Sinatra Has a Cold

Frank Sinatra Has a Cold

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I came across this today in one of my newsletters, a hangover from my college days when I took a media ethics course and wound up signing up for a daily reminder of what’s going on in the PR world. Most of the time, I find little to interest me, but “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” — and some of the other writing workshop articles — makes me glad I never dropped my subscription.

The profile, written by Gay Talese and published in Esquire magazine in April 1966, is a great example of New Journalism, of how to blend a straightforward newsy writing style with a more creative, descriptive approach.

I have to admit that, despite the 40 plus years of difference in when Talese wrote this article and my writing today, it really speaks to me. There is little attribution because Talese was there for many of these encounters. His powers of description are incredible and really made me feel as if I was there, with Frank Sinatra in the winter of ’65, getting angry at twentysomethings in a bar for not showing proper respect and not dressing immaculately, as did Sinatra himself.

I think this style of writing blends two styles of writing very well: the Hemingway-esque straightforward, no extra words approach and the creative writing, Austen or Dickens approach of loads of description, pages crammed with adjectives and adverbs.

It was serendipitous, really, for me to find this article yesterday, when my friend Courtney wrote a blog about the difficulty she’s having blending the English lit and the straight news styles of writing. I don’t know if this will help her, but eventually, she’ll find her own way. Good writers know there’s no shame in learning from those who came before you.