Vegan Is Love: Having Heart and Taking ActionIf you heard her voice - its gentle, singing tones with a softness around the edges - you might be surprised that Ruby Roth is a vocal activist for animal rights, veganism, and social change. Then again, Ruby will tell you that being an activist doesn't require a loud voice or feisty chants. She believes everyone can be a force for good.
For Ruby, this realization began while working as a teacher. The kids in her class wondered why she wasn't eating milk or string cheese during snacktime. In an effort to explain her choice to follow a vegan diet, Ruby discovered a lack of resources to communicate her understanding of serious issues in a way that kids would understand. So she wrote and illustrated the book That's Why We Don't Eat Animals. The book was such a success that Ruby wanted to create a second book that offered opportunities for adults to begin a dialogue with children about vital topics, from animal testing to making clothing choices that support a healthy world. This book, Vegan Is Love will be released April 24, 2012 and is available now for pre-order.
Ruby Roth with her students
Last week, Ruby spoke with Babble about her new book and offered these five indispensable tips for anyone considering making the switch to a more plant-based diet.
1. Expand your food repertoire.
Start by adding new things in before you start taking things away. Once you start feeling good, and find out this whole world of food, you start craving what you're eating. If you're eating cotton candy, that' what you'll crave. If you eat avocados, you'll crave avocados.
2. Look at the food system.
Look at the food in your fridge, and where your money is going. When you are really honest about the issues, it's hard to ignore them.
3. Work within your own area of influence.
As you begin to veganize your own territory, you don't have to become a teacher or write a book, we need people to work within their own area of expertise, people greening their own area. Go to the principal at your school and be a reliable resource to all things green within your school. (People are more likely to listen to you if you use the word "green" rather than "vegan.") The same goes for if you're a makeup artist or a janitor - use green materials and introduce them to your clients.
4. Support organizations that already exist.
You don't have to reinvent the wheel. Support and volunteer. The zoo doesn't teach true, authentic reverence as much as when you're doing something as hands on, so find a local animal sanctuary and volunteer some of your time there.
5. Dive into analytical, interesting discussions with your kids.
Find ways to broach topics that you think are too tough. When you find a gentle way to talk about them with your kids, you encourage critical thinking. You start teaching your children how to form their own morals, opinions, and values. Kids can't make choices if they don't know there are any. In my experience, they can easily make the move toward making wise choices on their own, so long as they are given the chance to understand and actually make those decisions for themselves.
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