About Suzanne Ziad Aslam

Recovering Starbucks addict. Loves Adele (19). Thinks speaking with an accent is cool. Would rather be living in a rain forest by a waterfall. I fantasize about being a superhero who saves children and the environment. Oh yeah, I dig film making.

On Veganism- Don’t worry. I’m not trying to convert anyone.

 

 

I guess you could call me well-rounded. I dabble in many things because I can’t simply pick one thing to focus on. I love languages, acting, travel, veganism, politics and fashion.

 

Now, if only I could be in a foreign film set in Spain as a fashionista turned people’s politician who took down the a Spanish version of Monsanto.

 

Well until Woody Allen comes a knocking, I guess I’m gonna have to figure out something else.

 

Today’s thought-

 

Food is the most important thing and the least important thing. I don’t want to be the kind of person who thinks about food all the time (I am). But I know it’s important to think ahead so I can prepare the right meals to eat. Otherwise, I’ll find myself at the In n Out ordering a veggie burger (yes, they have them) and trying to say no to the fries that come with my $1.92 sandwich.

 

Since the dawn of corporate America we have been brainwashed into thinking that we need the meat and milk of our fellow animals to survive. There are about a million ways of looking at this. If you ask a vegetarian or vegan why they do what they do, you will usually find different answers. But there are a few basic ones that stand out:

  1. It’s inhumane. Some of us see the killing of another animal as cruel. God put them here too and who are we to eat them? What if some larger species did that to us? Creepy.

 

2.   Our bodies don’t necessarily need it. Back to God: He has lovingly put so many non-animal foods on this planet. Those things that grow on trees that are super colorful and are just the right serving for one. Have you ever noticed that most fruits are just big enough to fit in the palm of an adult hand? It’s like God planned it that way. Way to go! And let’s not forget vegetables. Man could seriously live off of this alone. And of course, beans and whole grains. Done.

 

3.   Organic shmorganic! The food industry naturally wants to make money. Organic is the cool thing these days. But how do we really know? Corporations say they these chickens, cows and pigs have been inspected by some government organization, blah blah. But we know how that goes. Am I right, EPA?

 

I find myself falling into all 3 categories. And honestly, I haven’t really looked back since becoming a vegetarian. It’s 2013. We’ve got plenty of non-meat options to tickle our fancies.

 

But veganism: Brace yourselves people.

 

This is hard. I LOVE goat cheese. And Spanish cheese with watermelon (something that I did on summer nights in Palestine with my family).  And Pakistani Chai (I learned this from my husband’s family and it’s a blast to drink together with Biscoff cookes). I have so many neuro-associations with dairy products that it’s harder to give up than I realized. And because I have been consuming them my whole life and I’m still alive, it’s easy to just say ‘eh, what’s the big deal?’

 

Well, it sort of is a HUGE deal. I mean, I won’t lie to you- I put half and half in my coffee and when my mother in law comes into town, I drink Chai. I’m a moderate that way. But I’m a moderate about everything. Go ahead, ask me about politics. MODERATE.

 

But it makes sense. We are the only species in the world that drinks the milk of another species. And we are the only species in the world that drinks milk as an adult. It’s baby food! Cows drink milk from their mommies so they can grow into 1,500 pound creatures. Why would we drink that? And why would we think we have to drink 3 glasses of that a day in order to live a long, dental happy life? Because the ‘Got Milk?’ people told us so. Don’t forget, at the end of the day it is all about the Benjamins. So these people are gonna make milk sound like manna if it means they profit from us and our lack of education. It’s our responsibility to be intelligent consumers. It’s just good capitalism.

 

Along with being a moderate, I’m a realist. I know the entire planet isn’t going to become a vegan planet. Man, that would be cool. But I urge you to consider cutting back. Go a day without meat. Substitute rice milk in your cereal. You can’t tell the difference, I promise.

 

Fun Fact!

 

This is what it takes to make ONE Quarter pounder hamburger:

6.7 pounds of grains and forage

52.8 gallons of water

74.5 square feet for grazing and growing crops for eating

1,036 btus for feed production and transport.

 

Yikes. If we cut back on our meat consumption, we would be doing our planet a favor. You’re welcome, Earth!

 

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To give or not to give? Did I really just ask that?

The other day I was at Starbucks putting just the right amount of cream and raw sugar into my short Blonde roast. Yummy. As I was stirring the sugar in, I noticed a man standing in front of me. He looked like the nicest guy in the world and he was wearing the coolest shirt – It said ‘I love Newton, CT.’ I told him I liked his shirt and wondered where he got it. He told me that he gave to the families of the victims of Sandy Hook and in return, they gave him this cool t-shirt. I told him that was great and I thanked him for giving. He seemed like the kinda guy who would have given regardless of receiving a gift in return.

 

So why did he get one? Why did the organization who received his donation feel the need to give him a shirt in exchange for his generosity? Couldn’t we have used the money spent on the t’s toward the victim’s families? Then my mind wondered more. Why do we give? Do we only give if we get to tell other people about it or receive a cool t-shirt in order to entice conversation from the cute coffee addict stirring sugar in her coffee? What if we gave with no expectation of a tax refund? Would we still give? Is it really giving if we are getting something in return? Isn’t that more of an exchange? Okay, sorry. I’m done asking you questions.

 

I started to think really deeply about this. Not to toot my own horn, but I would like to think that I would give for the hell of it-because I love people and I love helping those who cannot help themselves. But what if it hurt to do it? Are we giving selfishly? Doh! There I go with the questions again. It looks like I have more questions than answers on this topic.

 

I realized that all giving in some way is selfish. Now, now, before you gasp, allow me to explain. Selfish is a bad word to me. But let’s change what selfish means. At the end of the day, we all function in a mode of self-preservation. So, in reality, we’re made to be selfish. Now, if we think about the way we feel when we give to people, we would have to say that it’s a good feeling. We enjoy it. We give because it makes us feel good to help other people. It’s the best of both worlds. Someone’s life is better and we’re a little happier. And I would be so brave as to say that it is in our nature to want to give and/or help people. Those of us who fulfill our natural, instinctual ‘obligations’ are healthier human beings.

 

So, my dearies, don’t be a Scrooge. Give. It’s built into our DNA. And do you really want to defy what you’re born to do? I don’t think so.

 

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