A Vegan World-Imagine That!

Healthy Vegan Breakfast of Chia Seeds and Colorful FruitsI recall when the “Imagine a Vegan World” Support Group began meeting last year in Honolulu. I loved the ‘Vegan World’ part but I’d been vegan 8 years and didn’t feel like I needed support as such.

“Why attend?” I thought! It’s held during supper time but nowhere near any vegan eateries! Whose brilliant idea was that?! Looking back, I realize I was being selfish.

Imagine a Vegan World was started by Terry Bear in early 2013. The group’s founder and visionary went vegan 3 years ago influenced by her vegan daughter.

Terry considers everyone a vegan or on the way to becoming one.  “First I was vegan for “the health of it,” says Terry, “but after reading Will Tuttle’s ‘The World Peace Diet,’ I was completely transformed to a passionately compassionate, ethical vegan.”

VeganDietGuy with Terry Bear and Ivy (Imagine a Vegan World's Mascot)Terry’s dedication to the group’s mission “To share and support each person’s grander vision of a happy, healthy, whole plant-based lifestyle and compassionate world for all beings” inspired me to get involved during my most recent visit to Oahu.

I’ve been attending the Imagine a Vegan World meetings regularly and finally came to understand the concept of “paying it forward.”

You see – while many committed vegans no longer feel we need help staying vegan, most of us would have appreciated help while becoming vegan. Long-term vegans can take much for granted but there is always so much more we can learn to support our vegan lifestyles and grow the vegan community.

Below are just a few of the topics discussed at Imagine a Vegan World…

Social Life

One of the greatest challenges of becoming vegan are family members who are not supportive of your choices. For me, I am fortunate to live apart from my family (those who seemingly can’t go a single meal without eating animal products-or anyone who tries calling my nut cheese ‘wet nuts’!) and make a point to seek out like-minded friends. However, nobody wants to throw all their relationships out with the vegan bathwater.

Nutrition

How do you respond when your physician or other professional tells you to eat meat, dairy or fish? Once you realize that most M.D.s don’t understand vegan nutrition, many vegans begin to take more responsibility for healing their own bodies by learning about nutrition and alternative medicine.  Eating with health in mind doesn’t mean giving up taste, and will prevent and even cure many illnesses in the long term.

Food!!!

Recipes, shopping and dining tips are perhaps the most exciting part of Imagine a Vegan World. This is one place where vegans are free to talk about what they eat for breakfast (or whatever is our favorite meal) without listeners making grimaces and heading for the doors!

In case you were wondering, my regular breakfast (photo above) is a mana bowl-raw porridge made of oats, chia seeds, apples, bananas, berries, grated ginger and cinnamon, almond milk, walnuts, and coconut oil.

Cooking demos are another popular feature at Imagine a Vegan World meetings. Recently, I demonstrated making almond milk and a raw chocolate avocado mousse. These two recipes are so easy, I hardly consider them recipes. But it’s exciting to see how they switch on the light for others in the group that didn’t realise it was so easy and taste so good! Needless to say I had them at “chocolate”!

Vegan food preparation isn’t complicated. Making homemade almond milk takes about five minutes and requires only two ingredients: almonds and water!

One question that came up during the demo was about the ceramic knife I used. Unlike steel-bladed knives that soon become dull and are difficult to sharpen, ceramic knives are sharp and stay that way a long time. Another benefit of ceramic knives is that they don’t cause fruits and vegetables to oxidize and turn brown like a steel knife, hence maintaining their nutrients and appearance.

Weekly Format

Imagine a Vegan World’s weekly schedule is another part of its appeal for those who need a boost between monthly Vegetarian Society of Hawaii meetings or may prefer a more intimate gathering (about 10 people on average attend). IVW meets every Tuesday from 6:30-7:30pm at the Central YMCA (401 Atkinson Drive), except Tuesdays when the VSH holds its meeting.

Recently, Imagine a Vegan World has begun to hold vegan potlucks on the last Tuesday of each month, and it’s common for members to bring fruit or vegan snacks to share at other meetings, as well. Feel free to bring your own dinner with you anytime – just as long as it’s vegan!

So whether you’re an experienced vegan or just taking the first steps to becoming one, whether or not you have supportive family/friends, a group like Imagine A Vegan World is a wonderful way to make new friends and support the growth of veganism in your community.

If you’re in Honolulu – even for a visit – you’re always welcome to attend Imagine a Vegan World. If you live elsewhere, why not consider starting Imagine A Vegan World group in your area?