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Meet Our New Community Organizer!

A few months ago, Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA) announced that a new role of Community Organizer was created, and now we are excited to introduce you to Tamuno Imbu! 

Tamuno began working with CAA on April 1, just as all of our lives were changing due to the pandemic. Now, more than ever, is a critical time to show compassion to animals and remove them from our diet as a global community. 

About a decade ago, Tamuno transitioned to a plant-based lifestyle after researching the physical and social benefits to eating a diet entirely of foods derived from plants, including vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits, and with few or no animal products. The impact on the environment and cruelty imposed on farmed animals simply to be consumed fueled his passion to unlearn the conditioning of what a complete meal constitutes. Out of this desire to change his own impact, Tamuno began cooking plant-based dishes for family and friends. He has influenced others to also remove the consumption of animals from their diets.

Tamuno comes to CAA with a background in non-profit and social justice organizations that provide supportive housing, work readiness training for youth and young adults, disrupting the prison industrial complex, and coaching life skills as a critical thinking component for transformation. He has built a reputation within the Twin Cities community as he has held different positions over the past decade, both paid and volunteer, but has been most proud of the meaningful relationships forged through a commitment to transformation and compassionate accountability.

After learning more about the dynamic work in the community focused on increasing awareness about the immense suffering of factory farmed animals, Tamuno was inspired to continue his personal dedication to transformation and apply for the Community Organizer position. He is invigorated to share his talents with the CAA team to benefit the community and looks forward to engaging the community and increasing awareness while embodying and delivering CAA’s mission of encouraging people to cultivate empathy for animals and move toward a plant-based diet.

Tamuno with his daughter

When Tamuno is not working he is busy creating, caring and cooking for his family. While attending Metropolitan State University he worked with fathers to understand their rights and coached around parenting skills and engaging your children in positive ways. His life partner is an Education Technology Manager who supports teachers in Eastern Minnesota and Western Wisconsin and is actively cheering him on to share his knowledge with the CAA community! His children love carrots, olives, and enjoyed beets as one of their first foods. He loves sharing with his family and friends the exploration his food journey inspires in his children. His eldest daughter inspires him daily through her love of painting and his young son gets him active playing ball along Victory Memorial Parkway.

We are excited to welcome Tamuno to the team. He will be online with us for Twin Cities VegWeek 2020, including the Invisible Vegan Watch Party and Live Q&A with Producer Jasmine Leyva on April 19 with Jasmine Leyva. We look forward to you meeting him!

6 MORE Ways to Care for Ourselves and Our Community

Part 3

All of us are struggling with the new reality of life with COVID-19.

Here is the next post in our series of tips. We’re glad you’re taking care of yourself and our community of human and non-human animals during this uncertain time!

  1. Take care of basic needs and what you can control 
    • Maintain good sleep hygiene—try to get to bed and wake up at the same time, sleep with your phone and other screens away from your bed.
    • Find ways to continue practicing compassion for yourself and others. Our online events, and other ideas below, may help.
  2. Stay physically active
    • The Three Rivers Parks are open: biking, running, and walking outdoors is still safe! You can also do these activities around your neighborhood. Please note: If traveling to state parks outside of the Twin Cities metro, maintain social distancing practices. It is still a crucial time to limit the spread of infection across the state and country. Many smaller towns outside of the Twin Cities have much more limited capacity for medical response.
  3. Maintain community
    • Support local small businesses. Large corporations will recover from a month or two of lost income, but small businesses may not. It’s critical here to pay attention to government actions and policies. Our friends at Reverie suggest following the Main Street Alliance. Let’s also do what we can to directly support small business owners, such as buying gift certificates for future use.
  4. Cook good food
  5. Pursue hobbies. Here are some of Makenzie’s.
    • I enjoy cooking and baking, listening to music, DIY-ing and crafting, and finding new podcasts. A current favorite is the “On Being” podcast which covers deep thinking, moral imagination, and social justice. On their website, they have cultivated a “care package” consisting of free podcasts, poetry, and meditations to help process through these uncertain times. I’ve also been repurposing items in my home and I recently downloaded the Gratitude app, which is a guided gratitude journal. 
  6. Remember the animals

Let’s think about how we can do everything in our power to benefit the well-being of all animals, human and non-human, as we move through this crisis.

There is a silver lining. As awful as this is for humans, most wild animals aren’t being impacted by the virus. There are benefits to both wild animals and our climate from our reduced air travel and resource consumption. As just one example, air quality has noticeably improved in many places.

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Emergency resources (for quick reference from Part 1):

Moving Veg a Step at a Time

Whatever your reasons for going vegan or switching to a plant-based diet are, good for you. You’ve taken a step toward a better world. 

“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” 

Gretchen Rubin

“The best is the enemy of the good.” 

Voltaire

These two quotes are a great reminder. When we move to veganism or a plant-based diet, it is not about perfection. It is about improving today compared to yesterday, or this week in comparison to last week, or even this year compared to last year. It is about improving the lives of animals, humans, and the planet we share. 

There will be occasions on this journey where you mistakenly order something that is non-vegan, or you are served something that is non-vegan or has non-vegan ingredients. You haven’t failed if you choose to scrape off the non-vegan item and eat the meal anyway! You’ll learn, you’ll have more information for next time, and you’ll adapt. 

Did you hear about the person who sued Burger King because they didn’t disclose that the Impossible Whopper was cooked on the same grill with the beef Whopper? I understand their concern, but the reality is beef, chicken, pork, and the like are not allergens and your favorite restaurant is not necessarily obligated to tell you your vegetables or your salad were prepared on the same surface or pan as animal-based items. It’s important to keep in mind that the surface your plant-based burger is cooked on does not change the number of animals slaughtered for food. That said, if this is a concern for you, be sure to ask about it before you order. 

Some of us on this vegan or plant-based journey are doing it in a house full of meat-eaters. In the beginning, the temptation to eat foods you aren’t eating anymore or someone in your house eating the vegan leftovers you brought home last night can be real problems. 

Educating yourself about the realities of animal agriculture, getting to know the personalities of animals at a local farm sanctuary (subscribe to CAA’s newsletter for information on tours!), and reviewing your goals for moving plant-based can help keep you on track. 

If you slip and have a piece of non-vegan cheese, or you add egg-based mayo to a sandwich or dish by mistake, get over it and keep moving forward toward your goal, whatever the reason you are on this journey.

 

What’s the difference between veganism & a plant-based diet? 

Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. 

The Vegan Society

A plant-based diet is a diet consisting mostly or entirely of foods derived from plants, including vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits, and with few or no animal products. 

Wikipedia

What are your goals? Why go vegan or move to a plant-based diet?

If an abundance of incredible plant-based food isn’t reason enough to go vegan, here are a few more. 

  • Health 
  • Environmental justice 
  • Ethical decision to not use animals 
  • Ending racial and income inequality (factory farms aren’t built near million-dollar mansions) 

If you became vegan or plant-based to improve your health, or you want the health benefits but you became vegan for the environment or to save animals, remember you can be vegan or plant-based and still eat unhealthily. Eating healthily still takes work and time, and as I said earlier, good is greater than perfection. 

I love that Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat exist today. While eating an Impossible Whopper or other highly processed vegan foods every day is not going to improve my health, it’s nice to have the option when you wish to indulge or treat yourself on occasion. 

Whatever your reasons for making the switch, never forget that you’ve taken a bold step that benefits animals, the environment, and can improve your own health! Here are three key ideas to keep in mind to make your transition to vegan or plant-based diet successful: 

  1. Eat enough calories 
  2. Eat whole plants 
  3. Find and discover foods you love by trying things you haven’t tried before. Eat a variety of legumes, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices. 

Ultimately, going veg is a journey, so be sure to enjoy it! 

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This article was originally published in the 2020 issue of Twin Cities Veg Living.

Henry Patterson is a St. Paul, MN, native, one-time resident of California vegan for the last 7½ years, and currently a caretaker to two healthy 5-year old vegan Basenji dogs, Emi and Lokan. His path to veganism was not overnight; it was a journey through pescetarian to vegetarian and finally to vegan. The journey was not perfect. 

April Eats | Vegan Recipe Club

Welcome to April! You might have heard the title we’re exploring. There’s a plant-based documentary with the same name. This month, we’re trying out recipes from Gene Stone’s cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health.

You can download this month’s recipes here.

Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, by Gene Stone, 2012.

  • Layered Tex-Mex Lasagna, page 130-131
  • Arugula Pesto Risotto, page 79
  • Easy Quesadillas, page 82

Optional recipes:

  • Wild Rice Stuffed Squash, page 153
  • Crispy Rice Bars, page 188

Vegan Recipe Club meets Tuesday, April 21 at East Lake Library, 2727 E Lake St, from 6:30-7:30pm. Questions? Email info@exploreveg.org or message us on Facebook.

The 2019 Annual Report

Discover what we accomplished together in our 2019 Annual Report!

In it you’ll find:

  • Photos and infographics showing the difference we make for animals
  • Graphs of the financials which support our advocacy
  • Recognition of those in our Circle of Care, Hall of Fame, and our top donors of 2019

Through a combination of outreach, education, and community building we encourage people to embrace their empathy and move toward a plant-based diet. Together we saved an estimated 252,000 animals in 2019.

We extend our gratitude to all of you who support our work through donating, volunteering, and participating in our events throughout the year. We truly could not do so much without our community of dedicated animal advocates and are so grateful to be doing this work with you!

While there is always more work to be done, the animal rights movement saw progress for the animals in 2019. There are a growing number of humans pledging to live veg, more and more vegan products available, more laws protecting animals, and more.

Let’s continue doing what we can and raising our voices for animals so that their stories are heard. We’re excited to work with you and grow our movement in 2020 and beyond!

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Veg Resources

Upcoming Events

Thursday, April 9, 2020

CAA UMN Zoom Meeting

Thursday, April 16, 2020

CAA UMN Zoom Meeting

Saturday, April 18, 2020 - Friday, April 24, 2020

Twin Cities VegWeek 2020