It’s Time to Go All In
A guest blog by Paul Graham
“When you go ‘all in’ with hand in poker, you are betting everything that you’ve got the best cards. With Veganism you know you have a sure winner–I’M ALL IN–good health can’t be beat!” – Cyndy Violette, Professional Poker Player, Vegan
I needed to confirm with my friend Cyndy, a well-known professional poker player, about a phrase that I just love. I am “all in.” It is a singular devotion to moving forward with all you have with confidence knowing that you not only have the cards on your side, but in the case of this conscious lifestyle, the answer for so many of the challenges we face in the world today and what is absolutely necessary for justice for animals, for our personal health, well-being, and to preserve the precious resources of our planet. This is what living a conscious, vegan lifestyle brings to this world. It is my contention that in order to move this great movement forward, we are going to need to move beyond just a casual allegiance to eating a particular way. Being vegan is not a hobby, it is a lifestyle that should have a profound impact on not only how we live, but also impact all living creatures and the planet that we all inhabit.
It is possible for someone to eat a plant-based diet and not be fully aware, or embrace, the ethical and environmental reasons why we should live this way. We need to be more than just conscious of what we eat. We know this is a key to re-gain and maintain great health and removing animal products from our diet will perhaps impact that more than anything else we can do. It is of great personal benefit. If that is where you find yourself, I commend you for the steps that you have taken. But I also want to encourage you to not stop there. You are impacting animals and the environment by default without perhaps embracing why you should be doing so. If you think it is just a diet, your are selling yourself short. It is only when you realize your connection with others, with the animals, and the planet, that your life will gain a deepening sense of a destiny for this planet and your role in it. It needs to go beyond embracing it with our mind and stomach. It is only when we realize the role we play in justice for animals and preserving our planet that this truth will grip both our heart and soul.
I am encouraged to know that this movement is growing in unprecedented ways. Entire nations are being shaken. One-seventh of the world’s population is now vegetarian or vegan and thousands upon thousands are crossing over each and every day towards a cruelty-free lifestyle. Most of the people that I meet and share with today who are on this conscious journey are moving towards being vegan. They want to go “all in.” Being a vegetarian seems today to be more of just a temporary stop on that journey…not the end destination. I have also met a number of long-term vegetarians. They seem to be very comfortable in their lifestyle choice. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if those that have been both short and long-term vegetarians would choose to go all the way with this and become vegan? I believe it is a necessary step to help propel this movement forward. While it is positive that we have removed meat and fish from our diet, how is it possible to overlook the health, ethical, and environmental disasters that the dairy industry offers? If we are vegetarian and not vegan, we are still supporting at some level, the dairy industry. And as the saying goes, the dairy industry is the meat industry and the meat industry is the dairy industry. There are quality alternatives at every level to replace anything that one would think they would miss. It is time to give it up and move forward.
I want to go “all in” in all of the areas of my life that I truly deem important. I want this to be how I love those that I love. I want them to know that I am fully committed. I want to be “all in” in terms of my work, my writing, and my involvement in helping animals and the planet. While my health is very important, it is not my main concern. Great health is a benefit of my conscious lifestyle, but it is not my focus. It certainly changes my life, but it is not going to change the world…and that is what I am about. There is nothing casual or part-time in my devotion to justice for animals and protecting and restoring the planet. I know what my cards hold, and I am laying my cards on the table with supreme confidence knowing that this key to bringing needed change to this world. Justice for animals. Enough natural resources for the world. A life free from disease and medications. Spiritual congruency and vitality. It is all there. Let it all sink in deep and change your life. It is time to go “all in” and make the difference you were put upon this Earth to do.
Paul Graham was born and raised in Northern California and has lived in Las Vegas since 2004. He is a top wedding officiate, a green Realtor and writer. He has a daily vegan food blog www.eatingveganinvegas.tumblr.com which is 365 days and 365 vegan meals in Las Vegas. He can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.facebook.com/EatingVeganinVegas. Paul’s e-book, “Eating Vegan in Vegas: If It Can Happen Here, It Can Happen Anywhere” is now available at www.sullivanstpress.com.