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Welcome to Veggie Zone:

Your one-stop resource for the what, why and how of vegetarianism!

Whether you're a vegan, aspiring vegetarian, or hardcore Burger King enthusiast just curious about "the other side," everyone's welcome at Veggie Zone. I really appreciate your taking a bit of your time to have a look around the site. After over 15 years of being a veggie, I continue to get a tremendous number of questions about my vegan lifestyle so, hopefully, we'll be able to address many of them here.

There are so many aspects of our lives on this planet - from our physical health, to the issue of ethics where the treatment of animals is concerned, to our world ecology - that are so profoundly affected by what we eat, we must take a closer look at our food choices. Veggie Zone has been set up to take you through these three primary areas of concern as they relate to vegetarianism, give you some specific ideas on how you might integrate some vegan concepts into your lifestyle, and then provide you with links to other sites where you can get further information and support.

Along the way - and solely in the spirit of our being on a journey to a more evolved, peaceful existence - I hope to challenge your thinking. After all, one of the hallmarks of human evolution is the constant reconsidering, reevaluating and reprioritizing that we all must go through as part of the process. And I propose that there are many things we do, foods we eat, products we use and clothing we wear - en masse - that are out of alignment with the highly-evolved model of peace and compassion that I know we are inherently destined to achieve as a race.

A Quick Overview...


Due to our cultural conditioning and a variety of outside influences, most people are not only left in the dark about the many ramifications of an animal product-based diet, but are actually thinking that much of that food is good for them. Meanwhile, hospitals around the world are packed like the Palm Springs Marriott on the Fourth of July, with patients whose arteries are clogged with animal fat, or whose organs are ravaged with cancer, or whose bones are brittle with osteoporosis (and, yes, the list goes on), most of whom don't even consider that their health crisis might be linked to their diet. Those not laid up - or laid to rest - are generally dealing with a myriad of other ailments that are virtually nonexistent in the plant-based foods societies, but that have come to be accepted as status quo in ours. We'll discuss the superior nutritional aspects of the vegan diet in great detail in the For Your Health section of Veggie Zone.

At the same time, the world at large is completely oblivious to the horrors that take place in our factory farm system, in the production of animal-based clothing, in our many vivisection (animal testing) laboratories, or even as a result of some of our "harmless" cultural activities. Throughout Veggie Zone, we'll be dealing with the cold, hard realities of vegetarianism and veganism as they relate to the treatment of animals. Some of the facts here will not be pretty...but then again, neither are the far-reaching consequences of an animal product-based diet or a lifestyle that contributes to the exploitation of our fellow animal beings.

I encourage you to proceed anyway and read up on everything in the For the Animals section; it is the product of many years of study and research that I (and others) have done. I would also encourage you to view the photos there. This is the truth. What you choose to do with this truth is up to you, but at least give it the benefit of your honest evaluation and consideration.

(By the way, should you prefer to just read the information and not view the photos - which are no doubt unsettling - don't worry. All of the more graphic images are arranged on the site in such a way that you will be prompted to click on a link to view them.)


Finally, many folks are unaware of the connection between the food we eat and its direct effect on our environment. In the For the Planet section, we'll take a look at how the draining and polluting of many of our natural resources from around the world are directly attributable to the multi-billion dollar operations responsible for bringing animal products to the local store and restaurant. And, believe me, this information is not to be dismissed as some kind of speculative jibber-jabber thrown together by a bunch of "tree-hugging flower children." This is very real, well documented stuff that directly affects our water, land and air. So check it out, and let's at least go in with our eyes wide open as we contemplate our food, clothing and lifestyle choices.

Finding Your Way Around Veggie Zone

You'll notice that we've segmented the site into six main sections. The icon/links at the left of each page will give you immediate access to any other section, from anywhere on the site. Additionally, for fast reference, we offer a brief overview of what's covered in each section and even give you the ability to jump ahead to any particular area of interest. There's a lot of information here and we want you to be able to navigate your way around quickly and easily.

But the best way to initially experience Veggie Zone is to move through each of the six sections sequentially. This will give you a complete, big-picture understanding of vegetarianism, enabling you to see the "interrelatedness" of its compelling facets. So, at the bottom of each section is a link to the next one, allowing you to move seamlessly from section to section.

Here's what we'll be covering in this Introduction section (click on the Go link to skip ahead to a particular topic):

1. Vegetarians, strict vegetarians and vegans defined Go
2. What is veganism all about? Go
3. But what about the food? Veggie Food is Delicious! Go
4. My experience Go
5. Who else has been a vegetarian? Go
6. General Information: Commonly asked questions about veganism, who is Bobby Rock, e-mail Bobby Go

Vegetarians, strict vegetarians and vegans defined

If I had a nickel for every time I heard, read, or disproved a misconception about vegetarianism, Bill Gates could be my butler. The fallacies surrounding the vegetarian lifestyle, combined with the rampant untruths and misinformation about animal products, make for a relatively unenlightened society where food choices are concerned. This is more than a little astonishing to me as bona fide scientific studies, tests, and other forms of evidence mount up each year.

One of the first misconceptions about vegetarianism to address is what a vegetarian actually is.

A vegetarian is one who abstains from all flesh foods. There can be a further distinction in classification by saying lacto-vegetarian - for those who consume dairy products like milk and cheese; or ovo-vegetarian - for those who consume eggs; or even lacto/ovo-vegetarian - for those who consume both dairy products and eggs. Under no circumstances, however, would a vegetarian diet include chicken, turkey, fish or any other kinds of sea creatures.

A strict or total vegetarian is one who abstains from all animal products, including dairy and eggs.

A vegan (pronounced vee-gun) is one who follows a strict vegetarian diet, and also (by literal definition), avoids:

1. wearing animal-based clothing (leather, wool, silk, fur, etc.)
2. using consumer goods containing animal products or that have involved animal testing
3. supporting events or institutions (like the circus, rodeo or even the zoo) that exploit and/or harm animals in any way.

Obviously, there are many varying degrees by which a "vegan" might abide by the above criteria and, of course, there are no vegan police running around to site a purported vegan's indiscretion. But the point is, the vegan approach is more of a total lifestyle commitment where the individual aspires to make a consistent statement of compassion for all living creatures. So, with veganism being the sort of "final frontier" of vegetarianism, you'll notice that the philosophies, biases and suggestions in Veggie Zone are all vegan friendly.

What is veganism all about?

The basic premise of veganism is this: as we continue to evolve spiritually, we begin to recognize a heightened sense of interconnectedness among ALL living things. The periphery of whom or what we feel deeply connected to expands beyond our inner circle of family and friends to include all of our fellow humans and, ultimately, our fellow creatures of the earth. Accordingly, as a more evolved society, we've outgrown certain philosophical and lifestyle ideals that were largely unquestioned in the past. One of these ideals was that animals are here on earth primarily for our benefit in the form of food, clothing, transportation and even entertainment. The vegan lifestyle aspires beyond this outdated paradigm as it expresses a more compassionate and harmonious understanding of animals' roles in this world and we acknowledge that our animal "brothers and sisters" are to be treated with respect and love, much like our fellow humans.

BBobby and Roscoe

This is why vegans go to extremes to avoid all animal-based foods, clothing and consumer goods and do not support any events or institutions that exploit and/or harm animals in any way. By avoiding these things, we are not only doing our part in saving animals from suffering and death, but we are also saying, in effect, enough. We are no longer going to support these entities and perpetuate the unspeakable cruelties these animals are forced to endure. In this way, our lives become nonverbal statements of peace and compassion.

A human being is a part of the whole called the "universe," a part limited in space and time. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of...consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in all its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.

Albert Einstein


But what about the food? Veggie Food is Delicious!

Another misconception about vegetarianism is that if you embrace the lifestyle, you'll be stuck eating bland, boring entrees and chewing on "health bars" that would make styrofoam seem appetizing. Again, this notion is at least 15 years past its prime. Why? Supply and demand, my friends. Vegetarianism has transcended a number of stereotypes to now include a broad contingent of folks from around the world and every walk of life. There are literally millions of us just in North America alone. And guess what? Just like everyone else, we have to eat and are prepared to buy food!

So now, with all of these hungry vegetarians running around looking for tasty things to eat, manufacturers, stores and restaurants are all vying for a piece of that action...which creates a sense of competition...which raises the bar line of quality, etc. The time-tested vegetarian standby of brown rice and broccoli is only scratching the surface of the multitude of food choices now available. And I mean available everywhere. I travel all over the place, all the time and, let me tell you, I'm not always cruising through some cultural epicenter. I'm in Springfield, Missouri; Meridian, Mississippi; White River, Vermont; etc., and yet, I can find things to eat anywhere, no problem. It's just have to know where to look.

In fact, I like to compare the health food movement to the health club movement. Think about what the initial stereotype of going to a gym was all about 30+ years ago: hangin' out in some dungeon-like environment with a bunch of grunting, sweating "lunkheads," relegated to using primarily barbells and dumbbells amidst tattered benches, rusted plates and a lone Universal machine.

But then what happened? More people got hip to the benefits of weight training and the demographic began to broaden. Gradually, "regular folks," like accountants, retailers and homemakers began to take an interest in resistance training, so the industry began to diversify as Nautilus and other such high tech gear came onto the scene, along with treadmills, indoor tracks, saunas, juice bars and designated aerobic rooms. Many even went through cosmetic overhauls, as well, opting for a more modern, sleeker feel. In short, gyms became mainstream "health clubs" and, in the same sense, health food has become much more mainstream and ubiquitous. The diversity and quality of these foods is impressive.

In the What to Do section of Veggie Zone, we'll give you a variety of delicious dining options for eating at home, as well as at your local restaurant. We'll also discuss a variety of practical ways in which you can support the vegan cause in other aspects of your lifestyle.

My Experience with Veganism

I'll be honest; back in my meat-eating days, I had little patience with those "pansy-assed" vegetarian people and their bizarre animal rights jive. I was just the last one to ever feel like the movement had any real validity, especially as a dedicated weightlifter hell-bent on high animal protein consumption. (And if there has ever been a single population of people conditioned to believe that animal protein is an absolute must for muscular and strength development, it's the gym rats!)

However, when I eventually began to educate myself about it all, I was more than a little knocked out by what I discovered...and so began my journey.

My personal experience with vegetarianism has been dramatic. In over 15 years on the path, the numerous physical benefits have resulted in an overall greater level of health, with more energy, power and endurance in all of my daily activities, including weightlifting, drumming and cycling.

I've also noticed that I simply don't require as much rest time as a vegan, easily averaging two to three hours less sleep per night than when I was eating animal products. And while my average "work day" is usually around 20 hours, I can routinely push it from 24 to 30, no problem, if scheduling gets particularly hectic.

Incidents of illness, any kind of digestive/elimination disorders, the flu, etc., have been all but non-existent for me, and I have to attribute that in large part to my vegan diet. I've also noticed things like shinier hair, a clearer complexion, stronger nails and an improved natural hygiene.

Some of the intangibles have been a mental clarity and renewed spiritual connection that's difficult to describe. I'm convinced that we "vibrate" at a different frequency when unencumbered with the heaviness of animal products in our diets. I'm definitely not alone in this observation as many spiritual sects (from the Seventh Day Adventists to a number of Eastern-based religious practices) live this truth. There are even a number of biblical references to vegetarianism.

I know I could never go back. The vegan lifestyle is compassionate and considerate of all living things which, to me, is most congruent with any kind of lifestyle that promotes peace, harmony and one's self-actualization on the spiritual path. It's also far and away the healthiest, as consistent energy levels, sustained peak performance capabilities and freakishly low cholesterol levels can attest to. (The last time I had a blood test, the nurse told me I had the second lowest cholesterol level she had ever seen.) And, of course, the vegan lifestyle is most economical with regard to the usage and protection of our earthly resources, as we'll talk about in the For the Planet section.

Who else has been a vegetarian?

If you think vegetarianism is just the rhetoric of the obscure or flighty, consider that, in addition to the millions of individuals from all walks of life that practice it now, there have been many influential people throughout history that have opted for the vegetarian lifestyle. Some include: Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo da Vinci, Buddha, Mohammed, Leo Tolstoy, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Darwin, Albert Schweitzer, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Voltaire, Sir Isaac Newton, Henry David Thoreau, George Bernard Shaw, Pythagoras and Gandhi, to name a few.

Check out the "Famous Vegetarians" link in the Veggie Links section of the site for an extensive listing of renowned vegetarians.

General Info

Finally, here are a few pop-up pages that might be of interest to you. (We also offer these links at the bottom of each section of Veggie Zone):

Commonly asked questions: Here is where I answer some of the most commonly asked questions about veganism.

About Bobby Rock: Here is some biographical information about me, for those of you who may be wondering who the hell I am!

E-mail Bobby: Here is my e-mail address. Feel free to write...I love hearing from folks. Just keep in mind that I'm not always able to respond.

Many of the diet and lifestyle concepts we'll be covering throughout Veggie Zone are discussed in further detail in my upcoming book, Rock Solid Fitness . For now, though, let's get started by talking more specifically about how vegetarianism and veganism can benefit you from a health standpoint.

Proceed to For Your Health


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