|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
33rd World Vegetarian Congress
I am leaving for Chiang Mai via Hong Kong and Bangkok early on Dec.30th., in trying to finish up last minute details, I've decided to add my bio to the list. Those I've read are very interesting and I look forward to meeting you.
I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the heart of the Midwest and therefore, the heart of the breadbasket in the U.S.A. A typical midwestern diet is meat and potatoes, plus whatever, at every meal. Needless to say, many people here (where I currently am visiting my father) are overweight. The people in the midwest are some of the most caring people in the world, however, and donate both their own time and money to local and international projects for those (people) less fortunate.
Driving by a dairy farm (and when I grew up, it WAS the family run dairy farm) we all looked at the cows and thanked them for their milk. Every cow was thought to be a dairy cow and, like most people, the connection between the meat on the table and the animal in the field was not made. I grew up thinking that the wonderful cow who had given us milk all those years was eaten only after it had died a natural death from old age!!!!
As a child, I never did buy-in to the" meat with every meal" idea and frequently would not eat it, gathering stares in the process. About twenty years ago (late 70's) I quit eating it all together for ethical reasons.
Because I grew up thinking that dairy cows lived in those beautiful green fields and were taken care of by the loving family who owned the farm, I continued to drink skim milk and eat cheese. This began to change with the first vegetarian conference I attended, which was in Denver, Colorado, approximately seven years ago - it was my first introduction to factory farming.
Since then, I have spoken at the vegetarian conferences in Portland, Oregon, and San Diego, Calif., and spoken at the conferences in India and Spain (although was not on the official program at the last two but was asked to do so while there.)
At the World Congress in India, I met much of my International Family , with whom I feel I share a special bond and am very priviledged to know - all bright, energetic, creative vegans (and fruitarians). I'll never forget the memorable car and bus trips in India with Alex Bourke, Francisco Martin and GianBatista from Italy, and how much I learned from all of them.
Professionally, I am a psychotherapist (clinical social worker and psychologist) in private practice in Denver, Colorado.
Although I am on the VUNA council and have been affectionately adopted as the resident "shrink" by my international vegan family, my primary contribution to the vegetarian movement is through my private practice (where almost all of my clients become vegetarian), through my professional papers, and through the seminars and speeches I give locally in the Denver area to the general public, and nationally and internationally to other professionals.
Well, this is too long already and I don't have time to edit it properly because I'm in a hurry to start my drive back to Denver (almost 1,000 miles) with my three dogs. Hopefully, I'll be there at least 24 hours to get ready to board the plane for Hong Kong and then on to Bangkok to meet everyone. I'm looking forward to seeing my old friends and to meeting new ones.
Happy New Year, Everyone!!!