Vegan author to speak at Coffman

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau will talk about first steps to a vegan lifestyle.

mackenzie collins

Famous vegan author Colleen Patrick-Goudreau said she finds the world extremely strange. While compassion in children is praised, that same compassion felt as an adult for animals makes some people feel suspicious of vegan choices. University of Minnesota students interested in joining Patrick-Goudreau by taking the plunge into veganism or vegetarianism will have the opportunity to open their minds to the idea from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday in Coffman Union Theater. Patrick-Goudreau will deliver a speech called âÄúFrom Excuse-itarian to Vegetarian: Addressing the Blocks that Keep People from Making Changes.âÄù University student group Compassionate Action for Animals invited Patrick-Goudreau âÄî who has appeared on the Food Network, written three books on veganism, contributed to National Public Radio, founded Compassionate Cooks and writes a column for VegNews Magazine âÄî as part of an annual spring tradition of bringing a speaker to campus. Patrick-Goudreau plans to illustrate her own reasons for her vegan lifestyle stemming from her childhood compassion for animals and realization of the horrors of factory farming, and she will explain some easy ways for others to take the first step in becoming a vegan or vegetarian. For those interested in trying the lifestyle, Patrick-Goudreau says to first think outside the box and realize that the fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts and spices people eat every day are already âÄúvegan.âÄù Next, the easiest way to actually begin is to veganize food that is already familiar to you. âÄúWhen youâÄôre going to get salad from the salad bar, just donâÄôt put cheese on it,âÄù Patrick-Goudreau said. âÄúTry a bean burrito instead of a chicken burrito.âÄù For people concerned about missing out on important vitamins and nutrients with the lifestyle, Patrick-Goudreau said it is necessary to analyze where the nutrients people get from meat and animal products come from. âÄúThe nutrients we need are plant-based, but weâÄôve all been taught that theyâÄôre animal-based,âÄù Patrick-Goudreau said. âÄúAnimals are the medium through which we get the nutrients.âÄù Patrick-Goudreau used the dairy industryâÄôs advertising of calcium through milk as an example. She said that cows receive their calcium by eating grass and then ingesting the mineral of calcium thatâÄôs found in the ground. Human milk drinkers then in turn use the milk meant for cowâÄôs offspring for their own calcium. âÄúWe need to just skip the middle cow and go right to the source,âÄù she said. One way interested future vegans can get direct sources of calcium is by eating green leafy vegetables like kale, collard greens, chard and broccoli as well as beans and nuts, Patrick-Goudreau said. âÄúI talk about coming out of a vegan closet because the world that we live in is a non-vegan world.âÄù Patrick-Goudreau said. While changes in everyday food choices seem simple, she said âÄúbeing the vegan in the roomâÄù can be difficult. âÄúThere is some hostility and defensiveness when someone says, âÄòIâÄôm vegan,âÄô âÄù Patrick-Goudreau said. In order to avoid problems in these social situations, Patrick-Goudreau said to approach the occurrences as an opportunity to explain life choices and advocacy with joy and to humbly remember that everyone probably ate meat at one point. With the upcoming event featuring a free dessert bar and book signing afterward, Patrick-Goudreau said she looks forward to speaking and interacting with college students. âÄúItâÄôs a great age group because this is a time in your life when youâÄôre questioning the status quo and what youâÄôve learned to find your own value system,âÄù Patrick-Goudreau said.