Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Seven years a vegan: a new philosophy developing

Previously, I’ve blogged to explain the basics of a vegan diet: here and here — and also warmly recommended: here and here.

Now I would like to share a bit how my thinking about eating — and cooking — is slowly changing now I’m a vegan for some seven years. (Being a vegan is a hip and trendy thing in Israel. At 64, it’s fun to be part of the trend.)

I started to notice how most omnivores eat animal produce with some other side dishes and that is it. For them, salads are just on-the-sides.

Further, I became aware that most of these animal products taste like nothing, so their cooks need to spend most of their kitchen energy on flavoring them. They could not “cook” without garlic, onions, salt, pepper, sugar and lots of herbs. The art of cooking became the art to camouflage that the food is tasteless.

Slowly this charade has penetrated the vegan part of their meals too. Fresh cucumbers and cooked potatoes are served with salt on them (yuck!), potato chips with barbeque taste (which warped mind will come up with that we should try to created carrots that taste like oranges and oranges should taste like carrots?), etc.

And then we have non-foods that also need to be dressed up, like white “bread”, pastas and rice. Add some other stimulant like carbonated and hot caffeine drinks, and the meal is replaced by a race to stimulate. Food is to feed and please the body, not to only falsely excite it!

I don’t mean that food should be tasteless. I knew a restaurant where everything was sensible and well-balanced. The bread was sour-dough because that destroys less of the grain and the water used for making it was hand-pumped, etc. The only problem: all its food was tasteless and all its good intentions worthless. Needless to say, the eatery closed years ago. A cook is not a pharmacists. Enjoying a meal is important. However, taste should not come before substance!

This all, while non-animal produce often tastes great on its own. Broccoli or carrots – roast them in aluminum foil and the tastes are fully kept, don’t disappear into the water. Split peas or tofu – really do not need any additions to be tasty. Whole-wheat bread of at least a day old with peanut butter (without salt and sugar) is a feast to eat. Ever chewed on a leaf of lettuce – instead of dousing it into vinegar to make it soft and mask its taste)? This becomes especially true when we phased out addictions to sugar, salt, spicy, caffeine, etc.

Real food should taste great of its own. Yet, running after taste makes us end up with non-foods and their dressings (with addictive substances mixed in or on the side). Dressings are for wounds, not for foods!

My priorities:

  1. Don’t buy junk food. Detox, phase out the drugs and addictions. Replace them by real food. (You don’t have to be a vegan to do this.)
  2. Think about a balanced meal: variety, protein, fiber, some fats, etc.
  3. Think about combinations that would taste well and that need chewing – the ancient art of being satisfied by quality, not quantity.

Eating like that is not only better for the environment, the animal world and our own health; it also supports our in-born attraction to truth and reality. No more fake food!

We need simpler meals, not to become ascetic, but rather to have the richest, tastiest meals. Real Hedonists eat Spartan!

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 1400 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/ or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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