Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

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, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. 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 most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach and lehavdiel bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQAI, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quit a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * 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. November 13, 2018, he published his 500st blog post with the ToI. 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 a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * NEW: To see other blog posts by him, his overspill blog you can reach by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture at the head of every post. There you may find precursors to later TOI blog posts, addition or corrections of published TOI blog posts, blog posts the TOI will not carry and some thoughts that are too short to be a TOI blog post. Also, the TOI only allows for one blog post per blogger per 24 hours. Sometimes, he has more to say than that. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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