PCTV’s Mountain Morning Show interviews Lauren Lockey about her food mission and her goals with Sage Mountain, and some of the amazing vegan food alternatives.
I will have to say that it’s been a whirlwind since Johnny and I broke free from our captors in Riverside County, California. See, what many of you don’t know is that this was a planned getaway from the beginning and not some spontaneous guy’s night out romp.
Let me help paint the picture with some of the few details that I remember from that evening. You will have to cut me some slack as I was only 3 months old at the time and my memories are vague. I’m sure many of you would also have a hard time remembering what you were doing at that age. I can assure you that planning a daring escape was not in the cards. In fact, our lives were meant to be doomed from the beginning.
Johnny and I were being raised in what humans would call a backyard butcher situation. What that basically means is that we lived in cramped quarters where our humans would raise and grossly over feed us until we were ready to be turned into lamb chops and bacon. Now, let me stop there for a minute as I have an issue with this. At what point do I become bacon? When your species dies you don’t transform into another thing or food item. Apparently Johnny and I transform into something completely different. I’m not bacon. I’m a pig and a damned smart one at that. When it’s time for me to go I will become a deceased pig and not this “bacon” thing.
Many humans know for some reason or another that we pigs are intelligent creatures. This is not by chance but by hard work and numerous sleepless nights studying. In my studies as a young piglet I noticed that when humans would consume my deceased fellow friends, or “bacon”, that those humans would then become sick with chronic disease such as heart disease. So let me get this straight, humans kill pigs like me and then we turn around and kill them with the number one killer of all humans, heart disease.
As Johnny and I laid there realizing how counterproductive this all was, or as Johnny would say “batshit crazy” (Johnny had a way with words), we realized we wanted to do something about it before it was too late. So for a few weeks we contrived a plan to break out of our tiny quarters and make our move. The daughter of our captor would not be the best at locking our gate after coming into feed us in the evenings. After a few times of seeing this we knew that we had to make our move and make our move we did. It was a breezy September evening and Johnny and I bolted. We ran and ran until we couldn’t run anymore. Then we ran some more. Then we walked. We walked miles and miles through farmland and neighborhoods until we were just couldn’t go anymore. Sometime around midday the next day some strangers stopped us and coaxed us into a truck. We realized this was animal control and figured that it was better than where we were before so we decided to get off our feet for a while. After a few days at the animal control facility, the workers there didn’t have the necessary means to hold us much longer and placed a call to Farm Sanctuary in Acton, CA to ask if they would take Johnny and I. This is where things made a huge turn for us. Farm Sanctuary is the largest farm animal welfare group in the country and through a miracle picked us to come to their home. Johnny and I knew that from here on out were not going to become bacon and lamb chops or contribute to the number one killer of humans.
As we grew up at Farm Sanctuary I realized I was becoming a lot bigger than Johnny and needed some more space. It was at this time two people from Utah (wherever that is) representing Sage Mountain came to visit me. They said they had tons of space and would love for me to come and live there. After a few months, vet visits, and a short stay in Northern California, I was ready to take a road trip with my new girlfriend Wilma Jean to Utah. I won’t say much about Wilma Jean here as apparently she had a blog written about her a little bit ago. I’m still trying to wrap my big ears around this as I met the Sage Mountain team first and should have been the first blog. I will let it slide as to not hurt Wilma Jean’s feelings and not to mention I don’t want to upset her. She outweighs me by 100 lbs and can give me the business at anytime she so desires.
Since being here I have made new friends especially with Maggie the German Shepherd. She follows me around all day and won’t leave me alone. I have told her numerous times that I have a girlfriend but it doesn’t seem to stop her. I look forward to more animal friends arriving at Sage Mountain during the spring and summer months.
I get to wake up to amazing sunrises, lots of space, sometimes snow cover (still getting used to that), and usually Wilma Jean snuggled next to me. Here I explore, dig, chew, bathe, get muddy, get muddy some more, eat, sleep, receive belly rubs and treats, and am adored by my humans. I get to be a pig here and that’s all I ever wanted. I will continue to be a voice for all my animal friends out there and be the change I seek in this world.
By: Mandy Parry
Last year my 7 year old son came home from school looking dejected. He pulled out a worksheet he was given for homework. The instructions were to draw a line from the farm animal to the thing it “gives”. This week his 1st grade class was learning about farm animals. The curriculum didn’t bother to mention how the animals look, sound, think or live outside of exploitation. Instead it only focused on how a cow “gives” milk, a hen “gives” eggs and a pig “gives” pork. Give is a funny word to use because it’s as if the animal was asked and had first right of refusal or they have a choice in the matter. The reality is that they have no choice. These things are not only taken, the sentient beings they are taken from, endure a life of suffering..
I expected to run into a time when my son and I would have deep conversations about veganism but not in 1st grade. To my surprise he already understood what was wrong with these teachings. He’s been to farm sanctuaries and has a better understanding than I assumed he did. What a relief. He continued to bring home worksheets along the same lines. I was upset that this type of thinking was being ingrained into young minds. I went to the school and talked to his teacher but she didn’t see my concern. She went on to say this was standard curriculum from the district and she couldn’t change it if she wanted to. As disappointed as I was to hear that, I’m grateful this gave my son and I a chance to discuss farm life in greater detail.
My family and I became vegan a little over 2 years ago. My husband and I decided we didn’t want to contribute to violence against animals and we studied some amazing health benefits from plant-based diets. The switch was easy, but we worried how the kids would adjust. What I didn’t consider is how compassion in children is so innate. They get it better than most adults and before we knew it we had re-placed calf growth fluid (milk) with almond milk, cheese by delicious Follow Your Heart, and beans or lentils in place of meat. Contrary to some beliefs, we didn’t starve and in fact our pallets developed a new appreciation for foods we used to eat sparingly. Not only do we find ourselves getting sick less often, but our recovery time is quicker. Our kids come in contact with kids with viruses at school often and rarely do they contract the illness. Their immune systems kick ass! Same goes for working out and being athletic. My recovery time reduced though I’m getting older.
In my experience the most powerful tool to raising compassionate children is to lead by example. They watch as I volunteer at animal sanctuaries and rescues. They come with me when I go to protests. They see my passion and love for all beings. Even though we haven’t always been vegan we never supported animals used for entertainment. My husband and I never felt right going to circuses, zoos or aquariums so that wasn’t a shock for them. Now I watch as my children explain to others why we don’t support the animal entertainment industry. My daughter has a Dr. Suess book where a cartoon girl is riding a rhino. Each time we read it she says “Momma, it’s so sad that she’s riding that rhino. Animals don’t like to be treated like that”. My son comes home upset because kids were stepping on bugs at school and he couldn’t get them to stop. What so many adults are unable to see, children just know. I hope they never lose that. I want them to question everything and refrain from following the status quo.
I know there may come a time when they decide to step away from veganism. To say this possibility doesn’t terrify me would be a lie but I want them to find their own voice and passion for veganism. What I can do is be the example and hope what they have learned is what they already know in their hearts – compassion.
Another great tool for raising vegan kids is finding community. It can be lonely without it. I was amazed at the amount of support I found online and in my hometown. Our first discovery was Esther the Wonder Pig and Ziggy the Traveling Piggy. I was able to show my kids videos of beautiful animals living free from harm. We love watching the videos on The Dodo and Peta Kids has some great information too. We were able to find a community of local vegans that put on holiday parties, potlucks and meet-ups. Being around like-minded people with children that have answers to your questions and an understanding for the hardships you face is incredible. It’s one thing to go vegan yourself, but when it comes to raising vegan kids everyone has an opinion. I personally have extended family that thinks we’re “too extreme” because we don’t share their views on animal exploitation. It’s not always easy, but it is definitely worth it. It’s not even as close to difficult when you consider the challenges the animals face being raised for food.
For Christmas this year I have my eye on a few new books that teach about compassion. One of them is “V is for Vegan,” which goes through the alphabet giving the why’s and how’s of veganism. The other, “Santa’s First Vegan Christmas,” is a story about a fun-loving reindeer who meets Santa and shows him how we can all be kinder to animals. Kindness is a gift we can never give or get enough of.
“It is vital that when educating our children’s brains that we do not neglect to educate their hearts.”
By: Lauren Lockey
It was almost 1 year ago when I first met steer #152. It was the cool morning of October 2nd, 2015 which also happened to be the day known in the farmed animal rights movement called “Fast Against Slaughter.” It is one day to remember in solidarity the 9+ billion farmed animals slaughtered each year for human consumption. This figure does not include fish and other aquatic animals which is far greater. Meeting “Herman” made this day even more powerful because he is one of the lucky ones. My first time meeting Herman(below)
The US Department of Agriculture projects 90,000+ cattle are killed EACH DAY in the US for human consumption. Most beef cattle spend the first 4-6 months grazing in pastures. At roughly six months of age, calves are sent to livestock auctions where they are purchased and then “finished” for the next 4-6 months at a feedlot. Here they do not have much space to burn calories so the un-natural foods they feed on such as corn and soy enable them to reach the “market weight” of 1,200-1,400 pounds rather quickly. At roughly 12- 14 months of age they are transported without food and water to the packing plant. Quite often these distances are long and weather intense and as you can imagine, the animals are full of fear and exhausted by the time they arrive to slaughter. Yes this is morbid to think about but I urge you to imagine how these babies feel. I say babies because at 12-14 months they are still very young by the time they are “harvested.”
The average lifespan of a cow or steer is 18-22 years in a natural setting. Well two steers named Herman(aka #152) and Harry(aka #16) pulled on one particular rancher’s heart strings and have been given a chance at life. Herman(left) Harry (right)
As explained earlier, most cattle come and go because the cycle of the beef industry. However, Herman sparked my curiosity because he returned year after year. I had to call the owner of the property who we will name “Bill” and ask what the deal was.
“Well, Lauren, I have had him and one other for almost 3 years now.. Those two pulled on my heart strings and I just can’t bring myself to harvest them.”
I could not believe it! We spoke for a while and it wasn’t until December when I spoke to Bill again. I had not met Harry yet but knew Herman spent the winters down in Salt Lake. I called Bill and let him know that #152 is now named Herman and I was curious as to how he was doing. A day later I received a voice mail from Bill speaking as if he was Herman.
“Hi this is Herman. I just heard you called to check in on me and I wanted to let you know I am doing fine. I get lots of pats on my head every day and plenty of food and water. I hope to see you soon. Bye.”
It literally brought tears to my eyes because here is a guy fully involved in the industry but yet he does, underneath all of that, have a soft heart. Those are the attributes we must continue to bet on because you never know what the future brings. Another Rowdy Girl Sanctuary? Another Howard Lyman? With more science supporting the inefficiencies of our current food system and more money backing lab grown meat, I envision a time when all remaining lives will end up at sanctuaries.
Side note: No the planet will not be taken over by cattle because they will no longer be bred into the food industry!
Most cattle in the beef industry never feel kindness from human hands so they are extremely scared when one approaches them understandably. But next time you see cattle grazing notice the bonds they have formed within their groups and families. They build lasting friendships and protect eachother. Unfortunately that is taken away in a very short time. When innocent beings such as Herman and Harry are given a chance to trust and feel love from us they literally become big puppy dogs. Not kidding!
Herman and Harry are not only best buds but when I visit them, depending on their mood for the day, they come right up to me and love being showered with affection. Herman is a little more confident as Harry is shy but both as gentle as can be. They are no less deserving of love and respect than our family pets. When we open our hearts magic can happen.
By: Dave Swartz
I would have to say that the most asked question I get about Sage Mountain is “When are you getting some animals?” Since this is a hot topic, I would like to give an update on our facility and where we are in the process.
We currently have two shelters built (one mid-sized for pigs/sheep and one large shelter for cows.) We are also finishing up work on two chicken coops adjacent to the shelters. If you were at our last event at the High West Distillery you probably heard that we are currently looking for a fencing contractor. That is definitely our biggest concern right now in regards to opening our animal facility. I have been blown off by two fencing contractors this spring. One of them had me on the hook for two months before I finally had to move on. I just can’t understand how some people can run a business like that but apparently it is pretty common in the contracting world. Luckily, I have an appointment this Tuesday for someone to come and give an estimate and hopefully perform the fencing work. At this point if someone shows up, sober… well they don’t even have to be sober as long as they are on time and perform the quality work they say they will do, then they’re hired!
The next question I get asked quite frequently is how many animals will you have? The answer to that question is only a handful, perhaps 10 at most. There are number of reasons for having so few animals.
First, these are ambassador animals. With billions of farmed animals slaughtered every year, if we took in a million animals we would still be at a tiny fraction of one percent.
Second, we are so lucky to have such a beautiful place that is shared with so much wildlife. The number one cause of wildlife degradation is animal agriculture. We want to continue to share the land with the local wildlife and having loads of farmed animals will certainly take away from the wildlife.
Thirdly, taking care of farmed animals if very costly and time consuming. Remember that some of these animals in the agriculture industry only live for a few months to a year or two. At our facility these animals could live from 15 to 20 years. It will take lots of time and resources to give these animals the home they deserve.
Through our education and advocacy initiatives, we hope to change the way people view farmed animals and assist them with making the switch to a plant based diet that will better our planet, our health, and the animals we share this world with.
By: Courtney Pool (guest)
Hello Sage Mountain Friends!
My name is Courtney, I’m a vegan nutritionist and a recent Utah-returnee living in Cottonwood Heights. It’s a funny story how I got to do a guest blog here: Lauren was my yoga teacher years ago in Park City, before either of us were vegan. When I moved back here, I found vegan roommates, one of whom knew Lauren and Sage Mountain very well. Long story short, I got to see her again for the first time in 10 years and here I am on the blog. Also an FYI: I’ll be the speaker at Sage Mountain’s Thirsty First Thursday at Zest on July 7th!
I’ve been vegan for about 10 years, and working as a nutritionist specializing in vegan nutrition, juice cleansing and overcoming overeating for about 8 years now. It’s an online-based business and I do my consultations over the phone and Skype, which is wonderful because it allows me to have, in addition to local clients, global clients. And I love talking with people about veganism all around the world!
For this blog, I wanted to share some tips from the perspective of a longtime vegan that might be helpful for others. I hope you find it helpful!
1.Eat a healthy, well-rounded diet and minimal junk food.The vast majority of people who end up with nutritional deficiencies or claim they don’t feel as good on a vegan diet are often not getting enough healthy foods and are eating too much junk food. It can also be because there is not enough variety in the diet. Make sure you’re getting a wide array of veggies, fruits, beans, seaweeds, nuts, seeds, oils, etc.
2.Amass a solid list of favorite recipes/meals. Whether you consider yourself someone who likes cooking or not, you need to invest some time trying new recipes and new meals, and figuring out what you like best. When people tell me they don’t know what to eat now that they’re vegan, that tells me they haven’t gotten any vegan recipe books, haven’t googled any vegan recipes online, and haven’t played around in the kitchen. It is a process of trial and error where we need to try a bunch of things, some of which we will like and some of which we won’t, but it will give us some staples that we can return to again and again. And if you’re not big on being in the kitchen, that’s fine–there are plenty of “simple vegan recipes” and “quick vegan meal recipes” that we can google.
3.Find community with likeminded people.Look for people who are likeminded and share a similar desire for veganism. They can be found through meetup.com in your city, or they may be found in an area-specific Facebook group. It’s lovely to find a local friend that you can frequent vegan cafes with or have over to make a meal, but don’t underestimate the power of being connected to people online. Join some forums and groups, ask questions, connect with people there. Share your fears and your insecurities about veganism, ask for tips. People love to help!
4.Learn about all aspects of veganism.I’d say there are four main categories of truth about why veganism is the ethical, loving, and moral way to live: health/well-being, animals, environment, and other welfare of other humans. If you’re only familiar with the details about one or a few of these aspects but not all of them, educate yourself on all of them. The more you know the truth about all factors, the more you receive that truth into your heart, and you can get to a place whereby because you know the truth so thoroughly, you simply can’t not be vegan.
5.Work on your people-pleasing issues.One of the biggest challenges for most people in being vegan is the pressure they often feel to be “normal” and eat like other people eat. We can be susceptible to guilt-trips from others about us being difficult or high-maintenance, or we feel we don’t want to stand up for ourselves and what we need to take care of ourselves within our veganism. This is an issue that is unavoidable to work out if we’re going to stay vegan long-term. There cannot be any circumstance, any guilt-trip, any social climate that would cause us to cave and eat animal products, and the way that we’re going to create that is by working on the emotional reasons why we care what others think of us in this particular way. Don’t people-please with your eating.
6.Examine emotions that may create cravings.It doesn’t happen for everyone, but some people who have recently gone vegan will eventually face something internally that will cause them to be tempted to eat animal products. We’ve already discussed the people-pleasing related emotions that can cause this, but be aware of other ones too. They can be fears about it being unhealthy or apathy about the importance of vegan. Allow yourself to be self-reflective of feelings that may cause you to want to eat animal products.
I hope this helps! If you’re interested in chatting with me about the possibility of coaching, please visit my website -you can email me directly there! I’m also on all social media under my name.
A comprehensive article about everything on going vegan can be found here from our friends at Positive Health Wellness.
Your Vegan Grocery List
By: Lauren Lockey
Since making the choice to be vegan many years ago, my visits to the grocery store have become second nature. I know exactly what to buy! Of course I add a few new items here and there but the bulk of it stays relatively consistent. It wasn’t easy in the beginning though. I had already been vegetarian since age 11 but giving up dairy such as cheese pizza and cream in my coffee, six years ago, left me kicking and screaming! Dairy coffee creamer was the last thing to go but once making the switch I never looked back!
Changing any habit can be daunting and difficult. So whether you have eliminated animal products completely from your diet or have reduced your consumption, great job!!! Keep it up because you will not regret it!
Being vegan does not mean you have to break the bank or buy ALL Organic. Nor does it mean munching lettuce or preparing some elaborate meal that takes 2-3 hours. It’s actually quite simple and plant based foods are becoming more reasonable and mainstream. You WILL NOT feel deprived! You WILL feel strong, healthy, and satisfied!
For the vegan, vegetarian, “reducetarian,” or those who are contemplating taking this easy step, you will find a grocery list below of very basic items (and not so basic items) to keep stocked in your kitchen. You do not need to purchase everything you see listed! I wanted to offer a variety of my favorites! I put a star(*) next to items I feel are necessary staples. Certain foods obviously go bad so mix and match every few visits because it’s chalk full of delicious-ness!
Produce(seasonal fruits and veggies)
This would be the one section to buy organic IF you can! The best option is to head to your local farmer’s market because nothing tastes better! But do what you can. NO STRESS! Have fun here because with such a wide variety, you can’t go wrong. There are so many benefits to eating fruits and veggies!
- Sweet Potatoes*
- Purple Potatoes
- Spring Mix
- Red Cabbage
- Fresh Ginger
- Brussels Sprouts
Bulk Items/Dry Goods
- Flax Seeds(ground)*
- Chia Seeds(ground)
- Sunflower Seeds*
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Almond Butter*
- Peanut Butter
- Brown or Wild Rice*
- Oatmeal/Rolled Oats*
- Trail Mix
- Dried Cranberries*
- Almond Flour*
- Nutritional Yeast(someone needs to come up with new name!)*
- Dried Peas, Lentils, Beans*
- Whole Grain Pasta
- Whole Wheat Bread/Sprouted Bread*
Non Dairy(non dairy cheeses can be high in sodium so use sparingly!)
- Almond Milk (my favorite)*
- Soy/Almond/Coconut coffee creamer*
- Earth Balance “buttery spread”*
- Daiya shredded vegan cheese
- “Field Roast” Chao slices
- “Follow Your Heart” vegan cheese
- Make your own vegan cheese
Meat Substitutes (can be high in sodium so use sparingly!)
- “Beyond Meat Chicken Free Strips and Fiesta Crumble”
- “Field Roast Grain Sausages”
- Tofurky Oven Roasted Deli Slices
- Sesame Ginger Jack fruit
- “Lightlife” Tempeh*
- Firm or Baked Tofu*
- “Gardein” Fresh and Frozen Products*
- “Boca” Spicy Chik’n Patties
- “Sol Cuisine” Spicy Black Bean Burgers
- Acai Smoothie Packs
- Amy’s Frozen No Cheese Pizza*
- Coconut Ice Cream
- Frozen Mango Pieces
- Grapes(put in freezer for summer treat. Tastes like candy!)
- Frozen Veggies*
Canned Goods/Pantry Items
- Tomato Paste/Sauce*
- Diced Tomatoes
- Black Beans*
- Kidney Beans*
- Chick Peas*
- Amy’s Soups
- Vegetable Broth*
- Sweet Peas*
- Corn/Flour Tortillas*
- “Mary’s Gone Crackers”
- Sesame Rice Crackers
- “Fantastic World Foods Tofu Scrambler”
- Hibiscus Tea
- Braggs Aminos*
- Maple Syrup
- Minced Garlic*
- Coconut/Olive Oil (Use sparingly. Vegetable broth works great as substitute)*
- Apple Sauce*
- Balsamic Vinegar
- BBQ Sauce
- “Just Mayo”/”Vegenaise”*
- Sea Salt*
- Garlic Powder
- Chili Powder*
- Onion Powder*
- Lemon Pepper
- Curry Powder*
- Cayenne Pepper*
Short on Time??
Enjoy the journey as your eyes and taste buds discover a whole new world of foods even beyond the list above! That’s the beauty of embracing a vegan lifestyle. It never gets old and there is always something new on the horizon!
Dog Food For Thought
By: Dave Swartz
I was asked last week about my thoughts on feeding animal based foods to our pets. It’s an interesting question with a number of arguments to look at. Here was my initial thought: Since we rescued our two furry pups from an animal shelter, would more animals have to be killed to feed our rescued animals over their lifetimes? If this is the case would it have been better to not have rescued the dogs in the first place? After pondering these thoughts, I came to a conclusion.
In the scientific community there is a consensus that dogs are predominately carnivores and have all the traits and physiology to back that up. I would also agree that dogs are natural carnivores. However, to say that something is natural does not necessarily mean it is the best. For example, if someone handed me a tube of laboratory made food that didn’t harm any animals, our environment, or humans in its production and this product made me chronic disease proof, extended life expectancy, and made me as strong as an ox while tasting great, I’m pretty sure that I would consume it. This food would clearly not be “natural” to humans but it could be much better for us and the planet.
When it comes to dog nutrition if one believes animal agriculture is an environmental disaster not to mention an incredibly cruel industry then how does one justify feeding their dog food from that industry. Luckily there are a number of animal free pet foods on the market. Most of these brands also supplement their pet foods with amino acids that dogs should have in their diet such as Taurine and L Carnitine. I have found one brand in particular that both of our dogs can’t get enough of, Evolution Diet Food. I did some research to make sure that feeding dogs a meat free diet is in fact, safe and healthy. Interesting to find out that not only can dogs thrive on this unnatural diet but can far outlive their meat eating counterparts. Check out this article on the world record setting longest living dog.
I understand that some may disagree with me on this topic. Thankfully there will be another option in the coming years. Check out Modern Meadow and what could be the future of animal food.
The Tide Is Shifting For Non Human Animals
By: Lauren Lockey
Plant Based Muscle
By: Dave Swartz
Living in a town that is one of the endurance sports meccas of the country, one tends to see many fit people on a daily basis. I participate in many of these sporting activities including cross country skiing, trail running, mountain biking and road biking. Since Park City is in the mountains and these are human powered activities, going uphill is required. Due to that fact, I have always kept my weight down all year round as it tends to be easier to go uphill when you have less weight to carry. However, this fall/winter I wanted to try something different, weight lifting to gain weight. The idea was to gain 10 to 12 lbs of weight/muscle which is a lot of muscle when you only weigh 155 pounds. Since becoming vegetarian/vegan almost 18 years ago I have always stayed around the same weight, never fluctuating more than 5 pounds or so, however, within 6 weeks I had gained 10 lbs and noticed large gains in strength and muscle. All I was doing to achieve this was eating more plant based foods and weightlifting 1 hour per week. I always knew that one could gain weight/muscle on a vegan diet but never really tried it until now. I just couldn’t believe how quickly the results came. I have since leveled off my weight/ muscle gain as I still want be competitive in the endurance sports and didn’t think more weight would be beneficial. Don’t believe me? Here are some strength athletes that took it a bit further.