Experiments in Vegan Baking

After much debate, I ended up going home for Thanksgiving an official vegan, so what did this mean?  I got to experiment with vegan baking!  And to my amazement, it was delicious and completely indistinguishable from the regular type (aside from pumpkin pie, but that’s a whole different issue). vegan-cookies-invade-your-cookie-jar

I arrived home equipped with Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s highly-praised cookbook, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, and had a chance to try out several recipes.  The verdict: the recipes here are simple and fantastic, whether or not you are vegan.

Soymilk is the obvious substitute for dairy milk in baking, and Earth Balance’s “Vegan Buttery Spread” works just like butter or margarine.  But what about the eggs?

It turns out that different ingredients can be substituted for eggs based on what the eggs are used for in a specific recipe.  For instance:

  • Eggs used for moistening might be substituted with applesauce, banana, or oil.
  • Eggs used for binding can be substituted with various starches
  • Eggs used for rising can be substituted with baking powder

And in recipes written without eggs, the absence was unnoticeable. cowboy-cookies-023

Some recipes my family tried over break included desserts from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, including Cowboy Cookies, Cherry Almond Cookies (we added chocolate chips to these), and brownies.  All were among the best cookies I’ve ever tasted, and I spent four months baking professionally this summer.

We also tried pumpkin muffins, apple muffins, and pumpkin pie.

 

The muffins were both heavenly, and I’ll never assume muffins need eggs again.  The pumpkin pie, however, was not great.  Since pumpkin pie is so heavily egg-based, vegan recipes require using large amounts of cashews, tofu, or avocado, depending on the recipe.  I tried a cashew version, and next time I think I’ll use tofu.  However, the problem could also be that I grew up on the Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe, so anything besides that tastes strange to me.  The same is true of most brownies—I always ate brownies from the boxed mix. brownies

What does this mean?  It’s time for Christmas recipe experimentation!  I will never again assume that eggs or dairy are necessary for baking, but it may take some finesse to duplicate the Christmas recipes that have been a tradition in my family since my mother was growing up.

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Everyday Waste Reduction

Small changes add up.  My favorite example of this is the Celestial Seasonings tea company—when the factory started producing tea bags without the little strings and tags attached, it prevented 3.5 million pounds of waste from entering landfills every year.  That’s huge!

Here are a few of the small, painless ways to reduce your food-related waste on a day-to-day basis.  Oftentimes these changes will end up benefiting (rather than restricting) your shopping and eating routines.

Grocery Shopping

  • Invest in a reusable grocery bag.  In addition to being environmentally friendly, these bags are much sturdier than paper or plastic, which means they’re more portable and less likely to rip at inconvenient times.
  • Don’t use bags for your fresh produce.  You don’t really need the extra plastic, since (hopefully) you’ll wash the fruits and veggies before eating them anyway.
  • Buy in bulk, and especially avoid individually-packaged foods.
  • Look for recyclable packaging as much as possible.
  • Avoid double-packaged foods (some cereals are available in bags without the additional boxes, which means less than half the waste).

Cafes

  • If reusable cups aren’t available, bring your own mug.  Otherwise you’d be throwing away a cup, a lid, and a beverage sleeve or straw.  As an additional perk, many cafes now offer a discount for patrons using travel mugs.
  • Don’t take a straw if you aren’t given one.
  • Avoid Styrofoam at all costs.  It takes ages to decay, and the production of Styrofoam releases CFCs into the atmosphere, which destroy our ozone (not good!).

Eating Out

  • If only bottled drinks are available, bring your own water bottle.
  • Don’t use paper napkins from a dispenser.  When I started eating regularly in my college dining hall, I stopped using napkins altogether.  If you absolutely need one, have a cloth napkin handy for drive-throughs and fast-food places.

At Home

  • Stop using paper towels.  My family stopped buying paper towels several years ago, replacing them instead with rags and sponges.  I haven’t missed them once; it’s a much easier sacrifice than you might imagine.
  • Save containers from things like hummus and cream cheese—anything with a nice snap-on lid.  They work just like Tupperware containers, except they’re free.
  • Also, save jars from peanut butter and jelly and pasta sauce.  These are excellent for growing sprouts, storing items like dried beans and rice, or organizing craft supplies.

Leave a comment if you have any additional ideas for reducing waste!

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Why Vegan? Or, the Hidden Horrors of the Dairy and Egg Industries

First of all, I want to emphasize the fact that I don’t have a problem with eating milk and eggs when they come from an extremely responsible, kind, animal-conscious farm.  The truth is that humans and animals have co-evolved over thousands of years, and the domestication of livestock is a genetic change that we cannot undo.  In fact, my eventual goal might include owning chickens of my own, provided I have enough land.

However, farms like these are incredibly rare.  Before reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals, I was under the mistaken impression that “cage-free” and “free-range” labels indicated that the products had come from those idyllic farms that still exist here and there in the western states.  I volunteered at one once, and always enjoyed seeing the chickens (more of family pets than farm animals) scratching around in the dirt.  The family always had to hunt around for eggs, because the chickens laid them wherever they wanted.

But farms like these only account for a tiny percentage of free-range and cage-free operations.

What does the truth look like?  It’s not pretty.

Chickens and Eggs

As I was horrified to learn, chickens raised for egg production are probably the most abused animals in the whole factory farm industry.  They’re stuffed into wire cages, five to ten in a space about the size of a filing cabinet; some countries in the UK have banned these “battery cages,” but the US is woefully behind on factory farm regulation.

Hens kept in such cramped conditions are sickly and often develop psychoses.  To prevent behaviors such as pecking and cannibalism, the hens’ beaks are chopped off without the use of anesthesia.  The pain of a missing beak can become chronic and plague the hens for the rest of their miserable lives.  Even “cage-free” and “free-range” hens are often de-beaked and crammed into dark, overcrowded sheds.

Even more distressing for a vegetarian to learn, the egg industry kills just as many animals as the meat industry, except in this situation the meat is completely wasted.  When chicks are hatched for egg-laying, half of them are inevitably male.  The chickens bred for meat and for egg-laying are completely different, so the male egg-layers are “useless.”  Most of them are killed right after their sex is determined.  How do you dispose of useless chicks?  Suffocate them or throw them into a high-speed grinder.  It’s a heartbreaking image.

Cows and Milk

While it’s true that cows have evolved over hundreds of years to produce more milk than necessary to feed their offspring, factory farms exploit that overproduction to the detriment of the cows.

In order for a cow to be constantly producing as much milk as possible, that cow needs to give birth frequently.  Cows are artificially inseminated and give birth once a year until they are too worn out to remain profitable, at which point they’re sent to the slaughterhouse.

Of course, the greedy dairy industry doesn’t want to waste milk on feeding the calves.  The babies are taken immediately from their mothers, and many are killed right away.  The ones that survive are locked in cruel crates to keep their flesh white for veal.  And once again, the dairy industry is responsible for countless deaths that are dismissed as “byproducts.”

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I felt immensely guilty after learning the truth of the egg and dairy industries.  Without knowing it, I’ve been paying for sweet, fluffy little chicks to be thrown in grinders and calves to be tortured.

But that’s how factory farming works—it keeps consumers in the dark.  People don’t want to know the truth, because they know it’s disturbing.  And farms use that excuse to keep torturing the animals they sell en masse.

That, in short, is why I want to become vegan.

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The Vegan Trial: Three-Week Check-in

Three weeks have passed since I signed PETA’s pledge to become vegan for a month.  In that short time I’ve begun thinking about veganism in a radically different way, and I’ve already gone through most of the lifestyle overhaul that I had hoped to accomplish.  Best of all, my cravings for baked goods have almost vanished.  When I look at baked goods now, all I can think about is how many eggs or dairy products they required.  So, although I’ve had a couple slip-ups (while eating out), this vegan trial has proved more successful than I imagined possible.

I signed the PETA pledge on a whim, so at that point I hadn’t thought ahead whatsoever.  When I made that choice, it seemed a bit like making good on a dare—it was risky, and I was completely unprepared.

But after I started reading about vegan cooking and lifestyle choices, and after I integrated vegan supplements into my diet, I discovered that veganism isn’t very difficult after all.  Along the way I learned a few important nutrition pointers that I should have taken into account as a vegetarian, so overall I think my diet is healthier than ever.

At the beginning, it was torture to walk past the bakeries in the mall.  When I smelled the fresh cookies and bread, all I could think of was how much I’d lost.  Cheese has proved a much smaller sacrifice than I imagined, mostly because of the nutritional yeast flakes I discovered.  My favorite part about cheese was the creamy texture, and the yeast flakes are even better than cheese, because they don’t add any fat to a dish.

Now, three weeks later, I’m starting to think like a vegan.  While the bakeries still smell good, I’m no longer painfully tempted by the fresh baked goods.  The moral burden of eating animal products has begun to outweigh my sensory enjoyment of these foods.  And I’ve been exploring vegan cookbooks, only to realize that there are hundreds of recipes for baked vegan desserts that are indistinguishable from their non-vegan counterparts (and don’t require strange substitutions).

My original plan was to return to normal eating while at home for the holidays.  After all, most of my favorite comfort foods involve eggs, milk, or cheese.  But now I feel guilty just thinking of eating that many animal products, and I dread the moral dilemmas that will come along with holiday food.  I still plan to eat certain foods, since I’m in the process of transitioning towards veganism, but I don’t want to drink milk with dinner or eat ice cream for dessert.  I still have five weeks to decide whether I’ll come clean to my family before Thanksgiving.

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Eating Out Vegan

The past three days have been an experiment in vegan restaurant dining.  As an added challenge, the people I was eating with had no idea I was keeping a vegan diet, so I tried to be subtle.  My relative success proves one point: as a vegetarian, taking the additional step to veganism is neither conspicuous nor overly difficult.

One disclaimer: I say relative success because I accepted before the weekend began that I might accidentally break my month-long veganism.  The one thing I hate even more than eating foods that caused suffering is wasting good food that would be thrown out otherwise, so when a pasta dish I ordered had a bit of cheese sneaked in, I said nothing and enjoyed it (with a seasoning of regret—this is the first time I’ve broken my strict veganism in three weeks).

The first night out, we found a vegan Thai restaurant, where the entire menu was fair game.  Since I originally shunned meat because I dislike the flavor and texture, I avoided the faux-meat entries (which, according to reviews, are extraordinarily convincing) and instead went for the tofu dishes.  Everything was superb.

The biggest lesson I learned this weekend is that Asian cuisine has the most exciting variety of vegan foods anywhere.  Tofu is prevalent as a meat substitute, and the sauces don’t depend on cheese to lend richness and depth of flavor.  Some Asian restaurants are fond of putting fish sauce in everything, and others use egg noodles in certain dishes, so strict vegans should ask before ordering anything.

Baked desserts are the only foods that offer no compromise.  Every conventional baked dessert I encountered (except the carrot cake at the vegan Thai restaurant) was made with animal products; so are English muffins, as I learned too late.  In other words, I just had to say no to baked desserts.  I was sorely tempted by the gelatos in the Italian district, but otherwise it was fairly easy to turn down pastries and cakes in favor of vegan Taza chocolates and soy lattes.

Basically, I was able to order more or less exactly what I wanted, with just a few key substitutions. 

  • For breakfast, I had peanut butter instead of cream cheese on my bagel.  (Note: some bagels are coated with egg washes to make them extra shiny.  In the future I’ll investigate companies that are guaranteed vegan).
  • As usual, I asked for soy lattes instead of the regular kind.  (Even the small independent coffee shops have this option readily available).
  • At California Pizza Kitchen, I had to order a salad instead of a pizza.  Of course, I got such a delicious grilled vegetable salad that I didn’t even miss the pizza.
  • When visiting a Lindt chocolate store, I had to look very carefully at the ingredients of the chocolates to find a dark chocolate bar that didn’t contain any dairy.  The classic truffles all contain milk.

Though I had a few accidental slip-ups, I made it through the most difficult new experience as a vegan without feeling that I was missing anything.  To my amazement, I wasn’t even jealous as I watched my friends eat the pizza I couldn’t touch.

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PerfectWorld Profile: TAZA Chocolate

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Eating Healthy, Eating Organic

Unlike other food labels (“all-natural,” “100% real ingredients”), which mean next to nothing, “organic” is a regulated term that guarantees a product.

Organic foods, very simply, don’t include any nasty chemicals.  This means they are grown without pesticides or fertilizers, and are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical additives.

More people should be concerned about these chemicals.  After being sprayed with chemicals throughout its life, a plant has absorbed a high level of toxins that cannot be washed off (or even peeled off, as in the case with apples).  These chemicals pose a danger both to personal health and environmental well-being.  As an agricultural byproduct, pesticides and fertilizers pollute the soil and inevitably drain into rivers, where they contaminate the entire water system.  And high levels of toxins in our bodies can lead to cancer and many other health risks.

If I had unlimited money to spend on food (and if I lived close enough to the grocery store to go shopping every day), I would buy everything organic.  But luckily the Environmental Working Group has published two lists to help people avoid the risks of pesticides.  The first, known as the “Dirty Dozen,” includes produce that has been so contaminated that it should be avoided unless it’s organic.  The second, the “Clean Fifteen,” is a list of produce that isn’t much of a problem even when it’s conventionally grown.

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Here are the lists:

The Dirty Dozen

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Sweet bell peppers
  4. Peaches
  5. Strawberries
  6. Imported nectarines
  7. Grapes
  8. Spinach
  9. Lettuce
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Domestic blueberries
  12. Potatoes
  13. (green beans and kale are also high in pesticides)

Unfortunately, many of these fruits and vegetables are already foods I don’t get enough of.  Should I pass up an opportunity to eat nutrient-rich blueberries or spinach because they’re not organic, or do the health benefits outweigh the costs of consuming pesticides?  Sadly, there’s no correct answer to this puzzle.

The Clean Fifteen

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Cabbage
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Eggplant
  10. Kiwis
  11. Cantaloupe
  12. Sweet potatoes
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Watermelon
  15. Mushrooms
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A Vegan Shopping Trip

About a week ago, when I wasn’t completely committed to my month-long veganism, I was browsing in the bookstore and happened across Victoria Moran’s Main Street Vegan.  I bought it and started reading, and immediately decided to take this change seriously.  I would recommend the book for anyone considering veganism—it’s full of helpful tips for eating and living vegan, and maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle; in addition, it contains plenty of information on the horrors of animal agriculture.

The most important thing I learned was that veganism meant adding certain elements to my diet, not just taking away those wonderful dairy products that I love so much.  It’s been a week since my vegan shopping trip, and already I’m looking forward to each meal as a new, delicious experiment.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a college student, which means I have a small budget, limited cooking facilities, terrible dorm food, and (this year, for the first time) no refrigerator.  For the past several years of college, I’ve lived off flavorless salad bar pickings and microwaved couscous.  But this year is different.  Somehow, in a strange, counterintuitive way, adding restrictions to my diet seems to have opened up a whole world of new possibilities.

After consulting Main Street Vegan, I came up with a list of vegan essentials and headed over to Whole Foods.  I like to shop cheap, organic, and in bulk (to reduce packaging).  Here are a few of the basics, which any vegan should have at hand:

New Vegan Foods (some of these I’d never heard of before this shopping trip…)

  • Vitamin B12this is only found in animal products and vegan-specific foods, where it’s added as a supplement.  A chronic lack of this vitamin can lead to a life-threatening disease, so it’s crucial that vegans find a source.  I bought Vitamin B12 supplement tablets, but I discovered that it’s also added to several of the other vegan staples I found.
  • Nutritional Yeast Flakes—these are enriched with Vitamin B12, and they dissolve in a small amount of liquid to make a wonderfully creamy, cheesy sauce.  One small container goes a long, long way, and since I bought them I’ve been sprinkling them on practically everything.
  • Powdered Vanilla Rice Milk—since I don’t have a fridge, I had already been suffering for the lack of milk on my cereal, so I decided to give this powder a try even though I was a bit skeptical.  Well, it turns out that the rice milk tastes rich and delicious, and it turns an ordinary bowl of cereal into a luscious treat.  I was especially pleased with this, because I got 25 servings (double that for the amount I use in cereal) in a single cheap bag.  That’s a lot less expensive and wasteful than buying cartons of soymilk.
  • Brad’s Raw Leafy Kale—something I noticed on the way to the cashier.  This kale is vegan and uncooked, but it tastes and crunches like cheddar chips.  It’s so delicious and addictive that I’m afraid to buy it again, because it disappeared almost at once.

Regular Staples of a Vegan Kitchen

  • Whole wheat couscous—choose whatever whole grain food you like best; I prefer couscous because I can buy a box with close to 30 servings for hardly anything, and couscous can be microwaved to perfection in less than five minutes.  I also bought whole wheat pasta and brown rice, but note that the rice will take longer to cook than its white counterpart.
  • Soy Sauce/Miso—getting a low-sodium variety is best, but soy sauce is excellent to have on hand.  It makes a perfect flavoring for stir-fries, though I’ve been known to add it to almost any savory dish.  Miso is a soup base, and my equivalent of a quick sandwich is a bowl of whole wheat pasta in miso soup.
  • Sesame Oil—add just a dash of this to any soy-sauce dish, and the flavor will instantly pop.  One of my all-time favorite childhood recipes was a tofu-carrot scramble cooked in soy sauce and sesame oil.
  • Onions—very cheap and easy to store, these are a great flavor addition to any vegetable dish.  Since I’m cooking for just one person, I bought a bag of small onions, each of which is the perfect size for one serving of a dish.
  • Potatoes—again, an easy-to-store vegetable that offers plenty of creativity when you think beyond the standard chips, fries, and mashed variety.  I learned recently that potatoes can be microwave-baked in about five minutes; they can also be added to soups and stir-fries, or mashed with water and nutritional yeast flakes for a delicious cheesy flavor.
  • Peanut Butter—vegans should definitely have some sort of nuts and seeds on hand, and peanut butter happens to be the cheapest (and the easiest not to overindulge in).  I love roasted almonds and especially pecans, but I can afford to buy them only as a treat.
  • Oranges, Apples, Peaches, and Pears—these fruits keep for a while without refrigeration, so they’re handy to have around.  Vegans (and everyone) should be eating plenty of fruit every day!
  • Bananas—one of my favorite fruits.  Melted peanut butter stirred with banana slices (and a drizzle of maple syrup, if you have a sweet tooth) makes an excellent treat.
  • Other Fruits—berries are the most nutritionally outstanding fruits around, but for my purposes they’re a bit expensive and don’t store well at room temperature.  I’ll buy a small box of raspberries or blueberries whenever I go grocery shopping, and eat it later that day.
  • Vegan Cereal—I made the mistake of buying cereal without checking for honey, only to realize that most of it isn’t actually vegan.  So I’ll wait until the month is over to eat that.
  • Oatmeal—the standard oatmeal with brown sugar is great for cold mornings; to make it extra special, I sometimes like adding pecans, cinnamon, that new rice milk powder, and dried cranberries or raisins.
  • Dijon Mustard—this makes an excellent stir-in for all sorts of dishes, from mashed potatoes to seasoned rice.
  • Dried lentils—these take longer to cook than the canned variety, but they’re cheaper, use less packaging, and don’t need to be refrigerated after opening.  The variety I found takes the same amount of time to cook as brown rice, so I’ll mix the two in one pot and get double the nutrients.

And just for fun…

  • Windowsill Basil Plant—I noticed this in the produce section, and it was too pretty to pass up.  I have a west-facing dorm window, so this cute little plant can soak up five hours of direct sunlight every day even though I’m living fourteen stories above a big city.  I’ve started adding basil to almost everything, and it’s a great treat.
  • Acorn Squash—I picked this up at the farmers’ market recently; it stores for a long time at room temperature, so I’ll be experimenting with cooking it very soon.
  • Farmers’ Market Goodies—whenever I go to the farmer’s market, I’ll buy any fruits and vegetables that catch my eye, provided I can cook them within the next two or three days.  This has led to a variety of delicious and original meals, and I’ll never grow bored as long as the harvest season lasts.
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The Vegan Trial

In addition to creating a set of guidelines for perfect world eating, I will be chronicling my personal project: a month-long vegan diet that will hopefully change the way I eat forever. Image

A few days ago, I decided to try out veganism for a month.  I don’t want to promise absolute veganism forever, but I would like to cut most animal products out of my life, unless they come from a reliably ethical provider.  Maybe someday I’ll keep a cow and a few chickens of my own, but until then I’m wary of buying animal products.

Until very recently, I defended my vegetarianism with vague ethics, saying that I could never become a vegan—it would be too difficult to give up the milk, eggs, ice cream, yogurt, and especially cheese that I loved.  Then I read Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals (an excellent book), and I could no longer ignore the horrors of the egg and dairy industries.

Several weeks passed, and without intending to do so, I started browsing around PETA’s website and signed a month-long agreement to go vegan.  It was done on a whim, but I’m already convinced that I made a good decision.  If I can use this month to learn more about vegan living—what foods to buy and avoid, how to get the proper nutrients, and how to cook delicious meals without relying on animal products—I will be ready to cut these foods almost entirely out of my diet.

So, what am I giving up?                                            Image

  • Cheese—this is going to be the hardest, I expect, apart from the hidden ingredients of baked goods.  Cheese is actually addictive, which explains why I love it so much.
  • Milk—I generally don’t use milk except on cereal, so substituting it with rice milk is an easy choice (my favorite non-dairy milk is hazelnut—it’s deliciously rich and smooth)

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Desserts—since milk, butter, and eggs are concealed in most desserts, from baked goods to chocolates (except pure dark chocolate), I will have to forego all desserts for the month.  I adore dessert, so this will be a huge challenge.

Eggs—these are a special-occasion food, so I just have to make sure I get the nutrients that they provide (vitamin B-12)

 

  • Honey—I want to do this vegan thing right, so for now I’m putting honey in the animal-products category.  This might change as I do more research.
  • Yogurt and ice cream
  • Chai lattes and hot chocolate—I was very disappointed about this until I discovered that soy lattes taste just as good as the regular kind.
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Why I Became a Vegetarian

There are hundreds of reasons why the meat industry is problematic.  Most people are either unaware of these or pretend ignorance, because thinking about industrially farmed meat is disturbing.  Obviously the easiest way to avoid these problems is to give up meat altogether.  It gives you a clean conscience and a healthier lifestyle.

That wasn’t why I became a vegetarian.

I first gave up meat because I didn’t like the taste.  I grew up eating chicken a few nights a week, and went through a phase of loving baby-back ribs when I was about ten, but meat always had a very small role in my diet.  As I grew older, I became a pickier eater, and the texture of meat began to disgust me.  So I stopped eating it, unless it was directly served to me.  I resisted giving up meat altogether, because I didn’t want to become one of those better-than-thou vegetarians, the kind that sneer at people who enjoy meat and take pleasure in being difficult at restaurants and dinner parties.

When I officially decided to call myself a vegetarian, I was joining my mother and sister in a decision that had been a long time in coming.  They had noticed my avoidance of meat, and realized that we had no reason to continue including it in our diet.

Now I feel good about myself for cutting meat out of my diet, but I would be a hypocrite to scorn omnivores, because I don’t have the willpower to give up anything I truly love.  Cheese, milk, ice cream, eggs—these come to stores with a footnote of animal suffering, and I know as much, but I can’t give them up outright.

Even so, I can’t discount the accumulated benefit of small changes over a lifetime.  Becoming a vegetarian—or even cutting down on meat consumption—is positive in so many ways.

The benefits of going vegetarian:

  • The meat industry is one of the biggest polluters, worse than any form of transportation.  By cutting out meat, people can significantly reduce the CO2 emissions they contribute to.
  • One person giving up meat for a long period of time will save thousands of animals from unnecessary torture, suffering, and death.
  • Factory farms concentrate huge amounts of animals in small spaces, and these animals produce a ton of fecal matter.  This waste is left in toxic sludge pits that contaminate the land and spread disease to anyone living nearby.  People who give up meat are no longer paying companies that use sloppy and dangerous practices like this.
  • Eating a well-planned vegetarian diet can help prevent illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes.
  • Bacterial contamination inevitably happens during meat processing, so avoiding meat protects you from potentially life-threatening sicknesses that can result from eating unclean meat.
  • Finally, avoiding meat allows more people to be fed with less damage to the land, because instead of channeling a huge percentage of our crops to animal feed, we can use it for our own food.

According to PETA, I’ve already saved 560 animals in the two years I’ve been vegetarian.  Of course, that’s a huge overestimation given how little meat I ate to begin with, but imagine what it would mean if more people made this choice.  For someone who eats meat regularly, giving it up will save over 16,000 animals and more than 190,000 pounds of CO2 in a lifetime.  That’s huge.

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