eric

October is World Vegetarian Month

Not that we need a specific month to be or become vegetarian, but if we did…October would be that month.  October 1st has been designated by the North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS) as World Vegetarian Day and the entire month is dedicated to vegetarian awareness and eductation.

Even if you’re not a vegetarian or never plan on becoming one, reducing your intake of meat will make big impacts on your health, the health of the planet and the lives of animals worldwide.

NAVS has a specific page dedicated to non-vegetarians.  Since our mission at wannaveg is to encourage meat-eaters to go vegetarian one day a week, I thought it would be good to list their ideas.

Eat meat-free for the day or throughout the month
Learn how a vegetarian diet can benefit you personally
Try the meatless options available at local restaurants and eateries
Discuss vegetarianism with your interested friends, family and co-workers
Host a meatless meal or potluck for your friends
Eat meatless meals on a regular basis

To find out more information on World Vegetarian Day/Month, check out NAVS webite.  There you can find out how to organize an event, attend an event or just go it alone.  No matter what your decision, try going veg for the month of October!  It’s easier and tastier than ever to adopt a veg diet…even one day a week.

eric

Go Vegetarian To Save Money?

lettuce.jpg

I woke up this morning, powered on my computer and found today’s story staring right at me on the MSN homepage (I know, pretty boring of me to have MSN as my homepage, especially because I don’t use anything Microsoft on my home computer…but I like MSN!). It’s rare that this happens. This article from MSN money explores the financial benefits of adopting a vegetarian diet. Even if you adopt it one day a week!

The article explores how much cheaper vegetarian proteins are compared to meat.

Most of the staples of a vegetarian diet are cheap. In fact, most of the world’s people eat a mostly vegetarian diet made up of inexpensive commodities such as beans, rice and corn. If you drop red meat, poultry and fish from your diet, you’ll find plant proteins cheaper than the equivalent amount of animal protein.

Here are a few practical tips on how to save money with a vegetarian or mostly vegetarian diet:

  • If you include an occasional piece of flesh (of whatever kind) in your diet, try to limit yourself to four or five ounces, which is about the size of a deck of cards.
  • If you want to buy private life insurance, wait until you’ve been on a vegetarian diet long enough to improve your key health indicators (body mass index, cholesterol, etc.). It could save you thousands of dollars when an insurer reviews the results of your physical.
  • Buy vegetable protein in bulk. Dried beans, rice, oatmeal and other similar commodities last a long time if properly stored, and they are far cheaper in larger quantities.
  • If you get discouraged by the blandness of a vegetarian diet, buy cookbooks that explore Indian, Malaysian, Chinese or South American cuisines. Mixing novel spices and ingredients may perk up your taste buds and make the transition easier.
  • If you can’t afford or prefer not to buy organic produce, remember that most experts think the nutritional benefits of eating conventionally grown fruits and vegetables outweigh the possible negative effects of pesticide residues.

Read the whole article at MSN Money.

Also on MSN…Is a Vegetarian Diet Healthier?

eric

Veg Product Guide

In the past I’ve featured some of my favorite meat substitues (great for the grill). Today, I discovered this excellent resource that gives alternatives to all kinds of products and food made from animals.  They even include pet food!

Vegan and Vegetarian Products Guide

meat_is_murder.jpg

By now we all know that animal agriculture places an enormous strain on our planet. Between greenhouse gases, pollution, deforestion, soil erosion, cruelty, the list goes on…we have a very compelling reason to go vegetarian, even one day a week. Check out this statistic found by Akifumi Ogino of the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Tsukuba, Japan.

A kilogram of (…conventionally farmed…) beef is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution than driving for 3 hours while leaving all the lights on back home.

Now consider the impact of going vegetarian just one day a week. By making this simple change in the way you eat, over the course of a year you will save 15kg (35lbs) of meat. Based on Mr. Ogino’s research, that’s like driving a car for 45 hours and leaving all the lights on in your home at the same time…more time than a standard work week! This is a pretty easy thing to do and our planet (and every living being on it) will appreciate it.

A kilogram of beef is responsible for the equivalent of the amount of CO2 emitted by the average European car every 250 kilometres, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days.

On the days that you choose to eat meat, consider eating grass-fed beef. A 2003 Swedish study showed that organic beef, raised on grass rather than concentrated feed, emits 40 per cent less greenhouse gases and consumes 85 per cent less energy.

For more information, check out the NewScientist article.

eric

A Vegetarian Battle

While reading through my daily news I found this article that told a story of a woman who struggles with vegetarianism.   When she first went to college she used vegetarianism as a way to cover up her eating disorder.   This is an unfortunate reality for some so called “vegetarians” that perpetuate a stereotype that vegetarians are sickly and frail.

After college she struggles to not become a “weirdo” vegetarian that no-one likes to have over for dinner, and everyone talks about.  In the end she struggles with her humanity and her conflict around the moral issue of eating animals.

I think many on again - off again (and consistent) vegetarians have these or similar struggles.   This article really does a good job bringing them to light.

Read the story here. (msn)

eric

The Meat Powered Bicycle

a guy drinking gasThe bicycle is a fantastic piece of human invention. It represents simplicity, freedom, reliability and an economical way to get from point A to point B. Worldwide it reigns supreme as the most common form of personal transportation and estimates show there to be almost 1 billion of them around. Besides walking, bicycles are the most environmentally friendly way to get around. They produce no emissions (maybe a little more CO2 from heavy breathing while going up hills), and the fuel needed to power them comes from the people riding them.

You may see where this is going….If the “fuel” powering the person riding the bike consists mostly of meat, the environmentally friendliness factor goes down quite a bit depending on how much meat the rider eats and where the meat comes from (local vs. distance).

It is actually quite astounding how much energy is wasted by the standard American diet-style. Even driving many gas-guzzling luxury cars can conserve energy over walking — that is, when the calories you burn walking come from the standard American diet! This is because the energy needed to produce the food you would burn in walking a given distance is greater than the energy needed to fuel your car to travel the same distance, assuming that the car gets 24 miles per gallon or better. (1)

So what does all this mean?

It means that the amount of gas you use isn’t just related to how you get from place to place, it’s also related to what you eat. Meatless diets require half as much fuel to produce than the standard American diet. Pimentel calculated that if the entire world ate the way the U.S. does, the planet’s entire petroleum reserves would be exhausted in 13 years. The typical American could save almost as much gas by going vegetarian as by not driving. (2)

So, fine….I’m not going to walk, what about the bike?

The same is not true of bicycling vs. driving, because bicycling is more than twice as efficient as walking (calories consumed per distance traveled) — bicycling uses less fossil energy than driving even if the cyclist were eating nothing but beef. But to focus on this misses the point. It’s no bombshell that cycling uses less fossil energy than driving. What’s important is that meat-eaters use twice as much fossil energy as pure vegetarians — whether they’re bicycling or not. (3)

While bicycling and walking may reduce tailpipe emissions, overall if your diet is “meat heavy” you are using twice as much energy just reading this post. On the most basic level, it’s actually better to be a vegetarian that drives a Chevy Tahoe, than to be a meat eater that bikes or walks everywhere. Even going vegetarian one day a week has a pretty good impact to reducing fossil fuel consumption. And while I’m not advocating that vegetarians run out and buy Hummers and meat eaters throw their bikes away, I am trying to demonstrate in real terms the impact of what a meat centered diet has on our environment.

(1,2,3) These quotes are excerpted from “Bicycling Wastes Gas?” by Michael Bluejay for more detailed information, including the research on how this was calculated, please visit his website above.

On my journey to find new and exciting information to present to you, our wonderful readers, I found this ebook that has a boatload of information about vegetarianism. The book was written by Rudy Hadisentosa at veggie123.com and I must say it’s an impressive read and it’s obvious that Rudy put in a ton of time researching and writing it (FYI, it’s 205 pages).  I particularly liked the chapter on the history of vegetarianism, the part on Dr. Kellogg was pretty weird, and the chapter on parasites was interesting.  

As an aside, there’s a special place in my heart for parasites (no, not Heartworms)… during my high school years I worked part-time for a veterinarian and part of my job was to check "samples."  My coworkers would pile them up (no pun intended) for me during the day and when I got to work, after school, I would spend the first 45 minutes or so preparing and examining these samples.  Needless to say this wasn’t my favorite part of the job (it was a close second behind cleaning cages out), but it did expose me to the world beneath the microscope, which I found interesting. 

Anyway, back to the book.  If you’re going vegetarian full time or one day a week, I think you will find the book to be a good reference tool.  At the very least it’s a fun read.  You can download the .pdf below or at veggie123.com.

How to Become a Vegetarian

eric

Veg BBQ Tips

grilled veggies

With Summer upon us, the season for the traditional backyard BBQ is in full swing. If you’re a vegetarian (or on your veg day), never fear…here are some tips to make your BBQ experience deliciously enjoyable.

  • A clean grill is a happy grill- If sharing a BBQ with meat eaters, some vegetarians are not too keen on having their veggie burger or dog tossed on a piece of old meat. It doesn’t need to be spotless, but it’s the thought that counts. A separate “veg section” will help to keep things in order and apart. Also, this will help with the next step.
  • Use a little oil or cooking spray- Besides the fact that mock meats and vegetables are meatless, they also have very little fat and oils in them. This is good for your belly…but the grill doesn’t like it. To prevent sticking, start with a cool grill, use a paper towel and some oil to wipe the grill, or you can use a bit of cooking spray (just make sure the grill is turned off or you’ll create a miniature volcano on the patio).
  • Keep your utensils clean- To helps spread contamination between raw and cooked foods….especially meats.
  • Make sure your mock meat is grill-able- Some are…some aren’t.
  • Don’t forget about the sides- potato salad, pasta salad, grilled veggies, cole slaw, etc. These are what make a BBQ.

Here are some quick and easy no-recipe, recipes that both vegheads and carni’s will enjoy.

pineapple rings
(sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar)
portobello mushrooms
(brush with oil or marinated in vinegar and garlic and serve like a veggie burger with all the condiments)
sweet potatoes or yams
(wrap in foil, or, slice in half, pre-bake, brush with maple syrup for extra sweetness and grill)
asparagus
(soak in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling)
corn on the cob
(pull the husk back, but don’t remove it (use it as a handle), wrap the opened end with a little aluminum foil and turn frequently)
apples
(slice in half and sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar or drizzle with maple syrup)

For more elaborate, delicious sounding vegetarian and vegan BBQ recipes go here.

eric

Mars reverses direction

Not the planet…the company! This is a story of a company that made a decision to include calf rennet in its candy bars, then recieved a bunch of negative attention, changed back to the original recipe and now is amazingly seeking the vegetarian seal of approval. That’s right, Masterfoods, the company that produces Mars candy bar products in the UK, is now seeking the Vegetarian Society’s “Green V” of approval on its candy bars. If the Vegetarian Society approves it, Mars will be the first candy bar to carry this distinction. While this is good news for vegetarians and Masterfoods, it still doesn’t mean they are good for you! ;)

read the article here. (dailymail.uk)

eric

Vegetarian Starter Kit

pear weight

The folks at PCRM have a great resource available for us.  Their vegetarian starter kit contains the following links and information.  Check them out to learn more about starting to go veg (even for just one day a week).  This information can also be downloaded in a .pdf format

From PCRM’s Vegetarian Starter Kit

Vegetarian Foods: Powerful for Health

The Three-Step Way to Go Vegetarian

Protein Myth

Tips for Making the Switch to a Vegetarian Diet

Cooking Without Eggs

Calcium in Plant-Based Diets

What About Milk?

The New Four Food Groups

Achieving and Maintaining a Healthy Weight

The Veganizer: Changing Your Regular Meals Into Low-Fat Vegan Meals

Vegetarian Diets for Pregnancy

Vegetarian Diets for Children: Right from the Start

Recipes for Health

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