I never liked meat. Seriously as a kid, I used to gag on all the various meat products my mother tried to get me to eat. It was the late 60s and they all bought into the hype that we needed tons of meat protein to survive and she feared for my existence. I was a healthy kid, but I never did grow more than 5′ tall . . . ?
When I discovered there was such a thing as a vegetarian, I grabbed onto the term with both hands and declared myself. Of course, I was a teenager and at the time it meant a lot of salad and french fries.
It wasn’t till the early 80s when I moved to the Berkshires with my young babies and got involved in the food coop that I began to get a serious education in whole foods nutrition – back then we experimented with raw foods, of course macrobiotics and a variety of interesting ways of being a vegan. I LOVED it!
After my husband’s scary open-heart surgery last year, we dedicated ourselves to going vegan and it has been fun to dust off some of my old recipes and start making cashew yogurt on a regular basis again and get that juicer flowing daily! But, I have to confess here, (pretty much because my husband never reads my posts!) that I cheat every time I eat away from home and him, I am seduced by all the cheese that dangles in front of me. Ok. With that off my chest, I’ll commit to work on that so, if any of you see me eating cheese out in public, you have permission to march up and gently (but quickly in case I have a fork handy) remove it from me and remind me that I want to be a true vegan . . .
And here are some good reasons why I want to be a vegan
I don’t like meat – Instinctively, I always knew this panic about meat protein wasn’t right – at least not for me. I’ve felt quite validated lately as all this new research supporting this is coming out. If you haven’t watched the documentary, Forks Over Knives, this is a good place to start. It features two mainstream doctors that have discovered that a plant-based diet can reverse heart disease and prevent a myriad of other fatal ailments. It wasn’t the first time we had heard of the one, Dr. Esselstyn, as our family doctor highly recommended following his nutritional protocol after my husbands triple-bypass surgery.
I like vegan food – I’m a foodie. I admit it. I love growing, cooking, playing and eating it and I’ve learned and created a mess of simply delicious ways of preparing vegan fare, which is why my husband has shifted so happily away from his meaty ways. But, now it is becoming so vogue, that where there used to be a scant few cookbooks (that were worth testing), there are now thousands and thousands of cookbooks, websites and vegan recipes floating around Pinterest and Food Gawker, that there aren’t enough meals in the day to discover them all! Of course, one of my favorite go-to’s is EatDrinkBetter.com.
It’s good for me AND the planet – Ok, here’s a couple of shocking stats for you: According to the Water Education Foundation, it takes 2,464 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef in California – BUT it only takes 25 gallons of water to produce one pound of wheat. Of course, I’m gluten-free, but I bet most grains and beans use a similarly LESSER amount of water to produce than beef. So, that’s just addressing the issue of water usage to produce beef! I read for a couple of hours on the environmental impact of dairy farms and it is a complicated issue of studies and arguments for and against organic diary farming in terms of reducing the carbon footprint – either way, it is a lot of livestock, water and resources that impact a variety of environmental factors. I highly recommend reading The Organic Center’s extensive report on “A Dairy Farm’s Footprint.” …read more of Confessions of a Vegan Wannabe here
Fast food: It’s convenient, quick and relatively cheap. It is also packed with questionable ingredients and less-than-optimumal nutrition labels.
Then there is fast real food: This is food that you make yourself that is slightly less fast, possible a bit more work – not to mention packaged without a free toy — but that is guaranteed to be jam-packed full of goodness and healthy nutrients.
It’s the time of the year when I feel a strong yearning for spring and the fresh greenness of vegetation. I’m hatching plans to bring more of the beauty of plants inside and outside my home. I may try a scaled down version of a living wall.
Green or living walls can be seen worldwide in and on buildings, adding bursts of unexpected plant life, particularly in urban settings where gardening space is at a premium. The vertical gardens designed by Parisian Patrick Blanc, an innovator in this area, are often elaborate, huge undertakings.
Barbara Kingsolver is well known for her constant stream of best-selling novels like The Poisonwood Bible and The Bean Trees. 2007 was the release of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. Though this is not a book promoting veganism by any means, it was reading this book that made me go vegan earlier this year. Animal made me sincerely reflect on where my food was coming from. Considering the sources of food is a mind boggling process. The amount of hands that touch one piece of fruit, or the steps that go into putting cereal on my shelf—it’s like trying to explain what the internet is.
The premise of the book is this: Kingsolver’s family, comprised of husband Steven, 19-year old Camille, and 9-year old Lily, make the move from Tucson, Arizona to a farm in Virginia. Their goal is to live off the land, growing most of their food and buying from neighbors anything they didn’t produce. …read more of Animal Vegetable Miracle Reveals Truth Behind Food here