Giving Thanks

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Holidays are about love and joy and giving.  (But let’s be realistic here) they’re also about planning and preparation and food.  Families gather and break (pita) bread, tell stories from the year past, and celebrate. And for those of you with a more Type A Personality Family, it’s more about what time are we meeting everyone, what should we bring, and how long do we have to stay once the conversation turns political?  Finding a happy medium can be key to having a successful and happy holiday.  Every family is different (let’s be real here, every person in every family is different) but coming together to share a nice heaping bowl of quinoa and tofurkey can be very rewarding…

But what if you’re not hosting the Thanksgiving feast and the safety that you feel within your own kitchen is thrown to the wind and the control you have over what’s going to be served for dinner has effectively been flushed down the toilet?  Here’s where it can get tricky.

Having been a meat eater at the last holiday dinner I attended at my boyfriend’s family’s house, I knew that I would need to brace myself for an interesting transitional point. I decided that introducing them to the reality of my veganism should be done months in advance.  It came up casually while we were all out to dinner for an occasion sometime in September.  An interested aunt had noticed that I had ordered a salad  and asked the waitress to please hold the meat and cheese.  Once had asked for oil and vinegar as my dressing, the conversation kind of flowed right from there.  It was a very non-confrontational discussion where people were mainly curious about the reasons (in a non-aggressive manner) and kindly contributed what they believed to be basic dietary requirements.  This, thankfully, was the perfect introduction to my new lifestyle; and so the seed was planted.

Then there was the official acceptance of the invitation (months later) that we were going to Thanksgiving dinner at their house.  I’m not sure that they remembered that I would be eating differently from years past, but I was sure to remind them (indirectly and through other family members- not by choice but by happenstance) just in case they remembered suddenly and they thought that it was their responsibility to make sure I had something to eat at their dinner table.  The last thing I want to do is show up and make veganism look unappealing by not enjoying a meal alongside everyone else.   

I’m assuming there are going to be a lot of questions regarding my choices since I’ll be seeing some of his cousins for the first time since my transition.  I’m going to use this time right before the holidays to brush up on some of the most FAQs and re-read the Vegan Society’s guide to Plant Based Nutrition so I’m ready to present my position in a way that is not offensive to anyone else that may be sitting directly beside me eating meat and/or dairy.  I will also do my best to avoid conversation about food while everyone is still at the dinner table.  Many books will tell you to avoid the conversation while eating if at all possible (or at least leave out the gory details) and say vague things like “I’m a vegan for moral reasons and the health benefits have been awesome!”  And then if someone wants to explore my choices further after the meal, I’ll be more than happy to talk about my choices.  I’m going to maintain an upbeat attitude and make sure I have my nutritional facts in order.  Arm myself with knowledge some would say. 

 I’m fortunate enough to be traveling along with 2 vegetarians to the feast anyway.  Overall, this should make for a pretty interesting dinner but I couldn’t be more excited to see how it goes!  Gobble on Mr. Turkey!  It’s vegan 2 “cheese” lasagna, Portobello risotto, and pumpkin pie galore for these veg heads!

Curious about hosting your own cruelty-free Thanksgiving?  Check out Veg News for 3 Simple Timelines for  a Stress-Free Vegan Thanksgiving

As for tonight, friends are coming over to celebrate a little early Thanksgiving celebration complete with Trader Joe’s brand stuffed tofurkey and gravy which is thankfully vegan-friendly along with some baked sweet potatoes and pan-seared asparagus.  Keep your eyes on the recipe section over the course of the next week- I promise you won’t be unhappy with the additions!

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(Sistah) Sistah (Vegan)

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I’ve begun to delve into A. Breeze Harper’s Sistah Vegan for a more socio-economic perspective on vegan lifestyle.  Her introduction of the first book ever to be about “black female vegans in North America” was moving to say the least.   From what I gather, this is certainly going to be an interesting collection of accounts from women of color on the implications of food in America on culture, race, gender and all the overlaps in between.  I am excited to read on!  I was inspired by a quote in Layli Phillips’ section on Veganism and Eco-womanism and had to share.  Please enjoy with a pat on the back even for the seemingly small things you do in this world.  They count (Layli says so)!

“All movement toward greater harmlessness is of value, regardless of an individual’s starting point.”

The Slow Change of Seasons

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What a wonderful weekend spent with friends.  I was able to enjoy the splendor of Boston’s very own Arnold Arboretum  in Jamaica Plain wandering around the trees.  If you haven’t been there, go!  It’s free and beautiful and I always feel really great after a day there.  We’ve ventured out there in all seasons but winter and they have all been fantastic.  Hopefully this winter will bring another trip so I can complete my seasonal circuit! 
 
While we were in the area, we enjoyed some pizza at Peace O’ Pie  in Allston, MA.  This 100% vegan pizza place had plenty of tasty organic pizza options (that they let us mix and match) and even dessert!  I strongly recommend even for omnivores the one in our group thought the pizza was delicious!
 
Another noteworthy snack spot (this time right in my very own downtown Worcester, MA) is The Bean Counter.  Last night I had a hankering for something sweet so we set off in search for a treat to sedate my sweet tooth.  There were vegan and gluten-free options and a specialty drink menu that could be tailored to your liking.  I had a delicious oversized vanilla cupcake with sprinkles and I had to stop myself from ordering another one, reasoning that I would be back soon enough.  Great hang out spot with big comfy chairs and a nice window seat looking out onto Highland Street (perfect for people watching). 
 
What a fun time to be vegan.  The weather is changing and the earth is getting ready to freeze over for the winter.  What would I do without my farm stand on Grafton Street?  I can’t help but imagine a time where New England vegetarians and vegans would resort to all of their jarred and dried veggies from harvest, nuts and seeds,  and rely heavily on root vegetables until the thaw.  What a different world we live in now (not necessarily better just different).  I imagine it was much simpler to be in tune with what your body was telling you without all of the buzzing noise that we have now to distract us. 
 
If you’re in the mood for a laugh… check out this post I found on Vegetarians Are Evil.   By the way, is this for real?

(ju)ICE (ju)ICE BABY!

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Having successfully bombarded myself with a slew of information from the web on (nearly) everything about juicing, not withholding graphic gory details about what happens to you (from the inside out), I was exhausted to say the least.  There are all sorts of cleanses that you can purchase or take with a combination of flushing supplements.  Recipes range from all veggie to all fruit to a Master Cleanse that will rid you of build up you never knew existed.

In Casey Lorraine Thomas’ How to Juice Fast Safely, she explores various questions, for example, why juice in the first place?  Her being an acclaimed Health and Life Coach, Author, Motivational Speaker and co-founder of the Ger Juicy Cleanse as seen on CBS, I found her answers to be easily absorbable (just like the juice):

When you juice your fruits and vegetables, you remove the fiber and drink only the liquid which contains the organic hydration, nutrients, vitamins and enzymes from the plant food. Although you do need fiber in your diet, going for a certain period of time without it will give your body a chance to spend less energy on digestion. 

Around 70% of your energy every day is spent on digestion alone, so when you are eating 3 meals a day plus snacks, you are rarely giving your body a chance to direct energy to deeply cleansing the body and drawing up old acidic waste that is likely causing a whole host of symptoms.  

If you suffer from headaches, constipation, diarrhea, skin troubles, fatigue, irritability, excess weight, bloating or any other number of symptoms, your body needs some help to cleanse. The intelligent application of fasting is a brilliant way of helping you to do this.”

Some boast the effect of a 92 day Juice regiment (one day for all of the 92 elements in the body).  I decided that a 92 day Juice Cleanse may be a little bit out of my league at this stage, but I’m certainly interested in what awaits me for a much shorter, 3 day cleanse.  Some of the materials I flooded my brain with included the Joe Cross Documentary of his Journey, Fat Sick & Nearly Dead (available to stream instantly through Netflix which is what I did) where he turned his health around drastically thanks to juicing in addition to a very informative and well put together informational booklet by Angela Stokes, A Juice Feaster’s Handbook

Information on juicing is very polarized with people either shouting it’s praises from the rooftops, or saying that it’s silly to cut out all of that fiber which keeps your digestive system running smoothly anyway.  (And haven’t  I made posts bragging about how much fiber should be in your daily diet?)  I guess Election Day has me in the mood to go back and forth over some really key issues here…  (Laughter from the crowd).  But in all seriousness, see below for a little Pro/Con list that I set up just for kicks. 

Pros: (the Juicing and Raw Food site proclaims) an easy way for your body to absorb nutrients from your food while giving your digestive system a break, you’re ingesting the nutrients from more vegetables/fruits than you could eat at one time, detoxification  

Cons: Livestrong has a section by Corinne Shaw, What are the Dangers of Juicing that explains the drawbacks of juicing.  Among their list is Foodbourne illness, blood sugar regulation (due to quick absorption of the juices), upset stomach, potential weight gain, carotenemia (or an overload of beta carotene found in some vegetables)  

I’m not sure where I stand on the issue, which is part of the reason I’m looking to go on a mini-cleanse.  Well, I guess if I’m trying it then I tend to lean more toward the fact that there have to be benefits that outweigh the disadvantages right?  So be it!  The sugar from fruit certainly isn’t the reason America’s gaining more weight by the minute.   I went out yesterday and purchased my very own Dash Electric Juicer  and went to town this morning making a nice big batch of (what I’ve dubbed) breakfast juice and a lunch juice for the road (I’ve read that you’re supposed to consume the juice you make as soon as possible to avoid the growth of bacteria on your lunch however, I’m willing to chance the 4 hours it will have to sit in the refrigerator).  I’ll make a fresh batch for dinner.  **I think it’s worth noting that juicing is much different from simply using your blender to make a fruit/veggie smoothy.  In a blender, the pulp remains in tact whereas in a juicer the pulp is completely removed.  Therefore, you will not get the same cleansing effect from making batches of smoothies as compared to juices.

From what I can tell so far (and I’ve only just begun my trial this morning) everything seems to be normal with no adverse effects.  My energy level is what it was yesterday when I was eating solids, and although I wasvery hungry around lunchtime, I always am so there’s no real difference there. 

I’m not going into this expecting any life changing occurences.  I suspect that the longer cleanses come with the deeper more physical and even spiritual experience but I see this short one is more of a test for me.  To see if I have what it takes.  They say that the first 3 days are the toughest part of the cleanse and that it’s all downhill from there- we’ll see how this one goes and perhaps there will be a longer cleanse in my future.  At any rate, I’m certainly down for ridding my colon of whatever toxins that rest there. 

I just want to remind everyone that I’m not an expert nor have I sought the advice of a professional on this matter.  I am simply going off what I have read from a plethora of different sources.  I suggest you seek a doctor’s opinion before starting your own juicing regiment to avoid complications.

Vegan Survival and Travel Tips

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My heart truly goes out to all those affected by Hurricane Sandy over the past few days and those that will be hindered by her after effects moving forward especially the people in New York and New Jersey who are experiencing awful setbacks (to say the least).  Natural Disasters aren’t ever fair.  Good luck to all those that have lost, and a special thank you to all those that are helping with the relief efforts. 

This disaster got me wondering what I should stock in case another hurricane or other natural disasters were to occur.   I went for a normal food shopping on Sunday night so I would be okay for about 4 days but what if I needed to be planning to be cut off from a stable food supply for more than just a few of days?  What should I have on hand?  There are plenty of angry bloggers that will point to the fact that basic survival doesn’t have anything to do with being vegan or vegetarian, it has ONLY to do with survival so people should do ‘what they  have to do to survive.’  These are the same people (I assume) that won’t mind eating their pets and other human beings in their best self-interest.  I’ll stick to my power bars and dried fruit thank you very much… oh and keep away from my cats you zombie cannibal crazies!

I few internet dwellers had some really good ideas about vegan survival kits (which exclude the obvious: matches, flashlight, utility knife etc.) and focus on food survival.  Below I found a helpful comment on Vegetarians in Paradise along with plenty of other helpful tips to be found there also.  It was kind of an open forum so it was also interesting to read about what different people thought were the most important things to bring.  I tend to agree with below:

“Focus on protein sources”

I’ve thought about a survival kit already, so here’s my take:

  1. Have one kit in the car and one at work, as well as ample stocks at home.
  2. You may be able to get vegan food in a disaster, but you can count on NOT getting vegan protein. For that reason your survival kit should focus on protein sources.
  3. My basics for the car and work are canned beans and bean-based soups, tetrapak soup (Imagine), individual packs of soymilk, vegan (Clif) energy bars and crackers. SELECT LOW-SODIUM ITEMS, AS YOUR DIET MAY CONSIST ENTIRELY OF THESE FOODS. Since you may not have access to fresh fruit or vegetables for a while, also keep some vitamins or (my choice) Emergen-C packets on hand. I also keep a small bottle of spirits (vodka, brandy, etc.). Sometimes it’s just what you (or others) need to relax–and it can be used as an antiseptic.
  4. Plenty of water.
  5. Remember to rotate the perishable foods every few months.
  6. Another item people should store away from home is a can of powdered soy or rice protein. I would assume that for several days, one would have access to bread, crackers, dried and canned fruits etc. from one’s work cafeteria, local stores, people’s houses, etc. The difficult thing will be vegan protein–and vitamin C.

I gave just the basics. One could add dried fruits, tea, favorite cereal, premade tea, etc. “Treats” for bargaining would also be good. But with most of these additions one runs into the problem of things getting stale. Canned and tetrapak items last longer.  D.O. 1-6-06″

I especially like that this post doesn’t leave out the alcoholic beverages- which could prove oh-so-necessary.  I also don’t think I would have thought to bring sweets for the bargaining purposes- but those too may come in handy in the event of an apocalyptic disaster in which I need to trade one of my Gin-Gins for a boat ride.  You just never know!

On a related subject, my boyfriend had gotten called up over the weekend to head over to Cape Cod to work on a storm damage team (again, because of Sandy).  After just one full day, he reported what I had already known to be true- it’s damn hard to be vegan/vegetarian on the road!  This got me thinking about the subject of travel.  Common sense would lead you to believe that you should do some research (Happy Cow is a wonderful tool for this) of the area so you’ll know what you’re up against in terms of restaurants etc., but in his case, he’s moving from place to place with each call without any real opportunity to select a dining establishment (and relying on fast food can be almost impossible).  He’s managing to get by with trips to Subway for their Veggie Delight (vegetarian and vegan-with-a-few alterations) and the supermarket, but this is something that I wish we would have planned better for.  Never listen to a man when he says he’s going to rough it- especially a vegetarian- they need some extra help.

Below is what I should have packed for his trip.  I think it serves as a good guide for every part of the food groups he would need to get adequate nutrition and maintain energy without the help of a stove or oven while he’s driving around for days:  (It will serve as a good grocery list for next time)

  • Soy/rice/almond Milk (if not the fresh stuff that I make at home, the small single serve packs they make that don’t have to be refrigerated)
  • Granola
  • Raw Nuts and Raisins: Cashews, Walnuts, Almonds and some shelled peanuts
  • Vegan Granola Bars: Clif Bars and Luna Bars are both vegan.  They do have refined ingredients in them but are good for the road
  • Nut Butter (Peanut/Cashew/Almond)
  • Blue Corn Chips (Tortilla Chips are typically vegan- just be sure to check the ingredients)
  • Hummus
  • Snack-friendly veggies: cut up carrot sticks or baby carrots, sliced celery
  • Fruit: Anything that can be eaten without much preparation: Apples, bananas, peaches, plums, oranges, grapes
  • Dairy free bread/pita
  • AND DON’T FORGET THE WATER!

**I would put everything in a cooler with an ice pack since I know that he’ll be going back to a hotel with a small fridge for the night and he’d be able to re-freeze his cooler pack and refrigerate the fruit and veggies and be able to re-pack the next day.  If he was going somewhere without refrigeration but was still going to have access to the supermarket I wouldn’t pack more than a day or two’s worth of fruit or veggies so that they would stay fresh and he could either visit a market for more or swap them out completely for some dried fruit.

I’m sure the list isn’t perfect and I welcome any additions that you might find useful and necessary.  As always, I am a work in progress.  I wish everyone the best of luck weathering whatever storm they’re up against. 

More on vegan/vegetarian traveling:

I found this very helpful link to Vegetarian Phrases In Other Languages just in case you find yourself traveling abroad or having to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak the languages you do.   Or, if you don’t want to try speaking the languages yourself you can try this Vegan Passport with 73 languages explaining your dietary needs to others.  

 

 

 

Boston Vegetarian Food Festival

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It’s bright and early here in Worcester, MA and I can’t sleep anymore because I’m so excited about the 17th Annual Boston Vegetarian Food Festival!  People from all walks of food consumption are welcome to experience free food samples and listen to presenters that have all come together right in Boston.  What a wonderful treat.  I hope to see some of you there!

Located at:

Reggie Lewis Athletic Center

1350 Tremont Street – Boston, MA

Directions

Nothing Free-Range About It

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When people hear that you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, they sometimes like to connect with you and let you know that they love animals too so they only eat meat of a certain standard whether it be cage free eggs or free range hens or something that sounds equally peaceful and humane (do those two words even go together?)  At any rate, unfortunately, that animal loving consumer is being horribly misled in yet another one of the meat and dairy industry’s awesomely executed exploitation endeavors. 

The fault here lies entirely with a heartless industry that has spiraled out of control.  But the fault also lies with the organizations that are (supposed to be) in place to police the farming industry in order to allow for some kind of preservation of dignity and (god-damn) humanity.  Words like Free-Roaming and Cage-Free and even Natural fills the unsuspecting label-reader’s mind with thoughts of a big red barn filled with happy animals that all get to walk and play together.  They are able to justify eating the meat of animals in their minds because at least the animals enjoyed a good, full life up until that very last day.  False.   Unfortunately, guidelines are extremely vague and most of the words they use to describe the packaged flesh is nothing more than a marketing scheme, and guess what- it is genius. 

The Humane Society of the United States provides a detailed description of industry terms that have become popularized over the years.  Take a second to look some of these over and see if it matches up with what you thought it meant.  The truth here hurts. 

“The Labels†

Certified Organic: The birds are uncaged inside barns or warehouses, and are required to have outdoor access, but the amount, duration, and quality of outdoor access is undefined. They are fed an organic, all-vegetarian diet free of antibiotics and pesticides, as required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program. Beak cutting and forced molting through starvation are permitted. Compliance is verified through third-party auditing.

Free-Range: While the USDA has defined the meaning of “free-range” for some poultry products, there are no standards in “free-range” egg production. Typically, free-range hens are uncaged inside barns or warehouses and have some degree of outdoor access, but there are no requirements for the amount, duration or quality of outdoor access. Since they are not caged, they can engage in many natural behaviors such as nesting and foraging. There are no restrictions regarding what the birds can be fed. Beak cutting and forced molting through starvation are permitted. There is no third-party auditing.

Certified Humane: The birds are uncaged inside barns or warehouses but may be kept indoors at all times. They must be able to perform natural behaviors such as nesting, perching, and dust bathing. There are requirements for stocking density and number of perches and nesting boxes. Forced molting through starvation is prohibited, but beak cutting is allowed. Compliance is verified through third-party auditing. Certified Humane is a program of Humane Farm Animal Care.

Animal Welfare Approved: The highest animal welfare standards of any third-party auditing program. The birds are cage-free and continuous outdoor perching access is required. They must be able to perform natural behaviors such as nesting, perching and dust bathing. There are requirements for stocking density, perching, space and nesting boxes. Birds must be allowed to molt naturally. Beak cutting is prohibited. Animal Welfare Approved is a program of the Animal Welfare Institute.

American Humane Certified: This label allows both cage confinement and cage-free systems. Each animal who is confined in these so-called “furnished cages” has about the space of a legal-sized sheet of paper. An abundance of scientific evidence demonstrates that these cages are detrimental to animal welfare, and they are opposed by nearly every major US and EU animal welfare group. Forced molting through starvation is prohibited, but beak cutting is allowed. Compliance is verified through third-party auditing. American Humane Certified is a program of American Humane Association.

Cage-Free: As the term implies, hens laying eggs labeled as “cage-free” are uncaged inside barns or warehouses, but they generally do not have access to the outdoors. They can engage in many of their natural behaviors such as walking, nesting and spreading their wings. Beak cutting is permitted. There is no third-party auditing.

Free-Roaming: Also known as “free-range,” the USDA has defined this claim for some poultry products, but there are no standards in “free-roaming” egg production. This essentially means the hens are cage-free. There is no third-party auditing.

Food Alliance Certified: The birds are cage-free and access to outdoors or natural daylight is required. They must be able to perform natural behaviors such as nesting, perching and dust bathing. There are specific requirements for stocking density, perching, space and nesting boxes. Starvation-based molting is prohibited. Beak cutting is allowed. Compliance is verified through third-party auditing. Food Alliance Certified is a program of the Food Alliance.

United Egg Producers Certified: The overwhelming majority of the U.S. egg industry complies with this voluntary program, which permits routine cruel and inhumane factory farm practices. Hens laying these eggs have 67 square inches of cage space per bird, less area than a sheet of paper. The hens are confined in restrictive, barren battery cages and cannot perform many of their natural behaviors, including perching, nesting, foraging or even spreading their wings. Compliance is verified through third-party auditing. Forced molting through starvation is prohibited, but beak cutting is allowed. This is a program of the United Egg Producers.

Vegetarian-Fed: These birds’ feed does not contain animal byproducts, but this label does not have significant relevance to the animals’ living conditions.

Natural: This label claim has no relevance to animal welfare.

Fertile: These eggs were laid by hens who lived with roosters, meaning they most likely were not caged.

Omega-3 Enriched: This label claim has no relevance to animal welfare.

Virtually all hens in commercial egg operations—whether cage or cage-free—come from hatcheries that kill all male chicks shortly after hatching. The males are of no use to the egg industry because they don’t lay eggs and aren’t bred to grow as large or as rapidly as chickens used in the meat industry. Common methods of killing male chicks include suffocation, gassing and grinding. Hundreds of millions of male chicks are killed at hatcheries each year in the United States.”

If you need more proof of how downright allusive these industry terms can be, Right from the USDA’s website, they have defined “Free Range or Free Roaming” as:

“Producers must demonstrate to the Agency that the poultry has been allowed access to the outside”

Wow.  There has to be a better way right?  But what if there isn’t?  The saddest part- there simply isn’t enough space on the Earth for animals to actually live like the consumer of a free-range animal thinks they live with nothing below their tiny feet but grassy fields and blue skies over-head.  As James E. McWilliams points out in his NY Times article, The Myth of Sustainable Meat,

“Grass-grazing cows emit considerably more methane than grain-fed cows. Pastured organic chickens have a 20 percent greater impact on global warming It requires 2 to 20 acres to raise a cow on grass. If we raised all the cows in the United States on grass (all 100 million of them), cattle would require (using the figure of 10 acres per cow) almost half the country’s land (and this figure excludes space needed for pastured chicken and pigs). A tract of land just larger than France has been carved out of the Brazilian rain forest and turned over to grazing cattle. Nothing about this is sustainable.”

 Another huge problem is that there are rarely third party auditors that check these farms for animal cruelty and to make sure they’re living up to their already very low standards.  Just this past Friday, Tyson Foods, Inc. announced that it was planning on starting up an audit program to check animal welfare on their farms.  But as Alisa Manzelli mentions in her article, for the Global Animal,

“So far, audits have only been conducted by Tyson personnel. However, the company eventually plans to involve independent, third-party auditors as well.”

Not to be a pessimist, but, I wonder who is going to be in charge of hiring the third party…

 So there you have it, I’ve presented a case where the free-range that consumers think they’re getting doesn’t exist, and the free-range that they long for is an impossibility.  So what now?  You have to believe that doing small things make a big difference.  For my omnivore readers, Meatless Mondays is a fun way to do your planet a favor and maybe try some new foods that you’ve never had before.  If you need proof of how banning together could change everything, Low Impact Living has an article on their site by Brian Liloia on Why Going Vegetarian For One Day Will Help Stop Global Warming where he point to

“A recent United Nations report concluded that the meat industry causes almost 40% more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world’s transportation systems — that means all of the globe’s cars, trucks, planes and ships combined.”

I think that people don’t think that they can make a difference (and I’m not completely innocent here either).  It’s easy to feel small in a big world but I think it’s important to do whatever you can to help others along the way.  I’ll leave you with some more statistics from Liloia below. 

“If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would save:

  • 100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months;
  • 1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year;
  • 70 million gallons of gas — enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare;
  • 3 million acres of land, an area more than twice the size of Delaware;
  • 33 tons of antibiotics.

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would prevent:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as produced by all of France;
  • 3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages;
  • 4.5 million tons of animal excrement;
  • Almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, a major air pollutant.”

Still think you can’t make a difference?  As my loving boyfriend likes to point out, I didn’t become a vegan because it was easy.  You have to crowd out the old traditions and plug in the new. Check out this list of 101 Reasons To Go Vegetarian.

For some more interesting reading:

Check out PETA’s list of companies that Do and Don’t Test on animals.  You’ll be surprised to learn how many products got into your homes that were first tested on our furry friends.  Every dollar you spend is a vote.  Make it count. 

Did you know that Iams tortures animals?  Learn more here.