Today marks day five of my Vegan Challenge. I was prompted to eat a vegan diet based on a UN study released last week. The report found evidence that a global diet shift away from animal products is needed to help prevent resource depletion and alleviate world hunger. The report said agriculture accounts for 70 percent of our global freshwater consumption, 38 percent of the total land use, and 14 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, more than half of the world’s crops are used to feed animals, not people. So, I’m going vegan for two weeks to reduce my environmental footprint, and to prove to others that it’s not so hard.
My last few days have actually been pretty easy. I’m easing into the diet quite well, and it’s becoming more of a routine than an effort. I picked up a vegan cookbook today called “Vegan On The Cheap” by Robin Robertson that I’m excited to use.
Currently I’m in Chicago visiting friends. I’m staying with four meat-eating men, so I planned ahead and brought a lot of my own food. Some of them seem convinced that veganism deprives you of essential nutrients. Sometimes it’s easier to walk away than to argue, but this is part of the problem. Do you try to explain your point of view to people who aren’t open to hearing it?
Anyway, I’ve received some amazing comments full of advice from vegans. I want to share some of these hints and insights with you, because they have been so helpful.
First of all, here are some great websites for recipes:
ChooseVeg.com – Offers an easy to navigate list of recipes for the biggest meals of the day, and tops it off with snacks and dessert recipes. Also suggests protein sources, cooking tips, and a number of reasons for making the switch. Try to ignore the occasional typo.
HappyCow.net – Figures out where you are, and finds vegan and vegetarian restaurants close by. A great tool.
Vegetarian Food For Thought- A website with podcasts, so you can learn about a healthy diet while you hang out around the house.
Here are some sites that detail animal rights, and where our food comes from:
Farm to Fridge- This link offers shocking videos from within slaughterhouses that will rock you to the core. ChooseVeg.com also outlines how “free range” products promote animal cruelty. To quote the site, “Free range means that the animals must have some access to the outdoors, but there are no government regulations about how much outdoor area must be provided.” Many people have commented on my interests in eating animal products so long as the animals were treated humanely, and I understand now, that this may be an impossible feat.
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer – This website offers a forum for like-minded people to share their stories about making the switch. I’ve been meaning to read the book, as well.
Ingredients vs Activism – Matt Ball’s essay on how to actually execute a vegan lifestyle. It offers a really interesting look at the vegan mentality, and offers advice on how to translate conviction into activism. “Instead of spending our limited time and resources worrying about the margins (cane sugar, film, medicine, etc.), our focus should be on increasing our impact every day,” Ball says. “Helping just one person change leads to hundreds fewer animals suffering in factory farms. By choosing to promote compassionate eating, every person we meet is a potential major victory.”
The Feminist’s Dilemma- Ari Solomon’s essay on the Huffington Post website about milk production, and what the female cows go through in order to produce the milk we put in our cereal. The cows must be pregnant to produce milk, and when they give birth, are given 24 hours with their newborn, the essay says. The calf is then taken from the mother and if it is female, becomes a dairy cow. If it is male, it’s often sold to become veal.
FarmSanctuary.org – The free range and humane myth, explored.
Keep the advice comin’, and I’ll update tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
The Vegan Challenge Series
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