Why I’m A Vegetarian

 

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This May marks my 3 year veg-anniversary. I’ve cheated maybe 5 times since I embarked on this diet (and three of those were for a mini maple bacon donut), but not at all in the last year. And honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to eating meat. After three years, I find it pretty unappetizing.

I often get asked why I don’t eat meat. I usually try to keep the answer simple, but there are actually a whole lot of reasons I broke up with meat. And for me, the more research I do on the subject, the more resolve I find to continue refraining from eating meat and cutting back on animal products (cheese, eggs, etc.) in general.

So, why am I a vegetarian?

1. Because a significant percent of carbon emissions come from livestock production. By significant, I mean 18%, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

This was the reason I started cutting meat in the first place.

2. It’s not that I think we humans shouldn’t eat meat. It’s that I believe we’re doing it wrong.

Factory farming is still a relatively new thing. And nothing about it sits well with me. Too few companies own too much off meat industry. And “free-range” and “cage-free” simply don’t translate to better livestock treatment (I’m not saying they can’t, but the labels are only a guarantee of a higher price tag). Male chicks of egg laying hens are still immediately killed. Male cows of milk producing cows live long enough to become veal.

3. “I want to minimize the number of deaths I am responsible” – Hazel, John Green, The Fault in our Stars

4. Ethical and environmental aspects aside, I don’t want to consume animals that have endured factory farming.

Vets may approve, but I don’t want to eat a pig that has eaten pig.

I don’t want to eat beef from a cow who has eaten a “concentrated mix of corn, soy, grains, and other supplements, plus hormones and antibiotics” for most of it’s life.

I don’t want to eat chicken when I know the bird has spent it’s entire life living legitimately wing to wing with other chickens, and never seeing the sun.

5. Because we are running out of water and we are losing forests at an alarming rate.

6. Because I do not need to eat meat to get enough protein. Or whatever other nutrient you think I might be lacking.

Paying attention to the foods you’re eating (veggies, percent whole grains, etc.) is important regardless. And if you’re paying attention already, identifying and consuming the nutrients you need for a vegetarian diet is pretty simple.

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7. Because there are so many delicious plant based foods. And vegetarian/vegan cooking is actually really easy- and most of my favorite recipes are meat eater approved.

Not sure where to start? There are a ton of great vegetarian/ vegan cooking blogs out there. These are a few of my favorites:

Oh, She Glows
Minimalist Baker
Chocolate Covered Katie

 

For a long time I was comfortable being aware of these facts and still eating meat. But the less I ate it, the better I felt.

I’m still working on cutting out/ down on eggs and dairy – I’m not saying this is easy. But I think it is more than worth it.

If you made it to the end- thank you! I hope you found this informative. If you’re looking for more information (because clearly I don’t have enough links in this post already), be sure to check these articles out:

The Skinny Bitch book’s argument for veganism.

NPR: visualizing a nation of meat eaters

Quin-what?

That’s what I thought when I first heard of it. I think my friend Alyssa introduced it to me before it was cool. Honestly the initial attraction for me was that it was a grain I really liked.

Boy, was I naïve.

1. Turns out quinoa’s is not a grain, it’s a seed so it’s gluten free. While I don’t avoid gluten, I do try to avoid white/ refined carbs- and quinoa only comes as a whole seed.

2. I recently fell in love with brown rice, but when I was first introduced to quinoa I didn’t really like rice very much. I later found out that quinoa is actually more nutritious than brown rice.

quinwhat

 

photo from Google

3. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it has all the essential amino acids that the body can’t make on its own, which makes it great for vegetarians! Normally to get complete protein you would need to combine foods (like rice and beans). [Source/ More ino]

4. Quinoa is related to leafy green vegetables like kale and Swiss chard (tangent: I am so excited to play around with new to me leafy greens in my farmshare this summer!).

6. It comes in seven different colors! Though according to Bob, of Bob’s Red Mill, there’s really no difference between the two.

 

So now that I’ve convinced you to eat quinoa- how the hell do you use it? Here are some of my favorites.

photo from The Kitchn

The kitchn- how to cook perfect quinoa

 

Meat Eater Approved Recipes

Vegetarian Thai Chili

Feel Good Lunch Bowl

Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Quinoa Salad

 

 

 

What are your favorite quinoa recipes?!