Quite a few studies have been done on the considerable impact animal agriculture has on the environment. It's not a rosy picture. When you include the world's quickly growing population, composed primarily of non-vegetarians and non-vegans, it questions the sustainability of our natural resources and the ability to feed people throughout the world efficiently. This article about a UN study examines the topic and is compelling information.
I think there is a moment when you realize you have become a vegetarian or a vegan. For me it happened when I was a vegetarian and it propelled me to continue on the journey to become vegan. I woke up one morning and felt terrible about all of the animals that had lost their lives to put food on my plate before becoming vegetarian. In that moment I deeply understood the plight and terror of animals who are designated for food production around the world. I felt very sorry and it took a while to get over it.
It's somewhat like learning a language. One day, you can't figure out how to conjugate a verb, and then the next day you do it without even thinking about it. Suddenly it becomes natural and the gradual process of making the transition is over.
I hope that eating more vegetables becomes a natural part of your diet as well! This is a fun article about how you know you're a vegan.
Many people who have become vegetarian or vegan have been influenced by Gandhi's autobiography titled, "The Story of My Experiments With Truth". It certainly had an impact on me. A friend mentioned the book a few days ago which is why I'm recalling it in this short blog post. I read it about ten years ago when I was starting to avoid meat and dairy products and it certainly gave me the rocket fuel to make the transition.
If I remember correctly, the edition I had was about 1000 pages long. But what was striking about the book was the first third is about how Gandhi became a vegetarian. Then the rest of the book is about the non-violent movements which lead to the nationhood of India. So, to the reader, it becomes apparent that Gandhi's transition to a vegetarian diet resulted in the eventual freeing of his country from the British empire. Such is the power of changing what you eat!
This is a very good article which discusses how to get proper nutrition from a vegetarian or vegan diet. It has a graphic for a food pyramid and also lists sources for different vitamins including B12. It contends that you can get the nutrition you need from a plant based diet and highlights some great food such as spinach, kale, and quinoa. I like cooking with these ingredients as well. Very informative!
There has been plenty of discusion on the best way to eat vegetables - cooked, raw, steamed - in order to get the most nutrients out of them. I feel these are good discussions because research suggests that the body absorbs nutrients from food differently depending on the conditions in which they were prepared and consumed. However, it's important to understand that not everyone enjoys vegetables in the same way. For some, raw vegetables are delicious. For others, its hard to get them down unless they are smothered in dressing or hidden in a stew or soup.
My recommendation is that you should eat vegetables any way that you can enjoy them. I didn't like all vegetables when I became a vegetarian. But I did everything possible to make the ones I didn't like seem palatable. I tried many different recipes and styles until I could enjoy a wider variety of food, including stir-frying them, putting barbecue sauce on them, etc., until I started to like them. After a while, I became more accustomed to the flavor and they required less effort to eat. So don't be afraid to eat vegetables in a way that you like - its the fact that you are trying them out that's important. It's also the fun part because you're learning to eat new things in a creative environment.
This short article discusses some of the same themes and gives some good nutrition information.
Make Simple Vegan Meals