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When a Carnivore Turns to Veggies

This entertaining and informative piece is brought to you by the talented writer & photographer Sarah Olson! We’d like to thank Sarah for letting us reprint her post from her blog A Beach Home Companion.

When a Carnivore Turns to Veggies

The other day I was searching the internet for uses for the bag – of all things – of nutritional yeast flakes I found tucked behind the lentils in my cupboard, which I was using for a Vegan Carrot and Lentil Soup. I had bought the smallest amount I could find several months ago to make Stephanie Stiavetti’s Vegan Mac & Cheese, and wanted to make sure I used up that expensive bag of dust.

The Magical Answer Machine brought me to a blog called One Sweet Vegan and this recipe for Vegan Queso Dip. This website got me thinking about veganism. Now, I am not vegan, I’m not even vegetarian, but I’m always looking for healthier options for the fatty foods I like the most: Caesar dressing, mac ‘n cheese, ice cream, etc. Vegan recipes can offer a lower-calorie heart-healthier alternative that can often come close to the high-calorie version, if made right.

(Warning: Rant Ahead.) I was in a meeting recently listening to the carnivorous owner of my company talk about how his vegan diet had drastically reduced his cholesterol, when exercise and medication had had little effect. Based on the audience reaction, you would have thought he had announced he had started consuming human stem cells. Rather than applauding him for making a lifestyle change that improved his health, the audience shouted, groaned, and shook their heads.

Working in the food business, the extreme reaction a lot of people have to the very idea of a vegan diet always surprises me. And it’s not just my company, it’s just about everyone I come across in my life and in the media. This very basic lack of understanding of how the food you eat effects your health (not to mention the larger world), is, to say the least, puzzling to me.

We talk with urgency about the health care crisis, obesity, hunger, rising energy costs, climate change, then we throw up our hands and go get another cheeseburger. All of these modern issues can be traced back, at least in part, to our current diet which relies on “growing” (in the industry parlance) animals for food, and the fossil fuel- and water-intensive process it involves.

The best thing you can do for your health, and the health of the environment, is to eat more plants and eat less meat. It’s not a matter of opinion, it’s a fact. And yes, it is that simple. All that other stuff will fall in place.

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