This is the official Thread for everything related to the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.
The main reason for this thread is constructive discussion and sharing experiences. It is also to help people understanding and embracing vegetarian lifestyle.
There are RULES
No snarky remarks or pictures- an example would be
Tim-E said:I think I'm going to have steak tonight.
Please dont use stereotypes in your discussion. There is no typical vegetarian. Or typical carnivore. Everyone has their own reasons for choosing a diet.
Try to understand other peoples thoughts! That should be crucial for every discussion but most seem to forget that when this topic comes to the table.
Please keep the discussion as unbiased as possible. If you are related to meat-production or are part of radical vegetarian/vegan groups, you may refrain from posting your propaganda in this thread.
There are several reasons for becoming vegetarian. The most obvious one everyone can relate to immediately is probably a conflict of ones lifestyle and morals / ethics.
Some think anti-speciesistic which means that they dont think Human have the right to domesticate animals in any way since they have the same right of freedom as every human being.
Some just cannot stand the fact that animals get killed for ones own pleasure even though people are intelligent enough to chose a diet that does not include killing animals. Often people watch shocking videos that show the most horrible way of livestock animals getting tortured and having only limited space for moving without having ever seen daylight or felt fresh air. Those circumstances, even though the torturing may not be the standard, let people think about their meat intake and start living the vegetarian lifestyle.
Many vegans take that thinking to the next level and think about the cows giving milk till they bleed or the male chickens that get exterminated because they cannot produce eggs. There are plenty of reasons of becoming vegan. They are often laughed at but this place is a great discussion to discuss their decision and their diet.
Ecology and Economy
The livestock sector is one of the worst environmental hazards of our time. It accounts for about 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than from transportation. Cattle Farming is the most important factor in the deforestation of the Amazon, as space is cleared for pastures and the cultivation of soy for animal feed that is not comparable to the soy needs of soy milk production.
The meat industry also produces high amounts of ammonia causing acidification. Its also the largest source of water pollution due to nitrogen and phosphorus. Finally, there is the dramatic problem of overfishing which may be the biggest single threat to the marine ecosystems.
It takes also takes 78 calories of fossil fuel to produce 1 calorie of beef protein; 35 calories for 1 calorie of pork; 22 calories for 1 of poultry. Comparable proteins from plants need just one calorie of fuel for one calorie of protein. It takes 3 to 15 times as much water to produce animal protein as it does plant protein.
As of 2006, forty calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of U.S. feed lot beef (manufacture, transport and storage included). By comparison, a calorie of plant-based protein only requires 2.2 calories of fossil fuel. If the population of the United States went meatless every Monday for a year, 12 billion gallons of gasoline would be saved.
All in all you can say that 20 vegetarians can live off the land required by one eat meater.
Not everyone is willing to give up meat completely. The idea is to reduce meat-intake of the masses in at least a minimal effort while achieving important results.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization the meat industry generates nearly one half of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change. Geophysicists at the Bard Center and the University of Chicago estimate that curbing meat consumption by 20% (which could be achieved through Meatless Mondays) would lower greenhouse gas emissions as dramatically as every American switching to an ultra-efficient hybrid vehicle.
Research shows that Monday is the very best time for people to start and sustain behavior change. Considering that many people use the weekends as an excuse to eat anything they want, on Monday they have the choice to do "right" to their bodies and eat healthy meals instead of continuing to eat unhealthy meals.
And this is something everyone can do.
You dont have to give up on meat. But you can do your best to think about what would happen if you would reduce your meat-intake. In the 70s people laughed at vegetarians, today a tenth of the population is vegetarian and contributes to a good cause. For vegetarians one day without meat seems ridiculous but it is a start in a society that is strangely dependant on meat.
On average Americans consume 8 ounces of meat per day, 45% more than the USDA recommends. Meat typically contains higher levels of saturated fat than plant based foods Saturated fat intake has been linked to multiple preventable illnesses, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and various cancers.
A ten year longitudinal study has also linked rates of personal meat consumption to age of death. The results of this research suggest that the deaths of 1.5 million Americans over a ten year period can be attributed to excessive consumption of red and processed meats.
Chronic preventable illnessesincluding those associated with excessive saturated fat intakecause 70% of all deaths in the United States. In 2007 alone Americans spent 1.7 trillion dollars on health care related to preventable illnesses.
Many skeptics are afraid that a vegetarian diet may be too one sided and would lack proteins. But there are plenty of vegetarian alternatives to meat that help creating a healthy and rich diet. The most common supplement is of course soy, as it is usable in many different ways but there are some concerns regarding its ecological worth.
Here are some options that you have for getting the protein, sticking to your vegetarian diet and not having to eat soy:
Wheat grains. Wheat grains are very high in protein and serve as the best non-soy alternative for vegetarians. Vegetarian breads made without dairy will work for vegans as well.
Protein-rich vegetables. If you choose your vegetables wisely and prepare them healthfully (eating them raw or steamed lightly), they can be a terrific source of protein. The vegetables you'll want to stock up on for protein purposes include leeks, parsley, chives, and red and green peppers.
Many more here and here
This is the heart and soul of this thread. Vegetarian lifestyle is fun, when you know how to cook and what you like. Here are a few easy recipes I found on the internet and cooked myself in one or another fashion, so I think I share them here. More in-depth ideas and own recipes, when this thread attracts enough people. I invite Cooking GAF and its leader Onkel C to join this thread and let us hear about their vegetarian ideas.
Click the images to get to the recipe!
Cheesy Baked Cauliflower http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Cheesy-Baked-Cauliflower/Detail.aspx
Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Vegetarian-Stuffed-Peppers/Detail.aspx
Herby Roasted Potato Wedged: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Herby-Roasted-Potato-Wedges/Detail.aspx
Harvest Salad: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Harvest-Salad/Detail.aspx
This part is in the thread because I wanted to show videos about vegetarian lifestyle and reasons for it. I especially recommend our daily bread since it has no commentary or soundtrack or clever editing that tries to make things worse or better. Please do not discuss the validity of these videos. Most of these are made by activists who try to spread their agenda, but I felt it was necessary to at least have some of the shock-value videos here to show what can be the reality in meat production. I realize these videos are biased and will probably stir up some bad reactions of people trying to question their validity, but again, please dont discuss that in this topic.
Our Daily Bread:
A 92-minutes film without commentary, focusing on showing the agriculture in different European countries.
We Feed The World:
Displays the wasteful reality of our modern food distribution, the disgusting treatment of food, both living and not-living, as well as the absurdity of how food is produced.
PETA-distributed film with shocking insights on some parts of the food industry.
A movie specially about the American food industry.
Recent studies show that bacon is the main reason for vegetarians to have a guilty pleasure, or to give up on the vegetarian lifestyle altogether.
I have not tried it yet but I plan to get it soon:
( www.baconsalt.com )
It is a vegetarian salt that is supposed to give everything the taste of bacon. Sounds delicious to me and blogs all over the internet seem to love it.
Maybe this is a great way to overcome that hurdle.
I hope I didn't forget anything I wanted to post here.
Thanks to scotchegzz for creating the banner and headers.