tragedy May 23, 2008
Steven Curtis Chapman’s youngest daughter died. Her teenage brother accidentally hit her in the family driveway last night with an SUV. I am still in shock. SCC has been a staple in my life since I can remember, one of the most compassionate, loving and genuine men a person could know…i can’t seem to wrap my mind around this, or fathom how much anguish the family must be going through, especially the son who will undoubtedly be traumatized for life. please be praying for them.
Happy World Vegetarian Week May 19, 2008
May 19th-25th is World Vegetarian Week. I would encourage all of you to try a few vegetarian meals this week…or maybe go veg for a whole day or two! Just cut the meat out of your diet and save a few lives.
Easy meals not requiring special ingredients:
Penne and sauteed vegetables
Peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread 🙂
Oatmeal and fresh fruit
There are also many quick already-prepared meals in your supermarket…Wegman’s has a very good organic/vegan section. If you’re more ambitious, find some recipes online and get creative. I don’t have time to post tonight and probably not in the next couple of days, but I’ll be expanding on my reasons for choosing veg from last week some time later this week I hope. For now, some quick facts:
**Turning grain into flesh is extremely wasteful. Twenty vegetarians can be fed on the amount of land needed to feed one person on a meat-based diet. Seventy percent of all U.S. grain — and one third of the world’s total grain harvest — is fed to cattle and other livestock. At the same time, between 40 and 60 million people die each year from hunger and diseases related to hunger. As many as one billion suffer from chronic hunger and malnourishment.
**Nearly half of the total amount of water used annually in the U. S. goes to grow feed and provide drinking water for cattle and other livestock. Producing a pound of grain-fed steak requires the use of hundreds of gallons of water. Producing a pound of beef protein often requires up to fifteen times more water than producing an equivalent amount of plant protein.
**Dairy cows are rarely allowed to nurse their young. Many male calves are slaughtered immediately, while others are raised for “special-fed veal”—kept in individual stalls and chained by the neck on a 2–3 foot tether for 18–20 weeks before being slaughtered.
**The roughly 1 billion chickens killed each year for Kentucky Fried Chicken’s buckets are crammed by the tens of thousands into excrement-filled sheds that stink of ammonia fumes.
**A vegetarian saves nearly 100 animals per year. Vegans save even more by also cutting out eggs and dairy.
Veggie Lasagna May 17, 2008
Saute the following vegetables in a tablespoon of evoo, mixed with approx half Tablespoon of butter until mostly soft:
5 mushrooms, plus half a can of mushrooms/pieces
2 medium zucchini
2 cloves garlic (grated)
1/2 package of Smart Ground (fake hamburger)
13 whole wheat lasagna noodles
jar of traditional Prego
8oz bag of regular pizza cheese (mozzarella/cheddar mix)
8oz bag of rice “mozzarella” cheese
1/2 package of spinach
Cook noodles according to directions on box. Put a small amount of sauce on the bottom of pan (I used a 9×13 cake pan). Make a layer of noodles, then a layer of sauce, followed by a third of the packages of cheese. Another layer of noodles, then sauce, then sauteed veggies topped by the “hamburger” and a sprinkling of drained spinach (the frozen box kind, thawed), then a thin layer of cheese. Next layer of noodles, topped with Prego and cheese. So the layers look like this:
It was incredibly flavorful and I would definitely make this again. I decided to take some to a friend and will use the leftovers for meals this week. Next time I will use completely vegetarian cheese. De-lish!
Veg for a Month May 15, 2008
I mentioned briefly a few weeks ago that I was trying out a vegetarian diet for 30 days. This was a challenge from GoVeg. The visual and lighting director for Mae is a vegetarian and mentioned it on his blog one day around the same time I found the GoVeg website and it got me thinking. Since last fall I have kicked around the idea of vegetarianism, but was quite certain I couldn’t do it. For anyone who’s followed the recipes I’ve listed here, most of them are based on chicken, as I do (or did) love the taste of chicken. I get this from my mom I think, since that is the most frequent dinner item in her house. I also have never been one to really love vegetables.
So I started to google ‘vegetarian,’ ‘factory farming,’ and similar search phrases and stumbled on a few sites that pushed me into trying veggie: goveg.com, peta.org, and farmsanctuary.org. Farm Sanctuary has quite a few videos of undercover footage of factory farms, which is where much of the meat and dairy products we eat come from. I actually watched every one of these videos, deliberately not closing my eyes or turning my head at any point so I could fully grasp what these poor animals are needlessly enduring. I would encourage you to watch them for yourself. Below is a 30-second video showing what factory farming is.
I received an email today from goveg.com that my 30 vegetarian days are now over. But I’m happy to report it is only the beginning. This started out mostly as a set-aside time during which I could investigate, acquire more information and really consider why I would or would not become a vegetarian. I’ve read numerous articles, watched roughly 30 different videos, listened to vegan radio and other vegetarian podcasts, checked out about 5 veg cookbooks from the library and talked with vegetarians about why they’ve made this choice. The results of all of this have led me to become a vegetarian, specifically for the following reasons:
1. Animal welfare
2. Worldwide poverty
3. my own Health
4. Environmental issues
5. my new-found disgust at the thought of eating something that was once breathing
Next week (May 19-25) is World Vegetarian Week, so I will attempt to perhaps expound on these reasons, though, as many of you know, I’m terrible at being consistent with blogging.
“Veggie” Products I’ve used over the last month that I like or am getting used to:
Smart Ground (“hamburger”)
Tofu (silken and extra firm)
Tofurky (“turkey” slices for sandwiches or salad topping)
Rice cheese (“mozzarella”)
Foods I’ve tried that are more of a challenge:
Chick peas (and hummus)
I’ve also made numerous fruit salads and two kinds of sorbet. Unfortunately I still have some meat/dairy products (like stock, boullion, eggs, butter, etc) that I will use until they’re gone. I don’t really want to be eating them, but I can’t justify wasting them. I gave away whatever actual meat I had at the beginning of all this too.
I’m pretty excited and I’m feeling better physically than I have in a long time. It’s fun to be trying new foods, though I’m having to learn how to cook again. One good thing about veggie eating in that regard is that it takes next to no time at all to pull together a meal compared to one with meat and I don’t have to worry about bacteria (ie, food poisoning) or blood.
For a bit of a lighter side to this, I would also recommend watching the Meatrix videos. While truthful, they are also quite entertaining, especially if you’re a fan of the Matrix.