Every second, 300 living beings are slaughtered for food in the US. Americans consume a million animals per hour.
The average American meat eater is responsible for about 200 animal deaths per year. Over a 79 year lifetime, that’s 15,800 slaughtered animals per meat eater. That’s a really huge number. Think about it.
2. Understand that heart disease is entirely preventable (and reversible).
Heart attack is the number one killer in the US. In other words, heart attack is the most likely reason you’ll die.
The way Americans talk about protein, you’d think protein deficiency was the number one health risk! Guess what? It’s not. In fact, it’s not even on the list of ailments doctors are worried about in any country where basic caloric needs are being met. You’d have to be suffering from starvation (or be on a really terrible crash diet) to acquire a protein deficiency.
The official government-recommended daily amount of protein is 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men. The average American consumes twice this amount daily, which actually puts most Americans at risk for diseases caused by over-consumption of protein. Dr. Alona Pulde & Dr. Matthew Lederman who speak in the documentary Forks Over Knives said, “We’ve never treated a single patient with protein deficiency; yet the majority of patients we see are suffering from heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses directly resulting from trying to get enough protein.”
Nearly all unrefined foods contain protein (even fruit) and vegans have no trouble acquiring the recommended daily amount. This website shows a sample vegan menu and how easy it is to get daily protein on a vegan diet.
4. Give a damn about our planet.
Meat is one of the worst things we’re doing to this planet. The livestock industry is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire world’s transportation industry combined! Researchers at the University of Chicago found that going vegan is more effective in countering climate change than switching from a standard American car to a Toyota Prius.
Compared with buying a Hybrid vehicle, or buying Energy Star appliances, or installing insulation in your house to reduce heating leakage, or making a tedious commute on the bus or bike every day, or basically any other green thing you could possibly do, eating pasta on a night when you’d otherwise have made fajitas is pretty much the easiest, and it could have the largest impact if you did it just once a week! Given that eggplant parmesan, bean burritos, and vegetable stir-fry are all delicious, this is not the world’s most onerous commitment. For the sake of the planet, don’t ignore the impact of what’s on your plate.
5. Stop telling yourself that there’s a difference between the animals in your home and the animals on your plate.
We balk at the thought of eating dogs, cats, or horses. But why is it ok to eat pigs, chickens, and cows?
Your dog or cat is no different than a pig or cow or chicken in terms of their intelligence, their ability to bond, and their emotional capability. All animals have the capacity to feel pain, suffering, and fear. Slaughtering pigs, cows, chickens, sheep, goats, fish, or any animal, is no different than slaughtering dogs or cats. It’s just not.
Pizza crust (ready to go, or dough)
Pesto (ready-made or homemade)
New potatoes, thinly sliced
Green Beans, ends cut off
Zucchini, thinly sliced (optional)
Mozzarella and/or Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400 (or follow the directions on your pizza crust).
2. Spread pesto on pizza crust. Top with potato slices, zucchini slices, green beans, and cheese.
3. Bake for about 10 minutes (or follow directions on your pizza crust) or until cheese is bubbly and potatoes are soft.
green beans, trimmed
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
2. While waiting for the water to boil, mix and heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil, breadcrumbs, garlic, and lemon zest in a small pan or pot. Stir constantly until fragrant and golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. In a small bowl, mix lemon juice and remaining olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
4. Once the water is boiling, add green beans and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
5. Drain green beans, return to the pot, and toss with the lemon juice and olive oil mixture.
6. Serve green beans drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil left at the bottom of the pot, and sprinkled with the breadcrumb mixture on top.
I’m not really a big soup person. But I’ve realized that soups can make very healthy meals. Talk about a great way to get in lots of vegetables! By using quinoa in this one, you get lots of protein too!
carrot (1-2 sticks), chopped
celery (1-2 stalks), chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 potato, chopped (not cooked)
1 can kidney beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup quinoa (not cooked)
16 oz vegetable broth (1 box or 2 cans)
seasonings, like dried basil & oregano, or all-purpose seasoning
1. Add the can of kidney beans, chopped carrot, celery, onion, potato, and seasonings to a pot with some olive oil. Stir for about 5 minutes, or until veggies are heated through.
2. Add the can of diced tomatoes (with liquid), vegetable broth, and quinoa. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 20 mins.
3. When soup has about 2 minutes remaining to cook, add kale.
My friend Caitlin sent me this recipe and said it was one of her favorites and I must try it. It is so good! The crispy, roasted chickpeas and breadcrumbs really make this pasta special by giving it some crunch! I modified the original recipe slightly by using kale.
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup capers, drained
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Boil the pasta.
2. While pasta is boiling and oven is heating, mix the chickpeas, capers, garlic, and breadcrumbs with some olive oil. Then spread the whole mixture out on a baking pan.
3. Roast the chickpea mixture for 18-22 minutes, or until the chickpeas are crispy.
4. While the chickpeas are roasting, drain the pasta and add the kale immediately to the hot pasta. Stir until kale becomes soft and turns bright green.
5. When the chickpeas are done roasting, top the pasta and kale with the chickpea mixture. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.
I posted a Shepherd’s Pie recipe several years ago that is simple and delicious. But I tried this new recipe and I think it’s even more simple and delicious. It’s definitely worth sharing this second variation on Shepherd’s Pie because it’s such an easy and healthy meal. Plus, this one has lentils in it and lentils are incredible.
1 can lentils (Canned is good for this because you want some of the ‘juice’ from the can. If you cook dry lentils you may want to save just a little bit of the veggie broth/cooking water.)
1/2 cup marinara sauce
Chopped veggies, like onion, green beans, mushrooms (you can add anything you like in here)
Please, for the sake of everything that is wrong with the Standard American Diet, do NOT use boxed or instant mashed potatoes for this! It really doesn’t take long to make real mashed potatoes and it’s very easy, I promise!
1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Boil a pot of water. Cut the potatoes into 3/4 inch cubes so they will cook faster. Put the cubed potatoes in the pot and cover. (You could add some garlic to the pot as well.) Reduce heat and boil 15-20 mins, or until the potatoes are very soft – soft enough to easily mash without much effort.
3. While potatoes are boiling, heat the chopped veggies in a frying pan with some oil. Cook 5-10 minutes or until they are tender (but don’t over cook).
4. Mostly-drain the can of lentils. Add the lentils and marinara to the pan, stir, and cook a few more minutes until warm.
5. Spread the veggie mixture into the baking pan (size 8×8 or similar).
6. When the potatoes are done boiling, drain them but reserve some of the boiling water. Mash them with a masher, or a whisk, or a fork. Add small amounts of cooking water until you reach desired consistency.
7. Top the veggies with the mashed potatoes. Cover the pan with foil. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.
8. Remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes.