Monday, November 22, 2010

facts and stats

Sorry for the hiatus... my roommates and myself are in the process of moving and the internet bill somehow managed to get overlooked.... oops!

Before I kick off this post, however, there's a website you should check out for some entertainment :  (once again, something I stole from Sabrina- thanks!!).

Where's the beef

Since I began this "project", many people have commented to me on the question of the environmental effects of a vegetarian diet.  Yes, growing crops and grains on a large scale requires land, thus usually, the clearing of forests, etc.  But what most people don't realize is that at least 70% of the grain grown in America is used for livestock feed, not humans.   Around the globe, more than two thirds of all agriculture land is used for growing feed for livestock, while only 8% is used for direct human consumption according to the Livestock, Environment, and Development Initiative (LEAD).  Rainforests in South America are being destroyed and cleared more and more every day to plant soy bean crops, the major component of feed used for pigs.  When you consider how many people are starving to death all over the world daily, it seems absurd that so much grain is used to feed our insatiable desire for meat.  The demand for meat is only rising every day, with the development of third world countries.  

Growing of these crops for livestock feed takes a whole lot of water, too.  In John Robbins book, The Food Revolution, he states that to produce one pound of beef, it takes 2,500 gallons of water.  On the other hand, it takes 33 gallons of water to produce a pound of carrots.  Here's the crazy part: for every 16 ounce steak a person consumes- it's the equivalent of 6 months worth of water used for showers!

Now think about the amount of fuel it takes to transport all the materials needed daily around the world for all the factors associated with livestock production.  It seems there is no escaping large amounts of fuel use when you consider fuel to produce the feed (machines for watering, plowing, etc), transporting the feed, electricity to run the livestock factories, transporting the livestock to slaughterhouses, transporting the meat all over the world to supermarkets, etc.

Now, I know Thanksgiving is in 3 days, and I'm not saying don't indulge and eat all you can- just try and balance out what you know you will be indulging in.  Perhaps eat meat free until Thanksgiving.  Or do without meat for a few days afterwards.  Every little bit helps!
So Happy Thanksgiving, people! I'll let you know how my first pescetarian Thanksgiving goes later....

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

'Tis the Season

    It's getting to be that time of year with big family meals... in my family that means a whole lot of meat.  And I'm not going to lie, when my roommate made sausage balls (you know, those bisquick and cheese things) the other night- I had to make her put them away so I wouldn't devour all of them.  It's really strange that I've gone this long without meat, and honestly I rarely crave it, but I suppose I have been conditioned to expect heavy meals around this time of year. 

   But, thankfully, it is also the time of year for winter squash!! There is no meat craving I have that can't be cured by some delicious butternut, acorn, or blue hubbard squash.  Plus, there are tofu and tempeh substitutions for almost any kind of meat you can think of- so later this week, my friend Jessica and I are going to attempt to create some tofu sausage balls (and thus, put my mind at ease). 

   I am getting a little nervous about my first vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner, though.  It's hard to resist some of the casseroles and gravy, and such.  Plus, it doesn't help that my mom thinks that vegetarians still eat things with meat broth or stock in them (her argument is "Ashley, everything that's delicious has some kind of meat broth in it!)  So I may just have to eat my own private meal before entering my cousins house full of traditional Thanksgiving fare.

   Anyway, just a quick side note- I have had so many friends and family members ask me recently "why are you doing this?" and I say- "Read my blog!!".... but really, it seems as if some people think my diet change is a personal attack on their diet option.  It most definitely is not, I am harmless, people.  And I was a huge carnivore not that long ago myself! I've just realized that vegetarianism makes sense, especially environmentally (even though reading about it has made me discover how cruel the livestock production really is).  Alright, not a very enlightening blog post, I apologize... more to come soon (actual facts next time).