You might think that country music stars only eat meat and potatoes, and especially barbecue. But in fact several of the top country stars have chosen to go meatless.
Carrie Underwood grew up on a farm in Oklahoma and didn’t think about the fate of the animals being raised until she thought to ask what happened to them. Once she learned that they were slaughtered, she removed meat from her diet. When she moved to California at the age of 22, she found it much easier to completely cut meat from her diet. As she became more famous, she became a vocal advocate for animal rights and adopted a fully vegan diet in 2011.
As July 4th approaches, many people think about hosting a barbecue at their home or in a local park. This cultural phenomenon is well-established as a meat-eaters paradise, but meat-eating hosts often struggle with what to provide for the plant-based eaters they may wish to invite. In fact, there are so many possible veg-friendly options these days that choosing what to buy can be daunting, as they just don’t know which to offer to their plant-based friends. A veg option that one person loves may not work for others.
Café Red, a coffee shop located on Martin Luther King Jr Way in South Seattle, recently reopened with a fully plant-based menu. The co-owners, Jesiah Wurtz and Haley Williams, are making a renewed commitment to community, with goods from local vegan companies. They are both vegan themselves, and feel that South Seattle is lacking in places to buy great vegan food.
Progress! The largest beef company in the world, JBS Foods, is launching plant-based bacon through its Colorado-based Planterra Foods brand. Even the meat industry realizes that plant-based foods are the future. The vegan bacon selection will roll out under the company’s Ozo brand. Soon, American customers will have access to juicy, crispy plant-based bacon with the True Bite Plant-Based Bacon, featuring Cracked Black Pepper, Spicy Jalapeno, and Applewood Smoke flavors.
Some vegetarian medical students at Stanford Medical School were frustrated recently, when they attended their White Coat ceremony where they are given a white coat and a stethoscope, to find that all the vegetarian options were already taken. This is evidently a frequent occurrence. Throughout their first year of medical school, they found that food options for vegetarians were in short supply at lunchtime and dinner seminars, orientations, club meetings etc. The impact on them is that they feel their cultural and moral values are not recognized and they are not able to reduce their impact on the environment.
There are chickens literally being boiled to death in slaughterhouses. Slaughterhouses don’t have glass walls for a reason. It’s often been said that if slaughterhouses had glass walls we would all be vegetarians. But glass walls or not these stories need to be told.
Chickens are being boiled to death in slaughterhouses across the country, right under the noses of USDA inspectors. We’re absolutely appalled at the cruelty.
New Zealand is taking a step in the right direction for animal well being, although there’s still a long way to go. Agriculture minister Damien O’Connor has announced a permanent halt to live animal exports by sea, effective next year 2023. We’ve said before that while there’s cruelty in factory farming and at the slaughterhouse, there’s also cruelty in transportation, with decades of repeated evidence of suffering and death.
Just when you thought you’ve heard it all, there’s a company making meat substitutes from the air! Talk about low cost ingredients! Elements of the air are whisked together with biological cultures until they produce protein within a matter of hours. According to Air Protein, the company pioneering this new technology, “ We believe climate change and food scarcity can be reduced by reimagining food creation. Our groundbreaking process is carbon negative, massively scalable, and can happen virtually anywhere.”
Air fermentation begins with the same building blocks that all plant life needs and renewable energy. The protein that the cultures produce is harvested and purified, then dried to remove water. The result is a super-clean, protein-packed flour—nutritious, versatile, and ready to be turned into any meat substitute. Finally, in a process much like the way you might turn flour into pasta, they apply culinary techniques to Air Protein flour to create textures and flavors that give air meat the same taste and texture as traditional chicken, beef, pork, and seafood.
Sodexo, a giant food service company, is increasing its plant-based offerings at hundreds of college campus cafeterias over the next few years, with the goal of reducing their carbon footprint by 34%. They are aiming for 42% of the menus to be plant-based at hundreds of colleges and universities by 2025.
The push to move toward more plant-based menus is being driven by an initiative between Sodexo and its longtime partner Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which has been helping Sodexo to update their menus and animal welfare policies over the past 15 years.
Retired basketball star Shaquille O’Neal has announced that he’s going vegan, during a May 2 interview with Rip Michaels, host of the show Urban Eats & Treats. He had previously followed a high-protein, low-carb diet, but he’s realized that following a vegan diet, including vegan versions of many of his favorite junk foods such as cheeseburgers, gives him many advantages, including enabling him to continue to eat the way he prefers, while avoiding packing on too many pounds.
At 7-foot-11, and 320 pounds, the former NBA star is now 50 years old and wants to look after his health, while still enjoying his favorite foods. He has discovered that is possible, by frequenting a vegan restaurant in Atlanta where he can get a cheeseburger without the guilt. He used to think that a healthy diet consists of salad, steak and fish, but finds that eating vegan food helps him feel lighter and more energized, and healthier than he used to feel.
For breakfast, he enjoys a vegan smoothie, with blueberries, peanut butter and bananas, inspired by vegan NFL star Tom Brady. Shaq joins many other vegan athletes who have discovered the benefits of a plant-based diet, including female athletes such as tennis champion Venus Williams and soccer star Alex Morgan.