Category Archives: Book Excerpts & Recommendations

Vegetarian Living – Going to Parties

Say No to Meat cover 1.0The following is an excerpt from our book “Say No to Meat“, by Amanda Strombom and Stewart Rose, published by Healthy Living Publications.  This book includes answers to all the questions you may have about becoming a vegetarian, and is invaluable to new and existing vegetarians alike!

What do you recommend when going out with friends or to parties?

Research beforehand and come prepared. When going out with friends to a restaurant, encourage them to choose a restaurant that you know has some veggie options you can choose. If you aren’t able to influence the choice of restaurant, it may help to look online beforehand to see from their menu what options are available to you. You may need to ask for something special to be made, if you can’t find a suitable menu item. Most chefs and restaurants don’t mind special orders, so it’s important to speak up. Another alternative is to eat beforehand, and just go along to enjoy the company.

Know before you go. At a catered dinner, ask beforehand if possible, whether the caterer has any vegetarian options. When going to a private party, it’s a good idea to mention to the host that you are vegetarian, so that they can cater for your needs if food is to be provided. Alternatively, you can just ask which dishes include meat when you arrive, so that you can be sure to avoid them, rather than putting your host to any special trouble.

Some people just need a little help. You may wish to offer to bring some food, so that you know you’ll have something to eat. At a barbecue, bring a package of veggie burgers or veggie hot dogs for the grill. A potluck is a great opportunity to show others how delicious vegetarian food can be, so it’s worth making a special effort to bring a particularly appetizing dish or two. You can pick something up from a natural foods deli section if you don’t wish to cook. Be sure to eat when you first arrive, since others may like your food so much they eat it all before you get any!

Answering why I went vegetarian

Say No to Meat cover 1.0The following is an excerpt from our book, Say No to Meat, by Amanda Strombom and Stewart Rose, published by Healthy Living Publications.  This book includes answers to all the questions you may have about becoming a vegetarian, and is invaluable to new and existing vegetarians alike!

How can I answer why I went vegetarian without offending someone?

Stay positive and respectful. When someone asks you about being a vegetarian, it’s important to show that it’s a positive decision and that you enjoy eating this way, especially if you hope to influence them to become vegetarian themselves someday. Here are some suggestions on what to say:

“You’d be amazed at how many health benefits there are from eating this way.”

“When I learnt about how the animals are treated on most factory farms, I couldn’t bring myself to eat meat any more.”

“You probably haven’t heard too much about this, but in fact the raising of animals is very damaging to the environment, so I wanted to do something to help.”

Don’t get negative. If you give a negative or boring impression of eating vegetarian food, you can be sure that they will be put off for a very long time. Many people are also turned off by scary or horrific images, so it is usually counter-productive to say anything along the lines of the following:

  • “Let me tell you all about the horrible diseases you’re going to get by eating meat”,
  • “Here’s some gruesome pictures of how animals are treated on factory farms”
  • “People who eat meat are responsible for global warming, water pollution, burning down the rainforest and even global hunger.  How could you live with that on your conscience?”

Don’t come on too strong. Some people just can’t handle food issues. The most important thing to avoid is overwhelming a person. If they stop asking questions, or don’t show an interest in the subject, then move right along to a totally different topic. Sometimes, the message takes a few months or even a few years to sink in, after planting the seed.

Provençal Vegetable Quiche Recipe

Untitled-1Here’s another delicious alternative to using eggs.  Silken tofu can be used in many ways, such as for a breakfast scramble, a chocolate pudding, or as in this recipe, a quiche.  This recipe is from our own Veg-Feasting Cookbook, which is packed with delicious recipes from around the world, all provided by local restaurants and Vegfest chefs.

Provençal Vegetable Quiche

By Chef Robin Robertson, Author, Presenter at Vegfest

Silken tofu is used instead of eggs and cream in this light and luscious quiche. Mediterranean spiced vegetables and a flaky crust make it a good choice for a light lunch or supper entrée served with a crisp green salad.

Serves 4 to 6

Crust

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

¼ cup chilled corn oil

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon cold water, or more as needed

 

Filling

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 leek, white part only, washed well and chopped

1½ cups chopped zucchini

1 cup chopped white mushrooms

1 cup finely chopped fresh or canned tomatoes, well drained

1 garlic clove, minced

¼ cup pitted black olives, chopped

1 teaspoon minced fresh marjoram leaves

1 teaspoon minced fresh basil leaves

1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon leaves

1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups drained and crumbled firm silken tofu

1 cup soymilk or other dairy-free milk

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ cup grated Parmesan-style nondairy cheese (optional)

 

To make the crust, combine the flour, corn oil and salt in a food processor and pulse until crumbly. With the machine running, add the water and process until the mixture forms a ball. Flatten the dough, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to fit into a 10-inch quiche pan or pie plate. Line the pan or plate with the dough and trim the edges.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leek, zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften and the liquid evaporates, about 7 minutes. Stir in the olives, herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a food processor or blender, combine the tofu, soymilk, mustard, cayenne and salt to taste. Blend well. Spoon the vegetable mixture into the crust and sprinkle with the Parmesan-style cheese, if using. Pour the tofu mixture over all, distributing it evenly.

Bake until the filling is set and the top is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting.

 

Help the Hungry by Going Veg

Say No to Meat Book CoverThe following is an excerpt from our book, Say No to Meat, by Amanda Strombom and Stewart Rose, published by Healthy Living Publications.  This book includes answers to all the questions you may have about becoming a vegetarian, and is invaluable to new and existing vegetarians alike!

How can following a vegetarian diet help the hungry people of the world?

Let’s start with the agricultural facts of life. Farm animals function, in effect, as food factories in reverse; that is they give us less nutrition than they are fed. For instance, a cow will give us as beef only 10% of the protein and 4% of the calories it consumes. The rest is used by the cow to enable it to live and breathe throughout its lifetime. With 56 billion farm animals raised globally each year, you can see just how much food is being wasted. Wasting food by feeding it to farm animals fuels the global hunger crisis. With developing countries quickly changing from their traditional plant-centered diet to a western-style, meat-centered diet, it’s easy to see how hunger and malnutrition can spread. Many of these people live in countries which could feed themselves, but farmers, policy makers, and governments choose to feed crops to farm animals instead of people. The result is that they often need to import grain to feed their human population. This is expensive and drives up prices. A rising global population makes wasting food this way even more harmful.

Microsoft Word - Global Hunger additional illustrationRaising meat is just plain crazy. Growing crops to feed farm animals not only replaces inexpensive nutritional protein with expensive nutrition, but also reduces the total amount available for human consumption because so much is wasted by the animal.

America is addicted to meat. Our own meat habit is so prominent that, in America, 70 percent of all the corn and 80 percent of all the soybeans grown go to feed farm animals. Even one third of the fish caught in the world’s oceans are fed to farm animals. It’s so wasteful. If we want to feed the hungry in other lands, what sense does it make to waste it at home?

Vegetarian diets are the solution to global hunger, or at the very least the biggest part of it. With few exceptions, those countries with chronic hunger and malnutrition problems could feed themselves, if they would only stop taking their crops and feeding them to animals, and make them available for people instead. These countries would also save a lot of money since they would no longer need to pay for imported food.

Yes, the world’s population is rising quickly, and that puts pressure on global food supplies, but a vegetarian diet could easily support a world population much larger than today’s. With a rising population, the only sustainable way out of the global hunger crisis is by reducing meat consumption or becoming vegetarians.

Soil Erosion – the silent environmental catastrophe

Say No to Meat Book CoverThe following is an excerpt from our book, Say No to Meat, by Amanda Strombom and Stewart Rose. This book includes answers to all the questions you may have about becoming a vegetarian, and is invaluable to new and existing vegetarians alike!

How does raising livestock cause soil erosion?

It’s hard to get excited about dirt but our lives depend on it. The crops can’t grow without soil and without the crops we all face starvation. Soil is formed through a natural process of wind and water on the earth, but this is a slow process. For example, in Iowa it takes 200 years to form one inch of topsoil. Plants and vegetation bind the soil together, but when those plants are removed, due to grazing or farming crops to feed animals, there is nothing to stop the soil from being washed or blown away. In Iowa, soil is being removed 30 times faster than it is being formed.  85 percent of all soil erosion in the United States is due to raising livestock. With 56 billion farm animals raised in the world each year, and one third of the habitable land being used directly or indirectly to raise them, scientists are sounding the alarm as massive soil erosion continues unabated. In parts of the US, China and sub-Saharan Africa, the result of soil erosion has been that what was once valuable farming land is now desert.

Vegetarian Living – How to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet

Say No to Meat Book CoverThe following is an excerpt from our book “Say No to Meat“, by Amanda Strombom and Stewart Rose, published by Healthy Living Publications.  This book includes answers to all the questions you may have about becoming a vegetarian, and is invaluable to new and existing vegetarians alike!

How can I include more fruits and vegetables in my diet?

Take veggies seriously. Vegetables are an important component of your diet, and most of us don’t eat enough of them. The American Cancer Society advises us all to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, and many researchers suggest 8 to 10 servings per day would be optimal. The only way to achieve this is to plan each meal to include several servings of fruit or vegetables.

For breakfast, focus on fruit. A smoothie (see Protein-Powered Fruit Smoothie recipe) is a great way to get plenty of fruit into your diet, as you can include bananas and whatever fruit you have on hand. Alternatively, a glass of orange juice, and a piece of fruit on the side of whatever else you have for breakfast will get you started on meeting your fruit requirement for the day.

For lunch, try to include a couple of different vegetables with the meal. This may mean that you include some greens, cucumber slices, and red pepper sticks in your sandwich. Choose romaine or red leaf lettuce or spinach rather than iceberg lettuce, which has little nutritional value. Baby carrots, zucchini and red pepper sticks are great to dip into hummus or other dips. Coleslaw (see The Great American Coleslaw recipe on page XX) is a delicious option in a pita pocket, and vegetable soups are always a good choice. A piece of fruit makes a great dessert.

For snacks, choose a piece of fruit, dried fruit in trail mix, and baby carrots as quick, easy options.

For dinner, choose an entrée which has plenty of vegetables included, and add more if you can. For example, if you buy a prepared vegetable pizza, there will be a few small pieces of vegetables included. Top up the pizza with extra vegetables – sliced mushrooms, zucchini, red peppers and some frozen peas and corn are easily added to give extra nutrition and fiber. In addition to the entrée, aim to always have at least one steamed vegetable and a salad bowl on the side. Good choices for steamed vegetables include greens such as kale, collards or chard, green beans, and broccoli, although any vegetable you like is a good choice. Remember that variety is important, so try to vary your choice of vegetables from one day to the next.

Main Street Vegan – a book review

It’s hard not to get excited about this book. It’s hard not to fall in love with it. Victoria Moran’s latest book, titled Main Street Vegan – Everything You Need to Know to Eat Healthfully and Live Compassionately in the Real World, is sure to be a winner.

We were excited by innovations such as the chapter on finding the method of switching over to a vegan diet that works best for you, rather than the usual one way fits all. “Vegan one day at a time”, “vegan one food at a time” and “vegan at home” are just a few of the strategies offered by the author for the reader to choose from. There’s even a “vegetarian for now” strategy for those just getting started on the veg journey who haven’t reached vegetarian yet.

Also exciting is the forthright way the author confronts the myths and misinformation that abounds about some foods, such as the false fears being spread by the soy bashers and the false promotion of unique health benefits of fish. She doesn’t shy away from such real world considerations such as fitting vegan food choices comfortably into your budget, and she is not afraid to make specific recommendations and evaluations about specific brands of foods and other products which are so helpful to those just starting out.

We loved the way Victoria wrote the book for real people and what it takes to switch over to the vegan way, in uniquely human terms. “To become a Main Street Vegan yourself”, says the author, “you’ll call on your courage, your flexibility, your sense of adventure, your willingness to learn, and your ability to rise to a challenge.” We loved the way she wrote in a personal style instead of “to whom it may concern,” the impersonal tone found in so many other books today. Victoria gets up close and personal, revealing her own switch over to vegan which did so much to help her in her own weight loss struggles. We also loved the recipes, arranged throughout the book, that use everyday ingredients but yield especially delicious dishes of every kind.

In short, this book is a treasure trove that will reward the reader with one gem after the other, and we recommend it wholeheartedly. Victoria Moran is an author, motivational speaker, corporate spokesperson, and certified holistic health counselor (HHC, AADA). Her latest project, Main Street Vegan is published by Tarcher/Penguin and has been endorsed by such luminaries as Russell Simmons, Moby, and authorities such as Neal Barnard MD, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Among Victoria’s ten additional titles are the best-selling Creating a Charmed Life (in thirty languages), and the plant-based weight-loss classic, The Love-Powered Diet: Eating for Freedom, Health, & Joy. A vegan for twenty-eight years, Victoria wrote Compassion, the Ultimate Ethic, the first book on vegan philosophy ever published by a major publisher, as her college thesis in 1985.

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