Category Archives: Vegetarian Living

October is Vegetarian Awareness Month

The whole month of October is Vegetarian Awareness Month. The good news is that more and more people are becoming aware of the many benefits of a plant-based diet for their health, the animals and the environment.

A study published by Vegetarian Times showed 7.3 million Americans follow a vegetarian diet, and there are now 1 million vegans in the United States and growing. Just as exciting are 23 million Americans who say they are vegetarian inclined. We expect that many of those inclined will eventually join the ranks of vegetarians and vegans in the United States.

The growth of vegetarians in the United States is reflected in the quickly growing sales of plant-based foods. Recent data shows U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods have grown 11 percent in the past year, several times the rate of conventional food growth, bringing the total plant-based market value to $4.5 billion. Plant-based milk leads the way followed by plant-based meat products. The overall quality of these foods has improved in recent years, leading to many non-vegetarians being willing to give these products a try and incorporate them into their diets.

New vegetarians and vegans are popping up everywhere these days. We’re hearing of vegetarian athletes, doctors, congressmen and cabinet members, teachers and truck drivers – a broad range of the community. Especially impressive is the recent growth of the number of vegetarians and vegans in the Black community, which has a significantly higher growth than among White people.  

We can increase awareness even more. If you, or someone you know, is considering a plant-based diet, this is the perfect time to give it a try. You can encourage others by sharing your own journey, sharing meal ideas, recipe sources and restaurant suggestions, and answering their questions without judgement. It is also helpful to suggest that they don’t need to do it all at once – they can proceed at their own pace and do the best they can – as the concept of making a big change to your diet can seem overwhelming at first.

You can also direct people to the many resources we offer including:

The important thing is to plant a seed, invite curiosity and encourage exploration, then give them time for that seed to grow! To start the conversation with someone new, see our article in this month’s newsletter on how to answer why you went vegetarian without offending someone

Calcium and mineral mythology

Bok ChoyOne of the many myths we hear about when it comes to minerals is that you need to consume dairy products to get enough calcium. While milk, cheese and yogurt do have calcium, there are plenty of other choices and some distinct advantages for those who want to skip the dairy and get their calcium for plant foods. Plant foods, such as collards and kale, are often good sources of calcium, but don’t carry the price tag of saturated fat and cholesterol, or a grumbly tummy for those with lactose intolerance. Plant foods are also easier on the animals and the environment.

Some people may take time to get used to the idea after seeing all the commercials with celebrities wearing a milk moustache, but as you learn more about it, we think you’ll be reaching for the veggies as the best way to get your calcium. The chart below shows some of the many plant sources of calcium, with dairy milk included for comparison. See our fact sheet to learn more about how to get plenty of calcium in your diet.

Food Calcium mg per 100 cal serving Absorption rate
Bok Choy 870mg 53%
Collard Greens 609mg 52%
Orange Juice (calcium fortified) 320mg 52%
Tofu, set with calcium 287mg 31%
Kale 270mg 49%
Broccoli 215mg 61%
Cow’s milk (for comparison) 188mg 32%
Sesame seeds 170mg 21%
Cabbage 160mg 65%
White beans 72mg 22%
Tempeh 55mg 37%

See professional level article on ensuring adequate calcium.

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.

You’re never too young

Just amazing! In London, Omari McQueen has been honing his culinary skills for nearly half of his life — and he’s only 12 years old. After starting his own vegan food company four years ago, Omari went on to his next big project — a cookbook — and he’s determined to change the way kids look at food. At a very young age, Omari started reading about veganism and he was instantly intrigued. After experimenting with some vegan dips, the budding chef, and his family, launched Dipalicious, a vegan restaurant and food company that also sells snacks and meals.

Now, the 12-year-old has a new cookbook that’s a collection of 30 vegan recipes titled, Omari McQueen’s Best Bites Cookbook. He says, “readers can expect to try different foods and experiment with different flavors while having fun and learning top tips from me.”

For the young chef, a cookbook is just the next step in what he hopes will be a very long, successful career. However, Omari is also quick to give credit where it’s due and acknowledged that his parents and sibling have helped him every step of the way. We cheer Omari on as one of the youngest movers and shakers in the veg world. It’ll be exciting to see what he does next!

Vegan Clothing – Easy to Find

Have you considered how veg-friendly the clothing you buy is?  More and more people want to know how the clothes they buy are produced, and whether animals were harmed in doing so.  Like factory farming in the food industry, raising animals for clothing and accessories is often cruel to the animals and harmful to the environment. Even “humanely raised” animals are kept in captivity and slaughtered years before they would have died naturally, so it’s hard to argue that any animal-based material is truly humane. Vegan clothing is any clothing item which is made without animal products, and nowadays there are abundant choices.  You just have to know which materials to avoid, so here’s a list to help you, along with suitable alternatives to look for:

Leather or suede – look for labels such as manmade leather, all-manmade materials, pleather, or synthetic. The price may give you a clue since synthetic leather sells for much cheaper than the price of real leather.

Read more

Better future for Black health

doctor with patientMany people in the US are worried and upset about the life experience of blacks in America at the moment. And while attention is very understandably drawn to the abuse of their civil rights, there’s another problem that shouldn’t be forgotten. Black people face an increased risk for a number of chronic diseases.

Blacks in America have a 50% higher risk of obesity, 70% higher risk of type 2 diabetes, 40% higher prevalence of hypertension, a 25% increased risk of stroke, and 4 times the risk of kidney disease requiring dialysis. They also have a 75% higher risk of dying from a heart attack and a 10% increased risk of dying from cancer. Read more

Go veg to save money!

Beef for sale

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, last month saw the biggest increase in grocery prices in nearly 50 years. Food prices rose across the board, but the sharpest increase­ – 4.3 percent from March to April – was for meats, poultry, fish and eggs.

This price spike, along with widespread shortages in stores (which are, of course, a factor contributing to the price increases), has forced many people to adjust their usual meal plans. When you can’t find ground beef or chicken breasts, you have to make something else, and in many cases that’s resulting in people choosing plant-based options. Read more

Grocery shopping tips during the COVID-19 pandemic

Here are a few tips for safely getting your groceries during COVID 19 (coronavirus) pandemic:

In the grocery store

Grocery shopping with maskIf you’re going to the grocery store, try to go when it’s not crowded. Since the virus can be transmitted through close contact with other individuals, the key to social distancing is by avoiding large groups of people. But if you don’t get your timing right and find yourself at the grocery store with a lot of people, get what you need and leave as soon as you can. Don’t dally! Read more

Six things you can do while stuck at home!

Stuck at home

During this coronavirus outbreak, many of us are either forced or choosing to stay home to keep the virus from spreading.  This can be frustrating, but I urge you to look on it as an opportunity to take some time to move toward a more plant-based diet, or if you’re already following a plant-based diet, to try some new recipes.  This will enable you to use your time constructively, improve your overall health, and have fun trying some new recipes!

Here are some options for steps you can take, depending on your starting point, while you’re stuck at home! Read more

Between the sheets

between the sheets

Last month we reported that vegans are more popular on online dating sites. Now we report on the vegan experience at the next level of a relationship.

What do love and food have in common? Well, it turns out that the latter makes the former more interesting!

A new study has found that going vegan can affect your intimate life for the better. The  study shows that on average, vegans have more frequent action “between the sheets” than meat eaters. In fact, vegans have more than twice the number of actions per week between the sheets than meat eaters. Meanwhile 95% of vegans report being happy with that aspect of their lives, versus only half among meat eaters. Also important is that vegans were reported to be more giving and less selfish in bed. They were also reported to be better at the warmup and talk up before the main event!

So, if you’re looking for an additional reason to switch to a plant based diet, this may be it!

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