We are so fortunate to live in a place where being vegan is so easy. We have access to a wide array of fruits and vegetables and with companies like Spud, we can even track from where our food comes and how much of a carbon footprint we leave by what we order. There are dozens of vegetarian and vegan restaurants and many other eating establishments have vegan choices on their menus so eating out here is not a challenge.
Veganism is no longer unique and as we learn more about what raising livestock does to the environment and how negatively it impacts it, it is actually becoming more main stream. There are so many celebrities embracing a plant based diet it is difficult to keep track of them. I think as humans evolve we are starting to see the positive health benefits we derive from not including animal products in our diets.
Scientific research is now proving that humans can derive all the nutrients we need from a plant based diet and if we can eat without harming others, why don’t we? The oceans are being over-fished, the planet is being depleted of its forests, lakes and streams are polluted and the wildlife is slowly being killed off to make room for the livestock agriculture which cannot sustain all the humans on earth. There are dozens of start-up companies creating nutritious meat substitutes and alternatives to satisfy the taste of people who feel they can’t survive without meat and often with funding from some big corporations who see the writing on the wall. I think as time goes on we will see more and more of these. There are even “vegan” butcher shops opening in cities like Toronto and Minneapolis which are phenomenally successful. You can be sure if one opens up here in Vancouver, Spud will be one of the first companies to carry their products.
There are many health benefits from eating a plant based diet from lowering cholesterol and losing weight to reversing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. As the medical community learns more about nutrition, even they are prescribing a vegan diet for their patients. Reducing your meat intake can be done slowly if the thought of removing it from your diet completely is daunting. Start with meatless Mondays, slowly add another day. Even a slight reduction will make a difference in how you feel both physically and mentally; the key is to eat a variety of foods and not focus on just one.
Companies like Gardein, Yves, Field Roast and Daiya make meat and cheese substitutes that really help in your cooking adventures. Use Google to find vegan recipes; simply put the word vegan in front of any recipe you currently love and you will be surprised at how many turn up. I use coconut oil in place of butter in my baking and avocado oil on my popcorn and when cooking. Nutritional yeast is a cheesy substitute in many recipes. I even make my own vegan cheeses and they take a lot less time to make than I initially thought they would.
With the advent of the internet, plant based cooking and eating is no longer difficult and when you make it about the animals, it becomes extremely easy.
About the post:
This is the pilot post of our weekly series by resident vegan Susan Hollingshead. Susan has been a vegetarian for 20 years, and a vegan for 3. She has researched both lifestyles extensively and is constantly exploring new recipes, add her own twist. She is a long time Spud customer, and now our very own resident vegan blogger!