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Finished Italian feast

One of the biggest ways a person can impact the environment and the planet in a positive way is eating less meat.
I know it’s clear that I am vegan, and I am prone to taking this stance, but the numbers and research can’t lie.
First of all, whereas there a number of health risks for eating meat (see this recent New York Times article), I will not go into that.
Did you know you can save at least $6 on your weekly grocery bill by not eating meat? That statistic is on the very low side: If you think of how much meat one person consumes in a week, and the prices of meat are usually $6-7 for a small pack, that could mean a savings of $24 per month AND that’s only if the single person eats just that small pack (about four thin cuts of chicken.) Even if you eat $1 burgers from a fast food place every day for a week, that’s $7 just right there for only seven meals! A can of beans are around $1 and can make at least two meals for a single person.
Now, moving onto the environmental aspect. By eating less meat, you can reduce the 1.4 billion tons of animal waste generated by U.S. factory farms each year, according to “Go Green, Live Rich.” As I discussed in my last article, methane is a huge harmful product destroying our planet. Methane from captive livestock accounts for about one-fifth of all greehouse gas emissions caused by humans.
In a study by two geophysicists from the University of Chicago in 2006, they determined that switching from a “Standard American Diet” to a vegetarian diet takes a bigger chunk out of global warming than trading in a SUV for a hybrid vehicle.
What also is affected is the forests.The vast tracts of Amazon rain forest that have been cleared in recent decades are used mainly for beef production. That’s not the only being used and abused: Producing a pound of beef requires 30 times more water than producing a pound of wheat, and 200 times more than a pound of potatoes, according to “Go Green, Live Rich.”
Also, producing one calorie of animal protein used 10 times as much fossil fuel as producing a calorie of vegetable protein.
There are many resources for eating a veg-filled diet, such as GoVeg.com and E/The Environmental Magazine at www.emagazine.com.
For an awesome alternative, try these “meat” balls. Experiment with the recipe and use the balls for a sandwich or for spaghetti, with homemade tomato sauce. I experiment with my own recipe all the time, but for a specific recipe, try “Vegan Italiano.”

1 cup re-hydrated TVP-textured vegetable protein
1/2 cup long grain rice
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 to 1/2 cup bread crumbs
basil
parsley
rosemary
garlic powder
oregano
salt
oil for cooking

Directions:

1. cook rice according to directions
2. while rice is cooking, rehydrate TVP with water or (we used) vegetable broth according to directions on package
3. cook up garlic and onions in oil until browned
4. once rice is finished, and onions/garlic are cooked up dump rice, TVP, bread crumbs, and onions in a big bowl
5. add all spices to your preferred taste, add different spices if you’d like! get crazy with it!!!
6. wash your hands and dig in, BE CAREFUL, it will be hot!! mash all of the ingredients together with your hands, just like momma used to do! (you may need to add more breadcrumbs, but it will be ready when it sticks together easily without crumbling.)
7. grab a decent amount (a meatball sized amount!!) and start rolling your meatballs. we got about 15 good sized meatballs out of it!
8. fry up in a bit of oil until browned on all sides
9. ENJOY!!

For vegan tomato sauce and other Italian recipes, read:

More VeganMoFo

Vegan french toast

Breakfast for dinner is always fun, and so I decided to make some. Breakfast for vegans can be a bit difficult, because most dishes contain eggs, different in a way that cakes and cookies contain them. However, I found a good recipe for french toast, my favorite morning dish.
What makes this even better is it contains protein! (that’s for another post.)
So, why use the vegan recipe with tofu and soy milk instead of eggs and cow’s milk? Other than a number of health risks from consuming these products, the impact these products have on the environment is extremely harmful.
Here is how milk is produced: “The 9 million cows living on dairy farms in the United States spend most of their lives in large sheds or on feces-caked mud lots, where disease is rampant. Cows raised for their milk are repeatedly impregnated. Their babies are taken away so that humans can drink the milk intended for the calves. When their exhausted bodies can no longer provide enough milk, they are sent to slaughter and ground up for hamburgers,” according to GoVeg.com.
The average dairy cow produces 120 pounds of waste every day — equal to that of more than two dozen people, but without toilets, sewers, or treatment plants.
“In the Central Valley of California, the cows produce as much excrement as a city of 21 million people, and even a smallish farm of 200 cows will produce as much nitrogen as in the sewage from a community of 5,000 to 10,000 people, according to a U.S. Senate report on animal waste,” said writers at PlanetGreen.com.
That’s not even scratching the surface.
The dairy industry is an extension of the beef industry, which means it plays a major role in creating climate change. Here’s the equation: The dairy industry uses cows before passing them on to be slaughtered by the beef industry, which is now recognized as an environmental nightmare. According to a UN report, cows are leading contributors to climate change, accounting for putting out 18 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide, cows emit more greenhouse gases than cars, planes, and all other forms of transportation combined. This is from the fuel burned making fertilizer, the production and distribution of meat and dairy products, and the methane emitted by the cow farts and manure they collectively create.
In other words, the industry of exploiting all cows involves destructive practices like deforestation and polluting offshoots like runoff.
This hurt to the environment also comes from the production of eggs, which also includes chickens that eat feed made with synthetic fertilizer that releases nitrous oxide, chickens that release gas and feces, which releases methane, and the pollution of air and water from runoffs and chemicals floating in the air.
So, have I made you not hungry anymore? Well, hold onto this delicious recipe for a time when you are craving some breakfast — no matter what time of day it is.

Ingredients:
12-oz. package silken tofu
1/2 cup soy milk
2 Tbsp. maple syrup (try to use pure maple)
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
4 to 6 slices of bread
Toppings: syrups, fruits, sugar, nuts

1. Combine everything but the bread and toppings in a blender and blend until smooth.
2. Pour mixture into a wide bowl or dish with a lip, and dip each slice of bread into it until coated.
3. On a lightly oiled skillet or griddle, brown the battered bread on each side. Serve hot, adding toppings.

For more vegan brunch items, try reading:
Vegan Brunch

More of VeganMoFo