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
oil for cooking
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