Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Opt for the Veggie Burger

The long-short of it is that the infrastructure and its resulting effects to support the world's 1.5 billion cattle - burning fertilizer to grow feed and the clearing of vegetation for grazing, coupled with the gas and manure emitted from said livestock - is responsible for 18 percent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. In addition to this increase in greenhouse gases, there is also ranching-induced deforestation, which turns a fifth of all pastures and ranges into desert; pesticide, antibiotic and hormone polluted drinking water; and dead zones (low-oxygen areas in the world's oceans that support little to no life partially caused by an excess of plant nutrients from fertilizers and sewage).

As developing nations race to catch up to first world economies, so does the practice for raising livestock, and our current consumption rates are far from sustainable. The United Nations Population Fund estimates that, "each U.S. citizen consumes an average of 260 lbs. of meat per year." And as the previous examples illustrate, these rates are not without dire costs. The Food and Agriculture Organization report concludes that unless drastic changes are made, massive damage done by livestock will more than double by 2050.


Talk about karma. This is beyond apocalyptic -- it's downright Vonnegutian.

9 comments:

W.M. Bear said...

Mac --

Currently, the only meat I eat is of the fish/chicken variety -- no pork and definitely no red meat, and not even very much fish/chicken. I'd like to go completely vegan but two things are holding me back:

1) I hate to cook (but also hate to eat out by myself, plus eating out is a prime source of colds and flu). But most vegan cookbooks I've seen make the whole business sound much too complicated. I want either to throw something in the microwave or make a sandwich. (I supposed frozen veggie burgers might take care of some of this problem.)

2) I eat a lot of nuts (walnuts and cashews mainly) but still worry about getting enough protein with an all veggie diet.

How do you do it?

REDUCE COWFART EMISSIONS!

Anonymous said...

I don't eat much red meat but I do drink a lot of cow's milk. I suppose I could get used to soya milk if I had to - unless someone can invent a cattl-ytic converter for cow rumps. (Sorry!)

Mac said...

I love soy milk. Seriously.

Colette said...

Protein comes in many forms. I too 'work at' being a vegetarian - I am what is known as a lacto-ovum vegetarian - meaning I eat dairy and eggs. However I find that I even do less of that these days. I do eat 'some' fish from time to time.

Stay with the nuts - eat peanut/nut butters. Eat more beans! Take a vitamin! Get some soy protein (I don't do tofu - I just can't stomach it). But it's not that hard to turn into a vegetarian.

What I find the biggest hurdle is - is having family that does not adhere to being a veggie - like my 18-yr-old son. He does eat a lot of veggies but he still likes steak and burgers. However, he has those with his dad - I refuse to put it in the house and cook it - instead we agree to have fish from time to time and I get him things like chicken and turkey. But we don't have meat with every meal. To me it is an individual's own choice whether or not they should be a vegetarian so I am not going to force this on my son - had we been vegetarians from the time of his birth, perhaps it would be different, but when I married his dad (my ex) we had meat every night. Luckily that changed - at least on my end and luckily my son deals with *my* diet pretty well....

I am also curious as to how Mac does this himself because I am always looking for ideas to help.

Happy New Year everyone.

Mac said...

Colette--

My dietary secret? No pop except for special occasions. You won't miss it. And lots of coffee.

Ethnic foods are universally vegetarian-friendly; eating out is no problem for me. A lot of people eat meat out of sheer habit. I personally enjoy food much more without it.

And don't forget to consume vast amounts of cereal! (Hint: If your gums aren't bleeding you're not eating enough.) ;-)

W.M. Bear said...

I love soy milk. Seriously.

Me too. This has been a great discovery for me over the past couple of years, in fact. Also soy creamer in my coffee and (yes, folks!) even soy yogurt (which isn't "officially" called that but which I've taken to calling "soygurt.") Takes a bit of getting used to, but once you make the switch, as they say, "you'll never go back."

Other discoveries -- Oatmeal, made with water but topped with soy creamer; and raw, dark cooking chocolate (no sugar or other sweeteners). It's great mixed with the oatmeal or eaten like a Hershey (once you get used to unsweetened chocolate, it's great!)

And (you're right, Mac) no sody pop.

One thing I'm considering -- veggie frozen dinners, which I most do anyway. Now, if I can just eliminate the occasional turkey sandwich....

razorsmile said...

Dude, seriously: quit it with the gum-slashing cereals. Why not switch to oatmeal? It's delicious with or without milk, and with a little salt.

weevee: htppo (hyterpext portal object)

Colette said...

Mac,

I NEVER do soda. I DO consume lots of coffee....

Thanks for the advice - we have tons of cereal at home (I have an 18 yr old son, remember? Cereal is just as important as pizza is to him).

Yeah I agree ethnic - especially Middle Eastern/Indian/Thai food is perfect for vegetarians - you are right about being able to have a lot of vegetarian choices with Ethnic foods.

Thanks my dear!

C -

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