All of the life.Loren Booda said:Picture the life that benefits from one's generous work.
I know what you mean mathwonk. I quit smoking 12 years ago, which was a good thing. When I quit however, my metabolism slowed and I gained weight.
3 years ago my BMI was 26.5 and although I was fit and active, I was still overweight. I decided to go vegetarian for this and environmental reasons. It was challenging.
At first I figured that milk, eggs, and textured vegetable protein would meet my nutritional requirements. Also there are now plenty of prepared vegetarian dinners and other foods in the frozen sections of most supermarkets. Between these and dining out I became a vegetarian.
I was still unsure about giving up what I thought to be an essential part of the human diet so I began researching what I should eat to replace meat. What I discovered, which was a profound revelation to me was that not only did I not need meat, but that it was the wrong food to fuel my body with. Like putting kerosene in a sports car. It will run, but it will not run cleanly, and will need a lot more maintenance to keep it running. That is when I decided that it is worth the effort to go vegan.
It does require planning and strategy. Where I live I can bicycle to a farmers market 2 days a week easily, and a third is only 1/2 a mile or so further. There is a Whole Foods, Berkeley Bowl, and soon a Trader Joes. I have no problem getting all the food we need without having to drive anywhere. We also grow some vegetables in the back yard.
Eating all plants means you can generate a lot of compost, so we feed a worm factory and have a compost bin to fertilize the garden with. I am learning about, and beginning to practice, bio intensive agriculture. Agriculture that enriches the topsoil, as opposed to mono-crop agriculture that depletes it.
Fortunately, all the best spices are vegan. I like Mexican spices and can make vegan enchiladas with a homemade mole' that is superb. I make it for a monthly vegan potluck and I never get to bring any back home.
For the most part I can get everything I need from just eating fruit, nuts, grains, legumes, mushrooms, and vegetables. Omega-3 fats and B-12 are the only nutrients that vegans and vegetarians may not get enough of. I eat Brewers yeast for B-12 and walnuts and flax seeds for Omega-3s. Brewers yeast is great on popcorn.
I am fortunate to live where I do. Most people, even most people in the first world do not have such easy access to fresh organic, locally grown plant foods year round. Changing your diet requires a lifestyle change. Fortunately more and more cities are moving in this direction. All the cities that have agreed to meet the Kyoto benchmarks will be adopting similar strategies to help their citizens adapt their lifestyle toward sustainability. The idea of sustainability is beginning to spread. A large part of a sustainable lifestyle is a plant based diet. As the benefits become obvious more and more people will adopt a plant based diet and lifestyle. I wish everyone could enjoy the delicious, nutritious meals that I do.
Once you make the commitment and figure out how to gather and prepare the fresh whole foods, it becomes second nature. I would never go back to eating flesh. My BMI is now 22.3 and I am enjoying the best health of my life.
It also pleases me that another creature does not need to be slaughtered in order for me to satisfy my appetite.
By going vegan, riding a bicycle, and using public transit, I am decreasing the size of my footprint on the earth. Abundance is everywhere, it is only when we start hoarding that we see shortages. The earth, managed properly, IMO can support all of us comfortably.
The universe is one........ and so are we.
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