what i've learned

I feel like I'm writing a final thesis on my six weeks of vegetarian research. Easter was today and my official stint as a vegetarian has come to an end. I will, however, be continuing my meatless diet, because I enjoyed the time and the new recipes and missed eating meat less than I thought I would.

I've thought about it many times over the past six weeks, why I wanted to go vegetarian. I'm not discounting animal cruelty and welfare, but it wasn't the main reason. It was a lot of thinking how I rarely cooked with meat in the first place and I always strive to eat healthy, so eliminating meat was a logical idea. What I found was that I cut out trips to fast food places and ate healthier at restaurants. But I also found I ate at restaurants less and opted to eat at home. My grocery trips were much more fun when looking for organic, vegetarian options. I made (almost) vegan lasagna last week and it came out delicious. Tofu, organic spinach, organic lasagna noodles, organic tomato sauce. The only thing I cheated on was using regular mozzarella cheese instead of a vegan substitute, because I just couldn't find an acceptable substitute.

I learned more about alternative ways to get protein, and have eaten even more hummus than usual. I also ate chickpeas with more of my meals, and have shelled edamame in my freezer. I limited the amount of fish and seafood I ate, but didn't give it up completely. (I can quit burgers much more easily than I can quit sushi - even though I have conducted a mini survey of the veggie rolls in town. It was very tasty research.)

Through my research, I found two great magazines, VegNews and Vegetarian Times. I also came across a book of veggie burger recipes, even though I've yet to go through it. I suppose the piece de resistance is my viewing of Food, Inc. tonight. I know that'll throw a lot of new thoughts into the mix.

The biggest thing right now that sticks in my mind about the animal industry is the sheer amount of grain and energy it takes to raise these animals (cruelly) for the sole purpose of making meat to sell. All this food going to the animals, all the water it requires to make that food and give to the animals, plus the energy it takes to run the factories - it uses more resources than we even have. If more Americans switched to a plant-based diet, world hunger would decrease dramatically. Basically, we are taking all this grain and giving it to the animals we're going to kill and eat ourselves. Instead of giving the grain to humans who have nothing. Plant-based diets are simply more sustainable for the planet and its inhabitants.

Now, if I may get back to my Sunday night cinematic feature...

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