The diet I refer to in Kitchen La Bohème as a pure vegetarian diet is what most people would call vegan. Both terms denote a plant-based diet free of all animal products, including meat, poultry and seafood; eggs, dairy products and honey. Vegan, however, defines a lifestyle more than just a dietary choice. Vegans adopt a pure vegetarian diet in addition to avoiding animal products in daily life: no fur, leather, wool, down or cosmetics and household products containing ingredients derived from animals. When we're talking about food and diet, I prefer the term pure vegetarian.
I, myself am not vegan. While I follow a pure vegetarian diet and make a conscious effort to reduce the amount of animal-based products I use and wear in my daily life, I still wear leather and wool. I'm also laid back about my pure vegetarianism. Friends and family may use my pots and pans to cook meat; I will even cook omnivorous meals for others on occasion. And I won't have a panic attack if a trace of dairy accidentally crosses my lips. Mistakes can and sometimes will happen, and it's not a big deal.
My goal with Kitchen La Bohème is to show others who may not have ever dreamed of considering veganism in any way, simple ideas and meals to spread awareness and encourage them to incorporate a bit of it into their lives. If each and every one of us took just one step towards a vegan lifestyle, imagine what a great impact it would have on the planet!
You are what you eat. Many of us, particularly Americans, are used to an animal-based diet of fatty, fried and processed foods. Just eliminating some of these problem foods from your diet will help immensely but going a step further and eliminating meat and dairy products entirely will also virtually eliminate the risk of high cholesterol and blood pressure, heart disease and even some cancers. Based on my personal experience, you will feel cleaner, have more energy and lose any extra weight you may be carrying around.
ENVIRONMENTProducing animal-based food is typically much less efficient than the harvesting of grains, vegetables, legumes, seeds and fruits. And worse, animal emissions contribute to global warming. Yes, I’m talking about cow farts. Sounds ridiculous but it’s true! Imagine all of the hundreds of thousands of farts escaping from the cows stuffed together on just one factory farm, let alone every factory farm in the world. That’s one big, environmental stink bomb.
Some people question the ethics of eating animals — sentient beings that feel and are capable of greater intelligence than most people give them credit for. Whether you think that eating animals is wrong or not, there is more to it than just that. While the majority of us are aware that the meat we purchase from the supermarket and cook comes from a factory farm, many are still unaware of what exactly goes on in factory farms and slaughterhouses. For a greater understanding, I recommend reading Slaughterouse by Gail Eisnitz. I promise that you will be shocked at not only the blatant unethical treatment of farm animals but also the politics that govern the industry and other issues such as working conditions for employees and contamination of the final product that eventually goes on your table. Another book I recommend reading is Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. If you’re not yet convinced, these books will definitely give you more to think about. In addition, the grain fed to livestock could feed at least twice as many people in third-world countries. Buying less meat helps to weaken the industry and will in turn help to alleviate some of these problems. Even one person can make a small difference!
BECAUSE COOL PEOPLE DO IT
Paul McCartney, Woody Harrelson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tobey Maguire, Alicia Silverstone, Pamela Anderson, Clint Eastwood, Joaquin Phoenix, Natalie Portman and Alec Baldwin are just a few of the celebrities who choose vegetarianism and pure vegetarianism. If Paul McCartney can do it, so can you!
If you would like to learn more about Slaughterhouse and purchase the book, you can visit the Amazon page here. For more information on Eating Animals, visit the Eating Animals website here.