Did You Know....
FIFTY-SIX BILLION FARMED ANIMALS ARE KILLED EVERY YEAR FOR FOOD.
Yes! You read that right! 56 billion. And that's just farmed animals. The billions of fish and other marine animals are not even included in that number. 56 BILLION. It is extremely difficult to comprehend. And heartbreaking, when you know the facts.
Most of us, from the time we were young, enjoyed family meals together. We trusted our parents to serve us the foods that were best for us, and we came to love and delight in them, both as sustenance and as part of our traditions. As a part of "who we are".
Taking a second look at those items we've always considered food can be especially challenging for us, because we have many complicated emotional associations with the food we eat. Eating is not simply something we do to sustain our bodies; it is rich in cultural and familial heritage. It's what nourishes us physically, psychologically, and even emotionally.
Yet, if we want to live a kind life, it is imperative that we think again about what we are consuming. There is no activity we engage in on a daily basis that has a bigger impact on our bodies, our environment, on society, and on others than eating and the production of food. We can do a massive amount of good simply by changing the way we eat.
By now, you've probably heard quite a bit about the word "vegan". Not that long ago it was a word most folks didn't know or understand, but because of a rising awareness about the numerous benefits of removing animals and animal products from dinner plates, food production companies have responded. Now, even the brands I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and Haagen Daz are waving the vegan flag.
So you've heard the word, and you're curious, and you're wondering why this is important and what to do next. Wonderful! We are glad you are here!
While there are a lot of "whys" as to why to adopt a vegan diet, the most compelling one is the "who" that ends up as dinner.
Did you know...
When you are an egg producer, you are only interested in female chicks
who can grow up to lay eggs. The male chicks are simply an unwanted byproduct.
What happens to them? They are either smothered in a plastic bag in a trashcan
or ground up alive. In the U.S. alone, 200 million male chicks die every year in
Pigs raised in overcrowded conditions are apt to bite one another’s tails.
At factory farms, where animals are mass produced, newborn piglets therefore
get their tails cut off and their “needle teeth” clipped without the use of anesthetic.
Do you realize that a cow needs to have given birth in order to produce milk?
This means that millions of baby calves are born each year, simply as a byproduct of the dairy industry. Many of these calves, and the vast majority of the males, are slaughtered when they are only days or weeks old.
Chickens raised for meat grow more than four times faster than birds raised in the 1950s. Rapid growth strains the birds’ cardiovascular system, and up to 4 percent of birds die from “sudden death syndrome.” Many chickens also suffer from debilitating leg problems brought on by their rapid growth. One large study found that more than 25 percent of chickens had trouble moving, with nearly 4 percent, “almost unable to walk."
Unfortunately, where the commoditization of animals exists abuse is inevitable. While the below may be hard to watch, we recommend taking just a few minutes to view the reality of modern factory farming, and then ask yourself: is that an industry you want to support with your dollars?
Animals aren't the only reason to eat kind, though! Choosing a vegan diet has also been shown to have numerous health benefits, like having have a lower risk of heart disease, and diabetes, and a lower incidences of some cancers. We all know that eating our fruits and veggies is good for us. Vegan diets allow you to do that in abundance, while maintaining a generally lower weight than the average person. We encourage you to watch the film Forks Over Knives for a deeper dive into the numerous health benefits of keeping animal products off your plate.
Are you ready to go vegan? Wondering where to start? Luckily for you, veganism is becoming so commonplace that you have numerous resources to choose from! We recommend the book The Ultimate Vegan Guide (available for free reading online) and referencing online guides on how to transition to a vegan diet, like this one, to make sure your journey is as healthful and satisfying as it can be.
Today vegan foods are taking over the shelves at grocery stores from coast to coast, so do not fear that your new lifestyle will be one of deprivation. Living kind is not just a move toward being more compassionate, it is also a move toward more deliciousness! A great way to try vegan foods is to visit a vegan restaurant or a restaurant with vegan options (easily found by using Yelp and searching the word "vegan", or to try prepared vegan foods at a store like Whole Foods Market. That way, you can get an idea of what you like without the expense of buying and preparing ingredients you may not be familiar with.
When you are ready to cook for yourself, vegan recipes are overflowing online! A few sites we like are here, here, and here. A great place to start with your vegan cooking experiments is with vegan baking. You should find that, by using just a couple tricks and substitutions, your vegan treats are just as delicious, if not more delicious, than their non-vegan counterparts.
Don't become overwhelmed! And don't let perfection be the enemy of progress. Take one step at a time, and before you know it you will be living a kinder, healthier, tastier life. If we can provide any assistance or answer any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to us.
On behalf of the billions of animals suffering in the food system, thank you for considering a kinder life!