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January 05, 2010


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Angela Graham

Hi Whitney, as a vegan 1-percenter, this is an issue close to my heart!

In my opinion, if we moved away from factory farming I wouldn’t suspect the number of vegans/vegetarians would decrease. For some vegans/vegetarians , it’s a health issue. Meat (and that includes poultry and fish) can have a lot of deleterious health effects, and a few studies show that red meat consumption actually shortens your lifespan, putting you at higher risk for heart disease, stroke, hypertension, etc. The health value of beef doesn’t improve much regardless of how the animal was treated. One exception would be that hormone-free and antibiotic-free meat may be less bad, but wont improve your chances of avoiding cardiovascular disease.

I’ve noticed the other big reason people go vegan/vegetarian has to do with animal welfare. Many could argue that life in a factory farm is only part of the suffering—the slaughtering process is also wrought with problems. (If you have a strong stomach and don’t mind being horrified, watch “Meet your Meat”). So even if the animal lived a life in a field eating grass, they’re still destined for slaughter and many vegans/vegetarians aren’t OK with killing an animal if they can be healthy and happy eating vegetables instead. Dairy farms aren’t much kinder.

There are definitely dissenting opinions to both of the two reasons. Some may argue about the validity of the studies showing meat and dairy products being less healthful for you. And others may claim that that slaughtering mishaps are much less common and animals are content on a traditional (not factory) farm. They have valid points too, but for myself I find the arguments in favor of vegan lifestyles to be more compelling. (Oh, and I eat honey, that issue is a whole other story…)

By being a vegetarian or vegan you’re not eating well by default—Doritos and ice cream are vegetarian. I have personally seen a few people try to go vegetarian but fail to eat a healthful diet. It does take some work at the beginning to figure out what you like to eat and how to balance your diet but if you’re willing to cook more often and be annoyingly picky at restaurants, it gets to be very easy.

Good luck with your NYR! If you need some inspiration for vegetable-packed meals, check out the recipes on www.vegweb.com , that’s my favorite resource.

whitney heckathorne

How did I just notice this comment?? Thanks so much, Angela! So far the NYR is going pretty well, minus my Ghiradeli boxed brownie the other day.

Love the vegweb.com resource! Very helpful.

I think a lot of people would agree with you re: slaughtering animals, even if they lived a grass-fed lifestyle, so I respect your views on it. It sounds like you would be a vegan regardless of the animal's treatment. I guess I just wonder if other vegetarians/vegans feel the same way.

Of the vegan diet you eat, what % would you say is organic?

Angela Graham

Whitney I'm glad your NYR is going well. And I cant say no to brownies either so dont worry :)

It would be interesting to see if other vegetarians/vegans would feel the same about their lifestyle if animals were truly free-range.

Regarding my organic diet, it would be hard to say. I actually don't seek out organic food. To me it's just too expensive to justify the purchase. I do grow a small veggie garden every year and that is organic. Our local grocery chain, Wegman's, has a lot of organic house-brand products that are competitively priced, so I will get those items as I need them. Aside from that, I try harder to eat local than to eat organic. Up here in western NY, we have a really short growing season so that's quite difficult! I just try to do my best within my means.

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