February 10, 2016 marks an important day; it’s the day I pledged to stop eating meat. At first, it was just a little experiment…a test really, to see if I could do it. It’s been one month today and my vegetarian game is still going strong. In fact the game is so strong, I’ve even contemplated going full-on vegan. But before I permanently cut out all animal products, I think I’ll give the 7 Day Vegan challenge a try. Even if veganism doesn’t work out (it’s very hard to imagine my life without greek yogurt in it), I don’t see myself turning back to meat anytime soon.
To give you a bit of backstory: I come from a family that loves to eat meat and so growing up, dinner usually consisted of beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, pork or duck. Rarely did we eat a meal that did not feature meat. But when I went off to college, that all changed. Like most college students, I was broke and the little money I did have went to…..things other than food. Needless to say, my diet consisted of a lot of ramen, pasta, rice and beans and the occasional roasted chicken, if I really felt like treating myself.
You’re probably thinking how I cut out meat entirely. Well it all started with a book, as most good things do. In Eating Animals, the author, Jonathan Safran Foer, investigates the origins of his meat and the world of factory farming. What he learns about the meat industry is astonishing, shocking and extremely disturbing. He incorporates dialogue from factory farm workers, PETA activists, ethical farm ranchers and describes, in depth, undercover footage taken inside a factory farm. It didn’t take very long (about 10 pages into his book…) to convince me that I would no longer support a system that brutally tortures its animals to provide “cheap” meat to appease consumers. Putting the humane aspect aside, raising livestock for the sole purpose of human consumption leaves a devastating toll on our environment. To learn more about how animals are affecting our climate change, pollution levels, oceans, land and water use, I highly recommend you watch Cowspiracy on Netflix.
Seattle is an extremely vegan & vegetarian-friendly city so much so it seems every other person is in favor of a meatless or plant-based diet. An article released by PETA in 2013 named Seattle one of the top vegan cities in the country. This should come as no surprise as Seattlelites are liberal, granola-eating, and outdoorsy activists (I say this with much love) who are incredibly passionate about conserving the environment. Just look at how many companies in Seattle pay their employees to bike to work! And those who don’t bike, drive a hybrid (myself included). Anywho, there are a plethora of vegan restaurants and you can find a meatless option at almost every establishment you dine at. I’m not-so-secretly convinced that one day the number of vegan eateries will outnumber the number of coffee shops (and that is a bold statement if you know how much we love our coffee). I feel so lucky to have started this new dietary lifestyle in a city that encourages people to contribute to the sustainability of our planet.
I’m on a mission to find the best vegetarian and vegan eats in town. So far, I have Cafe Flora, Loving Hut and Wayward Cafe on my list. What others do you recommend? Also, please leave your favorite vegan or vegetarian recipes below. I’m always looking to add something new to my repertoire 🙂
*Disclaimer: This blog post isn’t meant to convince you to become vegetarian. I fully understand that a meatless or plant-based diet is not for everyone. All I ask is that you become more aware of where your food is coming from. Education is the most powerful tool we have to change the future of our world.