First of all, make the changes gradually if you plan on making this a true, lifelong change. Many give up beef, chicken, turkey and lamb first while still eating eggs and fish. Of course we all know that is not a true vegetarian or vegan, but again, gradual change is more likely to be permanent.
There are some wonderful substitutes available at health food stores and even regular supermarkets that actually taste delicious. Let’s talk about dairy first, because I personally have found that to be the easiest to give up. It is terrible for the body anyway, and most people are allergic and do not even realize this. Earth Balance makes a yummy butter substitute that I hear is great for cooking.
Years ago, soy cheese was the only substitute for animal based cheese. Now there is daiya, which comes from a root vegetable and is completely vegan. I eat daiya every other day and it actually tastes very good. It also melts easily and that is a real plus. One does not have to load up on potentially unhealthy soy products all day long to be a vegetarian or vegan. With my cereal in the morning I use almond milk which not only tastes delicious, but happens to be good for the body. Rice milk is also another tasty alternative. Humans are the only animal on the planet who continue to drink milk after being weaned from the mother.
If you are a sugar junkie like myself, there are plenty of tasty vegan desserts like vegan chocolate chip cookies and vegan red velvet cake. These products contain no animal products, but tasting them you would never know it!
Years ago it was hard to find a meatless burger without soy. Today you can find several made up of brown rice and vegetables. They also taste quite good and even smell like meat when they are cooking. If you do not have a problem consuming a lot of soy, there are a ton of possible meat substitutes made from soy that taste great.
My motto is always to do no harm or the least amount of harm possible to all sentient beings. While I do not condone eating eggs, if you must, eat them responsibly. The torture chickens endure on their way to our plates is unconscionable. The best choice would be to find a local farmer, not a factory farmer, and go and see the conditions for yourself. Cage free does not necessarily mean humane! The chickens could be sitting on top of one another in filthy conditions in a dark warehouse — that is considered ‘cage free.’
Do yourself, wolves, wild horses and burros a favor and make the change to cruelty free eating. You will live a healthier, longer life and save the very Earth you live on for future generations to come.
edited by Greg Eckard
Karen Wallo is a second generation Czech-Slovak and comes from a long line of artists originating in Prague, Czech Republic and Smolenice, Slovakia. As a child growing up in New Jersey, Karen’s imaginative mind lead to creative natural talent. When she was ten years old, she won her first gold medal for a drawing of a dog. Currently Karen lives in Colorado and New York City and is an animal rights advocate, particularly for endangered wildlife like wolves, wild horses and burros. You can check our her website at KarenWallo.com.
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