This past week the news has been filled with tips on how to "go green." Often the impact of an animal-free diet is overlooked in these articles (here's one that focuses on vegan diets). And even most that mention the affect of animal agriculture on the Earth's environment, they tend to focus on only meat products, ignoring dairy and eggs. I picked up a copy of the book Green Living, just to look for a few extra conservation ideas that I could add to my routine in honor of Earth Day. I was surprised to see that the first chapter was entitled "The Passionate Palate: Smart Food Choices." With further reading, it mainly discusses the issues surrounding genetically modified foods, the importance of buying local and organic produce, and the "passion" surrounding our food choices. This passion for those who are vegetarian or vegan is described as "avoiding meat for intensely personal reasons, including religion, health, concerns about pollution from factory farms, or disgust over how animals are raised." But of course, it then points out that 'ethical omnivores' are "just as passionate about their choice to eat meat and dairy products only if animals are humanely raised." I let out a big sigh....once again it seems the public is given another excuse to eat so-called "happy meat." I realize this isn't a book about veganism, but to describe and even quote the term "ethical ominvore" seems like a step back. Tomorrow I plan on starting a new chapter, hopefully the suggestions will improve....
I also visited a website today to calculate my ecological footprint. I was pleased to see that the first question asked how often you eat animal-based products. Unfortunately my score was not what I thought it might be. My footprint is 23 acres, the average American is 24 acres. Living the way I do means we would need 5.2 planets. Hmmmmm, what am I doing wrong? I think the biggest impact I have is through traveling via plane. It will be challenging to cut back on that since I have so many destinations on my travel wish list.....but I vow to do a better job to do my part.
For Earth Day I helped my boyfriend take our recycling to the nearest recycle center and enjoyed the beautiful spring weather here in Houston on a long run in the park. For dinner, we tried another new batch of seitan from Vegan with a Vengeance cooked using the Seitan Piccata recipe from Candle Cafe cookbook. On the side, zucchini pasta with fresh basil from my mom's garden, mushrooms and toasted pinenuts. The seitan was perfect, and the sauce had just the right blend of tart lemon with capers and shallots along with the fresh parsley. A glass of Snoqualmie sauvignon blanc complemented the meal nicely.
One last amusing story from the weekend. We went out to dinner on Friday night, a hip restaurant in the Heights. I ordered for my main course the only thing I could off the menu, the vegetable plate. Of course, I asked the waiter to please omit anything containing dairy or eggs. He smiled and said "I'll try to make it as vegan as I can." I smiled back and replied "Well, I won't eat it if it does." The dinner was disappointing, I should have said I was allergic..... They even got my boyfriend's order wrong.