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Eat Plants, Save Lives

April 28, 2011

By Jennifer Chaky

I often talk and write about how a plant-based diet is so important for sustainability. This is because livestock agriculture is just about the most polluting industry there is. Water systems are choked with runoff from the high concentrations of animal waste, over 100 million tons of methane—the worst gas that contributes to climate change—is released into the atmosphere from the animals, and land and water that can go to grow food for humans is used inefficiently to feed animals that we in turn eat. For example, it takes ten times more land to grow a monoculture crop like soy or corn that is then used as animal feed.  The ratio of land and water that is used to grow animals protein compared to what is used to grow plant protein ranges from 4:1 to 54:1. That is 4 to 54 more land and water that is needed in animal agriculture than plant. Land that can be better used to let forests and wild places exist or to grow a variety of fruits, nuts, legumes, and vegetables for healthy human consumption is devastated in order to raise animals.

I first became a vegan because I love animals and didn’t want them killed for my plate, but after 22 years of eating this way, I have learned that the benefits go much further than helping animals. By not eating the saturated fats that come only with animal protein, a plant-based diet offers superior health benefits. And the old fear of not getting enough protein is not an issue when you eat a variety of nuts, legumes, seeds, and veggies. Yes, even I at one time struggled with what to eat, but there seems to be a vegan explosion going on and recipes and ideas are in abundance from a slew of new cookbooks and informative websites. The creativity and possibilities when it comes to dishes made from plants is unending.

I feel so strongly about a plant-based diet being better for the world that I began to sell vegan ice cream in my store, Go Lightly in Montclair. After all, what better way to show people how yummy plants can be than to show them through ice cream? The ice creams I carry are homemade from either hemp, soy, coconut, cashew, or almond milks, are sweetened with agave and brown rice syrup, and have zero saturated fats. They come in various flavors such as mocha almond fudge, cookies and cream, gluten-free chocolate chip cookie, and maple walnut.

And if you really want to be dazzled by all that can be made without meat, dairy, or eggs, this Saturday, April 30 from 11-4 Go Lightly will be hosting a Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale where we will have 12 feet of tables displaying a plethora of baked goods and savory treats. 100% of the proceeds will go to the Montclair Animal Shelter and Jersey Cats cat rescue in Jersey City.
Proving once again that eating plants really does save lives!

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