Thursday, September 15, 2005

Resources on 'going veg' (Vegetarian cookbooks and information)

One of the best things you can do for your health and the Earth is become vegetarian. Not only does eating fruits, vegetables, and grains provide your body with vital nutrients, but eating more of these foods also reduces your chances of developing a wide number of preventable diseases. Also 70% of the grains raised in the U.S. are fed to animals raised for food (PETA website, 2005); costing much unnecessary damage to the ecosystem.

With all the great choices available in the supermarket and the plethora of information nowadays, it's easier than ever to 'go veg'.

PETA has an amazingly good website to get people started on their vegetarian journey. They have a great free vegetarian starter kit that you can either request or download from them (as a pdf). It has recipes, all kinds of nutritional information, tips on children and vegetarianism, and lists a lot of other resources. I highly recommended reading it. They also have a wonderful cruelty free living section on their website.
I know a lot of people think PETA is a 'crazy vegan political-militant' organization, but I believe while at times they may be a bit extreme, they truly do a lot of good and offer many great vegetarian and environmental resources to the public.

Now on to my favorite part to discuss: the food. One of my most favorite vegetarian cookbooks is Madhur Jaffrey's 'World of the East Vegetarian Cooking'. This is one of the best cookbooks I've found for authentic types of Asian (Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Indonesian) and Middle Eastern cooking. Many of the recipes are vegan (a vegetarian that does not eat or use any animal derived products like meat, eggs, dairy, honey, leather, carmine, etc) as well. For more American style vegetarian cooking I suggest Mollie Katzen's 'Moosewood Cookbook'. Katzen's book is a classic; it is the book that popularized vegetarian food in America in the 1970s. There are a few good recipes in Rachel Ray's 'Veggie Meals'; but the recipes aren't really that innovative (mainly simple things like pasta, soups, and a couple of stir fries) but they are fast, easy to prepare, and delicious.

One of my most favorite vegan cookbooks is the 'Compassionate Cookbook' by PETA. There are a lot of wonderful recipes in it. My sister gave me this in 1992 (I think), and it is still one of my favorites :). It is kind of hard to find; PETA sells it on their website as a pdf, and Pangea sells the paper copy.

Foodnetwork's site is great too. And don't forget to check out my sister's blog for great recipes, reviews on restaurants, and pictures of her new cute kitties :) .

And don't forget, even if you choose not to become vegetarian, there are still plenty of ways to eat in a more environmentally friendly manner. Try replacing a few meals a week with familiar vegetarian foods like pizza, pasta, stir fries, or incorporate some vegetarian 'mock' meat products like veggie burgers in your diet. Or if you're feeling more daring, try something totally different like a tasty vegetable curry or paneer. Buy more organic food, and, if you eat dairy and eggs, free range products.

Remember small steps and changes are better than not doing anything at all. Your body and the planet will thank you.


beXn said...

That Madhur Jaffrey book is awesome. Everything i've ever made from it has been delicious ... well, except this one kidney bean dish but i'm not that into kidney beans in general. Try the potato dishes especially. When i got to meet Madhur Jaffrey i was super nervous!

Solarkat said...

You never told me that you met her!