Tag Archives: Lifestyle Choices

Why vegan? For the environment

We’ve been sharing lots of vegan recipes, resources and information over these last few months. Recently, we’ve been asked more and more about why we are vegan. As we wrote in Why Vegan?: For your health, there are many reasons to become vegan. In fact, it is probably not just one reason that causes someone to move toward veganism. For more about the health impacts of veganism, read our first article in this series.

Our topic for today is veganism and its impact on the environment.

When you stop eating meat, you save tons of water, reduce carbon emissions, and reduce soil erosion. The business of raising animals and making them ready for consumption uses a tremendous amount of energy and creates even more waste. Here are a couple of statistics about your diet and the environment.

National Geographic interactive tool: helps identify and compare how your diet impacts water consumption. You can scan through different products and find out how much water is needed to produce each.

Just one for you to consider:
1 pound of beef (or about ½ a kilogram) requires 1,799 gallons (6,810 liters) of water while 1 pound of soybeans (or about ½ a kilogram) requires 216 gallons (818 liters) of water

Melanie Joy, PhD, has also written about the negative effects of a diet based on animals on the Earth’s water.  She writes “Animal agriculture is likely the world’s largest source of water pollution.  The main sources of the pollution are from antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, animal wastes, sediments from eroded pastures, and fertilizers and pesticides used for feed crops.”

Carbon emissions
The business of raising animals for food has been found to produce more carbon emissions that all the world’s forms of transportation added together (according to a 2006 report by the United Nations).  Also, another report from the University of Chicago has startling information to share.  Because it takes 7 kilograms of feed to raise 1 kilogram of beef, and the methane released by the animals through their bodily gases, the meat-eater, on average, is responsible for the release of 1.5 more tonnes of carbon a year than a vegan.  Put another way, many sources place the methane produced by cattle and their physical waste can have a polluting effect equal to that of 33 million cars!!!


Erosion: courtesy of Soil Science

Erosion is the process by which the fertile soil, and the nutrients therein, are worn away.  Erosion is especially damaging to the Earth.  According to several studies, the process of growing animals for food is responsible for 55 percent of all the erosion now occurring in the United States.  If we would stop growing animals for food, we could greatly reduce the amount of erosion of fertile topsoil.

Choosing more plant-based options in your diet will help you make less of an impact on the Earth.

But the reasons to include more plant-based foods in your diet don’t end here.  Keep an eye out for more posts about reasons to try a more plant-based diet.

Joy, M. (2010). Why we love dogs, eat pigs, and wear cows. San Francisco: Conari Press.


Finding Familiar Foods with Healthful, Compassionate Twists

Few of us started out as vegetarians.  Most of us were brought up on a diet of different kinds of meat and dairy products.  So, we have memories of happy times, celebrations, and comfort that are associated with animal products.  If you’re trying to rely on a primarily plant-based diet, you may feel you have lost some of those familiar feelings.

While you create your new traditions, memories (and find new comfort foods!), it is sometimes comforting to find very close substitutes to tide you over.  And now, in Egypt, that is possible.   With a line of soy-based frozen and canned products, AHEF provides vegetarians, vegans, those who are ‘fasting’ for religious reasons and those who want to reduce cholesterol and fat in their diets with a number of familiar favorites, vegetarian style.

While we knew of these products and had tried them before (and really liked them!), it was only recently that we discovered an outlet where you can buy them any time of year (fasting months or not!).

Here’s just one picture of what we bought:  veggie sausages

And here’s what we made from it:  Meatless Sausage Biscuits and Gravy (a favorite southern comfort food of mine! – recipe to follow later!)

The canned versions are available in many local supermarkets, but the frozen versions have been much harder to find.   So, to find veggie burgers, kofta, steak, chicken patties, chicken nuggets, meatballs, luncheon, and sausages any time you can go to this location:

Healthy Life Center:  16 El Kobba St., Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt

Telephone: (02)24504157 or  [fax: (02)22561996]

Operating Hours: Sunday – Thursday from 9:00 am -2:00 pm

The center also offers programs about health and wellness, including educational programs about heart disease, weight control, diabetes, hypertension, smoking, stress, and depression.  You can use their facilities for a small monthly fee including health evaluation, exercise training, cooking classes, massage, hydrotherapy, and group support.

Here at Alf Hana, we will be featuring a different AHEF product every so often so you can see all the ways you can still eat familiar foods while making healthy, compassionate choices.

Alf Hana!!