Don't eat animals... they have feelings too!

Vegetarians have always been a part of a super cool club I wished to join one day, you know, when I was cool enough. I grew up eating meat every night, it was put on my plate and I ate it. I don't remember the first time it dawned on me that the steak on my plate came from that cute cow I would see when I passed farms on the road. I am sure it made me feel sad for a minute or two and then I got over it I guess because I didn't stop eating meat right then and there.

Over my adult life I have become more aware of my impact on the environment and obviously done many things to lesson my impact on the earth. I have known for a long time that being vegan is what I want to do for the earth, but was never quite ready to give up certain food items that I love. I am so selfish and I assume many of you are too. Here is the good news... you can start NOW!

We all know how hard quitting a habit can be. So I have given myself some hard deadlines.

On my 32nd birthday I became a "pescatarian" meaning that I no longer eat any items including beef, chicken or pork. I currently still do eat fish and shellfish. I did this to force myself to start making meals not centered around meat, but without relying on plants 100%.

By my 33rd birthday I will become a "vegetarian" and eat absolutely no meat. I will still partake in items such as cheese because I couldn't possibly give it all up at the same time.

By my 35th birthday I will become a "vegan" meaning that I will not consume ANY food that is made from animals or animal products. This means giving up... cheese and ice cream! At least the kind that are made from animals milk.

There now my goals are set in stone and I will have to hit them or forever be mocked by my friends and family.

I encourage you all to think about your diet and see if there is a way you can cut back or even eliminate certain meats or animal products. Any progress is great and it will get easier the longer you do it.

Obviously thinking about the poor, adorable defenseless animals should be enough. There are some simple facts that can help you understand why it is also so important for the environment as well.

~ You have to feed a cow about 16 lbs of veggies for it to produce 1 lb of meat.

~ More than 80% of the corn and 95% of the oats produced in the U.S. are used to feed livestock.

~ We could feed significantly more people if we used that land for growing grains and vegetables.

~ By 2050 is it estimated that we will have more people in the U.S. than we will be able to produce food for.

~ Experts have said that we need to cut our meat consumption by 50% before then.

I encourage you to just think about these things before you order your next meal or take your next trip to the grocery store. Maybe you can just cut down to 1 meat meal per week. No change is too small, we need all the help we can get. By we, I mean these adorable babies!

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