Community & Current Events

An omnivore's diet: Why it's worth exploring

By: Craig and Marc Kielburger

© Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©

Community & Current Events

An omnivore's diet: Why it's worth exploring

By: Craig and Marc Kielburger
Some people tell stories of horrible dates. Us? We can regale you with tales of woe about going vegetarian.

Like the times we burnt that lentil chili or singed the barbequed tempeh and had dinner guests sneaking bits into their napkins.

Making the transition
Or the countless times Craig's resolve has crumbled, after back-to-back overseas flights, where the vegetarian option consists of cold tofu and mystery sauce or the meat-free airport offering is white bread and cheese.

And then there is that tiny crustacean, the shrimp, which keeps tempting us away from the vegetarian lifestyle, but harvesting shrimp creates serious environmental damage to our ocean floors. We could go on, but we'll spare you.

Environmental impact
Eating meat packs a powerful punch to the environment and our health. Our carnivorous ways far outweigh the pollution caused by driving -- one kilo of beef equals 20 kg of pollution-causing emissions -- but we doubt that chowing down on steak 'n' eggs will ever attract the same derision as, say, driving an SUV.

Meat tastes too good, even though in excess, it's bad for us. A meat-heavy diet boosts our cholesterol and chances of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

A U.K. study estimated that trimming meat to just three meals a week could save the nation 45,000 lives and over $1 billion in health care costs every year. And yet, after all the very good arguments for going vegan or vegetarian, only 4 percent of Canadians do so.

Reduce your meat intake
There has to be a better, more guilt-free solution to minimizing meat consumption. You can become a part-time vegetarian or follow the Meatless Monday trend or the "vegan-before-six" approach. Or simply evaluate your diet and figure out what works best for you on the path to the good life.

Socially conscious cuisine
- Hey meat-lover! Try turning meat into the supporting player of your meal, rather than the main attraction, such as a massive salad with a side of grilled fish or a veggie stir-fry with tofu and chicken.

- Fake meat has come a long way: try the fake duck a l'orange or tempeh pate. It might not taste like the real thing; it might taste a whole lot better!

- Try the veggie option on the menu at your next meal out.

- Pick up a vegetarian cookbook from the library.

- Host a vegetarian- or vegan-friendly potluck and see what your friends cook up.

- Have a vegetarian or vegan pal? Ask for favourite recipes, tips and tricks for upping vegetable and bean protein every day.

- The key to vegetarian delight is in the sauce. From Thai and Indian curries to Italian pesto, simple tamari or black bean sauce -- all can be found in the grocery store aisle near you.

Excerpted from the book Living Me to We: The Guide for Socially Conscious Canadians © 2012 by Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger, published by Me to We. Reprinted with permission from the publisher. Illustration by TurnStyle Imaging.

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Community & Current Events

An omnivore's diet: Why it's worth exploring