Aside from devouring a raw bison liver in his Oscar winning performance in The Revenant, Leonardo Di Caprio is an avowed vegetarian. Di Caprio helped to launch the 2015 Netflix film Cowspiracy, a condemnation of animal agriculture as a major contributor to global warming through production of methane gas, inefficient use of water, habitat loss and pollution from pesticide use. By avoiding meat, consumers also refuse to support an industry that raises animals in crowded pens, denies them fresh air and sunlight and then trucks them to inhumane slaughterhouses.
Besides reducing one’s carbon footprint and promoting animal welfare, there are some other feel good reasons for adopting a vegetarian diet. Health benefits include weight loss, lowered cholesterol and blood pressure and reduction of the incidence of diabetes and heart disease.
The key to a responsible vegetarian diet is to include a wide variety as no one food source is complete. For sound advice on kick starting your plant based diet consult Dietitians of Canada or Toronto Association of Vegetarians to ensure you include enough protein, Vitamin B12 and other nutrients in your diet.
Other tips include:
- Incorporate “Meatless Mondays” into your week
- If you can’t give up one animal product, give up all the others
- Try substitutions – bean burritos instead of beef, marinara sauce instead of bolognese, veggie burgers instead of hamburgers
- Eat out at ethnic restaurants which often have vegetarian options on the menu such as Thai, Indian, Chinese or Mexican
Check out one of the many vegetarian cookbooks Winnipeg Public Library has to offer. Here are some of the recipes tested by members of Fort Garry Library’s Taste Buds Cook Book Club who made a foray into the world of plant based foods.
Carla’s Lentil-a-roni from Isa Does It
Melinda’s Chuck It In Chef’s Salad from
At My Table: Vegetarian Feasts for Family and Friends
Anne’s Vegetable Bowl from Mason Jar Salads
With a little effort it is easy to eat well, help to save the planet and embrace compassion for animal welfare.
Give peas a chance,