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Navigating Questions and Comments: Discussing Your Vegan Lifestyle With Others

April 17, 2024

Kim Milligan shares some thoughts on talking with friends and family about your veg journey

Today’s topic is fielding questions and comments about your food choices. Sometimes these come from genuine curiosity. Sometimes it feels like someone is challenging your choice.

Kim Milligan from our community suggests: “Keep the channels of communication open without judgment and share what being a vegan means to you personally and how your life has changed since becoming a vegan…people will tend to be more open and receptive to what you’re sharing”

We love Kim’s thoughts on this important topic. More suggestions from our community are below. And you can also hear from others firsthand at one of our upcoming events

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Resources for Plant-Based Eating: Community-Recommended Blogs, Cookbooks, Recipes, and Restaurants

We know that a compassionate vegan diet is a new way of eating for many and you may be looking for some guidance. There are lots of books, cookbooks, and recipes available to assist you in your veg journey. Find these resources on the CAA website or through a general internet search. Our community has also stepped up to share some of their favorite resources for cooking and eating plant-based:

Recomended vegan blogs and websites:

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Affordable Vegan Eating: Busting the Cost Myth

April 17, 2024

Today’s topic is affordability: one top-of-mind issue for many who are exploring a more plant-based diet.

The myth that vegan food isn’t affordable

Hand in hand with the myth that vegans don’t get enough protein (see our previous blog) is one that vegan food isn’t affordable. Today, we will explode this myth as well. We know that inflation has been particularly hard on food costs. Plant-based foods are not immune to these price increases. However, they have fared better than many non-vegan options (for example the Avian Flu has not only caused great suffering for birds, but it has raised prices for eggs and chickens). And there are ways to minimize the impact of inflation.

Beatrix Olson shares her tips for how to keep a vegan diet affordable 

Do more home cooking! Vegan foods such as rice, pasta, vegetables, and legumes are easy to afford. It’s easy to look for recipes online or in cookbooks to find something that piques your interest, without the financial stress.”

-Beatrix Olson

Eating whole plant-based food is key

Eating whole plant-based food is not only healthier but it can also help keep your costs down. Many packaged foods can be expensive, including yummy vegan versions. These can be kept as treats. Eating foods in their most intact form is often the cheapest option. That includes fruits, vegetables, and dried beans.

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Navigating Nutrition on a Plant-Based Diet: It’s Easier Than You Think!

April 17, 2024

We know that many people considering a vegan diet have one main concern: nutrition. Specifically, protein.

The protein myth

Grace Prins shares some tips on vegan nutrition

Just last week, I once again had someone ask me how I get enough protein. You’ve probably thought this or heard this as well. Well, worry not — it’s easy to get enough protein on a plant-based diet. We have been brainwashed by our society that only a big slab of meat with each meal will do the trick. But that is not the case at all.

When I make a meal, I make sure there is a protein, vegetable, grain, and some healthy fat. I try to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables and eat mostly whole foods. I drink fortified soy milk for B12 and other supplements, and eat chia seeds for omega 3s.’

—Grace Prins

Every food has protein in it. Per calorie, broccoli has more protein than beef! Especially rich protein sources include soy, nuts, seeds, beans, and lentils. This year’s issue of Minnesota Veg Living has a registered dietitian, Lauren Plunket, talking about the protein in soy products

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Inspiration and Support for Your Veg Journey

April 17, 2024

We’ll tackle a variety of issues in our blogs this week including: vegan nutrition, affordability, resources, and more. These practical blog posts will share input from members of our compassionate community about what’s useful to them. They were originally written as emails to support people taking the Veg Pledge. Since many of us are on a compassionate journey, we thought they would be more broadly helpful as resources available for all. Here’s our first:

Hannah Milos, one of our community members who shared some tips on living a compassionate life.

The benefits of exploring compassionate living

If you’re exploring more compassionate living, it’s a big deal! By committing to one week of vegetarian or vegan eating, you are opening yourself up to a changed lifestyle — one that is better for the planet while sparing animals from lives of suffering, and can improve your health. And if you got here by referring friends, you took the next step in making a compassionate, sustainable, healthy future possible.

Wow! That’s a lot of benefit coming from one act. We wish we could say it was a simple one. It is for some, but for most people, it comes with challenges. That’s why we’re providing this series of resources. If you’re trying to move further in a veg direction, we think you’ll probably want some tips and tricks to ease the transition. And no matter where you are on your veg journey, we think you’ll enjoy seeing the responses from community members at the bottom of each post.

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A week of inspiration and action: Reflecting on CAA’s Veg Week festivities

April 29, 2024

Veg Week is a week-long celebration of compassionate living that CAA has hosted since 2004. Over the course of a week, we focus on events that educate the public on compassionate food choices and inspire respect for farmed animals. This year, Veg Week took place from April 14-20. It saw hundreds participating in a variety of inspirational and educational activities. Festivities included a movie and social action event, talks, cooking classes, potlucks, outreach, and even the premiere of a new online vegan series!

The Earth Day connection

Since 2015, the event has taken place around Earth Day – a great reminder that a plant-based diet is one of the most impactful things individuals can do to make a difference for the climate. Fittingly, on the first and last days of Veg Week this year, there were events focused on the environmental impact of our food choices. We started with a screening of the movie The Smell of Money and on the last day, we had an outreach event at the Eden Prairie Eco Expo.

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Book and movie recommendations to help cultivate compassion 

by Hannah Milos, as appeared in Minnesota Veg Living, Issue 10

April 29, 2024

Empathy is a skill that requires stepping into someone else’s place — be it in shoes, hooves, scales, or feathers — and truly understanding their feelings. Here are some books and movies that do a good job in helping us find our empathy for animals.

Books

What a Fish Knows – Jonathan Balcombe

Did you know fish can think, feel, socialize, and plan? Dive into the mind of a fish and learn all about the hidden lives of our aquatic friends. 

Allowed to Grow Old: Portraits of Elderly Animals from Farm Sanctuaries – Isa Leshko

Most farmed animals are killed before their first birthdays, never given the opportunity to live out their natural lifespans. This collection of intimate portraits shows us what the faces of those animals look like when allowed to age.

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Beyond Food: Twin Cities Veg Fest as a Catalyst for Societal Change

by Lydia Green, as appeared in Minnesota Veg Living, Issue 10

April 29, 2024

I did not know what to expect when I volunteered to be co-chair for the 2023 Twin Cities Veg Fest, but knew I wanted to increase my involvement in the vegan/plant-based movement. In the end, it’s a role I’m glad I took on. The 2023 festival wasn’t just a celebration of veganism; it was a testament to our work building an inclusive community and increasing awareness of the difference a plant-based lifestyle can have on the world around us.

Welcoming Exhibitors and Attendees of Color

All of us on the committee put effort into welcoming exhibitors and attendees of color. The once homogenous sea of faces has transformed into a vibrant tapestry representing a multitude of cultures and backgrounds. It was heartening to contribute to this evolution. Forty-two exhibitors, over 40% of the total, identified as Black, Indigenous, or Members of the Global Majority. From Black-owned vegan restaurants to Latinx operated food trucks, Twin Cities Veg Fest has become a platform for underrepresented voices to be heard and celebrated.

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Fighting Climate Change With Students, One Meal at a Time

By Jodi Miller Gruhn, as appeared in Minnesota Veg Living, Issue 10

April 29, 2024

2023 was a big year for the acknowledgement of our food system’s role in climate change. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ National Nutrition Month highlighted sustainability in its yearly celebration of making informed food choices. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report that included the need for “balanced, sustainable healthy diets acknowledging nutritional needs” as part of the climate roadmap. Organizers of COP28, the world’s most important climate conference, committed to serving “climate-conscious” food (vegan or vegetarian) and offered its first global declaration on the need for the reduction of food-related emissions. 

While leaders are finally starting to acknowledge food’s role in the climate crisis, they fall short in naming the biggest culprits: the meat and dairy industries, which account for at least 14.5% of global emissions. These Big Ag industries still have a lot of power and control over the narrative therefore limiting push back from these other organizations and leaders.  

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Tips and Tricks for Tasty Tofu

by Robin Asbell, as appeared in Minnesota Veg Living, Issue 10

April 29, 2024

If tofu is new to you, you may be surprised to know that it’s not new. Tofu has provided inexpensive, environmentally responsible and tasty protein for more than 2,000 years.

Cooking with tofu is easy, once you get familiar with the different types of tofu and find your favorite ways of preparing them.

Get to know the different types

You may have seen aseptic boxed silken tofu on the shelf. This is a Japanese style that is made by thickening soy milk into a smooth, silky block. This is the tofu you want for the delicate cubes that float in miso soup, or to puree for a vegan frittata, cheesecake, or creamy dressing.

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