About Rowena

Hello, my name is Ro, and I believe that it is possible for you to turn your ordinary life into an extraordinary life - to find true happiness, while remaining, selfless, mindful and compassionate towards other living beings. Here at my blog, I interview and post articles by musicians, writers, world travelers, humanitarians and other amazing individuals who are doing just that. I also share with you various anecdotes about my own totally awesome existence as a musician, composer, journalist, environmentalist, and compassionati. My hope is to connect with you, enlighten you, inspire you and lead you down the path to true happiness. Compassion is always in fashion and it starts with you loving that most important of people, yourself.

January 19, 2011

Why I Choose Vegetarianism and How You Can Help Save the Planet by Reducing your Meat Consumption

If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is stop eating meat.

Sir Paul McCartney

I grew up like most kids here in the United States, eating meat and wearing leather.    As a child I did not stop to question society's traditional value that the purpose of animals was for human use, I did what I was told and ate what was put before me.   As an adult I have experimented with various forms of vegetarianism and am currently to the point of becoming vegan.   This has taken a tremendous amount of self discipline on my part, much as I like eggs, milk and particularly cheese and I live in a house of omnivores.

"Humans are classic examples of omnivores in all relevant anatomical traits.  There is no basis in anatomy or physiology for the assumption that humans are pre-adapted to the vegetarian diet.  For that reason, the best arguments in support of a meat-free diet remain ecological, ethical, and health concerns." 

Considering our conditioning as well the fact that we are omnivores it is no wonder that many people eat meat on a daily basis, without considering the impact of same.   I am not here to judge anyone or to argue with them as to upbringing, cultural values or human rights by any means.   I am merely here to inform and enlighten my readers as to things of which they may not be aware and to share my own thoughts as always.

While I have practiced vegetarianism for years in the interest of health/weight, economical, humane and spiritual reasons, my commitment to same strengthened considerably upon learning that according to the UN's 2006 report Livestock's Long Shadow:

  The livestock industry is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions globally.  

The more I read on the subject of CO2 emissions and global warming, the more I come to understand the devastating ecological impact of mankind's ever increasing demand for meat alone.  According to Greenpeace here in the United States alone, one third of all fossil fuel and raw material consumption is used to raise livestockI was flabbergasted when I read it!  Now that I hopefully have your attention, did you know that:

- You can save more water by not eating a pound of California beef than you could by not showering for an entire year?

- That animal agriculture produces more than 100 million tons of methane per year?

- That livestock operations generate roughly 130 times as much bodily waste as the entire human population and that this waste is released into the environment untreated?

- That the amount of grain and feed fed to farm animals in the U.S. alone exceeds the caloric needs of the entire human population here on Earth?

- That more than 260 million acres of U.S. Forests have been cleared to grow grain for livestock?

- That deforestation in the interest of animal farming is the leading threat to endangered species and the number one cause of species extinction in the U.S. and the world?

Yikes!  The facts are staggering, but the good news is that even if you have absolutely no inclination to become vegetarian or vegan - you can still be part of the solution.  How? By eliminating meat from your diet just one day per week.  It also helps to eliminate and/or keep to a minimum your use of dairy products just one day per week.  A fun way of doing this is to join Paul McCartney and family, Sheryl Crow, Chris Martin, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey, Woody Harrelson, Doris Day, Jeff Beck, Moby, and a multitude of other celebs in the Meat Free Monday campaign.  Meat Free Monday is a non-profit organization which purpose is to slow global warming. Check out their website for lots of tasty recipes as well as their latest news!  

As an added bonus, cutting down on your meat consumption will also save you money and you will probably be healthier for it.  Health wise, vegetarians have lower incidences of heart disease and lower incidence of high blood pressure, lower rates of certain cancers.   A balanced plant based diet can be extremely healthy and contrary to popular belief it can provide enough protein as long as the proper combination of plant based products is included. Naturally, check with your doctor before making any major changes in your diet, and be sure to check with your child's pediatrician before putting them on a vegetarian or vegan diet, as their growing nutritional needs are vast and complex.  

I also recommend the following blog posts if you would like to read more on these subjects:  How to Become Vegetarian, the Easy Way by Leo Babuta of Zen Habits, Awesome Vegetarian Resources by Courtney Carver of Be More With Less and Eating Greener by Serena of The Everyday Minimalist.  

Its all up to you what you choose to do of course, but I urge you to strongly consider decreasing your meat consumption.  This one small act of compassion on your part will help save the planet and  make you feel really good inside as well.

Now go out and live your extraordinary lives and know that I love you.



Ro's notes:

If you are interested in the ethical and humane reasons why I choose to be a vegetarian, I encourage you to go to PETA's website  as it contains a wealth of information that can help you make an informed decision for yourself.   PETA has great resources for cruelty free products as well as a vegetarian/vegan starter kit if you would like to test the waters or simply take the plunge.  


Toadchick said...


I do agree with you on the sustainability of vegetarianism. But may I make an observation? Eating processed products that are vegetarian (according to the ingredient label) is little better due to the energy needed to process it. I am referring to the veggie meats and such by the tofu. Many times, PETA recommends these as an option for converting, but I worry the ideal behind going vegetarian is being clouded by products such as this (the "faux" meats). I use some of PETA's links for information (if I can not understand the ingredients I use their shopping guide) but tend to this link (http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/faqingredients.htm) for the really iffy ingredients.

If the last paragraph seemed like a tangent, it was intended to express how faux meats need to be stressed for the transition, and then encourage the vegetarian convert's imagination in the kitchen, as opposed to using lots of energy sapping processed foods and stand bys when not understanding a products "veggieness" on the spectrum.

Ro said...

I agree whole heartedly and actually examine the ingredients in everything I eat and would encourage everyone to do so. I tried a few faux meats myself some time ago and didn't like them at all. There are some potential health risks associated with soy. I once knew a vegetarian who ate lots of french fries - sure they were potatoes fried in pure vegetable oil - but not healthy. Thanks for the awesome link!

Toadchick said...

Can I ask an eeny weeny favor for a link in return? If you know any information for the soy health risks please comment or email me back with a link. I would also like to ask if anyone knows if there is a reason so many argue we NEED animal proteins instead of doing what the vegans do, and combine foods (beans + rice/whole wheat bread = complete protein). I have yet to have either adequately explained to me.

Ro said...

This is a good article:


If you are interested in writing a guest post on my blog let me know!