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Today is Blog Action Day 2011. It is also World Food Day. This year's theme for Blog Action Day is Food. Bloggers all over the world are writing about this one theme, from their own unique perspective. To find out more, visit the Blog Action Day website. Read more of our Blog Action Day posts on Heifer Blog here

The following post is by Erin Snow, communications manager at Heifer International. 

The reasons people decideto adopt a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle can be numerous and, even despitesimilarities, very personal. I grew up eating meat at most meals, but it wasnever my favorite part. I always preferred the starches and leafy green vegetables.Looking back, I never really felt good about eating something that lost theirlife so that my meal could be “complete,” but I didn’t make any real changes tomy diet until 1999 when a medical issue caused me to look more closely at thefood I consumed and how it affected my health. As a single mom to aone-year-old daughter, I was determined to be proactive about our future andkeep whatever I could control in check. At that time, vegetarianism seemed thelogical answer. Over the past 12 years, I’ve been a lazy vegetarian, not eatingmeat, but definitely not eating enough vegetables and fruit to be healthy. I’vealso dabbled in pescetarianism, where seafood is okay, but all other flesh isout, a choice made while visiting my now-husband in New Orleans, where shrimp,crab, oysters and other aquatic jewels can be found as far as eye can see. Po’Boys and crawfish and gumbo, oh my! In an effort to be serious about my healthand safeguard against predisposed laziness, I’ve recently taken the next stepand become vegan.

Sticking to a diet that isvoid of animal-derived products has been educational, for sure. Fortunately, Ihave a couple of vegan friends, Rena Wrenand Meredith Simonds, who have happily shared recipes, websites, books andgeneral tips for being vegan in a carnivore world. Meredith’s website, The Vegan Pledge, features a pledge,blog and other resources. Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Life website and book, The Kind Diet, have been my go-toresources on my vegan journey. Kris Carr, who went vegan for health reasons,also has an extremely helpful website, CrazySexy Life, and books, including CrazySexy Diet. Did you know there’s such a thing as wine that is not vegan?Isinglass, a collagen that comes from dehydrated swim bladders of fish, isoften used in the clarifying process for beer and wine. Barnivore is a great website guide forfinding insinglass-free vegan beer, wine and liquor.

These resources have beenvaluable tools on a lovely and healthy lifestyle journey that I’m having funfiguring out.


Heifer International

Heifer International is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization working with communities to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.