Posted Mar 28, 2009

How can you stretch your dollars and prop up your spirits? The folks at FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement) have the answer: “Change Your Diet, Change the World.”

Celebrants save money, show compassion and affect global change all in one go – March 20th marked the 25th annual Great American Meatout.

In 1985, the national nonprofit FARM set aside March 20 to promote animal compassion and veggie ways. Since then, countless Americans have celebrated spring by going meatless. The Meatout is now an annual event in 20 nations including France, where it’s “La Journee Sans Viande” (The Day Without Meat – everything sounds better in French).

Being vegetarian is kind to animals – and that includes you. According to the American Dietetic Association, a meatless diet lowers risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.

Being vegetarian is kind to your palate, too. It’s about abundance, not deprivation. There’s no hardship in eating whole wheat pasta with vegetables, lemon and mint (see recipe). Chocolate is vegetarian. So is champagne.

Being vegetarian is kind to the planet as well. According to Environmental Defense, just one meatless meal per week per person would save as much carbon dioxide as taking half a million cars off the road.

Finally, being vegetarian is kind to your wallet. Vegetarian sources of protein – dried beans, nuts, tofu, even cheese – are way cheaper than their animal equivalents.

If those aren’t reasons, go meatless for the next generation. Ohio State University reports that despite all the news about skyrocketing childhood obesity and the importance of eating produce for health, kids don’t get their recommended daily dose of veggies. Show ’em how it’s done.

The Great American Meatout offers greeting cards and T-shirts at, but you don’t have to buy a thing to participate. Just go meatless. Even for a day. Kiss a cow, party with produce and change the world.


1 head broccoli, cut into florets (stems may be chopped into small pieces, too)

1 (16-ounce) box whole wheat pasta, any shape

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 jalapeno pepper, minced

Zest and juice of 4 lemons

1 cup torn fresh mint leaves, lightly packed

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Steam broccoli until just tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Set aside.

In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta until al dente. Rinse and drain.

Using the same pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add jalapeno and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, broccoli and pasta. Toss to coat.

Add lemon zest and juice, mint leaves and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until coated and heated through. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: Ellen Kanner.

Per serving (based on 4): 585 calories (23 percent from fat), 15.7 g fat (2.2 g saturated, 10.2 g monounsaturated), 0 cholesterol, 21.4 g protein, 100.8 g carbohydrates, 4.7 g fiber, 62.2 mg sodium.

(Contact Ellen Kanner: ekanner(AT)

Date: Mar 23, 2009

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