How a meal and a free book can save the planet

A reader’s perspective on one more way to make a difference AND give away a free book.

A year or so ago, Kim and I received an Alexa. We’ve had great fun with her, asking her random questions and playing games. We have come to realize that it is Alexa who is all knowing (Unless of course she “doesn’t know that one”). As I started getting into a frenzy about all the things I can do to prevent climate change and to help make it possible for the next generation to grow up on this world in a semi-normal state, I of course consulted Alexa. If you have one, I dare you to ask her this question, “Alexa, what is something I can do to prevent climate change?” When I first asked her I was expecting a long list of nearly impossible things to do. Instead I received one suggestion that, when put into the large view of it-can-save-our-planet actually is quite simple. Eat less meat. Now there is a lesbian stereotype for you! But were our foremothers onto something? I believe so! And if you want to know why, simply ask Alexa, “Alexa why is eating less meat good for the health of our planet?”

So yes, the idea of eating a vegetarian/vegan diet can be intimidating. This is not a brag, but I’ve done it for over 20 years. My turning point was reading Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle in college. Wow! and Yuck! all bundled up into one impacting story. But my plan to just not eat meat while taking that history course turned into the summer. And then the next year. And before I knew it 20 years has gone by. But lets turn this into a positive instead of a negative. Instead of thinking of this as NOT eating meat, think of it as increasing your creativity with cooking. Think of it as creating a reason to buy another book- vegetarian cookbooks are awesome! (though there are plenty of free on-line recipes that I’ve found over the years). Think of it as being inspired and inspiring like these characters AND ultimately doing something positive to help slow climate change.

At Seventeen by [Gerri Hill]

Shannon Fletcher in Gerri Hill’s At Seventeen, is the owner of several natural food stores with her brother. However, as she is graduating college and moving on with her career she actually informs her mother that she is becoming a vegetarian as it helps the environment. Yay Shannon! There are some fantastic scenes throughout the story where Shannon and her family are preparing meals and they are having to think outside the box wondering what Shannon is going to make them and how good could it be without a hunk of meat on the plate (my words not the authors). It’s actually not as hard is it may seem and starting with maybe one night a week as a meatless meal can be an excellent way to transition. Regardless, check out At Seventeen because in addition to having an awesome vegetarian character it has a super sweet childhood/second chance romance in it!

Paper Love by [Jae]

Now I mentioned that I am vegetarian but I married an omnivore. At this point in our marriage, Kim has turned mostly to a vegetarian diet due to our joint cooking needs and me liking to cook more than she does. When I was discussing this topic of how to convince readers to become a vegetarian and what she finds most difficult, her response is being limited when she goes out to eat. True. That, at times, can be a frustrating aspect. It was also one of the best things about traveling to the UK two summers ago. I can honestly say I am really nervous about being able to find restaurant food that was vegetarian when I travel. The UK seemed to have a vegetarian restaurant or vegetarian friendly menued restaurant on every street! It was great and not an issue at all. Sort of like how Jae presented Anja Lamm going out to eat with Susanne Wolff in Paper Love. Anja is a vegetarian (plus just an all around amazing character) and the dishes she orders sound so delicious! She is so down to Earth and true to her beliefs that I fell in love with her immediately. Full disclosure, Paper Love is one of my all time favorite Jae stories. Not only because she has an amazing vegetarian (many of her stories have a character or characters who are vegetarian) but because she set it in Germany and everything about the setting, the story and the characters was captivating.

Party Wall by [Cheyenne Blue]

Breaking down the stereotype of being a lesbian and being a vegetarian can be a great start to moving into a positive frame of mind as well. The same way you can’t tell by looking at someone if they are a lesbian, you can’t look at someone and say if they are a vegetarian. You can only hope they are (lesbian and vegetarian). It’s the same as not judging a book by it’s cover, or in the case of Cheyenne Blue’s Party Wall judging the owner of the sex toy shop that just moved in next to your new-age store. Just reading the blurb again makes me chuckle, but how cool is it that both Freya and Lily share the commonality of being vegans? Very cool! You just never know another person until you take the time to get to know them. As all of Cheyenne Blue’s stories are, this one is incredibly well written and captures the reader with amazing characters (and not just because they are lesbian AND vegetarian!). Plus you get to experience small town Australian life!

The best news of this little blog, is that I have the opportunity to give away a FREE e-book copy of Party Wall to a reader who comments below and tells me who their favorite vegetarian LesFic character is. Second entry if you mention whether you would consider a vegetarian meal at least once a week to help positively impact the environment! So what do you say? Can you take the vegetarian challenge? I am really looking forward to meeting more vegetarian characters!

23 comments

  1. We do meatless Mondays in our household and it remarkably easy to do it. Just don’t pick a dish you are used to eating with meat and substitute it with a vegetarian option, cook something new and exciting. I love it.

    As for my vegetarian character is Anja Lamm, for the same reasons as you live her actually. And also her last name in Dutch means lamb (if you remove 1 m), so that’s cute

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sam thank you so much for reading! And Anja is a wonderful character- thanks for the little bit of trivia regarding her name. I agree on the making something just for the vegetarianism of it and not trying to substitute out a meat. It makes cooking time creative and the results can be a blast!

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  2. My turning point was learning how much water and how many pounds of grain it takes to feed a pound of chicken or a pound of beef, etc. You can do a lot more people on just the grain! My favorite character would have to be…I dunno I like them all so much….you know asking a writer their favorite character and you are likely to get one their own, which would be my answer too, but y’all don’t know her…YET!

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    • Ona Marie I can not wait to meet your vegetarian character! Please share when she is ready for the world. And the more I research on this topic the more I learn. More rainforest is cut down to create farm land to feed….cattle. Not people but animals that we will eat. Such a shame! But thank you for reading and commenting!

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  3. Hey, Erin! Excellent article. I wanted to tell you that when I was in college I decided to become a vegetarian. I was right in the middle of basketball season and so we were often on the road and having our lunches and dinners in restaurants, and what I learned is that eating salad and french fries does not constitute a good vegetarian diet. LOL! But in 1979 there were a few vegetarian choices.

    I have thought and thought and I am not coming up with any books that I’ve read where vegetarianism is emphasized. In the first book of my Gun series, Dez Reilly is very focused on eating “clean” because of her bodybuilding competition…… but then of course there’s Luella who is constantly laying out these fabulous spreads with gravies and sauces and roasts and so forth. I will have to think more about the topic. I know I eat a lot less meat than ever before. In fact, I eat almost no red meat. And I love salad. (And french fries!)

    Anyway, thanks a million for all of the food for thought. LOL
    😉 Lori

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Lori! Thanks so much for reading! And Dez…*dreamy sigh* what a character! I remember reading about her bodybuilding competition and even have a super awesome book mark with a sketch of her! I’m there with you trying to do sports and vegetarianism and totally thought that pasta and french fries was healthy enough. Wasn’t a big fan of salads at the time!

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  4. I eat two vegetarian meals per day, but because of carbohydrate counting for a health issue, I do eat meat once per day. I love wlw books with recipes of any kind. My favorite is “Making Up For Lost Time” by Karin Kallmaker. The cookies were nearly addictive.

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    • Laurie that is awesome eating two vegetarian meals a day! That is an interesting connection with the recipes. Other than the Karin Kallmaker I can’t recall other stories that included recipes- hmmmm. And now, for some reason I’m craving cookies! Thanks for reading!

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  5. Great post, Erin. 🙂 Add me to the people enjoying Anja in Paper Love. 🙂 As for being vegetarian, well, I’m an omnivore, but I love vegetarian food, and will generally have one or two days per week with no meat. It’s easy with curries, and I adore tofu. (my current favourite recipe is from the New York Times, and it’s Crispy Tofu with Cashews and Blistered Snap Peas, https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1021200-crispy-tofu-with-cashews-and-blistered-snap-peas and it’s seriously delicious. I toss the tofu in cornflour to make it crispier and I double the sauce as I love it the next day with rice and salad for lunch. Bonus- the recipe is vegan).

    Oh, please don’t enter me in the giveaway for the free book… I have already read this one! 🙂 LOL

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    • Cheyenne you are so amazing! Thanks for sharing stories with such strong characters that are making a difference. And for sharing a recipe for yummy tofu. I’m honored that you read my post!

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  6. I am not vegetarian because I am so picky about what I eat due to taste, texture, and other sensitivities, that I can’t get enough protein. 1st world problems. However, being from Alabama, I enjoy a plate of veggies only and not just salad. Tomatoes, field peas, broccoli, zucchini, squash, and other summer vegetables are my favorites. We try and grow a lot our vegetables in our yard as well . I also eat very little red meat, only a few times a month, preferring chicken 75% of the time. When I can get it, I prefer my red meat to be deer.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Andrea your plate of veggies sounds delicious! I’m trying to grow tomatoes this year but I was not blessed with a green thumb so before making other plants suffer I thought I’d try one vegetable at a time. Thanks for reading!

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  7. While in Japan years ago, I discovered the best way to make tofu. Buy the “firm” or extra firm. Slice it thin like bread, dip it in flour, and fry in vegetable oil until it turns golden brown and crispy. Lightly salt and it’s ready. Really, really good!

    I read this post right after seeing a new documentary on Netflix: Seaspiracy. A must watch. The message is the same as yours: the only real way to save the planet (and the dolphins and whales — you know that “dolphin safe” label on tuna fish cans? It means nothing) is to reduce or eliminate our consumption of meat, both from land and sea. I’d been eating more fish lately, thinking it’s a healthier choice, but apparently it’s very bad for us.

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    • Westcott22 I just saw in my feed the documentary that you are talking about. I’m a little nervous to watch it but know that it will be worth it for the information it shares. Thanks for letting me know about it and thanks for reading!!

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  8. Already vegetarian and lesbian, tyvm. I cannot think of a vegetarian character but there is a paragraph in Milk Fed by Melissa Braydon that made me say WOWZA outloud when her character is plotting her supreme concoction if she were ever to become immune to calories. “a red-velvet yogurt dripping in caramel, freckled with slivers of snickers” and “a dulce de leche yogurt in a marshmallow sauce” with “a stream of sweet Oreo crumbles over it…” or possibly a “Dutch chocolate planet” where there lived “every species of gummy: bear, worm, fish, penguin, dino, and peach ring” and it “snowed Reeses pieces and chocolate sprinkles on a cake-battered flavored mountain.”

    As the quote says from When Harry Met Sally…”I’ll have whatever she’s having.”

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  9. I am not a vegetarian, though I was once, for a year, and pescatarian (no other seafood, but fish) for five years. During this time, I really missed my Ma’s chili, fried chicken, and all-around southern cooking. Amazingly, she was very respectful of my diet, and would make dishes like black-eyed peas with okra, collard greens (with okra 😊), and her-style chili using butter instead of hamhocks, and no beef, respectively. During the holidays, one had to ask my permission to indulge in my special pots. As I continue into older age, for renewed health, I am considering a mostly fresh vegetarian lifestyle. Thankyou for your article.

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    • That would be great gaile! We have had a lot of fun finding fresh vegetable recipes and this year we are even trying to grow some in our yard! Good luck and thanks for reading!

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