Samuel A. Gunderson
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Vegetarian cooking and recipes:

Vegetarianism and its impact on my life: By Samuel A. Gunderson

Most people would probably be more interested in a nice steak dinner than a tofu stir-fry or a seared seitan sandwich. It’s quite likely that upwards of ninety percent of the people who read this would rather take the steak. Having been raised a vegetarian and only having eaten meat a handful of times, I would prefer the latter. Being a vegetarian didn’t start out as a choice. I was born to parents who were vegetarians and my childhood years were spent in communities where vegetarianism was a lifestyle practiced by the majority of people. As a result, eating meat was an entirely foreign concept until I entered the public school system in the 9th grade. Up until that point, I had been schooled in a private religious school system where a vegetarian diet was part of daily life.

I cannot recall my first experience with meat, though I’m sure the taste was quite strange.  Maybe it was the curiosity to see what taste I was missing, or more likely it was the perceived social pressure to conform that made me decide to try the regular food that others ate at lunch at our high school. I remember that some of it was actually quite tasty and I sampled the common fare of Salisbury steaks, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, and pepperoni pizza. The one thing I noticed was that I could really feel the effect of eating meat. After a meal that included meat, I would usually feel tired and generally unhealthy. This experimentation with eating meat lasted about 2 years, and then I went back to a strict vegetarian diet.

The personal benefits I have experienced by maintaining a vegetarian diet are somewhat intangible. I often notice people around my age (35) and notice that a high percentage look much older than me. This could be attributed to genetics, but there exists plenty of evidence that a vegetarian diet contributes to looking younger and staying that way. Another very important benefit that I believe is tied to a vegetarian diet is that I rarely get sick. Of course, now that we have a baby in the house, I’ve become sick more often than in the past. But, generally, I see a doctor only once a year, if even that often.

Some other primary benefits of a vegetarian diet are that I save money on food and maintain a cleaner conscience. Meat prices have increased dramatically in the recent past and will continue to do so, in my opinion. In this faltering economy, there is no better feeling than being able to spend less on food and save more. Maintaining a pure conscience is key to living a more stress-free life. Results of scientific studies are easily obtained that show cattle and livestock secrete certain toxins into their bodies as they are being butchered for food processing. These toxins are not good for the body and have, in some cases, been attributed directly to the causes of the high rates of colon and rectal cancer evidenced in populations who eat lots of meat.

Well, enough about those concepts. Most people don’t like to hear about the unpleasant side of their habits anyway. I welcome you to review some of my wife’s wonderful vegetarian recipes here at her Veggie Mom Recipes website. You will be amazed at how delicious a meal can be when prepared with no meat. Give some of them a try and let us know how you like them.

Samuel A. Gunderson's other interests and hobbies include mountain biking, playing the guitar, and winning at chess. Being a Cisco certified technician and network provisioner, one's brain has a unique wiring, hence, you can see chess board rendition in the image header at the top of these web pages. 

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