Plant based recipes are a foreign concept for most North americans. I used to eat meat from animals and products from them, like milk, cheese and eggs. And then I worked 2 horrifying shifts as a dairy milker at a 130 head dairy farm and saw up close and personal what happens to cows on an industrial farm. Dairy cows live their whole lives in concrete barns, eating, pooping, and giving birth to beautiful calves who are taken from them after just 4 days so that they can maintain milk production that sometimes exceeds 32 litres per day.
With the new market for bovine colostrum (a new “miracle cure” for dogs) this 4 day mother and calf time is no longer written in stone and calves may be taken from their mothers after just a few hours. It’s not like the cows and calves don’t mourn each other’s loss. From what I saw, the new moms are obviously sad and call out repeatedly when their bawling calves are taken from them. It’s no wonder that many dairy cows were afraid of the milkers. Cows that don’t fully cooperate are bad cows and are sold at auction. I was horrified at the was these animals have been turned from a family milk cow into a cog in a big industrial machine.
Plant based Milk Uses Fewer Resources than Dairy
According to the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, a single dairy cow needs to eat about 30 lbs of food per day. And a cow has to drink 80 to 180 litres of water every single day. Many more litres of fresh water is needed to hose their semi liquid poop from the barns and milking parlour. Multiply those numbers by 130 and that’s 3900 lbs of food and 10400 to 23400 of water to make a measly 3900 litres of milk per day. Never mind the fuel and energy used to run a dairy farm- That is still a lot of environmental resources that are going toward when humans don’t need cows milk to thrive. Here is a link to the Dairy Farmers of Ontario website: https://www.milk.org/corporate/view.aspx?content=Faq/DairyCattle
Here are the resources used to make 1 litre of milk.
- Emissions (kg) = .63
- Land Use (square metre)= 1.79
- Water (litre)= 125.62
- Emissions (kg)= .18
- Land Use (square metre)= .15
- Water (litre)= 9.65
- Emissions (kg) = 0.14
- Land use (square metre) = 0.1
- Water (litre) = 74.3
- Emissions (kg) = 0.2
- Land use (square metre) = 0.13
- Water (litre) = 5.6
Plant Based Diet for a Better Planet
I realized that if I wanted to reduce my own impact on this beautiful planet, and help save a bunch of cows and other farm animals from living a miserable life I would need to change my eating habits. I cut out meat and dairy and soon wanted to try a cholesterol free existence, so I also cut eggs out of my diet. The health results? My blood pressure dropped, my cholesterol levels are very low, my energy levels are about the same as ever, and there is still no sign of the diabetes that runs in my family. So far so good.
Here are some great plant based recipes that I know you’ll enjoy, whether you are a hard core vegan or someone who just wants to try some plant based recipes that don’t include animal products.
The Best Bannock Recipe
- Cast Iron Pan
- Chafing Pan
- Large Mixing Bowl
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp flax or olive oil *optional if baking or roasting over a campfire
- Measure all dry ingredients into a large bowl
- Mix well
- Add water and mix to form a soft, very slightly sticky, dough
- Divide dough into 4 equal parts.
- Roll each part into a ball with your hands
- Pat each ball to into a circle, 1/2 inch thick
- Heat 2 tbsp vegan butter or oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
- When the vegan butter has melted, add as many bannocks as will fit comfortably in the pan.
- Cook each side until golden brown on side, flipping as necessary. Cooking time per side will be 5 to 7 minutes. When bannocks are nice and puffy they are ready and delicious.