By now, many people are aware of the cruel treatment of factory-farmed animals born and raised for food.
To make your stand against this cruelty, avoiding factory-farmed animals is a must. Ensure that if you are buying a Christmas Ham or Turkey that you are buying certified free range or organic – see our What To Buy page at www.consumewithcare.org
Investigations into pig farms by numerous animal protection groups reveal the same unspeakable cruelties committed year after year. It’s still easy though, for many people to convince themselves that these are isolated incidents of abuse; the exception and not the rule.
Farms exist where pigs are not abused but the truth is that virtually all pigs raised for meat are subjected to mutilations without anesthesia or pain relief. These procedures are all legal and routine, part of the standard practice known as “processing” piglets a few days after birth.
Although pigs are some of the smartest and most inquisitive animals on the planet — researchers rank them as more intelligent than three year-old children — more than 97% of pigs are raised indoors in barren warehouse-style factory farms. Packed inside manure-laden sheds by the thousands, unable to perform the most basic natural behaviors essential to their wellbeing, pigs suffer depression and anxiety and exhibit stereotypic stress behaviors.
Maybe this has inspired you to try something new, I’m sure your Christmas Ham or Turkey wont mind being substituted this year.
To replace traditional Christmas meat dishes with meatless versions you can use faux meat as direct substitutes. These would include vegetarian turkey roast, complete with stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and roasted vegetables. Try a meatless loaf made with vegetarian ground beef substitute and serve with vegetarian gravy, mashed potatoes and vegetables. Other alternatives include roast duck substitute, made with bean curd skin; or even vegetarian ham, which is made from soybean protein. These products can be ordered online or bought from health food stores and organic grocers.
Vegetarian nut loaves are a common substitute for meat at holiday meals. Nut loaves are typically made with pastry dough on the outside and filled with vegetables, such as onions, carrots, leeks, and celery that have been sautéed. The nuts traditionally used are walnuts, almonds, cashews, or hazelnuts. There is usually a grain mixed in as well, such as rice, barley, bulgur, or quinoa, which is ground into powder along with the nuts. Spices and seasoning are added and the nut loaf is covered in pastry dough and baked, then served in slices with vegetarian gravy and vegetables.
Large stuffed vegetables can take center stage on your Christmas dinner table as opposed to a roast turkey or ham. One possible option is to stuff a pumpkin with vegetables, such as onions, garlic, and parsnips; spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg and star anise; fruits, such as dates, raisins, currants and cheese. Other good stuffed vegetable centerpiece options include eggplant, capsicums, portabella mushrooms.
Although holiday meals generally have a focal point, such as a roast turkey or ham, having a vegetarian Christmas meal lends itself to creativity. Pasta dinners, made with whole wheat pasta, such as spaghetti, lasagna or cannelloni, can substitute for a traditional holiday meal. Other options include salads, pizza and vegetarian sandwiches, such as portabella or eggplant sandwiches. There are always the common vegetarian substitutes, which can be added to many meals, such as tofu.
Enjoy your festive season celebration dinner, consume with care and remember that peace on earth begins on your plate.