Live Green: Family embraces vegan lifestyle

June 16, 2008 9:09:31 AM PDT
An Oak Park family brings the green movement to their kitchen table. "This is my lucky day," said Justice, 4, who loves baking muffins with his mom.

Justice doesn't miss the eggs that you might expect as an ingredient. He's never had them. His family is vegan, which means they don't eat meat or any animal products.

"It's not only great for the animals, but it is probably one of the kindest things you can do for the planet, you know eat low on the food chain," said Marla Rose, vegan.

United Nations backs her up. A recent report suggests that the livestock industry damages the environment more than any other single factor: "It currently amounts to about 18 percent of the global warming effect -- an even larger contribution than the transportation sector worldwide."

John Beske believes eating only plant-based foods is also a good economic decision.

"As gasoline gets more expensive, it's going to be more important for us to have food closer to home so we don't have to pay the huge expenses of shipping food from far away," said Beske.

That's one of the reasons he grows what he can in his own backyard in Oak Park. The family also invests in a local farm through what's called community supported agriculture.

"At the beginning of each season you buy a share of the farmer's yield so whatever that means in our case this week it means greens and turnips and that sort of thing," said Rose. "You get a box of it and it's a great way to support local growers. It's local. It's in season and it's organic."

While veganism is the only way to go for this family, they understand some people may find it difficult. They suggest starting with small changes -- one meal at a time.

"If you think about it, a lot of times people are already eating vegan meals. When you have pasta and marinara, that's a vegan meal. When you have peanut butter and jelly that's a vegan meal," said Rose.

"This is all very holistic. The same thing that helps the planet, the same thing that helps the animals is the same thing that helps you," said Beske.


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