Christianity and Vegetarianism

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The Christian Vegetarian Association is an international, nondenominational ministry of Christians who find that a plant-based diet benefits human health, the environment, the world’s poor and hungry, and animals.

We believe that the Holy Spirit inspires us to live according to our deepest, faith-based values—our “calling.” We find that Christians care, often deeply, about world hunger, human well-being, the environment, and animals. Since a plant-based diet helps address these concerns, we see it as an opportunity to honor God.

How is vegetarianism good stewardship?

World Hunger

Jesus preached, “For I was hungry and you gave me food.…[A]s you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Matt. 25:35, 40 RSV). Yet, while tens of millions die annually from starvation-related causes and close to a billion suffer from malnutrition, 37 percent of the world’s harvested grain is fed to animals being raised for slaughter; in the United States, the figure is 66 percent.

Converting grains to meat wastes 67-90% of grains’ proteins, up to 96% of their calories, and all of their fiber. Since it generally takes far more grains to feed a meat eater, worldwide meat consumption greatly increases demand for grains. Because land, water, and other resources are limited, growing demand for meat increases the cost of all food, and the world’s poor become increasingly unable to afford food of any kind.

Your Health

The apostle Paul wrote that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19), and it follows that we should care for our bodies as gifts from God. The largest organization of food and nutritional professionals in the U.S., the American Dietetic Association, has endorsed well-planned vegetarian diets. The ADA notes that vegetarian diets are associated with a reduced risk for obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, colon cancer, lung cancer, and kidney disease.

In contrast to the predominantly plant-based Mediterranean diet that Jesus ate, modern Western diets (heavily laden with animal products) put people at risk. For example, animal foods tend to be high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which elevate blood lipids and increase the risk of heart disease, by far the #1 killer in the West. Because farmed animals are bred to grow quickly and given little exercise, their flesh is particularly high in saturated fats. In contrast, polyunsaturated fats in plant foods generally improve one’s lipid profile and reduce heart disease risk.

Numerous studies show this. The Cornell-Oxford-China Project found that rural Chinese, who eat much less animal fat and protein and derive the bulk of their nutrition from plant sources, have far less heart disease mortality and much lower cholesterol levels than Americans or Chinese people in cities who eat a more Western diet.

Regarding obesity and diabetes, fiber in grains and fructose sugar in fruits help people feel full, which discourages overeating. In study after study, vegetarians weigh less and have an easier time maintaining a healthy weight than their meat-eating peers.

Regarding bone health, animal proteins are heavily laden with sulfur-containing amino acids, which acidify the blood. The body neutralizes the acid by leaching calcium from bones, weakening the bones. In contrast, vegetables and fruits contain base precursors that neutralize acids and protect bones. Harvard Medical School’s Nurse's Health Study of 77,761 women, who were followed for 12 years, found that milk consumption did not reduce the risk of bone fractures.

The routine use of antibiotics to prevent infections in crowded, stressed animals promotes dangerous antibiotic resistance among bacteria. Furthermore, high-speed slaughterhouse operations predispose meat to bacterial contamination. In 1999, the CDC estimated that food poisoning sickens about 76 million Americans annually and kills about 5,000. A year later, the CDC found that about 86 percent of reported food poisoning outbreaks derived from animal food sources. Other human health concerns that derive directly from factory farming include consumption of pesticides, hormones, heavy metals, and dioxins that become concentrated in animal fat, and “Mad Cow” disease.

The Earth

In Genesis 2:15, God instructed Adam to “till” and “keep” the Garden of Eden, and by analogy we may see caring for God’s Creation as our sacred task. The typical meat eater’s diet can easily consume up to 14 times more water and 20 times more energy than that of a vegetarian. Indeed, current use of land, water, and energy is not sustainable; resource depletion threatens to cause hardships for humankind this century. Already, 40 percent of the world’s agricultural lands are seriously degraded.

Animal Welfare

Jesus said that God feeds the birds of the air (Matt. 6:26) and does not forget sparrows (Luke 12:6). The Hebrew writings forbid inhumane slaughter or cruelty towards beasts of burden (Exod. 23:5; Deut. 22:6–7, 25:4). Yet, in the United States, virtually all food derived from animals is obtained through intensive factory farming methods. Nearly ten billion land animals are slaughtered each year, over a million every hour, and the number of aquatic animals killed for food is far greater. These animals suffer greatly from stressful crowding, barren environments that frustrate their instinctive drives, amputations without anesthesia (including debeaking, dehorning, tail docking, and castration), and other painful procedures (Bernard Rollin, Ph.D., Farm Animal Welfare).

Slaughter typically involves terror and, often, great pain (Gail Eisnitz, Slaughterhouse). Illustrating the industry’s callousness, animals too sick to walk are painfully dragged to slaughter rather than humanely euthanized. Typical of the industry’s attitude, John Byrnes wrote, “Forget the pig is an animal. Treat him just like a machine in a factory” (Hog Farm Management).

Does the Bible support vegetarianism?

The Bible depicts vegetarianism as God’s ideal, and the diet conforms to the central biblical principle of stewardship. In Eden, all creatures lived peacefully, and God told both humans and animals to consume only plant foods (Gen. 1:29–31). Several prophecies, such as Isaiah 11:6–9, foresee a return to this vegetarian world, where the wolf, lamb, lion, cow, bear, snake, and little child all coexist peacefully. Christian vegetarians, while acknowledging human sinfulness, believe we should strive toward the harmonious world Isaiah envisioned—to try to live in accordance with the prayer that Jesus taught us, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).

Did God put animals here for our use?

Adam’s “dominion” over animals (Gen. 1:26, 28), we believe, conveys sacred stewardship, since God immediately afterward prescribed a vegetarian diet (1:29–30) in a world God found “very good” (1:31). Created in God’s image of love (1 John 4:4), we are called to be caretakers of God’s Creation, not tyrants over God’s creatures.

Genesis 2:18–19 indicates that God made animals as Adam’s helpers and companions: “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’ So out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them…” (RSV) Adam named the animals, which we believe shows concern and friendship. We don’t name the animals we eat.

God endowed pigs, cattle, sheep, and all farmed animals with their own desires and needs, which is apparent when these animals are given an opportunity to enjoy life. For example, pigs are as curious, social, and intelligent as cats and dogs. Pigs can even play some video games better than monkeys. Similarly, chickens enjoy one another’s company and like to play, dust bathe, and forage for food. Jesus compared his love for us to a hen’s love for her chicks (Luke 13:34).

Why did God give Noah permission to eat meat (Gen. 9:2–4)?

Virtually all plants were destroyed by the Flood. Alternatively, God allowed Noah limited freedom to express human violence, since unrestrained violence responsible for the Flood itself (Gen. 6:11-13). Importantly, this passage does not command meat-eating nor indicate that the practice is God’s ideal. Indeed, eating meat came with a curse – animals would no longer be humanity’s friends: “The fear and the dread of you shall rest on every animal…” (Gen. 9:2) While eating meat is not prohibited, it represents a complete break from God’s ideal of animals and humans living peacefully together, as depicted in Eden and by the prophets.

Does God care for animals?

Proverbs 12:10 teaches, “A righteous man has regard for the life of his beast,” and Psalm 145:9 reminds us that “The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.”

The Bible describes God’s concern for animals repeatedly (Matthew 10:29, 12:11–12, 18:12–14) and forbids cruelty (Deuteronomy 22:10, 25:4). Importantly, after the Flood, God made a covenant, stated five times, with animals as well as humans. All creatures share in the Sabbath rest (Exodus 20:10; Deut. 5:14).

The Bible describes animals praising God (Psalms 148:7–10, 150:6), shows animals present in eternity (Isaiah 65:25; Revelation 5:13), and affirms that God preserves animals (Psalm 36:6; Ephesians 1:10; Colossians 1:20). Animals and humans look to God for sustenance (Psalms 104:27–31, 147:9; Matthew 6:26; Luke 12:6) and deliverance (Jonah 3:7–9; Romans 8:18–23). God’s covenant in Genesis 9, in all five instances, is with all flesh, not just humans.

Does vegetarianism equate human and animal life?

Vegetarianism simply reflects respect for Creation—the diet benefits humans, animals, and the environment.

What about animal sacrifices?

The Bible relates that God accepted animal sacrifices. However, several later prophets objected to sacrifice, emphasizing that God prefers righteousness. Animal sacrifices are not required or even desired now, for at least two reasons. First, Paul encouraged self-sacrifice, writing, “[P]resent your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1). Second, traditional interpretations of Jesus’ death affirm that, because of him, animal sacrifice is no longer necessary. Christians, being new creations in Christ, may model Christ by choosing a loving relationship with all Creation. Indeed, Jesus twice quoted Hosea (6:6), saying, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” (Matthew 9:13, 12:7).

Didn’t Jesus eat meat?

Luke 24:43 describes Jesus eating fish after the Resurrection. However, Jesus’ diet 2,000 years ago in a Mediterranean fishing community does not mandate what Christians should eat today. Similarly, what Jesus wore does not dictate how we should dress today. We are blessed with a wide range of healthful, tasty, convenient plant foods, much like in Eden. Meanwhile, we believe that the way animals are treated today makes a mockery of God’s love for them.

Is eating meat sinful?

The Bible does not prohibit eating meat. While many people have eaten meat for nourishment, it is unnecessary for most Christians today, who live amid abundance and variety. In particular, many Christians reject modern factory farming, which is not necessary, merciful, or compassionate.

What does the Bible say about eating meat?

Diet is a major theme in the Bible, and we can’t cover everything in a short booklet. At www.christianveg.com/hgc-replies.htm, we address biblical passages frequently cited by those who defend meat-eating.

Have there been many vegetarian Christians?

Our numbers are increasing rapidly, just as vegetarianism is growing in the general population. Also, many early Christians were vegetarian, including the Desert Fathers. Since then, the Trappist, Benedictine, and Carthusian orders have encouraged vegetarianism, as have Seventh-Day Adventists. In the nineteenth century, members of the Bible Christian sect established the first vegetarian groups in England and the United States.

Basil the Great, John Chrysostom, Tertullian, Origen, Clement of Alexandria, John Wesley (Methodism’s founder), Ellen G. White (a Seventh-Day Adventists founder), Salvation Army cofounders William and Catherine Booth, Leo Tolstoy, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Rev. Dr. Albert Schweitzer were Christians who became vegetarian, as is the musician Moby.

Don’t laws ensure the welfare of farmed animals?

In the U.S. and many other countries, standard procedures on farms are specifically exempted from all humane legislation, regardless of the pain and suffering they cause. Practices such as bodily mutilations, which would warrant felony animal cruelty charges if done to a dog or cat, are perfectly legal when done to a pig or chicken. At the slaughterhouse, “humane slaughter” laws are weak and poorly enforced for pigs, cattle, and sheep; the slaughter of birds is completely exempt. We support efforts to improve conditions on farms, but for many reasons, including our desire not to pay others to do things we would not do ourselves, we feel compelled to be vegetarians.

What would happen to those whose livelihoods depend on animal agriculture?

If people ate less animal foods, farmers would adapt to changed consumer demand.

Since animals eat each other, what’s wrong with humans eating animals?

Christians are not called to follow the law of the jungle (where “might makes right”), but to follow Christ—to be compassionate, merciful, and humble, and to respect God’s Creation. In this fallen world, animals suffer, die, and kill each other. We are called to assist God in the reconciliation of all Creation, as Jesus prayed, “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

Are humans naturally predators and therefore carnivores?

While humans can digest flesh, and it is likely that our ancestors consumed meat, our anatomy much more strongly resembles that of plant-eating creatures. For example: like plant eaters (but unlike meat eaters), our colons are long and complex (not simple and short); our intestines are 10–11 times longer than our bodies (not 3–6 times longer); our saliva contains digestive enzymes (unlike carnivores); and our teeth resemble those of plant eaters—for instance, our canines are short and blunt (not long, sharp, and curved).

The millions of healthy vegetarians (who tend to outlive meat eaters) demonstrate that it is neither necessary nor desirable to eat meat.

What if I don’t think vegetarianism should be my priority?

Adopting a healthy vegetarian diet requires very little extra time and commitment and can improve one’s sense of well-being. Anyone can choose a cruelty-free diet while continuing other important activities.

What can I do?

If you choose a plant-based diet, you significantly help humans, animals, and the environment. As Christians, we are called to be faithful, which includes living in accord with our core values as inspired by the Holy Spirit. Being faithful also includes showing fellow Christians, in loving and compassionate ways, that nonanimal foods are tasty, convenient, and nutritious, and promote good stewardship of God’s Creation.

Vegetarian Nutrition

Like all diets, vegetarian diets require appropriate planning for optimal nutrition. The following nutrients are those that people most often have questions about or that need some specific attention in pure vegetarian diets (i.e., diets that exclude all animal-derived products).

Protein
Vegetarians should eat 0.4 g of protein per day for every pound of healthy body weight. If vegetarians consume adequate calories and a variety of foods each day, they should get enough protein. One need not combine foods at each meal to get “complete protein.”

Some High-Protein Plant Foods Serving Protein (g)
Tofu 1/2 cup 10–20
Veggie dog/burger 1 6–18
Soybeans* 1/2 cup 14.3
Textured soy protein 1/2 cup 11
Soymilk 1 cup 5–10
Lentils* 1/2 cup 8.9
Peanut butter 2 Tbsp. 8.0
Chickpeas* 1/2 cup 7.5
Sunflower seeds 2 Tbsp. 5.0
Brown rice 1 cup 4.9
*Cooked

Calcium
Adequate Intakes (set by the National Academy of Sciences) are 1,200 mg (over age 50), 1,000 mg (ages 19–50), 1,300 mg (ages 9–18), 800 mg (ages 4–8), and 500 mg (ages 1–3).

Some High-Calcium Plant Foods Serving Ca (mg)
Orange juice, fortified 1 cup 250–300
Soymilk, fortified 1 cup 200–300
Blackstrap molasses 1 Tbsp. 187
Collard greens* 1/2 cup 178
Figs, dried 6 165
Navy beans* 1/2 cup 64
Almonds 2 Tbsp. 50
Broccoli* 1/2 cup 50
Kale* 1/2 cup 47
*Cooked


Iron

Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for men and postmenopausal women is 14.4 mg, and 32.4 mg for premenopausal women. Vegetarians are no more likely to suffer from iron deficiency anemia than nonvegetarians. Iron from plants is generally not absorbed as well as iron from meat, but vitamin C enhances iron absorption (if eaten at the same meal), and pure vegetarians tend to have high intakes of iron and vitamin C.

Some High-Iron Plant Foods Serving Iron (mg)
Grape-Nuts 1/2 cup 16.2
Bran flakes 1 cup 11
Soybeans* 1/2 cup 4.4
Blackstrap molasses 1 Tbsp. 3.3
Pumpkin seeds 2 Tbsp. 2.5
Chickpeas* 1/2 cup 2.4
Pinto beans* 1/2 cup 2.2
Apricots, dried 1/4 cup 1.5
Spinach* 1/2 cup 1.5
Raisins 1/4 cup 1.1
*Cooked

Zinc
RDA is 11 mg for adult men, and 8 mg for adult women. In some pure vegetarian diets, zinc may be lower than recommended; however, pure vegetarians do not show deficiency symptoms any more than do nonvegetarians. Sources of zinc include beans, corn, peas, cashews, peanuts, peanut butter, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds; cereals are often fortified with zinc.

Vitamin D
Vitamin D is produced by sunshine on bare skin (without sunscreen). Light-skinned people need 10–15 minutes of sunshine on their hands and face, 2–3 times/week. Dark-skinned people need up to 6 times this amount. People in cold or cloudy climates should meet needs through fortified foods or supplements. The bone density of pure vegetarians living in northern climates has been shown to increase from a supplement of 5 mcg/day.

Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 prevents permanent nerve damage, keeps the digestive system healthy, and reduces the risk of heart disease by lowering homocysteine levels. Deficiency symptoms sometimes include fatigue, and tingling in the hands or feet. No unfortified plant foods (including seaweeds and tempeh) are reliable sources of vitamin B12. Pure vegetarians should get 3 mcg/day through fortified foods, or at least 10 mcg/day through a supplement.

Fats
Higher fat foods like nuts and seeds (and their butters), avocados, and small amounts of vegetable oils (especially canola and olive) should be part of a healthy diet. These foods are particularly important for meeting children’s calorie needs.

Vegetarians should include a daily source of linolenic acid (the only essential omega-3 fatty acid). All omega-3 fatty acids have anti-blood-clotting, anti-inflammatory, and cholesterol-lowering properties. Vegetarians are recommended to get about 2.2 g for a 2,000 calorie/day diet. Linolenic acid is in walnuts (1.9 g/oz.), tofu and soybeans (.8–1.0 g/cup), canola oil (1.6 g/Tbsp.), ground flaxseeds (2.1 g/Tbsp.), and flaxseed oil (2.5 g/tsp.). Pure vegetarians can most easily obtain omega-3 fats by eating 1 tsp. of flaxseed oil per day (do not exceed 2 tsp./day). Flaxseed oil, sold in many natural food and grocery stores, should be kept refrigerated; it may be added to warm food, but cooking will damage the linolenic acid.

Iodine
Since the amount of iodine in plant foods varies considerably, pure vegetarians should take a modest iodine supplement of about 75 to 150 mcg (or a multivitamin containing this amount) every few days.

Poor Nutrition: The Atkins Diet
Like other fad diets, people on the Atkins Diet and other low-carbohydrate diets generally regain the weight. Meanwhile, they may be putting their long-term health at risk. The American Dietetic Association, the American Heart Association, and most of the medical establishment have denounced the diet as likely to cause cardiovascular and kidney disease, gout, and constipation. Very high protein intake encourages urinary calcium loss and has been linked to increased fracture risks.

Recommended Daily Intakes for Pure Vegetarian Adults Upper limit (1)
Calcium 1,000–1,300 mg 2,500 mg
Vitamin B12 3–100 mcg (2) None
Vitamin D 5–15 mcg 50 mcg
  (200–600 IU) (2,000 IU)
Iodine 75–150 mcg (3) 1,100 mcg
Omega-3 fats 2.2–3.3 g (4) Unknown

Note: Please see “Staying a Healthy Vegan” (SHV) for the needs of other age groups and for more information on all of the topics in this section.

(1) Could be harmful in amounts exceeding upper limit.
(2) mcg = microgram = µg.
(3) One 75–150 mcg iodine tablet every few days will generally meet needs.
(4) Most easily obtained through 1 tsp. of flaxseed oil. See SHV for additional sources.

What To Eat?

When changing your diet, it may take time to explore new foods and develop a routine. There are many different products from which to choose—keep experimenting to find your personal favorites.

You can generally shop for vegetarian foods at supermarkets, natural food stores, and co-ops. Vegetarian selections are usually offered at Chinese, Indian, Italian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Thai, and other ethnic restaurants, as well as many chains, such as Burger King, Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, Subway, and Taco Bell—just ask!

Some simple meal ideas:

Breakfast

  • Pancakes
  • Soy yogurt
  • Fruit smoothie
  • Bagel or toast with jelly
  • Oatmeal or other hot cereal
  • Cereal or granola with nondairy milk

Lunch/Dinner

  • Vegetarian hot dog
  • Baked tempeh or tofu sandwich
  • Mock lunchmeat sandwich
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Grain or soy burger
  • Seitan casserole
  • Bean burrito
  • Tofu lasagna
  • Pasta and tomato sauce
  • Soup or chili (over pasta or rice)
  • Tofu, tempeh, or seitan stir-fry
  • Baked, mashed, or fried potatoes

Snacks/Dessert

  • Pretzels, popcorn, or chips
  • Nuts, seeds, or trail mix
  • Pie, cookies, or cake
  • Nondairy ice cream
  • Fresh or dried fruit
  • Energy bar


Substitution Guide

You can continue to prepare your favorite dishes and avoid animal products by making simple substitutions:

Dairy
Use milks, cheeses, creams, yogurts, and frozen desserts made from soy, rice, or nuts. Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor to foods. Replace butter with olive oil or trans-fat-free margarine.

Eggs
In baking recipes, use powdered egg substitutes, such as Ener-G Egg Replacer (sold at health food stores), or replace each egg with half a banana, or 1 heavy tsp. of soy flour or cornstarch plus 2 Tbsp. water.

Meat
Use textured vegetable protein (TVP), seitan, or other mock meats, such as Morningstar Farms Ground Meatless.


Vegetarian Recipes

Corn and Wild Rice Salad

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked wild rice blend
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • 2/3 cup sunflower seeds or toasted unsalted pumpkin seed kernels
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 raspberry vinegar or raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil (less if using salad dressing)
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce (may use low-sodium)
  • 1 tsp. grated orange peel
  • 1/2 tsp. Pepper

Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Set aside and cool. Combine the cooked rice, corn, and remaining ingredients in a bowl. Cover the salad and chill. Makes 8 one cup servings.


Curried Garbanzo Beans

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 (15 1/2–19 oz.) cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and partially mashed
  • 1 tsp. curry powder, or to taste
  • 1 tsp. coriander, or to taste
  • 1 tsp. cumin, or to taste
  • 3 oz. mango chutney, or to taste
  • 2 (15 1/2–19 oz.) cans diced tomatoes

Sauté onions in the vegetable broth. Add beans, spices, chutney, and tomatoes, mixing well. Serve over brown rice or pasta.


Hoisin and Black Bean Stir-Fry

  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp. red-pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. peanut oil
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups thinly sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 green pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 yellow squash, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup snow peas
  • 1 1/2 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts
  • 3 cups cooked rice, hot

Combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and pepper flakes; set aside. In a wok or large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the peanut oil. Add the ginger and garlic; stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the carrots; stir-fry for 3–4 minutes, or until just tender. Add the stock; cook for 2–3 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated. Add the green peppers, squash and snow peas; stir-fry 4–5 minutes, or until just tender. Stir in the beans, water chestnuts, and hoisin sauce mixture; stir-fry for 2 minutes, or until heated through. Serve over rice. Makes 4 servings.


Hearty Lentil-Barley Soup

  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 (28 oz.) can tomatoes, cut up
  • 3/4 cup dry lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley
  • 6 vegetarian bouillon cubes
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 1 cup shredded soy (Swiss) cheese
  • 1 loaf bread

In a 4-quart Dutch oven, cook onion, celery, and garlic in hot margarine until tender. Add water, undrained tomatoes, lentils, barley, bouillon cubes, rosemary, oregano, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Add carrots and simmer for 15 minutes more or just until carrots are tender. Ladle into soup bowls, top with cheese, and serve with thick slices of bread. Makes 5 servings.


Quick Chili

  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup textured vegetable protein
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup water or vegetable stock
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans pinto beans
  • 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1–2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne (more for spicier chili)

Pour the boiling water over the textured vegetable protein and let stand until softened. Braise the onion, bell pepper, and garlic in water (or vegetable stock) until the onion is soft, then add the remaining ingredients, including the textured vegetable protein. Simmer at least 30 minutes. Makes 8 servings.


Autumn Frosted Caramel Apple Cake

Caramel Frosting:

  • 2 Tbsp. soy margarine
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt (adjust if needed)
  • 1/4 cup soymilk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Apple Cake:

  • 2 cups unpeeled, cored, and chopped organic Granny Smith or other sour apples
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 ripe pear, puréed or 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. egg replacer (equivalent of 1 egg)
  • 1/4–1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/4 cup flaked coconut

In a pan, melt margarine, then add brown sugar, salt, and soymilk. Boil on low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let cool. Then add powdered sugar and vanilla, beat well, and set aside.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 9" round cake pan; set aside. Mix apples and sugar and let stand, stirring occasionally to make a syrup. Sift flour, soda, and salt and add to apples. Add remaining ingredients and combine well. Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake for 40–45 minutes. Cool and frost with caramel frosting.

Vegetarian Resources

Recommended Cookbooks

Dreena Burton.
The Everyday Vegan.
Gail Davis.
So, Now What Do I Eat? The Complete Guide to Vegetarian Convenience Foods.
Bobbie Hinman and Millie Snyder.
Lean and Luscious and Meatless.
Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard.
How It All Vegan!
Patricia LeShane.
Vegetarian Cooking for People
with Diabetes.
Ingrid Newkirk.
The Compassionate Cook.
Jennifer Raymond.
The Peaceful Palate and Fat-Free and Easy.
Joanne Stepaniak.
The Uncheese Cookbook
and Vegan Vittles.
Debra Wasserman.
Simply Vegan: Quick Vegetarian Meals.

Recommended Reading

Neal Barnard.
Food for Life; Eat Right, Live Longer; and Turn Off the Fat Genes.
Stephen R. Kaufman and Nathan Braun.
Good News for All Creation: Vegetarianism as Christian Stewardship.
Andrew Linzey.
Animal Theology.
George H. Malkmus.
Why Christians Get Sick.
Erik Marcus.
Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating.
Vesanto Melina and Brenda Davis.
The New Becoming Vegetarian:
The Essential Guide to a Healthy Vegetarian Diet.
Virginia Messina and Mark Messina.
The Vegetarian Way: Total Health
for You and Your Family.
Vasu Murti.
They Shall Not Hurt or Destroy.
John Robbins.
The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and the World.
Richard Schwartz.
Judaism and Vegetarianism.
Matthew Scully.
Dominion: The Power of Man,
the Suffering of Animals,
and the Call to Mercy.
Stephen H. Webb.
Good Eating and On God and Dogs.
Richard Alan Young.
Is God a Vegetarian?

Other Web Sites (many include recipes)

Vegetarian Starter Kits

CVA Board of Directors

  • Stephen R.L. Clark, D.Phil.
  • Fr. John Dear, S.J.
  • Daniel Dombrowski, Ph.D.
  • DeRonda E. Elliott, R.N., C.C., M.T.S.
  • Elizabeth Farians, Ph.D.
  • William Greenway, Ph.D.
  • Rev. Frank L. Hoffman
  • Mary Hoffman
  • Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D., cochair
  • Andrew Linzey, Ph.D., D.D.
  • Rev. George H. Malkmus
  • Rev. Linda McDaniel
  • Stephen H.Webb, Ph.D., cochair
  • Richard Alan Young, Ph.D.

Contact the CVA

U.S.A.
P.O. Box 201791, Cleveland, Ohio 44120
toll free 866-202-9170 tel/fax 216-283-6702
e-mail CVA@ChristianVeg.org

pdf version

U.K.
Foresta, Pines Rd., Liphook, GU30 7PL
phone 01428 723747

Download PDF version.

© Christian Vegetarian Association, 2000–2003
(reprint permission granted) Rev. 11/03

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