February 27, 2013

National Strawberry Day

“We do not rejoice in victories. We rejoice when a new kind of cotton is grown and when strawberries bloom in Israel.” - Golda Meir

It's National Strawberry Day!

When I was introduced to the world of plant-based diets (and lifestyles), the three things that seemed most attractive to me were the compassion, sustainability, and health aspects to it. And when people ask me why I don't eat meat, it's always these points that I bring up. Usually the person asking is quite content with the answer; after all, you can't really refute that a vegetarian/vegan diet is kinder (since there is no suffering or death involved), does less damage to our planet's resources, and - oh yeah, duh - an intake of fruits and vegetables is OBVIOUSLY better for you than rotting carcass (which is essentially what meat it is), or processed crap, that sits inside your organs for an unnaturally long time. Unfortunately I have come across a few people who asked because they were intentionally looking for a flaw in the reasoning behind my (personal life) choice so that they could then counter with why I was wrong (in my personal life choice).

I have always found that charming, self-deprecating humor here is the best response. "What do I eat? You're right, my diet consists of nothing but twigs and grass. I mean, obviously... just look at me." (It helps being a curvy, healthy looking girl in this situation!)

But what really pushed me across the dividing line between the omnivore and herbivore diet was much less complicated. Really, it was the magical combination of amaranth flakes with organic strawberries, unsweetened soy milk, and raw cane sugar. It was that single bowl of food that sold me on a plant-based diet (kidding of course, but having my eyes opened to the realization that there were vegan foods that tasted better than non-vegan foods did help). The crunch of the cereal along with the sweetness of both the fruit and sugar are complimented perfectly by the creaminess and unaggressive flavor of the soy milk. In my opinion, few things taste as harmonious as this breakfast (or late night snack) does.

Strawberries are beautiful little fruits. They're filled with antioxidants (buhbye free radicals! hello healthy immune system!), help lower cholesterol, regulate blood pressure, and even can keep your teeth whiter, too! Of course they deserve their own national food holiday (and actually, they have multiple days throughout the year including National Strawberry Ice Cream Day on January 15th, National California Strawberry Day on March 21st, National Strawberries and Cream Day on May 21st, National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day on June 9th, National Strawberry Shortcake Day on June 14th, and National Strawberry Parfait on June 25th)!

Happy National Strawberry Day!