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Reflections of a non-vegan

 Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet

Consociate Andrea Pearson Tande

As part of our April Eco-Challenge: Use Your Plate to Help the Planet by eating less beef and dairy, some of our sisters and associates are sharing their reflections about food. Today, Consociate Andrea Pearson Tande from our St. Paul Province, writes about adapting her diet to make it healthy for herself and the planet in a way that works for her family.

I would definitely not describe myself as vegan. I’m not even an aspiring vegan! However, I am a person who cares about the planet and about the effects of industrial meat processing. I recently learned that it is better for the planet to eat produce from across the world—like an apple from New Zealand—than it is to eat even local, sustainably raised meat. All of that travel and shipping consumes less resources than is required to raise animals for food. Unbelievable! I have also spent some time learning from people who were entwined with the industrial chicken processing system. Everyone involved in this cycle of production; the chicken farmers, the folks who brought the chickens from the farms to the processing plants, the people who worked in the processing plants, the people who sold this chicken in the store; endured dehumanizing situations. When I look at the harm that animal products can bring to our planet and to our fellow human beings, I don’t want to participate in that system.

A child helps an adult pour oil onto a bowl of chopped vegetables

However, life is complicated. I have three children who are always hungry. Our lives are full, and I have many things I need to think about beyond the recipe for our next meal. Although I am not ready to take myself and my family into full-scale vegan living, I am committed to making choices that contribute to a healthier planet.

We choose meatless options when possible, and the meat we buy is organic. We grow and harvest fruits and veggies together in warmer months. And I try to talk with my kids about why making these choices makes a difference. Tonight for dinner, we are having lasagna with two kinds of cheese and meatballs. But tomorrow, I’m making a vegan lentil soup that the kids love (see recipe at right). I’m hoping that even our small changes can make a difference. And perhaps, as I continue to try, I’ll find that these small changes can lead to bigger ones in the future.

Recommended Recipe

Coconut Red Lentil Soup Recipe from 101 Cookbooks

This warming, comforting soup is my favorite on a cold day. The recipe is very forgiving so feel free to include extra ingredients or leave out the ones you don’t have/don’t like. I recommend serving this over rice, quinoa or your grain of choice for a filling meal.

Reflection Question

Just as Andrea has shared her reflections with us, leave a comment below about your food choices.

Category: Stories

2 thoughts on “Reflections of a non-vegan”

    1. Avatar

      This recipe is vegetarian but could be vegan if you omit the cheese.
      It is delicious either way!
      3 c vegetable stock
      3/4 c dry lentils
      1-2 large onions, chopped
      1/2 c. uncooked brown rice
      1/2 tsp dried basil
      1/4 tsp salt
      1/4 tsp oregano
      1/4 tsp thyme
      1 clove garlic, minced
      ground black pepper to taste
      4 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese
      Combine all ingredients except the cheese in a large sauce pan or pot with a tight filling lid. Bring to a boil, reduce hear, cover and simmer about 45 minutes or until lentils and rice are tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in cheese during the last 10 minutes of cooking .
      I sometimes pre-cook the rice during preparation to cut down on the cooking time.

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The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet are a congregation of Catholic sisters. We, and those who share our charism and mission, are motivated in all things by our profound love of God and our dear neighbors. We seek to build communities and bridge divides between people. Since our first sisters gathered in 1650, our members have been called to “do all things of which women are capable.” The first sisters of our congregation arrived in St. Louis, Missouri in 1836, and we now have additional locations in St. Paul, Albany, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Japan and Peru. Today, we commit to respond boldly to injustice and dare to be prophetic.


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