HAF Partners with Bhumi Project

Cut out red meat | Go veg | Be kind to cows | Buy cruelty free | Live compassionately

The Hindu American Foundation has partnered with the Bhumi Project based in Oxford, UK on its Compassionate Living Initiative.  
"By personifying the earth as Mother Bhumi, Hindu culture has built a foundation for a relationship of respect.  It is more difficult to be cruel to a person than to an object." - Bhumi Project

Step 1: Cut out red meat

While red meat is known to be a rich source of iron, there are a number of vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods that are also high in iron.
Vegetarian Alternatives:
Vegetables: Spinach or any dark green leafy vegetable, bok choy, broccoli, asparagus, artichokes, lima beans, peas, green beans, beets, tomatoes, pumpkin, sweet potatoes
Fruits: Oranges, prunes, raisins, dried apricots
Other Sources: Lentils, chick peas, pinto beans, soy beans, soy milk, pumpkin seeds, molasses
Non-vegetarian Alternatives:
Eggs, mollusks (oysters, clams, scallops), shrimp, sardines
Furthermore, studies show that iron is more effectively absorbed when consumed with foods high in Vitamin C.  Vegetarian foods high in Vitamin C include:
Vegetables: Bell peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, potatoes
Fruits: Papaya, strawberries, oranges, cantaloupes, kiwis 

Step 2: Go veg

Vegetarian diets have a number of health benefits.
Multiple studies show that a vegetarian diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains combined with a regular exercise program is associated with lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Studies show that vegetarians live longer.
Types of Vegetarian Diets
Vegan: Excludes meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and dairy products
Lacto-vegetarian: Excludes meat, poultry, seafood and eggs
Lacto-ovo-vegetarian: Excludes meat, poultry, and seafood
A major concern of a vegetarian diet is that they are protein deficient.
There are two things to consider here.  First, there are many vegetarian food sources of protein.  Some examples of vegetarian protein sources are:
Lentils, chickpeas, soy beans, black beans, tofu, seitan, tempeh, textured veggie protein (tvp), quinoa, peanut butter, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, spinach
Second, the amount of protein the body actually requires is much lower than we generally assume.  According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM),"With the traditional Western diet, the average American consumes about double the protein her or his body needs...The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein for the average, sedentary adult is only 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight."
Vegetarian diets are friendlier to the environment.
Try being a weekday vegetarian.
Finding it too hard to give up meat completely?  Consider scaling back your meat consumption to the weekends only.  Learn more about it from Graham Hill at treehugger.com.
Need help finding vegetarian restaurants or recipes?  Check out www.happycow.net.

Step 3: Be kind to cows

Promote the consumption of organic milk and dairy products to encourage better welfare and conditions for cows.
Support organic dairy farms and productsClick here to view a survey by Cornucopia Institute which rates dairy farms on their treatment of cows.
Buy from family owned farms instead of larger factory farms that are owned by giant corporations.  Small scale dairy farmers tend to treat their cows with more respect than big corporations.  They are also better for the environment.  You can find products from family owned farms at:
Farmers' Markets: To find a farmers' market near you, visit http://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/
Cooperatives (Co-ops): To find a co-op near you, visit http://www.coopdirectory.org/directory.htm or http://www.localharvest.org/food-coops/
Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) organizations: To find a CSA near you, visit http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/csa/csa.shtml
Support a gaushala. Gaushala or goshala are traditional shelters found throughout India where cows, calves, and bulls, many of which are old, sick or stray, or have been neglected, are taken care of according to the tenets of Hinduism. Gaushala are charitable, service institutions by tradition and custom.  For more information, visit goshala.org or goshala.com.

Step 4: Buy consciously, cruelty free

Send campaign letters thanking producers of cruelty-free cosmetics and personal care items to encourage them to more visibly advertise the "cruelty free" and/or "not tested on animals" logos.  Shoppers who are debating between two brands, one which may not be cruelty-free, may be more likely to purchase the cruelty free product. 
Send campaign letters to those producers who continue to test their products on animals.  Urge them to change their ways and stop the practice.
 Buy fur-free and leather-free apparel:
See the Humane Society's list of fur-free retailers: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/fur_fashion/tips/fur-free_shopping.html
Check out Hip Line, a brand of fur and leather-free clothing: http://www.hipline.org/
Justin Timberlake's William Rast is a fur-free clothing line: http://www.williamrast.com/
Skip synthetic materials and opt for natural, organic fibers.
Bamboo is one of the most sustainable and renewable materials on earth, and it grows easily without pesticides.  It's a great option for clothing, fences, blinds and much more.
Find plenty of organic clothing retailers at the online Eco-Mall: http://www.ecomail.com/biz/clothing.htm

Step 5: A life built on compassion

  • Promise yourself to incorporate Steps 1 - 4 into your daily life.
  • Spread the word and help others live compassionately.
  • Donate your time a local organization that is dedicated to preserving the natural environment of your community.
  • Walk, bike, or carpool to work at least once a week.  This simple action will help reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Compost uneaten food items if you have a yard or garden.
  • Make an effort to learn about the different ways that you can be more friendly to the environment in your daily life.
Earth Easy provides a variety of ways you can incorporate more earth friendly elements into your home, garden, clothing, and more: http://eartheasy.com/
The Lazy Environmentalist shows you easy and convenient ways you can be more environmentally conscious: http://www.lazyenvironmentalist.com/
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