If there was one New Year's Resolution worth keeping, it might be to consume less meat and dairy. There are the animals to think about, not to mention your own health and the threat of global climate change. (Some studies estimate that more than half of all carbon emissions come from livestock.)
But, c'mon ... meat! Cheese! Meat!
Joe Calabrese, who launched VeganABC with his wife Michele and son Matt this past summer, feels your pain. "I hate to say it, but I love good fried chicken," says Calabrese, who operates a stall at the Strip District's Pittsburgh Public Market. That's one reason VeganABC offers hearty fare like vegan pulled "pork" and "chicken" salad in sandwiches or take-home containers. But Calabrese says recovering carnivores and dairy-lovers can take other transitional steps, too.
For example, blend cashews with a double measure of water to replace cream in recipes. (Soak cashews overnight to ease blending). Or order a take-out pizza with no cheese, so you can add vegan toppings like ersatz sausage with a blend of dairy-free "cheeses." The flavors will "not be what you're used to," Calabrese acknowledges. But if you're going vegan, you should "be open to options."
And remember that paring your consumption of animal-products need not be an all-or-nothing proposition, Calabrese adds: "Every step you can make helps make the world a little better."