Sweet and Spicy Tomato and Kidney Bean Salad

One of the best things about not eating meat is that you can make meals without having to actually cook anything. Just cut, combine and stir. Whether you're in a hurry, feeling lazy or just want that fresh crunch, a plant based diet gives you the freedom to cook without literally cooking. 

Especially as the weather gets warmer, it's convenient to just cut and combine. It's also surprisingly tasty to keep those fresh ingredients in their natural state. 

The textures and flavors are vibrant and exciting. 

A little salt, a little acid, some  fat, a spice or two and you're all set with a delicious meal. 

1 can dark red kidney beans
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 poblano pepper, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 long hot pepper, diced
1 serrano, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbls olive oil
2 1/2 tsps salt
1 1/2 tsps crushed pepper flakes
1 tsp black pepper

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. 

That's it. You're done. Enjoy your not so hard work.

Manipulating the Numbers

One thing I always found curious about veganism is how subjective it can be. Even when I myself was one, I struggled with the ambiguity of it.

If you go by PETA's definitions and suggestions you have a whole different diet than if you strictly adhere to concept.

The discrepancies lies in pre-made foods like bread, cereal and the like. Cereal especially gave me pause. Vitamin D3 is not vegan on a technicality. D3 is derived from animal sources. D3 is in 90% of cold cereals. Cheerios, Wheat Chex, Total and more. The ingredients lists will be devoid of milk or milky elments. On the surface they will seem okay. PETA will even endorse them. But the fact is, vitamin D3 isn't truly vegan.

But because it's pretty much impossible to actually be vegan in today's world, accepted standard for veganism is avoiding all animal product within reason. So it's quite open to interpretation. What's within reason for one person is out of bounds for another. It's kinda like the hypocratic oath of eating. Do the least harm you possibly can. D3 no doubt does harm in so way, shape or form, but w're on budgets. We have lives to lead and jobs to do.

I myself counted any cereal without milk or whey as an ingredient vegan. But I'm sure many would disagree. There are actual vegan cereal. They are not many, but they do exist. One of my favorites is. Quaker Oatmeal Squares. It has no added D3. No milk. No added B12. Is all B12 vegan. I don't even know.

But then again, everything has sugar in it. Almost everything. Including every breakfast cereal. And sugar may or may not be vegan depending on the source.

How can anyone ever really be vegan or vegetarian if sugar is in just about everything and sugar isn't neccesarily animal free. Since many sugars are filtered through animal bone char.

I know, do the least harm. Do the best you can. But if that is the mantra then isn't it just as acceptable to only eat meat once in a while. You're doing less harm. Or only occasionally eat cheese. Where do you draw the line. What is acceptable harm and what is grievous.

Wouldn't the world and all the animals be much better off if, instead of 2% of people being vegetarian and 0.5% being vegan, if 0% were vegan or vegetarian, but 100% just ate 75% less cheese and meat.