‘Say No to Meat’ book offers tips for easing into vegetarianism
May 22, 2012
By Jordan Baer
Amanda Strombom has been a vegetarian for 15 years, and through her organization, Vegetarians of Washington, and her 2011 book, “Say No to Meat,” she’s encouraging others to try it as well.
And for those people who are interested but think they could never live without meat, Strombom said it’s not necessary to forgo it all at once.
“You don’t have to go fully vegetarian,” the Issaquah resident said. “I would suggest that if people are totally new to the idea, that they try just doing it once a week.”
After all, her own decision to go vegetarian was an experiment.
Strombom, originally from England, met her husband about 20 years ago. After marrying and having two children, they moved to Malaysia for two years. But she and her husband kept getting sick from the meat, so they tried going vegetarian to avoid the stomach problems they had been experiencing, Strombom explained.
“We enjoyed being vegetarian,” she said. “When we came (back to the U.S.), we found all these (vegetarian products), so we found it to be easy here as well. It was an easy transition to make.”
“Say No to Meat,” written by Strombom and co-author Stewart Rose, explains how to make the transition from a meat-centered diet to a vegetarian diet. Not only does the book address how to make the change in diet, but it also explains how to discuss the transition with friends and family, the health benefits of a vegetarian or vegan diet, and the effect of a vegetarian diet on animals and the planet. And it includes recipes, of course.
Strombom and Rose are president and vice president, respectively, of the nonprofit organization Vegetarians of Washington, which was founded in 2001. Its mission is “to help improve the health and well-being of people and the world we live in, both by encouraging mainstream Americans to discover the advantages and pleasures of vegetarian food, and by providing support and service to the vegetarian community,” according to its website.
The organization, which is open to all people regardless of their diet, is responsible for coordinating Vegfest, an annual healthy-vegetarian food festival at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, and monthly dining events at the Mount Baker Club in Seattle.
On the third Wednesday of every month, a different chef prepares a vegetarian dinner, which anyone can attend although VOW members pay a discounted price as a benefit of their membership. In April, guests feasted on Chinese food.
On the Web
Learn more about Vegetarians of Washington or become a member at www.vegofwa.org.
Caroline Haessly, an Issaquah teacher and member of VOW, first met Strombom at one of the monthly dining events and the two have become friends.
“I think it is valuable for people who are new to vegetarianism as well as for people who have read a lot of other things, because it has a wide range of information,” Haessly said regarding “Say No to Meat.” “It answers all the questions you could have.”
“I’ve learned a lot from becoming a member of VOW and looking through it,” Caryn Pierce, also a member of Vegetarians of Washington, coordinator of volunteers for Vegfest and a fourth-generation vegetarian, said regarding the book. “I’ve learned how to be a better vegetarian.”
“The further you go towards becoming vegetarian, the more benefits you’ll receive for your health,” Strombom said. “You’ll be benefiting the environment, the animals, the world’s hungry people and your spirituality, too.”
“Say No to Meat” can be purchased at local bookstores, natural food stores, Vegetarians of Washington events and online at Amazon.com.
Jordan Baer is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.