Artichoke oyster at Crossroads
Artichoke oyster at Crossroads
Anne Fishbein

5 Unexpected Reasons to Go Vegan

And now for a brief programming break. Much as we love this town's glorious meat-driven cuisine, our cheese-thatched burgers and hand-pounded tortillas brimming with barbacoa and carne asada, our chefs with their penchant for nose-to-tail cuisine, sometimes we feel like lighter fare. Maybe even a whole lot lighter -- something absent the animals altogether.

You might consider going vegetarian or vegan for ethical, environmental or economic reasons, for one day a week or seven, for an evening or a few of them or even all of them. Regardless of your motivation, here are five more reasons.

Flickr/How to Cook Everything more than you'll ever admit (the bombastic title is surprisingly accurate), and you went along with him when he became a vegan. Or rather, when he became a vegan before 6 p.m. -- yes, the food writer famously decided that he would eat "mostly unprocessed plants before 6 p.m., and then whatever I want afterward. And, in answer to the most frequently asked question: Yes, I cheat."

Now you can go Bittman one further and become vegan at night, too. All you have to do is give up making his backyard bulgogi at midnight. (Maybe just go to bed really early?)

butcher shop
butcher shop
Crab cakes at Crossroads
Anne Fishbein

3. L.A.'s amazing vegan restaurants

If you think that vegan dining condemns you to a life of wilted salad, you haven't been getting out enough. Pull up a seat at Tal Ronnen's Melrose Avenue restaurant, Crossroads, and dine on crab cakes, veal scallopini and lasagne, made not with meat or seafood but with hearts of palm, chickpeas, seaweed, nut cheeses and other mysteriously orchestrated plant-based foods. It's stylish and smart, and dinner for two won't cost you nearly as much as a porterhouse at Cut. (See, again, #4.)

raw chicken

2. All those meat recalls

Sure, the government is back up and running (if you can call it that), but almost a month of sketchy oversight at the FDA hasn't helped consumer confidence in this country's food chain. Thousands of pounds of ground beef tainted with E. coli, chicken recalled for salmonella, chicken recalled for Listeria, more chicken recalled for more salmonella, arsenic in animal feed -- who'd have thought, a few thousand years ago, that eating animals would be more dangerous than actually catching and killing them?

Hillary Clinton bumper stickerEXPAND
Hillary Clinton bumper sticker

1. If it's good enough for Hillary's husband, it's good enough for you.

Maybe you miss the '90s (no), or maybe you're looking ahead to 2016, when you've already got your ballot ready for Hillary. Either way, if embracing a vegan diet helped the future First Husband lose all that McDonald's weight, get in better shape and stay in his wife's good graces, then it's certainly worth a shot. If Bill Clinton can go from eating all that Iowa diner food to veggie burgers and almond milk smoothies and, God help us, whipped cauliflower, then anyone can.

See also: Top 10 Famous Vegans, 2012 Edition

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