An Easter tradition here in the US has been to celebrate life and new beginnings by sitting down to a meal with a honey-baked ham as the centerpiece. Thing is… if most folks took a moment to reflect on the true meaning of this holiday, they might notice that consuming the body of a dead animal doesn’t align with the life-affirming spirit of Easter.

Pigs are highly intelligent animals, with advanced learning and problem solving capabilities. They can use tools, understand commands just like dogs do, they respond to their name only after a few months of being born, and they have a high sense of social recognition, which help them form strong social bonds. Pigs can even learn to play video games!

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The cracked-dry bed of the Almaden Reservoir as seen on Feb. 7, 2014 in San Jose, California.

2013 went down as the driest year in California’s recorded history.  A major reservoir outside of Sacramento has been reduced from 83% to 36% capacity in just over 2 years.  In the Central Valley, 1,200 square miles of land is sinking at a rate of 11 inches a year from the drilling of groundwater.  And the annual measure of the Sierra Nevada snowmelt done every April 1st indicates that the end isn’t in sight.

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Raising animals for food is one of the largest sources of carbon dioxide and the single largest source of both methane and nitrous oxide emissions, which contribute to global warming and climate change.

When the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, people were concerned about air and water pollution and the survival of endangered species. They talked about how the growing human population was crowding out wildlife and how we all have a responsibility to take care of the planet. Now, 44 years later, there are 3.5 billion more of us in the world, and our appetite for energy, land and meat has skyrocketed.

It’s time for a renewed call to action for the planet and wildlife, and we can start by taking extinction off our plates.

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Mayim’s Vegan Table isn’t just another vegan cookbook that will acquire dust and end up in the back of your cupboard. It’s one that’s sure to become a permanent fixture on your kitchen counter, quickly collecting food stains on the pages of your favorite recipes. And if you love it as much as I do, you’ll be handing out copies to all of your friends and family, vegan and meateaters alike.

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Do you think of going vegan as something that college kids do? It’s true that young people might be leading the way, but there is a place for more vegan meals in your menu no matter your age. Whether your 18 or 80, taking steps toward plant-based eating can make a difference in your life, your legacy, and the world around you.

Here are five reasons why it is truly never too late to go vegan.

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Countless areas around the world are experiencing drought like never before and the number of areas being affected is on the rise. Here in the United States, one such area is the state of California, which is currently experiencing one of the worst droughts on record.

In response to the alarming situation, Governor Edmund Brown has declared a state of emergency, and President Obama has pledged $183 million in emergency funding. In an Op-Ed article to The New York Times, Professor James McWilliams examines the amount of water that’s needed to raise agricultural crops and its relation to California’s current drought-stricken status.

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According to a new study, published in Cell Metabolism, the increased risk of developing cancer from consuming high amounts of animal protein is comparable to the increased rate of developing cancer from smoking cigarettes.

Researchers looked at the dietary habits of 6,318 adults over the age of 50 and found that those who consumed the highest levels of animal proteins were four times more likely to die of cancer than those who had low-protein diets.  The study also showed that individuals who ate lots of meat and dairy were more likely to die at an earlier age.

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Idaho’s dairy industry is pushing legislation that would make it a crime to document animal cruelty occurring on farms “agricultural operations” within the state. Under Bill SB 1337, any person caught taking photographs, video or audio recordings of animal farming practices could end up in jail for a year and face a $5,000 fine.

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FruitVeggieHeart_520x480Valentine’s Day is this week, bringing a heightened sense of affection, caring and love to our everyday routines. February is also known as “Heart Month,” drawing attention to heart heath by raising awareness of the number one killer in the United States – heart disease. Every year, 600,000 Americans die from heart disease, with many of these deaths being preventable. So what better way to take care of your heart and show yourself a little love than by adopting a vegan diet.

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On Saturday, the US Department of Agriculture’s Food and Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) announced a recall of almost 9 million pounds of meat because it came from “diseased and unsound” animals and was not properly inspected. The meat products were processed at Rancho Feeding Corporation, a Northern California company.

According to a statement from the FSIS, these products are “unfit for human food and must be removed from commerce.” No illnesses have been reported but the notice went on to say there’s a “reasonable probability” that consumption of the tainted meat could result in “serious, adverse health consequences or death.”

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