Carol Burmeister hadn’t planned on becoming a vegetarian. She had eaten meat all her life and served it to her husband and children. Then she read Frances Moore Lappe’s Diet for a Small Planet and learned that it takes up to 16 pounds of grain and soybeans to produce 1 pound of beef. That was more than 20 years ago.
The member of Our Savior Lutheran Church, Rockford, Ill., said she started to feel she wasn’t thinking about the needs of the hungry when she ate meat. So Burmeister began to cut back. After learning more about animals raised for food, she became a vegetarian. Once her children left for college, she stopped preparing meat altogether.
“It was a lonely time for me,” Burmeister said. “My husband joined me when he realized how much his cholesterol had dropped, but I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it.”
So she started a group — Vegetarians in Motion
— that meets monthly at her church to talk about the vegetarian lifestyle and share a potluck meal. She also gives talks, conducts cooking demonstrations and maintains a Web site that offers information on dining out, as well as providing recipes.
“This is part of my spiritual journey,” she said. “I heard [Canadian theologian] Douglas John Hall speak about ‘imaging God,’ and it made sense to me that this lifestyle was my way of projecting God in my life.”