Feast On This!

Lately, I haven’t stuck to my Friday ritual of posting vegan related news and issues, but now I’m back, so feast on this:

The Humane Way

A friend recently sent me a link to Wayne Pacelle’s blog. He is the the President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States and is dedicated to eliminating animal cruelty. I then noticed he is featured in the latest issue of Vegetarian Times, promoting his new book, The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them.

Pacelle, a vegan since 2004, hopes that his book will help people see “the instinctive connection we have with other animals.” The book comes out April 5th and I’m excited to grab a copy of it. On his website, check out a great opportunity for you to get involved by submitting a photo featuring you and your bond with an animal. Send it in by April 4th and you could be featured on TheHumaneSociety.org and have $1,000 donated in your name to a shelter.

Moe and I not only share a bond, but usually, we share a couch, too.


Messing with Nature?


Researchers at China Agricultural University have genetically modified 200 cows to produce “breast milk.” You can read about it HERE. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised—it was bound to happen. The goal is to create the same antibodies that human milk contains and I can see it feeding children in poor countries, but could we trust it? What do you think?


Follow Me on Twitter!


Yes, I finally joined the masses and started tweeting. One thing I’ve learned is to not let the many anti-vegan tweets that pop up all the time irritate me—they just ain’t worth it! It’s been to connect with others and see what Twitterville is all about! Twitter.


“The Gods created certain kinds of beings to replenish our bodies; they are the trees and the plants and the seeds.”

-Plato

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Have You Discovered Happy Cow, Yet?


Happy Cow is a fabulous vegetarian/vegan resource to locate veg-friendly restaurants, meet other veggie-mites, recipes, and more. Join for free, set up a profile, chat, partake in forums, learn more about being a herbivore than you ever dreamed possible! When traveling, it’s a handy resource for finding veg-friendly restaurants in a new city or town. It proved helpful while I was in California and needing to find places I could eat at. Sign up for their newsletter to keep on top of veggie news, updates, and even contests and giveaways. Gotta love that!


While You’re At It . . . Visit Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine


The PCRM is a non-profit organization headed by Dr. Neal Barnard and 11 advisory board members from around the country. They are supported by subscribers to their quarterly publication, Good Medicine. The PCRM works toward finding preventative solutions through research for cancer, diabetes, and other conditions, while promoting alternatives to animal testing and other unethical testing. Encouraging a vegetarian/vegan diet, they have a great online Free download-ableVegetarian Starter Kit and lots of other literature and fact sheets. They have a great collection of articles for vegetarian/vegan information—just a click away. Check out The Veganizer, a helpful chart with suggestions on how to veganize typical meals. And be sure to read about the lawsuit the PCRM has just brought against the government for deceptive language used on the recent dietary guidelines.

In a lawsuit filed this week against the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services, PCRM says the Dietary Guidelines are clear about what to eat more of—vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, for example—but deliberately hide the foods Americans should eat less of. The Guidelines use biochemical terms, such as “saturated fat” and “cholesterol” instead of specific food terms “meat” and “cheese.” This deliberate omission can be traced to the USDA’s close ties to the meat and dairy industries, including fast-food companies such as McDonald’s.

-source

A contribution of $20 or more gets you a subscription to Good Medicine which is packed full of research issues, prevention, and nutrition—a worthwhile investment.


And Don’t Forget to Check-in with the Incredible Progress of the Plant-Based Study at

The Plant Rx!


You can’t argue with these results! Just over halfway through the study, participants are continuing to have amazing results from a plant-based diet. After 30 days, one participant’s cholesterol level dropped 49 points! How’s that for results?!  Stop by and see for yourself and send a link to your friends and family—it might just be what they need to see to change their own diets.


 

“Meat consumption is just as dangerous to public health as tobacco use… It’s time we looked into holding the meat producers and fast-food outlets legally accountable.”
-Neal Barnard

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Foodies for Farmers


Lisa over at Lisa’s Food on the Move gathered a bunch of vegetarian/vegan food bloggers (including yours truly) to put together a collaborative 132-pg digital cookbook called Foodies for Farmers. All proceeds from the cookbook goes to Farm Aid which raises funds to support family run agriculture and make sure that they stay that way. For a minimum suggested donation of $10 you can download this fabulous vegetarian/vegan cookbook that is packed full of amazing recipes from my world famous party cheese ball to a raw Brazilian fig torte. This is a great way to support a worthy organization–through food! A big thank you to Lisa for putting the time, effort and love into this great cause!


Check out the Results at The Plant Rx!


A few weeks ago, I told you about The Plant Rx and their 60-day Plant-Based Health Study. Well, they are halfway through the study and so far, the results are astounding. I can’t say I’m totally surprised though because I know the vegan diet can cure—yes, cure—many chronic illnesses. One participant was pre-diabetic when entering the study, but  now he is in normal range. He’s also lost 17 lbs . . . without exercise! So far, cholesterol levels are plummeting and they’re only half way through! This has been a great study to watch and read the participants’ blogs have been really fun. It’s really wonderful seeing these folks lives’ change and read about how great they feel. Way to go!


Doctor Yourself and The Gerson Therapy

I had ordered my very own copies of The Gerson Therapy by Charlotte Gerson and Doctor Yourself by Andrew Saul, Ph.D.,  both featured in Food Matters. Gerson’s book details a nutritional program for cancer and other illnesses and has been proven to cure cancers when western/conventional treatments fail. Doctor Yourself is about how nutritional therapy has been proven to treat just about every health condition out there from A-Z. Literally. It’s an A-Z guide from acid reflux to vaccinations. Ok, A-V. It also provides tips and tools on everything from Saul’s Super Remedy to A Crash Course in Vegetarian Cooking. I’m sure as I delve through these books, I’ll be sharing what I learn with all of you. But don’t wait for me. Buy your own copies!


 

“Ham and Eggs: a days work for a chicken; a life time commitment for a pig.
-Author unknown

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If there is anything that you read on my blog today, I hope it’s this post. I just watched the documentary, Food Matters on, well . . . food and how it really does matters—more than you think. We all know there is food out there that is bad for us, and that there is food out there that is good for us. Yet, people are still eating these bad foods, with a few good ones sprinkled in and left wondering, why are we so sick? We go to the doctor to prescribe a pill (with lots of side effects) that may or may not take care of the symptoms, not the problem itself. Our reliance on drugs and western medicine is killing us. It’s killing those we love.

I was seriously so blown away, I was practically in tears. I can honestly say I have never been more moved by a film, than this one. Food Matters, focuses on how our food is directly correlated to disease prevention, both chronic and deadly. And what’s sad, is how that research and education has been grossly ignored by western medicine; even shunned. And you ask why? Because eating a plant-based diet and taking vitamins doesn’t make the doctors and the pharmaceutical companies any money. This 80 minute documentary shows us how our diet of plant-based foods and vitamins can and has reversed illnesses such as depression, diabetes, cancer, heart disease . . . the list goes on.  From the film via their website:

“Food Matters’ the film was originally created to help James’ father overcome Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Depression & Anxiety (read the full story). From that one success a wave of enthusiasm for the film followed and it has now been seen by hundreds of thousands of people in 9 different languages. ‘Food Matters’ discusses:

  • How to use food as medicine
  • Who needs vitamins?
  • Is organic better?
  • How safe is our food?
  • Natural treatments for lowering Cholesterol
  • Foods that fight Anxiety and Depression
  • Natural therapies for Cancer
  • Which drugs might do more harm than good?
  • The best ways to detox, lose weight and keep it off!

It was a truly powerful film. Many will balk and say “If it’s so great, why haven’t we all heard about it?” well, they explain that too. Being healthy, doesn’t make money for those in the “health” industry. Just watch it. Don’t knock it ’til you see it. Spend the $4.95 on their website to watch it online. Get it on Netflix, like I did. It’s a game-changer, folks.

(and while I’m at it, check out the trailer for Forks Over Knives, another amazing food documentary coming out May 6th–my birthday! I can’t wait to this one, too!)


“Good health makes a lot of sense, but it doesn’t make a lot of dollars.”

-Dr. Andrew Saul, Therapeutic Nutritional Specialist, Food Matters

“Food Matters is 80 minutes long.  The best 80 minutes that you will ever spend viewing a movie. The information in this documentary could save your life and possibly the lives your loved ones.”

-Be a Healthier You

“I am inspired. I am motivated. I am feeling high after watching this documentary, even though it’s the fifth time I’ve seen it.”

-Kristin’sRawBlogspot.com

“Anyone who is serious about their health needs to see this stunning film.”

-Christiane Northrup, MD, author of the Women’s Wisdom Series

 

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Did You Watch Oprah?

On Tuesday, she aired the results of she and 378 of her staffers going vegan for a week. It was fascinating to watch, and great to see the results of many of the participants. A total of 444 pounds were lost, but 80-some were gained. Several staffers even plan to stick with it. On the show, was Michael Pollan, author of Food Rules and Kathy Freston, the Veganist. I was delighted of course that veganism made it all the way to Oprah-Land, but I was disappointed that there wasn’t more brought up about the ill-health effects of eating animal products; it focused only on animal welfare it seemed–which is great, too, but I think what is going to make an impact on most people, is how is it’s going to affect them–not the animal. I didn’t feel that it was an accurate portrayal of the vegan diet and all that it is about. Of course, that may not have been Oprah’s aim. I was actually surprised that Pollan seemed determined to put a damper on the vegan diet the whole time, yet I agreed with him that meat and dairy industries need to be reformed. I definitely plan on picking up Freston’s book though.

What did you think?


Make it a Vegan Super Bowl Party

Super Bowls parties are known for being packed with chicken wings, cheese dips and spread, but that doesn’t mean they have to be staples of the shindig. Ecorazzi lists their top 10 vegan Super Bowl foods. The Buffalo Tofu looks fabulous!

Other winning appetizers to bring: Party Cheese Ball, Crock Cheez, Stuffed Mushrooms, Cheez Platter, Cheddar & Sun-Dried Tomato Dip, 8-Layer Dip, Spring Rolls, Avocado Bruschetta,  or Spinach Dip!

One commercial you won’t see aired during the big game will be PETA’s attention-getting “veg-porn” ad, called “Veggie Love.” I’m sure you’ve all seen it by now because it’s been getting lots of internet views. I realize it’s all about getting attention, but I wonder if the money could have been spent in better ways—in a way that would have actually benefited animals and have a positive impact. I love PETA and respect what they do, but there are times I feel they shoot themselves in the foot once in a while.

What do you think of the ad?



“Vegetarian – that’s an old Indian word meaning “lousy hunter.”

-Andy Rooney

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I guess it’s time to finally get back to my Friday ritual of posting about vegan health and news issues. Those darn holidays sure threw me off ;)

Visit the Doc at The Plant Rx


One of the main reasons I switched to a plant-based diet was because of the health risks associated with animal products. Some people think that’s a bunch of hooey and that the “benefits” of eating meat outweighs the health concerns. I know I’m not crazy and there is now The Plant Rx to back me up! This amazing resource for information on a plant-based diet is run by physicians and medical professionals who believe that in order to live long, healthy lives, we must eliminate animal products from our diet.

Based in Los Angeles, The Plant Rx explains the plant-based diet, offers evidence and testimonials to help novice vegans to the seasoned veteran. Packed full of information, you can read about how a plant-based diet can help those with Parkinson’s Disease, how a veggie diet aids in breast cancer survival, and how to get enough protein while hitting the veggies.

Currently, Jenna and the Plant Rx team, are gearing up for a Plant-Based Health Study that kicks off on January 15th where they will follow and document (lucky) participants who will try a vegan diet to improve their health. You will be able learn about the participants, read their blogs, and cheer them on! I am very excited to follow along this 60 day study and prove to others the amazing effects a vegan diet can have on a person.


I always squeal with delight whenever I receive the latest issue of VegNews. It is packed with awesome information and delicious recipes.


Here’s a few tidbits and food-for-thought:

  • 2009 was the first year on record that meat consumption in the US decreased.
  • 45,000 deaths in the UK are caused by over-consumption of meat (and are preventable)!
  • 190 tons of deli meat were recalled just last fall, and we can’t forget the 550 million eggs recalled in just one month last year!
  • 100,000+ people were studied over a course of 20-26 years and found that animal protein heightened mortality rates. Lower mortality rates were found with those who ate plant-based fats and proteins.

Ok, need to end it on a high (and tasty) note. Be sure to check out on page 58 the Triple-Layer Cheesecake or their Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake. I will be trying both!


“My perspective of veganism was most affected by learning that the veal calf is a by-product of dairying, and that in essence there is a slice of veal in every glass of what I had thought was an innocuous white liquid – milk.”

-Rynn Berry, quoted in Joanne Stepaniak, The Vegan Sourcebook, 1998

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Wow…Friday already?! That was fast. . .

Staying Vegan (.com)

I’ve recently discovered this Staying Vegan, a blog dedicated to giving you tips and tricks to staying on the vegan path. You can meet (and see) Jason Doucette, owner of Staying Vegan everyday on videos he posts–giving advice and tips on living as a vegan, in a non-vegan world!

He gives practical, thoughtful, and oftentimes, clever answers and advice to everyday vegan dilemmas such as, finding vegan products in a small town, what to say to meat eaters who say they “love animals”, and vegan kitchen essentials, which leads to. . .great recipes and other advice for the vegan chef in you.

Check out Staying Vegan and once you do, I’m sure you won’t hesitate to sign up for his newsletter!

Do you find that it’s had to stay vegan? What are some frustrating  issues that you encounter often from being a vegan?


How to Raise a Vegan Mini-Me


Well, I don’t know if I really have the answers to this, but I think I’ve learned a few things along my vegan journey. My son went vegan shortly after turning 11, so weaning a kid off animal products at that age, could be like starting World War III, but lucky for me, my kid takes after his mother.  :) I was never a big meat eater as a child, and neither is The Sixth Grader. That helps. So here are a few things I’ve learned as a vegan parent:

1. Cook Good Vegan Food. Easy, right? It really is, actually. Today, meat and dairy alternatives are so much better than they ever used to be and make cooking veg a lot easier than you think. However, I would introduce these “alien” foods little by little—don’t want to induce shock. When making things with ground beef, try subbing half the meat with Boca Crumbles, then every time you make junior’s favorite tacos, add more of the plant-based crumbles. Do the same with dairy: Make a mixture of almond milk and cow’s milk in a container for their morning cereal, and slowly convert it completely to almond milk. This may take a couple of weeks. Wean. . .think wean. My suggestion, is not to make it a big deal. Don’t go saying, “Guess what? Mommy’s going to make Tofu Steaks for dinner! Yea!” Won’t work; they’ll hate it before they even try it. Also, don’t try to focus on veganizing their favorite meals because it could backfire. Perfect it first, before surprising them with it.

2. Let the Kiddo be the Cook. Or at least be the sou chef (if knives aren’t involved). Whether it’s once a week, every two weeks, or once a month, let the kid pick out ingredients to make a meal for the fam. The main rule: ingredients have to be plant-based. Take them to the farmers’ market or Whole Foods and let them have a gander—rule number one won’t be a problem. There will be plenty to choose from. I think that when kids know they can be part of something and to also know a little of what to expect, they’re putty in your hands. Being able to create a meal for the family (with your help, of course) give them so much confidence and pride, they’ll probably forget that it’s vegan. Not only that, what a cool activity to do together that gives you chance to instill healthy eating habits!

3. Watch Food, Inc. This one is great for kids 5th grade and up. They “get it.” Watch it with them, then talk about it. Even though it’s not about veganism, it raises poignant questions regarding animal consumption and where it comes from. The Sixth Grader said that this movie really pushed him to go veg. For the reader, try The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Young Reader Edition. I have not read this version, have you? What did you think?

4. Try a Heaping Scoop of Guilt. That’s right. Mom’s are awesome at this. Or maybe what it is, is just tugging at your kids’ heartstrings. Take them to an animal sanctuary/rescue. Yea! Field trip! Kids love this stuff, especially when animals are involved. This is a perfect opportunity to explain why and how these animals came to be at the sanctuary. I’m sure those in charge of the sanctuary are great when talking to kids about their fabulous organization and would gladly help you out.

5. Be the Coolest Lunch Lady Ever. Pack your kid’s lunch and be the envy of all grade-schoolers everywhere and let your kid help! Ask for their suggestions, then of course, compromise (because you’ll have to), but also let them pick something out. Again, like dinner, it has to be plant-based and preferably healthy, but it gives them a little bit of power. And change it up every so often; the same-o, same-o gets boring and thrown in the trash. The Sixth Grader gets a sandwich with Smart Deli meat, a Tofutti cheese slice, tomato and spinach. He picks out his favorite soy yogurt and other snacks, such as peanut butter pretzels and trail mix. Make it a team effort and they’ll look forward to their vegan lunch everyday. Maybe you can make their favorite chili Sunday night and send it with them all week, or vegan mac n’ cheese.

6. Don’t Give Up, But Don’t Be a Nag. They’ll come around. Kids learn from their parents’ actions and will see from  you, that being a vegan works. Cut them slack though, because otherwise, they’ll fight you the whole way. If you include them in the process, they’re more apt to be open to it—they may even teach you a thing or two!


“To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being.  I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

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Vegan MoFo, Day 19

Friday sneaked up on me. Normally, I’m waiting for it, but I woke up and suddenly realized what day it was. I usually write my Feast On This post Thursday nights, so you’ll have to bear with me this a.m.; I haven’t had my cup-of-joe to get my Vegan MoJo on for Vegan MoFo yet. . . so here goes.

Gee . . .Another Recall


2,600 pounds of full-cooked, ready-to-barf-eat turkey breast was recalled in Texas because it may have been contaminated with listeria monocytogenes, a potentially deadly bacteria. Lovely. The four different products by the New Braunfels Smokehouse, were distributed nationwide and each has a UDSA Inspected mark on them. Way to go.

The FDA just made their third cheese recall of the month. In Washington state, several varieties of Del Bueno Mexican-Style cheese was found to also contain listeria.

Earlier this month, Gorgonzola cheese was recalled from Cosco stores because of E. coli.

It is absolutely staggering the amount of food recalls in the United States just this year—we only hear about some of them. People have gotten sick. People have died. Some people could still have these products at home, unaware of the recall. Check out an earlier post regarding recalls. Visit the Recall page of the FDA’s website for a comprehensive list of recalled products. With the amount of meat and dairy recalls that continue to pile up, why do Americans take the risk?


Fat=Taste?

(I try not to post dead animals on my blog, so here’s a fake dead animal)

What food do you consider to have more taste? Meat? Veggies? Dairy? Since going vegan, I have found for myself that food has so much more flavor and taste. I never was a huge meat-eater before and never understood that thrill people claim they get when eating a steak. Peter Springberg, MD, a fellow NCW member, wrote an interesting post the other day regarding fat, taste, and beef burgers, entitled Even More Fat for our Taste Buds. The post is based on a Wall Street Journal article about celebrity chefs’ quest to make the most expensive, fattiest, and tastiest burger. Two burgers were featured in the article, one costing $39, and another a whopping $60! I guess compared to the cost of a triple bypass, it’s nothing.


“If you knew how meat was made, you’d probably lose your lunch.”

-K.D. Lang


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A Veggie A Day Keeps The Colds (and Cancer) Away

It’s that time of year. Cold season. Although we can’t always avoid getting the traveling crud, there are ways to boost your immune and shorten the length of the cold or flu. And guess what? They’re all plant-based. No surprise there. Experts tend to agree that it’s best to avoid supplements and go straight for the real thing. For example, eat an orange rather than popping a supplement since you’ll also get magnesium, potassium, folate, B6 and antioxidants.  Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants that are also key in fighting many cancers.

Vegetables:

  • Leafy Greens–Spinach, Swiss Chard, Mustard Greens & Kale: are loaded with antioxidants. Steam some kale and spinach and add a little Earth Balance, which has lots of Omega-3.
  • Broccoli, Green Peppers & Cauliflower: High in Vitamin C.
  • Orange Veggies–Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Squash and Pumpkins: are loaded with Beta carotene which turns to Vitamin A, that is rich in antioxidants (which is also cancer-fighting).

Fruits:

  • Apples: contain antioxidants and insoluble and soluble fiber to help the bowels run smooth (always a good thing)
  • Kiwi, Oranges, Grapefruits & Cantelopes: High in Vitamin C and A and oranges and grapefruits are actually cheaper in the winter.
  • Blueberries and Raspberries: Rich in antioxidants and Vitamin B.
  • Strawberries: 8 berries supply 160% of your daily value of Vitamin C, as well as 170 mg of potassium.

Other Good Stuff:

  • Onions, Garlic, Leeks, & Chives: loaded with Vitamin C, potassium, chromium and selenium.
  • Ginger: Strong in antioxidants and helps with digestion and circulation.
  • Whole Grains, Quinoa, Barley & Amaranth: packed with fiber, zinc, and B vitamins.
  • Seeds: Lots of Vitamin E

Tips to Staying Healthy

  • Stick to organic: free of chemicals and contain more nutrients.
  • Avoid processed, canned or frozen food (With the exception of vegetables—steam or microwave them) but even avoid canned soups–they’re not fresh and are full of sodium.
  • Keep away from excess sugar. If you need a sugar fix, eat some strawberries.
  • Make some soup with vegetable broth, ginger, spinach, and green onions.
  • Eat some hot salsa or sprinkle some cayenne on steamed veggies to clear the sinuses.
  • Chew (and swallow) a garlic clove to cure a cough—some people swear by it. Just don’t breath on anyone.

Bottom line, stick with fruits and vegetables, preferably organic, and avoid hard-to-digest and processed foods. Don’t forget to drink tons of water and only 100% juice with a low sugar content. Then boil some fresh ginger, pour it through a strainer into your favorite mug, add a bit of fresh lemon juice and settle in with a good book!


Meat consumption is just as dangerous to public health as tobacco use… It’s time we looked into holding the meat producers and fast-food outlets legally accountable.
-Neal Barnard

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Vegan MoFo, Day 5

A Vegan Thanksgiving

I’m coming up on a year of being vegan. I actually went veg after Thanksgiving last year. Not because I wanted to gorge myself one last time on some poor dead bird,  but because I didn’t discover Alicia Silverstone’s book, The Kind Diet, until after T-Day. I felt her book did a fantastic job of explaining the concepts of veganism in all aspects: health of your body, the health of the environment, and the health of animals. I read the book in a day and as they say, the rest is history.

I’ve learned over the course of a year, that converting recipes to a healthier, yummier (vegan) version has been quite easy, so I have no fear when it comes to making a vegan Thanksgiving. In fact, besides the dead bird, most of the traditional dinner is comprised mostly of veggies. Yams, mashed potatoes, stuffing, that green bean casserole, cranberries . . . c’mon, all that can easily be made vegan.

Cloe Coscarelli has a few ideas on how to have a thankful holiday vegan-style with Harvest-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms, Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Toasted Hazelnuts, and Chocolate-Pumpkin Bread Pudding.

I’m not sure what I’ll be bringing to the table yet, but those recipes look outstanding.

What’s your vegan Thanksgiving look like?


 

The UNhappy Meal

For many, many reasons, please, please do not feed your kids McDonald’s (or any fast food for that matter). San Francisco (who leads the nation with the Meat Free Mondays campaign) agrees with me and has banned the fat farm fast food joint from putting toys into their Happy Meals. In an effort to combat childhood diabetes and obesity, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors made the bold move on Tuesday and “i’m lovin’ it.”

“This is a challenge to the restaurant industry to think about children’s health first and join the wide range of local restaurants that have already made this commitment.”

Eric Mar, SF Supervisor

By December 1st, Micky D’s has to either make their Happy Meals contain 600 calories or less, include fruits and vegetables, and the beverage without excess fat and sugar, or the toys are history. McDonald’s was pissed.

“We are extremely disappointed with today’s decision. It’s not what our customers want, nor is it something they asked for,” McDonald’s spokeswoman Danya Proud said in a statement. “Getting a toy with a kid’s meal is just one part of a fun, family experience at McDonald’s.”

Oh, boo-hoo. Get over it and start thinking about the kids that eat this crap. They need to take this as an opportunity to help feed kids a healthier meal. This reminds me of the segment in Food, Inc., where a family of 4 could only afford to eat off the McDonald’s Value Menu and were slowly becoming diabetic, obese and just plain unhealthy.

I’m anxious to see how this plays out if other cities will follow suit.

Source


“Dear Lord, I’ve been asked, nay commanded, to thank Thee for the Christmas turkey before us… a turkey which was no doubt a lively, intelligent bird… a social being… capable of actual affection… nuzzling its young with almost human-like compassion.  Anyway, it’s dead and we’re gonna eat it.  Please give our respects to its family.”

-Berke Breathed, Bloom County Babylon


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The United Nations Environmental Program’s Report

You’ve probably heard about their report, or at least got wind of it on blogger sites. It has created quite a debate among vegans, carnivores, environmentalists, and everyone in between. The report, issued this summer, suggested people move to a plant-based diet to save the world from hunger, poverty, and global warming and other environmental issues. This isn’t something we haven’t heard before—there are have been numerous studies showing the same results. The University of Chicago’s findings in 2006 also showed that a vegan diet is healthier for people and for the planet.

Professor Edgar Hertwich, one of the lead authors of the UN report said:

“Animal products cause more damage than [producing] construction minerals such as sand or cement, plastics or metals. Biomass and crops for animals are as damaging as [burning] fossil fuels.”

According to the report, the production of dairy products, consumes 70% of global fresh water, 38% of land use and 19% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. The report sparked some debate all over the internet world, particularly on the Guardian and it was mixed, but what I found so disheartening, were the amount of people making idiotic jokes about the situation: “Never mind i will just move onto Kangaroo meat…” So many people just don’t care. Telling people that something they love (something we have been eating for generations) is not good for you or for the environment, brings out the worst in people.

What I hope people see is that we’ve been brainwashed into eating animal products and it’s a matter of becoming aware. I strongly urge to read the report HERE.


So I began this post Thursday afternoon and then . . . we decided to go see a movie. Waiting for “Superman. It has absolutely nothing to do with food, let alone vegan food, but it has to do with something that is also very important to me: public education. I had to share this with all of you.

 

 

Davis Guggenheim, director of An Inconvenient Truth, brings us this documentary about the US’s failing pubic schools and the possible reasons why. It’s a very powerful film that left The Husband and I dumbfounded, furious, and feeling very lucky that our son is able to attend an amazing public school. Millions of kids and families aren’t so lucky. Check out the trailer and please go see it. We even took The Sixth Grader—a great age for kids to see this movie. I think it opened his eyes to the realities that so many other kids face.


 

Person of the Year


As if just for me, VegNews features Bob Harper on the cover of their latest issue and . . . name him Person of the Year! Woo hoo! As you may recall, I had blogged about my favorite trainer not too long ago and here he is. Also, on VegNews.com, it appears that his cohort, Jillian Michaels, who is not a vegan, is now endorsing So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage. She says avoids eating beef and chicken because of slaughterhouse practices, which I commend, but how is pork, dairy and other animal products different? And why do they promote Jennie-O products on the show? I’m guessing it’s a contractual thing, but it’s too bad. In this case, I say preach what you practice.


 

“Truely man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds theirs.  We live by the death of others:  we are burial places!  I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look on the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men.”

-Leonardo da Vinci

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Lady Gag-Gag

I’ve tried to avoid anything regarding this because I’m sure it was all about publicity,but when the Sixth Grader heard Lady Gaga’s comments on Ellen about the “dress”, I couldn’t ignore it anymore.

“Well, it’s certainly no disrespect to anyone that’s vegan or vegetarian….I, as you know, am the most judgment-free human being on Earth,” said La Gaga. “However, it has many interpretations — but for me this evening it’s that if we don’t stand up for what we believe in, if we don’t fight for our rights, pretty soon we’re gonna have as much rights as the meat on our bones.”

First of all, if you can decipher what the hell she is saying, then you’re one-up on me. Whose rights is she referring to? Certainly not the animal’s. Of course she has the right to wear what she wants, but what was the point of this? Could she not have expressed “her right” in another, less offensive and disgusting way? Or am I taking away her right by saying that? And then did she really need to wear it again and parade in front of a vegan (Ellen)?

Apparently, however, she has a “beef” with fur and while wearing a Kermit outfit, said:

“…. I really loved this one in particular because I thought it was commentary on not wearing fur, ’cause I hate fur and I don’t wear fur. We were all laughing in the house about how it looks like a pile of dead Kermits.”

She makes about as much sense as a back pocket on a shirt. Actually I don’t think sense has anything to do with it–it’s called hypocrisy.


 

VeganMoFo Time!


That is, Vegan Month of Food! Vegan bloggers are encouraged to blog everyday in the month of November about everything vegan. I think I’m up for the challenge! Post Punk Kitchen came up with the idea based on NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month–also in November). Since I already have my hands full with a nonfiction writing project, I’ll have to skip NaNoWriMo this year, but I think I can handle VeganMoFo.

And don’t forget, November 1 marks the beginning of Vegan World Month, so host a fabulous vegan feast for your friends and loved ones!


“I eat everything that nature voluntarily gives:  fruits, vegetables, and the products of plants.  But I ask you to spare me what animals are forced to surrender:  meat, milk, and cheese.”

-Author Unknown

Feast On This!

Well, I’m off to a much-needed (and anticipated) writer’s retreat for 3 days at the Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch. Three days of quiet writing time, beautiful scenery, and talking shop with my fellow Northern Colorado Writers! I’ll be sure to let you know how a vegan can survive on a dude ranch, so in the meantime, feast on this:

Go Vegan Or Go Home!


I think at some point in every reality show I’ve ever watched, someone has said, “Go big or go home.” That…and “I’m not here to make friends…” (which, I can’t stand, but I won’t get into that). Anyway, Go Vegan or Go Home is my latest chant while I watch The Biggest Loser.

Look at those vegan muscles!

I was so THRILLED to see fellow vegan, Biggest Loser trainer, Bob Harper share some vegan love on this week’s episode (week 4). In fact, I cheered out loud. He brought a few contestants to his home for a vegan meal, which looked mighty tasty. You can even get the recipes from his site, My Trainer Bob.

I have always wondered if Bob pimps the vegan diet to the contestants or not. If he has, I’m guessing it’s on the sly, because he sure likes to talk up the Jennie-O crap on the show. However, I understand that making the contestants go veg wouldn’t exactly go to go over well with people who are addicted to meat and dairy. There would be Biggest Loser pandemonium: dumbbells would be flying and sports bras and jock straps would burn. I doubt even bad-ass Jillian wouldn’t make it out with all her hair.

But I thought about it. As far as I know, there’s never been a contestant going onto the show as a vegan. (What does that tell you)? But has any emerged as one? I would think that if the players really want to win, they’d go vegan. The pounds will melt off. Then again, maybe they’re not allowed to cut out all animal products. . .I’d really like to know what the vegan scoop is behind Bob and the contestants—I think it’d be a great experiment: to see if the vegan contestant loses the most fat and gains the most muscle.

People rely on Bob and his advise on fitness and nutrition. Look at what he’s done throughout 10 seasons of the show—doesn’t that speak volumes? I propose that next season the producers get a brave soul to be the test veg . . .what do you think?


Check out the 75-year-old Vegan!

That’s right. 75 and a vegan. (I’m seeing a trend in my post today. . .) Jim Morris here is a former Mr. America and has been pretty much lifting weights for the last 50 years. I don’t know if he’s been a vegan this whole time, but now,  he eats no meat, no fish and says that cheese is the worst. His diet is made up mostly of nuts, beans, fruits and vegetables. Who said meat and muscles go hand-in-hand? Read more about Jim and his amazing physique HERE.


I might as well continue with Muscle Mania here. . .

. . . I seem to be on a roll. Check out this great article by jason Ferruggia, the chief training adviser for Men’s Fitness magazine, regarding muscle building on a plant-based diet. It’s a huge misconception that you need animal-based protein to build muscle (as we’ve seen above).

“Lentils, beans and peas are loaded with protein. Almonds and pistachios have 7 grams of protein per serving and both pumpkin and hemp seeds have 11 grams per serving. People usually only count protein grams from animal sources but this is a huge mistake.  Vegetables have protein, brown rice has protein and even your morning bowl of oatmeal has 10 grams per cup.”

Professional Vegan Bodybuilder, Kenneth Williams

I’m optimistic that one of these days people will see that you don’t have to be a meat head to have a healthy, muscular physique. And hopefully, I’ll stop getting asked, “You’re a vegan? Where do you get your protein?” and I won’t have to say, “From eating the people who ask me that. . .” (thanks Vegan Family Adventures for that great response)


“A mind of the calibre of mine cannot derive its nutriment from cows.”

-George Bernard Shaw

Feast On This!

High Fashion Meets Veganism

It’s fall and I’m in the market for some boots. Vegan boots. Unfortunately, all I’ve found is . . .”genuine leather.” Yuck. Anything non-leather is cheap and it shows. Not an easy search. However, I did find several choices at Lulus.com and it’s matter of making up my mind. I’m leaning toward these cute numbers for $39.00:

How cute are those?!?

In my search, I came across this article from . . .you guessed it . . .VegNews, regarding the collision of the fashion world and the vegan world. Karolina Babczynska and Adam Wallace are probably the most gorgeous couple ever and are also both represented by Ford Models.

(photo: Gregory Vaughan)

Now, I’m not one to feel sorry to models, but these two, despite their unbelievable looks, are typically not eligible for 95% of modeling gigs. They’re vegans. They refuse to wear leather, wool, fur, or down. So yeah, they can model jersey like it’s nobody’s biz. Lucky for them (in more ways than one) more and more designers are waking up and using animal-free materials. John Bartlett, a renowned, award-winning designer, transitioned to an animal-free lifestyle and his 2012 collection will reflect that. For a list of more animal-friendly designers, check out this list from PETA.

If you’re in the market for some vegan-wear, check out these sites:

Vegan Store

Herbivore Clothing

Vegan Chic


 

Dan Piraro and His Bizarro World

Dan Piraro is an illustrator, painter and surrealist who is best known for his Bizarro cartoons. In 2002, he became a vegan and his work reflects that philosophy and lifestyle. The award-winning cartoonist is funny and poignant and you can check him out in action in this video of him presenting at the Healthy Lifestyle Expo.

He has a great site where you can learn more about him and view his hilarious work.


“Recognize meat for what it really is:  the antibiotic- and pesticide-laden corpse of a tortured animal.”

-Ingrid Newkirk

Feast On This!

It’s October. . .Get Your Halloween On!

I absolutely LOVE Halloween and dressing up. C’mon! You only have a month left! We typically have a little shin-dig at the house with neighbors where we eat, hang out and hand out yummy vegan treats to the kids. I’m still not sure what my costume this year will be, but I always figure it out in time.

<——-Got my dress for about $12 at Goodwill–one of the best places for costumes–all  recycled/ reused. Gotta love that.

This was the first and LAST time The Husband allowed me to talk him into dressing as a woman–but doesn’t be make a gorgeous Marilyn? ——->

So, if you have any ideas for us for this year–please let me know!

You might be surprised at how many candies are vegan. Here’s a handy dandy list from VegNews of vegan-friendly candy to give out by the handful: Airheads Taffy, Azure Chocolat Beauty Bark, BoomChocoBoom! Ricemilk Bar,Brachs Fruit Slices,Charms Blow Pops,Charms Pumpkin Pops,Chick-o-Sticks,Chuao Chocolatier Spicy Maya, Clif Kid Organic Twisted Fruit, Crows, Cracker Jack, Cry Baby Candy, Dots Endangered Species dark chocolate, Endangered Species Bug Bites Halloween Treats, Go Max Go candy bars, Hubba Bubba bubblegum, Lets Do This Organic Gummy Bears,Mary Janes, regular and peanut butter kisses, Jolly Ranchers hard candy, Now and Later, NuGo Organic Chocolate Bar,Peanut Chews, Original Dark,Pez, Pure Fun Organic Halloween Pops, Saf-T-Pops, Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates, Sour Patch Kids, Starburst Original Jelly Beans, Super Bubble, Swedish Fish, Tree Huggin’ Treats Crispy Cat candy bars, Tropical Source chocolate bars, Twizzlers, VerMints and YummyEarth lollipops.

I will keep you posted on my quest for that perfect costume and what I finally talk The Husband into dressing up as. . . he was one of those kids who hated Halloween; the one  in the photographs as a kid with the scowl on his face, just waiting until he could get the damn costume off. I have made it my mission to change that. (But deep down, I think he really does like Halloween).


Is That A Carrot in Your Pocket, Or. . .

. . .are you just happy to see me? After all, I am talking about former President, Bill Clinton ;) Joking aside, I’ve always liked Mr. Clinton and now I have another reason: He’s gone vegan. He wanted to lose weight for his daughter’s wedding, but also improve his health. After having a stint placed in an artery, he knew something had to change. So far he’s lost 24 pounds and is feeling better than ever. Check out this brief interview with him and Wolf Blitzer.

So does this mean that Mrs. Rodham Clinton will be following suit? Especially since their daughter, Chelsea, is a vegan, too? What about former Vice President, Al Gore? He acknowledged that going vegan is great for the environment, yet this “environmentalist” admits he still eats meat and dairy. I suppose I’ve always had a “beef” with this issue . . .

I think it’s great when celebs and other public figures share their vegan/vegetarian lifestyle with the rest of the world. They are in a position to bring much needed awareness to this oft-misunderstood way of life. Here’s a list of only a few vegan celebs: Casey Affleck, Drew Barrmore, Emily Deschanel, Tobey Maquire, Olivia Wilde, Chrissie Hynde, Jason Mraz, Mike Tyson, Ellen Degeneres, Carl Lewis, Natalie Portman, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Bob Harper (Biggest Loser trainer). Even Hugh Jackman went veg with the help from Triathlete Brendan Brazie. Have you seen those muscles on Jackman? *swoon*


“Nothing more strongly arouses our disgust than cannibalism, yet we make the same impression on Buddhists and vegetarians, for we feed on babies, though not our own.”

-Robert Louis Stevenson

Feast On This!

How to NEVER Get Cancer

I know I’m not alone when I say that I have seen way too many friends and loved-ones die of cancer. It needs to stop. Can it? The origin of many cancers are unknown. So how do you avoid getting it, or seeing another family member be taken away because of it? According to Prevention and Dr. Thomas Sellers, PhD, associate director for cancer prevention and control at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, “As many as 70% of known causes of cancers are avoidable.” Here’s a list of ways to never get cancer–in addition to exercising and avoidance of tobacco products, of course (from the President’s Cancer Panel):

1. Filter Your Tap Water: It’s considered safer than even bottled water. Be sure to store the filtered water in stainless steel or glass containers since BPA can leach from plastic bottles.

2. Stop Topping Your Tank Off: One last squirt from the pump after the nozzle clicks off can spill fuel and foil the pump’s vapor recovery system, designed to keep toxic, cancer-causing chemicals out of the air and your lungs.

3. Marinate Meat Before Grilling: Well, first off, this reiterates why we shouldn’t eat meat. I include this one because not only is it on the list, but to hopefully let my wonderful non-vegan friends and family see my point (because I love them)! Processed, charred, well-done meats can contain cancer-causing heterocyclic amines, which form when meat is seared at a high temperature, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which get into the food when it’s charcoal broiled. “The recommendation to cut down on grilled meat has really solid scientific evidence behind it,” says Cheryl Lyn Walker, PhD. If you do grill (boo! hiss!) add rosemary and thyme to the poor dead animal’s marinade for an hour before cooking. Rich in antioxidants, the spices cut the HCAs by as much as 87%. Just remember, that’s not a 100%, nor just red meat. It goes for poultry, pork and other meats.

4. Caffeinate Every Day: Now this one I can really get used to! I do love me an almond milk latte often. People who drank 5+ cups of coffee a day had a 40% decreased risk of brain cancer, compared to people who drank less in a 2010 British study. (Better trade that tea for coffee, Brits)!  It was also found that it reduced risks of cancers of the pharynx and mouth by nearly 50%. Start brewing!

5. Water Down Your Risks: Drink at least 8 cups of water or other liquids to reduce the risk of bladder cancer by diluting the concentration of cancer causing agents in urine.

6. Load up on REALLY Green Greens: I really love this one, too! The greener the veggie, the more magnesium you’ll absorb. It has been shown to lower the risk of colon cancer in women. Munch on 1/2 C of cooked spinach and get 75 mg of magnesium–20% of your daily allowance.

7. Snack on Brazil Nuts: A great source of selenium, an antioxidant that lowers the risk of bladder cancer in women.

8. Burn Off This Breast Cancer Risk Factor: Moderate exercise such as brisk walking 2 hours a week cuts risk of breast cancer 18%. Fat produces its own estrogen (a known contributor to cancer), so fat-burning exercise is vital!

9. Ask Your Doc About Breast Density: Women whose mammograms have revealed breast density reading of 75% or more have a cancer risk 4-5 times higher than women with low density scores. Researchers think that the denser the breast, higher levels of estrogen are present. This also goes back to #8–exercise.

10. Skip the Dry Cleaner: So that favorite silk blouse of yours? Yea, learn to either hand wash it or spot clean it with white vinegar. A solvent known as perchlorpethylene that dry cleaners often use, may cause liver and kidney cancers and leukemia.

11. Head Off Cell Phone Risks: Another good reasons to use your hands-free device. It keeps the radio frequency energy away from your noggin, however, evidence as to whether or not cell phones cause an increase in brain cancer risk is inconclusive. Despite this, a number of review studies suggest there’s a link.

12. Block The Sun With Color: When it comes to avoiding skin cancer, it was found that blue and red fabrics offered significantly better sun protection against the sun’s UV rays than white or yellow ones did. And wear a hat! It has been found that those with melanoma on the scalp or neck die at almost twice the rate of people with the cancer on other areas of the body.

13. Eat Clean Foods: How often have you heard this one? Well, it’s a biggie. Hormones and antibiotics in meat are suspected of causing endocrine problems, including cancer. Make sure you buy organic fruits and veggies as much as possible, too. “At least 40 known carcinogens are found in pesticides and we should absolutely try to reduce exposure,” says Sellers.


Wise Words from a Fellow Vegan

I came across this lovely blog by Dr. Stanley Sapon who has been a vegan since 1976. He put together A Philosophy of Vegan Values that I thought I’d share with all of you.

  • Vegans see life as a phenomenon to be treasured, revered and respected. We do not see animals as either “The Enemy” to be subdued, or the Materials for Food, Fabric or Fun that were put on Earth for human use.
  • Vegans see themselves as a part of the natural world, rather than its owners or its masters.
  • Veganism recognizes no expendable or superfluous species that humans are free to hurt or destroy. Species of life-forms need not justify their existence, nor plead for protection from extinction on the grounds of their potential usefulness as food or medicine for humans. We continue to be burdened and misguided by adages such as “A weed is a plant we have not yet found a use for.”
  • Veganism acknowledges the intrinsic legitimacy of all life. It rejects any hierarchy of acceptable suffering among sentient creatures. It is no more acceptable to torment or kill creatures with “primitive nervous systems” than those with “highly developed nervous systems.” The value of life to its possessor is the same, whether it be the life of a clam, a crayfish, a carp, a cow, a chicken, or a child.

  • Veganism understands that gentleness cannot be a product of violence, harmony cannot be a product of strife, and peace cannot be a product of contention and conflict.
  • Vegan ideals encompass much more than advocacy of a diet free of animal products, or a fervent defense of animal rights. Veganism excludes no sentient being–animal or human– from its commitment to compassionate, gentle benevolence. To show tender regard for the suffering of animals, yet treat humans with callous contempt, is a disheartening contradiction of Vegan principles.
  • John Muir, talking about the natural environment, once observed “Every time I bend down to pick something up, I find it is connected to something else.” There is an equivalent “ecology” to our behavior. Everything we do connects to something else; every action touches on the world around us, either close at hand and noticeable, or far away and unperceived, immediate in its effect or distant in time.
  • If Veganism has a prime value, it is simply that life-respecting compassion overrides individual issues of custom, convenience, comfort or cuisine.
  • If there is a single article of faith, it is that commitment to Vegan values will bring us closer to a world in which the fate and fortune of a planet and all its life forms do not hang on the judgment or the generosity of one species.
  • If there is one single concept that both generates and sustains the meaning and the power of the Vegan world-view, it is found in the word mindfulness. As Vegans, we strive to be thoughtful, aware and concerned about the impact of our choices, our actions and our decisions. The fruit of this awareness is inner peace, the quiet strength of ethical confidence, and an uplifting sense of fulfillment.

“The human body has no more need for cows’ milk than it does for dogs’ milk, horses’ milk, or giraffes’ milk.”

-Michael Klaper

Feast On This!

Who’s the Happy Vegan?

Just this year, Nutrition Journal published a report that vegetarian diets are associated with healthy mood states. Huh? That’s right, vegetarians and vegans are apparently happier than omnivores.  Hmmm . . .so that’s why meat-eaters are so groucy. . . ;) Well, what the researchers found is that vegetarian diets exclude fish, the major dietary source of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), critical regulators of brain cell structure and function. Omnivores diets low in EPA and DHA are linked to impaired mood states in observational and experimental studies.

It was thought that meat-eaters would be less prone to depression and low moods because of the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, but veggie-mites scored lower on the tests for depression. So really, they have no idea why. Fascinating. Perhaps its what VegNews theorized in their latest issue: It was the “knowledge that a vegan diet does not contribute to the unnecessary suffering of animals” that contributes to the participants’ good moods. I’ll go with it.


I Love You, Jamie Oliver


I have had quite a crush on British cutie, Jamie Oliver ever since I watched his Food Revolution. I love what he has done to instigate change in school lunches. Even though his meals include animal products, I still have that “bad-boy-I-know-he’s-no-good-for-me” crush on him. He is, after all, the one person who has taken on the daunting challenge of overhauling the atrocious excuses for school lunches.

Well now. . . I have even more reason to drool over him. He’s going to launch a vegetarian/vegan cookbook! Oliver said that 60-65% of his recipes have been vegetarian or vegan but that fans have pushed for a meat-free cookbook.

“Often I get cornered out by vegetarians who are going to knock me out with a cucumber,” said Oliver. “I’m like “dude, look in the back of the book. Open up the index and there’s all these little v’s.” And they’ll go “Oh, right, but we want out own book.” For many years I just felt like, “C’mon, stop being so sensitive.” But actually this year we’re going to bundle all of my vegetarian recipes and vegan recipes into one big massive, mammoth book and give ‘em that book. Because it’s right. You know, in the old days there wasn’t so many vegetarians and now there’s many. Vegetarian as a general concept is a brilliant thing,” Oliver added. “We’ve got to stop eating so much meat. We are eating too much meat.”

I hope he truly feels this way and is not out to just cash in on the growing numbers of vegetarians he’s talking about.  Maybe in the end, it’s all about making a buck. However, in the meantime, I will give my British cutie the benefit of the doubt and be first in line to buy his new cookbook (I know. . .so blinded by my foodie crush).

Check out an interview with Oliver discussing this new and highly anticipated venture at Mother Nature Network.


“We don’t need to eat anyone who would run, swim, or fly away if he could.”

-James Cromwell

Feast On This!

Rampant Recalls

There are a plethora of reasons I’m glad my family and I are vegans. One of them is the number of meat and dairy recalls—and we only hear about a few. Obviously, the big one right now is eggs. Half a billion eggs are recalled due to Salmonella.. Half a billion!! How does this happen? I’m so glad that I don’t put my trust into these companies, especially in “Wright Country Eggs” who is owned by Jack DeCoster. 13 years ago, he was fined $2 million for serious workplace violations. Read about this idiot HERE. It’s his business that has distributed the tainted eggs.

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspectors Service has issued nearly 40 recalls of eggs, poultry, and other meat. This doesn’t even include milk and milk products. As we know, even vegetables, fruits and other plants are not immune to Salmonella—all because of the meat and dairy industry. Salmonella is a bacteria is normally found in animal’s intestines. It doesn’t stay there. From slate.com:

“Manure, runoff and wild animals— Livestock animals, especially when kept in large numbers in confined spaces, can contract salmonella and carry the bug without showing any symptoms at all. Infected cows, pigs, and chickens shed the bacteria in their waste, which is sometimes used to fertilize nearby fields. The heat generated when manure is composted kills off most, but not all, disease-causing bacteria. Contaminated water supplies can also put salmonella on your tomatoes. Runoff from livestock pastures, or from leaky or overtopped waste lagoons at industrial farming sites, can dirty streams, groundwater, and other bodies of water farmers draw on for irrigation.”

The 2006 outbreak of E. coli in spinach, for example, was traced to a pack of wandering wild boars. The swine had picked up tainted cow manure on their hooves before breaking through the fence of a nearby spinach field to graze.

Zemco Industries of Buffalo, N.Y., has voluntarily recalled nearly half-a-million pounds of deli meat products distributed nationwide to Walmart stores because of possible contamination with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, a potentially deadly disease. If we can get our sources of protein, calcium, and vitamins from non-animals sources, why take these risks? Especially considering this:

“In 1999, produce was responsible for 40 separate food poisoning incidents in the United States. In 2004, that number climbed to 86. There have been 13 major outbreaks involving tomatoes alone since 1990.

Why the shift? One factor is a lack of inspections of farms and packing plants by the Food and Drug Administration, which means that more contaminated produce slips into the market undetected. The U.S. Department of Agriculture inspects every meatpacking plant in the country each day, keeping close tabs on safety conditions. By contrast, the Food and Drug Administration, which is charged with regulating produce, might inspect a vegetable packing facility once a year, and the number of inspections is shrinking. In 1972, the FDA inspected 50,000 farms and plants. By 2006, that number had dwindled to 10,000. Meanwhile, having increasingly centralized packing plants means that crops from a single contaminated field can mingle with clean produce and be shipped across a wider swath of the country than ever before.”

-slate.com

Vegans are not immune to product recalls and contaminated food—no one is, but at least we have choices of where to get our vegetables and we know where most of them come from, especially if we buy local.


Now, Why Didn’t I Think of This?

So this has nothing to do with food, but it’s so brilliant, I wanted to share it everyone. The Husband sent me a link to The Conscious Mind Network. I was enthralled because it’s just so cool. Scott Brusaw and his wife Julie have this amazing idea to create solar powered roadways. I don’t even know where to begin to explain this idea because well, I was an art major, not an engineer. I am humbled by these brilliant minds. What the Brusaws propose is that solar paneled roadways would not only pay for themselves over time, but create 3 times the energy that the world uses on a daily basis. How cool is that?

Check out this amazing project at Solar Roadways and watch a video explaining the project (in terms that most of us non-engineers can understand) and vote for Brusaw’s vision at GE’s Ecomagination Challenge.


Think of me tonite
For that which you savor
Did it give you something real,
or could you taste the pain of my death in its flavor?

-Wayne K. Tolson, from “Food Forethought”

Feast On This!

Chloe Coscarelli, the (vegan) Cupcake Champ!


Ms. Coscarelli, a vegan chef beat out some very stiff competition on Cupcake Wars, on the Food Network. I am so glad that not only did Chloe prove that vegan food can beat out all others, but that Food Network is starting to recognize vegan food. It’s about time. I am waiting (im)patiently for them to finally get a vegan-based cooking show–I have a feeling it will be soon. In the meantime, check out Coscarelli’s site—there are lots of delicious recipes!


World Vegan Day: November 1st!


Mark your calendars! What a great opportunity to invite your friends, family, and neighbors to your humble abode for a delicious vegan feast! In the process, spread the word that not only is going vegan the best thing to do for your health (and for the animals), but healthy for the environment as well. This annual event began in 1994 by Louise Wallis, then President & Chair of the The Vegan Society, which has been around for nearly 66 years.

Check out World Vegan Day 2010 for more information and lots of great tips, recipes and links!


No Such Thing as a “Late Bloomer” Anymore. . .

. . .thanks to the hormones in milk—at least that’s a theory. For the last  ten years or so, researchers and physicians have been seeing huge jumps in development in girls (not to mention obesity) and speculate that milk could be partly to blame. Every sip of cow’s milk contains 59 different bioactive hormones, according to endocrinologist, Clark Grosvenor in the Journal of Endocrine Reviews. Yuck! What’s more, is that milk also contains traces of the reproductive hormones estradiol, testosterone, and something called IGF-1 which may raise the risk of certain kinds of prostate cancer. Check out preventcancer.com for more on that…

However, we can’t lay ALL the blame on souped up cow’s milk. Soy milk, with it’s natural estrogen is also being investigated as a culprit of early puberty. Still, at least the soybean isn’t tortured, pumped full of hormones and subjected to a life of hell.

There are lots of different theories and lots of different variables, but why take chances? Pass me some almond milk, please.

Comic thanks to Bizarro.com and Dan Piraro


“The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.”

-Plutarch, Greek philosopher

Feast On This!

Brings New Meaning to ‘Veggie Dog’

Moe

So do you feed your pet a vegan diet? It can be a controversial issue. Dog food itself is full of animal parts and cancerous tissue. There are LOTS of ingredients to avoid when picking out the best food for that sweet, lovable child -with-fur. For a list of those nasty ingredients, check out The Dog Food Project.

Regardless of avoiding these ingredients, pet food still contains other animal products. Is it safe to give your pooch a vegan diet? Will they get all of their vital nutritional needs met? It’s quite a task to pick out food for pets since there are a million choice: active dog, old dog, joint help, shiny coat, etc, etc. . . . Vegetarian Dogs can also answer some questions regarding this decision.

Our Moe is fed a natural dog food that has Glucosamine for his joints. He’s got a tender tummy and can be quite gassy, so I can’t imagine feeding him a veggie-based diet! I’m not crazy about feeding him animal products, but we try to go with the most natural stuff out there. There are actually lots of brands out there that claim to be vegetarian, but I think the best bet is to talk to your vet before making such a radical change to Rover’s diet.


57 Health Benefits of Going Vegan

Well, I won’t list all 57, but you can go to NursingDegree.net for the full list. As the site says, vegans are misunderstood. I couldn’t agree more. People tend to think we’re deficient in every vitamin and mineral, protein and calcium and that we are fanatic about animal rights. It’s certainly a stereo type. And while I am an advocate for animal rights, that isn’t how it started for me—it was for health reasons that I decided to go vegan and through this process, I’ve become more aware of the animal abuse issues. What prompted you to go vegan?


The list includes nutritional benefits such as reduced saturated fat, more fiber, and increased antioxidants.

Disease prevention like cancers, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Physical benefits such as weight loss (woo-hoo)!, healthy skin, and energy.

Reduces unnecessary food products and toxins that are in animal protein and eggs, not to mention mercury

Bonus health benefits such as avoiding E.Coli, Mad cow disease, and hormone consumption

And just plain eating healthy because there are lots of sources of fat-free vegan food, gluten-free, and raw cooking that help anyone on their journey of becoming and staying vegan.

Check out the full list at NursingDegree.net, print it off and show it to everyone who know and love!


The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century, all natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined.  If beef is your idea of “real food for real people” you’d better live real close to a real good hospital.

-Neal Barnard

Feast On This!

The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen

Prevention mag just came out with the updated lists of the dirtiest and cleanest veggies—ones that you should definitely splurge and buy organic and the ones that you can get away with buying conventional. There’s some newbies on the lists and some surprises, too.

The Dirty Dozen: Buy Organic

Celery: 75% of crop is grown in the fall when rain and wind promote the growth of bacterial and fungus and because we eat the whole stalk, it gets sprayed A LOT for pests.

Peaches: Because of the peach fuzz, it can trap pesticides easily, and since they’re sprayed every week or two, it’s good to go organic with these guys.

Strawberries: Since they are delicate, they’re prone to attacks by pests, so they get sprayed with pesticides often—mostly for cosmetic reasons.

Apples: Since they can be stored up to 9 months AND are prone to 30 different insects AND 10 diseases, apples are sprayed continuously.

Blueberries: They are favorites of magots and bagworms, so they are treated with pesticides. They are also new to the list.

Nectarines: Even without the fuzz, they are susceptible to rot and scarring.

Bell Peppers: They lack the bitter compounds that act as bug repellents (unlike their cousins, broccoli and sweet peppers) and have crevices and creases where pesticides can collect and hide.

Spinach: Like me, lots of insects and grasshoppers LOVE spinach, plus, it tends to pull DDT residue out of the soil and into the leaf. ( DDT can live in the soil way after it was banned).

Kale: Sprayed heavily for any type of insect.

Cherries: They don’t have a peel for protection and if one maggot gets into the shipment, the entire load is dumped, so growers don’t risk that. They spray the heck out of them.

Potatoes: I have always heard this about potatoes—even growers will not eat their own potatoes unless they grow them organically. They are sprayed up to five times throughout the growing season and then again after harvesting to prevent sprouting and molds.

Imported Grapes: During their trek from down south, they easily can contract Botrytis cinerea rot. . .hmmm…sounds gross. It causes fruits to split and leak, so farmers want to ward that off, and they aggressively treat them with pesticides. Domestic ones are grown in the dry desert climates of Southern California, where the rot doesn’t thrive.

The Clean 15: Save Your Pennies

Onions: They have their own protective chemicals and are only treated once early in the season. However, the residues are removed by the outer layer of the bulb during harvest.

Avocado: It’s all on the peel, baby.

Sweet Corn: It’s all on the husk, baby.

Pineapple: If treated, it’s early in the season and the residue is gone by harvest time. Otherwise, it is removed with the outer rind.

Mangos: It’s all in the peel, baby. Plus. . .they are grown in climates where fungus isn’t a problem–nothing hand washing won’t take care of.

Sweet Peas: Protected by the pod, baby.

Asparagus: Insects don’t have time to wreak havoc since the spears grow so dang fast.

Kiwifruit: Thanks to Lacewings and parasite wasps, pests are kept at bay.

Cabbage: The outer leaves—that are sprayed early on—are removed before sale.

Eggplant: The slick surface sheds chemicals easily.

Cantaloupe: It’s all in the rind, baby.

Watermelon: Again, all in the rind, baby.

Grapefruit: In the rind. Do we see a pattern, here?

Sweet Potato: This one surprised me because of it’s dirty cousin, but because it has a milky-white sap that gums up insect mouthparts, they leave this root veggie alone. They are also cured at warm temps and high humidity that causes the skin to thicken, therefore, protecting it further.

Honeydew Melon: Say after me. . .It’s all in the rind, baby.


Before There Was Food, Inc.

There was Fast Food Nation. Me and the Husband watched this movie just recently and it reiterated for me how much I LOVE being a vegan. I think it really pushed the hubby to fully be He-gan (male vegan) and to not even crave a burger again. Unlike Food, Inc., it’s not a documentary, but sort of is. It stars Greg Kinnear and others, like Bruce Willis and Ethan Hawke in a scripted, yet awareness-producing flick about slaughterhouses and what exactly goes on behind the scenes. We’ve all heard Paul McCartney say, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.” Well, he ain’t kidding, folks. I won’t lie—there are certainly some graphic scenes at the end, but they portray what goes on in a real slaughterhouse, confirming Sir McCartney.

Excellent movie. The author of Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser, is also co-producer of Food, Inc. Definitely worth a watch with your non-vegan pals.


How can you eat anything with eyes?

-Will Kellogg

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Are You a Raw Foodie?

I am both intrigued and scared by the raw food diet—mainly because I’m just not that familiar with it. Luckily, there are experienced raw foodists to come to the rescue! Eco Chef Bryan Au is a raw chef extraordinaire and his site, Raw in Ten Minutes offers recipes, an online store and access to downloading his $2 iphone app, Eco Chef 10 Minute Meals with  Bryan Au. The app, is actually #4 on itunes.com and I’m pretty impressed with it. The pictures and graphics are colorful, clear and easy to read. You’ll find over a 100 recipes that you can make in 10 minutes or less, like Eggplant Manicotti, pancakes, and onion rings. With an app like this, I’m definitely more inclined to try adding some raw meals to my repertoire.

Nachos (photo courtesy of Raw in Ten Minutes)

So, if you’re like me, and not in the loop regarding the raw diet, I found some information from where else? About.com:

“The raw food diet is a diet based on unprocessed and uncooked plant foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains, beans, nuts, dried fruit, and seaweed. Heating food above 116 degrees F is believed to destroy enzymes in food that can assist in the digestion and absorption of food. Cooking is also thought to diminish the nutritional value and “life force” of food. Typically, at least 75% of the diet must be living or raw.”

What does a raw foodist eat?

Unprocessed, preferably organic, whole foods such as:

Fresh fruits and vegetables

Nuts

Seeds

Beans

Grains

Legumes

Seaweed

Unprocessed organic or natural foods

Freshly juiced fruit and vegetables

Purified water

Young coconut milk

It’s certainly important to do your homework when it comes to changing your diet like this, but I’m excited to incorporate 1-2 raw meals a week into our diet and hopefully still reap the benefits: more energy, better digestion, and weight loss. (Fortunately, just going vegan has done all that for us already).

So how about it? Would you go raw?


Bringing the Veg Life to a College Near You

Today, more and more college students are becoming more aware of the vegan/vegetarian lifestyle and passing it along. Vegan Outreach has a program called Adopt A College where people can win prizes for handing out the most pamphlets—vegetarian pamphlets that educate folks on animal abuse. Most of the volunteers are actually not students. One volunteer handed out 52,835 leaflets at 100 schools in the Fall of 2009!


StAR (Students for Animal Rights) is a nationwide coalition of college students working towards stopping animal cruelty. Three years ago, they started College Veg Pledge, a movement calling on all college students to go vegan for the month of May. Check out an interview with Kenny Torella, StAR Outreach Coordinator, on VegNews.


I don’t hold animals superior or even equal to humans. The whole case for behaving decently to animals rests on the fact that we are the superior species. We are the species uniquely capable of imagination, rationality, and moral choice – and that is precisely why we are under an obligation to recognize and respect the rights of animals.

-Bridgid Brophy

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Wow, is it Friday already? I haven’t been posting too many new recipes lately–I’ve been busy and just been making some of my favorites meals that are already posted. Next week, though, I’m ready to get back in the kitchen and start working some vegan magic. In the meantime, Feast On This!:

Meat Free Mondays Are Catching On!

San Francisco is the first city to actually pass a motion promoting a plant-based diet by encouraging its residents to forgo meat at least one day a week. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors are hoping to get restaurants, grocery stores, and schools to offer more meat-free options.

Other cities are catching on as well, such as Takoma Park, Maryland where a statewide initiative designating April 24th-April 30th as Takoma Park Veg Week.

Get Involved! All it takes are some great vegan/vegetarian recipes and you’ve got a Monday night get together with friends, family, and neighbors. Encourage them to go meat-free on Monday by supplying them with a great recipe, or better yet, cook together. It won’t take much to convince people that vegan food is not rabbit food! Start your own revolution in your neighborhood by hosting a a Boca Burger BBQ! Word will spread and you just might inspire someone to host their own Meat Free Monday Night!

Check out the Meat Free Monday website for news, ideas, and learn ways to spread the word!


Rocco the Vegan Cowboy

You’ve probably seen this video before, but it’s one of my favorites! Rocco, a rancher and long-time meat eater took on Dr. Oz’s challenge of going vegan for a month. It’s amazing how much Rocco’s life (and health)  has changed since going vegan–it’s the best testimonial for the vegan diet.


Milk Wars

The National Milk Producers Federation wants “milk” to be theirs and only theirs. They have asked the Food and Drug Administration to define milk as “the secretions of a lactating mammal” (gee…doesn’t that sounds appetizing?) and that plant-based milks be defined as “imitation milk.” Is this really important? The FDA isn’t jumping on it right away, saying that they will consider the issue, but will focus on public health priorities.


First it was necessary to civilize man in relation to man. Now it is necessary to civilize man in relation to nature and the animals.

-Victor Hugo

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Serving Up an Endangered Species

This story really struck a chord with me and I wanted to share it with all of you. In honor of World Cup, Cameron Selogie, owner of Il Vinaio restaurant in Mesa, AZ is serving burgers made with lion meat. The burger is a limited edition, costing patrons $21, a cost not nearly as damaging as the one to the endangered species.

Selogie claims that meat comes from a free-range farm in Illinois, but gee, guess what? No one can seem to find this farm. Who in the heck raises lions for meat in the U.S. anyway? I actually hope that this a publicity thing and that there isn’t a Simba in the burgers at all. Selogie is obviously experiencing the wrath of animal rights activists from all over, which he can’t fathom. “Frankly, I’m a little shocked with all the problems in the world today, with the oil spill and immigration, that people have this much time to talk about 10 pounds of lion meat,” he said. What a tool.

UPDATE June 30, 2010: Selogie is now questioning whether the meat he received is even legit, meaning, was it hunted or farm raised in this mysterious Illinois farm. Serving lion meat is completely legal in the US and African lion is not in fact endangered, like it’s Asiatic cousin. Selogie bought the 10 pounds of lion meat from what he says is a Phoenix-based wild game distributor. The meat came from a shipper in Illinois. The owner of this company, Richard Czimer, claimed that the meat was inspected by the USDA, but according to the USDA, they had not done so. Czimer was even in jail in 2003 for illegally selling tiger and leopard meat. No one really knows where exactly the meat has come from–whether it came from circus lions, farmed, or shot in the wild. Either way, it’s absolutely horrible. And Selogie is still a tool. So is Czimer.


What’s in Your Kid’s School Lunch? And Why?

Since kindergarten, my son has taken his lunch to school. Not because he was always a vegan (that only happened several months ago), but have you seen the crap they serve?! I mean, I think we all remember those days at the school cafeteria where the cheese on the pizza never moved and the chicken nuggets were like eating seasoned sponges. After watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, I fell in love with him. Even though he’s not a vegan, I commend him for trying to get changes made in American school lunches. The Obama’s are taking this very serious, too, and that gives me hope.

The USDA has guidelines that date back to 1995 that schools must abide by, or they lose their federal funding.  The government buys surplus commodities at a discounted rate that are ordered way in advance. They have to get eaten. So who gets all the frozen, processed crap? Your kids. And the even tougher part is that the healthier food costs more and will kids even eat it? To me, it’s a vicious cycle if something doesn’t change.

Read can read more about this at VegNews and get the full scoop.


Who Cut the. . .spinach?

Ok, so we’ll end today’s post on a lighter note. I’m just gonna say it—vegans can be a gassy bunch. It’s a common issue with vegans and vegetarians since we consume a large amount of fiber from vegetables and grains. When you’ve consulted the doc and you know it just all that excess fiber, you may have to make some changes.

Drink lots of water. I have never been a very good water-drinker, but I have seen the light and drink between 64 and about 82 ounces of water a day and I’ve noticed a big difference, so water retention can also be a issue.

Know your fiber. Dietary fiber is the edible portions of plant cell walls that are resistant to digestion and extremely beneficial component of our diets. With this fiber, you feel fuller longer. Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance and swells when mixed with water. It helps moderate blood glucose levels and lower cholesterol. Good sources of soluble fiber include oats and oatmeal, legumes, barley, fruits and vegetables (especially oranges, apples and carrots). Insoluble fiber does not absorb or dissolve in water and passes through our digestive system in close to its original form.  Insoluble fiber offers many benefits to intestinal health, including a reduction in the risk and occurrence of colorectal cancer, hemorrhoids, and constipation.

Process of elimination. Maybe there is just one thing you’re eating that causing the problems. Soy is said to sometimes cause bloat and gas. Go without it for a few weeks (which would be a monumental task for me)! Cut out white flour, or white rice. Switch to whole wheat pasta. And keep a food diary–you’ll be amazed at the patterns you’ll find and it may be easier to pinpoint the culprit.

Be good to your belly. Take a probiotic. Good Belly is a vegan juice loaded with probiotics and help keeps our bodies’ bacteria balanced. It works. And, it tastes good! You can get it at most health food stores and I buy them in small single-serve shot-like glasses, but they also come in quarts.


To become vegetarian is to step into the stream which leads to nirvana.

Buddha

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Just Say No. . .To GMOs!

That’s what the great people at nongmoproject.org want you to do as well as food producers. They are a non-profit organization made up of consumers, farmers and manufacturers who want to ensure products fall below the .9% of GMO threshold and they want consumers to know it. So they created a seal to stick on products that get a passing grade, which you’ll start seeing this summer.

I have found that it is getting easier and easier to find non GMO products on grocery store shelves these days and I sure appreciate what the Non GMO Project is doing to help. Check out their site to learn more about their endeavors and what you can even do to help out.


Got a Raw Rug, Yet?

Husband and wife team, Todd and Meg van der Kruik of Union 18, make the most amazing rugs from recycled carpets! The rugs are gorgeous and one-of-a-kind! Here’s what they say:

“The beauty, richness and elegance of the whole can only be realized once the search for the parts is complete. Each piece is gathered, grouped and assembled without expectation. Pulled from the thousands of pounds of waste left behind as a result of the manufacturing process, it is only a vision that guides the search. Rooting out, uncovering, liberating each castoff to form something new, unique and extraordinary. The colors and textures must be found, not created. Only then can they truly exist. “


As soon as I realized that I didn’t need meat to survive or to be in good health, I began to see how forlorn it all is.  If only we had a different mentality about the drama of the cowboy and the range and all the rest of it.  It’s a very romantic notion, an entrenched part of American culture, but I’ve seen, for example, pigs waiting to be slaughtered, and their hysteria and panic was something I shall never forget.

-Cloris Leachman

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Do You Think It’s Expensive To Go Veg?

I’m often asked (and it’s often implied) if going veg is more expensive and if cooking is more time consuming. With the costs of food going up and up, especially organic, you’d think it would be, but surprisingly, I have found that I don’t spend any more money than I did when we ate meat. Granted, there’s only three of us, minus the dog (he’s not big on tofu. He prefers Coronas):

I do find, however, that because I buy fresh food, I go to the store more often–no more just once a week trips for me, but since I live so close to several stores, I’m ok with it. So here’s what I attribute the low costs to:

Meat alternatives costs are comparable to the real deal. 14 ounces of tofu costs me roughly $1.99-2.50 and that feeds my family. Lunch “meats”, Boca Crumbles, tempeh and veggie burgers doesn’t cost me more than $5 to feed the three of us. My favorite, Field Roast, may be the exception at about $6.75-7 for a pound, but again, it’s enough for us.

I buy fruits and veggies that are in season and on sale. I’ve also just joined a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) which comes from an organic farm and for what I’d spend in a month on produce, I get three months with a CSA. Not only am I getting fresh, organic produce, I’m supporting a local farm.

I grow my own herbs. I’m no green thumb (the Husband is in charge of the houseplants) but when it comes to vegan cooking, I use a lot of herbs, especially cilantro, parsley and rosemary. So for about $1.99-2.50 a plant at Home Depot, I picked up my favorite herbs and planted them in pots. Voila!

Bulk up. All those bins in the health food store are actually big money savers. Since there is no need for that fancy packaging, we get a break at the register. Try buying pasta, quinoa, flours, nuts, etc. from the bulk bins and you’ll be surprised at how much you save. Same with spices. Many stores offer bulk spices and you can just buy what you need. (Why again, do I have a full jar of celery salt)?

Get used to leftovers and freeze what you don’t eat. I have a cupboard full of reusable containers and I love them.  (I’m also in love with my label maker, but I refrain from labeling leftovers). I’ll make a big salad at the beginning of the week and munch on it all week. Or when I make my favorite Cashew Cheese sauce, I’ll freeze it into smaller containers, same with pesto, or bake some tofu slices for sandwiches. . .you name it.

Can you do the can-can? Buying beans in the can will save you a bundle as well and one can can supply enough protein for two meals. Gotta love that.

Be a coupon queen (or king). Yep, I clip and organize my coupons! Sign up for Mambo Sprouts, where they’ll send you coupons via snail mail or email for natural foods. Many stores also will double the coupon values, so look for those stores and/or certain days they offer that.

There are lots of ways to save money on vegan food—it just takes some planning. Once you get into the groove of things, you’ll start seeing a difference in your wallet.

So what do you think? Do you spend more to be vegan? What are your money-saving tips?


Source for some of the info: VegNews April 2010


Are Veggies Losing Their Mojo?

According to researchers, they are. Donald Davis, a PhD researcher with the Biochemical Institute at the University of Texas has determined that broccoli, for example, had 130 mg of calcium in 1950, but today, it only has 43 mg. Yikes!

The culprit? Apparently, it’s the farmer’s desire for bigger, faster-growing vegetables. They use synthetic fertilizers. The solution? Buy organic. I know, I know, organic can be pricey, so Prevention magazine (where the info is from) did a nice handy-dandy list of ways to still reap the benefits of veggies while buying the conventional ones.

Sleuth out strong colors. Look for bold and bright hued produce, like red leaf lettuce versus iceburg lettuce.

Pair your produce. Power in numbers, folks. Some veggies work better when paired with another. For instance, eating tomato-based salsa and avocado upped the body’s absorption of the tomato’s cancer-fighting lycopene.

Buy smaller items. Size matters (when it comes to veggies ;) ) The smaller the fruit, the more concentrated the nutrients will be.

Pay attention to cooking methods. Certain veggies release more nutrients when cooked. Broccoli and carrots are more nutritious when steamed then when raw or boiled. Tomatoes release more lycopene when slightly sauteed or roasted.

Keep produce whole. Don’t buy bagged salads, carrots and other veggies. The peeling and cutting can sap nutrients. Even though it can be a time-sucker, you’ll be missing out on what you’re hoping to get from the vegetables in the first place!

Look for new colors. Try purple asparagus or cauliflower. Switch from green peppers to red, orange or yellow. In general, the more varied your diet, the more vitamins and minerals you’ll get.

Opt for old-timers. Heirloom varieties like Brandywine tomatoes, Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage, Golden Bantam corn, or Jenny Lind melon were bred before WWII and are naturally hardier because they have endured and thrived long before modern fertilizers and pesticides.

Find a farmers’ market. Every spring, I can’t wait to grab my reusable bags and head over to the different  farmers’ markets. Stuff is in-season, usually organic and you support a local farmer! It’s a win-win.

Source: Prevention July 2010


We all love animals.  Why do we call some “pets” and others “dinner?”

-K.D. Lang

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Were We Born Omnivores?

There has been recent debate going on via my local newspaper about the vegetarian/vegan diet that has got me all in a twitter, even prompting yours truly to get in on it. Among many arguments, one is that humans were born omnivores, others say, humans were never meant to chew and digest meat, therefore, we chose to be omnivores. In doing some research on it, finding a definitive answer proved a lot harder than I anticipated.

I found sites from one end of the spectrum to the other, but it was pretty clear: Meat eaters said we were born omnivores (one person even said, “If we weren’t supposed to eat meat, then why does it taste so good)? and it was the vegetarians that said we were born with teeth meant for grinding grain and plants. Meat eating bloggers claimed that our teeth and digestive tracks were designed for eating meat, however, a source for their “facts” was never listed. Some vegetarian bloggers claimed the opposite, and also, not listing a source. I found articles by doctors on both sides of the issues, scientists on both sides.

Then God entered the picture with people saying, “God created animals for us to survive.” This is where I threw my hands up and quit researching.

So is there a clear answer? I think it’s become a playground argument where someone wants so badly to be right and say, “Ha! You’re not supposed to be doing that! I told you so!”

I tend to say that it doesn’t matter. Whether we were born that way or not, it doesn’t change the fact that animal products are tied to diseases, illnesses and other health issues–and I think that’s a hard fact for some meat eaters to digest.


Body Building—The Vegan Way

Many people (vegans and non-vegans alike) are often concerned about consuming enough protein. Well, that’s due to lack of education regarding this much needed polypeptide. Be sure to read the Protein Page and check out Vegan Body Building where “animal protein” are dirty words.

Yes…this guy is a vegan! Check this out on Environmental Graffiti.


Heart attacks… God’s revenge for eating his little animal friends.

-Author Unknown

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“I Can’t Believe It’s Vegan!”

Who knew that Doritos makes a vegan tortilla chip?!


In fact, you might be surprised that several products in grocery stores are actually vegan. There were lots of products that I often avoided, assuming they weren’t vegan, but man, was I shocked. Duncan Hines actually has 3 vegan frostings! Ok, so not all the food is considered healthy, but if you think you have to knock yourself out looking for a vegan cracker, well. . . forget about it! Crack open a box of Ritz–not an animal product to be found on their ingredient list. PETA has compiled lists and lists of products available at your local grocery store (no trip to Whole Foods required) that are actually vegan. Even several varieties of Jell-O Instant Pudding are vegan. Who woudda thunk?

The site has lists for: breakfast foods, beverages, snacks, condiments, baked goods, refrigerated/frozen foods, baking and staples. They are also constantly adding products to the lists.

Remember, dark chocolate is vegan! So you can load up on Ghiradelli Twilight Delight Intense Dark!



How About A Dog and A Beer?

Like airport travel (see last week’s post), enjoying a vegan meal at the game is virtuously impossible. You’re usually stuck with either popcorn, peanuts and cotton candy. Blech! Well, things could be changing at a stadium near you, thanks to Johanna McCoy, founder of Soy Happy, an organization that encourages stadium venues around the country to offer meat-free options. They even have a list of stadiums that now offer meat-free options, and are constantly updating it. It looks like right now, baseball stadiums are the the only sports venues they have “enlightened”, but are working towards others like NHL, NBA, etc., as well as theme parks and other attractions. Thanks Johanna!


Hooray for Animal Sanctuaries!

VegNews brings you Chester, the big piggie, and his little friend, Emma Sue, who were rescued from slaughter. They enjoy walks on the beach, pina coladas. . .ok, well not exactly, more like walks in the woods and peanut butter sandwiches. It always great to see animals get a second chance and thrive–thanks to amazing people who make it happen.There is also a list of other successful animal sanctuaries to read up on, find one near you, and donate! It’s not cheap keeping these farms running, especially when there are so many animals to save.

(Photo courtesy of Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary in Deer Trail, CO)


Think of the fierce energy concentrated in an acorn!  You bury it in the ground, and it explodes into an oak!  Bury a sheep, and nothing happens but decay.

-George Bernard Shaw

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Pile On the Sauerkraut! Really!

9 healthy condiments you should stock up on

Who knew heart health, brain power and cancer prevention could come out of your refrigerator and pantry?!

Ketchup: Thanks to Lycopene, this condiment has shown to slow the process of atherosclerosis. But try to stick with organic varieties since they have up to 60% more as well as Vitamin A, C, and E. Dose: 3-4 Tbs/daily

Buckwheat Honey: Like blueberries, buckwheat honey contains the most antioxidants which protect cells from free radicals and may reduce the risk of cancer, macular degeneration, heart disease, and cognitive decline. Dose: 2-4 Tbs/daily

Rosemary: Antioxidants in this herb are said to minimize, if not eliminate carcinogens formed when cooking some foods. Tell your meat-eating friends (first, stop eating meat) but if they won’t, then at least season beef with rosemary before grilling because it can reduce cancer-causing substances called heterocyclic amines by 30-100%! Scientists also found that by adding rosemary to dough reduced the affects (30-100%) of acrylamide, a potentially carcinogenic compound that forms in carb-rich foods when heated above 250 degrees. Dose: 1-2 Tbs/daily

Horseradish: It beats broccoli! Well…it contains 10 times more glucosinolates (compounds in the roots and leaves of the horseradish plant) than broccoli. These compounds can increase your liver’s ability to detoxify carcinogens and can possibly suppress the growth of existing tumors. Dose: 1/4 tsp/daily

Olive Oil: This omega-9 rich oil is converted during digestion to oleoylethanolamide (OEA), a hormone that helps keep brain cells healthy. Dose: A few Tbs/daily

Cinnamon: Just a 1/2 a tsp can help reduce stabilize blood sugar levels. It enhances insulin sensitivity, allowing you to use more of the glucose in your blood, keeping the levels stable. That’s good news for diabetics—it could mean needing less insulin. Dose: 1 tsp/daily

Hot Sauce: To curb your appetite, try a few dashes on just one meal. Capsaicin, the compound that gives hot sauce and chili peppers their heat reduces levels of hunger-causing ghrelin but also raises GLP-1, an appetite-suppressing hormone. Dose: A few dashes/daily

Sauerkraut: For those with IBS, sauerkraut can help! It contains probiotic bacteria such as Lactobacillus plantarum that can reduce gas, stomach distension, and discomfort. Dose: 1/2 C/daily

Black Pepper: Piperine, a compound in black pepper, may help interrupt the self-renewing process of cancer-initiating stem cells. Dose: To taste/daily

Source: Prevention


Find A Vegan Joint Near You!

Traveling can be tough for us vegans. In fact, there is only a small percentage of airports that offer vegan or even vegetarian options. Well. . . pack snacks. But when you get to where you going, check out Urban Spoon, a site devoted to restaurants and reviews from cities all over the country. Find the city you’re in and it’ll give you a list of vegan-friendly restaurants and directions! How cool is that?! They also have a free app for the iphone!

Check out VeganSoapBox for a list of other vegan iphone apps


“I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilized.”

-Henry David Thoreau

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Lab-Grown Meat: Would You Eat it?

Many vegetarians are rejoicing, others. . .not so much. It’s like something out of Star Trek, but it’s not. Lab-grown meat could be available to consumers by 2014, but PETA offered $1mil to the first company to develop this “Franken-chicken” that would have the same taste and texture as the real bird by 2012. Holland researchers have actually cultured pork meat from a sample of muscle cells taken from a live pig. Researchers are claiming that they can produce the same amount of flesh from the cells of just one live animal.

I want to know how they pick the person to taste test their creations–draw straws?

Considering that the meat is still derived from animals, will it still be cancer-licious?  What exactly will be different? (Besides where it comes from)?. . .There are still many unanswered questions regarding lab meat, but would you eat it? Are you anxiously awaiting when you can throw a steak on the barbie?
Source: VegNews


China Trades Tofu for Meat

Did you know that China is the top dog when it comes to meat production? They’re the largest producer of it in the world. Meat moguls like Tyson Foods can take the credit for that.

What’s interesting is that we can watch how animal products have and are affecting an entire country–right before our eyes. It’s like observing a sociology experiment. So why the switch to meat and dairy? Obviously, it’s more readily available than it was just twenty years ago, but researchers say that the Chinese view animal-based foods as not only a status symbol, but a source of protein they never had before.

But guess what? They’re getting fat. China is experiencing increases in obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Osteoporosis is also becoming a major health concern for the Chinese since the disease is linked to increased levels of animal consumption.

Not only is China’s health a concern, but their reliance on animal products can affect the entire planet. When every 5th person in world is Chinese and consuming meat and dairy, it could have a major impact on the environment–that’s the worry of many scientists.

It certainly is something to think about—and watch.
Read the full article in the March/April 2010 issue of VegNews


If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.

-Paul McCartney

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So You Call Yourself an Environmentalist, huh?

Well, do you? What constitutes having that coveted, sought-after title? Is it recycling every week? Driving a hybrid? Unplugging all your appliances when not in use? Being a vegan? Many people believe that being a vegan is a prerequisite–World Watch did after all, conclude last year, that meat and dairy production contributes to 51% of the earth’s greenhouse gases.

Al Gore, isn’t a vegan. He’s not a vegetarian. But he is considered an environmentalist. Hell, he pretty much single-handedly got “global warming” on the map with his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. He publicly acknowledged that being a vegetarian helps the environment, but he himself has not made that leap.

Any why stop with vegetarianism? Dairy production has its own impact on the environment, too, right? Some celebs touts themselves as environmentalists because they drive a Prius (or a hybrid Hummer) and are vegetarians…why not go the whole nine? Why doesn’t dairy get the same silent treatment from them?

Perhaps the term, environmentalist is just overused. Maybe we’re all environmentalists on some level because we each try to do something—recycle, carpool and use “green” light bulbs. I always bring my reusable grocery bags when I shop anywhere. Does that make me an environmentalist? (They sure make me look cool). Might I suggest changing the term to something more general like, earth friendly, environmentally aware, or earth conscious?

So what do you think? What makes an environmentalist? Is going vegan a must?


Soy Good News!

Is the soy debate finally settled? According to acclaimed author, researcher and physician, Dr. Neal Barnard, it is. Barnard concluded that not only is soy safe for men (prostate cancer) and women (breast cancer), but it may also reduce the risk of osteoporosis-related bone fractures and fibroids. In another study by the Journal for the American Medical Association, it was shown that 11 grams of soy protein reduced the the chances of breast cancer recurrence in women.

Source: VegNews


“The greatness of a nation. . . can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

Feast On This!

Every Friday, I will be posting Feast On This! It will consist of interesting, thought-provoking and socially relative issues and concerns as well as overall health news. I think that when you’ve made the decision to go vegan, it’s impossible to not care about certain things like, animal rights, the environment, and your health. For many people, their health was the motivating factor to go vegan (the American Cancer Society doesn’t promote a vegan diet for nothing)!

My hope in doing this, is that as you finish your work week, you’ll take a gander at these, prompting a discussion with your co-workers, date night companion and guests at the weekend get together.

I tend to do a lot of reading and research on veganism and health and so often, I come across many fascinating, debate-invoking and just plain upsetting issues that I want to share it with others and possibly get some dialogue going. It’s how we learn from one another and hopefully in the process, create a sense of self-awareness and the ability to see things from many angles.


Folic Acid Overload?

Prevention Magazine (April 2010) did a fascinating (and alarming) article on synthetic folic acid-fortified foods. To help prevent birth defects in babies, the government required enriched grains, such as white flour and white rice, be fortified with folic acid. Over the last ten years of this, other products were added to their list: cereals, nutrition bars, beverages and pastas. Even though this tactic is said to have dropped the rate of birth defects, turns out, it may have risen our risk for cancer.

Last winter, the Journal of the American Medicine Association printed their increasing concerns that the over-abundance of this nutrient has done more harm than good. Health officials in Chile reported that since fortification in their country was introduced in 2000, rate of colon cancer among men and women doubled in their country. Other countries—the US and Canada included, have reported higher rates as well.

Check out the article on this growing issue and decide for yourself if the overdosing of folic acid is cause for concern. (And read food labels, particularly on cereals, breads, and pastas–you’ll find folic acid, usually the last ingredient. But…not in whole-grain products).


Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act (PFACA):

Finally, legislation to protect animals from cruelty—it’s certainly a start. A bill was introduced in March by CA reps, Diane Watson and Elton Gallegly for laws requiring that all animals products purchased by the US federal government will have to come from animals who were able to stand up, lie down, and extend their limbs.

The bill doesn’t pertain to all animals products in the US, just government funded programs such as the Armed Forces and National School Lunch Program. When you consider that more than a 100 million pounds of beef are purchased per year for the school lunch program alone (more than 96,000 schools) this could be huge! A step in the right direction for animals rights. Follow the progress and outcome of this bill.

Source: VegNews, April 2010


Global Warming and Animal production

It seems there isn’t a hotter, more controversial topic these days than greenhouse gases, global warming and who’s to blame. Others are debating on whether or not it even exists!

There has been particular debate over how much meat and dairy production contributes to this ever-growing problem. And global warming isn’t all. Animal product product is blamed for land degradation, food contamination, and air and water pollution.

A 2006 UN report has it at 18%, while a 2009 study by WorldWatch has it as high as 51%!

No matter where you fall on this issue, check out UN’s study and the WorldWatch study.


“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of live on

Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

-Albert Einstein