Tuesday, November 28, 2006
In a blender, pour a cup of soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, whatever milk you desire. Add a big scoop of rice protein powder (at whole foods, its vegan and there is no soy in it) and one tablespoon of flax powder. I add about 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon too. Blend that up first. Add roughly 1 cup of frozen fruit. My favorites are cherries, blueberries, strawberries. You can also add half of a banana if you need it sweeter, and blend it with the liquids before you add the frozen fruit.
Really, this smoothie is super easy and tasty without making you feel like you are ingesting ice cream for breakfast. Another favorite I think I ate for months is oatmeal. Dang, you can make oatmeal sweet OR savory.
My mom is a kick. I think she ate cinnamon toast every morning for maybe 15 years. She has perfected it. First, she takes some bread and toasts it to perfection. Second, she applies the butter so every part of that toast is evenly coated and ready to soak up the shakes of cinnamon and sugar which appear to be an art piece in the making. She is an artist, after all.
My dad makes a menagerie of ingredients in different forms. He loves to mix oatmeal or healthy hot cereals with a variety of nuts and dried fruits OR have a scramble of sorts with lots of veggies and spice.
I think I may be more like my dad when it comes to eating in the a.m. I like a hearty meal that usually keeps my stomach silent until around 11 or so. If she could survive on sweets alone, mom would eat a breakfast of cocoa puffs, some waffles for breakfast with fruit on top (hold the whipped cream), and for dinner, a block of chocolate. Fair trade dark chocolate of course.
Old habits die hard, but since I chose to follow a vegan lifestyle, some habits had to die while others were born. I eat healthier than anyone I know only because I truly enjoy eating organic, local, fresh food. I try to make functioning for my physical self as easy as possible and healthy, nutritious and satisfying food is great place to start.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Apparently the Miami Herald just ran a story about Chocolate Milk being a great way for athletes to replenish while working out. Today, a story begs to differ by dietitian Susan Levin. She says,"I suggest skipping the fat and cholesterol found in milk and sticking to water or a conventional sports drink. No one -- athlete or not -- should rely on chocolate milk for calcium, carbohydrates or protein. Plant-based foods offer a much-healthier source of vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals."
Plant-based foods vs. MILK:
"Studies have shown that vegetarians absorb and retain more calcium from foods than do nonvegetarians. Vegetable greens such as spinach, kale and broccoli, and some legumes and soybean products are good sources of calcium from plants." http://www.americanheart.org/Heart_and_Stroke_A_Z_Guide/vegdiet.html
"American women have been consuming an average of two pounds of milk per day for their entire lives, yet thirty million American women have osteoporosis. Drinking milk does not prevent bone loss. Bone loss is accelerated by ingesting too much protein, and milk has been called "liquid meat."
Nutritionists and physicians have learned that plant products are good sources of protein, iron, calcium, and vitamin D because they can be easily absorbed by the body and don’t contain artery-clogging fat. The American Dietetic Association states, “Well-planned vegan … diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence.”
From the same website above, I found this info which is VERY interesting and helpful for vegan moms or moms to be. It outlines each nutrient in question, and how to find them in plant-based foods. The first one is my favorite, because its the dreaded question for ALL vegans!
• Protein—Consumption of too much protein is a much bigger issue than not getting enough. Protein deficiency is common only in countries suffering from famine. Eating too much protein, however, can lead to cancers of the colon and liver. Children can get all the protein that their bodies need from whole grains in the form of oats, brown rice, and pasta; from nuts and seeds, including sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, and spreads such as tahini and legumes, including tofu, lentils, beans, and peanut butter.
• Iron—Some babies’ intestines bleed after drinking cow’s milk, increasing their risk of developing iron-deficiency anemia since the blood that they’re losing contains iron. Formula-fed babies should be fed a soy-based formula with added iron to minimize the risk of intestinal bleeding. Iron-rich foods such as raisins, almonds, dried apricots, blackstrap molasses, and fortified grain cereals will meet the needs of toddlers and children 12 months and older. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, so foods rich in both, such as green, leafy vegetables are particularly valuable.
• Calcium—Cornbread, broccoli, kale, tofu, dried figs, tahini, great northern beans, and fortified orange juice and soy milk are all excellent sources of calcium. As with iron, vitamin C will help your child’s system absorb calcium efficiently.
• Vitamin D—Cow’s milk does not naturally contain vitamin D; it’s added later. Vitamin D-enriched soy milk provides this nutrient without the animal fat. A child who spends as little as 10 to 15 minutes three times a week playing in the sunshine, with arms and face exposed, will get sufficient vitamin D because it is synthesized in the skin when the skin is exposed to sunlight.
• Vitamin B12—Whereas other primates get their necessary vitamin B12 from feces, dirt, unchlorinated water, and insects, any commercially available multivitamin will ensure an adequate amount of the vitamin for your child. Vitamin B12 is also found in fortified soy milk and many cereals.
Quite frightening tis the following but I think your knowing is going to make the milk in your life become less, uh, appetizing. Apparently the dairy industry is monitored by the USDA for a "safe milk supply." Get ready, milk can only contain 750 million or less puss cells PER LITER in order to be shipped across state borders. "In the year 2000, the average liter of milk in America contained only 323 million pus cells, according to Hoard's Dairyman, the dairy industry magazine. Author Jim Dickrell reports that the level of pus cells has been rising ever since farmers began using Monsanto's genetically engineered bovine growth hormone." Quoted from a dairy industry magazine, "When cell counts in milk exceed 200 (million per liter), the odds favor that the [udder] is infected or is recovering from infection. "
Approximately one-third of the cows being milked at any one time in America are stressed and infected. Milk from these cows contains large amounts of bacteria, virus, and pus. As a consequence, farmers must treat their herds with increased amounts of antibiotics.
Oh, and ORGANIC MILK...."The healthiest milk from the healthiest cow is naturally loaded with lactoferrins, immunoglobulins, and growth hormones. Horizon's organic milk contains animal fat and cholesterol, dioxins, and bacteria. The amount of somatic cells (pus) in organic milk is lower than milk from non-organic cows, but it's still dead white blood cells and dead bacteria. Ask yourself this question. Does organic human breast milk sound like a delicious drink for an adult human? Instinctively, most people know that there are substances in breast milk that are not intended for their adult bodies. Same goes for pig's milk and dog's milk. Same for cow's milk."
I am uncertain where to go from here. I suppose I will focus on our next holiday, Christmas, where Santa (magically fat but always fitting down the chimney) gulps down a glass of milk and cookies you leave for him. My advice, if you want good loot, skip the milk and serve up some delicious vegan chocolate chip cookies. (recipe below!)
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
I visited the FARM SACTUARY in Orland California this past weekend. We celebrated our feathered friends by feeding them and treating them with the respect they deserve. Many families have volunteered to adopt turkeys from the Farm Sactuary. FS rescues farm animals from the worst farms in America, and these animals have learned to adjust to humans in a new way. There are many "turkey love stories" these families share and most include the fact that turkeys love to snuggle. There is a famous "hugging turkey" named Lydia who flaps her wings and runs up to guests that visit her at the farm. She will literally embrace you by pressing her chest against you and stretching her head and neck over your shoulder! These stories remind me of my now deceased greyhound Tai and all greyhounds that I meet. Usually these animals are handled like professional athletes while they are at the track and winning. As soon as they slow down, its time to let them loose in a field in the middle of nowhere or just shoot them or starve them to death. For the horrifying treatment some endure, the most amazing sight to see is how well these dogs take to their new moms and dads.
If only we could learn from animals and understand the unconditional love they show towards the humans that care for them even when the caretaker is abusive. Maybe its time to stop and think why you love your pet so much but eat animals that have been treated so poorly you would probably puke if you saw how that animal was raised and killed for your meal. (If you wish to know, look up MEET YOUR MEAT online and watch it) You will not forget those times as a child when your parents took you to a farm or an amusement park where you had the rare chance to get close to a goat, pig or horse. Those moments are magical because animals have that power over us. Remember those moments this Thanksgiving with your family.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
This year my efforts are going to the Farm Sanctuary where my best friend Michelle and I are volunteering at the CELEBRATION for the TURKEYS. This is a celebration of the turkey as a loving, sweet and beautiful animal instead of a dead one on the dinner table for a tryptophanatic America. My husband I sponsored a pig at the Farm Sactuary earlier this year who seems to favor eating apples and bagels. Just as I choose not to eat meat, I choose to give to one or two causes per year. I sign hundreds of petitions per year. I delete MILLIONS of emails per year. I suppose this is going to be my New Years Resolution.....the unsubscriber.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
One development of note: Safeway now sells a house branded Organic line of snacks. That made me happy. I don't know where they get their produce. It probably travels a ridiculous distance to get to the store even if the product is grown nearby. The main distribution center receives all of the product from the farm or factory and then the trucks ship the food to the appropriate stores. I wonder if all of the hybrid car drivers who feel they really stick it to the man realize that the meals they eat from the neighborhood burger joint consumed as much oil to get to their plate as a HUMMER does in a month. I like that Trader Joe's makes the effort to carry organic produce at a low price. The downfall is that the grapes have to travel from Chile or some South American country to get here at a discount price. Oil is not only something we use in our cars people! It is estimated that the average american meal travels about 1500 miles to get from farm to plate. (CUESA stat) Try your best to buy as much local product as you can. You have a choice. Safeway is so depressing because they get paid to put items on their shelves. Marion Nestle's book FOOD POLITICS says that "116,000 packaged foods and beverages have been introduced since 1990, and these joined a marketplace that now contains 320,000 items competing for supermarket shelf space large enough to hold just 50,000." Big companies with big money will be choosing for you and your family. Fortunately, Whole Foods and independent stores like Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco do not accept money for product positioning. They feature local foods including delicious produce (Whole Foods even makes special signs to indicate "local product" in all departments of the store) and fresh baked breads or desserts. I am not sure I want to hear this "whole foods = whole paycheck" crap anymore. Control yourself, spend a bit more, eat a bit less. Quality food honestly is more satisfying and you actually might want to free yourself from the chains of a transfat, high fructose lifestyle. Oh, and huffers, check out that special on whipped cream in the health food section at Safeway.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
I look forward to seeing the same faces week to week at the farmers market. I know exactly what stands to visit for all of my favorite items! My least favorite part is having to watch people test out the samples of everything. Standing in the way, chewing with their mouths open, saying how delicious those juicy strawberries are....all the cliche's I can muster. I think I might know why they provide those pointy, albeit harmless toothpicks for samples....hmmm.
Percentages and facts quoted from Michael Pollan's article in the New York Times, October 15, 2006.