Sunday, December 30, 2007

Know the ICKY from A-Z for FREE!


GOOD NEWS for youz VEGANS! I am sure you have an Ipod already OR you were given one for Christmas or Hanukkah, so go ahead and download a list of animal derived ingredients for FREE. All you do is go HERE and copy it to your Ipod. Now you can be in the know AND rock out at the grocery store.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert


After hearing about this book and feeling like the last person on earth to read it, I tracked down a copy from one of my fellow Moms. Ready for my spiritual journey to begin all snuggled in my bed, I found myself understanding her words which resulted in my having great respect for her easy-going attitude towards views on "God" and other controversial topics. She wasn't trying to be politically correct or overly dramatic to make a point. I found her tone refreshing. UNTIL, I got to the page about her desire to eat VEAL in Italy.
I had a really hard time accepting Ms. Gilbert's story about a spiritual journey with much introspection after reading her desire to eat veal on the way. EVERYONE knows the cruelty involved in raising veal. Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, is another story.
Having respect for animals is an important part in creating harmony in your life. If you believe that God is me, you, everyone....doesn't that include the chicken you are eating and your pet dog? Studies on violent offenders frequently reveal abuse of animals earlier in life. Learning to love all of Earth's creatures is the first step to having love for yourself.
I couldn't go on after reading that sentence. Ms. Gilbert's credibility is lost in a simple four letter word starting with a V.
To read more on the sadness of raising veal read this.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Cravings


I might be an odd specimen. I tend to go through stages when I have really strong cravings for foods that are not exactly high on people's lists of desirables. From about June to August I desperately needed spinach in my lunch and/or dinner. The last couple of months I have been SO obsessed with Dinosaur Kale. I suppose I am needed iron or something, but I find it funny that something green and leafy can make me so happy!
Vegetarians tend to share their bouts with gas. I find gas to be funny, and my husband and I get a good laugh when discussing or hearing it. I noticed when I was pregnant, I rarely had gas. I don't have any idea why that is. Even now, 6 months after having my baby girl, I still don't get gas as often as I used to. I remember EVERYTHING giving me gas to the point of thinking I had a real problem. Even Gas X didn't solve the problem. I am shocked that I can eat onions and garlic in dishes that I make and not have an issue afterward! Garlic is another craving I have been experiencing lately. YUM!
My best friend on the other hand (who is vegan) was extremely ill for about a week with pain in her lungs and overall just feeling horribly. The last straw was her arm going numb. Thinking she needed to boost her immunity, she was downing ridiculous amounts of garlic. After rushing herself to the ER, the doctor discovered that she had an allergy. She is allergic to GARLIC! No more Wildwood Aioli for poor Michelle.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Yay Natalie Portman!


As I crawled into bed last night, I decided to read my latest issue of Teen Vogue that arrived in my mailbox earlier that day. I will NOT renew my subscription when it runs out, however, because it makes me sick how they go about advertising to teens. Is it just me or were we targeted to buy $1000+ purses in 1988? Scary.
Fortunately, something good comes of this over the top rag this month because Natalie Portman is on the cover. The editor explains how NP will not wear fur or leather, so they had plenty of some vegan brand of shoes on hand. I LOVE reading that in a magazine that girls pull their beliefs and behaviors from.
I know, I am 32 and shouldn't be reading a teen magazine to begin with. I DO read other periodicals of quality such as the NY Times. Sunday's paper featured various vegetarian restaurant reviews centered in San Francisco. Even though I live in SF, I do like to check out where veg out of towner's come to eat when they are visiting. The article covers the sad fact that 1 in 100 restaurants in San Francisco are vegetarian. I always feel that SF is undermining their cruelty-free residents by no offering more options when eating out. Its interesting that someone visiting makes that point! Anyway, the usual suspects are patronized. Millennium, Greens (which has always been just OKAY in my opinion), Herbivore and Cafe Gratitude. Reading about their meals made me hungry. Check it out if you want to visit San Francisco and you are veg curious!
EXPANDING THE FRONTIERS OF THE VEGETARIAN PLATE

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Absurdity at its finest



I don't know if you have seen the commercial for this incredibly wasteful and odd new product ironically called "One's" (I think TWO'S would be more appropriate considering they are prunes) but there is one spectacularly ridiculous quote by a "hip teen" which is: OH, THAT IS SOOOOO COOOL!

I am not quite sure that ANYONE would call an individually wrapped laxative snack SO COOL. The commercial features a representative passing out samples and of course getting nothing but extraordinary reviews.

As with many products on the market these days, I wonder where this idea came from. Who, in the right mind during this time of eco-awareness, decided to create more waste than the prunes do in the toilet by wrapping each one individually in plastic? I am sure whoever it was is going to be wondering where their job went in a couple months.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Strange Days

I still feel outnumbered when it comes to living a vegan lifestyle. I ask myself every day why there are not more people in my camp. I am nobody special. I don't use some magic powers to avoid animal products. I easily shop for clothing and shoes without cruelty. I enjoy my soy latte just like the dairy slurpers do. I can go to most restaurants and order a decent meal even if it consists of tidbits of sides.
I do feel hopeful though, as this weekend I stumbled upon a story about a MEGATREND of vegan children. Apparently Moms N Dads are frightened of animal products and the junk that rides sidesaddle with them. Some delightful examples are pesticides, e-coli, and additives that plump up the meat. Jim Cramer of CNBC is responsible for noting this trend. 3 million children don't eat meat in America? I guess I am not alone after all! Read more here.
There was also an interesting article about the importance of buying organic I read this morning. This specific study proves that organics have better impact on your health than conventionally grown items. Read more here.
Lastly, how great is a good old pb&j sometimes? Damn it hits the spot when feeling lazy and wanting a sweet treat. I love creamy pb from Whole Foods (organic of course) and some mixed berry jelly without the stupid seeds on some yummy 5 grain sourdough. MMMMM!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lets Go Halfsies


Almost every week, I end up throwing out food that goes bad as a result of my cooking for two. I find it frustrating that stores cannot figure out that a number of their customers are single folks or families of 2. I end up buying a huge bushel of parsley instead of the 2 teaspoons the recipe calls for. Same with cilantro and celery. DAMN that celery, it drives me nuts how much I have to toss out. I contemplated composting, but I am not sure what to use it for. What do I do with compost when its done doing its thing? I know I could just look it up on the internet, I will have to do that today after this post. Please, Whole Foods, could you consider selling smaller loaves of bread, smaller bunches of herbs, half containers of liquids like soy milk (which goes bad after 1 week of being opened, I never end up using it all) and smaller boxes of cereal. I guarantee this would revolutionize the supermarket business. People would shop more often if they buy smaller quantities of food items and I would even be willing to pay more for the extra effort it takes to produce/ design the new containers. Mark my words, this is the next big thing like how magazines and newspapers have followed this trend of smaller sizes to be more eco-conscious. Good stuff comes in small packages after all!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Sebastopol, Berkeley, etc.

This weekend we spent time in Occidental at our "country house" as my New York City originating husband likes to call it. After a delicious meal at a restaurant in Sebastopol called SLICE OF LIFE, I pondered the following: How do veg conscious towns and cities come to be? My smarty pants B.F.F. Michelle said that its usually a college town thing. I agreed, but its not always the case. Obviously a location like Berkeley falls into that category. What about the towns that are unique for no apparent reason, not housing a college or sporting a city vibe? Some country towns are seriously lacking restaurants in general except for maybe a Denny's or Applebee's but others are very thoughtful in their choices of what is acceptable to grace their land. Sebastopol fought to keep McDonalds out, sadly unsuccessfully.
I want to know why certain towns are so diverse and down to earth. Why is Healdsburg a meat haven with so few choices for vegans, when Sebastopol is a goldmine for those wanting a meal that never mooed or clucked? If anyone knows why this is, please fill me in. Recommend a book or something because it is so interesting to me!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Vegan Consultant Reporting For Duty


I suppose I have been at the right place at the right time lately. I LOVE assisting new vegans with choices on a variety of items. It can be overwhelming to scan the faux food aisle. Between the soy meats, cheeses, non-dairy sour creams and milks, desserts, it can be tough to choose. The other day I clicked on a link to a blog by a man who was ready to give up on veganism because he was training for a sport and finding that he was NOT getting enough of certain nutrients. I commented on his blog, basically directing him to my blog entries about protein and how best to obtain it. He wrote back still a bit discouraged because of his special situation. I remembered the vegan triathlete Brendan Brazier who is a role model to many athletes vegan or not. He came out with a line of products for vegans including bars and drink mixes that do not have soy or any scary ingredients that you wouldn't recognize. My new friend read his website after my direction toward it and was so grateful. I was so happy to help, it really made my day to keep someone on the vegan track.
Yesterday, I sat and had a chat with a neighbor I barely know and happened to mention I am vegan probably because we were discussing pregnancy, etc. Strangely enough she and her husband were just discussing how they wanted to move in that direction with their diet. She suggested I give her some easy recipes to start with and I suggested I cook for she and her family someday because I LOVE to show off some of the best recipes I have. Of course, I went overboard and gave her about 8 GREAT recipes ranging from CANDLE CAFE'S CAESAR SALAD, VEGETARIAN TIMES CHEWY GRANOLA BARS & PICASSO'S PAELLA from the BLOSSOMING LOTUS restaurant cookbook. I also included the VEGAN LUNCHBOX book as my daughter is far from being in school yet and I can get myself another copy easily. I also baked a batch of my favorite vegan cookies adapted from the MOOSEWOOD CLASSICS cookbook. I hope she enjoys all of the things I gave her, I would just love to see another vegan family a couple doors down!
At Whole Foods yesterday I encountered a couple struggling to pick out a cheese, notably a vegan one. I could tell that they were picking up items with "vegan" on the label. I asked them if they needed help picking out vegan cheeses. Being quite the connoisseur I suggested the FOLLOW YOUR HEART brand cheddar and mozzarella. I also let them in on the cheese to die for (SHEESE) but let them down easy when explaining you have to order it online from Portland!
There is nothing better than having meaningful run-in's with strangers. I don't know these people at all, but because we are on a similar path they are friends of mine instantly! I hope to meet more vegans or vegan hopefuls around town, this world will be a better place if so.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Protein Woes

For all vegans (and vegetarians) the subject of protein intake is a popular one. Dr. John McDougall released a newsletter in April of this year that covers this subject at length. He admits that sadly our policy makers and educators remain "ignorant about our nutritional needs." The American Heart Association incorrectly states that plant proteins are "deficient in 1 or more amino acids and therefore regarded as incomplete proteins."

John explains that "proteins are made from chains of 20 different amino acids that connect together in varying sequences - similar to how all words in a dictionary are made up of the same 26 letters...plants are made up of structurally sound cells with enzymes and hormones, they are by nature rich sources of proteins. Plants are so nutrient equipped, that they satisfy protein needs of some of the largest animals like elephants, hippos, giraffes, and cows.

More, Dr. McDougall states that the WHO (world health organization) recommends that men and women obtain 5% of their calories as protein.
38 grams for men, burning 3000 calories per day
29 grams for women, burning 2300 calories per day

The above totals are easily met by unrefined starches and veggies. "Rice alone would provide 71 grams of highly usable protein and white potatoes would provide 64 grams of protein." For a child, in the first 2 years of life, the best option is human milk which is 5% protein. Millions of laboring folk in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America survive on half the protein we do here in the states, without deficiency, obviously the popular understanding of protein needs are flawed.

Page 4 of the newsletter includes a chart of amino acid requirements provided by Dr. William Rose, check it out, you will be shocked by how simple it is to obtain all amino acids in a veggie diet.

Another surprising fact I read is that potatoes alone will do if you are looking to proper nutrients in your diet. "The potato is such a great source of nutrition that it can supply all of the essential protein and amino acids for young children i times of food shortage. Researchers found that this simple potato diet provided all the protein and essential amino acids to meet the needs of small children."

EXCESS PROTEIN (unlike fat) cannot be stored. McDougall explains, "Proteins are made of amino acids, and are, therefore acidic by nature. ANIMAL proteins are abundant in sulfur-containing amino acids which break down into very powerful sulfuric acid. These amino acids are abundant in hard cheese, red meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs, and their acids must be neutralized by buffers found in the bones. The bones dissolve to release the buffering materials; eventually resulting in a condition of weakened bones (osteoporosis). Released bone materials often settle and coalesce i the kidney system, causing kidney stones. Fruits and vegetables are largely alkaline, preserving bone health and preventing kidney stones.

Let's also remember the environmental impact! Livestock produces 18% of the greenhouse gases, says the doc, and these food animals occupy 26% of the ice free surface of the earth and 33% of the total arable land is used to produce their food.

High protein foods are usually high profit foods. The protein myth must live on because of ego's and money.

Please check out the entire newsletter here: THE MCDOUGALL NEWSLETTER

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

For laughs & more....

Even though there is nothing funny about how wrong these food items are for consumption, I think this experiment is notably hilarious because of the primary point it makes. Basically, its a photo journalistic journey of fast food ads versus reality. I especially like the reference to "pump cheese."
To add to the fun, I clicked onto the link on the same page for "fast food reviews" and just about peed my pants. Read the one for KFC, which consequently received a FAT "D" on its report card:
KFC - If there's anything more disgusting than biting into a piece of "fried" chicken and having half a quart of hot water (or something) roll down your chin, I don't know what it is. KFC is fuckin' grotesque. Hard, deep-fried grease shells, "water," snapping veins, people sucking marrow out of shiny bones, great sheets of animal skin hanging from the corner of glistening mouths... it's like something out of a Dean Koontz novel. This is a place for people not fully evolved to exercise their basic animal instincts, and indulge in a bloody feeding frenzy. It gives me the creeps just thinking about it. Oh sure, I'm a proud carnivore and everything, but I'm not a fucking dingo! I just experienced a full-body shiver. Shit! D
Apparently, this guy is named Jeff Kay, he lives in Pennsylvania and he is my new source of entertainment.

Google has been alerting me of postings in response to the Science Daily Article on SOY and weight loss. As an individual wary of the whole subsidized farming mess discussed by Michael Pollan in the Omnivores Dilemma, I worry that all of this reporting is just promotional junk supporting more soy farming and cheap filler ingredients in our food. As a vegan, I do eat the occasional soy product, but honestly not so often and I always choose organic.
An excerpt from the article in Science Daily:
"Injections were given three times a week for two weeks; during that time, the animals had unlimited access to food and water. Food intake was measured 3, 6, 12, 24, and 48 hours after injection, and the rats were weighed 24 and 48 hours after injection. All rats received the same amount of exercise, and all rats lost weight.

But, after the third injection, de Mejia and Vaughn noticed a significant weight loss in the group of animals that had received one of the soy hydrolysates, even though the animals hadn't changed their eating habits. In this instance, soy protein appeared to have caused weight loss not by reducing food intake but by altering the rats' metabolism."

Heck, sounds like some good results to me (sad for the rats being tested on of course), but I also investigated the companies funding this study. First, SAI Company. Check out Seiberling Associates, Inc. website for yourself and judge whether or not you think something is fishy about the fact that they work with endless dairy clientele, but they are claiming that soy (a dairy alternative) can help you lose weight. I seem to recall a recent campaign by the dairy council claiming that milk everyday can help you to lose weight. I wandered to Dale Seiberling's personal website (he is the self proclaimed CIP EVANGELIST) whatever that means. The info on the site is like another language, that of farming, etc.

The other source of funds for this research is the Illinois Soybean Association. I read through some of their site, and they are obviously ALL business! I read about a new and exciting product for the soy industry, which is a chew toy made of soy for the piglets that are being weaned...basically its supposed to provide nutrition and lessen the the stress of weaning thus "minimizing fighting." This makes me sad.
Of course, they mention the word biodiesel endlessly to act like they care about environmental issues. I am surprised to see that Disney is running its trains on biodiesel at their parks! Pretty neat.

Its sad that I feel that most research is always born of ulterior motives. I suppose being an adult, you learn what to trust and what to turn your nose up at. Just in, I read a report about the supposedly untrustworthy and sneaky Humane Society and Farm Sanctuary. The report is basically trying to accuse these groups of eliminating ALL animal products from our diets. Uh, AND.......The article makes them sound SOOO awful for demanding that people cut out animal products from their diet and that EVEN IF "Congress," Martosko continued, "could require U.S. farmers to supply every pig, chicken, duck, and cow with private rooms, daily rubdowns, video iPods, and organic meals catered by Wolfgang Puck. But even this wouldn't satisfy activists who actually believe farm animals have the 'right' not to be eaten."

I love how killing animals for food and supporting factory farming is OK, but standing up for animals and insisting that we take a look at how we abuse them is ridiculous! Really nice touch, labeling the Humane Society as "dishonest" about their goals.

I guess I am making up for lost time today.....

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I find that "feeling guilty" is a ridiculous reason NOT to eat meat. Its so subjective. The New York Times put out an article this week in the DINING IN section called VEAL TO LOVE, WITHOUT THE GUILT. This guilt angle is so self-absorbed. First, let me share with you the definition of "guilt."
According to my computer dictionary, here is the definition.
guilt |gilt| noun the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime : it is the duty of the prosecution to prove the prisoner's guilt. • a feeling of having done wrong or failed in an obligation : he remembered with sudden guilt the letter from his mother that he had not yet read.
If you eat animal products, you do not have the sense that its wrong, or you would not do it. There is no guilt associated with something you do that you do not see as wrong. The veal industry has been tarnished for many years, even though factory farming harms ALL animals that end up on the dinner table. Its not enough to eat steak, chicken or fish, most Americans feel entitled to "gourmet" foods that are completely unnecessary like veal, foie gras or sweetbreads. Let me remind you that each of these are named some fancy word instead of seeing on the menu the following.
WELCOME TO OUR RESTAURANT, here are our specials today!
TENDER BABY COW

or
FORCE FED DUCKS FATTY LIVER

or
PANCREAS FROM LAMBS


An understanding between humans and their actions needs to happen. With all of the talk on climate change and other environmental warnings, maybe some will realize that they cannot just frivolously have everything they want because its there and available. Guilt does not enter my thoughts when I decide whether or not I should partake in something i know is not right. UNDERSTANDING and ACTING is the process I go through in every inch of my day. Go on, continue living with your head in the clouds. I know I am not living fully unless I am present in my actions as much as I can be. Its as simple as that. Too bad simplicity is totally uncool in most of my fellow humans eyes.

Don't be fooled by so called alleviated guilt when it comes to eating something like veal. Just because the calf gets some grass time and some visits with mom doesn't mean its okay to kill him for food.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Gettin' Old....Who CARES?

I spotted some wrinkles on my forehead and between my eyes last week. I suppose I don't really pay much attention when it comes to detecting "aging" on my face. Immediately my brain shifted into "what cream now!?" mode. The more I thought about it, the more I smelled bullpoop. I am definitely not one to buy into the creams and masks, etc. I don't even like facials so much. They just make me break out and look like crap. I can pick my own zits just as well. This is why I am proud to present this article on cosmetics called A FRESH FACE OR JUST A WASTE, by Tom Glaister.
"You have to think of cosmetics as decorative and hygienic, not as things that are going to change your skin. A $200 cream may have better perfume or packaging, but as far as it moisturizing your skin better than a $10 cream, it probably won't."
That is exactly what I suspected. Tom also covers the sad state of affairs of an unregulated cosmetic industry in the U.S. and the reality of animal testing.

We enjoyed a fully vegan baby shower with our closest friends yesterday. My best friend Michelle manufactured a huge amount of lasagne, garlic bread, salad and appetizers like a professional while my sis and brother in law brought cakes from a bakery in Berkeley called LUST, a vegan bakery. We had a lemon frosted spiced poppy seed cake of sorts that was unbelievably delicious. The other cake was chocolate with peanut butter laced in between each layer. The cakes looked as amazing as they tasted, so vegans and non-vegans, go to Micky to bake your cakes for any occasion.
I feel unbelievably lucky to have such a creative and thoughtful group of friends and family. I notice when the plan is to throw a vegan party, many complement the menu and want to know more about the ingredients and recipes. There is a curiosity that comes along with trying new things, especially delicious food! My friend Melissa is so excited about this blog and about veganism in general. She left our party and bought 5 books on the subject and contacted me with additional questions. I cannot tell you how great this makes me feel. I don't need to do anything extra, its just another day for me, but people notice whether I realize it or not!
I know you have heard enough of this pet food recall already, but I thought I would direct you to a great article on the WHOLE DOG JOURNAL website that tells you how to choose a food for your dog. I just read that another food was recalled, Natural Balance Venison and Rice dry dog food.
Another random tidbit, do you ride motorcycles? Well, check this out! Vegan motorcycle gear!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Vegan "Fashion"


Excuse me for not standing up for my kind, but I can't help but be suspicious of all of this press on vegan fashion. Often you will see the words, "oxymoron" or "crunchy" or "impossible." I suppose I am misinterpreting these articles for advice when they are really just giving soft hints that vegans have absolutely no fashion sense. Let me guess, yeah, she is a chubby tie died chick who wears hemp sandals and her best friend is her dog. WHAT? Okay, I am sure there are a couple vegans who fit this description but I am here to let you know that there is variety in the vegan community.
Lest I remind you that "dressing vegan" is easy. Go to any store, cross leather, wool and fur off yer list. A recent interview I read was with a vegan image consultant. READ: Vegan Bullshit Consultant. Honestly, it just goes against the whole idea of being vegan. I think most of us are aware of what we buy and consume less than the average American. I am not sure people need help in the clothing department when it comes to creating JUST the perfect vegan image.
I must admit, some stores are better than others when it comes to shopping for vegan goods. Where to look is more important that what to look for. I wouldn't recommend shopping on vegan websites for clothing. Catalogs like Delia's or affordable stores like Payless feature some pretty fashionable items! American Apparel has some great items for comfy clothing that is made locally without the guilt of sweatshop action. I love Forever 21, but I am frightened to find out how and where their clothing is manufactured. Ebay is a GREAT resource for vegan shoes and vintage and recycled clothing.
Sorry for being so skeptical of my fellow vegan friends, but its just so American to focus on fashion instead of the bigger issue(s). Factory farming, addiction to cheap food, pollution, etc.

Friday, April 6, 2007

What can I do?



Recently there is a flood of envirospeak by various politicians. Obviously they are responding to reports proving that news around climate change is anything but good by organizations like the UN Climate Panel.
I am having a really hard time with this. Politicians like John Kerry or Al Gore just rub me the wrong way because their job title has the word POLITICIAN in it. Something like the environment (that word is even making me nauseous because of the abuse it is receiving lately) getting mixed up with people who tend to tell whatever they think might sound good to the public for votes or money from their up and coming best seller. Yesterday I almost lost my lunch listening to Teresa Heinz and John Kerry spew the same old shit about a greener world and the subject of environment. I want to share this photo to put more puke in this paragraph.

I apologize for my negative attitude, but when politicians pretend to represent causes near and dear to our hearts, I start to worry. I am sick of hearing the same rhetoric over and over followed by larger than life solutions. Cut carbon emissions, buy a hybrid. How about following a vegan diet? That is something you can take charge of THREE times a day. How about CONSUMING LESS junk? How about NOT taking a bag at the store when you buy one item? How about spending 10 minutes at the coffee shop to relax and drink your latte out of a mug instead of wasting a paper cup, sleeve, and plastic top every day (maybe 2 or 3 times per day!?) How about shopping for recycled clothing, not buying junk on sale just because its on sale? How about a reusable water bottle instead of plastic ones?
Okay, so today I can claim these activities as MY contribution to consuming LESS.
1. Vegan meal for breakfast, lunch (consumed at home, on a plate, no waste)
2. Unplugged items around the house that do not need to be running today (computer, television/cable box, toaster, cell phone/computer chargers, heater off)
3. Donated clothing, side table and pillows to the local thrift store to be reused by someone else.
4. Walked the dogs on a local trail to avoid driving to dog park.
5. Shopping at whole foods for as many LOCAL foods I can for a party tomorrow.
6. Didn't run the water while brushing teeth (this is a bad habit of mine)
What are you doing daily to prove that your choices are of conscious mind?

Give me some EVERYDAY solutions that I can put to use please!!!!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Friday facts

This week drummed up quite a selection of topics for a food studier like myself. First, Burger King and their noble decision to try to include as much as they can of cage free eggs onto their breakfast sandwiches in addition to purchasing a small amount pork from sows that are allowed to move around instead of being chained and caged up. They admit that the amount they would need to fulfill demand is high, so they are starting with what can be supplied in hopes that more farmers will stand up to the challenge and change their ways. YAY for the King! Its crazy how these HUGE companies have the power to change the state of our farms and lives of animals everywhere. WHY NOT choose the noble way? They also mention that this NOT a marketing ploy, they just wanted to try to be ahead of the curve when it comes to what their customers want. Hey, whatever, keep up the good work.
AGAIN, Milk is getting a bad rap. Read this from the FREE MARKET NEWS website:
"MILK CARRIES INFECTIOUS DISEASES
Thursday, March 29, 2007 - FreeMarketNews.com

Got milk? Don't drink it until you have read this article.

First of all. Milk doesn't taste like it did in grandma's day. It is homogenized and pasteurized. That has been assumed to make milk one of our safest foods. Not so, according to a new study in Vegan Outreach.
Food borne diseases are found in milk. The CDC estimates that 97% of food borne diseases come from animal foods. Thousands die each year from these diseases.
One result of food borne disease is arthritis. Another feared complication of food borne disease is Guillain-Barre syndrome where paralysis and-or death occurs.
Crohn's Disease affects a half million Americans with severe symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and fevers. This disease lasts a lifetime. Crohn's Disease comes from bacteria in milk.
Patricia Doyle of the International Society for Infectious Diseases recommends rice milk as substitute for cow's milk. Ultra High Temperature processed milk is available in most supermarkets.

Get a good laugh at this Lindy West article from a newspaper called "The Stranger" which is circulated in Seattle. Its a hilarious account of a trip to the Vegetarian Fair called EVERYTHING GONE GREEN.
Here is my favorite part of the article, the very end.
"A lot of people like to hate on vegetarians because, obviously, a lot of vegetarians are annoying. Wearing a T-shirt that says "LICK ME, I'M VEGAN!" is annoying. Soy cheese is annoying. Giving a person a stinky, judgy eyeball because maybe they tried a McGriddle once as a joke and it turned out to be totally good and they like to secretly eat one on the way to work once in a while, but this time they forgot to dispose of the evidence before you got in the car, is annoying. (And if you object to my meat mobile so much, maybe next time you can hitch a ride on the tofu truck, Judgy "Judge Reinhold" Judge-face.)
But guess what? Most of every segment of the population is annoying, including the carnivorous ones. Rush Limbaugh (way more annoying than homeopathic medicine) eats at least 17 steaks a day. Mosquitoes (did you know that "mosquito" means "annoying" in Latin?) regularly gorge themselves on the blood of innocent human babies. And it's a widely accepted fact that Hilary Duff literally devoured her own sister, Haylie Duff, mistaking her for a smoky glazed ham, and replaced her with a less argumentative animatronic robot. Annoying! So until you haters can prove to me that vegetarians are statistically more annoying than the rest of us, I'm staying staunchly on their side. What can I say? I've got a soft spot for the veggie little bastards. At least as long as they keep giving me free cookies."
Hilarious.

Mad, Not gonna take it anymore

As I was going about my business yesterday, I pondered the fact that vegans are frequently receivers of some nasty verbiage. I tried to think up all of the vegan cut downs used by confused eaters of meat who just try so damn hard to prove that our way of life is wrong. The usual suspects in way of arguments are usually that: animals do not have souls, plants are alive so how can you eat them, nature wants you to eat a mix of available foods, animals wouldn't be on this earth if we weren't supposed to eat them, and so on. My reasoning for cutting animal products from my diet is simply because I LOVE ANIMALS. I owe that realization to my husband as he helped me to come to this conclusion many years ago. You can argue your tongue off with all of the passion and facts but when it comes down to it, there is nothing anyone can say that proves otherwise when it comes to my love for animals. YES, I do make many sacrifices to live the way I do, but I cannot tell you how amazing it is to live in such harmony, knowing there is not leather on my feet or skin/blood on my plate. Lets examine the differences between name calling when it comes to vegans/vegetarians versus meat eaters.
VEG: Tree Hugger, Granola, Hippie, veganity (i guess this is the animal free insanity), self-righteous morons, twig eaters, "like the Taliban", oh and my favorite and most offensive VAYGUN.
MEAT: murderer, cannibal, butcher, etc.
If given a choice, I would rather be a tree hugger or twig eater than a murderer. I have never gone to the extreme of calling anyone who eats animals as such. I am a rare specimen, an educator, not a whiner. I think the name calling is an interesting tidbit that comes up often on my google searches when researching the word VEGAN. When I think about how much peace my lifestyle brings me because of the ability to separate myself from any animal suffering is something you cannot buy. Yeah, I know it feels good to go out to dinner and buy yourself a nice steak to savor for dinner. But, try to buy the sense of calm and love I feel when I choose NOT to. I am the lucky one!
I would like to dedicate this post to my vegan friend Michelle, who is an amazing person in general but I do owe this peaceful life I live, to her. Thanks M!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Mish Mash of GOOD NEWS

Its a lazy Saturday here in Marin County, the fog bank is trying its best to creep over the bay. We are protected by Mr. Mount Tamalpais, so the fog stays out of our 'hood and spends most of its time over in San Francisco and the water towns of the county. I decided to check up on my e-mails and Google searches on a variety of issues. After sifting through the pile, I am seeing the sunny side of the bay, out of the gray yucky fog.
First, I would like to share with you a sweet report from the Farm Sanctuary. Below is a movie featuring J.D. Piglet, who was rescued by a New York woman. The details read: "He was found by a kind woman, abandoned, sopping wet and shivering in a western New York yard. A recent thaw had apparently washed J.D. downstream and onto the woman's property. A phone call to Farm Sanctuary swept the little piglet away again, delivering him into a new life, full of love, caring and health at our New York Shelter."
Watch him in action, its quite possibly the cutest thing I have seen in awhile.


The CALGARY HERALD, a Canadian newspaper, featured an interesting article on Soy this week. I am including the entire article below, because its FULL of information on this controversial lil' bean called Soy.

"There's so much confusion about soy," says Mark Messina, who holds a PhD in nutrition and is president of Port Townsend, Wash.-based Nutrition Matters, a consulting company.
He has studied the health effects of soy for almost 20 years and says there is so much information floating around that it's no wonder confusion reigns. As far as he's concerned, soy is just fine."
"Soy foods are low in saturated fat, they contain a lot of dietary fibre and they're an excellent source of protein," says Carole Dobson, a registered dietitian with Calgary-based Health Stand Nutrition Consulting.
So what's the worry? The controversy stems from a bioactive compound found in soybeans, called isoflavones. Some people are concerned about isoflavones because they're a hormone-like compound.
"They have some estrogen-like effects," says Messina. "But they are much different than the hormone estrogen and probably are very selective on what tissues they affect."
This should be good news to the reader who wrote a letter to the editor saying he would not buy soy products anymore because "a man doesn't need estrogen and the effects of it became quickly obvious."
We're not sure exactly what he was referring to, but Messina says men have no reason to worry.
"There's just absolutely no effect of soy on testosterone levels," he says. "The few studies that have looked at semen quality in men have not found any adverse effects, as well."
The same reader claimed soy can cause accelerated puberty in girls, reproductive problems and increased difficulty getting pregnant.
While there are studies examining a link, there has been no conclusive scientific research to prove this.
"There's no actual study that links soy intake in men or women with specific negative health results," says Dobson.
If anything, eating soy may help slow the onset of puberty because it is low in saturated fat.
"Saturated fat is the fat that increases our bad cholesterol. It's been related to our population becoming more obese," she says.
And as we get fatter, puberty comes earlier.
"Especially in girls, puberty gets triggered by a certain amount of fat on the body," Dobson says.
Misconceptions about adverse effects are common, says Messina, considering thousands of papers are published every year about soy. With enough study and speculation, you can say almost anything about the topic.
"But you have to look at the totality of the evidence," he says. "When you look at all the data, it's pretty convincing that soy is safe."
What often happens is soy gets a bad rap because people are comparing recent study results with high expectations generated by studies from 10 years ago. Take cholesterol as an example.
"What you've seen more recently is that the effects are very modest," he says. "Even if soy protein lowers bad cholesterol by three or four per cent, over a period of many years, that alone would result in a reduced heart disease risk by probably about 10 per cent."
And that's just from the soy protein. If you're replacing foods that are higher in saturated fat with soy foods, you'll lower your cholesterol even more.
Women with breast cancer often question the benefits or dangers of soy.
"I'm definitely comfortable with breast cancer patients consuming soy foods," says Messina.
The only caveat is for women using the drug tamoxifen to treat breast cancer. There have been animal studies showing soy both enhances and inhibits the efficacy of the medication.
"I think we'll actually see that it's safe, but you have to err on the side of safety," he says.
There are many other ongoing studies looking at potential benefits for women, such as how consuming soy may lessen the severity of hot flashes or prevent bone loss after menopause. There's even a study examining how consuming soy as a young girl may reduce the risk of breast cancer later in life.
Messina says the outcomes look encouraging, but definitive results from the long-term studies are needed before confirming the benefits.
"I'm optimistic, but it's still speculative," he says.
Messina recommends consuming two to three servings of soy foods per day. One cup (250 mL) of soy milk or a half cup (125 mL) of tofu equals one serving.
If you don't eat that much soy food, he says isoflavone supplements can act as a backup. Supplements do not contain soy protein, but Messina says isoflavones are the key behind most of the purported benefits of soy. The only exception is when it comes to cholesterol reduction, because it looks as if the protein -- not the isoflavones -- is responsible. In that case, supplements may not help much.
Health Canada, for its part, maintains soy foods can be included as part of a balanced and healthy diet for both children and adults. Fortified soy beverages were added to the food guide because Health Canada deems them "a nutritionally adequate alternative to milk," and a good option for people who do not consume milk products.
But the endorsement stops there.
"Health Canada does not consider any claimed human health benefits of soy consumption such as the reduction of cancer risk, the prevention of osteoporosis and the relief of menopausal symptoms to be sufficiently supported by the scientific evidence," writes Paul Duchesne, media relations officer with Health Canada, in an e-mail.
What everyone agrees on is that soy is low in saturated fat and is a great source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. For now, it seems soy foods should be eaten like any other food -- in moderation.
"I just look at it as one other healthy food you would want to include in your diet like a fruit or vegetable. If we confirm the hypotheses that it has some of these other benefits, that's fantastic," says Messina. "If it doesn't, it still deserves a place at the table."


Now lets have a round of applause for WOLFGANG PUCK who, after hearing from the FARM SACTUARY folks, decided to take Fois Gras & Veal off the menu while adding more VEGGIE OPTIONS! Read more about the campaign on the FARM SANCTUARY website.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Unmotivated


Lately I have struggled to put together a worthwhile post. In two months I will be having a baby girl and my energy level is uh, lets say, missing temporarily. I spoke to my best buddy Michelle (and featured reader of this months VEG News) today about how finding a job can be tricky when you have strong beliefs in certain departments. As concerned vegans, we both yearn to spread the gospel in a fun, engaging and exciting way. A career can take over your life. For this reason, its important that you are not working for a cause/product that contradicts your beliefs. My husband is experiencing a refreshing surge of energy as a result of his new job. He works for a company called Tesla Motors, a company taking the lead in teaching America that our presence in the middle east and our reliance on oil for our vehicles is unnecessary. Electric cars are one answer to cleaning up our environment and promising our kids a safe future.


Someone else of note is a man called Rich Cizik. Rich is a guy who is willing to speak up about environmentalism even though he is looked down upon by his Evangelical cohorts. The Evangelicals call him a democratic sympathizer because "green issues" are NOT something of a priority to them. Rich responds with this:
"It's time we return to being people known for our love and care of the earth and our fellow human beings."
Its sad that a sect of people who believe in God do not want to protect something that He created. What is the point of spreading Gods word if it is not taken seriously? Oh go ahead, just pick and choose what you think applies and live by it. We all know how effective inconsistency is. Referring to my religious vegan blog posting back in December would be proper right about now. There are descriptions for each religion as to why veganism or vegetarianism goes along with the Bible and other religious texts.
As Michelle and I discussed earlier today, why do humans want to be violent towards animals? In China, tigers are raised in factory farm conditions for meat and wine (what?)
"Tigers are naturally solitary creatures that roam over dozens of square miles, so it's hardly surprising that life in the cages drives them insane. I saw numerous examples of stress-related repetitive behaviour.
The mature animals paced back and forth across their cages for hours on end - three steps forward, three steps back. Some hurled themselves at the bars of their prison cells, while others simply stared into space.
Over-crowding drives the creatures to attack each other, often resulting in death. Officially it is only the tigers killed in such fights that can be eaten or turned into wine. But it is clear that many of them die as a result of a bullet to the head.
They are not the only animals killed. For entertainment, visitors to the animal park can watch the 'live killing exhibition', a sick spectacle in which animals are 'hunted' and torn to pieces by tigers while onlookers cheer.
I watched in horror as a young cow was stalked and caught by a tiger. Its screams filled the air as it struggled.
Virtually all the tigers from the Guilin farm end up at a winery 100 miles to the north, their carcasses dumped in huge vats of rice wine and left to rot for up to nine years.
The Chinese believe that the tiger's strength passes into the wine as its body decomposes. They also believe that it is a powerful medicine that wards off arthritis, strengthens bones and acts as a general tonic.
Smelling like a mixture of methylated spirits, antiseptic and congealed meat, it is difficult to believe that anyone would willingly drink it, and yet people pay up to £100 a pint for it."
Read more about this shitty practice at: The Daily Mail
Read about a couple of badasses who are working to try to eliminate animal suffering in the UK. We love you Drs. Stephens and Hadwen!
"A CARDIFF University researcher has joined forces with the UK’s leading non-animal medical research charity to find humane replacements for animal testing.
Dr Phil Stephens and the Dr Hadwen Trust have teamed up to replace wound experiments in animals in order to prevent pain and suffering.
Wounds are particularly common among the elderly, affecting 30% of over 60-year-olds and costing the NHS over £1 billion a year.
Effective treatments are desperately needed, but current animal ‘models’ used in research not only cause suffering but are unreliable because they cannot accurately reproduce the characteristics found in human wounds."
Hopefully this posting will remind me how motivated some people are to make this world a better place. I need to continue to share my insights with you lucky people who stumble upon this page in order to balance out the sad state of affairs going on all over the world (i.e. tiger farms).

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

VEG Food Attitude, Movie, Morningstar - Egg on their Face

I LOVE this article! "Vegan Dishes PETA offers to Cook for Al Gore"
Fried "Chicken", Collard Greens, Creamy Chive Mashed Potatoes, Chickenless Gravy, and American Apple Pie! Sorry Al, you can't be a meat-eating environmentalist.

Morningstar Farms serves up plenty of vegetarian alternatives to frozen food snacks like buffalo wings and veggie burgers. Unfortunately they use eggs in almost all of their products. Lets work together and coerce them to STOP using eggs. They get their eggs from chickens mistreated and kept in battery cages. Shameful. Here is what we can do to stop this!

Please contact Morningstar Farms® and politely request that they remove eggs from their products. Let them know one of their biggest competitors, Gardenburger®, has already made this decision for all but one of its products.

1. Submit Your Comments Online
Send your polite and thoughtful comments directly to Morningstar Farms® using our online form.
2. Make a Call: 1-800-962-1413
Call Kellogg®’s customer feedback hotline at 1-800-962-1413, Mon. thru Thurs. 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. or Fri. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m, Eastern Standard Time.
1. Say: “Representative.”
2. Press 2 for product information
3. Press 1 for general inquiries
3. Write a Letter to:
Morningstar Farms®
c/o Kellogg® Consumer Affairs
P.O. Box CAMB
Battle Creek, MI 49016

Thank you so much! Our efforts can help free many hens from horrible lives in battery cages.

Want to see a cool movie in San Jose at Cinequest 2007? Read this review:
Blood Car
(U.S.; 75 min.) In some ways, my favorite film at Cinequest. Is there anything worse than a filmmaker who goes in for violence and neglects the sex? Fortunately, Atlanta maniac Alex Orr's Little Shop of Horrors-ish midnight-movie gives his audience both barrels. In the near future, gasoline is $38 a gallon. Archie Andrews (Mike Brune) is a gentle vegan school teacher who is trying to solve our fossil fuel addiction. Aided by Lorraine (Anna Chlumsky) at the wheat-grass stand, he's just about perfected an engine that runs on chlorophyll, but it turns out that human blood is the only catalyst that makes the fuel work. Archie descends into a one-way spiral of madness as he feeds innocent humans into his car. And his conscience is numbed by the sexual excesses of Lorraine's rival, the hot-pantsed female butcher Denise (Kate Rowlett). And then the government finds out about the blood-powered automobile. Believe it or not, Orr makes the murders and the love triangle so diverting that the no-blood-for-oil message is never as obvious as it might seem. Rowlett and Chlumsky are so much fun—savor the vegetarian girl's batty flirting, in contrast with Rowlett's old-time bad-girl dialogue: "I'm sick of stalkers. Damn sick of them. And if I don't let you buy me food or let you [unprintable sexual act] me, you'll be in the bushes with the rest of them, crying and whacking off every time you get two beers in you." Plays with short If I See Randy... (RvB) (Mar 2, 10:30pm, SJ-Rep; Mar 4, 8:30pm, C12, Mar 10, 1:30pm, C12)

Monday, March 5, 2007

UGG boots

Do all of these cute lil' kids, teens and Mill Valley wanna-be SoCal dads prancing around in their warm and cozy boots realize what they are wearing on their feet? Let me share:


Yes, lambs and sheep. The skin of, precisely. I have a feeling that most kids would shy away from wearing baby sheep on their feet if they just put two and two together. I found this information on the UGG Australia website: (note the last line, phew! Thank God they use clean sheep)

"UGG® Australia uses only the best quality sheepskin exclusively. Twin-faced sheepskin is used in many of our core products. A piece of twin-faced sheepskin has been treated on both the fleece side, and the skin side.
The wool of genuine sheepskin is extremely dense (more-so than any synthetic), which provides for a more comfortable and durable material.
Fleece breathes, wicks moisture away, and allows air to circulate, keeping feet dry.
Sheepskin is naturally water resistant & therefore small amounts of moisture will not seep through or damage it.
UGG® Australia sheepskin is naturally thermostatic & therefore will keep bare feet warm in temperatures as low as -30F and cool in temperatures as high as 80F (Sheepskin will naturally insulate by keeping feet warm in the winter & cool in the summer).
The sheep that we use have finer wool & cleaner skin."

Get with Pam Anderson and quit the Ugg habit for good.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

"Mohr" about vegan diets reducing global warming



Noam Mohr, a physicist with degrees from Yale and Penn, explains how the vegan diet should NOT be overlooked when environmentalists discuss ways to lower the rate of climate change in our lifetime. I am thrilled to hear that there is a solution to global warming at our fingertips RIGHT NOW. Until the Tesla electric roadster & sedan are produced and for sale, get off the animal products! Eliminating animal products from your diet is an option here and NOW, and according to Mohr, exponentially slows down global warming compared to changing over to a hybrid or low emissions vehicle.
READ THIS & start making your vegan grocery list!
McDougall newsletter featuring Noam Mohr.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tips & Facts


Tonight I picked up Vegetarian Times Magazine. Feelings are mixed with the rag, because a lot of the issues they write about seem to ignore the fact that eating eggs, cheese and milk contribute to the problems they feature. For example, "According to a 2006 report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, animal farms around the globe generate 18 percent more greenhouse emissions than all of these transportation methods combined." (methods being cars, trucks, and buses) Its not surprising that the dairy industry supports the livestock industry including veal production. Veg Times began the article by stating that "eating beef is even worse for the environment than the greenhouse gases emitted from cars, trucks, and buses." I am certain that milk comes from cows, cows live on farms, cows emit greenhouse gases. Sadly, 70% of former forestland in Latin America is now used for grazing fields. Oh well, I guess eliminating meat eating leads to a shift in how people think about food and how it affects the world we live in. I don't expect everyone to go vegan today, but sometimes its hard to swallow stories that only tell half the facts.

TIP: Freeze an onion for 10 minutes prior to cutting. This will eliminate the sulfur oils that make you cry when handling onions.

I had no idea! Foot powders and sprays (including baby powder) used to eliminate athletes foot and such are created from talc rocks which absorb moisture and odor. Talc is closely related to ASBESTOS, a harmful mineral, which is linked to ovarian cancer (among other things.) T for Toes is made by lush, ad its made with lime, tea tree oils ad horsetail herbs to eliminate odor and moisture. Its a natural solution to icky toes. Another option is a mineral salt spray by Crystal Foot Deodorant spray.
Psoriasis and Dandruff shampoos often contain coal tar which is linked to cancer AND irritates and aggravates certain types of scalp psoriasis. Try instead: Max Green Alchemy Scalp Rescue Shampoo OR John Masters Organics Zinc & Sage Shampoo with Conditioner.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Green Carpet, Brown Skies


An adventure to Los Angeles this past week resulted in my walking down the "green carpet" at a Global Green Party, standing idle on the 405, indulging in too much faux meats at Papillon in El Segundo, and weeping over my idiotic decision to only pack 2 pairs of not yet broken-in shoes from Payless. L.A. is great to visit, but I am not sure how people live there. I shake in my PVC boots when processing thoughts of daily driving in the city o' smog.
My husband escorted Chris Paine (one of the nicest men alive, directed the documentary, "Who Killed the Electric Car') down the green carpet after cruising up in the Tesla Roadster. I winced at the prospect of walking down that green carpet. Terrified, I stood back like a dog in the vet parking lot until I realized that my only way in to the party was on my husbands arm. No wonder celebrities wear shades 24-7 because without any camera's flashing my eyes were being sizzled out by all of the flashes bright and eager to go off. On my trail was Petra Nemkova, James Blunt, Penelope Cruz, and Chevy Chase. The food offered still featured meat items (which I think is hypocritical because meat consumption and production is largely responsible for destruction of the earth/ greehouse gases) like chicken skewers. I ate some veggie skewers with eggplant, bell peppers, onion & the other one had purple potatoes, yellow squash and onion. The marinara sauce on the veggies was loaded with garlic, I am sure I offended plenty of people that night with my dragon breath. Purple potatoes are likely flown in from South America, as they are not in season until fall. Squash is in season during the summer, so I am not sure if those are flown in from warmer climates at this time of year. Bell peppers are also summer season veggies. I am certain that the food was provided by Whole Foods yet again, so I will check on these items at the store tomorrow and find out how much jet fuel was needed to provide the food at the party. People need to learn about the benefits of eating seasonally and locally. That doesn't mean eating at the corner donut shop every morning. The food at the party was tasty, and I must give the planners "props" for providing three vegan options to eat, but honestly I wish they would take advantage of their platform to teach people about the food side of things when it comes to contributing to global warming.

Besides reporting on this party, I was interested in sharing some highlights of the March '07 issue of Natural Health magazine. First, there is a new line of CHAMPION sportswear that features an eco-friendly collection of workout tops, shorts, pants, and sports bras. These sporty digs are made from coconut shells, otherwise discarded as the fruit is used for food in Indonesia. Other features of Cocona (this fabric) are: it naturally wicks away sweat, traps odors and shields against harmful rays. Awesome!
I can only keep up hope that more locally made fabrics and clothing come our way soon. I wish there were clothing farmers markets where you could go in and buy pants, tops, skirts, jackets that were made from eco-fabrics from local farm by- products. Hey, if they are making workout wear from coconut shells, I think my hopes are not far fetched!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

My New Favorite 3 Bands



If you need some new additions to your Ipod, might I suggest: MENOMENA, PRESSURE KILL COMMON STYLE & THE ACCIDENTAL SONS. OH so good. Menomena is a sweet mixture of Super Furry Animals, Blur/Gorillaz, Built to Spill, but with a fresh new twist. So refreshing.
PRESSURE KILL COMMON STYLE is still pretty new to me, the album is waaayyy too short but so darn enjoyable. THE ACCIDENTAL SONS are a carefree group of boys that make some lo-fi, memorable music for any occasion.

Topics of the week


This week in journalism seemed to be catering to my every whim. The NY Times featured 3 items that are worth discussing. How Old McDonald Keeps His Farm spotlights how independently run farm owners are making some extra dough via tours labeled as agri-tourism. Tomorrow, you may walk into the office and find an evite to the staff for a visit to a location like Harley Farms. You will enjoy "team building" exercises involving milking goats and learning how their cheese is made. I must admit that sounds better to me than falling backwards into a pile of dirty hands in a "trust" game. On their farm live 200 American Alpine goats. These friends might chew on your pants a bit, but they munch on pasture and roam free which makes for some low stress-laden goat cheese. I suppose you are supposed to learn from the goat, how to function at work with less stress.
Agri-tourism allows family farms with integrity to stay small and dedicate themselves to quality artisan cheese-making. In case you are curious, in 2005 the average income of a farm is $81,420, $66,782 being from other sources of income besides actual sales of the farms products. They call this extra income "off farm income."
Agri-tourism prevents the need for farmers to go out and get a second job in most cases. I would like to poo poo the owner of Sun Ranch in Cameron, Montana. Roger Lang is his name, and he likes to set up summer adventures including programs in fly fishing and hunting because they just don't make money off the cows in the summer. Basically, this guy is not sure how else to make money unless he is putting something to death. Now that is a MAN!

Those of you allergic to peanut butter, I sometimes feel sad for you because PB is one of my favorite foods. Today, I am thrilled because 2 of the most important people in my life are allergic to peanuts and DO NOT eat peanut butter. This is good news for once because guess who lurks within a couple of crap brands of PB? That is right, salmonella. HOW? Oh boy, I am not sure I want to know how it got into jars of Peter Pan and Great Value Wal-Mart PB. 300 people fell ill this time. No deaths, but ConAgra can pat itself on the back for being the very FIRST peanut butter producer to include salmonella in their products for no extra cost to you! Ugh. Look on lids for code number 2111, if you bought it, you can return it to the store for a refund. Salmonella infection sickens 40,000 people in the US and kills 600 annually. Where will it pop up next?

Should you trust your makeup? I was not aware that the cosmetics industry is unregulated. When it comes to nasty chemicals, like formaldehyde, nothing is prevented from entering your tube of lipstick or mascara. I tend to purchase all natural cosmetics that are not tested on animals, so I generally feel safe trusting those companies. Go to the drug store and you are dealing with a different set of rules.
The California Safe Cosmetics Act took effect on January 1 of this year and requires cosmetics companies to tell state health authorities if a product contains any chemical on several governmental lists that are known to cause cancer or harm the reproductive system. Even traces of these chemicals NEED to be reported. One guilty party is known as phthalates, a group of chemicals used in nail polishes, fragrances, medical devices and shower curtains - these have an effect on reproductive systems of lab animals and can be absorbed and excreted by the human body.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is publicizing their concerns about chemicals in cosmetics in hopes that soon there will be greater governmental regulation and intervention when it comes to these unsafe product ingredients.
Our smarter, more concerned friends over in the European Union imposed new regulations on the industry in 2004, banning more than 600 chemicals from use in cosmetics. Later this year they will introduce and put into motion a program called REACH (registration, evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals) which will require companies that produce chemicals or use them in their products, packaging, or manufacturing, to collect comprehensive data on the possible risks of the substances to human health and to the environment. This new law will cost an estimated $6.7 billion (out of the chemical industry's pocket) over the next 10 years but it could save up to $70 billion in health costs over the next 30 years!! That is amazing to me. Apparently this is in response to increasing reports of early puberty, asthma and other allergies.
Chemicals that must be reported here in California under the new law are: acetate (in some hair dyes,) formaldehyde, a preservative, and toluene, a solvent used in some nail products.
Here is a list of SAFER companies taken from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website.
Consumer Reports also features a piece on safety and cosmetics.

Now that you have the info, don't be buying junk makeup dammit! Better to be safe than sorry. One of my favorites is ECCO BELLA makeup. The foundation is amazing, the mascara is great and the blush comes in many lively colors that you will love. My favorite lipstick is hemp organics LOVE. You can buy it at Whole Foods for about $7.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Poleng Lounge - another vegan wonderland!


It's another Valentines Day that my man is on a biz trip. Lucky for me, I had a date with a good friend of mine, Andrea. With reservations at Poleng Lounge in San Francisco, we were on our way with rumbling stomachs. Upon arrival, we marveled at the decor and the exciting menu. First, we ordered Buddha's Treasures. This tiny package is a homemade dumpling filled with a tasty mix of mixed vegetables served with a salty and tangy sauce with a bite. Next, we opted for a variety of nibbles such as sweet potato fries (perfectly cut into small skinny fries, not the clumsy fat ones) served with a damn spicy banana catsup & the smoked salt smothered grilled edamame pods. Lastly, we tried the Indo-Thai Eggplant Temple. The eggplant comes with a delicious flat bread and a sauce that I didn't try because I am sure its not vegan. The flat bread I DID try, it was flaky and tasty, and tasted better than the eggplant which was supposed to be the star on the plate. The eggplant was cooked perfectly, it was just kinda flavorless without the sauce. For dessert we chose the tapioca which featured coconut and soy milks. It was so yummy, but the toasted coconut on top, I was not a big fan of.
The Buddha treasure was definitely the most memorable dish....SO tasty I could have eaten about 10 of them. The service was impressive, our waiter was helpful but not pushy. He gladly accommodated my request for a fancy virgin cocktail. I had no suggestions, just whatever. I ended up with Monkey Love Juice, which was gone in about 2 minutes because it was just too easy to drink. Not too sweet and perfect complement to my salty meal.
Nice work Poleng, I will be back.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sheese En Route

So I emailed Black Duck Imports, the company that so kindly ships us SHEESE, a spectacular vegan cheese product. Here is the response, as I suspected:
Hi Keri-
Glad you like the Sheese.

You are correct - the Sheese is made in Scotland and shipped in pallets to us here in Florida. We take orders from individual stores and then ship it to them. If distributors wanted to pick it up, we would get the pallets to them for them to sell to the stores, but there are not enough stores with it right now to get a distributor interested. Hopefully that will happen soon.

Scott Myers responded in less than 24 hours, what a good guy. We are going to have to keep the compliments going out to them and begging for it in stores in our locale so that we don't have to feel guilty about our cheese traveling so far to get to our tummies. Soon enough, we will have a production site in the US because of the stupendous demand. Spread the word, and the Sheese.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Green Weddings, Sheese Review, & Hempmilk


My wedding was one of the most exhilarating days ever. Darryl and I got married at the Regency Building in San Francisco in a Gothic room of dark reds and large fancy chandeliers. Our guests dressed in period costumes as we wed on the weekend before Halloween. The pictures were dreamy and the experience is something of a blur but unforgettable. These days, "green" weddings are becoming the rage. Gathering at an organic farm for the ceremony, carrying a bouquet of local flowers, sipping sparkling wine from the nearby winery, and dining on vegan meals featuring seasonal produce from the farm at which you are tying the knot. Sounds so responsible its sick. I LOVE IT! Going the extra green mile (literally), some couples plan to offset carbon usage via guests being transported to the event by purchasing carbon credits from companies like TerraPass. Companies as such finance wind power plants and projects that collect cow manure and use it to make methane that is burned for electricity. This replaces coal and stops emissions from unburned methane which itself is a global warming gas. TerraPass figures out how much of the carbon credits to buy depending on the method and how far you are traveling. For example, airlines say that each gallon of gas (either jet or car) moves a passenger about 20 miles, so a 1000 mile trip uses about 50 gallons. This would cost you $9.95 at TerraPass, to offset the carbon released by your travels. Read the article in the NY Times for info on specialty services to make your party guests green with envy. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/11/fashion/11green.html?_r=1&ref=style&oref=slogin

Sheese, the most talked about product in the vegan community lately, is as good as people say it is. I CANNOT tell you how delicious the "blue cheese" flavor is. I am going to try, but honestly, its THAT good. I opened up the package I ordered from FOOD FIGHT in Oregon, knowing my Sheese awaited me inside. At first I hesitated because the package says to "keep refrigerated" but obviously it had to travel to me from Portland. So, I set it in the fridge and tried not to be paranoid a few hours later when I dove in with a fork to try it out. Shocking. The texture is hard, not rubbery. The flavor is tangy and creamy without the moldy yuck of real blue cheese. This is PERFECT for a sandwich. Its salty and tasty, not flavorless, rubbery and gag worthy. I have not attempted to melt it yet, apparently its a challenge but it tastes so good I don't care. I have yet to try the cheddar and chive, I promise to give you my reaction as soon as I do. At $9 a package, this damn cheese better be good, right? Well, I can say that I would rather eat this than some imported cheese from France that is loaded with rennet and god knows what else. I even think Sheese would hold up in accompanying a good glass of vino!
Yes, this cheese product is imported from a company called Black Duck Imports. I am not sure how far this product must travel to get to my fridge, but I sent an email asking. I will keep you posted on how many carbon credits we have to buy to make up for this!

Living Harvest just announced the launch of the first shelf stable hempmilk product. I am thrilled to see an alternative to nut and soy milks. My husband is allergic to most nuts, and isn't wild about soy milk. How many complaints do we have to hear about the soy issue....ugh, I am going for the hemp! I ordered the chocolate flavor - DOWNRIGHT delicious! I was really impressed. Thick, rich chocolately goodness made from whole hemp nuts. Hemp nuts have a balanced source of omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids, all 10 essential amino acids, vitamins A, B2, B12, D, E, folic acid, naturally occurring minerals magnesium, iron, potassium, and phosphorus PLUS 46% of recommended daily calcium. I am excited to try the original and vanilla flavors now.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Why I love my husbands B.O.


Sadly, many perfumes contain harmful chemicals. Valentines day is a big day for marketing sexy fragrance commericals on tv and in magazines. Well, here are some icky ingredients that come FREE with the highly romanticized fragrances people give their lovers as a gift.
  • Phthalates: Common plasticizing ingredients linked to birth defects in the reproductive system of boys at exposure levels typical for about one-quarter of U.S. women [2, 3]. Lowers sperm-motility in adult men [4]. Studies in laboratory animals show significant developmental toxicity [5] and damage to adult reproductive, adrenal, liver, and kidney organs [5]. Under consumer pressure, some cosmetic companies recently agreed to remove phthalates from their products — but many others have not. Our product tests show phthalates in nearly three-quarters of 72 name-brand products tested [6] [and link to not too pretty], even though none of these products contained the term "phthalate" on the ingredient label. Instead, in most cases these phthalates were almost certainly hidden in the product's fragrance.
  • Musks: Artificial musks accumulate in our bodies, and are often detected in breast milk and blood [7-10]. Musks come in two basic types, nitromusks and polycyclic musks. Nitromusks are linked to skin irritation, sensitization [9,10], and even cancer in laboratory studies [11, 12]. They are also linked to reproductive and fertility problems in women at high levels of exposure [13]. Laboratory studies also suggest that both polycyclic musks and nitromusks may affect hormone systems [14-19]. While the European Union has banned use of some nitromusks in cosmetics and personal care products [20], the use of polycyclic musks as an alternative to the more toxic nitromusks has increased. In the US, all musk chemicals are unregulated, and safe levels of exposure have not yet been set.
  • Allergic reactions: Fragrances are considered to be among the top five known allergens [21, 22], and are known to both cause asthma and trigger asthma attacks [23, 24]. Unfortunately, EWG's 2005 detailed survey of approximately one-third of the industry safety panel's ingredient reviews revealed that allergen and sensitizer determinations were made with little scientific rigor and inadequate safety margins.
The Environmental Working Group lists many items that are chemical and fragrance free that will prove that you REALLY DO LOVE your significant other!