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:
Thursday, March 29, 2007 -

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."

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


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
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.