Vegetarian Air Time on PBS Cooking Shows

pbsSomeone sent me a link to a petition which I think is well worth signing... so I'm putting it out here for all of you to review for yourselves.  The request is that PBS ensure that their cooking shows reflect current USDA guidelines which suggest that we concentrate on vegetables and grains and limit meat and dairy products.  The petition also requests that food groups get airtime proportionate to the USDA recommendations.

If you are interested, here's the link:  Petition.

Vegan Desserts Make The Grade

I'm continually impressed with how mainstream veganism is becoming.  Sure, it's not always easy to get a vegan meal at a restaurant without "working with" your server.  But it is getting easier.  And the number of vegan products seems to be increasing.  Now, we're even getting representation in Gourmet magazine.   This week, Gourmet says:

Vegan desserts are like the pastry world's version of breast implants: The best ones are indistinguishable from their conventional counterparts. For plenty of vegan bakers, the ultimate compliment is a look of shock.

That's true for Jane.  Her vegan brownies and vegan danish have met with incredulous stares when we've revealed they're vegan, as have her cookies.   Athough there are still a number of things we've tried which really don't work for us.

Overall, it's really encouraging to read something like this in Gourmet.  If foodies think vegan fare is good, then maybe the rest of the world will be willing to try some.  But breast implants?

Vegan Protein

So after writing about the born-again carnivore yesterday, I wanted to write a post that promotes a vegan diet tonight.  This is a vegan blog after all!

So what's the first thing people ask you when you say you've gone vegan?  Where do you get your protein?    Jack Norris, co-founder and current president of Vegan Outreach, and Registered Dietician, is authoring a blog of his own...  JackNorris.com. Fittingly, his first (real) post talks about protein.

According to Norris, if you eat 3 servings of proteins per day, your protein needs should be taken care of.  He suggests not eating more than 2-3 servings per day of soy or wheat gluten products.

So, where do you get your protein?  We get ours from a wide variety of foods.... Beans and legumes mostly (lots of chickpeas), followed by soy and nuts, and seitan.  And almond milk, and quinoa...  I also start my morning with a smoothie made of almond milk, almond butter, a banana, and rice protein powder.

And a special thanks to Joe H. of Temecula, CA who's email alerted us to Norris's new blog.

PETA Won’t Be At The Super Bowl

Banned Peta Ad

Still From Banned Peta Ad

For those of you who don't know, this weekend is the Super Bowl. The culmination of the 2008 American football season. And perhaps the most watched event annually. PETA's "Veggie Love" Super Bowl campaign has been banned by NBC. My first reaction was where did PETA get $3 million for this ad? (Super Bowl spots will start at $3 million for 30 second spot. - Source: Reuters) My second reaction was the Super Bowl is not the appropriate forum for a vegetarian ad... then I saw the spot, and I thought to myself, "This time those folks at PETA know what they're doing."

According to PETA, NBC nixed the ad, saying it "depicts a level of sexuality exceeding our standards." Personally, I don't agree... with all the Viagara and Cialis they market, this should be right up their alley!


'Veggie Love': PETA's Banned Super Bowl Ad

According to the spot, "Studies show vegetarians have better sex. Go Veg."

Combat Global Warming – Eat Vegan

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the US blogged about "Your Plate, Your Planet" (in other words, what you eat affects the environment) tonight.  It's something I ranted about a few times over the summer. Eating lower on the food chain is a very effective tool to reduce our individual carbon-footprints.  Apparently, this is still such an unpopular choice that we're looking for a high-tech solution, rather than go the easy route and reduce our meat consumption.

Meat consumption is expected to double, across the global, between 2000 and 2050.  Yikes!

Farm emissions, one of the major contributors to global warming, will be one of the main topics discussed in Poznan, Poland as 187 nations gather for talks on a new treaty to help combat global warming.

In releasing its latest figure on emissions last month, United Nations climate officials cited agriculture and transportation as the two sectors that remained most “problematic.”

“It’s an area that’s been largely overlooked,” said Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Nobel Prize-winning United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He says people should eat less meat to control their carbon footprints. “We haven’t come to grips with agricultural emissions.”  -- Source NY Times

Hopefully there will be some forward progress towards a reduction in the number of animals being produced for food.  Perhaps Mr. Pacelle and the HSUS will take on this challenge after their successful campaign to get Proposition 2 passed in California.  Or maybe the skyrocketing cost of food will drive more people to consider the cheaper alternative of vegetarian-based meals. Trust me people, it's not that hard to go vegan.  We've been at it for almost 1½ years, and we're not going back!

For more on this topic, see our posts "More Reasons Not To Eat Meat," "Vegan Eating Trumps Eating Locally," "Climate Change and Meat Consumption -- Eat Vegan."

The Vegan 100 – 100 Things You Should Try

Many of you have probably already seen The Vegan’s Hundred list.  There are other ”Hundred” food memes circulating round the blogosphere (The Omnivore’s Hundred, which started the trend; and The Vegetarian’s Hundred).  Generally these a little bit of fluff we bloggers can use a way of introducing ourselves.  Jane and I don't usually bother with them (do you really care what movies we've seen recently, this is a vegan blog after all).  But I really like this list because it can inspire all of us to try new things.

Here's the basic premise:

1) Copy this list into your own blog, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you've eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Post a comment here once you've finished and link your post back to this one.
5) Pass it on!

1. Natto (ironically, we just tried this)
2. Green Smoothie (VeganMomma has inspired me, but I'm still a little nervous)
3. Tofu Scramble (not just for breakfast)
4. Haggis (vegan haggis?  Huh?)
5. Mangosteen (I've never even heard of this)
6. Creme brulee (oh Jane, can you find a vegan version of this?)
7. Fondue (aahhh the 70s.  I have fond memories of my parents having fondue parties)
8. Marmite/Vegemite (once was enough!)
9. Borscht (this might be the way we get over our beet phobia)
10. Baba ghanoush - (Yum!)
11. Nachos
12. Authentic soba noodles
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Taco from a street cart
16. Boba Tea - (two things to look out for here - milk and honey, if you don't eat it.  Often the tea is prepared with milk, and the tapioca "pearls" can be either soaked in sugar or honey... so make sure to ask, or read the label.)
17. Black truffle - (I have the oil, does that count?)
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Gyoza - (can't get enough dumplings)
20. Vanilla ice cream (Not as good as the vegan chocolate ice cream)
21. Heirloom tomatoes (from our garden)
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Ceviche (I didn't know this could be veganized...)
24. Rice and beans
25. Knish (often made with butter, milk, eggs... so ASK)
26. Raw scotch bonnet pepper (hot, hot, hot)
27. Dulce de leche (vegan?)
28. Caviar (I've eaten caviar in my pre-vegan days, but never a vegan version)
29. Baklava
30. Pate (the goose will thank you)
31. Wasabi peas (I don't understand the appeal)
32. Chowder in a sourdough bowl (and you don't have to do the dishes!)
33. Mango lassi - (make sure it's vegan... this is traditionally made with milk and yogurt)
34. Sauerkraut (IMO there are much better uses for cabbage)
35. Root beer float (funny, we were just wondering if vegan vanilla ice cream would make the float bubble like it does with cow's milk.)
36. Mulled cider
37. Scones with buttery spread and jam (Jane makes a mean scone)
38. Vodka jelly (oooh, sign me up!)
39. Gumbo
40. Fast food french fries (sorry to say, I have)
41. Raw Brownies (sorry to say I have... at Leaf, they were horrible)
42. Fresh Garbanzo Beans (haven't seen these anywhere)
43. Dahl (gotta love that Indian cuisine)
44. Homemade Soymilk (homemade almond milk is better)
45. Wine from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more (it was even better because work paid for it!)
46. Stroopwafle (I don't even know what this is)
47. Samosas
48. Vegetable Sushi (one day, when I don't remember how much I loved traditional sushi)
49. Glazed doughnut
50. Seaweed
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi (well, the paste, not the plum balls themselves)
53. Tofurkey
54. Sheese
55. Cotton candy (not since I was a small child, but I'm assuming it was vegan)
56. Gnocchi (I love gnocchi )
57. Piña colada
58. Birch beer
59. Scrapple
60. Carob chips (don't let anyone fool you, this is not a chocolate replacement.  Just stick with the semisweet or dark stuff)
61. S'mores
62. Soy curls
63. Chickpea cutlets (yum!)
64. Curry
65. Durian (bizarre)
66. Homemade Sausages
67. Churros, elephant ears, or funnel cake
68. Smoked tofu
69. Fried plantain
70. Mochi
71. Gazpacho
72. Warm chocolate chip cookies (every time I'm around and Jane makes them)
73. Absinthe
74. Corn on the cob
75. Whipped cream, straight from the can (I keep meaning to slip it in the cart when we're at Whole Foods)
76. Pomegranate (Jane actually likes to open the fruit and eat the kernels individually)
77. Fauxstess Cupcake (we have the cookbook, I know Jane's got a post it on the page...)
78. Mashed potatoes with gravy
79. Jerky (I tried the cactus jerky)
80. Croissants (Jane made a croissant with the leftover dough from the Vegan Danish)
81. French onion soup
82. Savory crepes
83. Tings (I don't think Jane's moving away from SnapPea Crisps)
84. A meal at Candle 79 (Of course, you should never say never)
85. Moussaka (mock, made with eggplant)
86. Sprouted grains or seeds (not quite my cup of tea)
87. Macaroni and "cheese"
88. Flowers (Jane grows nasturtium and adds that to our salads)
89. Matzoh ball soup (it was more like Matzoh mush)
90. White chocolate (I don't understand the appeal)
91. Seitan (Shojin makes the best Seitan)
92. Kimchi (I had a boss who loved the stuff)
93. Butterscotch chips
94. Yellow watermelon (one day, but I really love red watermelon)
95. Chili with chocolate
96. Bagel and Tofutti (get the Tofutti in the yellow container... No trans fats)
97. Potato milk (huh?)
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee (we don't drink coffee)
100. Raw cookie dough (you've got to lick the beaters)

So I've tried 69 of the 97 I would try on this list...  That puts me at 71%.  Looks like I need to get a move on!

So Where Does This Guy Stand on Animal Rights Anyway?

I'm confused. I read a commentary in the NY Times Op-Ed section tonight and I really don't get what side the author is supposedly arguing. Nicholas Kristof starts off by saying:

In a world in which animal rights are gaining ground, barbecue season should make me feel guilty. My hunch is that in a century or two, our descendants will look back on our factory farms with uncomprehending revulsion. But in the meantime, I love a good burger.

Then Kirstof briefly mentions the animal rights referendum on the slate this November here in California, Proposition 2 (which would prohibit confining farm animals in such a manner that they are unable to turn around or extend their limbs). After which he waxes poetic about the geese his family raised when he was a child.

Perhaps it seems like soggy sentimentality as well as hypocrisy to stand up for animal rights, particularly when I enjoy dining on these same animals. But my view was shaped by those days in the barn as a kid, scrambling after geese I gradually came to admire.

So I’ll enjoy the barbecues this summer, but I’ll also know that every hamburger patty has a back story, and that every tin of goose liver pâté could tell its own rich tale of love and loyalty.

I'm sorry, is he claiming to argue for animal rights? Apparently his geese didn't have that much of an effect if he's eating goose liver pate. (Foie Gras is considered to be one of the most inhumanely processed foods.)

At least he acknowledges his hypocrisy. But I don't understand where in the article Kristoff actually stands up for animal rights. He doesn't go into any detail on Proposition 2 -- the closest he comes is this:

So, yes, I eat meat (even, hesitantly, goose). But I draw the line at animals being raised in cruel conditions. The law punishes teenage boys who tie up and abuse a stray cat. So why allow industrialists to run factory farms that keep pigs almost all their lives in tiny pens that are barely bigger than they are?

Defining what is cruel is, of course, extraordinarily difficult. But penning pigs or veal calves so tightly that they cannot turn around seems to cross that line.

So where, exactly, does Kristof think his meat is coming from? When he goes out, does he dine exclusively on grass-fed beef that is humanely slaughtered by the farmer, and not shipped off to a slaughterhouse? Or does he think that because "Burger King announced last year that it would give preference to suppliers that treat animals better," that means that all hamburgers are produced in a humane manner?

As for defining cruelty, I don't think it's too difficult to define the production of foie gras as cruel. I'm not alone either. According to Wikipedia:

The force feeding of animals for non-medical purposes, essential to current foie gras production practices, is explicitly prohibited by specific laws in six of nine Austrian provinces, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, or following interpretation of general animal protection laws in Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

But I did learn one interesting tidbit. Apparently Harvard Law is offering a course on animal rights. That bodes well for the future of animal rights.

Some of Our Favorites…

The first four blogs are on topic, the last three are blogs that aren't, but are on our daily "must read" list. We hope you enjoy our selections.

  1. Well, first, we have to nominate Susan over at Fat Free Vegan. She puts out vegan recipes that are (mostly) fat-free, (mostly) easy, and mostly yum. Actually, none of Susan's recipes that Jane has tried have come out badly. So, we highly recommend visiting her if you're in need of a vegan recipe, or a few thousand!
  2. We also like Animal Writings. Gary has a lot to say about animal rights and has been running a series to help meat eaters transition to a vegan diet. Gary is eloquent, and passionate, and his blog is very well written.
  3. Seitan is My Motor. Another wonderful vegan food blog. Clean and elegant, with beautiful pictures and some interesting recipes.
  4. Tempyra authors a blog both Jane and I like to frequent. She writes a little bit about vegetarianism, environmentalism, and other things that strike her fancy. She also writes about Australia, where she resides, and New Zealand, where she grew up. Two of our favorite places to visit. Too bad they're so far away.
  5. ZME Science. In case you haven't noticed, we like reading science blogs. This one tends to focus on environmental issues and is written in an easy to read/easy to understand manner.
  6. How To Change The World, Guy Kawasaki's blog. Guy is one of the original Apple employees. He's got a lot to say - mostly about technology and marketing. Well worth reading.
  7. Seeking Alpha is one of the better investing blogs out there. In addition to writing their own material, they gather information from a myriad of investing blogs and newsletters.

So there you have it. We had a difficult time culling our list to only seven. There's a lot of "brilliant" information being shared out there. And here's a plug for our friends at Alltop.com. If you're looking for information on almost any topic, they've gone and aggregated blogs for about 150 different topics. It's an easy way to keep yourself up to date on your favorite topics.

57 Health Benefits of Going Vegan

Yes, you read that correctly. According to Alisa Miller over at NursingDegree.com, there are 57 health benefits associated with eating vegan. Actually, she's listed 47 health benefits and 10 other items of potential interest to the vegan eater. None of this information is new, but it certainly bears repeating. Below are my

favorites:

3. Fiber. A diet high in fiber (as vegan eating usually is) leads to healthier bowel movements. High fiber diets help fight against colon cancer.

10. Phytochemicals. Plant-based foods provide phytochemicals, which help to prevent and heal the body from cancer, boost protective enzymes, and work with antioxidants in the body.

11. Protein. That protein is good for your body is no surprise. It may be a surprise to learn that most Americans eat too much protein and in forms such as red meat that are not healthy ways of getting protein. Beans, nuts, peas, lentils, and soy products are all great ways to get the right amount of protein in a vegan diet.

12. Cardiovascular disease. Eating nuts and whole grains, while eliminating dairy products and meat, will improve your cardiovascular health. A British study indicates that a vegan diet reduces the risk for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Vegan diets go far in preventing heart attack and stroke.

15. Type 2 diabetes. Not only is a vegan diet a weapon against Type 2 diabetes, it is also "easier to follow than the standard diet recommended by the American Diabetic Association."

24. Weight loss. A healthy weight loss is a typical result of a smart vegan diet. Eating vegan eliminates most of the unhealthy foods that tend to cause weight issues.

27. Longer life. Several studies indicate that those following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle live an average of three to six years longer than those who do not.

34. Allergies. Reduction in dairy, meat, and eggs is often tied to alleviation of allergy symptoms. Many vegans report much fewer runny noses and congestion problems.

35. Animal proteins. The average American eats twice as much protein as necessary for a healthy diet and much of that is from red meat. Getting protein from beans and grains is much healthier and reduces the risk for osteoporosis.

38. Mercury. Most of the fish and shellfish consumed has mercury in it. While some fish have less than others, it is almost impossible not to be putting mercury in your body when you eat fish.

40. Animals. Many people begin a vegan diet out of concern for animals. Whether opposed to the conditions of animals intended for food or eating animals in general, going vegan will help your conscience rest easily.

41. Environment. Growing plants takes much fewer resources than growing animals. By eating vegan, you can help reduce the toll on the environment.

45. Global food supply. Feeding grain to animals meant as food sources reduces the amount of food that is available to underdeveloped nations. Many people will go hungry while that same food they could be eating is given to animals raised for slaughter. Eating vegan ensures that you have removed yourself from the participation of this imbalance. (VeganBits note: Sparrow comments on our post Arguing for Vegetarianism, "that I learned in earned in my International Politics class a couple of years back is that world hunger is largely a problem of distribution.")

46. Hormone consumption. Eating animals that have been given hormones to speed growth (a common practice in the meat industry) means those hormones go into your body. Not only can this disrupt the natural balance of your hormones, but some of the hormones given to animals have shown to cause tumor growth in humans.

47. Antibiotics. Antibiotics are frequently given to feed animals, which can lead to bacterial resistance. Many of the antibiotics used to treat human infections are also used in feed animals.

If you're interested in the rest of the list visit NursingDegree.com

Oprah’s Vegan Venture

Although we can't take credit for getting Oprah to try a vegan diet, Jane and I are pretty excited about the whole thing. I feel a little funny blogging about her so much, this is a vegan blog after all, not an Oprah blog (and I'm a guy -- next thing you know I'll be going to see "Sex in The City" and drinking Cosmos). But if Oprah espouses a cause, it takes off. And not just here. I believe I read that she's syndicated in 135 countries. And then there's the magazine and the radio shows, and she's got videos on YouTube... She's a veritable media mogul!

So, we've been following Oprah's blog. Aside from missing alcohol, she seems to be doing okay. She's exhibited surprise at how tasty some of the vegan alternatives are. Yay. I would expect that she'll do a follow-up show and our hopes are that she'll talk about how good the food was and how easy it was to eat this way. And if she's talking about these things, many other people will consider trying it for themselves.

One of the biggest criticisms I'm hearing is that Oprah is approaching this as a "cleanse" and not a change in lifestyle. She apparently wears mink eyelashes (huh?) and has a shoe fetish (presumably leather shoes). But I'm not sure that's something to condemn. She's on a path, who knows where it will lead. Jane and I started out on our vegan journey purely for health reasons. We were dietary vegans. I think Earthlings was the turning point for us, although I can't really put my finger on the actual time when animal welfare became the paramount reason we no longer eat animal products.

As for our petition, we submitted it to the Oprah site on May 22nd and got an auto-response confirming receipt of our email. We also received a second response on May 25th saying our mail was being forwarded to the producers of the Oprah Show. Since then, nothing. I don't expect Oprah to be influenced by us, nor do I expect her to be the next vegan star, but ut she's on the path, and that is more than we could have hoped for. Our wishes now, are that she'll continue to eat vegan and promote that to her viewers.