Vegan Bullying

bully-1Bullying is never OK. When I saw the words "vegan bullying," I just assumed it was about meat-eaters giving non-meat eaters a hard time. But it wasn't about that. In fact, it's the opposite. vegans being bullies?!  Apparently, at a high school in Northern California, vegans are "bullying" other students; calling them names like carcass crunchers.

The "carcass crunchers" are students involved in an Ag program at the high school. These students in this Ag program are growing and slaughtering animals at the high school. Apparently, there's been a fair amount of social buzz about this of late.

Here's a news report on this topic from the local area Fox TV affiliate:

source: http://fox40.com/2013/05/06/vegans-accused-of-bullying-agriculture-students-online/

Have people been actually calling others' carcass crunchers?  Who knows? But the article indicates: "...One of the vegan students involved spoke with FOX40 but declined to go on  camera. She said that no vegan Elk Grove student has used the “carcass cruncher”  term and that she has not passed out any fliers..."

Read more: http://fox40.com/2013/05/06/vegans-accused-of-bullying-agriculture-students-online/#ixzz2SnwEOgGp

 

Gyoza Eating Competition

gyoza eating contestYesterday, Jane and I were in the Little Tokyo section of Los Angeles at the Gyoza Eating Competition.  Gyoza, if you don't already know, are Japanese dumplings.  They are usually vegetable or pork based, but I think I heard the commentator mention something about vegetables.

So here's a little known tidbit about me.  I cannot tear myself away from the television when Food Network, or one of the Discovery channels is airing something about competitive eating.  No, I have no interest in putting my skills to the test.  Actually, I have no idea how these people can actually eat this quantity of food in the period of time allotted. (Someone actually ate 8 pounds of mayonnaise in 10 minutes, and Sonya "The Black Widow" choked down 552 oysters in 10 minutes!)  Regardless of the foods they're eating, I am mesmerized.  I liken it to a car crash.  Most people can't look away.  Competitive eating is my car crash, I have to watch.

Joey Chestnut, one of the more famous competitive eaters on the circuit, was the star of the show.  He was trying to break his previous record of 231 Gyoza in 10 minutes.  Unfortunately for him, he started having some real trouble around minute 7, and only managed a paltry 181 Gyoza.  But hey, it was enough to win the competition.

Here's some footage of his technique.  Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, the reigning hot dog eating champion,  is the left most male competitor (top row).  Jaws ate 68 Nathans dogs this past 4th of July beating out Kobayashi for a third straight year.  No, the hot dogs are not vegan.  Regardless, vegan or otherwise, who in their right mind is choking down 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes?!  The guy on the right in the blue baseball cap was disqualified.  He hurled.  (No it's not on the video!)   And the amateur eaters are in the bottom row.  If you compare their techniques, you can definitely tell who trains for this event!

Vegan Recipe in Bon Appetit Magazine

bon appetitFor Christmas this year, Jane received a subscription to bon appetit magazine.  She received the gift because the giver knew that she was always cooking and looking at recipes.  Unfortunately, the giver did not pay particular attention to the kind of recipes that Jane was looking at, but it's the thought that counts, eh?

So every month, before passing it along to a friend who does appreciate this kind of cooking,  Jane's been looking through bon appetit for ideas.  Clearly, the magazine is not geared towards vegans, but there are some interesting spice combinations and some hints of ideas of things that could be veganized.  There is even the occasional article that we'll read.  But overall, the magazine is definitely slanted towards omnivores.  So you can imagine our shock, when Jane found a clearly marked vegan recipe in the June issue. It's on page 40 and the recipe is for "Grilled Veggie and Tofu Stack with Balsamic and Mint."  And right above the recipe, highlighted in green, it reads "vegan main dish."  You could have just knocked me over with a feather!  It even sounds good!

They also promote the recipe by indicating  that it "isn't just vegan -- the main course is also high in fiber and low in calories and cholesterol.  Of course, the recipe immediately following is for grilled lamb chops.  But still... bon appetit featured a vegan recipe.

Who Is The Target Market Here?

A Little Reminder of Where Your Meat Comes From

A Reminder of Where Your Meat Comes From

While Jane's mom was here we did a few "touristy" things. One of the things we hadn't done with her yet was to visit Farmer's Market. It's a tourist attraction that pulls them in by the busload, and where there are people, there is food. This is someplace to grab a bite to eat and people watch. So we went on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

One of the restaurants had this in their display. I'm left wondering who their target demographic is? You're not going to pull in any vegans or vegetarians by showing pig-shaped sausage meats, and most omnivores don't seem to really want to know where their meat comes from.

Tastes Just Like What Mom Used to Make

ice_ben_jerrys_natural_chocolateSo I'm watching CNN as I'm getting ready for work, and across the bottom of the screen, the scrolling news goes by.... PETA urges Ben & Jerry's to replace cow's milk with... (at this point, I'm expecting to see soy millk. aren't you?) human breast milk. Jane loudly exclaimed "ew," and we looked at each other in disbelief.

Now after a few moments, I thought to myself, "really what's the difference between cow's milk and human milk? And why is the thought of drinking human milk so repulsive?" But it is. I'm sure the point of the campaign is to drive home how badly cows are treated, and that cow's milk isn't all that healthy for us, but I'm not sure this is the most effective way to do that. In my opinion, this is exactly the kind of thing PETA does that makes the rest of the vegan community look insane. Are they kidding? Or is it simply a matter of "any press is good press?" If you don't believe my eyes, here's PETA's press release.

One final thought, if you're using the argument "adults consuming dairy products made from milk that was meant for a baby cow just doesn't make sense," does it make sense to for an adult to consume a product that was designed for a baby, even if it's a baby of the same species? It would seem to me the answer should be a resounding "no" as the nutritional needs for a growing infant are different than those of an adult. (For a comprehensive study on the dangers of dairy, and eating meat in general, I highly recommend The China Study, if you haven't read it already!)

In any event, I wish PETA would change their direction a bit. I applaud their efforts to get the word out there, but perhaps they could do it in a manner that might be a little less histrionic.

Watermelon Equals Fireworks

We wish all of our US readers a Happy 4th. Today's post might be a little late for this weekend's festivities, but it'll certainly be of value throughout the summer. It turns out that watermelon isn't just a fun summer fruit -- it contains certain chemicals that might help ensure some fireworks in the bedroom.

Apparently watermelons contain citrulline, a chemical which can trigger the body's blood vessels to relax. According to scientists at Texas A&M's Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center, this is similar to the reaction a man has when he takes Viagra.

Found in the flesh and rind of watermelons, citrulline reacts with the body's enzymes when consumed in large quantities and is changed into arginine, an amino acid that benefits the heart and the circulatory and immune systems.

"Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has, to treat erectile dysfunction and maybe even prevent it," said Bhimu Patil, a researcher and director of Texas A&M's Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center. "Watermelon may not be as organ-specific as Viagra, but it's a great way to relax blood vessels without any drug side effects." Todd Wehner, who studies watermelon breeding at North Carolina State University, said anyone taking Viagra shouldn't expect the same result from watermelon.

"It sounds like it would be an effect that would be interesting but not a substitute for any medical treatment," Wehner said.

source - Watermelon Yields Viagara Like Effects

Don't look to watermelon to actually replace those little blue pills however, as you probably need about 6 cups of watermelon to ingest enough of the chemical to see any effects. Anyway, it'll be interesting to see who's buying lots of watermelon at the farmer's market this weekend.

Recipe – Hummus Rap

No, that's not a typo in the title. Here's the rap... , the hummus recipe is below. I found this video on YouTube the other day. It's stuck in my head, and I've been tormenting Jane with it. Now I'm sharing it with you. Enjoy! (It's not terribly P.C., but I don't think anything is overtly offensive here.)

... and here's Jane's recipe (courtesy of the guy she was dating before she met me... he's Arabic, so this recipe is pretty authentic):

  • 2 15-oz. cans chickpeas
  • ¼ Cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ~ ¼ Cup water (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Drain and rinse chickpeas and place in food processor. Add tahini, garlic, cumin, lemon juice, and olive oil and process until smooth. The paste will be thick. If using, slowly add water until a creamy consistency is achieved. Add salt, process until incorporated. Taste. Adjust salt as desired.

Hummus is pretty versatile. Sometimes Jane will add a roasted red pepper to the food processor. Sometimes she'll throw in a bit of spinach. She's also made it in a bowl, just mashed with a fork (no water in that recipe), it's much thicker that way, but good too, and makes for an easier clean-up.

I love Jane's hummus. She gets a little bored with it, but I could eat it every day.

Peacocks

So I'm standing at the stove, fluffing the rice and putting the finishing touches on our dinner, when Lane calls me. He's a few blocks from home and he tells me to come out and meet him.... There are two peahens walking up our hill.

Now for some of you, this might not be a strange occurance, but we live in Los Angeles. And I'm not talking about the canyons of Los Angeles where all the movie stars live, where you might expect to see the occasional mountain lion or bear. I'm talking about the Los Angeles where you can practically open your window and hand your neighbor a cup of coffee if they have their window open too. I'm not complaining (that much), I mostly love where we live. We're on a hill so the houses are pretty staggered as far as eye-level is concerned. And we live in a part of LA where there are actually trees, so you have the illusion of some privacy. But peacocks? That was a first. We've got raccoons, and the occasional coyote, and red-tailed hawks. But peacocks?

What else could I do? I turned off the stove, got the camera and keys and rushed out to see for myself. Sure enough, there were two peahens out for an evening constitutional! I'm guessing they're either someone's pets because we're not all that close to anyplace else where they might have logically escaped from. Or they must have recognized that I'm vegan, they didn't seem too concerned about me. They were close enough for me to reach out and touch them, had I any desire to get my fingers pecked at!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed today's version of the Wild Kingdom.

Cheers -- Jane

– If you haven’t signed our petition to Oprah asking her to do a piece on factory farming, please consider doing so. We can all work together to make a difference.

New Vegan Strips… No Bacon, but Plenty of Silicone

It might be time for a road trip to Portland, Oregon. Clearly there's a lot more going on there than I've ever imagined. Oregon seems to have more vegans per square foot than any other state in the United States. Portland has the most strip clubs per capita in the United States. So I guess it comes as no surprise that Portland now claims to play host to the first vegan strip club in the world. When I first moved out to California almost twenty years ago, California was deemed to be the "land of fruit and nuts." We've got nothing on Oregon!

Does anyone else find this extremely bizarre? According to the owner, the only meat you'll find at this place is on a pole. He also claims to be moved by a desire to expose people to veganism. Is his pun intended? Are his strippers vegans themselves? Is his intent to expose his patrons to vegan strippers or vegan foods?

So what is his tagline going to be? "Where's the beef?" or how about "Try our BLTs: Buns, Legs and Tits." If it's a vegan strip club, can it still be referred to as a meat market?

I'm not going to pass any value judgments as to whether strip clubs are good or evil, the fact is they exist. (I deliberately haven't mentioned the name of the strip club because I'm not promoting it. You can google it if you're really interested.) But I am presenting this information to point out that the mere existence of this gimmick serves to show how mainstream veganism is becoming.

Vegas Vertical Farm? Maybe not…

Two weeks ago, I posted an article about a new 30 story vertical farm coming to Las Vegas in 2010. It was reported here, on other blogs, and on various news services. But is is true?

James Murray, at Business Green Blog, is now reporting that the story may have been fabricated. In his article, Mr. Murray says that he spoke with parties close to the Vertical Farm designer, and members of the Las Vegas and (Clark) County planners offices. According to Mr. Murray's report, none of these people were able to substantiate the story.

Is there going to be a 30 story vertical farm in Las Vegas? I don't know? I certainly hope so. It would be great for Vegans (people who are natives, or citizens, or residents of Las Vegas) and vegans (people who refrain from eating animal products) alike. Regardless, here a couple of links about vertical farming:

  • The Vertical Farm's website highlights the idea of vertical farming, and notes recent news stories about the concept. There is no story about a vertical farm coming to Las Vegas on their website.
  • A BBC article which discusses a proposal by scientists at Columbia University of a potential vertical farm in New York City

So maybe the vertical farm in Las Vegas is just one those viral stories that circulates the internet. I hope not. It would be nice to see more vegan options in Sin City. I'm not going to gamble on that.