Archive for February, 2008

The Great American Meat Out

February 28th, 2008

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March is nearly here and that means it is time again for The Great American Meat Out.   Started in 1985, Meat Out is a grassroots campaign designed to spread through education and information the benefits of a meat-free diet.   Events are coordinated by FARM and held in many cities (although Nashville is not one).   The purpose, of course, is to get as many people as possible to “Kick the meat habit”.

From the website, benefits include:

Kicking the meat habit reduces our risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other chronic diseases that cripple and kill nearly 1.4 million Americans annually.

Kicking the meat habit decreases our exposure to infectious pathogens like Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter, which kill several thousand Americans annually and sicken millions more.

Kicking the meat habit raises our energy level, lowers our food budget, and simplifies food preparation and cleanup.

Kicking the meat habit frees up grains and other foods that can be used to feed the world’s hungry. Animals are extremely inefficient “protein converters;” it can take up to 16 pounds of grain to make 1 pound of beef.

Kicking the meat habit preserves our topsoil, water, and other food production resources vital to the survival of our children and their children.

Kicking the meat habit protects our forests, grasslands, and other wildlife habitats from encroachment by cattle ranchers while reducing the polluting effects of methane, soil particles, manure, and pesticides on our air and water.

Kicking the meat habit saves animals from caging, crowding, deprivation, drugging, mutilation, manhandling, and agonizing slaughter. Each person who adopts a plant-based diet saves over 80 innocent, sentient animals each year. Over a lifetime, an individual can save more than 6,000 animals just by going vegan.

 

You can register for an event, get a meat-out packet and get pointers on getting someone you know, or even yourself, meat free at meatout.org.

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Hock A Soy Loogie

February 26th, 2008

I lost the taste for cow’s milk before I went vegan. The last drink of cow’s milk came from a coffee that was made using bad milk.   Hot, rancid milk is one thing but add some strong coffee to it and it just enhances the flavor. After that I started drinking soy milk exclusively. I toyed with different brands and different flavors finding the one I preferred.  I went with store brands but found them too chalky and paper tasting. I tried 8th Continent but found at the time they added Vitamin D3 (from sheep’s wool) to their milk, a practice they have since discontinued.  I went with Silk vanilla for a very long time as my choice but lost the affection for such a sweet taste and moved to the plain variety.  I then tried unsweetened and found it to be perfect.  It was the perfect cereal milk, coffee milk and straight out of the carton milk.  It also cooked very well and didn’t lend a sweetness to my recipes.

I then read about the company which owns Silk, Dean Foods, and how they are the leading operator of factory farms in the US.  I also read about how they get a portion of their soybeans from China and there is no sure way to know under what conditions those beans were produced or if they are actually organic.  When Whole Foods opened I noticed they started carrying Organic Valley unsweetened soy milk.  I had used Organic Valley soy milk previously and liked their flavor but they did have a bit of texture to them I didn’t like, reminiscent of a whole cow’s milk. I decided to go with Organic Valley unsweetened for a period.  It didn’t make the best coffee but worked great otherwise. You can also find out exactly where the soybeans that were used in the carton of milk you have are from by going to their website and typing in a code from the carton.
I have since tried rice milk and find it pointless, why not just use water? I have tried hemp milk, full of nutritional value but a little pricey.  I haven’t tried almond milk yet but get many recommendations to do so.

One thing I don’t miss from the days of drinking cow’s milk is the phlegm you get form downing a glass of milk.  None of that stuff with the soy milk. Soy milk even makes great ice “cream”, if you don’t want to make your won get a carton of Purely Decadent.  Better than ANY traditional ice cream I have had.

I have considered going back to Silk unsweetened just for coffee since it steams well but I don’t want to be any more hypocritical than I already am.  I know somebody is just waiting to get me for it if I do.

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Bad Beef? It’s In There! (maybe)

February 25th, 2008

The largest meat recall in the nation’s history has widened to include soups, sauces, boullion cubes and any other food, canned or otherwise, that may contain meat processed at Westland/Hallmark Meat of Chino, California. This new development could turn the largest meat recall into the largest food recall.

The nation’s largest meat recall could grow into its largest food recall as companies destroy products with any amount of the 143 million pounds of beef recalled last week.

The recall’s scope is unprecedented, says the Grocery Manufacturers of America. The value of foods affected — including soups, sauces, burritos and bouillon cubes — could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, a senior GMA official says.

“It’s going to be very, very sizable,” says Craig Henry, the group’s senior vice president. “We’ve never had a recall like this.” He says it will take weeks to find out how many products the recalled beef went into.

                                                                             – USAToday.com

If you’re a vegan or vegetarian then it is highly doubtful you will find any products containing the meat in your cabinets. I have yet to notice anything pulled from shelves when I go to the grocery store but then I don’t pay much attention to the meat aisle.

One more reason I am proud my family is vegan.

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Positive Vegan Article

February 22nd, 2008

I usually pickup a copy of the Greenwise magazine when I go to Publix on my grocery runs. I recently decided to get them mailed to me since I sometimes miss them and they occasionally have a good coupon or two inside. I received the newest issue yesterday and to my surprise there was an article titled “Vegetarian Juniors” in it. After reading this article I realized it could have been more aptly named “Vegan Juniors” as the mention of dairy and eggs was nowhere and the people mentioned were in fact vegan. It went on to say how infants and toddlers can thrive on a balanced vegan diet and even referenced doctors in the story. It is not easy to find positive articles discussing vegan diets for children

“In general, though, studies have shown that kids can thrive on a balanced plant-based diet. And research has found that no difference in average growth rates between vegetarian and nonvegetarian kids.”

The article goes on to suggest nutrition guidelines for a vegan or vegetarian child at different stages.

“For vegan toddlers, calorie-dense plant foods such as hummus, olives, dates and avocados may come in handy. Also, because toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, make sure your child is eating as wide a variety as possible of foods as possible.”

I was especially happy to see the term “vegan toddler”. The magazine is free and usually found at the entrance of the store. You can also subscribe here for free.

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Meat Disposal 101

February 21st, 2008

After the massive beef recalls over the past week you start to wonder what they do with 143 million pounds of decaying, uneaten bovine flesh.  Here is the answer to those questions.

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