Archive for June, 2007


Veg BBQ Tips

grilled veggies

With Summer upon us, the season for the traditional backyard BBQ is in full swing. If you’re a vegetarian (or on your veg day), never fear…here are some tips to make your BBQ experience deliciously enjoyable.

  • A clean grill is a happy grill- If sharing a BBQ with meat eaters, some vegetarians are not too keen on having their veggie burger or dog tossed on a piece of old meat. It doesn’t need to be spotless, but it’s the thought that counts. A separate “veg section” will help to keep things in order and apart. Also, this will help with the next step.
  • Use a little oil or cooking spray- Besides the fact that mock meats and vegetables are meatless, they also have very little fat and oils in them. This is good for your belly…but the grill doesn’t like it. To prevent sticking, start with a cool grill, use a paper towel and some oil to wipe the grill, or you can use a bit of cooking spray (just make sure the grill is turned off or you’ll create a miniature volcano on the patio).
  • Keep your utensils clean- To helps spread contamination between raw and cooked foods….especially meats.
  • Make sure your mock meat is grill-able- Some are…some aren’t.
  • Don’t forget about the sides- potato salad, pasta salad, grilled veggies, cole slaw, etc. These are what make a BBQ.

Here are some quick and easy no-recipe, recipes that both vegheads and carni’s will enjoy.

pineapple rings
(sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar)
portobello mushrooms
(brush with oil or marinated in vinegar and garlic and serve like a veggie burger with all the condiments)
sweet potatoes or yams
(wrap in foil, or, slice in half, pre-bake, brush with maple syrup for extra sweetness and grill)
(soak in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling)
corn on the cob
(pull the husk back, but don’t remove it (use it as a handle), wrap the opened end with a little aluminum foil and turn frequently)
(slice in half and sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar or drizzle with maple syrup)

For more elaborate, delicious sounding vegetarian and vegan BBQ recipes go here.


Poo Flavored Meat

(Got E.coli?)

Does the estimated 5.7 million pounds of E.coli infested meat have you a little worried?  Last week this outbreak was reported as a small problem with only a few thousand pounds of meat being affected.  Today it’s 5.7 million pounds.  Could there be more?  Sure, of course there’s more, but this is all the food inspectors know about right now.  Tomorrow it could be 10 million for all we know.  The main concern is the fact that this meat has already been eaten by consumers.  It’s not like we are getting a warning stating "whatever you do, don’t eat meat from this store" ….it’s more like "oh, by the way, that meat you ate last month….um, yeah, E.coli."  This is bad news in general and it demonstrates our dependence on some organization to tell us our food is safe (or not).

It’s not as grim as it may seem.  There is a simple solution to avoiding this.  Why not cut back or cut out meat consumption?  Also, if/when you do eat meat, take the time to find out where it came from.  Being able to talk to the farmer that produces our food is the real answer to food safety.  Asking him or her how they grow their produce or raise their animals is key to avoiding risky food. 

I recently came across a website that is yet another resource to help us locate local places that produce fresh and safe foods.  The site is  Here is their mission.

LocalHarvest is America’s #1 organic and local food website. We maintain a definitive and reliable "living" public nationwide directory of small farms, farmers markets, and other local food sources. Our search engine helps people find products from family farms, local sources of sustainably grown food, and encourages them to establish direct contact with small farms in their local area. Our online store helps small farms develop markets for some of their products beyond their local area.


Mars reverses direction

Not the planet…the company! This is a story of a company that made a decision to include calf rennet in its candy bars, then recieved a bunch of negative attention, changed back to the original recipe and now is amazingly seeking the vegetarian seal of approval. That’s right, Masterfoods, the company that produces Mars candy bar products in the UK, is now seeking the Vegetarian Society’s “Green V” of approval on its candy bars. If the Vegetarian Society approves it, Mars will be the first candy bar to carry this distinction. While this is good news for vegetarians and Masterfoods, it still doesn’t mean they are good for you! ;)

read the article here. (


The Fifth Beatle

This is a classic Simpsons episode. I figured with Paul McCartney releasing his new album this week and it being Friday, what better way to end the work week that with a good clip?!

Ricola- wait, I mean E.coli.  The USDA had just found another 370,000 pounds of tainted meat in addition to the 75,000 they’ve already found.  If you live in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington or Wyoming you may want to check it.  (San Jose Mercury News)

Good diet fuels athletes- vegetarianism is growing.  Around one in four college students ask for a veg meal at dinner time.  But what about nutrition for athletes? (Miami Herald)

Pesticides slow plant growth- a good (albeit technical) article on how pesticides actually slow down the growth rate of plants.  P.S. it’s probably not good to eat the stuff either (ScienceDaily)

Whole Foods - Wild Oats merger, not happening?- The FTC is suing to stop it.  Why?  Because they don’t want Whole Foods to corner the market on organic and natural food.  But wait, what about all the big grocery chains that are also carrying most of the same stuff? (NYtimes via Ethicurean)

Slow food elitism-  food snobbery around high quality food?  Can only rich people with time on their hands enjoy slow food? (grist)

Meat without the animals- dream come true or stomach turning?  Dutch researchers are working to create meat in the lab. (reuters)


Book and a Beer

the omnivore's dilemmaThere are few things better than a beautiful San Diego night and a cold pint of local ale.  Last night Meg, Adam and I went to the Stone Brewing Company in Escondido, CA to attend their first "Book and a Beer" Club.  Appropriately, the first book up for discussion was the Omnivore’s Dilemma.  I say "appropriately" because Stone Brewing Company and World Bistro practices many of the concepts highlighted in Michael Pollen’s book.  They buy locally, organically and represent the best of the slow food movement whenever possible.  This was Greg Koch’s, vision when he co-founded the company, and I would like to use this blog posting to highlight some of the interesting people I met and the perspectives I gained.

Greg Koch and the vision of Stone
Greg spoke about how far the company has come but also about how far he still needs to go before he will satisfied with the ethical food quality served at his restaurant.   This is an evolving process that takes time and lots of research.  Stone has a great menu filled with tons of the freshest ingredients from the area.  Almost any dish can be made vegetarian, and regardless of your choice,  you can be assured that a great deal of thought has gone into the creation and preparation of your meal.  One thing I learned… if you’re a farmer that raises grass-fed beef organically and in CA, you may want to give Greg a call…because he’s looking for it.  Did I mention the ice cold locally brewed beer?  It’s the best!

Barry Logan and La Milpa Organica
Other interesting topics and points discussed last night came from Barry Logan, owner and operator of La Milpa Organica, and his son Nick.  La Milpa Organica is an organic farm located in Escondido that supplies fresh, local, organic produce to Stone Brewing Company and other businesses in the area.  To learn more about the farm, check out the excellent write-up here.  Both Barry and Nick believe in "powering down" which is a simple concept to encourage us to minimize our use of energy and cut it out where it is not necessary.  This may sound a bit daunting…but it is really easy.  How?  We can all start by driving a little bit less less, buying a lot more local, eating more whole (unprocessed), and turning off the lights when we leave the room. 

Above and beyond everything they spoke about, there were two things Barry and Nick said last night really struck a chord with me.  The first was "Know your farmer, know your food" and the second was "Old food from far away".  Both of these highlight how we have lost touch with where our food comes from.   Can we really be sure of the contents making up our food and the process by which it reached us if we don’t know where it came from?   Knowing and trusting the person that grows the food you eat removes the ethical and safety questions that are arising on a daily basis.   The key is that this food that hasn’t been shipped across the country (or planet), it’s fresh, ripe and in season.   Barry and Nick remind us to ask not "How long will this food last," but "How long before I can eat it?"

David Bronner and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps
David Bronner from Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps also attended the discussion last night.  David is a dedicated vegan that is a strong proponent of organics and fair-trade.  He spoke about Michael Pollen’s first book "The Botony of Desire" and how genetically modified organisms are infiltrating our food system.  He also discussed the notion of "beyond organic," meaning there are different types of organic foods.  The "organic" food you buy at the supermarket was probably produced on a large commercial farm that could be some distance away.  While they don’t use chemical fertilizers or pesticides, they still use a great deal of petroleum to facilitate shipping and refrigeration.   The notion of "beyond organic" takes the definition of healthy organic beyond the avoidance of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and encourages us to pay attention to where the food is produced.   Food produced locally does not have unnecessary energy calories caused by refrigeration or food "miles."

Eric, Meg & Adam’s Take

After the discussion ended, the three of us grabbed a table, a few more Stone IPAs and had a delicious local, organic dinner.  Overall, I’d say the first Book and a Beer group was a rousing success and given the large number of people that showed up for it (at least 40), we should make sure to get there early for the next one.  Cheers!


Vegetarian Starter Kit

pear weight

The folks at PCRM have a great resource available for us.  Their vegetarian starter kit contains the following links and information.  Check them out to learn more about starting to go veg (even for just one day a week).  This information can also be downloaded in a .pdf format

From PCRM’s Vegetarian Starter Kit

Vegetarian Foods: Powerful for Health

The Three-Step Way to Go Vegetarian

Protein Myth

Tips for Making the Switch to a Vegetarian Diet

Cooking Without Eggs

Calcium in Plant-Based Diets

What About Milk?

The New Four Food Groups

Achieving and Maintaining a Healthy Weight

The Veganizer: Changing Your Regular Meals Into Low-Fat Vegan Meals

Vegetarian Diets for Pregnancy

Vegetarian Diets for Children: Right from the Start

Recipes for Health

Thanks to all that came out to the Healthy Lifestyles show yesterday.  The interest in the site and the mission was unexpected and truly appreciated!  This week’s rundown has a bunch of interesting articles, if you have anything that should be here for next week, just shoot us an email.

Man eats best friend-  this is a strange story of a man who eat a dog in the UK to protest fox hunting.  Pretty weird stuff. (bbcnews)

Chickens as pets-  growing numbers of people are keeping chickens as pets…and why not?  They give you all the eggs you need, they keep bugs in check and they’re just pleasant to have around.  (honestly, when I can afford to buy a house….chickens are definitely going to have a home in the backyard.) (star-telegram)

Organic bees, no CCD- organic bee keepers are not seeing the effects of Colony Collapse Disorder.  Maybe Genetically Modified Foods or pesticides really do have something to do with this disease? (informationliberation)

The govt. wants us to goveg- in the UK a "secret" email was sent by the Environment Agency that says the "benefit of a vegan diet in terms of climate impact could be very significant." (dailymail)

Low-fat milk straight from the cow?- these things don’t really surprise me anymore.  How much crazier can our food system get?  You asked for it…low-fat milk from genetically mutated cows.  Got Mulk? (

Vegetarian Meal Plans- awesomely delicious looking recipes and pictures as well as meal planning and shopping lists.

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