Archive for July, 2007

tortillasoup.jpg

Ingredients:
1 Large Onion Chopped
1 Large Green Pepper Chopped
1 Large Red Pepper Chopped
4 Stalks Celery Chopped
1.5 T Cumin
1/2 T Cayenne Pepper
1/2 T Salt
1/3 T Black Pepper
1 Can of Corn
2 28oz Can of Diced Tomatoes
6 C Vegetable Broth
1 Package Vegetarian Soyrizo
1 Bag of Tortilla Chips

In a large soup pot, Saute Onions, Peppers, Celery in olive oil until soft and then add spices cooking until well mixed. Add in corn, tomatoes, broth and soyrizo. Season to taste. Cook over medium heat and simmer 30 minutes. Drop in tortilla chips immediately prior to serving.

NOTE: If you have a slow cooker/crock pot, all ingredients should be placed in the order listed above. Cook over LOW heat for 8 hours, adding in the chips immediately prior to serving.

Add some salsa and avocado for a little more “fiesta in your mouth.”

eric

A Vegetarian Battle

While reading through my daily news I found this article that told a story of a woman who struggles with vegetarianism.   When she first went to college she used vegetarianism as a way to cover up her eating disorder.   This is an unfortunate reality for some so called “vegetarians” that perpetuate a stereotype that vegetarians are sickly and frail.

After college she struggles to not become a “weirdo” vegetarian that no-one likes to have over for dinner, and everyone talks about.  In the end she struggles with her humanity and her conflict around the moral issue of eating animals.

I think many on again - off again (and consistent) vegetarians have these or similar struggles.   This article really does a good job bringing them to light.

Read the story here. (msn)

eric

Food Miles Video

Video artist Molly Schwartz traces how far food travels from field to fork.  There is an accompanying story here.

I didn’t like the name “Rundown:” of the news summaries we post. It really didn’t have anything to do with going veg. So, I came up with this one. Let me know what you think about it….if you would like to suggest another name for our periodic news summaries, let me know.

Organic’s better? - A ten year study finds that organic tomatoes have more flavonoids (anti-oxidents) than conventionally grown tomatoes. I’d say most people didn’t need a study to find out that organic is better….but thes studies are nice to see. (bbc news)

Methane Kills- Literally. Five people died last week in a pool of liquefied cow shit. It seems that they were overcome by methane gas while cleaning out a pipe in the lagoon. “You cannot smell it, you cannot see it, but it’s an instant kill” (cnn)

Subsidizing Snacks- Our food system is based on five commodity crops (soybeans, corn, rice, wheat and cotton). Not one of these subsidized crops is a fruit or vegetable. Subsidies lead to cheap snack foods and soft drinks, made from ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated soybean oil. Meanwhile, the lack of subsidies for fruits and vegetables makes them expensive by comparison. (ny times)

Live Earth: Go Veg One Day a Week- Say what you want about Live Earth, (see also: ‘Hippie Episode’ on Southpark) they apparently had a publice service announcement tell people about the environmental benefits to going vegetarian one day a week. Good news for wannaveg! P.S. if anyone can find and send us this video, we would be greatful! (nj.com)

Concientious Meat Eater- From the Magazine, “Food: The Way We Eat.”  In his Meat Manifesto, Fearnley-Whittingstall corners the reader: “Are you, among the millions of consumers putting pressure on farmers to produce mountains of cheap meat of dubious quality, by dubious means?” and “Have the animals you’ve consumed lived well? . . . Have they been cared for by someone who respects and enjoys their contact with them?” (ny times via Ethicurean)

jessica.schessler

Sustainable Harvest International

baby with baby greens

Obviously, rainforest destruction is a heated topic of discussion. Many popular websites claim to plant trees in exchange for donations, and even Dell has hopped on the bandwagon. When you buy a new computer you can select “plant a tree for me” as you checkout and help offset your carbon footprint. Planting trees can be a good thing, but are we really making progress if we do nothing about the source of the problem? Sustainable Harvest International is heading straight for one source. This small non-profit organization “has worked with nearly 1,000 families and 900 students in Honduras, Panama, Belize and Nicaragua implementing alternatives to slash-and-burn farming, the leading cause of rainforest destruction in the region.” Malnutrition is a huge problem in this area of the world, and many vegetables are considered a luxury item. SHI teaches new farming techniques to the local families, such as alley cropping, organic vegetable gardening, and seed saving and storage.

Since 1997, SHI has successfully:

· Planted more than 2,000,000 trees.

· Converted 6,000 acres to sustainable uses, thereby saving 30,000 acres from slash-and-burn destruction.

· Improved nutrition through the establishment of more than 200 organic vegetable gardens.

· Increased farm income up to 800%.

· Built 165 wood-conserving stoves (saving 1,650 trees per year)

Now, did you know that it’s possible to eat yogurt, help these farmers, save forests, and get free organic chocolate and tea all at the same time? Stonyfield Farm is featuring SHI along with two other non-profits on their yogurt lids this summer. Vote for your favorite non-profit and help direct funds their way, while getting cool prizes!

Visit http://www.sustainableharvest.org/yogurt/ for more information on SHI and Stonyfield’s “Bid With Your Lid” program.

eric

Our Newest Contributor

Exciting things are afoot today at wannaveg. We have a new contributor joining the team! Please welcome Jessica Schessler, who has joined us to provide some fresh content, valuable insight and a new take on things.

A little background…Jessica is a 21 year old college student majoring in International Affairs, and is attempting to learn Japanese through self study courses (no easy task). She is, among other things, a private pilot, musician, poet, and gamer. She is married, hopelessly in love with the local farmer’s market, and is trying to convince her husband that meat is not a necessary staple.

Besides puppies and long walks on the beach (I made that up), Jessica enjoys getting tattoos and stirring her salad dressing so each piece of lettuce is coated evenly. Apparently she is also a huge fan of scallions. So…there ya go!

Without further ado, I am happy to present Jessica’s first post. Please take a moment to read her thoughts and as always, feel free to share your own.

eric

Ahhh….The Simpsons

If you have been keeping up with this site for awhile, you can probably tell that I am a Simpsons fan. And, I don’t care what anyone says, the Simpsons as good today as they have ever been! There I said it. Here is a fantastic clip of the new movie coming out on July 27th.

eric

The Meat Powered Bicycle

a guy drinking gasThe bicycle is a fantastic piece of human invention. It represents simplicity, freedom, reliability and an economical way to get from point A to point B. Worldwide it reigns supreme as the most common form of personal transportation and estimates show there to be almost 1 billion of them around. Besides walking, bicycles are the most environmentally friendly way to get around. They produce no emissions (maybe a little more CO2 from heavy breathing while going up hills), and the fuel needed to power them comes from the people riding them.

You may see where this is going….If the “fuel” powering the person riding the bike consists mostly of meat, the environmentally friendliness factor goes down quite a bit depending on how much meat the rider eats and where the meat comes from (local vs. distance).

It is actually quite astounding how much energy is wasted by the standard American diet-style. Even driving many gas-guzzling luxury cars can conserve energy over walking — that is, when the calories you burn walking come from the standard American diet! This is because the energy needed to produce the food you would burn in walking a given distance is greater than the energy needed to fuel your car to travel the same distance, assuming that the car gets 24 miles per gallon or better. (1)

So what does all this mean?

It means that the amount of gas you use isn’t just related to how you get from place to place, it’s also related to what you eat. Meatless diets require half as much fuel to produce than the standard American diet. Pimentel calculated that if the entire world ate the way the U.S. does, the planet’s entire petroleum reserves would be exhausted in 13 years. The typical American could save almost as much gas by going vegetarian as by not driving. (2)

So, fine….I’m not going to walk, what about the bike?

The same is not true of bicycling vs. driving, because bicycling is more than twice as efficient as walking (calories consumed per distance traveled) — bicycling uses less fossil energy than driving even if the cyclist were eating nothing but beef. But to focus on this misses the point. It’s no bombshell that cycling uses less fossil energy than driving. What’s important is that meat-eaters use twice as much fossil energy as pure vegetarians — whether they’re bicycling or not. (3)

While bicycling and walking may reduce tailpipe emissions, overall if your diet is “meat heavy” you are using twice as much energy just reading this post. On the most basic level, it’s actually better to be a vegetarian that drives a Chevy Tahoe, than to be a meat eater that bikes or walks everywhere. Even going vegetarian one day a week has a pretty good impact to reducing fossil fuel consumption. And while I’m not advocating that vegetarians run out and buy Hummers and meat eaters throw their bikes away, I am trying to demonstrate in real terms the impact of what a meat centered diet has on our environment.

(1,2,3) These quotes are excerpted from “Bicycling Wastes Gas?” by Michael Bluejay for more detailed information, including the research on how this was calculated, please visit his website above.

meg

Happy 4th of July 2007

Tomorrow is the 4th of July, and what better thing to do than hit the beach with friends, cook out and wait for the fireworks. We plan to hit the sand and the water with sunscreen, canopy, drinks, grill and have a fantastic barbecue tomorrow. The day promises to give us just about everything you could name…everything but the meat.

I’ve seen a number of articles and recipes for “vegetarian grilling,” “a meatless 4th of July,” and other topics, so what I’m adding isn’t necessarily new information. But in the spirit of a fun mid-week break from work and a reason to start that as soon as possible, I wanted to contribute.

Let me first tell you that I am not a vegetarian. I try to make the right choices and consider myself “mostly vegetarian,” but I am an omnivore. I’m conscious about what I eat and enjoy the acts of both cooking and sharing meals. I do not understand the concept that a meal is not complete without some form of meat, poultry or fish, and this applies to all meals all the time- not once a week, twice a month or any other increment. Meals are complete when friends and family come together, have great discussions, and enjoy a wonderful experience to go along with whatever it is they are tasting together. It doesn’t really matter what is not on the plate, does it? It matters what IS on the plate and who is there to enjoy it with you.

With that in mind, what’s in tomorrow’s cooler?

Amy’s California Veggie Burgers
Quorn Naked Chik’n Cutlets
Kettle Buffalo Blue & Salt & Vinegar Chips
Tomato, Cucumber, Feta Salad
Grilled Squash & Mushrooms
Cantaloupe & Kiwi Salad
Grilled Blue Corn & Cheese Tamales
Tofurky Sundried Tomato & Basil Italian Sausages
Homemade Coconut Macaroons (thanks Colleen) and Blond Brownies with Kit Kat

I don’t know…call me crazy, but this isn’t the BBQ of a deprived group restricting themselves to a vegetarian diet. Would you miss the burgers and dogs?

Happy 4th of July. Enjoy your day, wear sunblock, celebrate life and smile!

eric

New RSS Feeds

Have you seen our new RSS feeds over there on the sidebar?  Wannaveg is now using Feedburner to syndicate our post and comments feeds.   You can also subscribe via email and get the newest posts in a nice format right to your inbox.
What’s RSS?  Check out this cool video that explains it all.

P.S. The old RSS feeds will still work fine.

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