Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

eric

U.S. Food Safety- Questionable?

Are you one of the 76 million Americans currently sick from a food borne illness?  I know I was when I visited San Fran a couple of weeks ago.  Urghh…I can still feel it if I think about it too much.

A report released yesterday by Trust for America’s Health concluded that “the safety of food in the United States is in a state of crisis.”  Well I’m not sure if this is new news or old news, but it’s targeted news that  highlights the huge shortcomings of several federal agencies charged with keeping our food safe.

In other news a report issued by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health criticized our current animal agriculture practices in the US.  Apparently, sticking thousands of animals together in cramped quarters in their own waste spreads disease?  Also, it’s been determined that injecting them full of hormones and antibiotics right before they hit the food supply probably isn’t that great for them…or the folks that eat them. (wow, I am really laying on the sarcasm here).

Read more about it here.

A bunch of stuff has been hitting the news lately and I would be hard pressed to try and cover it all.  So…today is going to be story run-down day. 

EU Consumers willing to pay for animal welfare- If given a choice to buy animal welfare friendly products, many Europeans would pay more for these products.  However, the problem is being able to distiguish these products from non-welfare friendly products. (Europa Rapid)

Mock Meats: The Steaks’ a Fake-  An interesting article on mock meats and how people feel about them.  One good point mentioned in the article is that if it tastes too much like the real thing, this may actually be a bad thing….You decide. (TwinCities.com)

USDA and Food Safety- Should the USDA be responsible for the safety of our food?  One word answer…No.  Check out the story to see why.  (CSPI)

Will Vegetarians outnumber Omnivores?-  Does evolution and being a member a civilized society have anything to do with moving to a more humane diet? (theherald.uk)

CA Spay/Neuter Law is a Good Thing- "In CA, we spent more that 250 million tax dollars last year to shelter more than 840,000 unwanted animals…more than half had to be destroyed." (nctimes)

No Vegetarians on Mars-  This week Masterfoods, the UK manufacturer of Mars candy bars like Snickers, Mars and Twix, announced that it started using calf rennet to make it’s products.  Rennet is a chemical made from calf stomachs.  I don’t know many vegetarians that eat these kinds of candy bars anyway…but this is a step in the wrong direction. (BBC News)


eric

US Vegetarian Population

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I sure did.  Meg and I spent it in Plymouth, MA with her family.  Being in the place where Thanksgiving began and learning about the freaks (er ah, I mean, Pilgrims) that started it all was an interesting experience.  We are truly lucky to be living in modern times.

Over Thanksgiving, I came up with the topic for this week.  I wondered how many vegetarians there were out there.  After doing some research, I found out a bunch of information on the numbers and the reasoning behind why people became vegetarians.  Below is a graphic with some of this information.  The results are fascinating.  One interesting question asked by the surveyors was "do you consider the slaughter of animals to be murder?" and 42% responded Yes.  If you were to extrapolate that, it equates to over 4 million people in the alone.  Although I personally wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s murder, it does speak to the point that a large percentage of vegetarians choose the diet because they feel morally obligated to do so.   The survey went on to say that the overwhelming majority of people became vegetarians because they consider it to be a healthy alternative to eating meat.  This is the message that I think this newsletter conveys; being vegetarian even one day a week will make a difference in your health!  Additionally, when you do choose to eat meat…know where the animal came from.  A healthy animal means a healthy you!  We can’t separate ourselves from the food chain.  If the animals come from an animal factory their environment, antibiotics, hormones and food are directly ingested by you!

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eric

You’ll Flip for Tofurky

Thanksgiving is just over a week away…time to dig out the good china and get ready to carve the traditional Tofurkey.  That’s right I said it!  This year let’s change it up a bit, get away from the norm and be creative.  As Americans, we enjoy Thanksgiving all year round, so there’s no need to dedicate one day to stuffing ourselves with food.  This day represents family and friends spending time together, but too often it also becomes an eating contest. 

Now, I’m not saying skip a delicious meal to share…I’m advocating a different type of meal based on three simple criteria.

1.  Buy food within a 100 mile radius of where you live.  In CA, this should be a no-brainer.

2.  Skip the turkey, go for the Tofurkey

3.  If you need turkey, stay local and find one that had was treated humanely, slaughtered the same, absent of antibiotics and hormones.

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eric

Something Smells Fishy

Happy Vote Tuesday everyone!  Last week was Halloween; this is Vote Tuesday.  What nice holidays, too bad we’re not off work sitting on the beach.  Anyway, if you haven’t done the deed yet, the polls do not close until 8pm.  Big year, big year (if you’re blue, but if you’re red…please disregard) :) !

Not sure if you saw the article in the NY Times last week about the global collapse of fishing by 2048.  So at least we have that going for us.  This seems to be a pretty serious thing.  In our lifetimes we will see a dramatic change in the ecosystem of the earth’s oceans.    It’s the same story that the animals here on terra firma deal with like habitat destruction and over-hunting (e.g. bushmeat in many developing countries).  However, fish stocks are also depleted by ecological damage (so called "dead zones") and mostly by over-fishing. 

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eric

Don’t Have a Cow

Happy Day after Halloween!  I hope everyone is happy with their treats…I’m currently enjoying a nice sugar high, so I need to write this week’s newsletter before I crawl under my desk for a nap.  Yesterday I was flipping through the December issue of Runner’s World and found a good article named "Don’t Have a Cow."  It is attached in this email.  It’s short and worth a read.  The article focuses on non-meat proteins and discusses the need for protein for active people.  It stresses that there are other ways to consume protein without eating animals and how to balance meat and non-meat protein sources. It should provide some inspiration for your weekly-veg-day.  As a side note, this tends to be one of the common misconceptions about vegetarianism; that vegetarians do not eat enough protein.  This is simply not true.  Overall, Americans eat far more protein than their body can use and too much can spell trouble for the kidneys.   Like any diet, proper well balanced whole foods are essential for good health…Vegetarian or otherwise.  Lentil Tacos *shameless plug for this weeks recipe* are a great way to get non-meat protein without overdoing it.  The recipe is included in the attachment, let me know what you think!

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eric

Fall for Farmers Markets

Happy Tuesday Afternoon!  Wow, can you believe it’s Tuesday already? :)  Anyway, it’s the week before Halloween and fall is completely in swing.  This is a great time of year to get out and enjoy the many farmersmarkets in California and around the country!  The weather is perfect, the fruits and vegetables are in season and it’s just a fun atmosphere to hang out in.  You are supporting your local farmers, your food is fresh because it hasn’t been transported hundreds or thousands of miles to a grocery store and you are buying your food in season, a practice that we sometimes forget about. I have included a link below with a map of farmers‘ market locations in your area! 

This whole concept of buying seasonally is something that doesn’t seem to have much significance anymore.  I mean, you can go to the grocery store and buy asparagus in February.  There is not a place in the US that can grow asparagus in February.  It has probably been flown up from Chile’ some 6,000 miles away.  This is as far from sustainability as it gets!  The amount of fuel and time it took to get to your plate is ridiculous, never mind the fact that it tastes like an inner tube.  Avoiding non-seasonal foods saves petroleum, supports your local economy and is healthier for you!

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eric

Cuban Organic Revolution

This week I have learned about so many exciting things that I would like to share with you!   Last night we went to the Telluride Mountain Movie Festival (on tour) at the Natural History Museum.  They are playing more movies tonight and tickets are still available if anyone is interested http://www.sdnhm.org/education/brochure/mtfestival-filmlist.html.  All of the movies were awesome.  One in particular focused on the urban organic farming happening in Havana, .  Apparently when the soviets pulled out in the 80’s they took with them the stable food supply coming from Europe.  This left the Cubans with little food and strict government rationing.  The government, which had previously outlawed farming in the city of Havana and free trade, reconsidered this law and allowed people to start farming organically in any open space in Havana (e.g. rooftops, vacant lots, in front of office buildings, courtyards).  The government even gave people plots of land for free if they promised to grow food on it.  The organic piece is pretty important in this equation.  Pesticides and fertilizers are outlawed because in the urban area, these chemicals will leech into the soil and contaminate the groundwater. This whole experiment has proven to be very successful!  The amount of organically grown food produced on the thousands of small farms in this urban area now contributes 50% of the total food needed to support Havana.  is now on the road to go entirely organic and it has become the largest organic model in the world.  Although they may have other problems…This they have certainly figured out!  For more information check out http://www.twnside.org.sg/title/twr118h.htm
 

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eric

Now that’s a lot of $h!t

I hope everyone is off to a good week!  I just finished up my fantasy football lineup and I’m looking forward to kicking all of your asses this week.  Since I focused on the impact of factory farming on chickens and turkeys last week, this week I’ll focus on the amount of waste that is produced by raising animals in a factory farmed environment.  Some of these numbers are amazing and really illustrate the fact that raising animals this way not only affects the animals but our environment and the health of the people that live near these animal factories.  

I apologize for this being pretty weak this week.  Next week I’ll bring a little more to the table.  However, here is a cool website that has a bunch of great veg recipes and allows people to rate them (which is a must). http://allrecipes.com/recipes/vegetarian/main.aspx

 

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eric

Eating is an agricultural act

So the World Vegetarian Day festival in San Francisco was pretty interesting.  I don’t think it was bad….but it wasn’t great either.  I was happy to see the amount of "normal" people there.  That reinforces that I’m not a freak J (at least not by being a vegetarian).  Saturday evening we went to a restaurant called Greens http://www.greensrestaurant.com/, I highly recommend it when you visit San Fran.  The menu changes daily depending on the fresh food delivered for the day.  This makes dining at a good veg restaurant a unique experience. The meal was one of the best vegetarian meals that I can remember.  I’m not sure exactly what we had…but if you ask Meg, she can run through the whole menu for you!
 
I know some of you may be taking a pass on Veg day this week because I neglected to change out one of my players on my Fantasy Football team, but I encourage you to change up your week and skip meat for a day this week anyway!  I checked my team earlier last week, but I obviously missed it.  I will make sure everyone it playing next week!

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