And the meat recall saga continues. The latest suspect is canned meat- that delicious concoction of parts you might not normally eat, sodium, preservatives, and most recently, botulism.

Castleberry’s Food Co., the culinary artists behind Hot Dog Chili Sauce, Barbecued Beef and Beef Stew in a can, has announced a voluntary recall involving 80 types of stew, chili, hash and other products after two confirmed and two potential botulism cases broke out in the U.S. in consumers having eaten the hot dog chili sauce products.

Symptoms of botulism include difficulty in walking and swallowing and impaired vision and speech. From there it leads to convulsions and paralysis of the respiratory muscles then suffocation and death. Sounds great to me….bring on the canned meat, swallowing is over rated anyway!

Oh, and by the way, watch out for your pets! The recall has been extended to cover four canned Natural Balance pet food products, co-packed by Castleberry’s.

Read (one of the many) full articles:,8599,1645935,00.html

Link to Castleberry’s website:


The Worst Mistake

In May of 1987, Jarad Diamond wrote an article called "The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race" explaining how when man adopted an agricultural based lifestyle instead of sticking with hunting and gathering, we made a huge mistake.  Much of content of this article has become more prophetic in recent years and months.  Jarad who has written two best selling books "Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies" and "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed" has some interesting stuff to say about how much easier we had it as hunters and gatherers (no seriously, it’s for real).  Although this is not vegetarian related, it is probably the most natural diet that has ever existed.  If you find it or catch it, go ahead and eat it.  Here are some interesting excerpts from the article.

Agriculture’s effect on leisure time

"Are twentieth century hunter-gatherers really worse off than farmers? Scattered throughout the world, several dozen groups of so-called primitive people, like the Kalahari bushmen, continue to support themselves that way. It turns out that these people have plenty of leisure time, sleep a good deal, and work less hard than their farming neighbors. For instance, the average time devoted each week to obtaining food is only 12 to 19 hours for one group of Bushmen, 14 hours or less for the Hadza nomads of Tanzania. One Bushman, when asked why he hadn’t emulated neighboring tribes by adopting agriculture, replied, "Why should we, when there are so many mongongo nuts in the world?"

Agriculture’s influence on class systems

"Besides malnutrition, starvation, and epidemic diseases, farming helped bring another curse upon humanity: deep class divisions. Hunter-gatherers have little or no stored food, and no concentrated food sources, like an orchard or a herd of cows: they live off the wild plants and animals they obtain each day. Therefore, there can be no kings, no class of social parasites who grow fat on food seized from others. Only in a farming population could a healthy, non-producing élite set itself above the disease-ridden masses. Skeletons from Greek tombs at Mycenae c. 1500 B. C. suggest that royals enjoyed a better diet than commoners, since the royal skeletons were two or three inches taller and had better teeth (on the average, one instead of six cavities or missing teeth). Among Chilean mummies from c. A. D. 1000, the élite were distinguished not only by ornaments and gold hair clips but also by a fourfold lower rate of bone lesions caused by disease."

Inequality between sexes

"Farming may have encouraged inequality between the sexes, as well. Freed from the need to transport their babies during a nomadic existence, and under pressure to produce more hands to till the fields, farming women tended to have more frequent pregnancies than their hunter-gatherer counterparts–with consequent drains on their health. Among the Chilean mummies for example, more women than men had bone lesions from infectious disease."

Diamond highlights some interesting phenomenon that has occurred as a result of agriculture.  Arguably, these occurrences may be directly or indirectly related to agriculture, but much of what he says holds some truth to it.

The rest of the article can be found here.

Lots of vegan stuff in this week’s rundown.  Don’t worry, for the most part they’re are gentle.  Other cool things as well.

Vegan Recipes-  Amazing recipes with even more amazing pictures.  Even if you don’t plan on making all of these, the food photos are beautiful. 

Is it vegan?- This tool uses a database to tell you if the foods, medicines, household products, etc. you plan on using are vegan.  Although it is based in the UK, many of the items are inter-changable for us in the States.  It’s fun to play with.

Farming without subsidies- New Zealand doesn’t have provide subsides to farmers.  How would the US do if we followed suit?

Veganism killed that baby?-  Try malnutrition.  It doesn’t matter if the parents were omnivores or vegans, malnutrition can happen in both diets.   It is unfair to blame a vegan diet on the death of that baby.

The rise of consumer power- The tale of when consumers stand up and tell companies they’re not going to take it anymore. (e.g. Masterfoods, Disney, P&G)

Polyface Farm- A video of Michael Pollen giving a lecture about Polyface Farm (the farm detailed in his book) and its sustainable farming practices.

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. (

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? (

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)

The first time anyone posted in the wannaveg forum was by a gentleman named Mortimor Von Sprout (aka, Andrew).  Andrew is a loyal reader,  commenter and friend of mine.  He has a bit of a creative side and came up the following bio and post for Mortimor.

The Bio of Mortimor Von Sprout
I hail from the small vegetable-rich land known as the Duchy of Water Cress, the world’s hot-bed of vegetarian resistance for centuries. The last animal killed within it’s borders was a dung beetle, who, in the year of our Vegi-Lord Seventeen and eighty two accidentally stumbled into the road and was crushed by a free roaming Tibetan Yak who had been evacuated to Water Cress to save him from Chinese poachers. I believe passionately in the right of animals to live, and of vegetables to be grown to their succulent best and consumed by the peace-loving Hippycrats of Water Cress. If, like me, you desire to tear asunder the oppressive regimes of the carnivores who mascarade as men, join me, and we shall topple them together!!

Here is the post:

Mortimor’s Post
Good day kind sirs, I would like to formally introduce myself and pledge my life and sizeable fortune to the war on meat eaters. I am the Honourable Mortimer Von Sprout the 4th, of the Duchy of Water Cress. If all goes according to our plans that we have neatly laid out on recycled hemp paper and drawn with renewable corn oil based inks, the war shall be swift and brutal and we shall feast on the flesh of these foul meat eaters before long…and yes, I am aware of the irony of that statement.

Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when Andrew decided to go vegetarian one day a week.  He’s been doing it for a couple months now and has the following to say about his experience.  No joking around this time. :)

What does going vegetarian one day a week mean to me? Is it a life changing commitment? Some sort of world altering epiphany? To tell you the truth, it’s really pretty easy. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a lazy, self-absorbed, set-in-his-ways kind of guy. My diet consists largely of whatever’s easiest to get my hands on at any given moment, and frankly, I don’t really like many vegetables. So when I was first presented with the idea of “going veg” it seemed like it would be a real pain in the a$@. In reality, it turns out it’s just the opposite. I was surprised by how much of what I already eat was one minor step away from being meatless, and by how much else was easy to get my hands on. Now, I realize that eating pasta without the meat sauce, or cheese pizza doesn’t make me a vegetarian gourmet, but it contributes a little to my health, contributes a little to the environment, and best of all it allows me to feel good about having done both those things without really doing much at all(In case you forgot, I’m lazy and selfish). Give it a try and you’ll be surprised how easy it is.

Many thanks to Andrew for his thoughts so far, I am glad you are enjoying the new change in your diet.  Keep up the good work! 


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!

Continue Reading »

Sitemap | Posts