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Re: VegE-News September 2009

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      September 2009
      In this edition...

        Michael Pollan: Big food vs. big insurance - The debate over health care
        Just say no to antibacterial burgers
        Study explains link between fat intake and Alzheimer's
        Men don't need to fear soy foods

        Doctors warn on climate failure
        People won't change lifestyle for planet: Straw poll
        The end of monster sushi - humans experiment with the planet
        Health ills abound as farm runoff fouls wells

      Lifestyles and Trends
        Postive signs 1: More school lunches going vegetarian
        Postive signs 2: The move for a 'green' Ramadan
        Saying 'I do' vegan-style
        Veggie celebs: Hockey star happy to veg out
        Can plant foods provide enough iron? You bet!

      Animal Issues and Advocacy
        Cows strike back
        Pain-free animals would not be guilt-free
        Australian survey: Killing chicks 'unacceptable'

      Books, Movies and Perspectives
        Vegan made easy cookbook recommendations
        No Impact Man: 'Think enhancement, not sacrifice'
        A Sea Change: The world without fish - is it possible?

      Of Note - Recipes, Celebrations, Videos, and More
      Don't forget to visit:
      (Excerpts are included from current news stories. Click on the "Full story" link to read the full article.)

      Michael Pollan: Big food vs. big insurance - The debate over health care
      Full story: New York Times

      [The United States'] success in bringing health care costs under control ultimately depends on the political will to take on and reform a second, even more powerful industry: the food industry. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three-quarters of health care spending now goes to treat "preventable chronic diseases." Cheap food is going to be popular as long as the social and environmental costs of that food are charged to the future. There's lots of money to be made selling fast food and then treating the diseases that fast food causes. One of the leading products of the American food industry has become patients for the American health care industry. As things stand, the health care industry finds it more profitable to treat chronic diseases than to prevent them. There's more money in amputating the limbs of diabetics than in counseling them on diet and exercise. [Editor's note: While most other industrialized countries don't pay these costs directly, we pay them indirectly through our taxes for health care. Michael Pollan is the author of several books including "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto." and "The Omnivore's Dilemma."]

      New York Times - September 9

      Just say no to antibacterial burgers
      Full story: Washington Post

      This column is based on a single and quite extraordinary statistic: Food animal production accounts for 70 per cent - 70 per cent! - of the antibiotics used in the United States. That doesn't even include the antibiotics used for animals that actually get sick. That figure is for "non-therapeutic use" such as growth promotion and disease prevention. The heavy reliance on routine antibiotic use is a byproduct of the way we raise animals for food: packed into dim and dirty enclosures where they live amid their own filth, eat food that they haven't evolved to digest, and are pretty much stacked atop one another.When you give antibiotics to animals meant to become food, however, you're ensuring that antibiotics end up in the food in low but constant doses. That means bacteria are getting more accustomed to the antibiotics. There's good reason to think that this background exposure to antibiotics is contributing to the startling rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. There's also the argument that the pennies we're saving on each burger are being spent in our hospitals.

      Washington Post - September 16
      The subject is explored further in this long, but very interesting article - John Hopkins Medical School Magazine (June)
      What's really in fast food?
      Fast food flavor has little to do with the innate qualities of the food - it’s all in the additives - AlterNet (September 3)

      Study explains link between fat intake and Alzheimer's
      Full story: Curtin University of Technology News, Australia

      New Curtin University of Technology [Australia] research has revealed the link between Alzheimer's disease and fat intake. In one of the first studies of its kind, Curtin Alzheimer's expert Professor John Mamo has explained why foods high in saturated fat can increase the likelihood of a person developing Alzheimer's disease. Before now, there has been no dietary driven approach to the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's disease," said Professor Mamo, National Director of the Australian Technology Network's Centre for Metabolic Fitness at Curtin. "Our study found that some dietary fats [animal] damaged the 'blood-brain-barrier.' The blood-brain-barrier is an important membrane that regulates what is normally al lowed in and out of the brain, like important nutrients."

      Curtin University of Technology News, Australia - September 4
      High fruit and vegetable intake linked to cognitive performance in healthy subjects
      Results indicated higher cognitive performance in individuals with high daily intake of fruits and vegetables. - Science Daily (September 10)

      Men don't need to fear soy foods
      Full story: American Institute for Cancer Research

      It's no wonder that men who have read the recent stories circulating about soy are confused. Some stories claim that soy foods, such as tofu and soy milk, can lead to breast growth or reduce testosterone levels. Other stories tout the benefits of soy, suggesting soy may help protect against prostate cancer. Soy contains compounds called isoflavones that are known as phytoestrogens, which are weak plant versions of the hormone estrogen. Fears that the amount of phytoestrogens in moderate amounts of soy foods could stimulate men's breast tissue or reduce their testosterone are not based on sound research. A study of children fed soy protein formula for more than six months showed no hormonal effects. A study of men in their 50s and 60s fo und that the men who ate soy foods twice a day for three months showed no change in testosterone levels, but had a 14 per cent drop in levels of PSA (an indicator of prostate growth used in screening for prostate cancer). Concerns about lowering sperm count and affecting fertility also do not seem to hold up in human studies of realistic dietary consumption... men can feel safe eating one or two servings of soy foods daily. Soy foods are nutritious, low in saturated fat, and men have consumed them for generations without harm. [See more on the safety of soy in the "of note" section below.]

      American Institute for Cancer Research - August 24

      Doctors warn on climate failure
      Full story: BBC News

      Failure to agree a new UN climate deal in December will bring a "global health catastrophe," say 18 of the world's professional medical organizations. Writing in The Lancet and the British Medical Journal, they urge doctors to "take a lead" on the climate issue. In a separate editorial, the journals say that people in poor tropical nations will suffer the worst impacts. They argue that curbing climate change would have other benefits such as more healthy diets and cleaner air... Written by Lord Michael Jay, who chairs the health charity Merlin, and Professor Michael Marmot of UCL, the editorial argues that there are plenty of "win-win solutions" available. "A low-carbon economy will mean less pollution. A low carbon-diet (especially eating less meat) and more exercise will mean les s cancer, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. "Opportunity, surely, not cost."

      BBC News - September 15

      People won't change lifestyle for planet: Straw poll
      Full story: Reuters

      People want to save the planet but are unwilling to make radical lifestyle changes like giving up air travel or red meat to reduce the effects of climate change, a [small] straw poll by Reuters showed. As leaders gear up for another round of climate change talks, motivating people to change their lifestyles will be crucial in ensuring cuts in planet-warming greenhouse gases, experts say. Seventy per cent of men said they were unwilling to change their lifestyles, compared with just 10 per cent of women. "I make sure the house isn't overheated, lower our meat intake and grow vegetables," said 71-year old Rosie Hughes. Eighteen per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions is due to meat production, according to the United Nations Food and Agr icultural Organization. Research suggests women in general show more empathy and concern for the greater good than men, which made them more likely to think about the impacts of their daily behavior on the environment.

      Reuters - September 2
      The red meat footprint
      Cosmos Magazine, Australia (September 1)

      The end of monster sushi - humans experiment with the planet
      Full story: San Francisco Chronicle

      Soon, no more giant rainbow rolls and inflated unagi. We are eating way too much of it. We are still overfishing the oceans, depleting stocks like they were Jell-O shots at an AA convention... Stare too long at dire issues like this - alongside global warming, overpopulation, pollution in the developing world, et al - and you can't help but feel like we're playing some giant, sadomasochistic game of chicken with the planet, pushing the boundaries and messing with the systems and dismantling the building blocks just to see how much we can get away with. We can't wait to see how it ends. But of course, we already know. There is not even the slightest question. Eventually, the Earth just shudders, shakes us off like a batch of wayward fleas, resets and starts a ll over. She's been here a few billion years, seen far nastier plagues than the self-important little human race. We've been here the equivalent of a blink of an eye, a hairsbreadth of time, a nothing. We already know the answer, and it is simultaneously hugely reassuring, and absolutely terrifying: In the end, nature always wins. Always.

      San Francisco Chronicle - September 4
      End the pillaging of the high seas
      New Scientist (September 14)
      Something's fishy about this eco-stamp of approval
      Scooping up wild fish to feed to farm animals just doesn't make sense. - The Tyee, BC, Canada
      Fish farm boom strains wild stock, study finds
      Up to five pounds of wild fish needed to raise one pound of farmed salmon - MSNBC (September 9)

      Health ills abound as farm runoff fouls wells
      Full story: New York Times

      Agricultural runoff is the single largest source of water pollution in the [United States] rivers and streams, according to the E.P.A. [Environmental Protection Agency]. An estimated 19.5 million Americans fall ill each year from waterborne parasites, viruses or bacteria, including those stemming from human and animal waste, according to a study published last year in the scientific journal Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology.

      New York Times - September 18
      The vegetarian solution to water pollution
      An in-depth analysis from the Vegetarian Resource Group

        Lifestyles and Trends    

      Postive signs 1: More school lunches going vegetarian
      Full story: U.S. News

      A new nationwide survey by the School Nutrition Association says almost 2 out of 3 U.S. schools now offer vegetarian fare for lunch on a regular basis. That's a 40 per cent increase since 2003, the first year veggie meals were tallied by the nonprofit group. And it's not just the standard salad bar, grilled cheese, succotash, or tofu-based products that are getting all the action. Meatless offerings for students these days are moving toward dishes that would appeal to nonvegetarians because of taste alone, says the SNA, such as Mexican-themed vegetable burritos, vegetable-topped pizza, vegetable cacciatore, or lentil sauce with pasta. "We don't make a big deal about it," says [a district] food-service director. "We sneak it in, and the kids go for it." It's all part of an ongoing effort by school nutrition professionals to educate children about making good food choices, including an emphasis on introducing children to vegetarianism.

      U.S. News - August 20

      Postive signs 2: The move for a 'green' Ramadan
      Full story: Daily Herald, Chicago, IL, U.S.

      Sermons at suburban mosques are highlighting some unusual themes this Ramadan urging worshippers to recycle, carpool and consume less red meat. Starting August 22, the beginning of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Muslims across the globe commence fasting from dawn until dusk for 30 days. At many suburban mosques, followers also are being encouraged to reduce their carbon footprint and become better environmental stewards during the month. The message is part of a new "green Ramadan" initiative launched by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, a federation of more than 50 mosques representing almost 400,000 Muslims in the Chicago area. "We want them to go beyond the fasting, go beyond just looking at Ramadan as something that is for Muslims and to really look at the broader implications of Muslim responsibilities toward humanity," said Junaid Afeef, the group's executive director.

      Daily Herald, Chicago, IL, U.S. - August 22

      Saying 'I do' vegan-style
      Full story: VegNews

      From a picturesque California coastal ceremony to a magnificent backyard masquerade ball in Virginia, this year's vegan wedding couples shatter stereotypes and exceed their own expectations for "the big day." [VegNews relates nine wedding stories, complete with tantalizing menus.]

      VegNews - September

      Veggie celebs: Hockey star happy to veg out
      Full story: Globe and Mail, Canada

      Montreal Canadiens forward Georges Laraque, boulevardier, animal-rights activist and perhaps the most feared pugilist in the National Hockey League, is a vegan, a militant one. While he says he was partly motivated to improve his health for the hockey season, Laraque insists the decision was made primarily for political, rather than nutritional, reasons. Everything changed, Laraque said, after he saw Earthlings, a 2006 documentary that is widely celebrated in animal-rights circles. Laraque said he's never felt better and reported for training camp at a comparatively svelte 245 pounds. The burly winger finds himself among a vanguard of current and former pro athletes who are eschewing most meats. Laraque cites Major League Baseball player P rince Fielder, former Olympic sprinter Carl Lewis, NFL tight end Tony Gonzalez and retired NBA player John Salley as vegetarians who inspired him.

      Globe and Mail, Canada - September 17

      Can plant foods provide enough iron? You bet!
      Full story: Examiner.com

      It's a myth that vegan diets are low in iron. Studies show that vegans consume at least as much iron as omnivores and sometimes more. Vegans definitely have an advantage over lacto-ovo vegetarians when it comes to iron since dairy foods don't contain this mineral. It's true, however, that iron from plant foods isn't absorbed as well as from animal foods. Vegans tend to have lower iron stores than omnivores, but there is actually no known advantage to having higher stores of iron. In fact, there is some evidence that the lower iron stores seen in those eating plant-based diets is associated with better glucose tolerance which could reduce risk for diabetes. [Among other tips,] avoid coffee and tea with meals and eat a good source of vit amin C with every meal and snack. Vitamin C is one of the best ways to increase iron absorption but it must be consumed at the same time as the iron-rich food.

      Examiner.com - August 28
        Animal Issues and Advocacy    

      Cows strike back
      Full story: New York Times

      The image of cows as placid, gentle creatures is a city slicker's fantasy, judging from an article published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reports that about 20 people a year are killed by cows in the United States. In some cases, the cows actually attack humans [apparently purposefully] - ramming them, knocking them down, goring them, trampling them and kicking them in the head - resulting in fatal injuries to the head and chest. Mother cows, like other animals, can be fiercely protective of their young, and dairy bulls, the report notes, are "especially possessive of their herd and occasionally disrupt feeding, cleaning, and milking routines."

      New York Times - July 31

      Pain-free animals would not be guilt-free
      Full story: New Scientist

      In Douglas Adams's novel The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe, the character Arthur Dent is horrified when a cow-like creature is wheeled to the restaurant table, introduces itself as the dish of the day and proceeds to describe the cuts of meat that are available from its body. The cow has been bred to want to be eaten, and to be capable of saying so. As so often happens with Adams's work, the truth isn't too far behind. This week we report on proposals to genetically engineer livestock to be untroubled by pain - something all too common in intensively farmed animals (see "Pain-free animals could take suffering out of farming"). The concept treats cows, pigs and chickens as if they were inanimate objects whose suffering is like a computer program in need of debugging. As with Adams's fictional cow, there is something deeply unsettling about an animal engineered to be pain-free... Too many of us are too attached to the pleasures of affordable meat to consider the plight of factory-farmed animals. If the proposal to create pain-free animals achieves anything, it is to force us to confront the pain and suffering that our diets inflict. End factory farming, and the "problem" of pain-free animals goes away too. [Editor's note: Well, not totally. There is no "humane" way to kill the still large number of animals that would be raised more humanely. And we can't believe you would remove the emotional pain involved - every living being wants to li ve.]

      New Scientist - September 2
      Are pain-free animals ethical?
      "Our major conclusion from the survey [on whether we should breed pain-free animals] was that people care about animals. And they feel that it is not pain alone, but the intrinsic value of the animal that matters. What about all the other bad feelings: frustration, loneliness, fear, anxiety, sorrow?" - John Hopkins Medical School Magazine (June)

      More on animal sentience:
      Chimpanzees invent brush-tipped tool
      Article and video - Discovery Channel

      Australian survey: Killing chicks 'unacceptable'
      Full story: Newsmaker.com, Australia

      Preliminary results of a survey show that around 70 per cent of Australians think killing male chicks as part of egg production is unacceptable. This research was conducted prior to the release of a video showing chicks at an American hatchery being ground alive. The survey was run by Newspoll for the Vegetarian/Vegan Society of Queensland, and funded by Voiceless, the animal protection institute. The American company where the footage was taken said they kill about 30 million chicks every year by live grinding. This is because many chicks are male, so can't produce eggs, and therefore are of no value to egg producers. The practice of killing unwanted male chicks is routine in Australia as well as America [and elsewhere].

      Newsmaker.com, Australia - September 9
      Science, not emotion, shows that caged laying hens have poor welfare
      Ham and Eggonomics (August 11)

        Books, Movies and Perspectives    

      Vegan made easy cookbook recommendations
      Full story: Vegan.com Blog

      [Recommendations from Erik Marcus of Vegan.com.] Here are three drop-dead simple 100 per cent vegan cookbooks I highly recommend. Robin Robertson's Quick-Fix Vegetarian. Marvelous yet simple meals you can have ready in under 30 minutes. Lorna Sass' Short-Cut Vegan. The paper could be nicer and it sucks that Sass has gone back to writing meat cookbooks, but I've never had a vegan recipe from her that wasn't outstanding. The fact that this collection brings together her easiest recipes makes this a tough cookbook to pass up. Jennifer Raymond's The Peaceful Palate. Quite possibly the first super easy yet top notch vegan cookbook ever released. Like Robertson and Sass, Raymond is an amazing cook, and this classic title is a great first cookbook to own. Finally, if you're just starting out with vegan eating, I think my own Ultimate Vegan Guide (link from the article) would make the transition ten times easier.

      Vegan.com Blog - June 22

      No Impact Man: 'Think enhancement, not sacrifice'
      Full story: U.S. News & World Report

      Colin Beavan gave up lots of things during his year-long trial in urban asceticism, which resulted in the blog, book and recently-released movie No Impact Man. And those things - like electricity, meat, carbon-based transportation and even toilet paper - are what have made the public and media continually fascinated with him, ever since his experiment in 2007. But to Beavan, it's not about what he gave up, it's about what he gained - and by that, he doesn't mean a book deal.

      U.S. News & World Report - September 11

      A Sea Change: The world without fish - is it possible?
      Full story: Sail World

      The oceans of the world are not only important to sailors and fishermen, but to most people on earth, whether they realise it or not. A Sea Change is a poignant film which tackles the probability of a world without fish should humans continue to act and behave environmentally as we have for the past century. The feature length documentary produced by Niijii Films, premiered at various venues and time around the world this year, and in many cases it was standing room only. It centres around the concerns of one grandfather for the future for his grandson in such a world.

      Sail World - September 6
        Of Note - Recipes, Celebrations, Videos, and More    

      21-day vegan kickstart - resources and recipes
      The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)'s vegan kickstart began September 8 and over 11,000 people signed up to kickstart their health. It's not too late to share in the resources they offer, including health links and recipes. Just click below for their daily archive. For more recipe ideas and our own tips visit the VegE-News site or click the "recipes" tab at the top of the newsletter. Check out the recipes from the chef of Paul Watson's Sea Shepherd anti-whaling ship for more inspiration and some delicious avocado recipes in the New York Times article on cooking to manage diabetets - seeing such an article is an encouraging sign in itself!
      21-day vegan kickstart
      VegE-News recipes and tips
      Sea Shepherd vegan recipes - Ecorazzi (August 21)
      A vegan chef’s avocado recipes for diabetes - New York Times (September 24)

      Buddy, can you spare 8.3 cents?
      We are pleased to produce VegE-News to help the vegetarian/vegan cause - but we confess we could use a little help with expenses. If each of our subscribers sent us one dollar a year - 8.3 cents a month, it would really help with production and distribution expenses. If you would like to help, please click below.
      Support VegE-News

      The safety of soy
      The Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation (VVF) in Britain has launched a new website called "The Safety of Soya" to answer the questions (and propaganda!) about the safety of this product, consumed safely for thousands of years. Yes, avoid overly processed foods of any kind, and yes buy organic soy to avoid GMOs, but no, don't stop making this healthy product a part of your diet. We've also included a thorough review of soy safety by John Robbins and Vegan Health's page with various links. And finally, if you're allergic to soy, there are some plant protein ideas from Jack Norris, RD - it's easy to get lots of protein, with or without soy.
      The Safety of Soya website- VVF
      What about soy - John Robbins
      Soy - Vegan Health
      How can I get plant protein without eating soy?

      You're invited to Lantern Books' 10th anniversary party!
      We are pleased to pass on this message from Lantern Books:
      We made it through the terrible twos, past the seven year itch, and this fall, Lantern Books will celebrate a full decade in the publishing business. In those ten years, the "baby" of Gene Gollogly and Martin Rowe has employed, published, used the services of, provided services for, and sold to untold numbers of people, all who've helped step their vision of a more peaceful and sustainable planet forward. We'll be celebrating our anniversary and launching an exciting, new book - An Offering of Leaves by Ruth Lauer-Manenti - on Thursday, October 8th, 6:30 - 9 pm, at Jivamukti Yoga, near Union Square in Manhattan. PLEASE JOIN US while we toast our successes, launch this beautiful new book, and look forward to our next years in the publishing business.
      Lantern Books

      Video shorts
      A sick cowboy accepts a vegan challenge from Dr. Oz from VegSource, a dad with a "broken heart" featured on The Real Food Channel - new video shorts for you. Plus, we're repeating advice on having a healthy baby in case you missed it last issue.
      Cowboy accepts vegan challenge from Dr. Oz
      The Real Food Channel
      Prevent autism, have a healthy baby

      Swine flu video available
      In light of the current situation, Dr. Michael Greger has released his latest presentation Flu Factories: Tracing the Origins of the Swine Flu Pandemic on DVD, available for order at the link below.
      Michael Greger on flu

      World Vegetarian Day - October 1
      Every year on October 1st, World Vegetarian Day kicks off World Vegetarian Month - a month of parties, potluck, presentations, food tasting displays, and lots of friendly discussions. For those new to vegetarianism, it serves as an enticement to give meatless fare a try (even for a day) and learn about its many benefits. And, of course, it's the perfect occasion for vegetarians and those already moving towards plant-based diets to celebrate their healthy, compassionate food choices.
      World Vegetarian Day

      Walk for Farm Animals - October 2 (and throughout the month)
      Since incorporating in 1986, Farm Sanctuary has worked to expose and stop cruel practices of the "food animal." The Walk for Farm Animals helps fund and raise awareness about their vital education and advocacy efforts. Even if you can't participate in a walk near you, you can join the "no-walk" without even leaving home - new this year!
      Walk for Farm Animals 2009
      "No-Walk" Walk for Farm Animals 2009

      World Veg Festival - San Francisco, October 3 & 4
      In the words of song, if you're going to San Francisco...don't miss the World Veg Festival at Golden Gate Park (SF Fair Bldg at 9th Avenue and Lincoln) from 10 am to 6 pm for entertainment, outstanding speakers, healthy food demos, vegan cuisine and more.
      San Francisco Veg Festival

      Attention veggie organizations and members
      If you are a vegetarian organization that would like your own customized version of VegE-News, let us know. We are pleased to produce customized versions of VegE-News for the Australian Vegetarian Society, the New Zealand Vegetarian Society, Vegetarians of Alberta, the Toronto Vegetarian Association, and the Winnipeg Vegetarian Association. Members receive the regular VegE-News PLUS listings of their local events. If you are a member of one of those organizations, but not receiving the customized version, just drop us an email to switch you to the specific list.
      Email VegE-News

      Note:Whenever possible, stories are linked to the original source. Some sites may require registration, and/or not archive the stories. All links were active at the time of publication.
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