Super Bowl Sunday | The Perfect Vegan Opportunity

Some of you may be wondering what I’ve been smokin’ when I say that Super Bowl Sunday is the perfect vegan opportunity. Most of you, if you’re into American Football, would normally cringe at the thought of going to a Super Bowl party once you decided to be vegan since it is usually a carnivore’s dream event full of meat, cheese and processed food. That tradition, however, is what makes it such a perfect opportunity for change.

Just like other traditions that don’t make sense, the typical foods served at a Super Bowl party are no longer what most people want to eat and they are certainly NOT things that leave the party-goers feeling good. The beautiful thing is that there are so many other options that seem just as decadent, indulgent and tasty but are NOT animal products or chemicals that will leave everyone feeling like crap.

So, if you’re up for the challenge and you’re either hosting a party or the guest of one, here are some great options to take Superbowl Sunday to a whole new vegan level!

PETA’s Party Picks – 9 amazing vegan recipes that mimic the classics

Vegetarian Times – Ultimate Vegan Chili

Ecorazzi – Top Ten Vegan Super Bowl Recipes

VegNews – Vegan Super Bowl Soiree (includes vegan alcoholic beverage info too!)

Mercy for Animals – Score Big by Hosting a Vegan Superbowl Party

Since the Super Bowl is also known for its commercials, I thought I’d toss in an example that not only advertises an incredible product, it reminds us that sometimes all we have to do is look around us to find the inspiration we need to be a better person, a better example and an advocate for the world we want to live in.

What’s your favorite party recipe? Please share it with everyone below!

Is The Yes Men’s reBurger Idea More Ironic Than They Thought?

I recently watched The Yes Men movie (the one released in 2003 NOT The Yes Men Fix the World)  and was struck by an ironic bit of activism that was included near the end.

If you don’t know who The Yes Men are, they are Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno. They aim to raise awareness about problematic social issues in unique and very public ways.

The movie follows them as they impersonate World Trade Organization spokesmen on TV and at business conferences around the world.

Their final act of activism (in the movie) was a lecture to a group of students from The State University of New York at Plattsburgh. The students were told that they were going to hear a lecture about ways to reduce starvation in third world countries by representatives of The World Trade Organization (WTO). What they got was something entirely unexpected:

What struck me is that their idea isn’t really far from the truth.

The beef that is used to make hamburgers is ‘produced’ by feeding cows waste products like chicken excrement, toxic heavy metals, antibiotics, the flesh and bones of dead cattle and even nails and small shards of glass (source: Grist.org). As the cows excrete massive amounts of their own waste (because their food has so little nutritional value) they are forced to stand in it along with thousands of pounds of waste from other cows. That waste eventually runs off into surrounding water supplies that can eventually be used to irrigate farms that grow food for human and animal consumption. I don’t really see a difference. Do you?

If you would like to learn more about The Yes Men, please visit their website.

Have you seen The Yes Men movie? Share your thoughts on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.

“To accept the factory farm feels inhuman.” ~ Jonathan Safran Foer

Eating Animals has been on my list for a while and now that I’ve read it, I wish I had not taken so long. But a part of me must have known it was better that I waited – until I was truly ready.

This book has shifted my world and it has been a disturbing and revelatory journey. I can feel the seeds that were planted while reading his stories, experiences and conclusions slowly growing inside this little noggin’ of mine and I’m quite terrified of what is going to come of them!

Seriously – there is some pretty heavy stuff that has been floating around in there since I finished this book!

As upsetting as it was, I am so glad that it was Jonathan who guided me through the rationalizations, philosophies and astute observations in such a way that I could finish what he had started.

My heart and stomach cannot take much – if any – of the graphic details that are so prevalent in the conversations about factory farming but somehow he was able to present it in a way that I knew it was important that I know it, not just for shock value, but as building blocks to seeing the bigger picture.

Now that I have seen that picture, and recognize that I am not behind the camera observing but participating – by my action AND inaction – I realize I must act. Inertia, complacency and neutrality are not going to cut it when you are dealing with people who see everything as a commodity – who see animals and humans as expendable.

Everything is Illuminated Mr. Foer – and it’s all your fault!

Have you read Eating Animals? What did you think of it? I would love to hear your comments on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.

What happens when you eat too much protein?

As a follow up to my last post, I thought I would elaborate on what can happen to your body when you consume too much protein.

If you take in more protein than your body needs:

  1. you are also taking in more nitrogen so your kidneys have to work overtime to expel the extra urea and ketones through your urine. The additional strain over a long period of time may cause kidney disease.
  2. you are more prone to being dehydrated and mineral deficient (mostly calcium) since the process of expelling the extra protein leaches these from your system. This may lead to osteoporosis and kidney stones.
  3. you are more likely to development food allergies because the stress on your digestive system to rid itself of the extra protein can make you more susceptible
  4. by consuming animal protein, you are more prone to obesity, osteoporosis, heart disease and cancer because of the high cholesterol, natural carcinogens and absence of fiber in meat and dairy products. Processed meat ‘foods’ are the worst.

Symptoms of too much protein include:

  1. Headaches
  2. Body aches
  3. Mucous production when you eat
  4. Food allergies
  5. Bone and tooth decay
  6. Arthritis (high uric acid levels eat away at the cartilage in joints)

So what should everyone do to make sure they are getting enough, but not too much protein? First, get a good mix of proteins by eating a variety of foods. Eat a diverse and balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, bean, nuts, and whole grains to give your body what it needs. Second, exercise and drink lots of water. This will help your kidneys flush waste out of your system more effectively. Third, make sure you are getting enough calcium. Good, whole food sources of calcium are sesame seeds, spinach, and collard greens.

Balance is what is all about. So with the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, be sure to remember to be gentle with your body and eat in moderation so that you will be healthy enough to be grateful in the coming year.

Let me know if you have any thoughts and/or suggestions about eating too much protein in the comments section below, on facebook or via twitter.

Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating – Book Review

 

Vegan

Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating by Erik Marcus

 

When I picked up the revised edition of Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating by Erik Marcus at my local library, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I hadn’t read a book about vegan issues in a while and as I flipped through the pages deciding whether to check it out or not, the content seemed interesting and broad enough to retain my interest. It did much more than that!

Erik starts the book with Part I: To Your Health. It looks at the state of our nation’s health and our quality of life. He highlights Dr. Dean Ornish’s work, including personal stories about people who have suffered from heart disease. Cancer and The China Project are also examined and links are shown that the consumption of animal products can trigger the development of colon, breast and prostate cancers. Of course, a section about health benefits without weight loss would be incomplete, so he also talks about how a vegan diet can easily reduce your body weight to its optimal level and discusses the work of Dr. Terry Shintani.

The ‘Perfect Food Isn’t’ chapter was of particular interest to me because I experience a dramatic shift in the happiness of my body when I cut out dairy products and I am dismayed by the implications of the constant barrage of messages to drink milk and eat cheese that we experience as Americans. Mr. Marcus does the topic justice by explaining what dairy does to your body and how we are being manipulated by special interests.

The final chapter in this section was the most eye opening for me. It is entitled; ‘How Now, Mad Cow.’ I had no idea what was going on in the 80’s regarding mad cow disease. Now I know that was intentional. I also didn’t fully understand that a discussion on Oprah Winfrey’s show between Howard Lyman and Dr. Gary Weber about the disease was what spawned the well known lawsuit she endured. I also know much more about how this disease proliferates and how we as a species are seriously compromising the health of ourselves and our children (throughout the world) by consuming beef products from factory farms.

Part II starts off with Rescued! a chapter about Gene and Lorri Bausten who started Farm Sanctuary. The chapter Chickens and Eggs is next with a devastatingly complete depiction of the horrific conditions of poultry which are used for egg production or slaughtered for meat. If you are a Vegetarian who eats eggs, you may want to take a look at this chapter before your next shopping trip.

Erik goes on to explore the lives of pigs, dairy cows, veal calves and beef cattle. He notes throughout these chapters how breeding practices and conditions are creating an environment of disease, misery and death, not only for the animals but for the people who consume their products. This section ends with a chapter named The Killing Business. It explores both sides of the slaughterhouse situation and completes the horrific life cycle of the animals.

If you weren’t convinced by now that consuming animal products is not in anyone or any animal’s best interest, Erik goes even further in his discussions about world hunger, public property violations by the National Cattlemen’s Association and his personal journey to his current stance on veganism. The New Four Food Groups from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Vegetarian Starter Kit is included for those who are interested in eating a more plant-based diet.

Overall, I agree with Howard Lyman when he says, “Reading Erik Marcus’s Vegan is a critical first step for anyone wanting to extend both the quality and length of their life, and the planet’s life.” So read the whole book or just those chapters that interest you. I am sure that you will be more informed and more able to make better choices when it comes to deciding what you consume. Once you do take a look, please let me know what you thought!

The revised edition of Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating by Erik Marcus is 211 pages and includes a foreword by Howard Lyman the Director of Eating with Conscience Campaign of the Humane Society of the United States. There are three main sections; To Your Health, The Truth About Food Animals and Beyond the Dinner Table along with two appendices; The New Four Food Groups and Resources.

If you would like to learn more about Erik Marcus, his website and blog can be found at vegan.com. You can also find him on facebook, and twitter.