NPR on GMOs

NPR has a pair of great stories on biotech (the kind, PR-like term for “genetically modified foods”): Biotech Food Industry Filled with Promises, Pitfalls: Despite Benefits, Biotech Crops Remain Steeped in Controversy and Biotech Genes Found in Wild Maize in Mexico.

While I’ve been a definite supporter of labeling GMO foods (something that the biotech industry has lobbied strongly against), I feel even more strongly after having read the section on biotech in John Robbins’ The Food Revolution. Monsanto has an unbelievable amount of power, but I honestly believe that they are doing very little good for the world. Every move they make seems to be a PR move to convince the world that biotech is the way to go, when really all it’s doing is lining their own pockets. Roundup Ready crops: spray ’em all you want with herbicides to kill weeds and the crops won’t die! Oh, but wait… it only works with Monsanto’s herbicides. So… “We’ll sell you crops that can withstand our herbicide. Buy our herbicide, and lots of it!” Ugh. Corporate self-interest posing as public service… nothing makes me more sick to my stomach.

Vegan athletes

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Vegan athletes – strong, fast and healthy

I was reading over on Food Headlines about a new vegan cookbook with an introduction by Carl Lewis. In it, Lewis said that he never felt better than the year he was on a vegan diet (whether or not he’s still on one, I’m not sure). This article expands on the idea of being a vegan athlete and the misconceptions about getting enough calories on a vegan diet or about animal protein being better than plant protein. For a large paper, they did a good job of covering a story about a pretty specific segment of society.

Raw Foodists

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Raw Foodists Make Vegans Look Like Debauchers

This is a surprisingly thorough look at the more “extreme” versions of vegetarianism, complete with recipes. While I personally disagree with the raw foods philosophy, it’s an interesting article, nevertheless.

A vegetarian Thanksgiving

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This year, my wife and I celebrated our first Thanksgiving together as a married couple. And though we’ve been living together for a number of years, this was the first time we hosted a family Thanksgiving dinner. The house was crowded, but smells of good food filled the air.

Out of the 12, though, I was the only vegetarian, so while everyone else chomped on turkey, I enjoyed my first Tofurky. Yes, the occasional jabs at having a “fake” turkey and the “ewww… that looks disgusting” comments were a bit annoying, but I was happy. The Tofurky was easy enough to cook, about an hour in the oven, basted in an orange juice/soy sauce/brown sugar combo and wrapped in foil with some chopped carrots and potatoes. The end result tasted pretty darn good. The consistency was pretty close to turkey and the stuffing was an added bonus. I still can’t speak highly enough about their gravy: it’s just oustanding. Every person I had try the gravy responded the same way, with a surprised look and a “Wow, that’s good!”

Perhaps the best comment came when my brother-in-law, who is 15, but more open minded than most his age, tried my Tofurky leftovers the day after Thanksgiving. “I’m disappointed,” he said. “I thought I was going to be able to make fun of this, but it’s actually pretty good.”

Food Revolution and eating pets

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I’ve been reading the absolutely outstanding The Food Revolution by John Robbins (that’s Robbins as in “Baskin-Robbins,” incidentally) and one section really hit me when I read it. I knew that for a long time cow parts were rendered into feed for other cows resulting in “cow cannibalism,” if you will. Fortunately, in 1997 a law was passed in the United States to prohibit this (in order to prevent the spread of Mad Cow Disease), but the naturally herbivorous cow is still fed a variety of other animals that wind up at the rendering plant.

And here’s the crazy part… for all those people that joke about how Asian countries eat cats and dogs: if you’re eating beef, you are too. To quote cattle-rancher-turned-vegan Howard Lyman, “Another staple of the renderer’s diet, in addition to farm animals, is euthanized pets—the six or seven million dogs and cats that are killed in animal shelters every year. The city of Los Angeles alone, for example, sends some two hundred tons of euthanized cats and dogs to a rendering plant every month. Added to the blend are the euthanized catch of animal control agencies, and roadkill.” Believe it or not, it gets more disgusting… but I’ll let you read more through the previous link, if you’re so inclined.

I don’t intend to gross out the visitors to the Veg Blog, but I feel the need to mention things like this because it continues to astound me what has become common practice in the meat industry. These are things I simply never knew and only learned about after I became vegetarian. Sometimes I wonder how much sooner I would have stopped eating meat if I had known what I know now…