A boy and his neighbor’s dog

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Boy will get award for saving pups

A nine-year-old boy will be recognized as a hero next week in his Santa Cruz community after saving two small puppies’ lives. He spotted the puppies in the back seat of a car with the windows barely cracked on a 90 degree August day. The boy grabbed his Super Soaker and shot water into the car, cooling the pups off until police and animal control could come and rescue the dogs. Both puppies have since been adopted.

Could it be… a vegetarian diner?!

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I recently subscribed to the excellent Satya Magazine, a New York-based publication that focuses on “vegetarianism, envrionmentalism, animal advocacy, and social justice.” I won’t go into too much detail about the magazine now (I’ll save that for another entry), but I found a mention of a restaurant in New York City that sounds like absolute heaven: the Veg-City Diner.

This may be the first all-vegetarian diner (and very vegan friendly) diner ever. And it’s not just a typical vegetarian resturant wrapped in a Silver Diner shell, but an actual New York City diner that was taken over and still serves “diner food.” I wondered not long ago why no one had created a good faux Philly Cheesesteak yet… well, they have and you can get it at the diner. Check out their menu: “Suna Melt” (a faux tuna melt, obviously), meat loaf, Phony Island Corn Dog, Virginia Baked Sham, vegan pancakes, milkshakes (with soy milkshakes as an option)… sounds incredible! While many of the foods aren’t vegan-safe, the menu is well-marked and apparently the waitstaff is knowledgable about the food they serve.

You can see a May 2001 review of the diner by Satya Magazine. Given my obsession with diners, there’s no doubt this will be my first stop during my next trip to NYC.

Who needs butter?

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I’ve pretty much eliminated butter from my diet (aside from the occasional store-bought cookie). There are two main products I use in place of butter on bread, bagels, or when cooking/baking, and they both serve their purpose quite well.

The first, I’ve mentioned before: Spectrum Naturals’ Essential Omega Spread. Consistency-wise, it does well on toast and it doesn’t taste all that bad. It does have kind of an odd fishy smell to it (though the Omega-3s come from flax seed oil), but it doesn’t take long before you forget the smell’s even there. It can’t be used for cooking, but it’s mighty fine on a morning bagel.

The second I’d heard a lot about, but only recently tried: Earth Balance spread. This stuff is amazingly like butter, but with none of the trans-fat. It’s by no means health food (it does have a bit of sat fat), but it’s still a great choice if you’re looking to avoid butter. It tastes great, melts perfectly on toast and bagels, and can be used in baking and cooking with good results. And it’s not terribly expensive, either. I haven’t tried any of their Smart Balance line, yet.

What happens to recalled meat?

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Ever wonder what happens to the millions of pounds of meat that are recalled? Slate Answers: among other things, it’s set aside for “rendering into nonhuman protein sources i.e., dog and livestock food.”

If you’re interested in reading more about Listeria, the food-borne bacteria that can be found in meat or on vegetables, see About-Listeria.com and the USDA’s site.

Another interesting fact about this most recent recall: according to Vegan.com, this particular recall “amounts to over two million birds slaughtered and thrown away.”