Omega-3s and Coffee Grinders

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Many nutritionists recommend getting your fair share of Omega-3 fatty acids as part of an optimal diet. The traditional source for Omega-3s is oily fish, but vegetarians can get theirs from various kinds of nuts or, best of all, flax seeds. Generally, freshly ground flax seeds provide the best nutritional value and are reasonably priced at most health food stores. However, grinding them ain’t that easy…

… or so I thought! Then, I remembered Dr. Andrew Weil recommending buying a coffee grinder specifically for grinding flax seeds (you don’t want to mix your coffee and flax seeds in the same grinder). Turns out, they’re really pretty cheap. I picked up a $15 Mr. Coffee grinder and I’m happy to report it works wonderfully. I grind a quarter-cup of flax seeds with no problem, then put it in a container in the fridge and over the course of a week or two, spoon a tablespoon or two a day onto my cereal, into my sandwiches, or into pasta sauce after it finished heating. The flax adds a very slight nutty flavor, but the consistency is fine enough that you don’t even notice it in most things.

Here’s some more info on the health benefits of Omega-3s from Dr. Weil.

Freegans

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The Sacramento Bee is running a surprising article on freegans. “Freegans?” you say? Yup…

Freegans are essentially vegans that will eat something non-vegan as long as it’s free/scavanged for. This means that they’ll dumpster dive and have a non-vegan pastry. For freegans, it’s more about making a conscious effort to not support the meat/dairy/egg industries than it is to simply not eat something. Can’t say I’d ever go dumpster diving, but I guess the general philosophy behind what they do makes some sense.

What’s most interesting is that the article doesn’t take the easy route and make freegans seem like freaks, but actually presents a relatively balanced look and focuses on why they do what they do.

Chicago Diner

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My wife and I just got back from Chicago, where we were for Paul and Jeani’s wedding. I was itching to try out some new veggie restaurants in the Windy City, and Huyen indulged me.

One night, we made a trip to the Chicago Diner on North Halstead. I’ve gotta say: if I lived anywhere within driving distance, I’d spend entirely too much time and money there. With some incredible diner-type fare and highly respected vegan desserts, it looks like it’d be hard to go wrong with anything on the menu. The seitan cheesesteak I ordered was quite good, though I would have gone a little lighter on the seitan and a little heavier on the soy cheese (it’s now casein-free soy cheese, though regular dairy cheddar cheese is also offered). Huyen enjoyed her salad, though the baked tofu was a bit bland. Where the Chicago Diner really shines, though, is with their desserts. When Veg Blog visitors and meat-eating friends raved about their vegan cakes, I had to satisfy my own curiosity. The Diner had just sold out of their Cookies and Cream cake, so I settled for my second choice: chocolate chip tofu cheesecake.

Oh. My. God.

Let me tell you: as a big fan of cheescake, I was worried this would be dry and bland like the tofu-based pumpkin pie I tried at another veggie restaurant. That wasn’t the case at all with the Diner’s cheesecake: it was beyond good. It absolutely tasted like the best cheesecake I ever had and had no “funny” taste or dry texture whatsoever. I’m convinced that the most hardcore dairy lover wouldn’t even realize the cheesecake was vegan. The only thing I wish now is that I had sprung for a whole cake rather than just a slice. I’m not sure if their cookbook has a recipe for it, but I’m willing to buy a copy to find out.

Needless to say, next time I make it to Chi-town, the Diner is a guaranteed repeat visit.

Meat Tree

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Reader Jen passed me a story seems to be making its rounds about a meat tree:

Fruit from the new Meat Trees, developed by British scientists using gene-splicing technology, closely resembles ordinary grapefruit. But when you peel the large fruit open, inside is fresh beef.

Of course, this shouldn’t be believed any more than a baby human with three heads born to a male cow… the story is in Yahoo!’s news and entertainment section, but is actually culled from the infamous Weekly World News. Still, it’s a funny concept.

Mad Cow news

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If you’re interested in keeping up with the latest mad cow news now that it’s hit North America (c’mon, we all knew it was just a matter of time), use this Google News link and keep an eye on Veg Source, which has always done a good job at tracking this particular topic.