Tea and cholesterol

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Via Vegan Porn comes a CNN story where tea is once again touted as a way to lower bad cholesterol levels. Herman of VP muses, “Results like those take about five cups of tea per day to achieve, which is probably less overall hassle than cholesterol lowering drugs and their associated side effects, although this is probably a lot of caffeine for people who aren’t used to it.” Here’s the response I posted, something I can’ t believe I haven’t mentioned here before:

There are a few simple ways to combat that:

  1. Drink green tea or (best yet) white tea. Both have higher levels of antioxidants and less caffeine than black tea.
  2. You can decaffeinate your tea (any kind) very easily with the following method:
    • Pour your hot water over the tea bag or tea leaves and let it steep for 30 seconds.
    • At the end of 30 seconds, pour off the liquid. Now add more hot water and brew the tea as you normally would. Between 80 and 95% of the caffeine in tea comes out in the first 30 seconds, so this is a good way of eliminating most of the caffeine in your tea. Also, you can usually re-use a teabag or leaves a few times, and subsequent cups of tea won’t have as much caffeine as the first cup.

The good thing is that this method doesn’t hurt the integrity of the tea or its taste.

Pennsylvania school serves strictly healthy lunches

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Lunch lessons

My mom passed this story along about Chester County, PA’s Kimberton Waldorf School has a unique lunch program: homemade vegetarian dishes made mainly from organic local produce. And the kids like everything from the spinach tofu pie to the broccoli cheese soup and Gardenburgers (every dish also has a vegan equivalent available!). Extras are donated to needy families and the tables are set with tablecloths and flowers.

One quote that sums it up well: “If the school is feeding them really crappy food, that is what they know.” Imagine if all schools offered up healthy and tasty vegetarian meals? It wouldn’t be anything strange if it was a normal part of the everyday routine… the kids would get used to it and would learn to enjoy healthy food.

Healthy, good-tasting school lunches that support the local community. Can’t beat that.

Islam and Vegetarianism

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An interesting dichotomy:

Muslims shouldn’t be vegetarian

First of all, it should be clear that one should not think that it is better to abstain from eating meat, that doing so will be rewarded, or that being a vegetarian is closer to Allah than not, and so on. It is not permitted to draw closer to Allah in this way.

v.s.

Muslims can and should be vegetarian

Vegetarianism is halal.
Meat is not compulsory.
Any food is permissible provided it is not harmful.
Muslims are free to eat whatever they want provided it is halal.

And some more on the issue

Traveling vegetarian

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I’ve seen so-called “vegetarian passports” before, which basically have “I’m a vegetarian/vegan” in a number of different languages, so that when traveling to another country, you’re covered. But I’m mighty impressed by this Vegetarian Passport site, which has over 70 languages represented. Clicking through each language takes you to a GIF image (or in some cases, text) with two sections, the first for lacto-ovo vegetarians, the second for vegans. Print it out, take it with you, and it’s highly unlikely that anyone will have any questions about what you do and don’t eat. Here’s the English:

1. I am a vegetarian.

This means: because of my beliefs I don’t eat anything obtained from a killed animal.

So I don’t eat: red meat (including minced meat, all kinds of sausages, etc) fish, shrimps, mussels poultry (including chicken, turkey, duck, or goose) any other meat products

But I do eat: vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, nuts, mushrooms, rice, fruit, butter, milk, cheese, eggs, corn and corn products, etc. Soups and sauces may be made with vegetable stock, but not with meat or chicken extracts. Frying and baking may be done in vegetable oil, vegetable margarine, or butter, but not in any other animal fat.

2. I am a vegan.

This means: because of my beliefs I don’t eat anything of animal origin.

So I don’t eat: red meat (including minced meat, all kinds of sausages, etc) fish, shrimps, mussels poultry (including chicken, turkey, duck, or goose) any other meat products any dairy product (milk, cheese, butter, yogurt) eggs honey any other product which comes from an animal

But I do eat: vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, nuts, mushrooms, rice, fruit, corn and corn products, etc. Soups and sauces may be made with vegetable stock, but not with meat or chicken extracts. Frying and baking may be done in vegetable oil or vegetable margarine, but not in butter or any other animal-derived fat.

Looks to me like they have all the bases covered. I may be going back to Vietnam for a few weeks in the coming months, so here’s a note to myself: take the Vietnamese page along in my wallet.

Note that the images displayed on the page may not be the proper dimensions. Load the image individually before printing to make sure it all prints at the right size.