Looking for giveaways

It’s been a few months since I’ve done any giveaways on the site and I want to start things back up in February. So, I’m putting out a call to all readers that are involved in a vegan-friendly business that might want to contribute some goodies to the cause. I have a few people in mind, but I know there have got to be some other people reading doing cool vegan stuff that I haven’t stumbled upon yet.

Here are the rules:

  • Your product must be vegan. ie. Don’t offer up a product that has animal-based glycerin in it.
  • Your business (if you have one, and not just a product) should be vegan or very nearly vegan (I’ll take the latter on a case-by-case basis).
  • No item is too big or too small. We’ve given away gift certificates, chocolate, and books in the past.

You’ll get a full month featured on the right side of every page on the Veg Blog. Readers will enter and at the end of the month, you’ll help me randomly select a winner. You then send the item to them. Easy.

If you’re interested, hit me up.

links for 2006-01-14

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Food Service woes

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Holy cow.

I was doing a little bit of research to see what types of food some of the local public schools make available for students. After reading the article about the school in Atlanta with the amazing veggie-friendly lunch line, I had high hopes for Northern Virginia. Alas, what I came across was quite disappointing. Case in point, this document (PDF), a newsletter titled Nutrifax published by the Fairfax County Public Schools.

Being that it implies there are “fax” about nutrition, you might think that the document included helpful tips about vegetarian diets. Instead, in one page we get loads of half-truths, misinformation, and an undertone of anti-vegetarianism. If I didn’t know better, I’d think someone from the meat industry penned this, but there’s even a phone number to call a “registered dietician” for more information. Here’s a quick look at some of the main problems with this newsletter:

  • It’s titled “The Vegetarian Agenda.” Right off the bat, it’s antagonistic.
  • Incorrect definition of terms. Here, a semi-vegetarian = pescatarian. Semi-vegetarians just eat “less” meat, which can include any and all meat, poultry, etc. Pescatarians don’t eat beef or poultry, but will eat fish. They also refer to “lacto-ova” vegetarian. As far as I know, this is not an accepted alternate spelling for “lacto-ovo,” though it may be technically acceptable.
  • False information about the “risks” of vegetarianism. They have a section about the health benefits of vegetarianism, but it’s half the length of the “risks” section. A blatant falsehood crops up here: “Animal protein is the only source of complete protein with all the essential amino acids present.” One word: quinoa. Also, the soybean has what’s considered a complete protein, though it doesn’t have all of the essential amino acids.

    The risks section continues with more subtle errors, like stating “The more restrictive the diet is
    about eating animal protein, the greater the health risks become.” They mention B12 (which actually only occurs naturally in plant sources but for humans comes primarily from animals that have ingested B12 in their feed) and that “animal protein is the major source for calcium, Vitamin D, and iron.” Remember that most of the best sources of calcium are from plant sources.

    The worst of all the errors, though comes in this paragraph:

    Many grains, legumes and seeds are good sources of protein but need to be combined with one another to become complete proteins. A grain product, another vegetable or an animal derived protein can provide amino acids that are missing in a vegetable. Examples of complementary combinations are beans and rice, peanut butter and bread, macaroni and cheese.

    This section implies that protein-combining in the same meal is required, a belief that was disproven a couple of decades ago. The current school of thought says that a.) most people get too much protein, b.) plant proteins generally don’t have the health risks associated with animal proteins, and c.) as long as you eat a decent variety of foods over the course of a day, your proteins will be plenty well combined.

There’s still a lot of work to be done in the food service industry. While a lot of the statements above may on the surface have a layer of truth, there’s a sense of “vegetarianism is bad and hard to do, so if you have to deal with it, here are some things to tell those annoying people.” We are pests, aren’t we?

SHAC 7’s Josh Harper on Vegan Freaks

If you haven’t checked out this week’s Vegan Freak podcast, make sure you do soon. The Freaks’ interview with SHAC 7 defendant Josh Harper is essential. Even if you’re not down with direct action, this case goes far beyond that, with some seriously scary implications for the future of free speech.

The most mind-blowing fact I heard in this interview: in 2003, the FBI spent used money and resources investigating animal rights groups (who collectively have caused exactly zero fatalities in the last three or more decades) than they did Al-Qaeda (anyone have a source for that? I’d love to link it up…).