Happy New Year
In this edition...
Health and Environment
| ||Vegetable protein helps fight strokes and heart disease|
| ||NZ study: Hamburgers related to asthma in children|
| ||Have acne problems? Milk may be culprit|
| ||It's better to green your diet than your car|
| ||Soy may help prevent breast cancer|
| ||Go vegan for weight loss and improved insulin sensitivity|
Lifestyles and Trends
| ||Opinion shift prompts EU labels to improve animal welfare|
| ||Veggie experiences: Students make compassionate diet choices|
| ||High school cafeteria offers vegetarian-only options|
| ||Real men drink chai|
Animal Issues and Advocacy
| ||Respect for animals a mark of humanity|
| ||Video exposes cruelty of Japanese whale hunt|
| ||Egg farm hit with cruelty charges|
| ||Rescuer puts lobster on display, not menu|
| ||Bovine fugitive gets reprieve from dinner plate|
| ||Taking on the meat industry|
Are They Serious? Unfortunately Yes
| ||Glow-in-the-dark pigs make their debut|
| ||Do you want fries with your raccoon?|
Books and Perspectives
| ||They believe in virtues of veggies|
| ||Two new books make restaurant-style veggie cooking easy||
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Health and Environment
Vegetable protein helps fight strokes and heart disease
Full story: The Guardian, UK
Swapping your meat for two or more vegetables can reduce your blood pressure. An extensive study, led by Professor Paul Elliott of Imperial College, London, compared the diet and blood pressure of 4,680 men and women, aged 40 to 59, in four countries. The scientists found that those who ate more vegetable protein tended to have lower blood pressure than those who ate less.
Previous research has indicated that vegetarians are less likely to suffer from high blood pressure than those who eat meat. But scientists had suggested this was due to vegetarians' lower body weight. The new research reveals it is the vegetable protein itself which is of benefit. "These people weren't vegetarians. But those consuming relatively more vegetable protein still had lower blood pressure than those who ate relatively more protein from meat" [Professor Elliott said.] "We know high blood pressure is the biggest cause of preventable mortality worldwide. If we can stop the rise of blood pressure...we will reduce the burden of stroke and heart disease."
The Guardian, UK - January 10, 2006
Baby boomers could erase longevity gains
Report warns high blood pressure, obesity are threats
Easyreview.org/CNN.com/AP (December 16, 2005)
NZ study: Hamburgers related to asthma in children
Full story: Netscape/Allergy journal
Parents, beware! Children who eat hamburgers just once a week are twice as likely to develop asthma and wheezing problems, Foodconsumer.org reports of a new study from New Zealand. The conclusions were drawn from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood, a research project that involved 1,321 children between the ages of 10 and 12. Diet and asthma symptoms were recorded.
Why hamburgers? It could be the high salt content that boosts the risk of asthma, according to study leader Dr. Kristen Wickens. Asthma has long been suspected to be the result of the high-fat western diet, higher standard of living and decreased physical activity.
Netscape/Allergy journal - December issue
Have acne problems? Milk may be culprit
Full story: NBC 4, US
Dermatologists seem to agree that something in milk and dairy products may be linked to teenage acne, but they haven't been able to pin down the reason why. In a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in February 2005, researchers have pointed to hormones and bioactive molecules in milk.
But Dr. Harvey Arbesman, a dermatologist at the University at Buffalo, suspects iodine is the culprit. "It has been well-established since the 1960s that iodine intake can exacerbate acne," said Arbesman. He said farmers give their cows iodine-fortified feed to prevent infection, and they use sanitizing iodine solutions on their cows' udders and milking equipment. "I've advised my acne patients for years to decrease their dairy intake," he said.
NBC 4, US - December 8, 2005
It's better to green your diet than your car
Full story: New Scientist
Thinking of helping the planet by buying an eco-friendly car? You could do more by going vegan, say Gidon Eshel and Pamela Martin of the University of Chicago. They compared the amount of fossil fuel needed to cultivate and process various foods, including running agricultural machinery, providing food for livestock and irrigating crops. They also factored in emissions of methane and nitrous oxide produced by cows, sheep and manure treatment.
The typical U.S. diet, about 28 per cent of which comes from animal sources, generates the equivalent of nearly 1.5 tonnes more carbon dioxide per person per year than a vegan diet with the same number of calories, say the researchers. By comparison, the difference in annual emissions between driving a typical saloon car and a hybrid car, which runs off a rechargeable battery and gasoline, is just over 1 tonne. If you don't want to go vegan, choosing less-processed animal products and poultry instead of red meat can help reduce the greenhouse load.
New Scientist - December 17, 2005
Soy may help prevent breast cancer
Full story: Harvard Medical School/New York Times
(The New York Times News Service) - A diet rich in soy, with its natural plant estrogens or isoflavones, may help protect postmenopausal women with relatively high levels of estrogen from getting breast cancer, preliminary research suggests. Women past menopause who have low estrogen levels probably won't derive the same risk reduction, but they can probably be assured the soy isn't harmful in terms of breast cancer risk, said [study head] Charles E. Wood.
Wood's study adds new fuel to the ongoing debate surrounding soy's effect on cancer risk. "Most population-based studies have found that women who consume lots of soy are less likely to develop breast cancer," he said. Another expert praised the study and said it gives women reassurance. "This study is basically coming down on the side of, 'Do not worry about the effect of estrogen on the breasts of postmenopausal women,"' said Mindy Kurzer, a professor of nutrition at the University of Minnesota. Soy is considered good for building bones and good for heart health, Kurzer said, as well as for relieving hot flashes during menopause.
Harvard Medical School/New York Times - January 16, 2006
Go vegan for weight loss and improved insulin sensitivity
Full story: Medical News Today
Doctors with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) suggest a new approach to weight loss based on a recent study showing that a low-fat vegan diet is an effective way to shed unwanted pounds. PCRM's weight-loss study, published in September in The American Journal of Medicine, showed that a low-fat, plant-based diet is more effective at helping women lose weight and improve insulin sensitivity than an omnivorous diet.
"The study participants following the vegan diet enjoyed unlimited servings of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other healthful foods that enabled them to lose weight without feeling hungry," says Dr. Neal Barnard, the study's lead author. "Anyone who wants to make healthy changes in the New Year will do well to try a plant-based diet." Worldwide, vegetarian populations experience lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Medical News Today - December 20, 2005
Lifestyles and Trends
Opinion shift prompts EU labels to improve animal welfare
Full story: Stuff, New Zealand
BRUSSELS: European consumers who prefer meat and dairy products from humanely treated animals may soon be able to buy farm produce stamped with an EU "welfare" label. Noting a "seismic shift" in consumer opinion towards promoting animal welfare rather than merely preventing cruelty and avoidable suffering, the European Commission says it is keen to see more farm products obtained using high welfare standards.
Stuff, New Zealand - January 12, 2006
Veggie experiences: Students make compassionate diet choices
Full story: The Carlifornia Aggie
Thirty years ago, the idea of surviving on fruits and vegetables alone seemed like a component of a counterculture lifestyle. Now, however, vegetarianism has evolved into a growing component of mainstream America. "I think a lot of people are vegetarians because they think it is cool. It is almost trendy to be vegetarian once you enter college" [junior Britany Alarid said.]
The treatment of the animals that are used for food was an influential motivator for John Greaves, a Co-Op employee and certified chef, in deciding whether to become a vegetarian or vegan. Greaves explained that many cows die during transport due to lack of food and water. Using electricity, the cows are then arranged into rows and killed with a stun gun. Depending on how accurately they are hit with the gun, the cows may still be alive when they are hooked in the back and their throats are slit. "You put me in a line and I see the person in front of me get shot in the head and hooked, I would be freaked out." he said.
The Carlifornia Aggie - January 17, 2006
High school cafeteria offers vegetarian-only options
Full story: The Monterey Herald, CA, US
For years, school cafeterias have tried to please students with vegetarian offerings. The American School Food Service Association says more than a third of U.S. high schools have meatless items that include salads and cheese pizza.
However, a new trend - vegetarian-only lunch lines - has started in the unlikeliest of places - the South, home of the "Stroke Belt," long known for its trademark fried and fatty foods and higher rates of heart attacks and strokes than other parts of the country. [The] vegetarian line has been a popular cafeteria draw [for one school]. Originally designed for the 30 students in [the school's] Vegetarian Club, meat-eaters also jumped in line and the cafeteria now serves vegetarian entrees to up to 400 of the school's 1,200 students each day.
The Monterey Herald, CA, US - January 9, 2006
Real men drink chai
Full story: Common Ground
You know that times are changing when you ask your daughter's boyfriend what he'd like to drink and he replies "A soy chai latte." I am accustomed to women being interested in and downright enthusiastic about health-promoting foods and beverages. In droves, females avoid alcohol and animal products, know the latest about transfats, and keep nutrition books handy as their favourite reading material. But men?
Surveys indicate that about one-third of vegetarians are male. Lately, I've been having fun going on "beginner dates" with several men. These typically consist of lunch, or a movie and snack, or dinner, or a walk along the seawall followed by a warm beverage. Naturally, these situations bring up the topic of food choices. In the process, I find that I can no longer expect a "typical" man to be averse to tofu, or to avoid every vegetable other than potatoes.
Common Ground - January, 2006
Animal Issues and Advocacy
Respect for animals a mark of humanity
Full story: The Advertiser, Australia
The moral black spot that we have towards animals is so gaping that it will shame us in the eyes of future generations. That's the message we should take from the Greenpeace activists that are harassing the Japanese whaling. The killing of whales is a particularly distressing example of animal cruelty. Whales scream in terror as they are being massacred in a killing process that often lasts for several hours. The rivers of blood now filling the Antarctic ocean should jar our moral psyche into overdrive to reassess the manner in which we treat animals.
We eat millions of animals annually, despite the fact that animal products are not essential (and in some cases are detrimental) to our dietary needs. We have no qualms about inflicting the cruel death of gentle creatures in order that we can salivate on the transient delight of a yummy burger, even though we would salivate no less on a vegetarian meal. Time for the carnage to stop. Mahatma Gandhi correctly noted that "the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated". It's not only the Japanese who stand condemned at this point in history.
The Advertiser, Australia - December 29, 2005
Video exposes cruelty of Japanese whale hunt
Full story: CapeCodToday.com, MA, US
The full cruelty of modern-day commercial whaling was made public [January 7] by the release of footage of Japanese whalers hunting down a minke whale in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary off of Antarctica. The footage, shot by Greenpeace, was given to IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) - a global leader in the campaign to protect whales - in an effort to highlight to the world the full scale of cruelty associated with modern-day whaling.
The footage shows Japanese whalers using a high-powered harpoon to gun the minke whale down. The harpoon embeds in the minke's back, hooking the large whale, but failing to kill it. The whale is then reeled in and tethered to the side of the boat with the harpoon still embedded in it. With its head and blowhole trapped under water, the whale struggles for nearly ten minutes, unable to gasp for air before finally dying. "This is how a whale was killed with observation boats in plain view. So what happens when no one is watching?"
CapeCodToday.com, MA, US - January 7, 2006
In Japan, running into a whale on the menu doesn't rock the boat
The Age, Australia (January 14, 2006)
Whales: In deep trouble
Not just Japanese at fault - The Independent, UK (January 9, 2006)
EU States face legal action over whales, dolphins
Planet Ark/Reuters (December 21, 2005)
Egg farm hit with cruelty charges
Full story: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, PA, US
One of [Pennsylvania's] largest egg farms has been charged with animal cruelty after an investigator posing as an employee allegedly videotaped hens impaled by the cage wires and living in cages with the decomposing corpses of other hens. Paul Shapiro, the manager of the factory farming campaign for the Humane Society of the United States, said he believed the charges are the first nationally against an egg producer alleging cruelty as part of the normal living conditions [emphasis ours] for hens. "This is definitely a precedent-setting case," he said.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, PA, US - January 11, 2006
Rescuer puts lobster on display, not menu
Full story: Newsday.com, NY, US
It was hardly a dignified end to a long life. Stuffed into a tank in a corner of the seafood section of a Plainview ShopRite, with chilled littleneck clams and a line of cocktail sauce bottles as neighbors, Hercules' future was looking grim. But before the unusually large, nearly 90-year-old live lobster could be bought, boiled and buttered, it was spotted by a man who was servicing the tank. Now Hercules will live out the golden years under the care of the New York Aquarium in Coney Island.
Newsday.com, NY, US - January 6, 2006
Bovine fugitive gets reprieve from dinner plate
Full story: Great Falls Tribune, MT, US
Early Thursday morning, she was destined to be steak. By Saturday afternoon, the heifer that made a dramatic escape from a meat packing plant was the subject of clemency pleas from across the nation. The black 1,200-pound heifer escaped from the packing plant early Thursday morning and led police, plant workers and animal control officers on a six-hour chase across the city. The cow was nearly run over by a Chevrolet Suburban, a semi and a train; swam across the Missouri River, nearly drowning; and took three tranquilizer darts without going down in her escape attempt.
For surviving the swim across the Missouri River, [plant manager] Morris said he began calling the heifer "Molly B.," after "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" from the Titanic. After finally getting Molly B. into a trailer, she was taken back to the plant, put in a pen and fed and watered. Even after three tranquilizer darts, she didn't lie down until she was in the pen, he said. "We have no intention of scheduling her for processing at this time," Morris said. [As a more cynical take on the story in the Boise Weekly (see related story below) concluded: All the other cows in the slaughterhouse that day, and tens of thousands of others in other plants, got plugged in the head and chopped into little red chunks. Bon appetite.]
Great Falls Tribune, MT, US - January 8, 2006
Police find walking meat hard to beat
Boise Weekly, ID, US (January 18, 2006)
Mr Greedy a pig name of fame all over the world
Escaped piglet now a celebrity
icWales (December 21, 2005)
Taking on the meat industry
Full story: Marin Independent Journal, CA, US
Steeped in feces and rotting carcasses, the pigs at HKY Inc. in Nebraksa faced a grim death until the Humane Farming Association turned over the results of its clandestine investigation of the pork plant to the Nebraska attorney general's office, raised the alarm of the media and forced the farm to shut down. "It was literally a hellhole," said Bradley Miller, the [association's] national director. "So much of what we are talking about is taking place literally behind locked doors. Our job is to expose what is really going on."
"Farm animals needed a voice," Miller said. "We believe that's an area of greatest need because farm animals represent the largest class of animals that are victimized by human cruelty." The association counts among its achievements several farm inspections that drew national media attention, and led to initiatives to protect farm animals. For example, in an investigation five years ago of the nation's largest beef plants, the association found that cows were being skinned and dismembered before they had been killed. The Washington Post published a story about the group's findings and Congress set aside $5 million for slaughter house inspections.
Marin Independent Journal, CA, US - January 8, 2006
Are They Serious? Unfortunately Yes
Glow-in-the-dark pigs make their debut
Full story: ABC13, Houston, TX, US
Pigs still may not fly, but in one Taiwanese laboratory they glow in the dark. A research team at National Taiwan University claims it has succeeded in breeding three male green pigs by injecting fluorescent green protein into embryonic pigs. Partially green pigs exist elsewhere, but the Taiwanese pigs are believed to be the only ones that are green inside out, including their hearts and internal organs. In the dark, they glow bright neon green. The pigs will reportedly be used in stem cell research and in the study of several human diseases.
ABC13, Houston, TX, US - January 12, 2006
Do you want fries with your raccoon?
Full story: ABC13, Houston, TX, US
In most places, a politician has to kiss babies in order to succeed. Arkansas politicians have to eat raccoon. The small east Arkansas town of Gillett doubles its population on the second weekend of every year as candidates and political junkies gather for its annual Coon Supper. More than 60 years old, the event has become a required stop for anyone seeking or holding political office in Arkansas. Originally started as a fundraiser for high school athletics, it's now the ultimate meet-and-greet for the state's politicians.
ABC13, Houston, TX, US - January 16, 2006
Books and Perspectives
They believe in virtues of veggies
Full story: The Charlotte Observer, NC, US
In the summer of 2004, [Sally Kneidel] and her daughter, Sara Kate Kneidel, set out to write a book about vegetarian recipes and nutrition. They also wanted to compile in one volume "all the possible reasons for choosing a vegetarian diet." So they started visiting farms and asking questions. Their discoveries are part of a new book, "Veggie Revolution: Smart Choices for a Healthy Body and a Healthy Planet."
Their book discusses pollution, global warming, land use and hunger. It describes factory farms and details the benefits of raising livestock in pastures. The last part of the book talks about staying healthy without meat, negotiating a vegetarian diet with your family and learning to cook vegetarian. Sally told me she hopes the book outlines how our food choices affect larger issues. And she hopes it helps readers decide to eat less meat - or give it up entirely. "Every individual meal matters," she says. Sara Kate agrees. "Each time you choose vegetarian, organic or local food, you are taking a stand for change."
The Charlotte Observer, NC, US - December 25, 2005
Two new books make restaurant-style veggie cooking easy
Full story: Los Angeles Daily News, CA, US
Ann Gentry, owner of [restaurant] Real Food Daily, [is] touting the restaurant's fare in her recently released "The Real Food Daily Cookbook." More than 150 recipes - including popular offerings like Tofu Quiche With Leeks and Asparagus, Country-Style Miso Soup, Tempeh Meat Loaf and Coconut Cream Pie With Chocolate Sauce - are included. "The Real Food Daily approach is an innovative and life-enhancing blend of world cuisines, and this book is about living in harmony with our environment and reaping the delicious rewards," points out Gentry.
"Vegetarians think differently than omnivores: Limitation creates inspiration," notes Janice Cook Knight, author of the recently released "Follow Your Heart Cookbook" (Wiley; $18.95), which includes 140 recipes, more than three-quarters of them from the Follow Your Heart vegetarian restaurant. Among them are customer favorites like Kathy's Breakfast Tofu, Buttermilk Pancakes, Carob or Chocolate Chip Mint Shake, Cream of Broccoli Soup and Pad Thai.
Los Angeles Daily News, CA, US - January 17, 2006
Another cookbook review:
Moosewood relieves the pressure
Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers: Fresh Ideas for the Weeknight Table
The Toronto Star, Canada (January 11, 2006)
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