|In this edition...|
| ||Happy Holidays|
| ||Low-carb diets may reduce cognitive ability: Study|
| ||New report shows need for strong warning about mercury in fish|
| ||Vegetarian diet could help bail out the 'Big Three' U.S. automakers|
| ||The growing taste for meat is proving costly to the environment|
| ||Can the world feed us?|
| ||The real eco-enemy? Corn|
Lifestyles and Trends
| ||Vegetables are the new meat!|
| ||Is your Merlot meat-free? Probably, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's vegan|
| ||Meat-cancer links curbing processed meat intakes in the UK|
Animal Issues and Advocacy
| ||Turkeys for the holidays - as friends, not feast|
| ||A gift horse: 'Adopting' an animal for the holidays|
| ||Students' eyes and hearts opened in 'animals and society' course|
| ||Chickens from misquided school project find sanctuary|
Books and Perspectives
| ||'We need a paradigm shift in the way we relate to nature and each other'|
Of Note - Holiday Recipes, Calls to Action, Videos and More
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(Excerpts are included from current news stories. Click on the "Full story" link to read the full article.)
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| Editor's Note |
Santa Claus decorated our tree every Christmas eve. We weren't allowed to peek until my father lit it on Christmas morning, carrying on a tradition from Russia, when candles lit the trees of his youth. All six of us waited in excited anticipation for my parents to drink their coffee - from cups that seemed bottomless to our young eyes. Finally, we were allowed into the room to marvel at the tree lights and decorations. Each year, it was the best tree ever!
Whatever your family traditions, we hope you and yours have the best holiday season ever and that the New Year will light the way to a greener and more peaceful earth.
"It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness." Chinese proverb
| Health |
|Low-carb diets may reduce cognitive ability: Study|
Full story: NutraIngredients, Europe
Researchers at Tufts University have reported that low-carbohydrate diets may impair cognitive performance, following a study comparing an Atkins-type diet with a reduced-calorie regime. The study showed that dieters performed less well on cognitive tests when carbohydrates were restricted than if they reduced calories. The researchers said that this is because glucose, the brain's primary fuel, is not stored, but produced by the body when it breaks down carbohydrates. They are then converted to glucose, and the resulting energy is used immediately by nerve cells. Professor of psychology and corresponding author Holly A. Taylor said: "The popular low-ca rb, no-carb diets have the strongest potential for negative impact on thinking and cognition."
|NutraIngredients, Europe - December 12|
|New report shows need for strong warning about mercury in fish|
Full story: Environmental News Network
Real people have been sickened by mercury in fish according to a new report, demonstrating the importance of strong FDA [government] advice about mercury in fish. The new report, Over the Limit, shares stories like those of Dan Deeter, Will Smith and Wendy Moro, who each ate enough store-bought fish to suffer mercury's effects, according to their physicians. "We've known for years that mercury is toxic to the brain and other organs in varying amounts depending on the individual's status. For FDA to suddenly change the equation to say that benefits outweigh risks is like once again declaring the earth is flat after discovering it was round," concluded Jane M. Hightower, M.D. "Simply stated, FDA's proposed recommendation to eat more fish is likely based on flawed science."
|Environmental News Network - December 16|
|Vegetarian diet could help bail out the 'Big Three' U.S. automakers|
Full story: Trading Markets.com
As [American] automakers and their employees search for ways to convince federal politicians of their long-term viability [to qualify for government financial assistance], they might want to check their refrigerators. The Big Three chiefs have already offered to slash their paychecks, lose their private jets, and give up failing brands - but the key to resolving their fiscal woes and getting their business plans back in order might be helping workers cut out the chili cheese dogs and bacon burgers they are chowing down on. [The companies] say employee health care coverage is a major reason the company is in trouble. If workers would choose a tofu veggie scramble over sausage and eggs, and a bean burrito over a meaty taco, not only could it trim GM's sticker prices and save jobs , but it would drastically improve their health and put them at a lower risk of developing diabetes and other diet-related illnesses that are plaguing Americans.
|Trading Markets.com - December 19|
Environmental News Network (December 22)
Philippine Daily Inquirer (December 19)
| Environment |
|The growing taste for meat is proving costly to the environment|
Full story: Taipei Times/Paraguay Observer
Meliton Ramirez grew up surrounded by the Interior Atlantic Forest, listening to the sound of bare-throated bellbirds and saffron toucanets. Before the advent of commercial farming, the forest covered 85 per cent of eastern Paraguay. Now, with roughly 12 per cent of it still standing, silence fills the air. It is a story that starts on the dinner tables of rich nations, where a global hunger for meat and dairy products is fueling an ever-rising demand for the industrial farming of animals that depend on high-protein feed [like soya]. Millions of hectares of intensively cultivated soya plants are fueling the destruction of tropical forests and savannah - displacing farmers and communities, leading to poverty, ill health and even violence, ruining habitats and exacerbating global warming.
|Taipei Times/Paraguay Observer - December 11|
Mongabay.com (December 20)
|Can the world feed us?|
Full story: BBC
More of us are eating more and better than ever before. World cereal consumption has more than doubled since 1970, and meat consumption has tripled since 1961. The global fish catch grew more than six times from 1950 to 1997. So one question is whether the world can go on increasing its harvests at this rate - or even faster, to cater as well for the extra 75 million people born annually. At the moment we are not on course to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving world hunger by 2015. Although the proportion of hungry people is coming down, population increase means the actual number continues to rise. The world does produce enough to feed everyone. But the food is often in the wrong place, or unaffordable, or can't be stored long enough. And meat usually demands far more than grain - wa ter, land, grain itself (34 per cent of world grain supplies are fed to livestock reared for meat). Yet, worldwide, the richer we grow the more we turn to meat. Something's got to give - and not only our waistbands.
European Vegetarian and Animal News Alliance (EVANA) Press Release (December 17)
Petition to the UN
|The real eco-enemy? Corn|
Full story: Toronto Star
In a climate of recession, North Americans are increasingly turning to cheap food alternatives to feed their families. But they are heading to the drive-through just as evidence has emerged that those discount meals are based almost entirely on corn - a dependence that critics argue is wreaking havoc on our health and the environment. . . So is the plight of Canadians trying to save money and eat well at the same time hopeless? Hardly, says [an employee of a Toronto health food store]. "Go vegetarian," she says.
|Toronto Star - November 15|
| Lifestyles and Trends |
|Vegetables are the new meat!|
Full story: The New York Observer
Real men eat rutabega! From the tasting menus at four-star restaurants to the bustling greenmarkets, a big bloody steak is no longer at the center of the plate. . . Only 10 years ago, Manhattan was gripped with meat fever: stockbrokers chomping on steaks; chefs competing to see who could offer the most unusual offal; magazine editors slavishly following the diktat of Dr. Atkins. These days, the opposite is true. In some of the city's finest restaurants, vegetables are getting more room on the dish, at times even taking center stage. The corner butcher gently guiding a housewife through her first pot roast now seems quaint; these days we have a legion of househusbands prowling the farmer's markets, gawking at the cauliflower and palpating the parsnips. Could it be that vegetables a re the new meat?
|The New York Observer - November 25|
|Is your Merlot meat-free? Probably, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's vegan|
Full story: VegNews Magazine
"Vegan wine?" I tilt my glass of Pinot Grigio to the light, examining the pale yellow fluid for tiny specks of chicken. "Aren't all wines vegan?" The idea seems preposterous - of course they're vegan. The basics of winemaking are inherently humane: made from grapes, natural fermentation, oak barrels. Nothing that would make you wonder if any animals were harmed in the making of this vintage. But a few wineries are plugging their vino as "vegan-friendly," which begs the question: Is there something important I should know about before I start sipping? What's difficult for vegans to swallow is that the majority of fining agents used in wines today are derived from animals.
|VegNews Magazine - November|
|Meat-cancer links curbing processed meat intakes in the UK|
Full story: NutriIngredients, Europe
UK consumers are reducing their consumption of processed meat and meat products following media coverage of a study linking the meats to increased risks of bowel cancer. According to a World Cancer Research Fund-commissioned YouGov survey, over 10 per cent of people have tried to cut down on processed meat intake. The survey was commissioned one year after the fund published a report that claimed that eating 150g of processed meat a day increased the risk of bowel cancer by 63 per cent.
|NutriIngredients, Europe - November 28|
| Animal Issues and Advocacy |
|Turkeys for the holidays - as friends, not feast|
Full story: Los Angeles Times
At Karen Dawn's [author of Thanking the Monkey - Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals, ] Thanksgiving feast, there will be yams and stuffing with cranberries and a dessert of pumpkin-pecan pie, all set out on a table for eight. And there will be turkeys, two of them actually - Emily and Bruce (or possibly Brucilla - it's a little unclear). The two 20-pounders will have most of the privileges of Dawn's other sentient guests - a Pacific Palisades patio, a view of the ocean and vegetarian nibbles. The start of the major food holidays is a challenging time of the year for vegans. But almost all vegans agree on this: no proselytizing if invited to a meat-eating Thanksgiving meal. "If there's one thing you learn as a vegan," said animal welfare advocate Paul S hapiro, chuckling, "it's that dinnertime is typically not fertile ground for outreach."
|Los Angeles Times - November 27|
For some, there's a 'Turkey Day' dilemma
- National Public Radio, U.S. (November 27)
|A gift horse: 'Adopting' an animal for the holidays|
Full story: E/The Environmental Magazine
Looking for a last-minute present for the animal-lover on your holiday gift list? Needless to say, actual animals are never wise gift ideas. Companion animals are a lifetime commitment that shouldn't ever be acquired on a whim or for someone else. But there is a myriad of "adoption" programs that offer a perfect way of both acknowledging your loved one's fondness for animals and supporting just about any animal imaginable, from turkeys and cows, to chimps, whales and elephants. [The article lists various organizations.]
|E/The Environmental Magazine - December 17|
|Students' eyes and hearts opened in 'animals and society' course|
Full story: Go Upstate, USC, U.S.
"It shows you a lot," [a University of South Carolina Upstate student] said of professor Clif Lynn's upper-level sociology class ["animals and society"]. "I recognize that our food choices [are] very personal to each and every one of us, deeply rooted in our upbringing, in our culture and in our traditions," [guest lecturer Mercy for Animals' Nathan] Runkle told the students. "But I think that it's our moral obligation and every consumer's obligation to really take a hard look at the food practices and how animals are being treated, and ask ourselves if these practices are in line with our values and if we want to support these conditions." Lynn said that when students first take his class, "Most of them have no idea the conditions under which farm animals are rais ed." Lynn added that several students have become vegetarians after taking the class. "Once they learn about these conditions," he said, "it's hard for some to ignore it any longer."
|Go Upstate, USC, U.S. - November 28|
|Chickens from misquided school project find sanctuary|
Full story: News 10 Now, NY, U.S.
Over the past ten weeks, [twenty] chickens were raised by students at Canandaigua Academy [in New York state]. The so-called chicken project is part of the high school's ecology elective. "It involves the study of how our society, our culture brings food to the table," said Andy Thomas, School District Spokesperson. A critical part of that, school officials say, is taking the life of an animal, which the students do at the end of the chicken project. That's drawn the concern of animal rights groups, like Farm Sanctuary. [When the school couldn't get a waiver to kill the birds, they] released the chickens to Farm Sanctuary. Staff say they'll stay here for the rest of their natural lives. [Wouldn't it be nice if schools taught compassion, and heal thy, humane alternatives, instead of killing, especially in an "ecology" class?]
|News 10 Now, NY, U.S. - December 6|
| Books and Perspectives |
|'We need a paradigm shift in the way we relate to nature and each other'|
Full story: American Chronicles
"It is now five minutes to midnight on the doomsday clock, reflecting the fact that we are closer to assuring the obliteration of our species than we have been at any time since the early eighties. We are rapidly approaching a tipping point, where we will either transform our violent, exploitative global system into a peaceful, cooperative one, or enter a catastrophic decline." That's the introductory blurb to Evolution's Edge, an important new book by Australian activist Graeme Taylor. [Taylor, a vegetarian, says in this interview that the book:] explains not only why the collapse of our destructive global system is inevitable, but also why holistic ideas, values and technologies are giving birth to a new type of sustainable planetary civilization. Rapid transformation is possible o nce we make a paradigm shift in the way we relate to nature and each other.
|American Chronicles - November 3|
| Of Note - Holiday Recipes, Calls to Action, Videos and More |
Recipe for a joyous holiday - for all!
If you would like to celebrate a truly peaceful Christmas, make it vegan! Here are some sources for holiday survival tips, shopping ideas, special menus and recipes. Plus an article about how good for you those delicious seasonal cranberries are!
Holiday tips and recipes from Toronto Vegetarian Association
Holiday recipes and tips from Vegetarian Society UK (not all vegan)
Holiday recipes from Bryanna Clark Grogan
Festive menu from Vegan.com
VegE-News recipes To find traditional Quebec holiday fare, type "French-Canadian" into the search box.
The scoop on faux turkey Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Wall Street Journal
Cranberries - good for what ails Los Angeles Times (November 24)
Luxury and respect for the environment go hand in hand at Balamku Inn on the Beach, located in an unspoiled part of the Mayan Riviera in Mexico. We've heard the breakfasts - vegan on request - are amazing! Veggie meals are also available at the restaurants in nearby Mahahual.
Balamku Inn on the Beach
New eco-veggie organization
Already a tireless fighter for animal rights and the environment, Rabbi Richard Schwartz, head of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America, has just become director of new group "Veg Climate Alliance." Rabbi Schwartz says that the group will work to get support from many groups and influential and knowledgeable individuals for outreach activities. Its aim is to greatly increase awareness of the absolute necessity of a major shift to plant-based diets to avoid an unprecedented catastrophe due to global warming and other environmental threats. You can find out more at the links below.
Veg Climate Alliance
Jewish Climate Initiative
Calls to action
Each year, millions of sharks are hunted, have their fins sliced off, and then are thrown back into the ocean, dead or dying. Not only unspeakably cruel, the large-scale killing of sharks for their fins is causing populations of some shark species to crash, throwing off the balance of the ecosystems they inhabit. You can sign the Humane Society of the United States No Shark Fin Pledge at the link below.
No Shark Fin Pledge
350 is the most important number on the planet. The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth. You can become part of the 350 movement at the link below.
Americans are now submitting ideas for how they think the new Obama Administration should change America at 'Ideas for change in America.' You can vote for two veggie-related ideas to be among the ten ideas put forward on Inauguration Day, January 20 at the links below.
Go Vegan! Go vegan as a FAMILY! idea
Reform of Animal Agriculture Policies and Legislation idea
The first two videos listed below remind us of the important day-in and day-out work done by humane societies and animal activist groups. The next two are excellent reviews of the environment/diet link. We've also included the trailer for Vegsource's excellent documentary "Processed People" and an interesting podcast on veganism.
HSUS Year-End Review
PETA Year-End Review
"Devour the Earth", narrated by Paul McCartney
"SOS Global Warming"
"Processed People" trailer
"Veganism: It's Good for the Earth - But is it a Realistic Goal?" (Podcast)
A note for veggie organizations and members
Your comments on any subject are always welcome! If you are a vegetarian organization that would like to discuss having your own customized version of VegE-News, let us know. We are pleased to produce customized versions of VegE-News for the Australian Vegetarian Society, Vegetarians of Alberta, Toronto Vegetarian Association, and Winnipeg Vegetarian Association with their logo, a link to their website and local events listed. If you are a member of one of those organizations, but not receiving the customized version, just drop us an email to be switched to the specific list.
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