August 2011
In this edition...

  From omnivore to vegan: The dietary education of Bill Clinton
  Xtreme eating 2011: The eight unhealthiest restaurant meals in America
  Hot dog consumption may be as bad for you as smoking
  How to kick your meat addiction - in seven easy steps
  The countries with the healthiest people

Environment and World Hunger
  Video: Mark Bittman on what's wrong with what we eat
  The world at 7 billion
  Ethical responsibility and climate change: We're all in the same boat
  High steaks: Meat eaters' climate impact
  The environmental impact of 'big chicken'

Lifestyles and Trends
  Critics say Hungary's new 'fat tax' may hurt poor
  Ellen DeGeneres launches website promoting vegan lifestyle
  Ten ways to get kids to eat their veggies

Animal Issues and Advocacy
  Want to kill fewer animals? Give up eggs
  Animal sentience: Sheep are far smarter than previously thought
  Germany: Activists try to save Yvonne, the runaway cow
  Australia: Activists call for ban on live export trade

Books, Films and Perspectives
  How to cook vegan for your family
  Why we need to stop trying to 'save the planet' and just realise our place in it
  Number-crunching the world population and resource shortages
  Think being vegan isn't fun? Get vegucated
  Ape, all too human

Of Note - Recipes, Blogs, Events, More
Don't forget to visit:
(Excerpts are included from current news stories. Click on the "Full story" link to read the full article.)

From omnivore to vegan: The dietary education of Bill Clinton
Full story: CNN

By the time he reached the White House, Bill Clinton's appetite was legend. He loved hamburgers, steaks, chicken enchiladas, barbecue and french fries but wasn't too picky. Former President Clinton now considers himself a vegan. He's dropped more than 20 pounds, and he says he's healthier than ever. His dramatic dietary transformation took almost two decades and came about only after a pair of heart procedures and some advice from a trusted doctor.   Read more...

CNN - August 18

Xtreme eating 2011: The eight unhealthiest restaurant meals in America
Full story: Nutrition Action Health Letter

Let's get one thing clear: Restaurants have nothing to do with the nation's obesity epidemic. It's not their fault that two out of three adults and one out of three children are either overweight or obese. Look at it this way: Some diners may want to put on extra weight, boost their blood pressure, and bump up their LDL ("bad") cholesterol. Restaurants are just there to help. [Here are the meals helping them the most...]   Read more...

Nutrition Action Health Letter - July/August

Hot dog consumption may be as bad for you as smoking
Full story: Planet Green

The Cancer Project's latest billboard shows a pack of hot dogs coming out of a pack of cigarettes. At first I thought this was somewhat dramatic but the fact of the matter is that it's a fair comparison. The Cancer Project is trying to get the word out about the dangers of processed meats, especially hot dogs. The dangers are real and significant. Eating a hot dog every day can increase your risk of colorectal cancer by 21 per cent. It's as bad for you as smoking.   Read more...

Planet Green - July 31

How to kick your meat addiction - in seven easy steps
Full story: Huffington Post

Are you addicted to meat? I see it all the time - people who want to break the meat habit, but who just keep eating those nuggets, burgers and hot dogs. In fact, as I travel the country talking about veganism, meat addiction (acknowledged and not) may be the biggest barrier I see to a societal shift toward healthy, sustainable and kind eating patterns. So I decided I should reflect on what meat addiction looks like - and how you can break it. If you don't have any urge to stop eating meat, this column really isn't for you. But more and more Americans do want to cut back or cut out meat, and some of them find it difficult. If this is you, please keep reading. [Author Kathy Freston gives seven easy steps.]   Read more...

Huffington Post - August 4

The countries with the healthiest people
Full story: Care2

They live well into their nineties and often times break the hundred year mark. In fact, it's not just that individuals take care of themselves; it's a country-wide phenomenon that's based on lifestyle choices... While many factors lead to a long, healthy life, these countries have a lot in common. Many of them lack pollution and make a healthy work/balance and controlling stress a high priority. They also eat meat very rarely if ever and find protein in fish and tofu while loading up on local fruits and vegetables. [Read about the seven healthiest countries...]   Read more...

Care2 - August 2

More Health News:
Vegan diets: Sorting through the myths
It's true that there are some nutrients that deserve extra attention from vegans, but being vegan isn't hard and it's perfectly safe. The real science behind vegan diets will set your mind at ease about this way of eating. (Note re B12 - we suggest methyl- rather than cyano- cobalamin form.) - By Virginia Messina in The Wedge Newsletter (August/September)
Eight foods that keep us fat
Including diet soda, low-fat junk food, and diet microwave dinners - Planet Green (August 3)
Genetically modified salmon: When 'squelching scientific inquiry' is prudent
Care2 (August 15)
Soy isoflavones and estrogen
The Vegan r.d. (August 4)
Doctors take aim at antibiotic resistance from factory farming
Huffington Post (August 16)

  Environment and World Hunger    

Video: Mark Bittman on what's wrong with what we eat
Full story:

In this fiery and funny talk, New York Times food writer Mark Bittman weighs in on what's wrong with the way we eat now, and why it's putting the entire planet at risk.   Read more... - Recorded 2008

The world at 7 billion
Full story: Yale - Environment 360

It is precisely because our population is so large and growing so fast that we must care, ever more with each generation, how much we as individuals are out of sync with environmental sustainability. Our diets, our modes of moving, and our urge to keep interior temperatures close to 70 degrees Fahrenheit no matter what is happening outside - none of these make us awful people. It's just that collectively, these behaviors are moving basic planetary systems into danger zones. With global population expected to surpass 7 billion people this year, the staggering impact on an overtaxed planet is becoming more and more evident. A two-pronged response is imperative: empower women to make their own decisions on childbearing and rein in our excessive consumption of resources.   Read more...

Yale - Environment 360 - July 18

Ethical responsibility and climate change: We're all in the same boat
Full story: Huffington Post

For more than 20 years I've been an educator and an activist in the religious environment movement - both Jewish and interfaith. I'm often asked why I am motivated as a rabbi to speak out on the environment... the most important influence on my decision comes from the fact that I'm a parent. I also have an ethical responsibility to those whom do I don't know and to future generations who are not my descendants. I even have an ethical responsibility to non-human life. Here is a great rabbinic midrash from around the second century C.E. on collective responsibility: Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai taught: It is to be compared to people who were in a boat, and one of them took a drill and began to drill a hole beneath him. His companions say, "Why are you doing this?" He replied: "What concern is it of yours? Am I not drilling under myself?" They replied: "But you will flood the boat for us all!" We are all in the same boat, humans born and still not born, animals born and still not born... Whether we continue to paddle through calm waters is up to us.   Read more...

Huffington Post - August 19

High steaks: Meat eaters' climate impact
Full story: Grist Magazine

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released the "Meat Eaters Guide to Climate Change + Health" [recently], and it contains a few surprises for climate-conscious eaters. EWG staffers linked up with lifecycle analysis firm CleanMetrics to come up with a set of infographics and guidelines for health- and climate-conscious carnivores.

[Editor's note - While the EWG clearly recommends cutting down on all meat and dairy products, the info show eggs and poultry have less environmental impact than other choices (though still more than plants). In the real world where most people are not vegan, this could result in more not less suffering and lives lost. Matt Ball of Vegan Outreach comments here and in more detail in his previous caution on the 'environmental argument.' Of course, chicken is far from blameless from an environmental point of view, as the charts and the following article point out.]   Read more...

Grist Magazine - July 18

The environmental impact of 'big chicken'
Full story: Eat. Drink. Better.

The Pew Environment Group released a report detailing the environmental impact of 'Big Chicken.' The key findings include: There are nearly 9 billion broiler chickens raised annually compared to 580 million in the 1950s. Over the same period, the number of producers has dropped from 1.6 million to just over 27,000 and concentrated in 15 states. Since chicken production is so concentrated, it has created havoc on the waterways of surrounding areas.   Read more...

Eat. Drink. Better. - July 29

More Environmental News:
Greenpeace and cartoonist team up to expose canned tuna's dirty little secret
Article/Video - Care2 (August 16)
The sustainable seafood myth
Grist (August 1)
Sustainable animal products: An oxymoron
A closer look at “local,” “sustainable,” and “free-range” animal products reveals that they are not green superstars. Try to feed 7 billion hungry people, with an ever increasing appetite for meat, with free-range animals. It can’t be done. A study in the "Journal of Environmental Science and Technology" found shifting just two meals a week to vegan reduces more greenhouse gasses than buying all locally-sourced food. - One Green Planet (May 11)

  Lifestyles and Trends    

Critics say Hungary's new 'fat tax' may hurt poor
Full story: IPS

The introduction of some of Europe's most far-reaching taxes on unhealthy foods has sparked renewed debate about the effect of such levies on poor people. The taxes, which were passed by the Hungarian Parliament in July and will take effect on September 1, apply to a range of foods with high salt and sugar levels, including chocolates, ice creams, energy drinks, biscuits and crisps. Supporters have hailed the levies as the most far-reaching of their kind in Europe and say they will help improve diets. Ministers admitted they feared that already bad diets among poor people would become even worse. Some doctors say though that taxes, regardless of what effect they may have on the poor, will not help reduce obesity rates. Dr Lygia Alexandrescu, a nutritionist at a private health clinic in Bucharest, told IPS: "What is needed is education. An investment needs to be made into educating the public about what they eat and their choice of food."   Read more...

IPS - August 7

Ellen DeGeneres launches website promoting vegan lifestyle
Full story: Celebs Gather

Ellen DeGeneres has launched a new website touting the merits of embracing the vegan lifestyle. Called Going Vegan With Ellen, it features recipes, helpful hints and even the entire philosophy behind going vegan [plus] some fun information on other celebrities who are vegans. It will be very interesting to see if Ellen DeGeneres starts a new trend toward the vegan lifestyle. She has a reputation for being a good and honest person, so she certainly isn't going to lead those interested - or those who aren't, for that matter, astray. [Great picture of Ellen with her dogs on her site.]   Read more...

Celebs Gather - August 11

Ten ways to get kids to eat their veggies
Full story: CNN

Statistics show kids aren't getting nearly enough fruits and veggies. There's no one way to get your kids to eat more fruits and veggies, but here are ten tips straight from moms...   Read more...

CNN - June 2

More Lifestyles and Trends News:
Germany’s strongest man is a vegetarian
Now I have proven finally, that being vegetarian makes you a better athlete! - The Discerning Brute (August 11)
Whole foods on a budget
What exactly is whole food? And is it affordable? Simply, if you can imagine it growing, it’s probably a whole food. There are many ways to add delicious, healthy whole food to your diet, while also sticking to your budget. - Seattle pi blog (June 13)

  Animal Issues and Advocacy    

Want to kill fewer animals? Give up eggs
Full story: Scientific American

If you're bothered by the idea of killing animals for food, then going vegetarian might seem like an obvious response. But if you want your diet to kill as few animals as possible, then eschewing meat is actually quite an indirect, and sometimes even counterproductive, strategy. The question you should be asking yourself about any given food is not, "Is this food animal flesh?" The question you should be asking yourself is, "How many animal lives did this food cost?" And how much suffering was involved? [See also this chart and animated visual from the really excellent AnimalVisuals site by Mark Middleton.]   Read more...

Scientific American - August 11

Animal sentience: Sheep are far smarter than previously thought
Full story: The Telegraph, UK

They are an animal so apparently dim-witted that they have become a byword for stupidity and mindlessly following the crowd. New research, however, reveals that sheep are far more intelligent than they have been given credit for. Scientists at the University of Cambridge have found that the creatures have the brainpower to equal rodents, monkeys and, in some tests, even humans [our emphasis]. The results suggest that sheep have relatively advanced learning capabilities, are adaptable, can map out their surroundings mentally and may even be able to plan ahead. [Editor's note: Unfortunately, the aim of the test was to establish the animals' suitability for experiments regarding a human disease.]   Read more...

The Telegraph, UK - August 5

Germany: Activists try to save Yvonne, the runaway cow
Full story: ABC News International

For weeks now, a runaway cow named Yvonne has been wandering the woods along a Bavarian highway, eluding capture and stalling traffic [since she] escaped from the farm where she was being fattened up for slaughter. Authorities have the authorization to shoot her, but animal rights activists hope to reel her in by appealing to her maternal instincts. The wily runaway has become a local celebrity of sorts in the southern German state. She has outsmarted police officers and has become known for grazing at night, like a deer. The Gut Aiderbichl Animal Sanctuary near Salzburg, Austria has purchased the cow for €700 ($988), and has since been combing the area with all-terrain vehicles. [Yvonne is still on the run.]   Read more...

ABC News International - August 7

Australia: Activists call for ban on live export trade
Full story: The Age, Australia

Animal rights activists rallied in capitals across Australia August 14 demanding a ban on the nation's $1 billion trade of live cattle, sheep and goats. Hundreds of protesters - many near tears - on the steps of the Victorian Parliament called on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to allow MPs a conscience vote on a private member's bill to stop live exports. ''If you detect a hint of passion in my voice today, then it's because I've stood on so many occasions in Middle Eastern abattoirs at two in the morning watching our animals brutalised,'' animal rights campaigner Lyn White told the rally. Australia [temporarily] suspended exports to 12 Indonesian slaughterhouses following an ABC television program showing graphic footage of cruelty to cattle. [Unfortunately the bill and another were both defeated. See also LiveExportShame.]   Read more...

The Age, Australia - August 15

More Animal Issues and Advocacy News:

Australia: Fresh outcry as more abattoir cruelty exposed
Sydney Morning Herald (August 19)
Animal sentience: Monkeys learn to cover their eyes when they want to be left alone
Telegraph, UK (August 4)
Oregon third U.S. state to ban shark finning
Care2 (August 7)
Interview with Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary: Factory farming is cruel
Globe and Mail, Canada (August 12)

  Books, Films and Perspectives    

How to cook vegan for your family
Full story: VegNews

Vegan chef Ann Gentry is a culinary powerhouse. The founder of Real Food Daily, the wildly popular Los Angeles vegan eatery, and author of The Real Food Daily Cookbook, has recently penned Vegan Family Meals, a beautiful cookbook filled with imaginative recipes perfect for the weeknight dinner table and dinner parties. VegNews sat down with the culinary mogul to find out more about Vegan Family Meals, vegan parenting, and what's on her dinner table... [Some of her advice:] Think about balancing your nutrition intake across the week, and don't get hung up on making every meal a feast. Instead, focus on preparing a few recipes that will keep your cooking simple and your time in the kitchen enjoyable.   Read more...

VegNews - August 4

Why we need to stop trying to 'save the planet' and just realise our place in it
Full story: The Ecologist

In an extract from his new book The Jolly Pilgrim, Peter Baker argues that a Gaian consciousness is slowly emerging out of our efforts to overcome climate change and other environmental challenges... To set our environmental situation in fundamental terms: this universe, and in particular this planet, is set up in such a way that once a species of hyper-intelligent tool-using omnivores (with apparently bottomless ingenuity and imagination) gets going their activities are bound, sooner or later, to reach such a magnitude that they freak out the constitution of the planet on which they live. In essence we've naively constructed a civilisation that is not environmentally sustainable... But, whatever fate awaits humankind, one million years from now Earth will be a place of forests, lakes and animals. When we talk of destroying (or saving) the planet, we're taking ourselves too seriously.   Read more...

The Ecologist - August 9

Number-crunching the world population and resource shortages
Full story: Reuters AlertNet

As the global population hurtles towards the 7 billion mark this year, people are asking whether the world has enough natural resources and food supplies to sustain that many of us. But a book due out in September - The No-Nonsense Guide to World Population - says when it comes to resource shortages people should focus not so much on the amount of people living on the planet, but on how people live and share their supplies. In her book author Vanessa Baird delves into topics including women's reproductive rights, the growing elderly population and global warming as she argues it's not all about the numbers.   Read more...

Reuters AlertNet - August 11

Think being vegan isn't fun? Get vegucated
Full story: Care2

The documentary Vegucated [by filmmaker Marisa Miller Wolfson] is described as "Super Size Me in reverse." It follows the journey of three meat-loving, I'm-not-sure-what-veganism-really-is New Yorkers who attempt to go vegan for six weeks. Brian, a "bacon-loving bachelor who eats out all the time;" Tesla, "the college student who avoids vegetables and bans beans;" and Ellen, "the single mom who prefers comedy to cooking" were chosen as the film's subjects. Unlike many documentaries about veganism or animal rights, this film is fun, light and leaves you feeling motivated and inspired. [Marisa says about going vegan:] It feels fantastic to say, 'I'm making a difference for animals and the planet and my health every single day, three times a day.' [Watch the trailer, and read an interview with Marisa at the link. At the film's website you can sign up to participate in potluck screenings.]   Read more...

Care2 - August 8

Ape, all too human
Full story: Big Think

James Marsh's new film, Project Nim, tells the story of a chimpanzee that was taken from its mother at birth and placed under the care of a human mother. The Chimp, named Nim Chimpsky - after linguist Noam Chomsky - was the subject of a radical animal language acquisition study. Raised as a human and taught sign language, it was thought that Nim would be able to acquire enough words and grammar to communicate with humans. Nim develops a vocabulary of 120 words along with a strong inclination for biting people. [Interview with filmmaker and movie trailer at the link.]   Read more...

Big Think - August 12

More Books and Films:
Vegan for Life: Everything You Need to Know to be Healthy and Fit on a Plant-based Diet!
By registered dietitians Jack Norris and Ginny Messina. A definitive guide for aspiring and veteran vegans, it answers all the key questions and debunks some of the most persistent myths about going vegan. Review.
Comfortably Unaware: Global Depletion and Food Responsibility
A concise, clear and precise account of our food-related planetary woes. Review.
Please visit our VegE-Store for books and more
Thanks for your support!

  Of Note - Recipes, Blogs, Events, More    

The farmers' markets are bursting with local organic veggies. Check out some of our favorite recipes below....
VegE-News recipes and tips

The Carnism Awareness & Action Network (CAAN) is working to expose and transform carnism, the invisible belief system that conditions people to eat certain animals.
Carnism Awareness & Action Network

Now this is cool - or warm, depending on your perspective. Kristen Blackmore, a long-time knitter, fashion-lover, and vegan, has put her passion and talent into creating simple and unique knitted garments and accessories for all types of climates and occasions.
Treewool vegan knitwear

Humane Society International is joining the call for more meat free meals. Their website has lots of valuable info and links. You can also sign up for a weekly recipe. Meatout Mondays is also a great source for weekly inspiration.
Humane Society International Guide to Meatfree Meals
HSI weekly recipe signup
Meatout Mondays

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Support VegE-News
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Vegetarian Cookery School and Yoga Retreat at Casa della Pace, Italy, August 20 - September 3 (join in for 3 days or more)
Santi Borgni, a vegetarian for over 30 years, is the chef and owner of this idyllic retreat nestled in the hills of Northern Umbria. The food served is always vegetarian, introducing the non-veggie guests to a new approach to taste and relationship with food. Casa della Pace will host a cooking seminar based on the exclusive use of plant foods at the end of August, with the assistance of a nutritionist giving personal advice and diet guidelines. You can join in for 3 days or more at a very affordable cost. But, of course, you can renew your body and spirit at this divine vegetarian retreat any time of the year.
Vegan cookery school and yoga retreat at Casa della Pace, Italy

Farm Sanctuary Walk for Farm Animals, September 10 - November 6
Farm Sanctuary’s Walk for Farm Animals is a series of annual fundraising and outreach events that take place in cities across the United States and Canada, plus anyone can participate virtually. The walks raise vital funds for Farm Sanctuary's life-saving rescue, education and advocacy work and create awareness about the plight of farm animals.
Farm Sanctuary's Walk for Farm Animals

27th Annual Vegetarian Food Festival, September 9-11, Toronto, Canada
Billed as the largest event of its kind in North America, the Toronto Vegetarian Association's Annual Vegetarian Food Festival is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a diverse cross-section of vegetarian cuisine and discover new products and ideas from more than 100 exhibitors. Plus entertainment, cooking demos, and more at a great location on Toronto's waterfront.
Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival

World Veg Festival, October 1 and 2, San Francisco
Are you going to San Francisco? This not-to-miss festival presented by the San Francisco Vegetarian Society will feature outstanding speakers all weekend long, international vegan cuisine, food demos, live entertainment, organic athlete, vendors, non-profit organizations, children's corner, and more. An organic vegan dinner will be served on Saturday night. At the Golden Gate Park Fair Building, between 9th Avenue & Lincoln, from 10 am to 6 pm. For further information visit the website or call (415) 273 5481.
San Francisco Vegetarian Society

World Farm Animals Day, October 2
Join FARM for World Farm Animals Day to show the public how 65 billion animals annually are commodified, brutalized, and slaughtered to become dinner. On (or around) October 2nd compassionate people across the world will hold events to expose, mourn, and memorialize these feeling, sentient beings. You can join in by bringing the Pay Per View program to your college campus. This highly effective program has brought people to tears and is reducing animal consumption with every event. Find out more at the link.
World Farm Animals Day

VegSource Healthy Lifestyle Expo, October 14-16, California
The 10th annual Healthy Lifestyle Expo promises it will help you change your life! You can hear and meet in person some of the most renowned and influential figures in the plant-strong movement. There are general admission tickets available as well as reserved seats, for those who want to sit near the front.
Healthy Lifestyle Expo 2011

Vegan Retreat at Sthitaprajna, India, Dec 2011, Jan 2012 & Aug 2012
The Indian Vegan Society says that at Sthitaprajna one learns to live life in a state of constant happiness with good health and in harmony with nature using minimum resources. Sounds good!
Vegan retreat in India

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