Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Lab Grown Meat... because someone somewhere wants it??

Lab grown meat has been a story for ages... heck, if I search my own blog here, I probably have a post about this topic from several years ago. It came to mind yesterday though, because one of our provincial radio broadcasts did a story on it.

For those of you not inclined to listen to that entire radio broadcast (I probably wouldn't either!), here's the Discover Magazine story on the same topic - a U.S. company called Hampton Creek saying they'll have lab-grown meat products on store shelves by 2018.

picture from above Discover magazine URL

So... science. Research.
Sure, I guess there is reason to pursue this line of scientific research. The main "pro" being space exploration. I mean, if I'm in space for 20 years why not have a coffee maker like machine that will brew up a fake burger for me (quote below from the Discover magazine story):

The prospect of actually bringing these artificial meats to the table resurfaced in 2006, when Vladimir Mironov, then at the Medical University of South Carolina, proposed plans for a coffee maker-like machine that would brew up personalized burgers and steaks from cell cultures and growth medium overnight.

But seriously, a coffee-maker fake meat machine - right now in 2017? On planet earth!?? YUCK!!!

The discussed "pros" of lab-grown meat are as follows:
- in theory, cruelty free...
- in theory, pollution free and no impact on climate change (i.e. all the methane from all those cows! and clear-cutting rainforests to make more grazing land! and steroid infused animal waste leaking into fresh-water streams!)

Okay, fair enough... EXCEPTTTTT......

The they eat too much real meat! Let's grow meat in labs and feed that to them, the burger-munching planet destroying bastards strategy is centered on satisfying people's current desire (not "need") for meat products.

Instead... why can't we just stop eating so much?

You don't really need that much protein. Using the math mentioned in this article, that brings a 160 pound person to 57.6 grams of protein a day. And there's protein in everything - that muffin, the granola bar, your almond milk, the fruits and veggies - it all adds up, and doesn't take all that long to get to your recommended daily intake. Heck, most Americans (and probably Canadians as well), are already blowing well-past their required amount of protein each day.

And the other "main" sources of protein are better for you! Red Meat should almost be illegal, while beans are nothing but good stuff man!

You could make a similar "just eat beans dude!" argument to criticize all the other (usually soy-derived) meat-replacement items, like all the Yves stuff, but at least these products come from beans. The lab-grown thing just seems like another, greater, level of "please let's not go there as a society!"

Especially this part - gross!!  (again, quote from the Discover blog story)

Artificial meat also requires a scaffold to grow on, a structure that will ideally be edible for lab-grown meats and must be stretched, or “exercised” periodically to stimulate growth.

I'm visualizing this correctly, aren't I?
I'm picturing the way beans grow up a wooden lattice in your garden... but in this case.. the lattice is EATEN by the FAKE MEAT that needs to STRETCH ITS FAKE MUSCLES in order to GROW and GET STRONG!!!

AHHHHH!!!!!!  The Fake Meat is Coming!!! RUN YOU LAZY BASTARDS RUN!!!!!!

PS, this don't eat red meat story from the Guardian is a bit more in-your-face and funnier.

Should we give up eating red meat?
Before you tuck into that lovely juicy steak, it’s worth thinking about the fatal effects it might have on you, from strokes and diabetes to cancer and heart disease

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Ben's Half-Cup Balls

I got this recipe several years ago from a guy called Ben... when I scribbled down the recipe I seem to have called them "Ben's Half-Cup Balls"... maybe he just called them Half-Cup Balls. That might be a better name. Either way, they're good.

Half-Cup of all of the following:

almond butter (can sub in a wee bit of peanut butter as taste dictates)
sesame seeds
sunflower seeds or cashews (I use cashews) crush or grind these a bit
dates (mushed up a little)

And then depending on your mood, either a half cup or a 1/4 cup of these:
almonds -- crush or grind these
pine nuts -- crush or grind these

Mix everything up in a bowl. Then make into round balls, and then roll in shredded coconut.

Put in freezer until frozen and then serve.

Friday, April 9, 2010

KFC - Double Down on an aneurysm

Wow. The KFC Double Down.
There is so much for a vegan blogger to say about this that it actually renders you speechless.

Here's a news story on this new menu item from the L.A. Times. That should cover the basics for you. Additionally, I'll let all the other vegan and diet bloggers do the ranting.

Here's my main thought right now - in 2010, when you're talking about the primary problems facing N. America, you're talking about climate change and health issues. And by health issues the big topics are the diabetes and obesity epidemics hitting both the U.S. and Canada.

Other companies are starting to see the light on the health front. Pepsi for example has recently dedicated itself to making all of its snack foods less "junky". The CEO has flat out said that they feel a certain amount of corporate responsibility for N. American health problems, and want to be part of the solution.

So this kind of thought is percolating in some company's head offices, but KFC? Well, KFC has suddenly decided upon a "What would Homer Simpson do" approach to menu planning.

A funny side-story to all this is that about a year or two ago, KFC in Canada succumbed to pressure from some animal rights groups, and started offering something close to a veggie-burger. The Double-Down must be their little "f*^k you!" to the forces that put a non-meat item on their menu.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Meatlessness hitting the mainstream

The March 29 issue of Maclean's magazine (this is Canada's national news magazine, something like Time and Newsweek in the U.S.) devoted a four page spread to a story called "Save the Planet / Stop Eating Meat."

Wow - Due to the environmental movement, and the C02 emissions related to the meat industry, "anti-meat" stories have been getting more space in the mainstream media. I'm still surprised though at this four page spread in what I imagine is Canada's best selling magazine.

The content is pretty good and wide-ranging. For readers (and writers) of veggie blogs it is probably well-known stuff, but for your aunt who doesn't know what a vegan is, this is a good introduction.

Some things I learned from the article are the following:

The American Meat Institute has launched a website called Meat Fuels America to fight back against the attacks being made upon them by environmental groups. Interestingly, their only argument seems to be economic - Meat is a Big Industry, so let's keep it going!

The Baltimore Public School system has instituted Meatless Mondays! This is awesome, and I'm impressed they did this despite the fact that they must have known it would make them the target of attack from the meat industry.

Of course, this isn't such a big deal when the meat industry is inept. They apparently wrote to Baltimore school officials and said that meatless mondays were wrong because they were preventing children from getting adequate protein. They did not seem to know that other foods apart from meat contain protein:

If [the meat lobby] had bothered to contact the Baltimore City Schools [it] would have found that each meat-free meal contains more than the amount of protein required by the USDA

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Live and let die

I've never met her, and had never even heard of her before yesterday, but I'm currently hating an Irish politician named Mairead McGuinness.

For reference, here are the two stories where all my information is coming from, primarily the first link:
Beatles star Paul McCartney 'knocked out' by Louth MEP Mairead McGuinness

Carnivore versus crooner: Meat-eating MEP bites back at ex-Beatle

So here's the intro to the story: Vegetarian and now environmental crusader Paul McCartney was invited to the European Union parliament to give a presentation on why Meat Free Mondays should be promoted across the EU as a way to fight climate change. However, he ran into McGuinness, whose riding back home is full of meat and dairy farmers, who apparently shot down all his arguments (that's the way those two news stories tell it, I find it hard to believe that McCartney could really lose this argument however).

Here are some highlights of McGuinness's argument, and some of her key points:

- McGuinness dismissed McCartney's claims that reducing livestock and embracing vegetarianism would help to combat climate change. "Getting rid of livestock from the planet as a solution to climate change is too far-fetched and unrealistic a proposition to be credible," she said.

- "Research shows that a change in European diets with considerably less dairy and meat products would have only a marginal impact on the environment," she said.

- "Those who see vegetarianism as a better way of life or who are vegetarian because they do not want to eat animals should also not jump on the climate change bandwagon."

- McGuinness added: "Lastly, those of us who enjoy a roast on Sunday and who hope to continue to do so, would never even consider a meat free Monday.

- "We have the left-overs on Monday and in this era of 'waste not, want not', calling for a Meat Free Monday, as Sir Paul is doing, could be a call to waste food, something which none of us should be promoting."

Oh my God all that drives me crazy!! I find it hard to believe that she is so shockingly ignorant of all the good research linking climate change to meat production. I mean, she could look through my blog alone and find dozens of stories & articles on this topic. The most interesting one recently was the paper in the journal Climatic Change (Feb 4, 2009) which stated that a worldwide switch to vegetarianism (however unlikely) would be worth the equivalent of $20 trillion spent on other climate change prevention techniques.

No, she can't be that ignorant. She must be a politican with lots of meat farming and meat eating voters, and she must be more willing to appease her voters than she is to suck it up and acknowledge that meat farming is a massive environmental problem.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Food Inc is a must-see

If you've read Omnivore's Dilemma, and Fast Food Nation, and Way We Eat, and have been waiting for a film equivalent of these thoughtful and intelligent books, Food Inc is it.

Food Inc is investigative journalism. It's intelligent and made for adults, and while it does have some footage from the factory floor that isn't the point of this documentary. The point is to paint an overall picture of the North American food industry. And the food industry, you'll quickly learn, is completely engineered to protect the interests and profits of large corporations - NOT the health of North Americans.

Most of the food politics movies that are out come from the militant veggie side of life, and being very one-sided and blind in their rage these things are pretty off-putting, and useless to show to friends and family whose brains turn off after a few seconds of factory farm imagery. Food Inc draws you in with thoughtful explanations of why Tyson and Monsanto etc are afraid to let you see how food is really made, and why they have teams of lawyers and private investigators at their disposal to haul farmers into court if they don't follow company line. The approach in Food Inc is general and rational and thoughtful enough that your friends who don't really want to think about where their food comes from will give the movie a chance (where they wouldn't give a PETA video a chance).
After watching this movie, they will be very hard pressed not to make significant changes in their diet, because this movie is a life-changer.

Plus it ends with a live Bruce Springsteen track.
: )

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Of fish and alaskan governors

I think I mentioned a documentary titled End of the Line a while back, simply saying that I couldn't wait to see it. It's now out on video from Mongrel Media, and I've finally been seen this documentary, and I highly recommend it to everyone.

I've read enough about the fishing industry that not a lot in it was new to me, but the documentary was still fascinating because visually a lot of it is gorgeous, and the interviews with the scientists were really interesting - all these profs with data at their fingerprints saying "it doesn't matter what the Chinese government says, the charts show that 90% of the fish are gone, and that's the truth!"

The only real quibble I have with it is a very brief stat they give, saying that 10% of the fish brought up out of the ocean by those deep sea trawlers are bycatch that just get thrown dead back into the water. I've read other books where that number is much much higher... as in 1/3 of the fish (and dolphins and turtles and whales) pulled out of the water get thrown back dead. I'm curious about where they got the 10% number from.

P.S. another great thing to watch regarding the state of the oceans is a TED talk by Sylvia Earle: Protect Our Oceans.

Sarah Palin both exasperates me and amuses me. Her biography Going Rogue: An American Life is now out, and of course she takes a shot at vegetarians:

Besides addressing her views on the McCain campaign and the media, Palin, a passionate Alaskan hunter, takes aim at vegetarians. Palin states, “If any vegans came over for dinner, I could whip them up a salad, then explain my philosophy on being a carnivore: If God had not intended for us to eat animals, how come He made them out of meat?”

The accommodating host went on to explain, “I love meat. I eat pork chops, thick bacon burgers, and the seared fatty edges of a medium-well-done steak. But I especially love moose and caribou. I always remind people from outside our state that there's plenty of room for all Alaska's animals -- right next to the mashed potatoes.”

Is she really such a simpleton?

a) the "right next to the mashed potatoes" line just makes you groan because that's a joke that has been on T-Shirts for at least ten years now.
b) The article I link to above mentions that Palin actually identifies herself in her book as a carnivore. A carnivore, Sarah? Really? A carnivore? Not an omnivore?
c) The most annoying thing is that this groan-inducing poke at vegetarians will appeal to a huge swath of American voters, and might even make them vote for her. Can't you just see Joe-Bob in Texas chuckling over the "right next to the potatoes" joke and going "God I like that Palin, maybe I'll even vote for her in 2012."

If gets the republican nomination, and actually wins the presidency, maybe the world will end in 2012.