Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hmmm.... I'll need some energy tomorrow

As mentioned over on my cycling blog, my brother and girlfriend and I are doing a team triathlon tomorrow morning. I'm doing the cycling portion, and even though it's short, I was thinking this afternoon that I really should try to eat some sort of a power-packed dinner tonight.
Traditionally you're supposed to eat pasta two nights before your race (that's how long it takes the carbs to turn themselves into energy that you can use). But, last night I totally forgot about eating properly, and in fact we were out drinking anyway.

So, for some energy, I decided to go with an old favourite tonight - curry. The recipe is pretty simple (leave some frying time between each of these steps):
a) cut and start frying an onion (one full onion)
b) add whatever veggies you want (peppers, cauliflower, mushrooms etc) Our recipe says about two cups worth, but it totally depends on how many people you're going to feed.
c) add in about four small spoonfulls of curry paste and fry for a while
d) drain and add a can of chickpeas
e) add a can of diced tomatoes, plus about 1 cup of water
f) add another four small spoonfulls of curry paste
g) let this big goopy mess heat slowly for 15 or 20 minutes. When a good amount of the water has evaporated, you're ready to go.

Usually we eat this on rice, but I decided to put it over some pasta. We sometimes buy this Farfalle stuff, which, very refreshingly, only has one ingredient - 100% durum wheat semolina.

Not really being able to cook, I'm not the type of veggie blogger who does the awesome posts full of gorgeous photos of recipes in process. So enjoy this meager attempt, these kinds of posts don't happen often around here. : )

thanking the monkey

I just came across a review of a book called Thanking the Monkey by Karen Dawn. From the review and the interview with the author, it sounds like an interesting (and even kind of "fun"?) survey of animal treatment issues.

I like her take on the logic behind the vegetarian diet:
We're going to have a choice. As there are more and more and more of us, it takes an awful lot more land and resources to feed people with meat than it does [with] grain. The Earth could feed about 2.5 billion people if everyone ate the standard American diet, or it could feed 10 billion vegetarians. The fact that China is starting to eat our diet -- the more meat people eat, the more impossible it will be to eat at all.
Actually, now that I think about it, I wonder if she just finished reading Lester Brown's Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a planet under stress and a civilization in trouble. In Chapter 9 Brown writes that at a North American level of food consumption (ie heavy on meat), the planet can support 2.5 billion people, while at the other extreme, on the more veggie Indian diet, the earth could support 10 billion people.

The author also has a fairly open view of people being "mostly" veggie (and sometimes letting down their guard and cheating):

So let's say I'm an omnivore who simply cannot go without eating meat or eggs now and then. Is there anything I can do to still be as animal-conscious as possible, even though I'm eating them?

Every single time you sit down at a restaurant, you make a choice. If there's a veggie burger on the menu, don't order the turkey burger. My vegetarianism didn't happen overnight. . . . I'm still a cheating vegan: If I'm dying for Doritos -- and I know they have a bit of whey in them -- I still eat them. But I think if I wasn't a cheating vegan, I might not even be engaging in this lifestyle at all. It's not an all-or-nothing thing.

But what if I want to order or buy meat?

Some things are better than others. . . . At least if you're buying meat that has met some sort of welfare standards, you're not contributing to heinous torture. And it's better to eat an occasional piece of steak than an omelet every day, both health-wise and also because of the amount of cruelty involved. Six eggs -- what those six hens went through!

The article is here on the Washington Post website. You'd better hurry though, because I think the post quickly hides away its online articles for subscriber viewing only.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cheney's crowd as your dieticians

Here's a story for you.
The American Institute for Cancer Research has released a report titled Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective. In the report they make a direct tie between meat and various forms of cancer, highlighting that processed meats in particular create a cancer risk no matter how minimal your intake of these meats might be.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has latched onto the report, and is using it to support their quest to get processed meats out of school cafeterias. But, this has ruffled the feathers of the Center for Consumer Freedom and the American Meat Institute, which, like the tobacco companies, don't care if their products cause cancer, and will fight to the death for their right to keep selling you carcinogen rich meat because that is how they make their money.

Caught in the middle of this feud between the PCRM and the two meat lobby groups, the AICR published this news release. The release highlights the scientific credibility of all researchers involved in the Food, Nutrition... report, and reiterates this point - The evidence on processed meat is even more clear-cut than that on red meat, and the data do not show any level of intake that can confidently be shown not to be associated with risk, and concludes with this passage:

We at AICR wish the multi-billion-dollar meat industry would take the money it uses to attack the objective conclusions of independent experts and devote it to researching why diets high in processed meats are so consistently associated with troubling increases in colorectal cancer risk. With such efforts, it may prove possible to isolate the particular cause or causes and make processed meats safer.

In the meantime, no amount of meat industry spin can change the fact that the exhaustive AICR report has been embraced by the international scientific and medical community and represents overwhelming scientific consensus.

Any time you read that cars idling in drive-throughs is good for your five year old, or that there is no connection between meat and cancer, just picture Dick Cheney pointing his finger in your face and telling you these "truths". Hopefully that will scare you silly and inspire you to read a little more until you figure out who to really trust.