PCRM makes a good point »
New nutrition guidelines:
Breakdown of government food subsidies:
As PCRM points out, maybe they should match up a little more?
The USDA even spells out their essential point: “Key Consumer Message: Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.”
But when I look at the subsidies pie chart, something is amiss!
Things that make you go WTF: monkeys chained to tightrope-walking goats »
Life lesson number one, my friends: if you ever find yourself chaining a monkey to a goat, you are doing something wrong.
Apparently this is a thing. I saw the above picture on that goats on stuff blog. Then I did a search and found all these other pictures of other goats on tightropes with monkeys on them. WTF?! The world is totally effed. I’m kind of over it. We should all just drink poison and have an end-of-the-world party. Just kidding! I hate group activities.
As far as I can tell from the various sites these pics are posted on, these are all from zoos in China. Jesus Christmas, China! Get your shit together! This isn’t cool. Have you all heard of this? Can I get a resounding WTF?
Pose of the hypocritical excuse-itarian: yoga IS veganism »
I was halfway through writing an article on yoga as it relates to veganism when this article appeared in my inbox, courtesy of the head honchos at Vegansaurus. Suffice to say it only fueled my agni (Sanskrit for “fire”).
Sometime in the 1980s yoga took over the Western world. Suddenly everyone was in downward dog, from 20-something administrative assistants to hardcore fitness fanatics to stay-at-home moms to Wall Street suits. Yoga and its followers, myself included, have carried the practice into the 21st century and the culture continues to grow. I’m all for staying in shape, but what most folks overlook is that yoga is much, much more than a 60-minute workout. Yoga is upwards of 2,400 years old, and is deeply rooted into the spiritual world, leading true practitioners—or yogis/yoginis—to attain enlightenment.
Between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D., Patanjali, the “father of yoga,” wrote the Yoga Sutras, also referred to as The Eight Limbs of Yoga. The sutras provide yoga with a thorough and consistent philosophical base, and is considered the foundational text of Yoga.
The Yoga Sutras are (in Sanskrit and English):
- Yama (restraints or ethical disciplines), consisting of Ahimsa (nonviolence), Satya (truth), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (sexual responsibility), and Aparigraha (non-coveting/non-greed)
- Niyama (observances), consisting of Saucha (purity), Santosa (contentment), Tapas (austerity), Svadhyaya (study of self/holy scriptures), and Isvara-Pranidhana (devotion to God)
- Asana (physical postures)
- Pranayama (breath or life-force control)
- Pratyahara (sense-withdrawal)
- Dharana (concentration)
- Dhyana (meditation)
- Samadhi (contemplation).
Ahimsa, the first yama, means non-violence/non-harming, or more simply, peace and love. Essentially, the true yogi believes that to kill or destroy a being is to insult its creator. This is about as black-and-white as it gets: unless you are vegan, you support the idea that an animal’s life is worthless and invalid in the face of our desire for its flesh and secretions. Breaking rule number one? Check.
At the Yoga Journal Conference in 2009, Dharma Mittra, a celebrated yoga teacher and director of the Dharma Yoga Center in New York City, stated, “It is a sin to eat animals. Why? Because the ability to put oneself in other’s place is the path to enlightenment. When you eat meat, you make your stomach a graveyard.” He added, “You must take compassion more seriously.” Sounds clear to me, but after reading Briana Ronglin’s article “Yogis Don’t Have to Be Vegan, According to the Masters,” it seems some people are sincerely confused about rule number one. Dancing around reality with very convenient information gathered from a panel of “Yoga masters that would make any devoted Yogi tremble with awe” from 2011’s Yoga Journal Conference, Ronglin outwardly eschews the very foundation of yoga. What’s worse, these “experts” only assist with their oblivious commentary. Ana Forest and Aadil Palkhivala both boldly venture into excuse-itarian territory, claiming that a vegan diet left them feeling “ill” and “sluggish,” and complaining about weight gain. Ana actually confesses to “rearranging her beliefs to accommodate the needs of her body.” Sounds to me like these two health-conscious “masters” didn’t pay much attention to basic nutrition at all.
Another expert, Seane Corn, is vegan. However, she states that “living in judgement of other people’s choices is absurd.” In theory, I agree—except when said choices have far-reaching consequences for my planet and its other inhabitants, my future, my tax dollars, my health care, and so on. Everyone agrees, of course, that the most realistic solution must be to indulge in “non-factory farmed” meats, or just a “sliver” of chicken if it’s “what you need to feel whole.” Absurd, indeed. If it’s acceptable to ignore the very first of the Yamas and eat another being’s flesh and secretions, what does it matter how happy or well-fed that being was before slaughter? Declaring that a yogic diet is made up of “whatever works for you” is in blatant and arrogant disregard of yoga’s most basic principles and foundations. Talk about bad Karma.
[Recommended reading: Yoga and Vegetarianism: The Path to Greater Health and Happiness by Sharon Gannon. Sources: Vegan Girl Next Door, ElephantJournal.com, Wikipedia, Vegan Outreach. Image via TwiggyJane on Flickr]
Idaho is a bunch of jerks, declares wolves disaster emergency »
Goddamn Idaho! The Idaho House has passed a bill that would declare the wolf population—a population protected as a fucking endangered species—a disaster emergency. That is so wrong! “Disaster emergency” is usually reserved for things like floods and wildfires—not animals doing what animals do. People are mad because wolves are stealing livestock from farmers and killing animals that I guess hunters think they should be killing instead. That’s called being a wolf! Maybe part of raising sheep is that some get lost to wolves. Maybe part of hunting is that you are in competition with animals that actually have to hunt and kill for food and only take as much as they need. I guess Idaho can’t wrap its bloodthirsty mind around that.
A federal judge is actually deciding now if wolves should be removed from the endangered list but I guess the Idaho House doesn’t have to wait around for silly things like laws; they can just declare a disaster emergency. Bingo! Open season on an endangered species. Congratulations, Idaho, worse state of the month.
You can read more about wolves and how you can help at defenders.org.
File under WTF: HuffPo has a piece about “passionate” farmers dedicated to preserving bison SO WE CAN EAT THEM. Here’s the amazing video from one such farmer where he first tells us how he fell in love with this amazing animal and then how great the meat is.
They are calling bison “the meat of the future.” Um, no it’s not, dummies! It’s the meat of Dances With Wolves; in-vitro meat is the true meat of the future! How much more future can you get than science-meat?! This whole article is ridiculous, actually: “I, personally, was touched by Ed’s story and his connection to the animals (something I think you’ll feel while watching the video). Being a former president of the National Bison Foundation, he’s eager to teach you all he can about the bison’s rich, yet devastating history and why it’s important to support small farmers like him to help grow the industry.”
I too was personally touched* by this video, touched by the WTF INSANITY! This is the end of the bison’s “devastating history”? To be served up as an “exotic” entree to “adventurous” foodies? Yeah, not only is grinding an animal into burger a totally dignified end, it’s also a great way to show you love them. Lesson learned! Come here, Figgy! I love you and I’m hungry!
*haaa not like that!
Eat, pray, vom: a d-bag’s guide to Portland »
Josh Ozersky, bro-extraordinaire, gives us a super-rad guide on how to kill animals and clog your arteries in Portland, Ore. First I’d like to comment on Ozersky’s writing style: VOMIT. Like, oy, come back to Earth. Here’s a sample: “Unlike New York City, where the winds of reputation stoke the fires of resentment, Portland is supremely communal and laid-back.” The winds of reputation stoke the fires of resentment? Bleh, pass me a bucket! He also seems to have recently coined his own term, “lardcore,” which he now likes to use. Self-referencing. Awesome.
On to the food, Ozersky brags that he was “writhing in pain” after a long day of eating various nasty meats. Dudes, writhing in pain is not how you should ideally end the day. He literally ate himself sick. DISGUSTING. Ultimately, all his pork-worshiping leads him to declare Portland, “America’s new food Eden.” Guess what, bro: vegans declared Portland food Eden decades ago! What’s more, YOU CAN’T HAVE IT, MEAT-EATERS! It’s ours, deal with it.
Let’s be clear: there is a vegan STRIP CLUB in Portland, OK? My debilitating moral code doesn’t allow for strip clubs nowadays but if they are going to exist, a vegan strip club is where it’s at. Besides that, you can get a vegan HAIRCUT in Portland. For serious! In fact, my sister got a cut there and came out looking even more adorable than she already is. It was a stellar cut, side-swept bangs and all. The Parlour St. Johns, where you can get said haircut,
is part of the vegan STRIP MALL in Portland. There is a vegan strip mall! Talk about Eden [Ed. The Parlour St. Johns is not in the mini-mall. Thanks to our Portland-knowledgeable readers for correcting our geographical error]. This is where the famous Food Fight vegan grocery is. That place rules and the people are super-nice. But my favorite part of this strip is Sweet Pea Baking Co.—an all-vegan bakery. Sweet Pea has the most amazing scones I’ve ever had! And believe me, I’ve had scones. It’s the food of my people. So trust me when I say you’ve got to get the cinnamon scone. It’s off the chain.
Moral of the story: suck it, Ozersky. Portland is ours. Take your lardcore and shove it.
[map of vegan and vegan-friendly eateries in Portland from Happycow.com]
Hold the mother-loving phone: two zebras ran wild in Sacramento on Saturday. Can I get a general “WTF?” on this one? SFist reports that the zebras were being loaded onto a truck when they were spooked by dogs and ran for it. I can’t find out what they were doing in Sacramento but they are now back on the owner’s ranch in Oregon. Their owner is a mule-monger but zebras are his “passion.” Freak. People and their goddamn exotic animals. There’s a million homeless cats in this country but this bro is breeding zebras. On the plus side, while the zebras are back in captivity, at least they didn’t die in a hail of bullets the way the more dangerous rampaging exotic animals do.
Rock on, Magnum: a vegan loves the feedlot »
I was recently pointed toward an article by my buddy, Miles; an article by a vegan nutritionist who visits a cattle feedlot—and gives it kind of a rave review. Ulp.
The author is one Ryan Andrews, a vegan nutritionist and former bodybuilder. He claims to have wanted to get a firsthand feedlot experience for a while, having set up his tour only after months of emails and phone calls. Now, I’m no genius, but isn’t that kind of the first tip-off that something shady is going on? I mean, if feedlots were really so awesome, then why does it take months of badgering phone calls to set up a chaperoned visit? If they’ve got such a great thing going, why aren’t they shouting it from the rooftops? Good old-fashioned farmer-folk modesty?
Apparently, yes. At least, if Andrews’ account is to be believed. Andrews’ writing style is straightforward as he recounts his journey to the feedlot, accompanied by an animal science instructor and a student from Colorado State University. He recalls meeting the owner of the feedlot, a kindly looking older man whose experience with Magnum reads like a Real American Success Story. Andrews talks about what a feedlot is and how most of America’s beef comes from them, and he explains the difference between a family farm and a factory farm. By this point, the tone is becoming a little grating, but whatever.
From there, we learn, from a vegan, how nice feedlots are for cows. I wish I were pulling some kind of vegan police crap and exaggerating (you know how us vegans love to jump down each others’ throats for not putting down animal agriculture enough), but Andrews actually, literally describes the Magnum Feedlot as the “Holiday Inn” for cattle. He talks about how it’s nice that the cows have an animal nutritionist come in and take a look at them sometimes and how there’s a “hospital pen” for the sick cows and how gee golly gosh, those cows get better healthcare than most humans! And don’t forget how good the cows’ food is and how clean it is and how progressive and environmentally responsible the owners of the lot are for composting not only the cow manure but also the dead cows (you know, the ones that die naturally of old age on the feed lot—talk about bad timing!) and, and, and…
Honestly, I’m not sure what to think yet. Maybe Ryan Andrews got paid by some beef advocacy group somewhere to write that article, or he’s not all that critical a thinker (or worse, and I’m sorry, he’s not all that bright). Not every vegan I know is a rocket scientist (and I know I ain’t), but I gotta say, if someone were to blow as much smoke up my ass as the Magnum people apparently blew up Andrews’, I’d be a walking chimney, and I’d like to think I’d notice. Andrews’ piece reads like every bit of pro-agribusiness propaganda I’ve come across. The only difference is that this one was written by a vegan, which, I suppose, means it’s more convincing?
Andrews describes the feedlot as a clean, pleasant place where cows are fed an appropriate diet, kept healthy, and don’t have to stand around in their own shit before being whisked off to the slaughterhouse (which would be something like the bovine Motel 6?). He expresses surprise at how much this feedlot differs from the horror shows filmed by animal rights activists. He thinks the life of the cows on the feedlot looks pretty good. Oh, and he ends the piece with, “rock on, Magnum.” Andrews says his article is only meant as an account of one person’s visit to a feedlot, a place most people never get to see, but—especially given that last sentence—I found it hard to read it as anything but a hearty endorsement. Sure, Andrews does note that he continues to be vegan, and that the way someone lives is a more important indicator of their feelings and whatever else than what they may write on their blog. But still, if you’re vegan and believe that using animals for food is wrong, why take the time to praise feedlots?
Now, I don’t like to play Vegan Police. I generally don’t think calling people out for eating honey or being “welfarists” does any good for either veganism or the animals, but reading this piece, I saw the other side of the vegan spectrum—those vegans who are so live-and-let-live that they’re happy to endorse factory feedlots in the name of being “open-minded.” I mean, if we as vegans can’t all get behind the idea that maybe it’s okay to be at least a teensy bit disapproving of feedlots that process 22,000 cows at a time directly into slaughterhouses, then what could possibly be the point? I do understand the need for open-mindedness in the vegan community, and it’s something I try to do myself (for pragmatism if nothing else), but Andrews has gone past the point of pragmatism and squarely into sell-out territory.
When I was in law school, I got to tour an animal research facility. My animal law class was presented with the opportunity to tour the animal research and testing lab at the school, and I decided to go. Unlike Andrews, who makes a point of joking about being careful not to wear his “have you hugged a vegetarian today” shirt, I wore my “legalize animal rights” shirt (for which I got snarked at by the tour leader). I walked through the lab and saw thousands and thousands of rats and mice who were being used in clinical trials and research. The lab was clean. The lab techs were reasonably kind to the animal subjects. The rats and mice received good food and medical attention. But at the end of the line for these animals, like the cows in the feedlot, was wholesale death. Sure, no one was beating the rats and mice. Rat feces wasn’t smeared on the walls. The place smelled vaguely antiseptic. The people who worked there seemed nice enough. I suppose it could have been worse for the thousands and thousands of animals being tested on at that facility, but oh boy could it ever have been better.
Does an animal business really have to be as bad as the PETA horror videos before we will speak out against it? Do the animals have to be unbearably tortured every minute of their lives before we’ll take a stand for them? Is animal agriculture acceptable if the factory/family feedlot is operated by a homey-looking old guy in a plaid shirt? Maybe it makes me a closed-minded vegan dogmatic, but I would say no.
What The Fuck Should I Make For Dinner DOT com! »
Ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to my new favorite cooking website: whatthefuckshouldimakefordinner.com!!!
You go to the site and it’s like:
And of course you’re like, I DON’T FUCKING EAT MEAT so it’s all,
And you’re like, JEEZ LOUISE I LOVE YOU SO MUCH FOR SHOWING ME THIS SITE, MEGAN RASCAL!
Mon pleasure, pals! More deets: It appears that all the main page recipes come from epicurious.com and the veg recipes link to recipe.com. It also appears the recipes are not infinite. When you choose “I DON’T FUCKING LIKE THAT” it takes you to another recipe but eventually they start to repeat. But trust me, there’s plenty to work with!
I’m sure you noted that it says “vegetarian” and not “vegan;” I checked it out exhaustively and it’s pretty even vegan recipes to vegetarian recipes. Many of the vegetarian ones can be easily veganized. Oh—BONUS!: an occasional vegan recipe appears on the main page too! Yee-ha! They’re assimilating us! Nice. [Ed.: BUT IT’S NO VEGWEB.COM, THE BEST RECIPE WEBSITE IN THE WORLD!]
No more Weird Fish satellite kitchen at Bender’s. It is a sad day, indeed. EaterSF has the full story but that’s about it. It’s gone, and tonight I’m eating an entire bottle of lexapro to mimic the joy I felt when biting into the vegan philly cheesesteak. Timothy Holt, there is blood on your hands.
IN OTHER SUPER-DEPRESSING NEWS: I also heard rumor that there’s a new chef at Weird Fish and a new bullshit menu that is seriously lacking in deep-fried seitan. I am disgusted.
[Photo thanks to Kevmo, who will miss it more than the rest of us can even begin to understand.]