vegansaurus!

03/12/2013

Science says you will die if you eat processed meat!  »

imageDelicious “meats” from Gutenfleischers vegan deli

Remember that palindrome you learned in fifth grade, “Go hang a salami. I’m a lasagna hog”? Besides being fucked up and unethical, this sentence is also hiding a not-so-secret truth about salami: it’s a major people killer. According to a new international study of 500,000 Europeans, you can pretty much consider yourself dead if you eat processed meat.

"Go hang yourself if you ate a salami because you helped kill a hog," doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but I believe kids should know the truth! Gosh. Per NPR, this study says eating processed meat ups your chances for cancer and heart disease by, like, a bijillion. Apparently the toxic combo of salt, smoke, and nitrate used to preserve these processed dead animal carcasses masquerading as food is the WORST. Need another reason not to eat salami? I conducted an independent study by myself and found that 100 percent of the time it contributes to non-human animal deaths.

[Photo by Jon via Flickr]

03/01/2012

Ask a Vegansaur: Vol. 06  »


Hello, it’s me, your Vegansaur, offering somewhat solicited opinions that may or may not reflect those of the Vegansaurus writers and editors!

Dian asks: I did the Cancer Research UK “Relay for Life” two years ago, and since then I’ve gone vegan. I’ve just been asked to join a team this year, and I agreed—until I realised, wait a minute. Research. Animal testing. According to their website, they only test on animals when they absolutely have to, as a last resort, and they no longer use monkeys, or dogs, or anything like that. But they do still test on animals. At the same time, they do amazing work. I don’t know what to do! It’s a lose-lose situation, I’ll feel awful if I do it, and money I raise goes towards testing on animals; and I’ll feel awful if I say “No, actually, I can’t help you raise money, because I’m vegan.” I realise there are other cancer research charities that do not test on animals, but CRUK is the main one here. I don’t know what to do.

Oh, Dian, my heart breaks for you. First, good on you for running. That is an exercise I cannot do; I get shin splints immediately. But moving on: I know how it feels to have to weigh one evil against another. You could say that the main point of this column is, “Hey, at least we’re trying,” and I’m going to offer a variation of that here. I did some digging, and while you’re right about CRUK being predominant in your corner of the world, there are a few other options to hit the pavement and raise money benefiting people who have cancer. Many charities do not fund research but rather promote awareness, support, and care for people with cancer, none of which involves animal testing. I know it’s not the same as cancer research, but it seems that you’d be hard pressed to find cancer research that does not test on animals; hell, stateside it’s hard to find cancer charities that don’t hate women and their ladybusiness! That might be a good compromise. This is what I would do if I were in your running shoes. Here is a big fat list. Good luck!

Patty asks: I had a “friend” ask me what I couldn’t help but feel was a really “weird” question. He asked how vegans can really consider themselves vegan since, as he put it, “Vegetables are grown in animal sh*t.” He was totally asking this question in the vein of “catching” me in some way, and it was more of a statement question. I could not answer him. I thought that I could go look up and learn about fertilizers and growing, but then I thought I’d ask you what you think, know, etc., both about the fertilizer aspect, but also, how I maybe could have responded to this.

Yeesh, Patty, this is a rough one, quite the dilemma, yesiree. My research is inconclusive, but I do know that people who feel threatened by our dietary choices try to make themselves feel better by pointing out what they see as inconsistencies. There are “veganic" veggies—those grown without any animal products whatsoever. My response to a question like that, quite frankly, would be, "Go fuck yourself," but in more eloquent terms, it would be something along the lines of, "If you go to that level of commitment and compassion in your diet, then we can talk about where the fertilizer used to grow my vegetables comes from. Sucka.” [Ed. note: I’d also like to add that being vegan is about doing as little harm to animals as possible. It’s not about being perfect!]

Matthew asks (via Twitter, @mattheworbit): Omnis have a prob with us giving non-vegan names to vegan food items. How should we get around this?

As Jenny Bradley put it, “Omnis have another problem with us?” Yes, it’s true, the list of problems people think they have with vegans is never-ending. In this case, we don’t have any sort of burden of proof; we don’t have to get around it. Half the time we put a disclaimer in there anyway, right? “Tofu dog,” “soy yogurt,” etc. If omnis don’t like what we’re calling our food, they can shove off; there are a lot more important issues to worry about than renaming seitan barbecue wings something that omnis are more comfortable with. Because you know our lives and dietary choices are primarily to make others comfortable, right? Christ, I can’t stand this kind of bullshit. Omnis can call their pile of chicken nuggets “kale salad” if they want. I don’t give a fuck, so long as I don’t have to eat it.

Want to Ask a Vegansaur a question? Email me, and try not to be a jerk!

[Photo credit: John Baxter via Flickr]

09/08/2010

Let’s eat and drink and live forever!  »

Killer news, you guys: a longterm study of nearly 130,000 people found that those participants eating lower-carbohydrate, higher-protein diets in which the protein and fats came from plant sources were overall healthier and lived longer. Moreover, the study “confirmed a ‘direct association’ between animal-based low-carbohydrate food intake in men and increased cancer deaths, particularly from colorectal and lung cancer. That association aligns with previous studies that have confirmed a link between red meat, processed meat, and those two types of cancers.” Whoops! Enjoy that bacon, hope you don’t mind dying at 50.

The National Institutes of Health funded the study, which began following 85,186 women in 1980 and 44,548 men in 1986. The vegetable-protein-eaters ate more whole grains and drank more alcohol—color your Vegansaurus surprised—while the animal-protein-eaters were more likely to smoke. And yes, the study took more “positive” lifestyle factors into account as well, like vitamins and exercise; our people still outlived the death-eaters.

This coincides nicely with what Nation’s Restaurant News reports as one of fall’s big trends: VEGETABLES! Everyone’s crazy about vegetables, and not just because they are so damn delicious! Did you know that “[p]rotein production uses many more resources and generates much more waste than vegetable production”? You guys, they’re learning and mending their ways! “John Fraser, the executive chef at Dovetail in New York City, introduced meatless Mondays earlier this year and has come to enjoy focusing on cooking vegetables so much that he said he is toying with the idea of opening an all-vegetarian restaurant.”

That brings a tear to my eye, it absolutely does. Science keeps supporting our choices, and chefs are backing us up with more cruelty-free dishes. Lucky us; when we do end up living to ridiculously old age, we’ll always be able to eat well.

04/23/2010

Killing whales, saving sharks, chickens chickens chickens and MORE in this week’s link-o-rama  »

Hello best friends! This deer comes to visit this cat every morning to cuddle and play! UGH interspecies love is the sweetest best. [Thanks to reader Dolly for the photo!]

Vegan-type events!
Don’t forget about the vegan bakesale for bone marrow tomorrow! It’s scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. in Dolores Park; go be a good person and buy something. You’ll be outdoors anyway, the weather’s fantastic.

Do you have cable? If so, you should watch the Humane Society’s Genesis Awards this weekend! They’ll air on Animal Planet twice: tomorrow, Saturday Apr. 24 at noon, and on Sunday Apr. 25 at 1 p.m. (PDT).

Harvest Home Sanctuary will host its very first Poultry Boot Camp to teach you all about “poultry health, nutrition, and rescue opportunities.” The event happens at the Sanctuary on Saturday, May 8 from 1 to 4 p.m. and costs $25, which includes materials, snacks, and a tour. RSVP by May 1.

Let’s freak out!!! Jeremy Fox is doing a week of vegetarian—and vegan-friendly—tasting menus at some nasty meat-tastic restaurant called Animal in Los Angeles next month, VEGANSAURUS ROAD TRIP!!! The dates are May 17 through 23, and it’ll cost $70 per person to eat, but holy mother how can it possibly not be worth it?

Miscellaneous items of varying importance!
Everyone’s going nuts for Social Kitchen and Brewery—Eater SF has a tour and a menu preview, and Beer & Nosh has an interview with Brewmaster Rich Higgins. As you know, the menu should be composed of 1/3 vegan and 1/3 vegetarian items, and our Sunset correspondent Megan Allison will be on the scene as frequently as possible with the report.

Don’t like beer? Drink some tequila! Now you can get super-fantastic, super-fancy, super-local tequila, WOO and another WOO because tequila on a gorgeous spring day in the Bay Area are two of my favorite things possibly ever. And no I am not going to flash you, jerk.

Instead let’s serve a delicious vegan supper, with these recipes from the Kitchn! I swear they are doing these articles just to get on our good side. Whatever their nefarious plan is, it’s working, because here is another link, hello.

Despite agreements with food banks and the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 1996, supermarkets still waste literal tons of perishable food.

Let’s go to the farmers market instead! Apparently there are super-awesome ones not only in our beloved San Francisco, but in Madison, Wisc.; Little Rock, Ark.; Lincoln, Neb.; and Des Moines, Iowa. Who knew—outside of the residents of those cities, obviously?

The always-genius Bay Area Bites presents a totally relevant, not-at-all obvious list of ways to “green” our kitchens.

The International Whaling Commission is all, Hey Japan, let’s not kill so many whales! And Japan is all, OK we’ll kill fewer whales but we’re not going to stop killing the endangered species, so fuck off!

Hawaii state Senator Clayton Hee, however, will not see this same bullshit happen with sharks: he is working to make possession of shark fins a misdemeanor in Hawaii.

Guys, guys, get this: the civet is a smallish mammal who lives in Indonesia, eats coffee berries, and poops out the beans that have been fermented through its digestive system and will make reportedly the tastiest—or at least, the priciest—coffee, like, ever. So instead of following civets around and picking up their droppings to find the beans, people are—you’ll never guess—catching them, caging them, and feeding them beans! God, isn’t capitalism the fucking best?

Homeless dogs in Moscow keep warm by sleeping on the subway, just like homeless people. Please pass the tissues, I am going to cry my damn eyes out. And no I don’t know why English Russia tagged this article as “Funny.” [photo from English Russia]

And while we’re sobbing, maybe it’s time to look at this World Press Photo 2010 Award-winning photo series by Tommaso Ausili called “The Slaughterhouse,” which for the sensitive among us (read: me) could be too much to actually really look at. But you are brave and bold, do please check them out.

Things that make dudes gay: soy; hormones in chicken. But what if you can buy KFC to find the cure for breast cancer! Even the Double fucking Down, you guys! Fifty entire cents from every pink bucket of “chicken” parts sold will go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Oh no, but fried chicken and fish increases your cancer risk, just like eating meat from basically any mammal at all? Well, shit.

Hilariously, a beef-industry-funded survey “of American beef eaters” found that cattle ranchers and farmers have “the third greenest profession” in the U.S.! Of course they’re environmentalists—they commute to work on horses! Har har har.

Significantly less disgusting, and in fact quite wonderful: Healthy Happy Life’s slideshow of amazing vegan desserts in New York City.

The geniuses at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game have decided that migratory pelicans are ruining everything—i.e., eating all the native and artificially stocked trout that people want to fish—and because the Feds won’t allow them to shoot the birds, they are going to release non-native badgers and skunks into the area to deal with the problem “naturally.” Not everyone agrees that it’s the pelicans causing the decline in the trout population, and letting non-native species out into the wild hasn’t always (ever?) gone well in the past, but fuck it, people want to fish for their motherfucking trout.

Whoops, pescatarians! Watch out for that ahi tuna from Hawaii, it’s full of salmonella! Better stick to a delicious lion and antelope burger from Sacramento. God knows what kind of “lion” it is or how the proprietors can say it’s from the U.S., but hey, this “article” is 50 percent cut-and-pasted quotes from Facebook, so who knows anything? And anyway exotic is the new cute-n-cuddly, right? 

Because we’re Vegansaurus, we’re obviously not down with congressional hopeful Sue “crazypants” Lowden’s idea to barter chickens for healthcare. If we weren’t capitalists—do note the subjunctive case there—we might be into the idea of trading vegetables, or vegan suppers, for something like ophthalmologic care (someone needs a new pair of glasses) (hint: me!) or a motherboard for a MacBook. Steve Jobs, the Apple cafeteria cannot serve all your gustatory needs, I know it. Regardless, we do like the disco remix of Crazypants Lowden’s proposal, mostly because of the happy (?) dancing chicken. [if you can’t see the video, click through to vegansaurus.com!]

04/09/2010

Overfishing, under-(cover)inspecting, producing better produce plates, arguing about Alice Waters and MORE in today’s link-o-rama!  »

Dolfapedia says, “They’re gonna make the dog ride the zip line because they need the coverage on Vegansaurus.” Doubt it! But if this happens someone better let us know so we can let you know and we can amass a zip line protest group ASAP. It’ll be the funnest protest ever (we will take over the zip line).

Fun-times vegan-style events!
The SF Green Festival is this weekend, Saturday and Sunday Apr. 10 and 11! And Alice Walker is speaking on Sunday at 4 p.m. Get your guide here.

The LGBT Army of Compassion will hold a peaceful demonstration against animal cruelty on Sunday, Apr. 28 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Northeast corner of the Heart of the City Farmers Market at U.N. Plaza. Click here for further information.

Items of social and political import!
Kinship Circle has volunteers helping animal victims of the Chilean earthquake and could really use your donations.

Whoops, another environment overfished to the point of near-destruction! There’s a ban on fishing in the Sea of Galilee and no one can play “Jesus and Disciples” anymore.

Oceanic nightmares: photos from a Japanese whaling expedition. I am not going to look at them because I will cry, but have at them, you all with your stronger constitutions.

FDA inspections of food manufacturing plants are few, far-between, and essentially useless. Color me fucking shocked.

But big businesses are using their big dollars to fight for the closure of legal aid clinics, including that of the University of Maryland, which filed a lawsuit against Perdue in March, “the first effort in the state to hold a poultry company accountable for the environmental impact of its chicken suppliers.”

HSUS held its own undercover investigation of four factory farms owned by “two of the nation’s largest egg producers,” with undeniably horrifying results.

Aren’t these paper puppets adorable? They’re by artist Furze Chan and you can buy them at Little Paper Planes.

Madhur Jaffrey, author of the lovely World Vegetarian, says that the SF Bay Area has the best food in the world, particularly in the spring. I am not going to argue with you, ma’am.

This year’s first “positive side effect of global warming” is the super-low price of California and Florida strawberries. Fresh strawberries are SO GOOD, you guys, and remember, buy local and organic whenever possible because berry pesticides are nasty.

Six of the “seven essentials” of Alice Waters’ kitchen are applicable to vegans AND omnivores—imagine! We are of course not counting the business about getting children to help you, which is silly if you do not already have children in the kitchen. But did you know that everyone hates Alice Waters forever? She is the devil in a blue organic cotton apron.

We have an appreciate/desire-to-punch-in-the-face relationship with Slow Food Nation—roasting a piglet for two days is saving the planet how?—but declaring 2010 the "Year of the Heirloom Apple" and providing consumers with a fancy informational booklet all about that fruit earns them a mark in the “appreciate” column.

Another study shows that unless you are participating in a lot of activities that make you more likely to get cancer, eating produce won’t make you less likely to get cancer. Kind of. It’s complicated, which probably means the science is real.

Europe is tired of cupcakes! Hi, All of Europe, you probably just haven’t enjoyed enough vegan cupcakes, because duh they are the best and everyone loves them forever. Who wants to move to a Nordic country, open a vegan bakery, and eventually find nice citizens to marry? Totally awesome social services for life, plus near gender/class equality! I speak two European languages and am NOT AT ALL JOKING about this.

More Social Kitchen news: They have a brewer’s permit, and have scheduled a “soft opening” for Tuesday, Apr. 20. Plus: the menu will be split into thirds for omnivore, vegetarian, and vegan dishes. Party in the Sunset!

Jonathan Kauffman loooooooves Gracias Madre, he just loooooooves it. “Oh Gracias Madre, mi amor,” he says, “te amo, te amo mucho.” Or something like that anyway.

Maoz Vegetarian finally opened in Berkeley, hooray! Man that picture is making me really hungry.

Ezra Klein is mad as heck, and he is most likely not going to eat it anymore! What “it” is this? The ubiquitous, irritating, boring-ass grilled vegetable plate that totally doesn’t count as a “vegetarian entree,” gosh darn it. And Julian Sanchez totally concurs.

Here is a serious reason not to smoke, like, ever, as in not even when you’re drinking or stressed or sad or hanging out with other smokers or watching a lot of Mad Men, really for real never: the filters are made with pig’s blood.

Someone on Chowhound needs advice on vegetarian wedding menus. Anyone around here have any experience?

Wired explores foods/food-like substances/food-creation methods that are “changing the way we eat,” including pseudo-meat and aerosol pancake batter.

The Kitchn gives us 10 ideas for vegan breakfast, none of which includes aerosol pancakes.

What does “biodynamic” mean in relation to growing wine grapes? How does it compare to organic growing conventions? If you ever wondered when reading a wine list, this article may answer some of your questions. Maybe.

Regardless, I would rather drink a million bottles of mediocre, confusing, goddess-blessed biodynamic wine than one meat-infused cocktail, because BARF to the MAX. Why, god, why.

Philly Represents, by Megan Rascal.

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