Read this: the Ration is great food writing »
Shocking revelation: your Vegansaurus is a media omnivore. It’s that pesky reading addiction; our eyes are probably ruined from all the reading we do, in print and online. The newest best thing to read on the internet is the Ration, “a project on food and health by the UC Berkeley along with students from University of Missouri, Harvard University and City University, London.” No, Michael “shut up” Pollan doesn’t seem to be involved with it, which is great, because man has that guy earned his nickname.
The Ration has only been up since last week, but its archives already look bountiful. They’ve got a story on prescription produce that’s informative without being (too) preachy, one on the health and well being of agricultural workers, one on a new aspect of the food industry’s stupidity, and an article on meat glue that is fascinatingly gross/grossly fascinating. The infographics are beautiful, like these interactive ones on the sources of calories in the U.S. and the changing nutritional density of our produce. Its videos are also quite compelling.
The Ration is gorgeous and interesting and I hope it fulfills its enormous potential. What we need more of is intelligent reporting on food.
Hellmann’s expands cage-free recipes, becomes slightly less terrible »
Mayonnaise company Hellmann’s has been making light mayo with 100 percent cage-free eggs since last year, but now it has two more recipes for which to be proud of itself: Canola Cholesterol-Free Mayonnaise and Reduced Fat Mayonnaise with Olive Oil. So thanks, mayo-ingesting people of the world, for making the first attempt at humaneness on such a grand scale so popular!
All that comes out to 5.6 million pounds of eggs, impacting 177,000 hens. Since Hellman’s claims to be moving toward cage-free eggs for its entire product line, the number of hens feeling just a bit better about life will increase to 1.8 million. That’s a lot of hens!
Why is this good news? Because it’s better than nothing. It’s harder for average omnis to disavow all animal products at once than it is for them to pay more attention to what they’re eating and where it comes from. I know “cage-free” doesn’t mean the hens have great lives, but American Humane Certified eggs (as Hellmann’s are) come from a henhouse with clean and sufficient food and water, limited stress, resting area, etc. So while it’s not perfect, can we not agree that it is progress?
Let’s all be vegan and live forever! »
[can’t see the video? watch it on Vegansaurus.com]
Happy birthday to Loreen Dinwiddie, who has an awesome name and just turned 108 years young! She credits her vegan diet, which she started in 1922 with her husband, for her longevity.
Loreen, a Seventh-Day Adventist, says she draws her diet from biblical teachings: “People say to me, ‘you don’t have any aches or pains and you’re feeling great at 108, what do you do?’ Well, do what God tells you to do. It is all in the Bible.”
I personally don’t do the religion thing, but I won’t pick a bone with you over what made you go vegan, so rock on. We’re gonna live forever!
Neanderthals totally dug on veggies, yo! »
That’s right! Scientists discovered traces of veggies, legumes and grains in the teeth of some Neanderthal specimens. More interesting, in my opinion, is that there’s evidence some of the food was cooked. See, previously, scientists thought Neanderthals exclusively ate meat, based on the amount of protein in their bones—we all know you can ONLY get protein from meat. Or the wacky idea that their bodies might have processed nutrients differently than ours? But whatevs, now we know they ate plants too.
Considering that early humans were hunter-gatherers (possibly even hunter-scavengers), and up to 80 percent of the hunter-gatherer diet comes from the gathering, it doesn’t surprise me that Neanderthals ate plants. It’s up for debate, but there’s evidence that humans and Neanderthals were living on earth at the same time;* what’s more, earlier this year scientists found evidence that Neanderthals and humans interbred. At the very least, Neanderthals could have observed the diet practiced by humans and followed suit. Then again, they could have discovered plant food-sources all on their own. I mean if you’re hungry, you’re going to try to eat whatever you may find around you. If it tastes alright and doesn’t kill you, you might eat it again. Other apes were able to discover the joy of veggies, why not Neanderthals too?
I’m more interested in how they cooked—that’s totally news to me. Dolores Piperno, who led the study, explains, “the evidence for cooking is strong. The starch grains are gelatinized, and that can only come from heat associated with cooking.” Fascinating! We all know how humans discovered fire: Prometheus! Did he totally bless the Neanderthals with fire as well?
The study also has implications on why Neanderthals went extinct and we didn’t. One theory was that they went extinct because animals they ate, like the wooly mammoth, went extinct and so they had nothing to eat; the news that they had more sophisticated and diverse diets puts an end to that. Poor scientists! I like the theory I learned in college: humans totally forced Neanderthals into oblivion! It reinforces my opinion that humans are a bunch of jerks.
*I majored in anthropology in college, where they taught us that Neanderthals definitely existed at the same time as humans but I guess not everyone believes that. This is the annoying part of anthropology; people are like, “this happened and this happened,” and then they’re always like, “OR, they didn’t!”
Loving Hut in Inner Sunset to open THIS SATURDAY! »
Hey guys! We reported on it going in and now we have word that it’s opening on Saturday, Dec. 18! As in, TOMORROW! Er, or it might be Sunday. EITHER WAY, it’s this weekend.
Who’s going?? Drumsticks for all!
That’s Ching Hai, calling in an order of drumsticks to go for me.
[thanks for the heads-up, Hugh!]
Vegan baked goods taking over: Babycakes opens in Disney World! »
YOU GUYS! There is a Babycakes in Disney World! Can you imagine? Vegan, gluten-free, refined-sugar-free baked goods at DISNEY WORLD? News like this is what keeps us going when the bestselling cookbooks are all about dismembering animals at home. Vegan diets are the future, and our first victory will be over baked goods.
OK mrs. philosophical, but how did Babycakes even get to Orlando? Well! Disney at large, in an effort to be healthier, ended their contracts with McDonald’s. Just dumped them! And then invited, “among many, many, many others” Babycakes to be part of a healthier Disney project. Erin McKenna, being a clever and enterprising lady, agreed, and two years later, we have Babycakes Disney World!
Remember when all the promotional Disney movie toys came in Happy Meals? I remember specifically really wanting a cheap plastic Ariel toy and getting a really terrible Prince Eric toy instead. He came in a boat that did not float, and his hands were molded all poorly so he didn’t really have defined fingers. Also his skin was gray. I really hated that thing. Those days are over now, right? Or will McDonald’s continue its reign of terror even after Disney has divested itself of all that evil?
Or maybe, be quiet and be happy now, Babycakes is in Disney World!!
[photo by Brianna]
Animal-welfare news sways meat consumers »
Some good news! Meat eaters don’t like hearing about shitty conditions animals live and die in, so let’s keep reminding them! Every chance we get! In a non-preachy, non-offensive way, of course. I know, our job is never easy, but we’re not the ones crowded into CAFO’s breathing in the shit of our friends and family while we wait to die, right? GOOD MORNING! I AM A BUNDLE OF SUNSHINE AND LIGHT! Now, get out there and do your part to keep animal news in the news and get active and vocal for the animals. Ow!
[Thanks for the link, Paul!]
Adopt-a-Rabbit update! »
Good news, everyone! Anne reports that the Adopt-a-Rabbit event on Saturday was a great success! All of 14 rabbits found loving homes, including Misses Bijou and Clementine. Isn’t that lovely? And there’ll be another, even bigger bunny adoption event in a few weeks in Richmond, in case you missed this one and need a bun in your life (hint: you do)—we’ll keep you posted with details as they’re finalized. In the meantime, please direct your questions to Anne.
Thanks to everyone who went, and all the people who took home a rabbit. It’s basically your patriotic duty to adopt an animal, so consider yourselves better citizens for it. Or at least better residents, whatever. Love your animal pals, that’s what’s important.
[pictured: Goldie and Kisses, of the Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary]