vegansaurus!

08/07/2014

Cardiologist chooses vegan diet, lowers his cholesterol and garners mad haters  »

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As reported by the NYT Well blogDr. Kim A. Williams, president-elect of the American College of Cardiology, wrote a post encouraging people to go adopt a plant-based diet for heart health—so of course everyone freaked out. Because why listen to science when someone is trying to deny you your god-given right to eat dead cow! And when I say deny your right, I mean dare to suggest it might not be healthy. 

He was inspired to make the change when he got a cholesterol test and found out his LDL cholesterol level was 170. From his post:

I thought I had a healthy diet — no red meat, no fried foods, little dairy, just chicken breast and fish. But a simple Web search informed me that my chicken-breast meals had more cholesterol content (84 mg/100 g) than pork (62 mg/100 g). So I changed that day to a cholesterol-free diet, using “meat substitutes” commonly available in stores and restaurants for protein. Within 6 weeks my LDL cholesterol level was down to 90.

I don’t totally know what all this LDL stuff means but 170 to 90 in six weeks seems pretty amazing! If you read his post, it’s pretty benign. Not too preachy, just mostly about his personal journey to a plant-based diet and how it’s helped him. But people still got all heated, as per usual when any hint of veganism comes up. This screen cap of the site he wrote the post on can give you an idea of the calamity:

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Yeah, 74 comments. Seems a bit above their average. I skimmed through some, and as expected: VOM. People are so annoying sometimes. Sigh. 

The doctor responds to some of the criticism in the NYT post. I especially like this part:

Some critics suggested that Dr. Williams and the college were “unduly influenced by industry,” which baffled him.

“Who is the industry that promotes vegan dieting?” he asked.

AND HOW. That is always the silliest criticism to me when someone promotes vegan eating! There is no special agenda to make people go vegan because that’s not where the money is! The money is in A. the meat and dairy lobby, and B. the pharma lobby. Those people do not want you do eat vegan. Obvisiously non-vegan food industries don’t but pharma doesn’t either because if no one was sick, how would they make money?! You would hope a doctor, however, would have entirely different motivation, and it seems Dr. Williams does. As he says:

"Wouldn’t it be a laudable goal of the American College of Cardiology to put ourselves out of business within a generation or two?"

Note: Save yourself the trouble, I’ve heard the reasoning against and I’m still going to keep saying “vegan diet.” We all understand what someone means when they say “vegan diet,” it says you adopt the diet of the vegan lifestyle but not the rest of it. Plus I find “plant-based diet” a confusing term. Plant-BASED doesn’t connote to me that you don’t eat some meat or something. 

04/04/2014

Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use: Could you handle this challenge?  »

Do you think *you* could handle our Great Crate Challenge? More than half a million other viewers have already watched our new video to see what it’s all about. Check it out and share!

My alma mater, George Washington Univ., was kind enough to profile me in its alumni magazine. Neil (the dog) makes my ears appear to stick out less compared to his…

Wondering what HSUS is doing for farm animals? Check out this cool new short video. Also, theAssociated Press had a fascinating story about HSUS’s 60-year history this week that’s well worth reading.

Finally, the NY Times published a potent cover story yesterday about the booming demand for meat-free meals and how delicious plant-based meats are now.

Have a rockin’ weekend, friends!

Paul Shapiro
Vice President, Farm Animal Protection
The Humane Society of the United States
Follow at http://twitter.com/pshapiro

P.S. Video of the week: Think we’re the only species to play soccer? Ask these turkeys.

03/25/2014

NYT Brings Us Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash!  »

My brother invited me over for dinner the other night and he had this great recipe for stuffed butternut squash from The New York Times he wanted to make as it looked yum and was already vegan! Yay NYT!

The filling is seasoned with wine and mushrooms which was great but I think the favorite addition was the seeds. The recipe has you save the seeds from the squash, cook them a bit, and then add fresh lemon zest and sage. They were awesome! I think we needed to cook the seeds longer as they weren’t quite toasted but it was still really good.

Yes, the recipe has a lot of steps but it’s a really nice dish. So check it out and tell me what you think!

03/15/2014

Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use: calves, Gore, crabs and more!  »

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Want to end your week with some good news? We banned veal crates in Kentucky!

More good news? Major supermarket chain Supervalu announced another step toward eliminating gestation crates from its pork supply chain this week. Could the writing on the wall for this archaic practice be clearer?

Concerned about the California drought? James McWilliams has some advice in The NY Times: try eating less meat. And Mother Jones magazine created this infographic showing how much water it takes to create different types of dairy (and dairy alternative) products. Here’s a teaser: 9 gallons for a glass of soy milk and 90 gallons for one Greek yogurt.

If you’re concerned about the drought, you might also be concerned about climate change. On that topic, in a new interview, former vice president Al Gore commented, “Over a year ago I changed my diet to a vegan diet….In a visceral way, I felt better, so I’ve continued with it and I’m likely to continue it for the rest of my life.”

Perhaps that’ll inspire others to think about their diets as well, which could be good news for crabs and lobsters. The Washington Post reports this week on research indicating that these animals, who we routinely boil alive, do in fact feel pain.

Speaking of causing animals pain, The NY Times editorial board came out in favor of California’s egg laying hen welfare law, which is under assault from numerous states suing to invalidate it. The paper unequivocally asserts that “the court should dismiss the case.”

Lastly, I was honored to be a guest on Our Hen House this week, a fun podcast worth checking out.

Have a great weekend!

Paul Shapiro
Vice President, Farm Animal Protection
The Humane Society of the United States
Follow at http://twitter.com/pshapiro

P.S. Video of the week: I have a feeling this isn’t going to work out so well for the squirrel…

02/21/2014

Paul Shapiro’s Animal New You Can Use  »

Yesterday, the New York Times ran this column by Nicholas Kristof entitled, “Is That Sausage Worth This?”, which kicked off by pointing out that, “Modern factory farms have so much wrong with them, but a starting point is the practice of turning pigs into cannibals”

The article marked the release of HSUS’s latest undercover investigation, this time at a Kentucky gestation crate confinement facility aptly named Iron Maiden Hog Farms. And the practices there do seem more out of the dark ages when iron maidens were used as torture devices than they do from the 21st century.

In addition to confining pigs in gestation crates, this facility, and apparently many others throughout the pork industry, was caught feeding baby pigs’ ground-up intestines back to their mothers; in some cases piglets’ diarrhea is fed directly to their mothers. That’s why NPR entitled its coverage of the investigation, “Piglet Smoothie Fed to Sows.”

As well, the fight over Prop 2’s upcoming implementation in California continues. The LA Times editorialized on the issue this week, slamming Missouri’s attorney general for trying to invalidate California’s law.

Onward and upward…

Paul Shapiro
Vice President, Farm Animal Protection
The Humane Society of the United States
Follow at http://twitter.com/pshapiro

P.S. Video of the week: BBC puts them to the test—who’s smarter: kids or pigs?

10/25/2013

Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, animals!

You may remember that HSUS was suing because the Raleigh Transit Authority refused to run our gestation crate bus ads. Well, now they’ve agreed to run them! HSUS also announced the filing of a new lawsuit this week challenging poultry giant Perdue’s advertising of its chicken as “humane.”

Want to know what’s happening in New Jersey on the gestation crate front in a nutshell? Here’s my latest Huffington Post piece.

Scientists are saying chickens are smarter than young humans, leading Nick Kristof to take up the issue in the NY Times, concluding that the only thing “bird-brained” about chickens is our rampant abuse of them.

Speaking of chickens, you should check out this extremely potent national Canadian news coverage of Mercy For Animals’ latest investigation into the egg industry. Seeing this will make you even more grateful for the path-breaking work of Hampton Creek, as featured in Forbes this past week.

Video of the week: Two ferrets; one box of Styrofoam peanuts…

Photo of the week: Thanks to those who clean trash from creeks! You make the mornings of marathon aspirants like me much more scenic!

10/08/2013

“ 

In dogs, we found that activity in the caudate increased in response to hand signals indicating food. The caudate also activated to the smells of familiar humans. And in preliminary tests, it activated to the return of an owner who had momentarily stepped out of view. Do these findings prove that dogs love us? Not quite. But many of the same things that activate the human caudate, which are associated with positive emotions, also activate the dog caudate. Neuroscientists call this a functional homology, and it may be an indication of canine emotions.

The ability to experience positive emotions, like love and attachment, would mean that dogs have a level of sentience comparable to that of a human child. And this ability suggests a rethinking of how we treat dogs.

 „

From Dogs Are People, Too in NYT. I’ve seen this article circling around on FB and I have to say it’s quite intriguing. Of course I know Figgy loves me (growling is just how he shows he cares) but I will wait until scientists catch up. 

03/15/2013

“ Some liquors have animal products — not just dairy-based drinks, like Baileys Irish Cream, but also liquors that contain honey, like Bärenjäger. The owners Heather Rush and her husband, Jeff, vow to serve nothing but plant-based ingredients, which include their own house-made Irish Cream (made with thick soy milk, vanilla vodka, Frangelico and Kahlúa) and store-bought meatless Worcestershire for their Bloody Marys. „

Pine Box Rock Shop got a write-up in NYT! Get down with your cruelty-free self. 

And what it says in the profile is true, it doesn’t only appeal to vegans. A friend of mine from work was telling me about his weekend and he totally ended up there. He had no idea it was a vegan bar until I told him. But they aren’t hiding that it’s vegan. As you should know, they have the NYC Vegan Shop-Ups there! It’s just a cool place everybody wants to be. 

04/17/2012

Is going vegan a “challenge”? Totally, says the New York Times!  »


Tara Parker-Pope took to the Well blog to have a brief chat about adopting a vegan diet. Is it easy? (NO.) Is is awesome? (NO.) Is it full of surprising pitfalls including “tastebud-shocking” and “expensive” substitutions, and “condescending” friends and relations? (YES, DEFINITELY.)

Here’s the thing, TP-P: The benefits of being vegan far outweigh the surprise tastes of non-dairy milks and the continued weirdness of vegan cheeses. That’s the kicker, right? That’s the thing that keeps us forever soaking cashews and spending hundreds of dollars on blenders and making wheat-meat: We know our dietary choices have positive effects on ourselves, our society, our environment, our fellow creatures. Plus, Earth Balance tastes just like butter, and now we have marshmallows and the Vegg? We basically run this show. I would politely request a vegan alternative to cashmere, if anyone’s on the wool-substitute tip.

I would like to know, though, since we have a fairly diverse* readership, what keeps you vegan? What are your biggest challenges, and how do you overcome them?

True confession: I miss eggs, and plain yogurt, and I would spend a lot more money on shoes if the idea of wearing dead cow skin on my feet didn’t make me feel like a horrible person. Because what kind of jerk are you, that you can know about the horrors of the egg and dairy and leather industries and still enjoy their products? Being vegan is a way I can stop perpetuating such violence and cruelty. It’s not much, but it’s something I can do every day that I know has a direct effect. So what about you?

*”Diverse” meaning, not everyone’s here primarily for the animals. I know you’re all white upper-middle-class ladies ages 18-45 (vegans of color and alternative genders don’t exist, duh!) (And “men” are too manly for veganism!).

[photo by Night-thing via Flickr]

03/26/2012

News flash: Veggies are cheap!  »

My cheapness—ahem, frugality—has been well-documented. I’ve even defended veganism’s monetary cost (read: It can be really cheap to be vegan). Now Forbes, the New York Times, and others agree with me: Veggies are cheaper than a fast-food dinner. In your FACE, people who say they can’t afford to be vegan!

The Forbes article cites data from the USDA’s Economic Research Service. Researchers examined 94 vegetables in the study; Turns out, more than half of them cost less than 50 cents per one-cup serving, and none of them cost more than $2.07 per serving.

People who say they can only afford junk food don’t need to switch to “free-range” chicken, artisanal cheeses, and grass-fed beef. They really just need to eat something besides fries, Doritos, and McNuggets, such as kidney beans (protein!), sweet potatoes (vitamins!), and carrots (fiber!).

Yeah, a lone cup of veggies is obviously not as filling or macronutrient-dense as a pr0n-approved cheeseburger. But throw a few convenient foodstuffs together—frozen rice, some of those frozen peas/carrots/corn/green bean concoctions, a can of chickpeas, and a bottled curry sauce, for example—and BAM! Dinner is served quickly, cheaply, and healthfully.

The flip side? You have to actually do some work yourself. Boo-fuckin’-hoo. Did I mention that the article says frozen veggies are often cheaper and more nutritious than even fresh ones? Get a freezer, a microwave, and a copy of The Garden of Vegan, and learn to cook something already! Your wallet and the animals will thank you.

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