NPR calls for end to Omni-Veg holiday food wars »
Remember a couple months ago, when NPR went veg-trolling with that “Do Vegetarians and Vegans Think They Are Better Than Everyone Else?” story? And it turned the answer was, “Some of them do, but you wouldn’t want to hang out with anyone with a superiority complex, so let’s just chill,” and all we meat-abstainers went “Fucking DUH, NPR,” and turned up the Ryan Tedder’s Greatest Hits playlist on Spotify instead?
I thought not. We remind you of that nonsense because of this week’s ridiculous veg-baiting, “It’s Time to End the Turkey-Tofurky Thanksgiving Food Fight.” Right now you’re thinking, “What food fight? You mean the holiday meals when I get a main dish all to myself and at least half the sides are vegan, because either I make them or I have an accommodating family who realizes that the taste differences between non-dairy and real butter are totally negligible?” Which, you’d be right. Author Tania Lombrozo has nothing new to say here:
For the turkey-eaters: vegetarians probably aren’t judging you as harshly as you think they are. For the Tofurky-eaters: making meat-eaters feel judged is no way to win converts. And for the turkeys: better luck next year; I’m on your side.
How about: Don’t eat actual turkeys, like the fine specimen above; eat fake turkey, like the fine specimen below. And if your dinner guests give you shit, don’t invite them over next year.
Both tastier and cheaper than Tofurky!
Did you vegan Thanksgiving-celebrators have a good time? Did you harangue your relations about the horrors of U.S. turkey production until they threw you out? Were you mocked for your animal-product-eschewing ways until you wept? Did anyone get a drink in the face? No, right? I swear, this contentiousness exists almost exclusively in fiction. We in the real world are doing just fine sharing meals.
[Wild turkey photo by Wayne Dumbleton via Flickr]
Gut-check: The real paleo diet was mostly plants »
Rob Dunn has a guest blog at Scientific American this week that neatly summarizes the problem with all those Paleo Diet enthusiasts: Our actual, paleolithic ancestors ate very similarly to today’s simians, which is to say, mostly plants.
He says that the diets of living primates “are composed of fruits, nuts, leaves, insects, and sometimes the odd snack of a bird or a lizard,” and that even notoriously bloodthirsty chimpanzees’ diets are maybe 3 percent meat, tops. You know, almost exactly what they ate before some of them took a turn toward humanity millennia ago. The money quote, though, is here:
IF we want to return to our ancestral diets, we might reasonably eat what our ancestors spent the most time eating during the largest periods of the evolution of our guts. If that is the case, we need to be eating fruits, nuts, and vegetables—especially fungus-covered tropical leaves.
All those skinny white guys with old-timey facial hair can run around taking home-butchery classes and eating all of the pig, or whatever, but they can’t pretend it’s more “natural” than eating a plant-based diet. It’s just more violent.
To increase your knowledge and feelings of veg-superiority, go read Rob Dunn’s entire blog post. It’s terrific!
[Photo of a Temminck’s Red Colobus (taken in Gambia! A free monkey!) by Steve Garvia via Flickr]
The California foie gras ban finally takes effect (after eight years of fruitless searching for a “humane alternative” to gavage) in less than a week! Dana Goodyear wrote a brief post for the New Yorker about a protest of one of those creepy last chance foie gras dinners chefs are putting on here, this one in Los Angeles; the quote is from Mark Peel of Campanile and it is rich.
Did you know that foie gras protesters are actually victimizing people who eat foie gras? Victimizing! Is there anything more ridiculous than a defensive omnivore? Yes: an omnivore getting defensive about a nonsensical, disgusting luxury food.
But don’t worry, California foie gras-lovers; chefs can still serve your precious food, as long as they don’t sell it, which Bloomberg reports some chefs are totally planning to do. Or they might charge a preparation fee to customers who bring in their own foie gras! FREEDOM!
Dan Barber’s “return to the land” argument is weak and ridiculous, but not all wrong »
Dan Barber courted some veg-rage back in December 2010 when he asserted that “You have blood on your hands when you eat vegetarian,” and last week Slate interviewed him about it. It’s on video, above, and watching it made me feel the same head-against-the-wall frustration that I do when Michael Pollan opens his yap to opine about how meat-abstainers are wrong, and eating animals is noble. Here are my responses to three of his particularly obnoxious points.
1. He points to the “iconic New England pasture that was built by the dairy industry” as a reason for keeping animals for food. What did the landscape look like before the dairy industry brought their milk-and-death business to the area, Dan? How did it look before the Industrial Revolution? How did it look before the Dutch and English and Spanish came and murdered all the native people? How did it look during Pangea?
2. He condemns a vegetable-based diet as much heavier in “food miles” than his local produce/animal product diet. Man, let’s address food deserts before you insist the nation go full locavore. Of course we should strive to eat more sustainably grown food! But when the choice is between dead cow from a feedlot and mixed vegetables from factory farms, choose the vegetables. They aren’t cutting down the rainforest to grow soybeans for my tofu, they’re doing it to feed the cows that the majority of the U.S. eats. Factory farms are bad for us ecologically, socially, ethically, morally—why go after the vegetarians when there is a much bigger bad to attack? I can’t tell if he’s advocating we all go full backyard chicken, or turn factory farms into small-scale, ecologically friendly farm collectives, or what.
3. The New England landscape “doesn’t want” you to grow vegetables, so that means it does want you to grow animals for killing? And oh no, Michael Pollan is worried about the extinction of farm animals? There is a major difference between “keeping some animals on your farm as farming tools” (eating grass, fertilizing with their waste, pest control) and “keeping animals en masse for slaughter.” You acknowledge that what you want is to “use the resources of animals on a farm in an intelligent way,” which is something I agree with—until you jump from keeping animals to eating them. Why? Isn’t barbarism like killing living creatures for our gustatory pleasure a thing of the past?
You know what? I do agree that vegetarians have blood on their hands. All the male chicks that are killed because they can’t produce eggs? All the male calves born to the perma-pregnant dairy cows, that are sent to veal farms? The treatment of the layer hens and dairy cows themelves? So much blood. That’s one of the reasons I observe a vegan diet: To keep the blood-as-byproduct off my hands.
[Please visit Adam Merberg’s Say what, Michael Pollan? blog for much more extensively documented reasons why this argument is nonsense.]
Fox fur and feathers are the new vajazzling! Quick, to the waxer! »
Hey “ladies”! Cancel your body-modification plans; we know exactly what you should be doing with your physical self. Get this: What you 100 percent want to do with your body is remove its hair, exposing your genitals to the winter cold, and partially re-cover your nudity with either neon-dyed fox fur or feathers. Enticing, right?
Yes! It is what you want to do! Cindy Barshop, the lady who claims to have invented vajazzling, says so, and she is the world’s foremost expert on sexual decoration.”All the colored furs are in now,” Barshop tells Fashionista, “and Carnivale’s coming with the feathers” so obviously you need to put these items on your naked skin that would otherwise be covered with underpants. Peta, in a moment of sanity, is quoted as calling the furkin (tm Maureen O’Connor) “outright sleazy, and it’s downright cruel to kill an animal to decorate your privates.”
It’s nice when vegans of all stripes can agree on such a nasty little pimple of an issue. You are the worst, Cindy Barshop. Please knock it off.
[image by genibee via Flickr]
Elle Macpherson ingests rhino horns, sucks »
Elle Macpherson is attractive, sure, but she looks a lot less beautiful to me after reading about this Twitter interview she recently did with The Times Online, where she discussed her use of rhino horn, saying “it works for me.”
That’s just delightful that it works for her—it probably doesn’t!—but unfortunately it definitely does not work for rhinos.
There are five species and 11 subspecies of rhinos; three of the five species are critically endangered, while white rhinos are “near threatened” and Indian rhinos are “vulnerable.” There are thought to be only about 60 Javan rhinos left in the entire world. Despite their endangered status, poaching of rhinos continues and is growing — fueled by the high prices that can be fetched for their horns, which are used in Chinese medicine. Rhino horn is worth about 50 percent more, per kilogram, than gold, which only contributes further poaching. When you get celebrities like Elle Macpherson talking about how awesome rhino horn powder is — even if it’s also illegal for her to use it — the appeal of the product is only heightened.
IFAW quickly denounced Macpherson’s statements, but you can help as well: Talk to people about rhinos and why their poaching for horns is such a problem, donate to a group working towards their conservation, and maybe consider sending a reasonable and informed tweet to Ms. Macpherson to let her know that what she’s supporting is dangerous and wrong, and why.
Oh, Ke$ha. We’re going to quote extensively from Videogum here.
There is something so jarring about the b-roll footage of third world country people actually physically trying to save animals intercut with Ke$ha unmoving in front of her rack of wardrobe changes saying “Please join me in helping these poor animals.” Join you where? WHAT ARENA ARE YOU AT? And join you how exactly? BY READING CUE CARDS AND LOOKING LIKE LAST NIGHT WAS A ROUGH NIGHT? But like I said, so good of her. Such a powerful PSA. Good luck, puppies.
I mean, of course it is good that famous people adopt charitable causes, and street dogs are a particularly depressing and deserving group! On the other hand, if you are taking your social cues from Ke$ha, you should really look at your life, look at your choices, maybe take a nice long nap, and then, sure, give some money to help street dogs.
Anthony Bourdain has even more to say about vegans! »
Anthony Bourdain, America’s favorite (?) Privileged Old White Man, is at it again! He recently gave an interview in Playboy* and he talked about how he hates everything and everyone. FUCK THE MAN, MUG FOR THE CAMERA, EAT A BABY GIRAFFE, and SCENE. Of course, he especially hates vegans, because they make his life very difficult by existing. He says about veganism, ”I don’t have any understanding of it. Being a vegan is a first-world phenomenon, completely self-indulgent.”
Let’s deconstruct that:
I don’t have any understanding of it.
Then why are you commenting on it? Seriously, if after all of your resources, you still can’t understand a fairly simple concept, shut your pie-hole.
Being a vegan is a first-world phenomenon, completely self-indulgent.
Like reality TV, hideous leather jackets, and running water, veganism is a first-world phenomenon. What’s your point? And completely self-indulgent? LOL! Of all the people to call anyone anything, Bourdain calling vegans self-indulgent is THE BEST. This guy makes a living traveling around the world and eating everything. But yes, me over here, buying my toiletries at Walgreens, I’m the self-indulgent one. I’m incredibly lucky to have the ethical opportunity to choose veganism, but it’s still about 10,000 times less of a self-indulgent choice than anything that man does. Being vegan IS a choice that not everyone can afford to make, but MANY of us can. So we do. That’s it!
My favorite thing about Bourdain is that he still presents himself as if he’s some wild man outsider, when he couldn’t be further up the establishments asshole. YOU ARE A PRIVILEGED OLD WHITE MAN. YOU ARE THE 1 PERCENT, BOURDAIN!
About vegetarians, he says:
They make for bad travelers and bad guests. The notion that before you even set out to go to Thailand, you say, ‘I’m not interested,’ or you’re unwilling to try things that people take so personally and are so proud of and so generous with, I don’t understand that, and I think it’s rude. You’re at Grandma’s house, you eat what Grandma serves you.
Sorry, vegetarians! It’s all true! Bourdain’s got your number! JK, I’ve got your back.
I don’t know where he got Thailand from but Thai food is very veg-friendly. In fact, VegNews just took a food-lovers tour of the country! I was just invited to a food expo taking place in Bangkok, to write about all the amazing veg selections!
And as far as being at Grandma’s house, whose grandma are we talking about? Most grandmas I know are down for healthy food, and are in better shape than I’m in. Seriously, this antiquated idea of some geriatric in a dressing gown who breaks down in hysterics because their grandchild won’t eat their steaming bowl of innards is (mostly) ridiculous. Anyone who’s been vegan for some time and are in situations like that, learn to handle themselves with some grace. We sneak in Clif Bars, pretend to eat the family’s traditional innards stew, and are always thankful and gracious.
Understanding that the relationship between food and family can be one of the most difficult to navigate. It’s also true that lots of families are straight-up crazy, so there will be issues regardless—with food, or your brother bringing his boyfriend to dinner. You know? Shit will always be complicated, and to say that passing on the innards stew makes you rude is an ignorant oversimplification. YOU’RE IGNORANT, FOOL!
Also, this isn’t related to veganism but PUKE:
Learn how to cook a fucking omelet. I mean, what nicer thing can you do for somebody than make them breakfast? You look good doing it, and it’s a nice thing to do for somebody you just had sex with.
Ugh, just everything about that made my stomach turn! I mean, ugh just imagine that creepy old privileged white sack of shit saying that. It’s like, shivers down my spine! Honestly, if I ever have kids and I want to scare them into acting straight, I’ll use the image of Anthony Bourdain cooking an omelet wearing nothing but a loin cloth made of cow bones [Ed.: or this!]. I will probably be arrested for child abuse, and I should be, because that shit isn’t right.
*The only way it could be grosser is if it were in Maxim.
[photos via the Travel Channel]
Guest post: Mercy For Animals calls out those jerks at the Milk Board »
About a week ago, I was working in my lab when one of my fellow scientists started asking me about the articles I’ve been writing about the sexist milk debacle. This scientist is originally from India and is vegetarian. We started discussing the differences in milk products in India versus those found in the United States, and how the milk itself is collected.
I was floored by his comments. It’s well known that cows are considered holy in India, and that they are respected creatures. But my colleague told me that they collect milk from their cows “respectfully” and that the local communities came together and created almost a “milk co-op.” No competition, no harmful conditions, and pretty expensive milk.
I felt stupid explaining the methods widely used in the United States after hearing that. I was embarrassed to explain the concept of veal. I felt rude talking about “rape racks.” I felt mortified explaining all the reasons milk is so cheap in this country.
After hearing all that, my colleague decided that he would not consume dairy any longer. The next day, I saw him sipping a little container of soymilk. Six days later, he told me he was still sticking with it, and asked about non-dairy ice cream options. My favorite part about this story is that it just took the truth. He listened, he understood, and that was it.
Mercy for Animals (MFA) decided to create a vegan spin on the sexist milk ads that we’ve been vomiting over for the last few weeks. The MFA ads show ladies holding blood-splattered milk cartons (which instantly reminded me of this ad for Dexter), stating “PMS? No, I’m livid with milk industry for abusing and killing cows.”
The ads are meant to “set the record straight about the milk industry’s true relationship with the female reproductive system,” according to an MFA blog post. The ads will run in Ms. magazine, the feminist magazine that headed up the change.org campaign that helped get the original milk ads removed.
A few weeks ago, the Milk Board responded to the criticism of their idiotic ad campaign by taking down their website everythingidoiswrong.org and replacing it with gotdiscussion.org, which displays carefully selected comments from their supporters and critics. Despite the unrelenting voice of many animal rights organizations, as well as individuals that commented on the Milk Board’s Facebook debate, the new website lacks representation of such comments. So, it should be interesting to see how the Milk Board responds to the new Mercy for Animals campaign. We can only hope they won’t take legal action like they did when PETA did essentially the same exact thing.
Elysse Grossi is a scientist, a health educator, a vegan food fanatic and a co-owner of Sweet Cups, based in the East Bay. She’ll gross you out with her other blog, Under the Microscope. Laugh at her boring life on Twitter.