Tuesday, March 6, 2012

'Cause Kids Don't Matter

This article regarding the USDA and their frighteningly low nonexistent standards for school lunches is a must-read.

Partners in 'slime':
Feds keep buying ammonia-treated ground beef for school lunches

Yes, Jamie Oliver tackled this issue on Food Revolution, but ... you know ... he's British.

Oh, and before you do dive into the article, here is the M-W definition of ammonia. Just as a reminder.

ammoniaa pungent colorless gaseous alkaline compound of nitrogen and hydrogen NH3 that is very soluble in water and can easily be condensed to a liquid by cold and pressure

Monday, February 20, 2012

We're Swimming In It

Ok, ok, no more talk about diets and fitness and Paula Deen. Let's enjoy the day and go swimming.


or here!

Oh. Wait. Whoops. These aren't swimming pools; they're cesspools. Wrong pools. My bad.

(For those of you who are stumbling upon this article pre- or mid-breakfast, you may want to finish those sausage links before you read on.)

I first learned about waste lagoons in Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals. In the kindest and most innocent terms, the NRCS describes the lagoons as "waste treatment impoundment[s] made by constructing an embankment and/or excavating a pit or dugout" ... used to "biologically treat waste, such as manure and wastewater."

But Foer vividly describes these shit and sludge pools that have made and continue to make a significant contribution to nitrogen pollution and groundwater contamination. Have you ever driven down a rural highway (perhaps in North Carolina, my wife's home state), windows down, and smelled something unthinkably foul? You mind conjures up "manure," but there's nothing for miles ... only these large warehouse-type buildings in the distance, far off the highway. That putrid odor is open air waste lagoons -- and the harmful effects of the U.S. factory farming industry and its brilliant solution to hog waste treatment.

Yes, the pigs and other animals that we farm for consumption excrete waste just like we do. In fact, "hogs produce three times more excrement than human beings do. The 500,000 pigs at a single Smithfield subsidiary in Utah generate more fecal matter each year than the 1.5 million inhabitants of Manhattan. The best estimates put Smithfield's total waste discharge at 26 million tons a year. That would fill four Yankee Stadiums." (via GlobalResearch.ca

And all that shit has to go somewhere.

"The liquid waste contains nitrogen, salts, bacteria, viruses, pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other potential contaminants. Thus, under certain conditions, seepage losses from the sides and bottoms of earthen lagoons could potentially pollute soils and groundwater near AFOs (Animal Feeding Operations)."

"A wide range of alternatives to the lagoon and sprayfield system currently exist, which illustrates that it is not the lack of other options that is driving factory farms to rely almost exclusively on the lagoon and sprayfield system. Instead, factory farms continue to use this polluting system because they have been allowed to use farmland, rural waterways, and air as disposal sites for untreated wastes."

Veganism is a cause, not some fad diet. And it's not about any one person, or arrogance, or whatever preconceived notions people have about it. It's about a global initiative. It's about lakes of excrement, some measuring 120,000 square feet (that's 2 football fields), doing serious harm to our world and its inhabitants. And this cause needs our attention because (a) you wouldn't tolerate this if it was in your backyard, and (b) at present, this is entirely legal.


Further Reading:

Friday, February 17, 2012

Healthy Alternative to Your Calorie-Heavy Quesadilla

OK. So I waited a week. No responses. So let's just stick to some recipes. I always wanted a virtual vegan recipe book anyway.

This little lunch favorite of ours takes about 10 minutes including prep and pressing.


1 wrap (I use Trader Joe's olive oil whole wheat wraps)
1 pearl tomato, thinly sliced
1/4 or 1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
2 white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 large basil leaves
3/4 cup daiya vegan mozzarella cheese (yup, it melts like dairy cheese)

  • Spread the daiya out on one half of the wrap, then layer ingredients over the cheese one at a time. Feel free to get creative with ingredients (I've made some killer squash and avocado quesadillas), but be careful not to make it too thick or it won't press well.
  • Fold and press -- ideally with sandwich press, or you can heat a skillet on the stove and press by hand with a spatula. Press until daiya begins to sizzle.
  • Serve with salsa and fresh lime.

For more information on daiya (pronounced DAY-uh) and their products, check out their website.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Standing on the Scale: a Recap and a Request

I'm gonna say something, and I want you to think of the first word or phrase that comes to mind.

Are you ready?

standing on the scale

So what came to mind? Ugh. Terrifying. Evil. No. No way. No thank you. Not unless I have to.

Or maybe the doctor's office came to mind. Aside from entering the army and entering prison (and other rare circumstances), it's the one place where standing on the scale is a requirement. Hell, I know someone who avoided going to the doctor's for years so he wouldn't have to see the numbers on that scale. Because if you don't see them -- then they don't exist ... right?


But standing on the scale doesn't have to have a negative connotation. My sister stood on the scale this morning, a month after deciding to take a long look at her diet (particularly her dairy consumption), and saw a number that she was PLEASED with. She saw a change she was PLEASED with. For her, this morning (just one month after making a simple, reasonable, feasible change ... after doing a little research and reading some labels and honoring her body's needs), standing on the scale was a positive experience.

And now I need to hear from you. I need to hear about your positive experiences and your negative experiences and your mixed emotions.

If you've been reading, I need to know what new recipes you've been playing with lately (I made vegan cheese for the first time last week -- what about you?). Which of the at-home exercises have you been doing, and which have you been struggling with? What spin class are you taking? (Charlize Theron walked into the class after mine this morning. She wasn't born with that body.)

How long can you plank without dropping? And what song are you using to get you there? I'm using CeeLo's F*** You followed by Incubus' Adolescents. 

Stand on the scale tomorrow morning and own that number, realizing that it can change and that (more importantly) it doesn't define you. What number would you like to see? What positive experience are you looking to achieve? Last year, all I wanted to do was be able to take my shirt off at the beach and not feel completely awful about myself. And through a vegan diet and a strenuous exercise program, I accomplished that and more. And then I found a new goal, new direction. 

What is your goal? And know that, if you don't have one, then you really can't move forward.

I need to hear from you. You can post a comment here on the blog, or you can send me an email if you prefer not to share with the world wide web. Just tell me what progress you're making, how you're changing, what you're learning, what you're still having trouble with, what food you just can't seem to give up. Send me photos of new healthy homemade dishes you've made. Anything. Just don't read this post and say tomorrow. Worry about tomorrow tomorrow. Do this now. So that, a month from now, you can look back and say you're glad you did something.

I'll be waiting.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Weekend Challenge

It's sad that even a health-conscious restaurant chain like Subway offers drink sizes comparable to a 7-Eleven Big Gulp. Their X-Large drink contains 40 oz. That's big enough to hold up to 620 calories and up to 160 grams of sugar.

Many people give up soda and find that that change alone leads to weight loss and smaller waists. But if weight loss isn't enough to get you motivated, how about this study on the numerous negative effects of soda, particularly for women:


(Yup, there's that Type 2 Diabetes again.)

So your weekend challenge ... (pretty obvious at this point, no?) ... NO SODA! This isn't a "see if you can do it" kind of challenge, because there isn't a single person on this planet who couldn't abstain from soda for 48 hours. Rather, it's a "see if you feel a difference" challenge. Notice the minor changes, and imagine what changes you might see if that weekend became a week, and if that week became a month, and so on.

As usual, I'd love to hear your reactions and discoveries. Email me @ theveganmale@gmail.com.