Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Recipes for a greener, healthier, kinder Thanksgiving

According to an industry group, approximately 736 million pounds of turkey (47 million individuals) were consumed in the US during Thanksgiving in 2009. How should we react to this cruel, unhealthy, and environmentally destructive tradition?

See our previous post:
Recipes for a greener, healthier, kinder Thanksgiving

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Isn't Meat Eating Natural? Lions and tigers and bears do...

Isn't Meat Eating Natural? Lions and tigers and bears do it. They've been doing it for millenia, why shouldn't I eat meat, too?
In nature, there have never been 7 billion predators; predators must always have a lower population than their prey. In nature, the prey are made stronger, faster, and smarter through survival of the fittest. In nature, all the predators have not already been killed by humans.

In the modern day, humans have killed off most wild animals and fish everywhere; and replaced them with ranches, farms, fisheries, factories, fences, and highways. There isn't much of an ecosystem left anywhere, except tiny islands of protected wilderness areas.
There is nothing natural left about our meat factories, farming practices, or appetites. Small so-called "family" or "humane" farms should be praised for their efforts to get back to the old ways (of eating less meat). However, the old ways can only sustain the old population of below 1 billion people.
But isn't hunting natural and sustainable?

Today, Americans require more than 900 Million meals per day! If even a small fraction of these meals were provided by 'natural' hunting and fishing - all the hunting permits would sell out in minutes - and all wild animals everywhere would face a dire threat of extinction by the gun. Even before modern times, man has hunted many species to the brink of extinction, including bison, whales, turtles, and bluefin tuna.
What if everyone acted this way?
To reach sustainability, we must ask ourselves - what if everyone acted in this way? Truly, you would have to agree that we can't be killing 700 Billion animals per year (the average U.S. carnivore kills 100 animals/year). Fortunately, not everyone eats this way - we are currently raising and killing some 58 Billion animals per year worldwide, with about 17% (10 Billion) killed in the U.S., even though we make up only 4.5% of the Earth's human population. That means Americans eat over 3x more meat than the global average!
Oh come on, nothing we do is sustainable anyways!
Just look at our fossil fuel energy and transportation systems, or even our plant-based agriculture. OK fine, I hear you, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't TRY. Starting with our daily choices, eating vegetarian costs nothing extra and makes a huge difference in our kindness to animals, personal health, and ecosystem diversity, and reduces our footprints on energy, transportation, and environmental pollution.
Going (more) vegetarian, (more) local, and (more) organic, and growing (more of) your own food are all good things... most of which we can begin today for very little cost, which most people could afford and even save money on.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Diversified Dairy Operations - Almonds to the Rescue

Photo credit
Almond milk is flavorful, nutritious, and versatile.
An open letter to dairy farmers struggling to make ends meet in the face of drought, high corn, soy, and hay prices, competition over water rights, and increasing urbanization.

It is time for a positive message from the animal rights and welfare movement to dairy farmers. This will bring in additional income, lower costs, and enable sustainable expansion.

Bring in almonds to compete head-to-head with the cows.
  • They don't require semen collection.
  • They don't need to be pregnant.
  • They don't require extensive breeding programs.
  • They don't need to be milked, and don't get mastitis.
  • They don't urinate.
  • Nobody has to clean up their manure.
  • They can handle temperatures from 32 degrees to 100 degrees easily, without heating or cooling.
  • They don't take up much room.
  • You don't have to feed them.
  • They don't need water every day.
  • They don't have to be shipped back and forth alive!
  • They don't have to be slaughtered.
  • The processing equipment is less expensive.
  • The excess fat does not need to be removed from the milk.
  • Their milk is equally flavorful, nutritious, and versatile.
Give almonds a chance.
Lower your costs. Expand. Diversify.
Welcome more customers who don't consume dairy.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Evolution, Revolution, and the Coming Solar + Vegetarian Revolution

Humans diverged from the apes when we began to walk upright on 2 legs. We then evolved into hunter/gatherers, providing enough energy to grow larger brains and develop tools, weapons, fire, hunting, and food storage. This means we evolved to be able include meat in our diets to better survive scarcity. It does not mean meat is optimal or even necessary today. To focus on the meat-eating part of our evolution is to ignore our walking, food gathering and storage, tools, fire, and shelter-building - adaptations from the same time period. Not to mention our most important asset: empathy, which enables our most important survival skill: cooperation.

Since then we evolved into a technological society with a huge population, all supported by fossil fuels and fertilizer-based agriculture. Drilling & Livestock concentrate this wealth & power for a few of the richest people on earth.

What's coming is a 2-fold revolution (or re-evolution) in human progress. The Solar Age and the Vegetarian Revolution. As fossil fuels become scarce, energy is solar - a distributed and democratic energy source! Farming becomes a photosynthetic process again. Wealth will spread to everyone evenly. Meat-eating will be a sign of gluttony, greed and disease!

Big hugs go out progressive vegetarian Thom Hartmann. I've been meaning to read his book The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight which sheds light on our current energy situation, global crises, and how our politics affect our future. Truly a man of vision, compassion, and action!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Love is the Key: making lifestyle changes that stick

The American Cancer Society now says the evidence has piled up that diet and exercise can help cancer survivors manage, beat, and stay free of their disease, too. However, too few people have the discipline to follow their well-known advice.

For many people, willpower is the core issue in following a healthier diet, getting more exercise, and losing weight. The key to finding willpower, which no doctor can offer, is LOVE - an overriding and deep caring about yourself, your family, and others!

For me, everything important comes together in one compassionate lifestyle - going vegan! Caring for the plight of animals, human well-being, and the environment brings the elements of LOVE & DEDICATION to my 'diet' that makes healthy eating an absolute imperative - and much more enjoyable than junk food can ever be!

The vegan lifestyle uses compassion as the glue - to bind together health, longevity, sustainability, environmentalism, community-building, spirituality, and activism.

You're only going succeed in making lifestyle changes if you care. Open your heart to a wider and deeper love for yourself and others - then you will care enough to heal yourself and earn more quality lifetime to spend with your family & friends!

Be well, peas & carrots ;)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Is Whole Foods seafood department really Sustainable?

Here's my response to Whole Foods' "Earth Day" announcement that it's removing 12 threatened species of fish from its seafood department:

To me, “sustainable” means something that everyone could do for an indefinite period of time without causing a collapse of one kind or another. Since “everyone” means 7 billion people, eating fish at all is not sustainable.
If we each take just one fish, there went 7 billion fish. NOT sustainable, period.
Ocean fish stocks are in total collapse from overfishing and a lack of international protective treaties. Fish farms are even worse – destroying the wild habitat, consuming massive amounts of feed and producing massive amounts of pollution.

Fish are intelligent wild animals who feel pain, can suffer, and belong to social groups. Fish are also a critical part of the ecosystem’s balance with millions of years of marine evolution balancing them between their predators and their food sources. When you take a fish from the ocean, you take it from another species who depends on it.
Choose compassion, choose sustainability – don’t eat wild fish or farmed fish.
If you feel you must have fish, grow your own in an aquaculture and recycle the waste water (in symbiosis with your garden).

DHA/Omega-3 amino acids are often used as an excuse to kill fish; however these nutrients are available from algae sources (where the fish got them).

One grocery chain sparing only a few of the most threatened species does nothing to help them recover. This just shifts the threat onto the next species of fish. This is just pure CYA brand management. Whole Foods doesn’t care about fish – they just don’t want to be “on the hook” when these fish are declared commercially extinct (in like 2015).

I do respect that Whole Foods is stopping the very worst of its profiteering from the killing of threatened fish species – but...
In order to truly own up to the damage you’ve done – you need to get out there and restore fish stocks! Not just stop killing ;)
 Thanks and Happy Earth Day ;)

Friday, March 16, 2012

5 great vegan drinks for St. Patrick's Day

Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, the helpful folks over at The Barnivore Vegan Alcohol Directory (, ask the following question:
"Is your booze vegan? It might seem weird at first, but your favourite drink might have more than just alcohol in it.

Brewmasters, winemakers, and distillers may include animal ingredients in their products directly, or they might use them in the processing and filtration.

When making the product, dairy, honey, and other things are ingredients in the final recipe.
When filtering the drinks prior to bottling, companies can use things like isinglass (from fish bladder), gelatin, egg whites, and sea shells, among other things. These products grab onto the impurities and make it easier to catch them in the filters, though there are many animal-free alternatives in use."
You can't see these ingredients, and you can't smell or taste them, and they don't show up on the label, so the only way to find out is to ask. What a chore! Thank heavens for the folks of Barnivore, they've created a directory with the answers from the makers of more than 6,000 alcoholic beverages. Now you can celebrate St. Patrick's day with confidence.

Here's my Top 5 picks from Barnivore:

#1 George Killian's Irish Red
(I haven't been able to confirm Killian's Irish Stout is vegan)

#2 Rogue Irish Lager

#3 Michelob Irish Red

#4 Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey

#5 Jameson Irish Whiskey

I've chosen these based on their Irish-ness, high confidence that they are vegan, and because they are commonly available. Just remember, you don't have to drink all 5 to have a good time ;)

There are many other vegan beers out there, many from microbreweries too numerous to mention here. When in doubt; stick to the Irish Reds, Irish Lagers, and Irish Whiskeys. Still not sure? Ask the brewer when you get the chance, and add your findings to the directory.

What's NOT a vegan-friendly choice this St. Patrick's Day?

Guinness Stout - There is great confusion surrounding whether Guinness is indeed vegan friendly. It is certain that Guinness in the UK is made using isinglass as a fining agent. However, in North America, Guinness is made in Canada, and the brewers there claim they don't use isinglass. However, I'm not convinced, because I don't know what they're using as a replacement for isinglass. The company (like many others) makes no promises about this; it is subject to change over time and depending on the regional distributors.

Murphy's Irish Stout - Isinglass is used as a fining agent.

More Helpful Guidelines
  • Many stouts contain lactose, a milk derivative (especially any stout described as a "Milk Stout" probably really does contain dairy products).
  • Most beers that have been conditioned in a cask or firkin are traditionally filtered using isinglass.
  • Honey beers, honey stouts, and all mead contains honey.
Cheers and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Smug Vegan re: Mercy for Plants

Anonymous Flame Baiter (Internet_Dude) wrote:
Why do vegans feel so smug about killing poor defenseless plants that have no mouth to scream? They suffer, too!
Sigh. The topic of mercy for plants comes up repeatedly... of course it is just flame bait but I will bite.
  1. Since plants have no brains, no families, no faces, and no emotions, I believe it's safe to assume they aren't suffering.
  2. Furthermore, many plants give freely of their fruits & vegetables without needing to be killed.
  3. Those plants that do need to be killed for harvest were about to die anyways (it's called "winter" and these plants are called "annuals")
  4. Harvesting vegetables and grains kills bugs. So sorry, this is a practical reality. Buy organic to reduce the impact on insect species, and see #5.
  5. Finally, if you truly do believe in mercy for plants; then you should still be vegan or vegetarian, because livestock eat far more plants than humans do.
There is no mystical "circle of life". Killing and suffering are not necessary or unavoidable, and manure is not needed to make great compost. Animal agriculture is simply not necessary. You can't end animal suffering through "moderation"; you can only end it through animal welfare reform, enforcement, and ultimately boycotting animal products!

So, to answer your question, Anonymous Flame Baiter, we vegans are smug because not only are we right ;) but there is also no burden of suffering from choosing to "kill" and eat plants.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Rodeo IS Animal Cruelty: Photos

Anonymous photographs and comments  reported from the Western National Stock Show Rodeo on the weekend of Jan 14th, 2012. A sickening mix of laughter and relentless torture fill the Denver Coliseum each January.

4 cows stuck in a triangle-shaped corridor
that was hardly big enough to fit 1 cow inside!!!

This guy was hurting this poor baby, kicking him,
pulling his tail and hitting him into his head!

Cow's head got stuck between doors for
about 5min before anyone noticed... ow.

Horrified baby cow, waiting his turn for terror.

Poor baby Moo. Waiting his turn for hours
with no water, no food, and no space!

She cried and cried, and they just laughed and clapped!

Friday, January 13, 2012

When Firefighters Hate You, Everyone Hates You

In response to the recent news:
Harris Farms. Credit: CBS San Francisco
Animal rights activists claim responsibility for California cattle ranch arson

Arson. Sigh. Yet another misguided contribution to detraction from the movement to end animal exploitation and cruelty. The idiotic ALF spokesperson was quoted as saying:

"We're not delusional enough to believe that this action will shut down the Harris feeding company, let alone have any effect on factory farming as a whole," the e-mail stated. "But we maintain that this type of action still has worth."
What worth could this action possibly have? The feedlot obviously has insurance. Trucks are not difficult to replace. Their horrific, cruel, polluting business carries on, now with an infusion of insurance money to boot. OK, I'll admit that it generated a lot of news reports. Lots of negative press for our movement. Now these manure-mongers have the sympathy from the many millions of people opposed to arson.

As a former arson victim, I can tell you first hand what it feels like - pure hate, violence, senseless devastation, and poisonous, revolting smoke and haunting smells. Playing with fire, you can't be sure nobody will be hurt. You can't control fire. You can't control the deadly smoke, either. Firefighters will show up and fight the blaze, and they will be needlessly endangered. Great, so now firefighters hate you.

And I assure you, when firefighters hate you, everyone hates you!

Thanks a lot, assholes. Now everyone hates the animal rights movement. How many animals does that save? In fact, a lot more animals will die when the average person reads about this and decides they want nothing to do with the animal protection movement, and it serves only to validate the stereotype that we're all hysterical, dangerous, extremist lunatics who belong in jail. And to whoever did this, I hope they lock you up a lot longer than the 5 years Walter Bond was sentenced to. What a psycho - he's got "repeat offender" tattooed all over his face. How many animals can you protect from jail? Zero. Not one lone wolf.

What the movement needs is positive news, positive word of mouth, and new members joining. For example, the story of Bill Clinton's recovery from heart disease could potentially attract millions of interested vegetarians and near-vegetarians. And every time someone goes vegetarian or vegan, thousands of animals will be saved and a new ambassador takes up the cause.  Arson offers none of these benefits, and needlessly endangers innocent people and animals, alienates the public, and creates a permanent negative stigma that is very difficult for the rest of us in the 99.99% peaceful, non-violent movement to overcome. Just stop.

You say you want a revolution,
Well, you know, we all want to change the world...
But when you talk about destruction,
Don't you know that you can count me out!

-- John Lennon

Monday, January 9, 2012

Advice for Your 2012 Vegan Resolution

Advice for Your 2012 Vegan Resolution
"Finally, know that transitioning to a vegan diet will turn out to be much easier than you currently believe. Most vegans are shocked that, rather being painful, the entire experience ends up being exciting and joyful. You’ll be discovering delicious new foods. You’ll have the opportunity to improve your health while shrinking your environmental footprint. Moreover, there’s a real satisfaction that comes with aligning your food choices with your most cherished values.
It doesn’t matter whether your next move towards a vegan lifestyle is a big step or a small one. Just decide what you’re ready to do today and make it happen. Keep it fun, keep giving yourself every advantage, and know that success is guaranteed." - Eric Markus,