Monday, July 27, 2009

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Are you an herbivore or carnivore?

1 - Human, 2 - Cow, 3 - Cat, 4 - Dog, 5 - Horse
I have a degree in Anthropology but you don't need one to see the differences in the photo posted above. In my opinion it speaks for itself and the shape of our teeth and and the way our jaw moves are just a few reasons why I think we are not physically designed to eat meat. That doesn't mean we can't and Americans certainly do eat a lot of animals. Over 10 billion land animals are factory farmed and slaughtered a year in the United States alone but that is another post. Have you looked at the average waistline in our society? Children are eating the same foods their parents eat which is a lot of processed and fast food loaded with saturated fat. My own town of Jacksonville just ranked #8 in Men's Health as one of the fattest cities in the US and I'm not surprised! "Eighty percent of schools still serve too much greasy, fattening food to meet the government's own nutrition guidelines," says PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D. If you don't care about saturated fat in your diet you should be concerned about your health care premiums.

Back to my anatomy lesson. Just because I can eat a double whopper with cheese, large order of french fries and a milk shake doesn't mean my body is designed to digest it efficiently. My belly aches thinking about it. I'm going to summarize below an article from Milton R. Mills, M.D. and include some facts about the anatomical and physical differences between herbivores and true carnivores. I encourage you to read his full article and then go take a good look at your cat.

Taken from "The Comparative Anatomy of Eating"
The human gastrointestinal tract features the anatomical modifications consistent with an herbivorous diet. Humans have muscular lips and a small opening into the oral cavity. Many of the so-called “muscles of expression” are actually the muscles used in chewing. The muscular and agile tongue essential for eating, has adapted to use in speech and other things. The mandibular joint is flattened by a cartilaginous plate and is located well above the plane of the teeth. The temporalis muscle is reduced. The characteristic “square jaw” of adult males reflects the expanded angular process of the mandible and the enlarged masseter/pterygoid muscle group. The human mandible can move forward to engage the incisors, and side-to-side to crush and grind.
Human teeth are also similar to those found in other herbivores with the exception of the canines (the canines of some of the apes are elongated and are thought to be used for display and/or defense). Our teeth are rather large and usually abut against one another. The incisors are flat and spade-like, useful for peeling, snipping and biting relatively soft materials. The canines are neither serrated nor conical, but are flattened, blunt and small and function Like incisors. The premolars and molars are squarish, flattened and nodular, and used for crushing, grinding and pulping noncoarse foods.
Human saliva contains the carbohydrate-digesting enzyme, salivary amylase. This enzyme is responsible for the majority of starch digestion. The esophagus is narrow and suited to small, soft balls of thoroughly chewed food. Eating quickly, attempting to swallow a large amount of food or swallowing fibrous and/or poorly chewed food (meat is the most frequent culprit) often results in choking in humans.
Man's stomach is single-chambered, but only moderately acidic. (Clinically, a person presenting with a gastric pH less than 4-5 when there is food in the stomach is cause for concern.) The stomach volume represents about 21-27% of the total volume of the human GI tract. The stomach serves as a mixing and storage chamber, mixing and liquefying ingested foodstuffs and regulating their entry into the small intestine. The human small intestine is long, averaging from 10 to 11 times the body length. (Our small intestine averages 22 to 30 feet in length. Human body size is measured from the top of the head to end of the spine and averages between two to three feet in length in normal-sized individuals.)
The human colon demonstrates the pouched structure peculiar to herbivores. The distensible large intestine is larger in cross-section than the small intestine, and is relatively long. Man's colon is responsible for water and electrolyte absorption and vitamin production and absorption. There is also extensive bacterial fermentation of fibrous plant materials, with the production and absorption of significant amounts of food energy (volatile short-chain fatty acids) depending upon the fiber content of the diet. The extent to which the fermentation and absorption of metabolites takes place in the human colon has only recently begun to be investigated.
In conclusion, we see that human beings have the gastrointestinal tract structure of a “committed” herbivore. Humankind does not show the mixed structural features one expects and finds in anatomical omnivores such as bears and raccoons. Thus, from comparing the gastrointestinal tract of humans to that of carnivores, herbivores and omnivores we must conclude that humankind's GI tract is designed for a purely plant-food diet.






Sunday, July 19, 2009

Try These Raw Cardamom Orange Flaxjacks


Last night J took me to PF Changs for dinner and we ordered their vegan Ma Po Tofu and vegan Stir-Fried Eggplant. Arriving just before a Florida downpour the place was packed but we happened to get lucky with 2 seats at the bar. The atmosphere was wonderful and the staff close to perfect. When the bartender asked how we liked the dishes, J pointed to the eggplant and said "awful" and then pointed to the Ma Po Tufu and said "awesome". The eggplant was way overcooked into mush and recommend you try one of their other vegan entrees such as the coconut curry vegetables. Be aware that their spring rolls are fried. They say that all their vegetarian dishes are in fact vegan. Here is a link to their menu.

For this last week most of what I've eaten has been cooked. You may not be aware of this fact but raw food is better for you and cooked food can really harm you starting with the fact that most of the nutrients are cooked out. So I hit the Internet searching for a raw food recipe and came up with this one from Swell Vegan for Cardamom-Orange Coconut Flaxjacks! . OMG it was so easy that I'm posting her link and photograph. These are an adaptation of raw vegan chef Ani Phyo's recipe but it works very well. Don't expect these to taste like Aunt Jamima's or traditional flapjacks as you don't cook these. They taste great! These are not "hot" so just get over it and try them for something different.

If you'd like to read up on the differences of raw fresh produce vs cooked food you can start with this article.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I Was Addicted To Silk Soymilk


Loving Silk years ago it was a staple in my espresso latte and oatmeal. After all it was soy milk and it was organic. Now my niece drinks it like water and I'm concerned. Dean Foods who now owns Silk kept the product packaging and removed the word "organic'. I think that is deceptive marketing even though they launched a new product labeled organic which is a different color. I doubt we would ever see Earth Balance pull that off. If you are still drinking the blue or red box above, you might want to read one of the links below so you can make an intelligent choice based on facts. I think I'll stick with almond milk and skip the hexane.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How Industry Giants Are Undermining the Organic Movement

I get a ton of emails just like everyone but the ones I get from the Organic Consumers Association are packed full of information. Below I've pasted a paragraph from their article "The Organic Alternative: A Matter of Survival". When you know the difference between conventional and organic produce, hopefully you can make an intelligent decision about the food you put in your mouth. It is our body's fuel and you get what you pay for. Conventional produce lacks nutrition and it is really no-brainer once people educate yourself and stop being lazy about their health. This article brings into light how grocers such as Whole Foods Market, United Natural Foods and others promote and sell greenwashed and "natural" food more then organic. Conventional is cheaper but we get what we pay for.

Millions of health-minded Americans, especially parents of young children, now understand that cheap, non-organic, industrial food is hazardous. Not only does chemical and energy-intensive factory farming destroy the environment, impoverish rural communities, exploit farm workers, inflict unnecessary cruelty on farm animals, and contaminate the water supply; but the end product itself is inevitably contaminated. Routinely contained in nearly every bite or swallow of non-organic industrial food are pesticides, antibiotics and other animal drug residues, pathogens, feces, hormone disrupting chemicals, toxic sludge, slaughterhouse waste, genetically modified organisms, chemical additives and preservatives, irradiation-derived radiolytic chemical by-products, and a host of other hazardous allergens and toxins. Eighty million cases of food poisoning every year in the US, an impending swine/bird flu pandemic (directly attributable to factory farms), and an epidemic of food-related cancers, heart attacks, and obesity make for a compelling case for the Organic Alternative.

Heading North to COOL Ashville, NC

It has been very hot in Florida lately and the rain just isn't stopping. Without the ocean breeze the forecast should just say "sweat, try to breath or go to the beach". So J and are on our way up to the mountains after a busy 3 day work stop in Atlanta. Our final destination will be Ashville, NC but will make some other stops along the trip. Our goal is to do some bike riding, hiking, and check out the local scenery. My vegan food list will be shorter this trip because of the many places to dine! After a quick check on HappyCow.net I've noticed a few listings of places with veg options so we shall see how well they accommodate. Some of the reviews are older so we will also rely on some suggestions from our hosts. I'll be looking for the words "vegan options" or an * on the menu first. Then I'll ask the typical questions and post their answers, photos and reviews after we return. A few resturants we want to visit 8/10 - 8-13 are:

  • Rosetta's Kitchen
  • Laughing Seed Cafe
  • Firestorm Cafe
  • The Green Sage (maybe)

Check back mid August for an updated post. Please email me if you have any suggestions.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Thai Cuisine Restaurant with a Vegan Menu

The next stop on our journey was to pick up our Dad and find an restaurant that had vegan options. Both of us pulled out our cell phones again and started making calls. There was a vegan restaurant listed in Emmaus, PA but she was closed and in the process of finding a new location. After probing her with questions on where someone from out of town could eat she suggested the White Orchids Thai Cuisine restaurant. She gave us directions and told us that they will give you a vegan menu if you ask. Wow! That would never happen in any restaurant where I live in Jacksonville, FL. The restaurant owners here are to archaic in their thoughts. St Augustine, Fl would be an excellent location for a Vegan Bakery or restaurant!

When we arrived at the the White Orchid my Dad told us " I eat that stuff but you will have to order for me. " So we did and ordered a variety of items off their "Vegan Menu" to share. When the vegan tofu appetizer came out my dad had a strange look on his face but proceeded to dip a slice in one of their fabulous sauces. "This is good! What is it?" he said. That brought a smile to my face and a chuckle. Our total order included their Pad Prik King - Red Curry Stir Fry, Pad Gra"Prow - Thai Spicy Basil Stir Fry, Vegan Tofu Appetizer and Summer Rolls (not fried). Most dishes came with Jasmine rice but you could substitute. We didn't have desert because we had Vegan Treats in our car! I'd give this restaurant 5 stars. You can download their vegan menu off their website http://www.whiteorchidsthaicuisine.com/.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Vegan Bakery In Bethlehem, PA ?

What a miracle! My sister "C" and I typed "vegan restaurants" into our GPS enabled cell phones and "Vegan Treats" popped up. We also remembered reading about it possible in Vegnews magazine or on HappyCow.net . We were visiting family in northeast NJ and took a drive one day to visit my Dad who lives in a very small town in PA. Our goal was to take him to lunch and we gladly accepted the 20 minute detour to Vegan Treats. It is in the middle of a town called Bethlehem near remnants of old steel mills and a quaint town. Finding this bakery where everything is edible was like a miracle! Only strange thing was that the girl at the counter told us she was not vegan and we didn't ask. HUH? I bit my tongue and started drooling instead. Maybe she was related but I'd like to think there must be vegan in Bethlehem looking for a part time job. Anyway - a picture is worth a thousand words. In the summer bring a cooler with you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Buckwheat Groats Are An Amazing Food

This morning I surfed a link to the movie FOOD INC while eating my homemade rawnola and having tea. It will never show up in my town but a friend has it backordered online. Then after a few other distraction, petition signing and updates on the metro crash I looked back at my cereal bowl and said to my self " I want to blog about organic buckwheat groats".


BUCKWHEAT GROATS - (taken from a book by Gary Null) When roasted these gems are known as kasha. Buckwheat has more then 90 percent of the protein value of milk solids, and more then 80 percent of eggs. A pound of buckwheat provides protein equivalent to a half-pound of beef. It contains high amounts of all eight essential amino acids and is closer to be a complete protein than any other plant source, including soy beans. You can purchase them at a whole foods. I get mine from a the bins at Native Sun in Jacksonville, FL.


Cheers for buckwheat pancakes but that isn't the only thing you can do with buckwheat. Here is a link from the sunnyrawkitchen for granola. This recipe is similar to mine and is flexible to what you have on hand.


Here are links to a couple simple pancake recipes. Of course it is cruelty free of eggs and dairy products which are better for our health, the environmnet and the baby cows and chickens. ( side bar- did you know that all animals that are confined in factory farms are pumped up to a ripe age of a baby and then slaughtered?. Yes! All the animals that people consume are still babies. That is a fact.)


Banana Buckwheat Pancakes, Serves 3 or 4
1 1/4 cups soy or rice milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup, plus more for serving
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour or white spelt flour (substitute rice flour to make pancakes completely gluten-free)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 bananas, thinly sliced
Mix all the wet ingredients together in a small bowl. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a slightly bigger bowl. Add the wet to the dry and stir just enough to combine. Don't overmix which is how you get tough pancakes. Place banana slices on as you cook or afterwards.

One more link to an awesome mulberry jam cookie if you own a dehydrator.

Enjoy your Buckwheat!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Visiting Family in Blairstown and Princeton Junction, NJ

My sister from Texas and I are meeting up next weekend in NJ to celebrate one of my nieces getting married and also to spend some quality time with our Dad and rest of scattered family members. I have 6 siblings which included one set of twins and one set of triplets. I promised my sister in law who is putting us up that I would cook a vegan dinner next Friday night for a group maybe as large as 16 - 20. I often feel like a vegan chef or caterer when I cook for a group but it is rewarding. The menu will consist of Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna, a big salad, bread, dipping sauce and Zucchini Brownies for desert. The vegan recipes are easy to come by but I might have a challenge with the ingredients. I'm an organic snob and may have to settle for the conventional produce, regular sauces and bring tofu, nutri yeast, cocoa and seasonings with me. The lasagna recipe comes from Susan at her http://www.fatfreevegan.com website and she calls it her "Favorite Lasagna" and now it is my favorite for these kinds of occasions or a potluck. The zucchini brownies come from allrecipes.com. They aren't the healthiest but have a lot less fat and oil than some recipes. The trick to these brownies is to read the recipe and follow it exactly.

Update on the garden: We had so much rain in May that my Cucumber leaves got white powdery spots on them. I harvested 2 large ones so far but have to stop the fungus before it kills the plant. I just tried a solution that included baking soda and dish soap. I'm now down to two tomato plants that also look like they had to much to drink.

I'll post some pictures of the NJ dinner and my vegetable garden in about a week..

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Backyard Garden June 7, 2009

 

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My Backyard Garden May 7, 2009

 

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Environmentally Friendly Biodynamic Food System

What does an environmentally friendly biodynamic food system capable of feeding everyone actually look like? This film is a blueprint for a post-industrial future. It takes you into the heart of It takes you into the heart of the world's most important renaissance.The outcome of the battle for agricultural control in India may just dictate the future of the earth.

One Man, One Cow, One Planet DVD - Cloud South Films - How to Save the World - Biodynamic Documentar. http://howtosavetheworld.co.nz

PCRM News and Media Center Nation's Weight Gain Attributed to Excess Food, Not Lack of Exercise

PCRM News and Media Center Nation's Weight Gain Attributed to Excess Food, Not Lack of Exercise

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