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Posts Tagged ‘vegan products’

Rhymes with Jai-Ya

April 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Daiya cheddar and mozz

Daiya is here! After months of reading VegNews brag-blogs about how great Daiya cheese is, the notoriously melty vegan cheese is now available on Denver store shelves. I haven’t checked which stores have it, but I can tell you that the Cherry Creek Whole Foods does, and I imagine the other Denver locations probably do too. They had these 8 oz packs priced at $4.69 each.

Even though it was late when I got these puppies home, I had to try a bit, so I threw some cheddar shreds on a bit of leftover steamed broccoli. Tasty results:

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Quick and Easy

February 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Road’s End Organics’ 123’z & Chreese with added roma tomatoes and grilled sweet peppers. Mac n chreese has become a standby for a fast late-night dinner at my house. There must always be a box of 123’z or Shells in my cupboard.

the Chreese lineup

 The cheddar-style varieties are great. I’m not a big fan of the alfredo versions, but I love that they are all organic and vegan-proud. This doesn’t beat homemade mac-and-no-cheese, of course, but it definitely does the trick after a night at the bar, or maybe lets say an afternoon on the couch after a night at the bar.

 

 

Cows and Methane. Heating up.

January 27, 2010 Leave a comment

 

Today’s Morning Edition on NPR had a great story on one of the most overlooked causes of global warming: methane. They even mentioned (although it was almost completely glossed over) how about half of all methane released is from human-related causes including belching cows.

Molecule for molecule, methane is much more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. And that’s just part of the trouble.

Methane-releasing wetlands are largely to blame for the 150% (since pre-industrial times) increase in methane floating up to the atmosphere, and they are showing the first signs of the vicious cycle of the greenhouse effect:

“The higher the temperature, the more efficient they are at producing methane,” he says. So global warming is causing these wetlands to produce more methane. And the methane is causing more global warming.

Little has been done to control methane because, apparently, governments and climate-change policy makers have been afraid of diverting attention away from the threats of carbon dioxide. But NPR’s story mentions how methane-reducing initiatives would pay for themselves because of the myriad other benefits to public health and the energy sector.

So here’s what I think: isn’t it obvious why governments are afraid to demonize methane? If you read last month’s Mother Jones article on the most powerful lobby in Washington, the reasons are clear. The industry with the most clout? BIG AG. The agriculture lobby. Any legislation fighting global warming would certainly threaten the meat and dairy industries because of how much they rely on oil, and the amount of methane they release through their milk-machines (aka COWS). So this may never happen, but it would make sense to me for many reasons if:

  • COW TAX: put a tax on every gallon of milk. Milk is already at unsustainably low prices, so this wouldn’t even hurt milk-drinkers. I would advocate for a big increase in the price of milk to reflect the damage it causes the environment and public health. It would lower demand and make people think twice about that white liquid, which they have grown up hearing is as pure and harmless as fluffy snow. I’m no economist, but it just makes sense to me. Revenue from these taxes should go to further climate change initatives.

Given the power of big Ag money in Washington, the political suicide it would take for any Rep or Congressperson to take a shot at Big Food, and the fact that almost all Americans have been brainwashed into believing that we actually need milk to be healthy, I do not have high hopes for this grand scheme of mine. But I do hope that more and more people start seeing through the clouds of BS we have been fed in milk-industry ads, and school-lunch-program pints of chocolate milk, and realize there are other options. The 8 ounces of Pacific Foods Organic Oat Milk I had with my cereal this morning had 35% of my daily calcium, as well as good amounts of Vitamins A and D. Soy milk, rice milk, hemp milk, and others boast similar nutrition stats, or better! There are many other reasons (taste among them) that I think cow milk is an obsolete foodstuff, but I’ll leave the nasty bits up to PETA and the shock-value vegans. To me, this is about common sense, and not being lied to. Encourage your friends to educate themselves and opt out of the dairy addiction.

Where Does Fish Oil Come From?

December 16, 2009 Leave a comment

Answer: Menhaden (the lil guy you see above). Paul Greenberg, author of the upcoming book Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food, clarified this for us in his informative op-ed for the NY Times.

I had never heard of menhaden before, but apparently they are a vital part of many ocean ecosystems, and they are the primary source for omega-3 fish oil supplements. In the North American market, 90% of the menhaden caught are done so for a company called Omega Protein (in Houston).

Today, hundreds of billions of pounds of them are converted into lipstick, salmon feed, paint, “buttery spread,” salad dressing and, yes, some of those omega-3 supplements you have been forcing on your children. All of these products can be made with more environmentally benign substitutes, but menhaden are still used in great (though declining) numbers because they can be caught and processed cheaply.

Why should we care?

Quite simply, menhaden keep the water clean. The muddy brown color of the Long Island Sound and the growing dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay are the direct result of inadequate water filtration — a job that was once carried out by menhaden. An adult menhaden can rid four to six gallons of water of algae in a minute. Imagine then the water-cleaning capacity of the half-billion menhaden we “reduce” into oil every year.

That, and the fact that most fish (that eat other fish) eat menahaden, including bluefin tuna, striped bass, redfish and bluefish.

So how should we get omega-3’s? How about walnuts, flaxseed (or flax oil), or my new favorite, hemp milk?

Pantry 911: Some Vegan Essentials

December 15, 2009 Leave a comment

These are the Goldberg sisters from Spork Foods. They are a bit bubbly and LA, but they have some good tips on a few vegan pantry staples.

Exploding Baked Potato

December 9, 2009 Leave a comment

Sometimes you just want a quick, easy dinner using what you already have in the fridge. Baked potatoes can be the way to go, and in this case the potato was actually blogworthy. While I nuked the potato, I pulled out my fixins: carrots and broccoli, corn, Toffutti sour cream, salsa, Earth Balance natural buttery spread, textured vegetable protein, and some hot sauce. Potatoes provide such a great canvas. This time, it gave me a great way to use up ingredients we had left over from other recipes. The TVP originally went in a spaghetti sauce, the carrots and broccoli were left out of the vindaloo recipe, and the corn was in tupperware as a salad add-in. A late dinner can still be good.

Thanksgiving Field Roast with mushroom gravy

December 3, 2009 Leave a comment

I spent Thanksgiving visiting my girlfriend’s famil(ies), and got to have a mini Thanksgiving with my sister’s fam the next evening. On thursday we brought one of our favorite dishes (mac and no-cheese), as well as some salad and vegan blondies. I’m glad we did because otherwise there would have been almost nothing for the vegan weirdos to eat at the first place. Luckily, the second dinner stop had more for us: vegan yams, a bean dip, fruit salad, and rolls- enough that I continued the tradition of overeating. We saw both sides of the Thanksgiving-for-vegans conundrum: one where we had to forgoe nearly everything our hosts were eating, and one where some kind folks went a little out of their way for us. I was proud that we stuck to our guns and managed to avoid any negativity on such a non-vegan-friendly holiday. It was really nice to have a few different people make sure we had some vegan options; it really added to the warm holiday cheer of the occasion for me- I guess you could say I was thankful. I hate to have people think I need special treatment or to be a a burden in any way. But I do appreciate when they at least leave the options open- such as leaving the marshmallows and butter out of a recipe so that those who want those ingredients can add them at dinnertime (and those who don’t can actually eat it!).

On friday we were heading to a smaller, more casual gathering with my sister, brother-in-law and niece, and we had a Field Roast in the fridge, so we decided to bring it over to share. That way my sister would not have to worry about cooking again (although she still had some vegan stuff for us- thanks sis!). We cooked it in a small baking pan with onions and mushrooms and basted it every 10 minutes with a vegan chicken-flavored broth.  We also whipped up an awesome mushroom gravy from an online recipe that was sooo good (sorry, no gravy pics- forgot). Even the non-vegans seemed to like it, so we left the leftovers with my sister.

It was a fun vegan Thanksgiving. It had some awkward moments. You tend to forget how foreign this lifestyle is to many people. My tact was to just smile and mostly deflect getting into the nitty gritty of the whole thing. I had no intention of being a disruption, and I really hate feeling like people think I am judging their choices (even though I must admit that can happen). I just remember that I have only been vegan for a little over 2 years, and even though I knew a vegan or two before that, the whole thing was a bit of a mystery to me too for a while. The beauty of being a vegan at Thanksgiving is that you get to show off a little. Friends and relatives get a better sense of how important is is to you. Even if you don’t discuss it much or make a big deal out of it, they notice what you choose to not eat and in some small way you think you may have opened their eyes a little more. They are forced to realize that at least some people find it more important to make strong personal choices than to just go along with tradition. The awkward times come when a few tablemates, perhaps feeling guilty, mention how they do not eat much meat, or how they enjoy a veggie burger now and then (what do they want- a high five?), or when somebody refuses to try a vegan dish just because they know the vegans brought it (vegan? it must be full of tofu and taste terrible!), but you just smile and let your choices do the talking. We may not have converted anybody, but that was not our goal. I am just happy that year after year we will show that this is not just a phase. I love being vegan, and I cannot imagine ever going back. Those who are close to me will at least have to learn that. And maybe by seeing my passion for this lifestyle, they will decide to look into things for themselves.