Category Archives: Vegan Health

All things related to health on a vegan diet.

Food Giant Scared of Eggless Mayo

 

Look familiar? You have probably seen this and already tried it, wondering if it gets better than Vegenaise. (Does it? My vote is no, but that’s beside the point here.) You may also have heard that the food giant Unilever is suing the start-up company Hampton Creek, maker of this spread that tastes like mayonnaise but contains yellow peas instead of eggs (Whirled Peas! Literally!)  — hence the logo that depicts an egg with a pea shoot growing through it.  For us, the most important aspect of Just Mayo is that no one got hurt to make it.  The lawsuit contends that Hampton Creek is guilty of false advertising and fraud (because Unilever, which sells $60 BILLION worth of stuff worldwide under 1,000 different brand names, is SO concerned about false advertising) — and, the crux of the matter, is denting sales of its own mayonnaise products, marketed under the brand names Hellmann’s and Best Foods. (Wait, isn’t that how capitalism works?!)

By FDA regulations, mayonnaise contains egg yolks.  Just Mayo does not, it is true, but then it doesn’t call itself mayonnaise either. Also, considering Hampton Creek specifically markets the eggless-ness of Just Mayo, it can hardly be said to be creating false impressions.  Nevertheless, Unilever’s suit alleges it will suffer “irreparable harm” from Just Mayo, feigns concern that “consumers are being misled”, and demands damages of three times Hampton Creek’s profits, plus legal fees, plus the recall of all Just Mayo products and marketing materials, and a change in logo.

In the first 24 hours of the story going public, Hampton Creek received 18,000 messages of support.  Unilever and Hellmann’s were deluged by negative comments. And the media visibility for Just Mayo has been estimated at the equivalent of advertising worth $20+ million in just the first week after the lawsuit was filed. HA!

During that time Unilever was busy quietly cleaning a bunch of it’s own websites and product descriptions, which were found LIKEWISE not to conform to the rules it was trying to set for Just Mayo.

Just Mayo is already on the shelves in chains like Costco, Target and WalMart, and Hampton  Creek has also begun selling Just Cookies, an eggless, dairy-free cookie dough in four varieties. Will Keebler’s elves be lining up at their own lawyer’s office to accuse Hampton Creek of fraud in their use of the word “Cookies”??

Vegan Thanksgiving Options

Being vegan doesn’t mean you have to give up Thanksgiving. In fact, a big portion of the dinner is probably vegan–or could easily be made vegan. As for the turkey? Swap out the carcass with a delicious vegan loaf!

When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of sharing precious time with family and friends. There’s no better way to show people how easy and delicious being vegan is. And if you can share your vegan food with others, they’ll know so much more about how to be vegan.

Here are some options for the holiday:

Host a dinner

Having dinner at your place guarantees you can make it an all-vegan meal and show others the joy of eating cruelty-free.

Mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, soup, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and pumpkin pie are all dishes that are vegan or easily can be. Substitute butter and milk with dairy-free options and you’re set. You can find lots of vegan recipes online–even for things like gravy.

feast

Field Roast* and Tofurkey** make delicious prepackaged loaves that easily take the place of a turkey on the table. Doing an online search for “vegan turkey loaf” will return great recipes for a DIY version.

* Field Roast is made from seitan, a wheat gluten.
** Tofurkey is made from soy beans

Attend a dinner

There are two types of dinners I’ve attended. My favorite are ones hosted by vegans. I get to try all the food, and I get to spend time with like-minded people.

Attending a dinner with people who aren’t vegan is a great opportunity to bring a dish and show people that you can still enjoy holidays and that vegan food is awesome! If being around a slaughtered turkey is too disturbing, plan to arrive for dessert–with your favorite vegan sweets!

Go to a vegan restaurant

Sometimes vegan restaurants will offer a Thanksgiving meal. You’ll likely have to make reservations in advance, but it will be worth it. It’s also a great chance to take friends who still eat meat and show them vegan options.

vegan feast

No matter how you plan to celebrate the holiday, enjoy the vegan food!

 

Meatout 2014

March 20th is Meatout Day. Will you pledge to go meat-free for the day?

MOwomen

Of course it’s best (for the animals, your health, and the environment) to be meat-free every day, but we all started somewhere.

If you can go meat-free for a day, you can try it once a week. Soon, you’ll have so many recipe ideas and confidence that you can ditch meat, eggs and dairy for good.

Signature Gathering for Meatless Mondays

When: Saturday, January 11th @ 10:00am – 1:00pm
Where: University District Farmers Market
(on University Way NE between NE 50th St and NE 52nd St.)
(map)

Seattle is fortunate to be home to one of the new offices of The Humane League, a national Animal Rights Organization. One of their main focuses in Seattle is to get the Seattle School District to implement Meatless Mondays. YOU can help make this happen by helping to gather signatures for support of Meatless Mondays at the University District Farmers Market on Saturday, Jan 11th from 10am – 1pm.

If you can help, please contact Rachel at rachelhw@thehumaneleague.com

World Vegan Day

Happy World Vegan Day!

World Vegan Day was started in 1994 to celebrate The Vegan Society’s 50th anniversary. The Vegan Society formed in the UK in 1944. That was the year that the term “vegan” was coined and defined.

Vegans come in all shapes and sizes and walks of life. It’s hard to generalize who a vegan is. Here is a bit of information about what vegans strive for:

Vegans abstain from animal products. Food wise, that means meat (including fish), eggs, and dairy. Veganism extends to other areas as well. Vegans don’t wear animal products (fur, leather, wool, silk, feathers, or any other item from an animal), or use household products containing animal ingredient or products tested on animals. Vegans don’t support captive animals acts like those in the circus or SeaWorld.

Vegans view animals as the sentient beings that they are, and not commodities to be exploited and used by humans. You can read our Vegan FAQs for answers to many questions about being vegan.

vegan starterNovember is World Vegan Month. A perfect time to go vegan. One way to start your journey is by ordering a vegan starter pack. Several organizations have packs to help you get started. The packs include things like recipes, nutritional info, and compelling reasons to go vegan.

 

 

vegan mentor programIf you’re already vegan, and need a bit of support, you can join the vegan mentor program, which matches new vegans with established vegans so you can make a smooth and lasting transition to veganism. It’s nice to know you’re not alone in your quest for a cruelty-free life.

 

So whether you’re just thinking about veganism or you’re well on your way, World Vegan Day is a great time to make a commitment to the animals, the earth, and your health.

Helping a Vegan Activist

You may have heard of Vegan Outreach, an organization dedicated to reducing the suffering of farmed animals. The people working with Vegan Outreach can often be found leafleting in campuses across the country, promoting informed eating.

Rachel Shippee from Vegan Outreach will be leafleting in the Seattle area in October and November, as part of Vegan Outreach’s Adopt a College program.

adopt a college

If you have time to join Rachel for leafleting or a meal, please contact Anne at anne@veganoutreach.org so she can send Rachel your contact info.

Rachel needs housing in or near the cities along her route. If you have a spare couch or bed for this polite young activist, please let Anne know that as well. You can be part
of the ‘Hotel Vegan Outreach’ chain!

Thank you for your support of this important work!

Rachel’s schedule

10/22/2013      Bellevue College, Bellevue
10/22/2013      Seattle University, Seattle
10/23/2013      Seattle Central Community College, Seattle
10/23/2013      Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle
10/24/2013      South Seattle Community College, Seattle
10/24/2013      Seattle Pacific University, Seattle
10/25/2013      University of Washington, Seattle

10/28/2013      Shoreline Community College, Shoreline
10/28/2013      Edmonds Community College, Lynnwood
10/29/2013      Everett Community College, Everett
10/29/2013      Whatcom Community College, Bellingham
10/30/2013      Western Washington University, Bellingham

11/13/2013      Highline Community College, Des Moines
11/13/2013      University of Puget Sound, Tacoma
11/13/2013      Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma

Josh Garrett Breaks PCT Record for MFA

So you want to be a vegan

You love animals, you care about your health and the environment, and there’s just one nagging thing on your mind. Going vegan. If you’re considering it, congratulations!Veganism is on the rise and people are interested in it for many reasons. Here’s a list that might make your vegan transition smoother.

Find your groove.

hearty salad

For some, Meatless Mondays is a good start. Others might have fun making one vegan meal a day. But if you wake up tomorrow and want to be a full-fledged vegan, go for it! You don’t have to do it in phases. Push yourself but don’t set yourself up for failure.

It’s a journey.

You’re going to slip up. Maybe by accident (“whey is an animal product?”) or on purpose (“I couldn’t resist the pizza.”) That’s not a reason to quit. After a lifetime of developing food habits, you’ll find some are hard to break. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Being vegan isn’t about being perfect.

Eat out.

A good vegan restaurant (or restaurant with vegan options) is really helpful. If you’re at a regular restaurant, look for ways to veganize a dish. Hold the cheese. Substitute a Portobello for a hamburger. Ask the wait staff. They’re usually more than happy to help customers with dietary needs.

Learn to cook.

There’s nothing like taking your health into your own hands. Cooking at home means you know exactly what goes into your meal. Find some recipes online or get a few cookbooks and experiment.

Find replacements.

If you crave meat or dairy, look for vegan versions like veggie burgers, soy or almond milk, and dairy-free “cheeses” so you can still eat your favorite foods. Mock meats (or analogs) are a lifesaver when you’re not sure what to eat and you haven’t found a new way of eating yet.

Don’t live on processed foods.

That said, it’s easy to become a junk-food vegan. Mock versions of your old favorites can be healthy, but they aren’t always. The best vegan food plan includes lots of natural, whole foods. When it comes to health talk, you might hear “whole-food, plant-based” instead of “vegan,” because chips and soda are usually vegan, but they’re not often healthy.

Introduce color.

A colorful plate of whole, plant-based foods is bound to be rich in lots of vitamins. Even my salads are hearty, and include lots of things like quinoa, garbanzo beans and seitan.

mango saladSpeaking of seitan.

Try new foods. You won’t like them all, but you’ll find new favorites and you’ll likely end up eating a more varied diet than the typical meat-and-potatoes American. If you explore a variety of foods from around the world, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the new tastes and number of vegan options.

Expect change.

Meat is calorie dense. It takes a lot more plant-based food to match the calories of animal-based foods. You might find yourself snacking more (healthy snacking is fine). Maybe you pile your plate higher. If you’re eating whole foods, go for it! If you swap a 3-oz. steak for 3 ounces of hummus you’ll probably still be hungry! If you aren’t full, eat more. If you’re eating processed foods though, be careful. Oils and refined foods are fattening and offer very little nutritional value.

Don’t worry about protein.

Yes, it’s absolutely important, but if you eat enough food (meaning you’re not starving yourself), you’ll get enough protein. And a big surprise to many people is that plants have protein! Tomatoes, potatoes, bananas–they wouldn’t grow without it. Beans, nuts and such have more than fruit, but there’s protein in all of it. A plant-based diet provides about 8-10% of calories from protein, which happens to be the amount the RDA (recommended daily allowance) recommends.

Supplements.

Vitamins are a multibillion dollar industry but nothing comes close to whole foods–it’s what we really need. We get vitamin D from the sun, but if you don’t get a lot of sun, that’s one supplement you could take. Dairy is fortified with it, and fortunately, almond, soy, and other milks have it added too. There’s B12 in organic soil (that’s where the cows get it from) but since so much produce is grown with pesticides and other chemicals, soil isn’t what it used to be. A B12 supplement is probably wise. For the record, a lot of omnivores are low in B12 too–it’s not just a vegan thing.

Remember why you’re doing this.

For many, going vegan is all about the animals. Other have health or the environment on their minds. What’s your motivation? Remembering why you’re going vegan will help you stick with it. You can eat whatever you want; you choose not too. It’s not limiting if you think of it as a choice.

Resources:

  • Forks Over Knives – This documentary drives home the value and sound nutrition behind a whole food, plant-based diet.
  • Engine 2 Diet – This website links to books, recipes, and lots of resources for your plant-based journey.
  • The China Study – A comprehensive look at the 27-year study that Dr. Campbell undertook that led to finding on the superiority of whole food, plant-based diets.
  • Whole: rethinking the Science of Nutrition – This is Dr. Campbell’s latest book and explores a new way to look at how–and what–we eat.
  • PCRM – The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine portal has tons of health and nutrition information.
  • Vegan Outreach – This site links to videos, a free vegan starter kit, and lots of resources about why to be vegan (from factory farm cruelty to environmental nightmares).

Schools are starting to increase veggie meals

You may have heard that PS 244, Active Learning Elementary School in Queens, NY, adopted meat-free menu in their cafeteria recently. The students led the change at the pre-kindergarten to third-grade school. They were drawn to healthy plant-based options like falafel, spinach wraps and cucumber salad.

creative commons image c/o rusvaplauke

Now, the San Diego school district is introducing Meatless Mondays to its kindergarten through 8th grade students. The move was voted in by the board as an attempt to introduce healthy eating to the kids and help curb obesity. Starting this fall, students will get to enjoy meals like tofu and vegetable stir fry, baked potatoes, and grilled vegetable paninis.

From coast to coast, kids are learning about veganism. Let’s hope that these two changes are the start of a healthy, cruelty-free trend.

Are you a student or parent with school-age kids? Why not ask your school to introduce more vegan food in the cafeteria. It’s never to early to start a life-long habit that has a profound effect for people, the environment, and the animals.

In-vitro meat makes a debut

Here’s some food for thought: If the main reason for choosing a vegan lifestyle is to reduce suffering, what do you think about in-vitro meat?test tubes

The New York Times recently reported about a hamburger grown in a laboratory from muscle tissue. This in-vitro, or cultured, meat doesn’t require the water, grain, land, transportation, and slaughter of an animal.

The sample being worked on at the moment isn’t vegan–it’s origins are animal in nature (cow stem cells). But future versions could be grown from non-animal sources.

This still sounds like science fiction, and I’ll stick by the loads of scientific findings that meat of any kind isn’t healthy. But if people don’t stop eating meat, perhaps they could gravitate toward in-vitro meat and bypass factory farms.