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September 2002

GREETINGS

At the lively August potluck we discussed the possibility of having a speaker come to town at the end of March. Our highly active members David and Jody made internet contact with Dr. Michael Greger, a vegan M.D. who maintains an active lecturing schedule and is planning to be in our neck of the woods in late March of 2003. We therefore have the option of having him come and speak to us, and/or of having him speak in an event that we could advertise to the general public. We will be tying down plans at future potlucks.

It is also now the verge of Fall, and therefore time for us to begin active planning of our Pre-Thanksgiving Feast, which will be on Nov. 23. I will hear from North Shore Presbyterian Church a few days after this goes into the mail, and will have a report at the September potluck as to whether we can use that site this year.

We just heard from the Friends as I write this that they are happy to have us continue to use their Meeting House for our potlucks, as we had asked. Do note that September’s potluck is on the second Sunday of the month instead of the first, to avoid conflict with Labor Day weekend.

M.A.R.V. ACTIVITIES

Sunday, Sept. 8, 5:30 PM, regular potluck at the Friends’ Meeting House, 3224 N. Gordon Pl. (from Humboldt Blvd. in Riverwest, go east on Auer to the end to see the parking lot). Topic is Mexican food: bring a Mexican-type dish if you wish.

Subsequent potlucks will be at the same place and time on Oct. 6, Nov. 3, and Dec. 8.

Macrobiotic potluck

The next macrobiotic potluck will be at noon on Sunday, Sept. 22, at Emily Federsen’s, 6505 Silver Beach North, near Harrington Beach north of Milwaukee. Call her at (262) 285-3331 for directions. The following macrobiotic potluck will be on Oct. 20 at Pat Courtney’s in Wauwatosa.

QUOTES OF THE MONTH

"If 19 million pounds of meat distributed to half of this country had been contaminated with a deadly strain of e. coli bacteria by terrorists, we'd go nuts. But when it's done by a Fortune 100 corporation, we continue to buy it and feed it to our kids."

-- Diane Carmen, Denver Post, 7/25/02

A government Institute of Medicine panel found that there are trans-fatty acids, which raise cholesterol, in all meat and dairy foods, but decided not to advise limits on consumption. "We can’t tell people to stop eating all meat and all dairy products," said Eric Rimm, a nutritional epidemiologist from Harvard who was on the panel. "Well, we could tell people to become vegetarians," he added, "If we were truly basing this only on science, we would, but it is a bit extreme."

NEWS

Meat is still not good, although Democrats made a little political hay by pointing out how very tardy the Bush administration allowed ConAgra to be in recalling that 19 million pounds of contaminated meat referred to above and mentioned in our last newsletter. And an equally exciting item was broken by Dateline NBC during August when they reported on meat being delivered to large US cities in non-refrigerated trucks, often sitting in the trucks for many hours on really hot days, with no way of telling how many people got food poisoning as a result. We’re told that Dateline also did a report recently on how great the Atkins high meat-and-fat/ low carb diet was for losing weight – and that the flood of responses about the dangers of that diet forced them to follow up with a report stating that this diet is not such a good idea after all. Meanwhile, attempts to deal with the overfishing of the seas continue to raise dissension between government, fisher-men, and environmentalists, and the Sierra Club has released a report condemning feedlots and animal factory farms as terribly harmful to the environment. In this light it’s very good news that a mega-hog operation on a South Dakota Indian reservation was denied a permit to expand, partly as a result of Humane Farm-ing Association assistance to those Rosebud Sioux who opposed it. It’s no wonder that a new administrator has been named for the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the Agriculture Department – someone who has a Ph.D. in microbiology; we’ll see if he does any good.

In local news, Wisconsin is now joined by Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wyoming, Alberta, and Saskatchewan as places where Chronic Wasting Disease (the deer form of mad cow disease) has been found in both captive and wild deer and elk herds. A Saskatchewan man recently diagnosed as Canada’s first victim of the human form of the disease was said to have become infected in England, however. Experts have met to try to find ways of control-ling the situation; their lack of success thus far did not stop Bush from killing new funds for work on the problem.

What our diets ought to be is a subject of increasing general interest. The Detroit Free Press, for example, ran a favorable article on how satisfying a vegan lifestyle can be, while in Britain researchers reported on a study of 18 to 21-year-old prisoners whose incidents of violent behavior while incarcerated dropped markedly when they were fed the vitamins and minerals found in vegetables. The London Times Sunday Magazine did a very well-balanced report in late July on the pros and cons of milk-drinking. And while a January Consumer Intelligence report predicted that the vegetarian food market would double or more over the next five years, a recent New York Times Science Section tracked a strong growth in meat consumption and fish farming over the last 40 years and predicted a marked increase in factory-farming of animals in years to come. It all seems to be in flux, so that anyone who would promote vegetarianism could have both concern and hope – and a lot of work to do.

As far as vegetarian food being good for you, I have a genuine Stop The Presses here: after all these years of reporting how fish is touted as the source of Essential Fatty Acids, but that vegetarians can get EFAs from flax seed and hemp seed oil, I have now come upon reports that neither fish nor seeds are EFAs’ primary sources. They come from dark green leafy vegetables. Fish only have them because they ate a lot of algae, or ate other fish that had eaten algae; according to an August McDougall Wellness Center web page, only plants can create either omega-3 or omega-6 essential fatty acids. This would explain why cattle raised on grass instead of grain have so many more omega-3s, and why vegetarians who never knew about flax and hemp seeds nonetheless do have functioning central nervous systems. Forget the salmon; just eat the salad (though a little hemp-seed-oil-and-balsamic-vinegar dressing wouldn’t hurt, if you’re going to dress it anyway…)

In other news about good vegetarian foods, garlic in the diet has been found to stop cholesterol particles from sticking to artery walls. And you can lower your homocysteine levels – and thus decrease the chance of Alzheimer’s – by getting adequate B vitamins (including B-12, which vegans should get by taking a supplements). Oolong tea, if drunk in adequate quantities (5 cups a day) enabled men in a study to burn an extra 80 calories a day with no other changes. Very moderate amounts of (vegetarian) wine, especially red wine, are still reported to be helpful in boosting good cholesterol levels and preventing stroke, dementia, and pancreatic cancer, though the key here is moderation – about 1 glass a day for women and 1 to 2 for men is about it. And (vegetarian) milk thistle tea to help protect the liver might be a good addition to the wine regimen. Yet another new study has found frequent meat eating to be linked to increased incidence of certain cancers, including esophageal and colon cancers, while eating more vegetables and fruits would be protective. And a hormone, peptide YY3-36, which is made by cells in the small intestine in response to high-fiber foods in the diet, has been found to make people feel full and suppress appetite; high-fiber foods are of course found in whole grains and vegetables and fruits, but not in animal foods. On a different note, a recent study found that insufficient levels of potassium may be a cause of strokes -–and potassium is found in such foods as oranges and bananas, which may mean that just adding such fruits to the diet could be protective. And finally, the American Dietetic Association journal reported recently that there is a direct correlation between how many fruits and vegetables young children ate and how many their parents ate – so if you have children, role modeling is what to do (though you knew that).

THE VEGGIE TABLE

By Jan Taylor

Bangkok Dokkoon, at 7335 W. Greenfield Ave., has a quiet, peaceful atmosphere, with recorded music playing softly in the back-ground. The walls are adorned with Thai artifacts, including bejewelled elephants.

The vegetarian section of the menu lists four entrees, priced from $5.95 to $6.95. I ordered Vegetable Pad Thai, which was a very generous serving of bean sprouts, pea pods, baby corn, onions, broccoli, and mushrooms. This was accompanied by a spice rack, so that diners could add hot chili oil, crushed chili, and crushed peanuts, to achieve whatever degree of spiciness they desire. The basic dish, as served, had no spiciness at all, and therefore would appeal to those diners who prefer a more bland meal.

Beverages include soybean drink, coconut juice, lemonade, coffee, and tea. We ordered tea, and were served jasmine tea, which had a delightful aroma and pleasing taste.

The dessert list included three types of fruits – lychee, longan, and rambutan. I ordered longan, which was served chilled, and was slightly sweet and very refreshing.

The phone number is (414) 256-9090. They are open Monday through Friday from 11 AM to 10 PM, with a lunch buffet, and on Saturday from 3 PM to 9 PM; they are closed on Sunday.

DIALOG

For those of you who missed the August pot-luck, the focus was on dark green leafy vegetables and their amazing nutritional value, which I though I would share with you here.

DGLs, as I will refer to these foods, include broccoli (we eat the flower buds) and asparagus (stems and leaf buds), but are otherwise liter-ally vegetables that are leaves and dark green. The dark greenness is important, since the nutrients are found in association with the pigmentation. A list of these vegetables thus includes asparagus, basil, beet greens, bok choi, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cilantro, collards, dandelion greens, kale, kohlrabi greens, highly-colored lettuces, mustard greens, parsley, edible sea-weed (kelp, dulse, nori, etc.), spinach, sprouts, swiss chard, turnip greens, and watercress.

Nutrients notably found in DGLs include: (1) protein (as much as 40–45% of the calories in DGLs are protein, so even though they’re low-cal, for each 10 calories you get 1 protein gm); (2) complex carbohydrates (the best kind); (3) fiber; (4) folacin (= folate or folic acid), a B vitamin necessary for central nervous system function and for using iron to create red blood cells; it may also play a role in circulatory health; (5) calcium, excepting only spinach. Swiss chard, and beet greens in which the calcium is unavailable; (6)iron; (7) vitamin C, which supports immune system function, helps absorb and use the iron, and gives connective

tissue strength; (7) beta carotene, which the body turns into vitamin A, another immune system booster; (8) vitamin E, a powerful anti-oxidant and thus another immune system helper; (9) essential fatty acids, in association with the vitamin E; and 10) vitamin K, crucial for blood-clotting. In addition, cabbage family DGLs (kale, collards, broccoli, bokchoi, and kohlrabi greens) contain other immune-system boosting phytochemicals which have yet to be identified but are known to be present.

They all taste good, too.

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CONNECTIONS

We received a mailing from Pioneer Nutritional Formulas to inform us that several of their supplement formulas have been certified as vegan. These include their vegetarian calcium/magnesium, ipriflavone calcium/magnesium, vitamin C complex, heart formula with CoQ10, echinacea (resistance formula), PMS formula, menopause nutritional support, supertonic, and digestive enzymes and herbs. Their website is: ww.pioneernutritional.com