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July 2004

GREETINGS

At the June potluck we discussed what time our potlucks should be, and where and how the Pre-Thanksgiving Feast should be held.

There were several voices in favor of moving potluck times to half an hour earlier: meet at 5 PM and start eating at 5:30, instead of 5:30 and 6 as we’ve been doing. Other voices expressed a willingness to go either way. Since we’ve already publicized the old times for August and September, if we do make a change the new timing would start in October. This means that if you care to make your opinion known, you have about two months in which to do so: come to a potluck or call me at (414) 962-2703 or email us at chuckgyver@aol.com.

As for the Pre-Thanksgiving Feast, we have a new site! After discussing the really high cost of the beautiful South Shore Park Pavilion, we decided to look for alternate sites, and Jody found one: Unity Lutheran Church, right on East Oklahoma Ave. It is highly accessible, much bigger, with a great kitchen, about half the price, and available for Nov. 20 – so we put down a deposit right away. Another thing we discussed at the last potluck was whether we should make the Pre-Thanksgiving Feast a potluck-only/ everyone has to bring something event. Again, if you have thoughts or feelings on this, come to the next potluck or two, or get in touch with us by email or phone.

Also, I have applied for a table at the Outpost Wellness Fest on Sept. 12, for myself as a childbirth teacher sharing a table with MARV. I have not yet heard back from the Wellness Fest planners on this (and may not hear until August). If I’m in, we’ll need a couple of people to man MARV’s half of the table.

M.A.R.V. ACTIVITIES

Sunday, 4th of July, special potluck picnic at the home of David, Jody, and Dustin Paluch, 1000 Lake Drive in South Milwaukee, about half a mile south of College Ave., across the street from Grant Park, starting at 4 PM (note the unusual time!). There will be the usual great food, lawn sports, sparklers, and the chance to take in the fireworks later in the evening (bring a flashlight and blanket or lawn chair). (414) 764-7262

Subsequent regular potlucks will be at the usual time and place on Aug. 1 and Sept. 5.

?Sunday, Sept. 12, 11 AM to 5 PM, informational flyering at the Outpost Wellness Fest?

Macrobiotic potluck

July’s macro potluck will be on Sunday, July 18, at noon (note the time) at Emily Feddersen’s, 6506 Silver Beach Rd. North in Cedar Grove. Call for directions: (262) 285-3331.

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

"Common wisdom tells us that vegetarian diets: (1) May be overall the healthiest way to eat…(2) Give their practitioners the edge against some forms of cancer…(3) May protect against heart disease…(4) Help avoid some of the most virulent forms of food-borne illnesses caused by e. coli, salmonella, and listeria…(5) May hold the key to longer life…"

-- from promotional material for a new book, The Vegetarian Family Cookbook, by Nava Atlas (to be reviewed)

NEWS

As always, there is both good news and bad. Seafood keeps getting scarier to eat: the FDA is now recommending that even fish with relatively low mercury levels be severely limited by pregnant and nursing mothers and young children. And a second, unidentified U.S. animal may have tested positive for mad cow disease after screening was increased tenfold (from about 20,000 to about 220,000 cows – out of 35 million slaughtered per year). The Florida woman who had been diagnosed with the human form of the disease has now died; news reports emphasize that she was believed to have contracted the illness while in England. Ironically, though, the problems of chronic wasting disease in Wisconsin deer (the deer form of the same illness) may, if it decreases the deer herd, prove a boon for the survival of many native plants, which the too-large deer herd is decimating. Meanwhile, you don’t even need to eat meat to be affected by meat-raising, which is still bad for the environment; the newest outrage is that the Bush-administration version of the EPA is apparently ready to allow pollution-producing factory farms and slaughterhouses to monitor their own emissions – a guarantee that their polluting practices will continue unabated. Nor is meat the only worrisome food these days. Some baby foods were recalled due to fears of ground glass, while a study found that much California milk is now contaminated with perchlorate, a toxic ingredient of rocket fuel that had gotten into the groundwater and is now present in that state’s milk in higher concentrations than children should consume. And Human Rights Watch reported that the sugar for Coca-Cola is being grown by young children in conditions that endanger them and thus violate their human rights; a boycott of Coke has been called.

Obesity continues to be an issue in the news. On the one hand, the percentage of obese adults may be starting to level off (at a horrible 30%); on the other hand, childhood obesity is not going down, and carries the same risk of heart disease and diabetes as for adults – only earlier.

Water, which we all need to ingest, remains in the news. One local item involved the horrendous dumping of raw sewage into Lake Michigan over the last few weeks of flood-level rains. A related item was a possible deal to allow communities just outside the Lake Michigan basin (such as Waukesha) to import some Great Lakes water in exchange for funds to fix our sewer system – and the sizeable legal ob-stacles such a scheme would face. Then there is the related issue of how much water people need to drink, and the answer is that it depends on their age, size, activity level, and the weather they’re in. Common sense would suggest making sure not to get thirsty, especially when sweating. It is nice to know, in this regard, that many vegetables and fruits, as well as juices, teas, and milks, do supply water to the body.

Some food news is just weird, such as the item revealing that a recent USDA rule change now classifies deep-fried French fries as a "fresh" vegetable. (?!) And since red wine is still being considered healthy, with new indications that it may help people with emphysema and chronic bronchitis to breathe better, as well as some indication that the resveretrol (which is believed to be the good anti-oxidant stuff in red wine and red grapes) may help minimize stroke damage, this resveretrol has now been put into pill form. Well, if you have to avoid alcohol…

Prevention magazine did an article on different sorts of people’s styles of looking after their health, and identified 16% of the population as "Foodies" who expect their healthful diets to make everything perfect. Many vegetarians probably fall into this category, whose good news is that it means we eat health-giving produce, but whose bad news may be ignoring exercise and/or getting "overly restrictive" about what we eat.

One item is both weird and part of the next round in the carbohydrate controversy: from the town of Spuds, Florida comes news that a new potato variety has been bred which has only 2/3 as many carbs as ordinary potatoes – and they say it even tastes good and is easy to grow in Florida's climate! At least it was bred by cross-breeding, and not genetic engineering. It will be available in January.

Other news about carbs is the distinction increasingly being made between the unhealthy carbs in refined grains versus the healthy ones in whole grains (at long last! I’ve only been saying it for 25 years). It’s becoming a consensus. This month, Delicious Living magazine explained that refined carbs cause the same energy jump-and-crash as sugar, while a break-fast of whole grains with a bit of fat and lean protein will keep you going all morning. Prevention explains that headlines linking carbohydrates to cancer were wrong: it is only refined carbs, such as white flour, table sugar, sodas, and juices that increase the risk of colorectal cancer, while whole grains, fruits, and vegetables actually lower it. The Wednesday Food section of our local newspaper ran an article on using whole berries of grains, such as wheat berries, barley, and kamut, in salads, pointing out that they’re low in fat, high in fiber and protein and complex carbs, and full of minerals and B vitamins. And even the USDA is hinting that the 2005 version of the Food Pyramid will recommend more whole grains and less refined grains (and also more fish, unfortunately) than previous versions.

Delicious Living’s feature on raising healthy children included nutritional advice to make sure that they get plenty of calcium, essential fatty acids, iron, and protein. And many vegetable sources for these nutrients were named in addition to animal sources: for calcium, fortified soy products, bok choy, broccoli, dried figs, almonds, and oranges (and fortified orange juice) were named as well as dairy. Sources for EFAs were listed as walnuts and other nuts, almonds, nut oils, and flaxseed oil as well as the inevitable cold-water fish. Iron sources were listed as beans and leafy green vegetables as well as meats, and protein was noted to come from beans, nuts, seeds, nut butters, whole grains, and soy products as well as animal foods.

An odd bit of good food news came from a Prevention article, which advised adding interest to salads by throwing in such edible flowers as begonia, carnation, snapdragon, nasturtium, marigold, and pansy (grown with-

out pesticides, of course!). If you like black tea enough to drink 5 cups a day, you might find it lowering your "bad" LDL cholesterol levels, according to a USDA study. News which is good or bad, depending on your beliefs, comes from two studies which found that honey applied externally to wounds gave better healing than antibiotics and antiseptics. And pregnant women who ate a little chocolate every day had babies who smiled and laughed more and fussed less than babies of women who avoided chocolate during their pregnancies, according to a recent Finnish study.

Another Prevention article suggested that eating certain foods might help people increase their resistance to skin damage caused by ultra-violet light; recommended foods included red, orange, and yellow fruits and vegetables, tart cherries, peppermint leaves, leafy greens, green tea, and oranges, lemons, and limes. One good orange fruit is the apricot, which Delicious Living featured as the in-season fruit for June, high in beta-carotene (vitamin A’s precursor), fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. On a different note, an American Dietetic Association spokes-person ranked olive oil as the heart-healthiest for salads and quick sauteing, and canola oil for baking, while walnuts (and walnut oil) were found by a University of Barcelona study to lower cholesterol and improve artery elasticity, thus improving blood flow. Finally, a Delicious Living article on keeping one’s skin healthy and young-looking through dietary measures suggested eating colorful, fresh produce, making sure that some of it is red, orange, and dark green to provide beta-carotene, getting plenty of water, eating soy foods, and getting omega-3 fatty acids (think flax seed, hemp seed oil, and dark green leafies).

CONNECTIONS

Time is running short – but not yet out – if you want to attend the North American Vegetarian Society’s annual Vegetarian Summerfest in Pennsylvania in late July. There will be some registration forms available at the July irregular potluck for anyone interested.

THE VEGGIE TABLE

We found a new place to eat (actually, it’s been there for a couple of years, but we just found it). It is called The Ciao Café, and despite catering to carnivores among others, it seems very veg-friendly.

The Ciao Café is located at 404 E. Silver Spring Drive in Whitefish Bay, 3 doors east of the Fox Bay Cinema, phone number (414) 906-1555, and manages on a fairly simple menu to serve diet styles from Atkins to vegan. Starters include the vegan hummus plate and the vegetarian bruschetta; salads include the vegetarian Caesar salad and the vegan garden salad and tomato-and-spice salad; wraps include the "V" Wrap (vegan) and the "F" Wrap (for felafel, also vegan); one of the subs is full of cheese but no meat, and we were enthusiastically informed that since all orders are made up fresh on the spot, a pizza could easily be made with-out cheese – and one could specify quite a few vegetarian toppings for it that they have on hand. Beverages include various coffees, chais, bottled water, and sodas.

Chuck and I each ordered a different wrap, and both were so large that each of us ate half and took half home for the next day – we certainly got out money’s worth, especially since the prices were moderate.

The décor is Italian/luncheonette, with attractive round tables that are not too small, and comfortable wood-and-metal chairs. When we were there the television was left on but with the sound down; it did not intrude on our meal. Outdoor patio seating is advertised (if the weather should ever permit). It looks like a good place for a nice casual lunch or supper, especially (not necessarily) before or after seeing a movie, and we intend to go again.

The Ciao Café serves breakfast and pastries seven days a week from 9 AM to 11; lunch and dinner are available on Sun. through Thurs. from 11 AM until 8 PM, on Fri. until 10 PM, and on Sat. until 9.