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March 2005


GREETINGS

We’re moving into March, and even though that’s a winter month here in balmy Wisconsin (that’s “balmy” in the sense of “crazy from too much winter!”), it’s time to think of the beginning of Spring – and with it, the Great American Meat-Out. The Meat-Out is generally held on March 20 and/or during the several days leading up to that equinoctial date, and even though we were a bit slow off the mark this year in deciding what to do, we have enough possibilities lined up for everyone interested to get involved. For one thing, this year I finally managed to get myself onto a talk radio show for the event! So anyone tough (or balmy) enough to get up at 6 AM on Friday, March 18 can listen to WHAD, the Madison-based public radio station (90.7 FM), and hear me talk and answer calls about the Meat-Out in particular and vegetarianism in general. We also hope to have this recorded and play it back at the April potluck for all you lucky sleepyheads. In addition, we did not move fast enough to host Dr. Michael Gregor ourselves but UWM’s Alliance for Animals did, and would be glad to have us help them for Dr. Gregor’s talk on March 8, distributing literature, previewing the Meat-Out, and donating vegan snacks and finger-foods. Jody and anyone who will join her will also help AfA with their March 14 veggie grill-out at the UWM student union. And finally, we have the opportunity to table at Alverno College on Thursday, March 17 and/ or Saturday, March 19 (we’re told that we can actually expect more traffic on the Thursday). Think about which of these you can want to do, and we will discuss and firm things up at the potluck on March 6, or phone (414) 962-2703.

M.A.R.V. ACTIVITIES

Sunday, March 6, regular potluck, 5 PM, at the Friends’ Meeting House, 3224 N. Gordon Pl. in Riverwest (from Humboldt Ave., go east on Auer a few short blocks to the parking lot. Theme will be the Eating of the Greens, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day coming up.

Subsequent regular potlucks will be at the same place and time on Apr. 3, May 1, June 5, ?July 3?, Aug. 1, and ?Sept. 4 (Labor Day weekend)??

Tues., March 8, 7 PM ff., work with Alliance for Animals at Dr. Gregor’s talk on “Diet and Cancer.” at the UWM Student Union, room 191. It would be good and helpful if as many of us as possible bring some vegan snacks/ dips/ finger foods.

Monday, March 14, 10 AM to 4 PM, AfA grill-out at the student union; distribute litera-ture, promote Meat-Out and invite people to take the pledge: “No meat for one day”!.

March 17 and/or March 19, 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM Meat-Out tabling at Alverno College; phone (414) 962-2703 for more info.

Other potlucks

The March macrobiotic potluck will be at 5 PM on March 20 at Ron and Judy Strampe’s house, 563W 15025 College Ave. in Muskego; phone (414) 422-1370 for directions.

The raw foods potluck is usually held on the last Saturday of the month at 6 PM in Brown Deer. Call (414) 355-7383 for further information and directions.

QUOTES OF THE MONTH

“To develop cardiovascular disease, eat these foods as quickly as possible and repeat often: eggs…butter…bacon and/or sausage…white bread…bologna…American cheese…mayo… potato chips…cookies…cheeseburger…french fries…chocolate cake with ice cream… chocolate bars, granola bars, microwave popcorn and chips.”

[all are animal foods and/or contain trans-fatty acids] -- Judy Mayer, Outpost Exchange

“[Dr. Walter Willet] and other researchers say that cells rely on natural fatty acids to function. Trans fat is artificial, and acts in the body like grains of sand in the workings of a clock.”

-- A New York Times article on margarine’s rise and fall

NEWS

Eating animal food is still Bad, for the environment as much as anything else: a recent survey has confirmed that commercial fishing has now wiped out 90% of the world’s large predatory fish – which does not bode well for the entire marine ecosystem. In a different story, an eleventh Wisconsin deer has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (the deer form of mad cow disease, the brain-wasting illness that can transfer from one species or animal to another that eats it), and CWD was also found recently in a Crawford, WI deer farm. Even raising animals for food is becoming suspect, as outbreaks of bird flu threaten to spread to humans from domestically raised chickens in Asia. And Hardee’s was cited by Multinational Monitor as one of the 10 worst corporations of the year for its horrendously meaty and fatty and generally unhealthy Monster Thickburger. Also, the newsletter of the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) reports that a Japanese meta-analysis of studies on the subject confirmed that milk consumption is a risk for prostate cancer, that an advisory committee for the European Union has recommended allowing the use of formaldehyde as a fattening agent for chickens, and that the University of Georgia Extension Service hopes to convince ranchers to feed their cows more poultry manure and litter (they have to get rid of it somehow…)

In contrast to such simple verities, sometimes dietary advice is confusing or contradictory. For example, Prevention reports that caffeine can make it harder to remember bits of data, while an Associated Press news story stated that drinking coffee daily seems to reduce one’s liver cancer risk. Margarine used to be better for you than butter, but is now seen as worse. And while Prevention reassured a parent who wrote in that a 12-year-old going vegetarian is fine as long as she gets enough protein from, among other things, dairy (which has calcium, too), an item in the PCRM newsletter reported on research which found that exercise, not calcium, is what builds strong bones. Thus the Diet Wars continue on various fronts. Besides the above, there was a strange article in the Outpost Exchange on Standard American Diets versus those of other parts of the world; it gave good marks to Asian and Mediterranean diets despite its dismay at smoked and pickled Asian foods and the prevalence in the Mediterranean of coffee, cigarettes and sweets, while also giving pretty good marks to Latin and Scandinavian diets despite too much alcohol and pickled fish in Scandinavia and despite the meat, fried foods, and starches that lace Latin American food (especially these days). Prevention touted the Mediterranean diet, though, because its olive oil was proved to lower blood pressure and because of its high level of antioxident-rich vegetables and fruits. The Los Angeles Times reported on the snafus that may have resulted in releasing a government report that may have overstated the American death toll from obesity. Yet it is clear that more than half of us are indeed fat and that this is indeed dangerous – especially in the South, where, according to an AP report, no one seems willing to change away from the southern tradition of fried and fatty foods.

As regards potable liquids, the U.S. government is still granting excellent price supports to dairy farmers, and water is again at issue. 7 counties in southeastern Wisconsin are jointly funding a study in response to dropping aquifers, to examine our mutual water supply, while regional state governors have got the message that wholesale water diversion from the Great Lakes is not generally approved – and are trying to figure out how to supply water to inland communities while preventing unwanted diversions. And in relation to a final diet dilemna, Outpost Exchange published another list of which foods to make a priority of buying organic if you have to pick and choose: apples; celery; cherries; imported grapes; peaches; nectarines; pears; potatoes; strawberries and raspberries; spinach; sweet bell peppers; poultry and meat and all dairy but especially milk (think BGH).

And plant foods are still Good For You. The same Exchange issue had an article on “super-foods.” It listed spinach for the immune-system boosting carotenoids, iron, folate, vitamin C, and calcium (eat it cooked to get the calcium); cabbage family foods for cancer protection and vitamin C; sweet potatoes (fresh, not canned) for fiber and antioxidents; beans for protein, B vitamins (and iron). They also named yogurt for its active microbial cultures (vegans can use soy yogurt), and eggs for their high-quality protein and array of vitamins and minerals (vegans get protein from beans, peas, nuts, and seeds, and vitamins – like everyone else – from veggies, fruits, and whole grains).

Another reason to eat fruits and vegetables is a recent study finding that three or more servings of fruit a day works (along with dark green leafy veggies) to save vision by preventing macular degeneration. And PCRM listed the 20 most antioxident-rich foods as: red beans, wild blueberries, red kidney beans, pinto beans, cultivated blueberries, cranberries, artichokes, blackberries, prunes, raspberries, strawberries, red delicious apples, granny smith apples, pecans, sweet cherries, black plums, russet potatoes, black beans, plums, and gala apples. (And not an animal product among them!) Meanwhile, Organic Gardening magazine suggested planting red-colored salad greens because they have as much or more of the nutritional goodies as plain green ones: iron, calcium, and manganese as well as vitamins A, C, B-complex, and K. Among the crops/foods mentioned in the article were lettuces, kales, mustard greens, radicchio, and chards.

Apparently, antioxidents not only help the immune system; at least in dogs they help prevent age-related degeneration of the brain. And on a happy note, the praises of chocolate’s antioxidents are still being sung (though with the caution that darker and less milky is better). Fiber, especially in breakfast cereals and whole grains, is still being named for diabetes prevention. Broccoli has been found not only to pre-vent the start of breast cancer but also to be able to stop its growth once started. And Prevention points out that citrus fruits not only supply vitamin C but are also a source of potassium, folate and other B vitamins, and if you eat the peel/ “zest”you get skin cancer pro-tection and can lower bad LDL cholesterol.

CONNECTIONS

PCRM’s Good Medicine gave “Golden Carrot” awards to school food services that are really trying to provide students with whole-some meals – and with PCRM that necessarily means meal plans with regular vegetarian op-tions. The article also urges parents, teachers, and other concerned citizens to get involved in helping schools make their food services healthier and more veg-friendly. To this end, their article lists a number of web sites with which a person could connect to get involved on this issue. These are:

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HealthySchoolLunches.org: a PCRM site offering health information, school lunch reviews, and recipes.

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FoodStudies.org: from The Food Studies Institute, offering a curriculum that integrates academic disciplines with food, nutrition, culture, and the arts.

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ChoiceUSA.net: many resources from CHOICE: Consumers for Healthy Options in Children’s Education.

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NoJunkFood.org: run by school activist Jackie Domac, offers resources intended for educators, foodservice professionals, and parents.

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HealthyLunches.org: from a New York grassroots initiative that helped enact legislation supporting vegetarian meals in NY State.

THE VEGGIE TABLE

We ate a lunch in a place that is not your usual restaurant, nor especially vegan (though it could easily become vegan-friendly – but we know the people and it was delicious, so I will review it anyway.

West End Gallery, on the corner of Vliet and 50th St., started out as a gallery for the display and sale of really nice crafts and art (furniture, pictures, blacksmithery, and so on), as well as the sale of nice wines. It has now expanded into offering snacks and lunches along with the wines, and since some of the blacksmithery on display there was made by Chuck, we naturally had to give the place a try.

It is now called the Flying Hicca, and offers an omniverous menu. One of the three sandwiches is vegetarian (the roasted eggplant humus, sprouts, gouda, and tomato sandwich), and since all food is made up fresh when ordered you could surely request it without the gouda cheese. Similarly, all three salads are vegetarian and one (apple salad with tarragon walnut vinaigrette) is naturally vegan. Appetizers include wonderful “house cured olives” served with breadsticks, and the multiple-choice “house cheese plate” could easily become a choice of breads and fruits instead of choices of breads, fruits, and cheeses. We had really delicious lunch (with wine, of course), and though it was a bit pricier than our usual lunches the upscale gallery décor was wonder-fully different. Hours are a bit in flux at this time, and may change between summer and winter hours, so phone (414) 431-1390 for further information.