So now that it’s definite that we are holding
our PreThanksgiving Feast, it is time to send in your registration! There
are now only three! weeks before the Feast itself, and we need registrations in
hand some days before that, so if you’re planning to join us, register now.
(If not now, when??) For which purpose I am including a flyer/ registration form
with this newsletter; the few of you who have registered already might
give it to a friend.
While you’re at it, please be aware that we
turn out to need just a few more volunteers to help the Feast go smoothly. We
could really use one more person to help set up from 3:30 to 5 PM, and one more
person in the kitchen from 4:30 to 6:30; one additional volunteer for clean up
and another dishwasher would also be really helpful. Speaking as someone who
always volunteers at this event, it’s really a great deal of fun, and volunteers
are always given a special ticket that allows you to go through the line at your
discretion rather than waiting for a color to be called. Call Jody at (414)
764-7262 to join the sport.
On a personal note, I would like to express my deepest thanks to
everyone who had me in their thoughts or prayers, phoned me, sent a card or
present, and otherwise lent me their support during my surgery and convalescense.
It feels very wonderful to be a member of such a kind and caring community.
Other veg-friendly events
There will be no macrobiotic potluck in November, though Allen
Owens will host one in December.
Wellspring will again be holding its own Pre-Thanksgiving
vegetarian dinner and concert, on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 6 PM at Wellspring, north
of Milwaukee but still in the 262 area code. A 5-course vegetarian dinner will
be followed by a concert by Holly Haebig and Harvey Taylor. The charge is $25
per adult, $45 per couple, and $5 for children under12. Proceeds benefit the
Wellspring Garden Program. Phone (262) 675-6755 to register and get directions.
Sunday, Nov. 6, 5 PM, regular potluck
at the Friends’ Meeting House, 3324 N. Gordon Pl. in Riverwest (from Humboldt
Blvd. go east on Auer a few short blocks to the parking lot). Theme will be
Sunday, Nov. 20, PreThanksgiving Feast, 5
PM, Unity Evangelical Church, 1025 E. Oklahoma. Register! Come!
Subsequent regular potlucks will be at the Friends’
Meeting House on Dec. 4, Jan. 8, Feb. 2, and March 2.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“Good eating habits play a critical role in preventing and
treating many chronic diseases, but are hospitals doing their part by serving
healthy vegan foods in their cafeterias and restaurants?”
-- Amy Joy Lanou, in an article in Good Medicine describing a survey done
by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine to investigate this
subject. Is anyone surprised that they found the landscape bleak?
Animal foods are still bad for you. Wisconsin State
Farmer ran an article complaining about the continuing Japanese boycott of
U.S. beef, though vegetarians understand completely the Japanese reluctance to
risk mad cow disease. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ran an
article about the general lack of deer movement out of the areas of our state
where the deer are being heavily hunted in an effort to control chronic wasting
disease (the deer version of the same illness). Perhaps many of those deer are
affected enough not to be normally mobile? Or maybe they’re just not very
bright? On a different note, Russia and Norway were reported to be in a dispute
over who was fishing in whose waters. And PCRM reported that while all grilled
meats are likely to contain cancer-producing heterocyclic amines, chicken seems
to be the worst. Their most recent Good Medicine publication also
reported that according to a British study, drinking milk contributes to the
risk for both type 2 diabetes and heart disease, while a meta-analysis of 21
studies found a correlation between dairy products and ovarian cancer risk.
Finally, so mainstream a publication as Prevention is
now issuing warnings about the Atkins diet, stating that while it does seem to
reduce weight and even lower cholesterol in the short term, a recent study found
it was also raising blood levels of C-reactive protein, a marker for
inflammation which may contribute to heart disease down the road.
On the other hand, vegetarian foods continue to be good for
you. The same issue of Good Medicine reported on a study which found that
consuming soy protein as a regular part of one’s diet helped lower blood
pressure, and ran a whole article on a new Swedish study which found that vegans
weigh less than omnivores. This seems to be part of a whole different pattern of
eating, since in the 50,000 women studied, the omnivores not only consumed more
saturated fat, but also more refined grains and less fruits, vegetables, and
fiber than the vegans. In another study by PCRM itself, overweight women were
randomly assorted into low-fat vegan diet or conventional weight-loss diet, and
the vegans lost nearly twice as much weight as the control group – even though
they were given no limits on how much they could eat; in fact, those who ate the
most carbohydrates lost the most pounds. It is theorized that part of the reason
for their success was that their foods were naturally filling so that they could
eat fewer calories without feeling hungry, but also that the vegan diet improved
insulin sensitivity and thus created a bigger after-meal burn.
Several magazines have been singing the praises of seasonal
produce lately. Organic Gardening and Delicious Living both
reminded us that red grapes (and red wine) contain phytochemicals, including but
not ending with resveratrol, that help heart health but also help fight against
cancer. And Delicious Living also featured Brussels sprouts as a seasonal
vege-table; it is likely to be freshest when bought on the stalk, can be easily
and briefly boiled or steamed, and is loaded with vitamin C and phytonutrients
known to reduce cancer risk.
In addition, the Outpost Exchange featured winter
squash, a native American crop known to have been cultivated as far back as 3000
BC. While summer squashes are harvested earlier in the growing season, winter
squashes are the ones that are harvested in late Fall and can be kept for months
in proper conditions – and generally have the bright orange flesh that signals
high levels of beta-carotene. In fact, a one-cup serving can provide 73% of your
daily vitamin A need, 17% of vitamin C, 13% of your potassium, and 5.7 grams of
fiber, in only 70 calories. The easiest way to cook the things is to cut them in
half, scrape out the seeds and pulp, and place them cut-side-down on a pan in a
400 degree oven until soft (35 to 45 minutes for small ones, longer for heavier
ones like pumpkin and butternut). You can eat them baked, or stuff them and
reheat skin side down to warm the stuffing, or puree the flesh for mashed squash
or squash soup.
Other good vegetable food news includes the discovery,
reported recently in the Archives of Internal Medicine, that a raw food
diet does not raise the risk of osteoporosis: even though the raw foodists in
the study tended to be thinner than average and have lower bone density, their
bone turnover rates were normal and they had no greater fracture risk than
others. In their usual dairy-boosting fashion, Prevention reported on a
study which found that eating dairy helped reduce PMS – but when you look at the
details, it was the calcium and vitamin D (for which there are of course
non-dairy sources) that was doing the trick. Vitamin D may also help prevent the
development of type 2 diabetes; think supplemented soymilk and time in the sun
if you don’t do dairy. A little hot pepper in tomato juice seems to help reduce
one’s appetite and thus serve as a diet aid if taken half an hour before a meal.
Seasonal cranberries are actually nutritious as well as a Thanksgiving
tradition: they have polyphenols which may help one’s arteries to be more
stretchy. Other polyphenol sources include chocolate, strawberries,
pomegranates, and black and green teas.
On a different note, Prevention reported that sexual
dysfunction in women was found to be related to metabolic syndrome which can
im-pair the cardiovascular system; their recommendation was a
calorie-controlled and low cholesterol diet with plenty of fruits, fiber, and
vegetables (which sounds suspiciously vegetarian, though the article did not
Meanwhile, magnesium in the diet can help prevent
inflammation of the sort that can lead to heart disease; magnesium-rich foods
include soy, beans, seeds, whole grains, bananas, dried apricots, avocados, and
dark green leafy vegetables. A similar set of foods are good sources of vitamin
B6, which seems to be helpful in protecting DNA from tumor-causing damage and
thus in preventing some cancers. Beans, bananas, and broccoli were mentioned as
good sources. Dark chocolate is again being named as high in antioxident polyphenols and thus
heart-protective. And Prevention had an article on iron deficiency, which
is apparently common among Americans and leaves people tired and weak. Dietary
sources include dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruits, and beans – but since
vegetable-sourced iron is harder to absorb than meat-sourced iron, vegetarians
should try to eat a vitamin C food along with their vegetarian iron source to
enhance absorption. On the other hand, a lack of energy might denote a lack of B
group vitamins rather than an iron deficiency. The “It’s So Natural” column in
the Outpost Exchange suggested getting B vitamins from brewer’s yeast,
whole grains (and rice bran and wheat germ), seeds, nuts, potatoes, almonds,
mushrooms, soybeans, molasses, spinach, cauliflower, and even citrus fruits. The
article also named magnesium as a nutrient that can help energy levels, with
nuts, leafy green veggies, molasses, soybeans, sunflower seeds and wheat germ
named as good sources, as well as cayenne, dandelion leaves, peppermint, and
As of October 15, the new Milwaukee Public Market will be a
year-round venue for buying all sorts of nifty foodstuffs. It will actually
feature a complete mix of products for all kinds of cuisine, including
free-range and organic poultry, for example, but also offering organic
vegetables and fruits from Fields’ Best, natural grains, rice, dried fruits and
legumes from Oskri Organics, and so on. It is in Milwaukee’s Third Ward, on the
corner of Water St. and St. Paul Ave., and there is adjacent free parking.
The most recent E Magazine (to which I have subscribed ever since they
did a cover story on the need for environmentalists to be vegetarian) did a
feature story on coffee. The main point was the major environmental and social
impact of how coffee is grown. Coffee trees are naturally rainforest understory
plants, growing in the shade of intact and wonderfully diverse ecosystems, but
much of the world’s coffee is now grown in monocultures in full sun. This is
ecologically devastating, and further, the peasants that work them are not paid
enough for a decent life while being heavily exposed to very dangerous
pesticides and herbicides. There is a solution: shade-grown, often organic,
fair-trade coffee is increasingly available, and buying that can really help
push things in the right direction. Companies that provide it include: Audubon
Coffee, Café Canope, Café Campesino, Caffe Sanora, Dean’s Beans, Equal Exchange
(my personal favorite), Jim’s Organic Coffee, Peace Coffee, Thanksgiving Coffee
Company, and Wild Forest Coffee.
The recent PCRM article on the subject of hospital food, and
my own recent experience, have brought my attention to this issue.
In my own case, I knew going in that it would be hopeless to
expect a hospital kitchen to supply me with my usual whole foods, organic
vegetarian diet – they might have been able to figure out vegetarian, with a
little help, but the rest would be completely beyond them. I arranged ahead of
time to have Chuck bring me food in accordance with the type of diet they would
have me on (typically after surgery they move one from clear liquids on to thick
liquids and then soft foods; I went home before we got to normal diet). The
kitchen was commendably concerned that I was not taking trays from them at all.
But it does make one wonder about the average hospital patient’s nutrition: just
when one needs super nutrition most, to heal from illness or injury, the
Standard American Diet seems to prevail.
I have some ideas about how hospital kitchens could feasibly improve their
performance, which I will suggest if Froedtert actually calls me after reading
the survey I filled out. They could offer patients an organic fruit bowl. They
could offer soymilk as a beverage option. They could buy a pallet of Natural
Ovens 100% whole grain bread, keep it in the freezer, and toast up some slices
for anyone who requested it. They could offer a vegetarian/vegan entrée as an
option at each meal – probably non-vegetarians would request those at times.
What do you think? What would you add? I’d love to hear from you (962-2703).