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October 2005
 

GREETINGS
 

It is confirmed. Our 11th Annual PreThanksgiving Vegetarian Feast will take place on Sunday, Nov. 20, at 5 PM at the Unity Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1025 E. Oklahoma Ave. in the Bay View area. It will be all vegan this year, in accordance with the general trend for such events. Doors will open at 5, and the food line will start at 5:30; again, we will take pains to ensure that food will be served on a “first come, first through the line” basis. Charges will be $5 per person for individuals or families bringing a dish to pass, and $10 apiece for adults and teens and $7 apiece for children 5 to12 years old if the family is not bringing food; children under 5 come for free. Preregistration is required. The poster with the registration form is in the works, but you can register using the form in this newsletter.


M.A.R.V. ACTIVITIES


Sunday, Oct. 2, 5 PM, regular potluck at the Friends’ Meeting House, 3324 N. Gordon Pl. in Riverwest (from Humboldt Ave. go east on Auer a few short blocks to the parking lot). Theme will be raw foods. As always, bring a raw food dish OR whatever else you wish.

Subsequent regular potlucks will be at the same place and time on Nov. 6, Dec. 4, Jan. 8, Feb. 2, and March 2.

Sunday, Nov. 20, Pre Thanksgiving Feast, 5 PM.

There will be no macrobiotic potluck in November, and the raw foods potluck has merged with ours.

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

Plant-based nutrition provides us with a pathway to escape the coronary artery disease epidemic… it has become ever more apparent that these conferences are not the ultimate answer. This stopgap risk factor and drug oriented device-driven approach is not designed to conquer this epidemic. This strategy is laden with expense, morbidity, mortality, and temporary benefits which rapidly erode with time. We must focus on the toxic food environment for otherwise our children and young adults will become the next unsuspecting victims.

-- from remarks by Dr. Caldwell B Esselstyn, Jr. at the Summit Conference on Cholesterol and Coronary Risk, Sept. 2, 2000.

NEWS

The only food controversy I found this month was a warning from the Organic Consumers Association that the powers that be are at it again, trying to undermine organic standards yet once more. This time they’re trying to get Congress to move the control of organic standards from the excellent and principled National Organic Standards Board to the far more industry-compliant US Department of Agriculture. At this writing, there may already have been a vote, but that would only increase the need for everyone to phone or write or email their congresscritters and insist that we need the strong good organic standards provided by the NOSB, and that the USDA should NOT be involved in setting them!

In the bad ingestibles category, there was an item about high levels of PCBs in the Milwaukee River near Lincoln Park and other Milwaukee area river sites; the DNR reports that these levels are high enough to endanger humans and wildlife – and of course that would include eating fish caught in those spots! A multi-million dollar cleanup is being proposed. But speaking of fish, it’s not really good that a variety of well-intentioned (we presume) bodies are still busily listing which fish are good to eat, dangerous to eat, or endangered – rather than helping people back off eating them.

Delicious Living ran an item on whether food or pills/ supplements are better for you. Their conclusions were: Soy foods are better and safer than soy supplements. Lycopene-containing foods do a better job of helping the immune system than supplements (think tomato sauce, tomato juice, tomato paste, even ketchup – but do choose organic here, since pesticide residues would get concentrated along with the lycopene!)) If you do eat fish for the omega-3 fatty acids, you need to know that not all fish are useful for that purpose; vegetarians should know by now that dark green leafy vegetables, ground flax seeds, flax seed and hemp seed oils, and walnuts and walnut oils are all good omega-3 sources. And although the important immune-system boosting mineral selenium is found in whole grains, nuts, seeds, garlic, and asparagus, vegetarians may have trouble getting it since levels depend on the soil these foods are grown in, and many US soils are depleted. Delicious Living suggests a daily 200 mcg supplement; my guess is that organically grown foods, which have generally been grown in compost-enriched soils, might be higher quality food than commercially-grown items in this as in other areas.

Do readers detect an “organic is good” bias here? I acknowledge that unashamedly; you are free to decide for yourself.

As always, there is good news about various vegetarian foods.

Olive oil’s monounsaturated fatty acids benefit the heart. Spinach is a strong protector of the cardiovascular system, eyes, and bones, and has potent anticancer agents. Another dark green leafy is mache/ corn salad/ lamb’s lettuce; it has a sweet and nutty taste, and supplies high levels of beta-carotene/ vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, folic acid, and potassium. And again, girls who ate plenty of fruit while growing up had stronger bones than those who ate less, while on a different note, a combination of lots of fruits and vegetables along with low-saturated fat foods is more heart-protective than either strategy alone (sounds vegetarian to me!)

Cocoa has lots of antioxidents—even more than green tea; the trick is to enjoy one’s cocoa and chocolate with a minimum of sugar. Delicious Living suggests making one’s own cocoa by mixing a tablespoon of pure cocoa powder with non-fat milk (or soy milk) and stevia. Prevention adds that recently-discovered benefits of cocoa include flavonols that seem to lower bad cholesterol and ease inflammation to improve blood flow; also, a recent Italian study found dark chocolate decreased blood pressure. They listed in descending order the kinds of chocolate with the most goodies (which partly depend on how the cocoa beans were processed): natural unsweetened cocoa powder, unsweetened baking chocolate, alkalinized or Dutch cocoa powder, and plain dark chocolate.

A study from the Sphera Foundation found that people with high homocysteine levels who ate 8 strawberries every day for 8 weeks were able to lower their heart-dangerous homocysteine levels significantly. In a Harvard study, kudzu extract helped heavy drinkers to scale back their drinking. Prevention reports that canned pumpkin has more fiber and carotenoids than fresh (go figure – perhaps it’s more con-centrated). And the same magazine conceded that you can get calcium without milk! from Sanfaustino bottled water.

THE VEGGIE TABLE

By guest columnist Jan Taylor

No. 1 Chinese Restaurant, at 2678 S. Kinnikinnick (between Lincoln and Oklahoma) is pleasant, brightly lit, and very veg-friendly.

One section of their menu is Vegetarian “meat,” described as soybean protein. I think it’s probably tempeh, or something similar. All items on the menu are color-coded: black ink means mild; red ink means spicy.

I ordered Vegetable Chicken with Orange Flavor, which was so delicious that I almost licked the plate! The sauce included matchstick strips of orange rind. I was very hungry, and really ate a lot, but still had to ask for a box to take home the ample leftovers. At $8.55 this was a real bargain.

There were six other items on the Vegetarian “meat” section, and I’m going to have to go back a few times to try more of them. They are open until 10 PM Sunday-Thursday, and 10:30 PM Friday and Saturday. (414) 482-2218.

CONNECTIONS

For information on bringing organics to your school, check out:

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Stonyfield Farm’s Healthy Vending Machine

www.stonyfield.com/menuforchange

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Farm To School Program

www.farmstoschool.org

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Rethinking School Lunch

www.ecoliteracy.org/programs/rsl.html

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Edible Schoolyard

www.edibleschoolyard.org/howto/html

 

Apologies if this issue seems a bit light-weight, but I (Louise, your editor) learned this week that I need brain surgery next week, and I am a bit distracted.