Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Meat & Depression?

Interesting study linking vegetarian diets to better mood.

Quoted from PCRM:

Vegetarians have lower instances of depression, according to a new study in Nutrition Journal. Researchers looked at 60 vegetarians and 78 meat-eaters in the southwestern United States and found that vegetarians scored significantly better on standardized mood tests. The mood tests measured depression, anxiety, and stress and were compared to food frequency questionnaires. The vegetarians consumed less eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and arachidonic acid—all animal sources of omega-6 fatty acids—but reported higher mean intakes of plant sources of omega-6 and omega-3.

Who knows whether these claims are strictly accurate - I so often find there's some sort of bias involved or that it's not statistically viable so I'm a bit sceptical of these things now.

But if it is true WOOHOO! (that's my vegan good cheer speaking)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Food Inc. aka Doom & Gloom

I checked this out last night on my free tickets from Animals Australia (thanks!) and whilst there were lots of things I already knew I still found it fascinating viewing.

It was not all meat and slaughterhouses (which really would have been masochistic self flagellation for me to go watch for 1.5hrs) but had enough to make my non-veg brother realise it really isn't like the happy mini farm we grew up on anymore. And to make my already clued up vegetarian friend discover things like downer cows.

The stuff I didn't already know was equally heartbreaking:
  • the poor minorities who spend so much on drugs to manage their diabetes they can't actually afford food that doesn't cause diabetes,
  • Veggie Libel Laws mean that you can be sued by a multinational megacorporation for calling for an enquiry or criticising their food product, even if it kills a child, but the 'Cheeseburger' Bill means consumers cannot sue producers for health problems
  • that just a handful of megacorporations literally control all the food in America, and that in so many cases the industry IS the government
  • that the meat processors have buses set up specifically to bring illegal workers from Mexico to their processing plants,  
  • that Monsanto has patented GMO soybeans meaning farmers are no longer allowed to save seeds to plant again next year - they must continue to purchase from Monsanto or they get sued for infringing copyright
  • the poor farmers who get sued by Monsanto because some of Monsanto's GMO plants have contaminated their crops and they didn't pay Monsanto for them, 
  • the government subsidies that ensure fast food is cheaper than fresh food, 
  • that 70% of food in the US contains GMO ingredients and it does not have to be labelled, 
  • that cloned meat doesn't have to be labelled, 
  • that FDA and USDA aren't allowed to shut down any meat processors no matter how many times they produce contaminated meat that kill people, 
  • 5 billion other horrible things that display industries' contempt for consumers

When we walked home afterwards there were comments that thankfully it's not like that in Australia. No, I don't think it is. So should we continue mindlessly buying whatever is cheapest or yummiest on the shelf? Cos it's not our problem?

I just hope that the American scenario gives people the foresight to make sure Australia doesn't follow down the very same path - why wouldn't it when it's still the consumer dollar that votes?

Our food producers are huge and already have the power to lobby the government. We have Monsanto in Australia. Our highly processed products such as canola oil don't have to be labelled as GMO. And just like America, we want more for less. We want cheap food, fast. We want to have meat at every meal, and while we say we care, as a majority we don't want to pay even a dollar more for something that treats animals, people, or the environment better. Yep, I would go so far as to say that what happens in America IS our problem.

Edit: I hear you are supposed to finish up negative posts with something positive. So in good news, I had Lord of the Fries with cheese and gravy on the way to see that movie and it was divine.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

All the little things that were non-blogworthy in themselves

Uluru, Kings Canyon, Kata Tjuta
Spent 5 days with the family doing the Aussie tourism thing, walking through rocks and desert and filling my eyeballs with things that aren't grey and concrete. Ahhh so good. Wish I could say the same about the food. Goddamn, they serve up some nasty shit at extortionate prices. I think the vego meals were actually better than the shrivelled up inedible lumps they tried to pass off as calamari. Guess you can't expect too much when everything has to be transported a billion miles to get there and there's nowhere else to eat. In unexpected and amazing news, Alice Springs had a vegan breakfast with tofu scramble. Woo!

Yum! Took the parentals out for dinner to my fave vego restaurant in Melbourne. Food was divine as usual, although the balsamic bok choy with gnocchi was sadly no longer on the menu, replaced by a chestnut ravioli with mushroom reduction which I didn't find as amazing as it sounds. Tofu caramel was drool worthy as ever. Swoon Swoon.

See, this is definitely not blogworthy, but how disappointed were you that that vegetarian challenge was based around goat's cheese? Who can't make something delicious with cheese? (Obviously Skye and Calum). I was hanging out for them to have to cook with tofu to see what miraculous inventions I have never tried they could come up with. Luckily Kylie Kwong made an awesome eggplant dish I'm going to try making tomorrow night.

If you aren't making these things you are missing out
Vegan Dad's Mac N Cheese - this has been a staple in my diet for a year now and I get cravings for it all the time. Rich, creamy, fattening, this is the ultimate comfort food. I change the proportions a bit, add a little soy sauce, drop the cornflour and sub at least half the tofu for smoked tofu (or add a couple of drops of liquid smoke) for a smokey bacony flavour. So good you will eat until you want to puke. My non-veg workmate just asked if he could pay me to bring him a container of this sauce.

Raw Pad Thai - after getting fat on the mac n cheese this salad is the perfect less-guilty option. And it's even better the next day which is rare in the salad world. Zucchini noodles rule!

Yasai Itame Soup - this is one of the few things I feel brave enough to serve at dinner parties, knowing it will make me look like a masterchef. It's got all my favourite things - lemongrass, coriander, chili, ginger, lime juice, coconut milk. It's delicious, looks great, and you can't fuck it up. This recipe uses fish sauce but I have subbed with soy sauce and it's just as good.

BBQ Tofu - this is my favourite and easiest way to prepare tofu and is great in a burger. Just marinate a few slices of smoked tofu for 10 mins or so in a mix of equal parts soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and nutritional yeast, with a splash of maple syrup to taste. Shallow fry the tofu till browned, remove oil, then add the reserved marinade at the end to reduce into a sticky bbq sauce. 

Mighty Mite on toast - is there crack in this? I'm so hooked.

Chinese broccoli - my new fave Asian green. This pisses all over bok choy. What took me so long?