On the culinary front it’s been a pretty easy ride. Y’see, right after we watched the movie we didn’t march into the kitchen, swing wide the doors to the refrigerator and freezer, and toss all our meat, dairy, and eggs into the garbage. That’d be crazy. We spent money on that stuff!
But soon … there went the last of the butter … hello, Earth Balance Buttery Spread. Not bad at all. After the last egg had been scrambled, I found a recipe for a great breakfast hash made from mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, garlic, fried potatoes and tofu. Yeah … tofu. I have been making fun of tofu for years. But when it works … it works.
Since I do the cooking around here the challenge was to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner just as satisfying as before. Food isn’t just fuel … it has to be fun too. All our good intentions would slide right out into the street and get hit by a bus if the food doesn’t taste good. So far the transition from animal based meals to vegetarian to vegan has been fairly smooth.
The first Real Vegan Test for me happened when the mayo ran out. As far as I’m concerned the basis for the perfect sandwich, whether it’s a cold cut sub or a cheeseburger, is mayonnaise. There must always be mayonnaise. It is not a subject open to debate. I was skeptical that an egg-less mayo could substitute for the king of condiments, but score one for team vegan with Vegenaise. There is life after Hellman’s. Or if you live west of the Rockies, Best Foods.
Epic Fail Department:
Marinate extra-firm tofu in your favorite home-made or bottled BBQ sauce, and bake in a 350-degree oven until the tofu is heated through and the sauce is cooked into it. Then take it out of the oven and when cooled … throw it away. Serve with a Cannellini Bean Salad with Fresh Herbs and go to bed hungry, filled with despair. A few nights later I made a soup that was just slightly more interesting than a bowl of hot water. But that’s about it on the Who The Hell Wants To Eat This? front.
The rest of the meals have worked. After dinner we take a poll. If everyone wants to eat this again the recipe goes into the winner pile. The goal is to get at least a dozen winners we can rotate through and not feel like we’re missing something from the old routine.
I’ve been fooling around with seitan (sey-tan) and grilled onions and peppers, topped with non-dairy cheese … a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich. A good Philly Cheese Steak sandwich.
My long-term goal is to come up with a showstopper of a dinner. Y’know … the kind of meal that only comes out of a kitchen a few times throughout the year, like the Thanksgiving turkey, Easter ham, or the celebratory Prime Rib roast. Somewhere in a pile of vegan recipes is a dinner that will amaze and satisfy on that level, and when I find it I’ll let you know. I think it has something to do with mushroom gravy.
Here are interesting facts I’ve accumulated on our vegan journey. It’s cut and paste time from the writings of Michael Greger, M.D. regarding trans fats:
“Trans fats are basically found only one place in nature, animal fat. The food industry, however, found a way to synthetically create these toxic fats by hardening vegetable oil in a process called hydrogenation, which rearranges their atoms to make them behave more like animal fats. Although most of America's trans fat intake comes from processed foods containing partially-hydrogenated oils, a fifth of the trans fats American adults consume comes from animal products.
According to the official National Nutrient Database, 5% of the fat in a burger is trans fat. The fat in cheese averages 3% trans fat and butter can be up to 7% trans fat. Hot dog and turkey fat average about 4% trans fats, and the fat in pork rinds … is 1% trans fat.
Is 1% a problem, though? The most prestigious scientific body in the United States, the National Academy of Science, concluded that the only safe intake of trans fat is zero. In their report condemning trans fats they couldn't even assign a Tolerable Upper Daily Limit of intake because "any incremental increase in trans fatty acid intake increase coronary heart disease risk."
Trans fats, according to the report, "are unavoidable on ordinary, non-vegan diets..." One of the authors of the report, [Eric Rimm ScD] a nutritional epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health, explained why they didn't recommend a vegan diet: "We can't tell people to stop eating all meat and all dairy products," he said. "Well, we could tell people to become vegetarians," he added. "If we were truly basing this only on science, we would, but it is a bit extreme."”
So let me get this straight … The most prestigious scientific body in the United States concluded that the only safe intake of trans fats is … zero. Seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? And we’re not just talking about the risk of heart disease when it comes to trans fats. A 2013 study from Vanderbilt University suggests a diet with trans fatty acids may contribute to death from any cause. Except if you’re hit by a truck.
To sum up: Your daily intake of trans fats should equal your daily intake of plutonium. Zero. And the only way I know of to completely eliminate trans fats is to adopt a vegan diet. That is, if I were basing my decision only on y’know … science.
Margo Wootan, policy director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest said in a statement on July 10, 2002:
“The National Academy of Science’s report is the first attempt by a panel of experts to set a safe intake level for trans fat. The … panel concluded that the only safe intake of trans fat is ‘zero.’ However, because it would be impractical to eliminate all trans fat from the diet, the panel recommended that people consume as little trans fat as possible.”
Well the question arises … impractical for whom? My family has certainly been able to kick trans fats out of our diet no problemo. It was a simple matter of finding vegan recipes (they’re all over The Internet) and buying different stuff at the store. And switching to a vegan diet was pocketbook practical as well. But if everyone eliminated trans fats from their diets it would be incredibly impractical for the bottom line of the Animal Agriculture and processed foods industries.
But we didn’t start going down the vegan route for health reasons. It was because Animal Agriculture is the most destructive industry operating on the planet. And it was something we could do about it. Anyone can. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is now available at cowspiracy.com as a downloadable video or you can purchase the DVD. Get a copy and watch it. It’s the most compelling documentary I have ever seen.
Oh yeah. I’m a Twit now. Please … Everyone who cares about All Things Bob can follow me @bobalex_63
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My Favorite(?) Excerpt
The discrepancy between the kind of society many Germans thought they were building and the reality of the horror of the Third Reich presents one of the most intriguing questions of our age. How could Fascism -- have happened in a modern, industrialized, educated nation?
Click here for the excerpt from They Thought They Were Free, The Germans, 1938-45 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955) by Milton Mayer
Books I Give To People I Know and Maybe They'll Still Talk To Me But Probably Won't
Deep Green Resistance - Strategy to Save the Planet
Aric McBay, Lierre Keith, and Derrick Jensen
For years, Derrick Jensen has asked his audiences, “Do you think this culture will undergo a voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable way of life?” No one ever says yes.
Deep Green Resistance starts where the environmental movement leaves off: industrial civilization is incompatible with life. Technology can’t fix it, and shopping—no matter how green—won’t stop it. To save this planet, we need a serious resistance movement that can bring down the industrial economy. Deep Green Resistance evaluates strategic options for resistance, from nonviolence to guerrilla warfare, and the conditions required for those options to be successful.
Clicking on the book links to Deep Green Resistance website.
The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder
by Vincent Bugliosi
"I hope that at some time in the near future a courageous U.S. attorney general, U.S. attorney, state attorney general, or district attorney in America who is committed to the rule of law and who has dedicated his career to enforcing the law fairly against all who, big or small, violate it, will hear the cries for justice from the graves of the thousands upon thousands of men, women, and children who had their lives violently cut short because of the lies of a man who smiled through it all. And that, with a sense of uncompromising righteousness, he will take the ample case I have laid out in this book before an American jury to let them decide whether George W Bush is guilty or not guilty of murder, and if so, what his punishment should be.
Even if this doesn't happen and what I have said in this book receives all the attention of a new fly in the forest, I do know that someone had to say what is written on the pages of this book."
From The Prosecution of George W. Bush For Murder by Vincent Bugliosi, page 168.
Clicking on the book links to the book's website.
Vincent Bugliosi testifying before the House Judiciary Committee of the U.S. Congress.
Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America
by Russ Baker
How did Bush happen? How did George W. Bush, of all people, rise to the most powerful position in the world? This simple question sparked a five-year investigative odyssey by Russ Baker. What he found will force us to rethink virtually everything we thought we knew about the Bush family and its role in shaping recent American history.
In FAMILY OF SECRETS, Baker reveals that Bush, the people around him, and his policies are but an extreme, very public manifestation of what his family and its circle have always been about: an interlocking web of covert and overt machinations on behalf of a small cluster of elites-social, financial, industrial, military, intelligence-that enabled the Bush dynasty and propelled George W. Bush to the top.
Clicking on the book links to the Powell's Books online store.
Rules for Radicals
by Saul D Alinsky
"What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away."
In 1971, Saul Alinsky wrote an entertaining classic on grassroots organizing titled Rules for Radicals.
For Alinsky, organizing is the process of highlighting what is wrong and convincing people they can actually do something about it.
Clicking on the book links to the author's website.
The End of America: Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot
by Naomi Wolf
In a stunning indictment of the Bush administration and Congress, best-selling author Naomi Wolf lays out her case for saving American democracy. In authoritative research and documentation Wolf explains how events of the last six years parallel steps taken in the early years of the 20th century’s worst dictatorships such as Germany, Russia, China, and Chile.
Clicking on the book links to the publisher's website.
As Basil Fawlty keenly observed: but ... this is no joke.
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
by Naomi Klein
Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine advances a truly unnerving argument: historically, while people were reeling from natural disasters, wars and economic upheavals, savvy politicians and industry leaders nefariously implemented policies that would never have passed during less muddled times. As Klein demonstrates, this reprehensible game of bait-and-switch isn't just some relic from the bad old days. It's alive and well in contemporary society, and coming soon to a disaster area near you.
Clicking on the book links to the author's website.
If you like Sean, Rush, Bill-O, Savage, and dutifully watch Fox ... You'll hate listening to Mike. I listen every day.
"Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections" As the 2008 presidential elections draw near and disillusioned voters are still reeling from the election fraud scandals of 2004 and 2006, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker David Earnhardt takes a logical and factual look at just how easy it is to alter election results and undermine the integrity of the entire democratic process. By speaking with a series of renowned computer programmers, journalists, statisticians, and even seasoned election officials, chilling proof that the people may not be guiding the direction of our country after all. Click here to go to the "Uncounted" website.
"Iraq For Sale" An eye-opening exposé of the war profiteering companies raking in billions of dollars from the war, click here to go to the "Iraq For Sale" website.
"War Made Easy" exposes a 50-year pattern of government deception and media spin that has dragged the United States into one war after another from Vietnam to Iraq. Click here to go to the "War Made Easy" website.