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I've had requests to start up a regular weekly diary on vegetarian issues and vegetarian recipes. Sunday mornings work pretty well for me so if the demand is there, I'll do it (poll below).

As for this first week, I've got a few topics related to the environment, poverty, and food that I read about this week to share with you. Please do me the favor of checking them out (on the flip) and decide if you are interested.

This diary is for everyone - you don't have to be a vegetarian.

Just a quick definition on what is a "vegetarian" issue... I have no interest in campaigning for all people to give up meat (or eggs or dairy). But there are several reason why millions of people choose to give up or reduce their consumption of meat. I'll put the issues out there, and you can make up your own mind. If you want to start eating one vegetarian dinner per week, or start buying grass-fed organic beef instead of the store-bought alternative, that's up to you.

Another use for this diary can be as a vegetarian/vegan support forum. How do you stay healthy? How do you deal with social situations? How do you make a family dinner for 3 omnivores and a veggie?

So here goes...

Finger Lickin' Bad: How Poultry Producers Are Ravaging the Rural South
Grist magazine ran this article as a part of a series on the environment and poverty.

"These companies seek rural areas where unemployment, or underemployment, is high and people are desperate for ways to stay on the farm," says Aloma Dew, a Sierra Club organizer in Kentucky. "They assume that poor, country people will not organize or speak up, and that they will be ignorant of the impacts on their health and quality of life."

The companies provide local growers, who work under contract, with chicks, feed, medicine, and transportation. Growers take care of the rest, investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in construction, maintenance, and labor costs. When the company requires upgrades, the costs fall to the growers. The massive amounts of manure, too, are their responsibility. (In Arkansas alone, chicken farms produce an amount of waste each day equal to that produced by 8 million people.) Payment is results-oriented, based on measures like total weight gain of the flock. It's a system, says the United Food and Commercial Workers, that leaves 71 percent of growers earning below poverty-level wages.

The long story short is that the major chicken producers, like Tyson, basically blackmail rural communities into producing their chicken for them. This isn't win-win. It's win-lose-lose. Tyson wins. The growers lose because they take on all of the costs and responsibilities and they are at the mercy of corporate giants like Tyson in order to keep from going under financially. The local population loses too, because the chicken farms smell and the chicken farms hurt the local environment and the local economy.

How to Take Action: Buy locally-produced free range organic chicken - or none at all if it suits you. Also, when you buy eggs, look for free range vegetarian Omega-3 eggs. Look for sustainable animal products at http://www.eatwellguide.org.

Update (from the comments):

There's no standard for what makes a free range chicken or their eggs.

The only standards for eggs and chicken meat that aren't cruel to chickens are California Certified Organic and the Oregon Tilth.

By the way, chickens make fabulous pets for the backyard, and are very thrifty with our own leftovers. Chicken feed is very cheap, a 50 lb. bag sells for about $9.50 where I live and each of my two hens consumes about 50 lbs per year. Bog-standard chicken feed doesn't contain meat scraps! Chicken feed that contains meat scraps is simply too expensive (if you can even find it).

I'm Hatin' It: How the Feds Make Bad-For-You Food Cheaper Than Healthful Fare
Here is another good one from Grist magazine. While it doesn't address meat issues, it does address politics, poverty, the environment, and food - my topic du jour.

Corn receives mucho federal subsidies. So where does all that corn go?

50% goes to feed animals.
20% is exports.
10% is ethanol.
10% is excess.

And 5% goes for HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup).

Our food system is shot through with corn. It feeds the animals that feed us: more than 50 percent of the harvest goes into domestic animal operations. About 5 percent flows into high-fructose corn syrup, adding a sweet jolt to soft drinks, confections, and breakfast cereal. All told, it's a cheap source of calories and taste. Yet all this convenience comes with a price -- and not just an environmental one.

Cheap corn, underwritten by the subsidy program, has changed the diet of every American. It has allowed a few corporations -- including Archer Daniels Midland, the world's largest grain processor -- to create a booming market for high-fructose corn syrup. HFCS now accounts for nearly half of the caloric sweeteners added to processed food, and is the sole caloric sweetener for mass-market soft drinks. Between 1975 and 1997, per-capita consumption jumped from virtually nothing to 60.4 pounds per year -- equal to about 200 calories per person, per day. Consumption has generally hovered around that level since.

The article says that subsidies encourage overproduction - and then they translate that into real terms for someone who is out shopping for foods. Which do you choose - a Ding Dong (chock full of HFCS), or a three-ounce serving of salmon?

As a vegetarian/health nut, I choose neither - but that's not the point. Someone living from paycheck to paycheck, working three jobs (like that Mom who Bush thought was "uniquely American"), has limited money and time to commit to buying and preparing foods. I just read the book Nickel and Dimed about a journalist who tried to make ends meet while working minimum wage jobs - she and her coworkers ate lunch at convenience stores.

How to Take Action: Stop buying foods made with high fructose corn syrup. This is almost synonymous with "stop buying [most] processed foods." If that sounds too outrageous to you, try to reduce the amount you eat. Try to snack on fruit - it's already sweet and delicious, you don't have to cook it, and it's free of HCFS.

If you read labels, you can find many foods made without HCFS - usually they are more abundant at a natural foods coop or a Whole Foods or in the natural foods aisle at your regular grocery. When reading labels, alternative sweeteners include brown rice syrup, stevia, sucanat, evaporated cane juice, maple syrup, agave nectar, honey, molasses, and date sugar or dates.

Mother Jones Takes on School Lunches
I came across an older Mother Jones article this week. They explored school lunches nationwide and found the vast majority served artery-clogging fare.

At a time when weight-related illnesses in children are escalating, schools are serving kids the very foods that lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. That's because the National School Lunch Program, which gives schools more than $6 billion each year to offer low-cost meals to students, has conflicting missions. Enacted in 1946, the program is supposed to provide healthy meals to children, regardless of income. At the same time, however, it's designed to subsidize agribusiness, shoring up demand for beef and milk even as the public's taste for these foods declines.

In addition to already spending more than double on beef and cheese what it spends on veggies (mostly canned or frozen), our government also makes special purchases in response to lobbying.

In response to lobbying?!!! The health of our children is left up to the lobbyists? Healthcare costs make up 16% of the GDP and they are going up as a percent. The very people who are least able to afford healthcare are the ones who receive school lunches. These are the children who most need a healthy diet and healthy lifelong eating habits.

Additionally, the article goes on to describe how schools integrate their lunch programs into their budgets. The subsidized commodities are cheap, whereas healthier foods are more expensive. How much do you want to bet that the richer districts are able to afford healthier food than the poor districts?

How to Take Action: If you are a parent, you can get involved. At a minimum, you can pack your child's lunch - but you can also contact the school and find out more about their school lunch program, and organize parents in your community to take action.

***********

The high fructose corn syrup article points out that obesity occurs at the highest frequencies among the lower income population and among disadvantaged minorities. I personally do not consume chicken, beef, high fructose corn syrup... and usually dairy too (although I'm not vegan yet AND I live in Wisconsin). My own personal dietary restrictions do not ameliorate the problem facing our nation. The solution needs to come on a grander scale.

To start, we can write LTEs or write our representatives. Real change won't come nationally until the Repugs are out of power - but there is hope on a local level. In my city, Madison, liberals are trying to mandate a certain amount of paid sick leave for the low wage jobs in town. That doesn't have to do with food - but it shows that change is possible on a local level.

As promised, here are a few vegetarian recipes. More are available on my site.

Gado Gado - Indonesian dish of vegetables and tofu with peanut sauce

Prep time: 10 min; Total time: 10 min

Ingredients

  • 1 lb tofu
  • 1 c. broccoli
  • 1 c. carrots
  • 1/2 c. bean sprouts
  • 1 hardboiled egg (optional)
  • 1/2 c. natural peanut butter
  • 1-2 tbsp. soy sauce (to taste)
  • 2 tsp. grade B maple syrup (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 1 tsp. rice vinegar (optional)
  • 1/4 c. water

Slice tofu into bitesized pieces. Steam tofu and vegetables (I just microwave them in a bowl with an inch of water in the bottom for about 5 min). On a plate, arrange all vegetables. Slice the egg and add it on top of the vegetables.

Combine peanut butter and all remaining ingredients and microwave for 2 min. Stir your peanut butter mixture until it is blended. Add water to reach your desired consistency (it should be thinner than normal peanut butter, but not liquidy).

Pour sauce over vegetables and enjoy with brown rice.

Tomato Basil Bean Soup

Prep time: 10 min; Total time: 10 min

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 c. diced tomatoes with juice (or 1 can)
  • 4 c. vegetable broth (or 2 cans)
  • 1 c. kidney beans (or 1 can, rinsed and drained)
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • Large handful fresh basil
  • Large handful fresh baby spinach (optional)
  • 3 tbsp. parmesan, grated (optional)
  • Pasta, cooked (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Fart-free beans: If you are using dried beans, boil them in water for 5 minutes the night before. Discard the water and then soak your beans (in new water) overnight. Change the soak water once while beans are soaking and discard soak water before beginning to make your soup. Cook beans in a pressure cooker for about 10-12 minutes or boil them on the stove for 40 minutes before beginning to make your soup (you can get your beans started first and then begin working on the rest of the soup while they cook).

If you plan to serve your soup with pasta, begin cooking the pasta in a separate pot before beginning to make the rest of your soup.

Heat onion and olive oil over medium high heat. Add minced garlic and continue to saute until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes, broth, bay leaf, and beans. Cover and bring to a boil.

Once the soup is boiling (and pasta, if you are including it, is al dente), remove the lid and add basil, spinach, parmesan cheese, and pasta. Stir the greens in until they wilt. Taste and add salt or fresh ground pepper if necessary.

Originally posted to OrangeClouds115 on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 03:59 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4.00)
    Just to provide the background on the name of this diary...
    As you probably know by now (since I won't shut up about it), I made a new website for vegetarian and vegan cooking about a month ago. A week or so ago, I checked my traffic stats and saw 39 hits from the IAEA site. Yep, the Nobel Peace Prize IAEA.

    I still haven't solved the mystery of where all those hits came from, but someone suggested they might have been on the lookout for VMDs - vegetables of mass destruction.

    Well, IAEA, if you're looking for them - here they are.

    Help me retire to Hawaii by age 30! Pimp my site Simple Vegetarian Recipes!

    by OrangeClouds115 on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 04:01:44 AM PST

  •  I try and I eat meat (4.00)
    I try to consume only meat products that have been raised locally and organically.  I can't stomach mass produced chicken and beef anymore after switching my diet away from the chemicals the mass producers use.

    I grow my own veggies in the summer but wish I was better about canning them for use during the non-harvesting season.  Instead, those that get yucky become compost.

    I rarely buy stuff out of season if they come from outside of the US.  That seems to me to be an invitation to more than I want to invite into my body.

    Hell, there are no rules here - we're trying to accomplish something. -- Thomas A. Edison

    by tvb on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 04:16:57 AM PST

    •  if (4.00)
      If I could find pork locally grown without that weird chemical taste, that would be a very good thing because I really like it.

      Hell, there are no rules here - we're trying to accomplish something. -- Thomas A. Edison

      by tvb on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 04:18:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We bought half a pig from my sister (4.00)
        a few years ago and it was to die for!

        The pig could roam around outside and ate very well--no pig chow from the feed mill, just high-quality scraps and some corn.  Its meat had an indewscribable aroma and flavor that I remember from my grandmother's table (she was a farm wife).

        Then we bought half a pig from a neighbor who apparently kept his pigs penned and fed them pig chow that was probably based partly on carcasses and manure.  It was the worst-tasting pork we ever had.

        The moral of the story is to take a lot of care in selecting the meat.  Look into how the pig lived.

      •  worth the effort (4.00)
        because commercial hog production is one of the largest environmental and agribusiness threats facing our food supply.
      •  Ask at your local feed store (4.00)
        They may know of a small scale operation that buys clean feed.

        Last year I bartered some eBay work for some of my neighbor's organic grass-fed Miniature Hereford cuts.  My family is half Vegan but I enjoyed the absolute best hamburger I have ever tasted.  I eat beef only a couple times a year and it's grass-fed only from now on!  

        "An inglorious peace is better than a dishonest war." - Mark Twain

        by skwimmer on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 08:44:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Where do you live? (none)
        I buy local, humanely-grown pork direct from 2 farmers, at New York City Greenmarkets, and it is fabulous. The downside is, it's very expensive, but I kinda look on the bright side of that too, in that it forces me to eat less meat and to use it in recipes that stretch it.

        At least one of these farmers might do mail-order. There are also local grass-fed beef, humanely-raised lamb, bison and poultry farmers at those markets. If you are within reach of the city, it might be worth your while to make a trip to Union Square early on a Wednesday, and stock your freezer. If you're too far away, I'd try researching this on line.

        -8.25,-8.36 The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

        by sidnora on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 10:39:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I started out like that (4.00)
      Trying to eat meat and other animal products sustainably. But I travel a LOT for work and after a while it got to the point where I felt really picky and rude when I was out with the customers. It's more polite to be a vegetarian who eats anything veggie than a picky omnivore. But once I decided to make the switch, I was happy with it. I wouldn't go back.

      Help me retire to Hawaii by age 30! Pimp my site Simple Vegetarian Recipes!

      by OrangeClouds115 on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 04:24:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hey I just wrote a long response (none)
        to your writing question of last night...

        -9.0, -8.3. The less a man knows about how sausages and laws are made, the easier it is to steal his vote and give him botulism.

        by SensibleShoes on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 08:45:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Whole Foods (none)
        markets carry many foods that are organic and/or free range.  They buy local beef/pork/chicken and the difference in taste is amazing.  I appreciate your hearty vegetarian recipes.  That will make it much easier for us to go meatless more often.  Thanks for the website.  
    •  how do you grow them? (none)
      I'm just curious because I've been reading about growing vegetables hydroponically.  It seems it would be easy enough to do during the summer, but as for year-round, the lighting requirements seem expensive...not to mention the energy use.
      •  I have been dabbling in hydroponics (4.00)
        I particullarly liked the tomatoes in the winter out of season. We are lucky to have a "sunroom" that gets a lot of southern exposure. Whatever suppleental light you use, make sure it is efficient. I used those compact flourescent bulbs with good reflectors. One thing to remember is that crops can grow MUCH faster with hydro. I have some bloggish stuff from my first attempt.

        dwarf tomatoes

        grape tomatoes

        outdoor hydroponic garden

        There is lots of home brew hydro info. out there on the internet- a lot of it about pot. Hydroponic pot is popular because it has a much stronger concentration of thc. Likewise hydroponically grown veggies are supposed to have much higher concentrations of vitamins. If you come across info. about how to sex your "tomato plants" you're getting the wrong info. I think it was relatively easy to set up. The equipment was basically plastic planters, styrofoam and an aquarium pump. The most expensive component was the nutrients.

        •  have you only tried tomatoes? (none)
          n/t
          •  lettuce too (none)
            Letttuce is really easy to do in a float system. I tried strawberries, but the system snafued when we were gone. They all dried out. More pictures of these available at above garden link.
            •  This is the big problem with hydroponics... (none)
              Plant them in the ground or in pots, their fine unattended for a day or two. With hydroponics if something breaks, everything can be dead in a matter of hours. I've dabbled with it, and frankly have to admit it's pretty cool, but never found it worth the trouble... Plus you can spend a fortune on it without even trying.

              Personally, there really isn't much reason not to just grow them in soil.

              But if your looking for a really cool way grow veggies that involves lots of equipment, fiddling, and money, and has an even greater chance of everything dying if something goes wrong, looking into aeroponics.  That's fun stuff.

      •  Hydroponics & energy: winter (none)
        In a sealed room, all the power going into your lights, except the relatively small % captured by photosynthesis, becomes heat, displacing some of your heating bill. Electric heat's far from the most economical, but still, this becomes part of your equation.

        A Senator YOU can afford
        $1 contributions only.
        Masel for Senate
        1214 E. Mifflin St.
        Madison, WI 53703

        by ben masel on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 11:49:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  agreed and seconded (4.00)
      Request for the next diary on this: discuss CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture).

      Eating locally is a great way to cut down on oil addiction.

      I was a vegetarian for 12 years, but I realized that I wasn't helping anyone by eating bananas in Brooklyn.

      Now I get a fair amount of my produce from my CSA or from Farmer's Markets and my meat comes from the CSA too. It's really the best meat I've ever had, too.

      Is it expensive? More expensive than getting it from your grocery, sure, but a hell of a lot less expensive than eating out, especially if you're looking to eat out with ingredients as good as you'd get with a CSA.

      If you're in the Park Slope area of Brooklyn, I'll invite you to join my CSA when the season starts, but we're doing a Winter share now too! Imagine that! Root vegetables, beans, etc.

      Qui faciant leges ubi sola pecunia regnat? -- Petronius

      by Karl the Idiot on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 07:10:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't feel bad about composting (4.00)
      any leftover homegrown veggies, because they aren't going to waste, they're going back into the cycle. Enriching the compost. (My husband think the only reason we garden is to improve the compost! It's a chicken-and-egg problem...which comes first? The compost or the garden??)

      This winter I started sprouting again--it's been a couple of decades since I last did this! These sprouts are making a big difference in our winter eating. They taste so fresh!

  •  I'm not being a troll (3.55)
    and I know I'm going to be pilloried here, but a couple of points have to start being considered by vegetarians.
    1. can you eat grass---a large part of american farmland is only suitable for raising animal feed (like hay). animals can turn this into usable protein, you can't.
    2.It may be a small planet, but transport still isn't cheap---maintaining a vegetarian diet anywhere outside of the south is a major contributor to oil dependance. Currently most food in the US is transported 1500+ miles...the efficency of this on a kilocal basis favors the transport of high calorie/high protein food.
    •  Good points (4.00)
      OTOH, I live in northern Wisconsin and can get by a long time on what I have canned, and what keeps.  And there is a lot to be purchased at our local Just Local Foods.

      And it doesn't have to be all or nothing.  One needn't fly Chilean produce in to be a vegetarian, and one can survive on frozen and canned produce, too.

      I think just moving away from meat at every meal and trying to consume, say, one month's worth of one's food from local sources is a lot more than most people do.

    •  really? (4.00)
      For your first point, I'm having a hard time believing the farmland is only good enough to grow animal feed.  If you can grow grass, there must be some other hardy, easy-to-grow crop that is useful for more than simply animal feed.  Even accepting your statement as an absolute, no-way-around-it truth, though, nobody is advocating that the entire planet become vegetarian.  Vegetarians are a pretty small minority, and that's not likely to change anytime soon, if ever, so it seems this is a moot point anyway.

      For the second, I think the protein requirements for the average person are greatly overestimated.  Not by the RDA/food guide, but just in what foods people perceive to be high-protein.  On top of that, there are plenty of plant-based sources of protein that are quite concentrated, so the only real issue here is calorie content.  A large portion of the calories in meat comes from saturated fat, which is clearly not something we should be eating, anyway -- most Americans get way too many saturated fat calories.  So, you'll need to eliminate some of those calories before considering the real calorie per pound value of meat (not all, of course, since we still need fat to survive, just in the proper proportion).  You're esentially left with protein, which should only make up about 15% of your total caloric intake.  The vast majority of your calories should come from complex carbohydrates -- and you don't get that from meat, or any animal products for that matter.

      •  Farmers have to eat too. (4.00)
        For instance, my own land gets very little rainfall. It is suitable - to a degree - for grain, with typically a two-year rotation. That means a crop every other year. There are other possibilities, oil crops in particular: rape, safflower, etc. if there were a pressing plant within reach. Otherwise, the economies of shipping long distances to press are at times daunting. Otherwise, grass.
      •  Wheat is a grass (4.00)
        From Infoplease:
        grass, any plant of the family Gramineae, an important and widely distributed group of vascular plants, having an extraordinary range of adaptation. Numbering approximately 600 genera and 9,000 species, the grasses form the climax vegetation (see ecology) in great areas of low rainfall throughout the world: the prairies and plains of North America, the savannas and pampas of South America, the steppes and plains of Eurasia, and the veldt of Africa.

        ...

        Economically the grass family is of far greater importance than any other. The cereal grasses, e.g., wheat, rice, corn, oats, barley, and rye, provide the grain that is the staple food of most of mankind and the major type of feed. The grasses also include most of the hay and pasture plants, e.g., sorghum, timothy, bent grass, bluegrass, orchard grass, and fescue. ...

        Molasses and sugar are products of sugarcane and sorghum, both grasses. Many liquors are made from grains and molasses. Plants of the grass family are also a source of industrial ethyl alcohol, corn starch and byproducts, newsprint and other types of paper, and numerous lesser items. Especially in the tropics, species of reed, bamboo (one of the few woody types), and other genera are used for thatching and construction.

        So the answer is, yes, people can eat grass.

        I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies..

        by lesliet on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 05:39:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  For that matter they can eat cactus. (4.00)
          And I can grow it. Making enough money to pay property taxes, etc., at the same time is another matter. I mention property taxes specifically becasue that is how our state winds up paying for much of K-12. A ridiculous and unfair system. And no, I have never voted against a school levy.
        •  sorry I stand corrected (4.00)
          technically most of the grains we eat are grasses, but you can't harvest them, at least not mechanically when they are on a slope, and you can't plow rocky ground (at least I can't). the fact remains there is an enormous amount of "agricultural" land in the US, which people include in their numbers for what we could produce, which can be made BEST use of as pasture. there is a substantial amount of land which could be used for other crops, yes, but the harvesting and processing requirements make this unfeasible. I guess my point is, their are a number of factors tied in with agriculture, especially non-subsidized small farms, which are not properly considered by those espousing a particular diet or farming/energy solution. I am just attempting to present that side of the coin based on my experience.
          •  To take that one further (none)
            meat is a lot more eco-friendly when it is the meat of a pig, goat or chicken, which are all scavenger-type eaters, and ideal for a subsistence or very small farm operation.  In comparison, cattle are pretty high-maintenance.

            I should talk, though . . . we have 3 pregnant heifers in our pasture.

            •  But (none)
              if you're already running a dairy operation, raising an extra steer or two (and, surprisingly,  dairy cows have male as well as female calves) costs essentially nothing except some extra corn for finishing.

              That's how we used to get our beef, and while the steer didn't have a long life, it was much happier not spending it in a veal pen.

              We also raised chickens with the same farmer and got our share in exchange for slaughtering. The total energy and $ cost of that was, well, chicken-feed.

              We all go a little mad sometimes - Norman Bates

              by badger on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 11:03:34 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, wheat and rice, etc. are grasses (none)
          but there is a difference between eating the grass itself and eating grass seeds, or eating other processed products of grasses.  Grass seeds are the grains that we eat when we eat wheat, rice, etc.  We can digest those seeds, but we humans can't digest grass.  Our intestinal systems just don't have the necessary enzymes or bacteria to break down the grasses into molecules that our bodies can survive on.  

          Also, processing grasses into other products requires an input of energy.

          Once a pasture of grasses is established and animals are eating it, though, the pasture can sustain itself if the proper maintenance is practiced, such as rotating animals onto it for feeding, and then off of it to let the grass recover.  So, in areas where rainfall is plentiful, feeding animals on pastureland is self-sustaining unless the winters are very cold and the animals need supplements.  On well-run farms, animals such as cows turn indigestible grasses that humans can't use for food into complex proteins that humans need for good nutrition.

          Not arguing for or against vegans.  Just pointing out that grasses themselves are not a source of food for humans, while animals that eat those grasses can be a source of human food.

          -6.63, -6.87 Just to the left of the Dalai Lama

          by ronik on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 07:22:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  or we could eat rabbits! (none)
            Much faster life cycle than beef cows and they also eat grass and other non-graminoids.  But how could you put rabbits on the open range....

            (semi-snark)

            We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

            by Fabian on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 07:38:19 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  You can eat the grass itself (none)
            if you juice it! Lots of people do this and it's considered to be one of the healthiest supplements there is--wheat grass juice has all of the known vitamins and minerals plus enzymes and phytochemicals and has been used as an alternative treatment for many illnesses over the past 50 years or so. There's a Japanese scientist (Hagiwara or something like that? sorry don't know for sure) who has published a lot of research on barley grass for human health. There are farms that harvest grass and produce juice you can have delivered frozen to your door--this is especially popular with cancer patients.

            I'm not saying that's what people should do, or that that's what should be done with the land. Much of the dry land in the west, in my opinion shouldn't be farmed at all.

          •  You're right, (none)
            humans are not grass eaters. We are built for fruits, nuts and seeds, with the occasional grub and carrion scavenged from carnivores who were already full, or weren't paying attention. We are not grazers, and we are not meat eaters.
            •  and foliage (none)
              I've read that early humans ate huge amounts of foliage--like tender leaves, young plant sprouts, etc. Because of this they got something like 3 times as much calcium as we do now (based on bone analysis). I don't have a cite on this, just something that's floating around in my head!
      •  growing grass? (4.00)
        rangeland is not a crop, to be planted willy-nilly wherever, like a lawn.  Plowing up rangeland or prairie grass to plant something one can eat is a proven bad idea, as the Dust Bowl experience showed. Animals do convert indigestible vegetation into high-grade protein, which is a useful foodstuff, taken in moderation. There is no protein more compatable for human use than an egg. Savvy NetProteinUtilisation  and amino acid balance?

        Ultimately, food is local and personal. Humans have always eaten what they could get (gather or grow) locally.  Humans evolved subtly to reflect the diets of their region.  There is no perfect diet that is correct for all humans, and now that the humans are all mixed together, and the foodstuffs are brought in from all over the place, each human has to figure out what works for their particular chemistry.

        The recently-coming-to-be-understood situation of SW American Pima native peoples gives valuable insight into this. Pimas evolved over millenia to survive their harsh and bare environment by developing the ability to eat and store (as fat) huge amounts of food when it was available. The fatter one could get when the food was available, the more likely one would survive the lean times.

        This worked for them, but when their diet changed, within the past few generations, as they joined mainstream "civilisation", Pima have developed obesity problems, because their metabolisms are still programmed for feast/famine conditions.

        It is important to realize that there is no one solution to the food issue.  Figure out what works for you, and realise that what works for someone else may not be right for you.

        Issues about energy costs in food production/distribution are valid to consider in making your choices.  I personally do not feel it is valid to consider the feelings of animals one may eat, other that to respect and be grateful for their contribution to your sustenance.  Most life kills other life to survive, and while they may not be warm and fuzzy and mobile, plants are living beings also.

        One's consciousness about food, and the choices one makes are profoundly political, and empowering. Discussions about this are absolutely correct for dKos.

        -8.0, -7.03 don't always believe what you think...

        by claude on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 07:07:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  If the government would allow it (none)
        an easy growing crop that thrives almost anywhere is hemp.  Great potential source of renewable energy, plus fiber, rope, paper, oil.

        Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

        by barbwires on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 11:12:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  YES! (none)
          As it is, hemp is sooo damn expensive. I just dropped $60 (clearance prices) on a hemp shower curtain for my new condo. My PVC poison plastic thingy is not making the move with me. Or actually, it is. I'm gonna clean it and stick it in the other bathroom that I won't use. I'm sure any roommate I get will just go out and get a PVC curtain anyway - I might as well try to preempt it and make there be one less of those things sold in this world.

          Anyway - I look at hemp clothing, but I just see casual clothes and they cost a lot. Some are more formal but I'm skeptical to shop online and I can't afford them anyhow. There's one hemp store nearby and I need to check it out again but nothing struck me last time I was there. They need to make business clothes out of hemp and sell them in stores and then I would buy it. And someone else I know complained that there are no places to buy sustainable plus sized clothes.

          Help me retire to Hawaii by age 30! Pimp my site Simple Vegetarian Recipes!

          by OrangeClouds115 on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 12:35:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  yeah (none)
          I was actually thinking about mentioning that, since I argued in favor of industrial hemp crops a number of years ago as part of a speech class.  One of the benefits was its use as a rotator crop, since it leaves the soil in better condition than it found it (so to speak).

          You don't hear much about it, which is unfortunate.  There's really no reason not to grow it, except for the fact that it's called 'hemp'.  You can smoke all you want, but all you're going to accomplish is making yourself sick, since the THC content is extremely low.

    •  Wheat grass (4.00)
      There is a subset of the health food community that thinks wheat grass is about the healthiest thing there is. I flirted with making daily wheat grass juice (too much work) and read a book with an account of an American woman who hiked across the whole US subsisting by eating nothing but grass. Ann Wigmore (do a search) is the name of the wheat grass guru.
    •  Support local agriculture (4.00)
      I live in New England, where local farmers find it hard to compete against the factory farms of the midwest and California. But I worry that when the big energy crunch comes, we won't have enough local agriculture to support our food needs. So I think it's important to buy locally-grown produce when at all possible. There is no reason that eating vegetables is incompatible with buying locally-grown produce; in fact, it can be very supportive of local agriculture. Some of my vegetarian friends belong to local gardening co-ops, where they grow most of their own vegetables.

      I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies..

      by lesliet on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 05:47:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Community Supported Agriculture (4.00)
        I recommend CSAs to everyone.  When you support local organic farms, you not only supply yourself with fresh, delicious produce all summer long and into the fall, but you weaken the grip agribusiness has on farms and consumers.

        Many CSAs also dedicate a portion of the harvest to charity, so you're helping local struggling families as well.  

        CSAs also tend to increase biodiversity by using a large number of varieties of each type of produce.  

        And since many farms require CSA members work for a certain number of hours you get an opportunity to be in touch with the growth and harvest cycle.  Great for families with kids especially!

        •  Also Farmers' Markets. There's one here (4.00)
          that is run by the city, Ann Arbor.   More under the supervision of the city.

          The farmers there are doing very well and there is tremendous competition for permanent stalls.  A small percent of stalls is set aside for crafts. The competition there is even more fierce.

          Its nice talking to the people who grew the food and picked it the afternoon/evening before.

          The man who makes maple syrup was worried about all the warm weather in January----happy man now.

          There's a CSA about 10 miles from here.   I'm procrastinating on getting in touch.   My major talent.

          Being liberal means one is for civil liberties, equality, social justice, fairness. ... How can someone be too liberal? Dr. P.Z. Myers

          by maybeeso in michigan on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 06:40:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Within Season. (4.00)
        In northern rural areas one cans and freezes summer produce and the bounty of wild berries and fruit trees for the winter. It is something we may have to get used to with the rising costs of transport.

        I like it. To every thing there is a season and a time and a joyful simplicity in living that way.

        Sometimes though, I just have to have a mango.

        A society of sheep must beget in time a government of wolves. Bertrand de Jouvenel

        by Little Red Hen on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 06:22:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I struggle with this sometimes (4.00)
        because I can buy the local stuff, but it may not always be organic.  Or, I can buy organic, but it may not always be local.  Of course, the best option is both, but when I can only choose one or the other, I have a hard time.  I usually go with the organic.  Does anyone have any thoughts on that?
        •  that depends on which (4.00)
          definition of organic you use. I personally don't use syn fertilizers, pesticides growth related antibiotics, or hormones on my chickens/goats/sheep/fruit...legally I can't call them organic however...the rules and definitions of organic are no longer as defined by Rodale, but are rather largely as agribusiness wanted them (primarily for marketing purposes). I personally would rather trust the word of a local producer as to how he raised his products than a conglomerate 1000 miles away, but I AM an interested party. I do know my eggs outsell the mass produced "organic certified" eggs at the local natural foods market by a factor of 25:1, and I make no secret about exactly how my animals are raised.
          •  Thanks for the reply. (4.00)
            I think you're right about the confusing definitions of "organic" and that's what makes things difficult for people like me who don't have on-the-spot access to the full story of how the products that they are going to buy are produced.  I could do a better job of communicating with the local producers too, to see how they produce their products.  Your advice helps.  Thanks.
            •  local producers (4.00)
              Most small producers aren't in it for the money.  They do it because they want to.  They tend to be honest and enthusiastic about their products.  They are also market driven.  This past summer, there were no fresh peas in the shell(or out) to be had.  The growers decided they were too much trouble and not enough money.  

              We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

              by Fabian on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 07:42:02 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Local, then organic (4.00)
          Just in the fossil fuels that are used to transport produce, local is usually better.  

          I've been buying local produce in season for years now and some producers took a season or two to get their harvest/cleaning/storage processes worked out.  From wilted vegetables (too warm, too long) to wet greens and lettuces (two days to a slimy mess in the refrigerator), I've seen them all.  The one thing that didn't bother me was dirty potatoes.  

          Some local producers are almost organic or not actually certified organic here.  Getting certified is a PITA and costs money to boot.  So smaller vendors who can sell most of their product without the official record keeping and stamp of approval, often call their produce 'chemical free'.

          We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

          by Fabian on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 06:51:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  No. 1 is to know your farmer (none)
          if you can. A grower isn't necessarily a "chemical cowgirl" just because she's not technically "organic."

          Outside of that, I try to balance two things: what I know about which foods tend to have the most or least pesticide residues with how much of that food we tend to eat on a weekly basis.

      •  I am also in new england (western MA) (4.00)
        and very involved in agriculture, and can assure you with some certainty that we will NOT be able to feed ourselves from local agriculture if the crunch comes on acutely....if it comes on slowly, maybe. Every farmer I know is trying to expand/diversify their operation, but the loans and grants just aren't there, except for very large monocrop operations, or at high interest rates. meeting with a bunch of farmers lately is like being in the great depression.
    •  The grass question would be much more valid (4.00)
      if the meat that is mass produced were raised on grass.

      I can remember from childhood the taste of beef, pork, fowl, fruits and veggies raised in what would now be considered organic conditions.  I miss those tastes a lot.   It would be nice if I could rationalize that it all tasted better because I was younger and my taste buds weren't work down.

      I grew up on a dairy near Dallas with hog pens, free range chickens, a large orchard and almost an acre in garden.  We bought flour and a few other things that we didn't raise.   Most of the hay for the cattle came from the farm and my dad mixed his own supplemental feed.

      We also didn't eat as much meat as it would seem we might.  My mom leaned toward vegetarian before the work became general.

      Lard from small farm raised pigs is yummy.  The cracklins are best of all.

      Can we have a society sustained without agrimegacorps?    Not the way it is structured and with the idea that a 32 oz steak is a good idea.

      There is an opportunity for thermal depolymerization in Arkansas from that article.

      Enough blathering on.

      GO, Orange Clouds!!!!!   this is a wonderful thing you are starting.   It will likely start slowly, but many great things do.

      Being liberal means one is for civil liberties, equality, social justice, fairness. ... How can someone be too liberal? Dr. P.Z. Myers

      by maybeeso in michigan on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 05:50:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  a 32 oz steak is a roast (4.00)
        My butcher sells bacon wrapped filet mignon.  They are small because they are the tag ends of the cut - the bacon holds them together.  Portion size ranges from 3 oz-5 oz, just the right size!  

        We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

        by Fabian on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 06:05:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well, most people eat grains (4.00)
      Like most animals raised for their meat.  Grains keep well, are easy to transport and there is a grain for practically every climate.  Heck, grains are what civilization was founded on.  

      Too little produce is consumed locally even when it would be logical to do so.  So most produce is shipped long distances to consumers.  

      As far as energy intensive - processing animals to meat and then storing it is very energy intensive.  I can buy lentils, beans and whole grains, put them in a tightly sealed container and keep them for years.  Try doing that with a pound of ground hamburger and see what happens.

      We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

      by Fabian on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 05:53:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  A guy I worked with (4.00)
        used to be an over-the-road trucker. He trucked eggs from IA to NY, then picked up a load of eggs in NY and trucked them back to IA. About once a week.

        We all go a little mad sometimes - Norman Bates

        by badger on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 11:14:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  agreed (none)
      that veggies get transported pretty far. But from what I've read, a vegetaria diet still uses much less oil than an omnivorous one.

      Help me retire to Hawaii by age 30! Pimp my site Simple Vegetarian Recipes!

      by OrangeClouds115 on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 07:58:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Have to start being considered? (3.33)
      That's a bit condescending. Do you think all vegetarians are Berkeley liberals, born and bred in the city? My family is four generations of farm and small town vegetarians.

      If land is too fragile for anything but growing grass, I strongly recommend that we take better care of it than farming alfalfa or overgrazing it with cattle. Perhaps we shouldn't be farming it at all. And much of what we do farm (like corn and cotton) is harsher on the earth and less efficient than alternatives like hemp. If we want to reduce the strain on agriculture, we should stop eating red meat, which takes 10 times the agricultural resources of vegetables and grains.

      As for transportation, eat locally, whatever you're eating. That's a separate issue. Your point about transporting high-calorie food is a red herring, only valid in a situation where most of the population is on a subsistance diet. Most Americans should double their nutritional intake, and cut their calories in half. Vegetables are 23% protein on average. Humans certainly don't need more than 20% of their calories from protein. In fact, mother's milk is only 5% protein. Humans need unsaturated fats and fatty acids, complex carbohydrates, fiber, and a modest amount of protein.

      •  maybe a bit condescending (none)
        but it certainly started a productive debate. but sorry you took it that way. I live an organic lifestyle, but I am an omnivore, while most of my customers are at least semi-veg. My point, is that in debates on this and similar subjects , both here and other places, certain facts and viewpoints are consistently ignored, either from ignorance or purposeful exclusion. miscalculating the amount of food the US could or would be able to raise is one of these topics. so also is the environmental friendliness of many if not most small farms. and I said pasture (which implies managed use) not overgrazing. grass fed beef,pasteured pork and chickens,goats, sheep all of these are viable alternatives for those who do not wish a strict vegetarian lifestyle. I would be the first to agree that the future is going to require lifestyle changes, I DO NOT agree that anyone has the right to  REQUIRE I become something I am not. and for the record, where are you getting your numbers? VERY few vegetables run 20% protein. my other point, elsewhere in the thread, is that we CAN'T feed ourself locally, and that situation is getting steadily worse.
        •  vegetable protein data (none)
          Don't look at the total grams of vegetables, because they contain so much water and fiber, which are not digested. As a percentage of calories, vegetables are indeed 23% protein. Some examples: Broccoli has 20 calories (4 calories per gram) of protein out of 45 total calories. Even the "starchy" potato  gives more than 10% of its calories as protein. Spinach is 20% protein. And this doesn't include legumes, which can be as much as 70% protein.

          As for feeding yourself locally, I think that with technologies like hydroponics, and with the proper nutritional diet (fewer calories, less red meat/dairy, fewer refined carbs, more real nutrition) that humans could easily support themselves in most of the places we call home. But it would take an agricultural revolution -- back to small farms and local varieties, and away from corporate mono-agriculture.

          •  First off (none)
            I disagree with your method of calculating percentages, but that might just be the biochemist in me talking. you said % protein, not protein as a percentage of calories, I think that this is a very misleading way of stating the facts, but is probably accepted usage in nutrition, I don't know. On your second point, I believe that this has always been my argument, we can't but we (maybe) could. I would further add however, that in addition to an ag and social revolution, there will have to be an energy revolution also, or 100 times as many people working the land. And revolutions tend to be bloody things...
            •  I don't think it was misleading. (none)
              We're talking nutrition, and with regard to protein, fat and carbohydrates, nutrition is measured in calories. It's the only consistent way to do it, as foods can vary from 0% to 99% water and fiber, which have no caloric value.

              One reason a high-meat diet can lead to obesity is that the caloric density is so high per gram that you have to eat too many calories in order to fill your stomach. A diet higher in water and fiber is a healthier diet.

              •  Why measuring caloric value? (none)
                I should add that all of us need to get to 2000 calories on an average day. The question is whether you can count on getting enough protein on a vegetarian diet. If you're eating plenty of vegetables, which are 20% protein (by caloric value), and add in fruits, grains and legumes, the odds are quite high that you will be getting 300-400 calories (75-100 grams) of protein per day. And that's in just 2000 calories. I probably eat 2500-3000 calories on my vegan diet. I have a high metabolism.

                Estimates are that the average person needs 60-80 grams of protein per day. So obviously, a vegan diet can easily meet that standard even on a 2000 calorie diet. If you are more demanding of your muscles (marathon runner, weight lifter, etc.) it is simple to double your protein intake by eating more nuts and legumes.

                •  it was misleading because you said (none)
                  % protein...I don't figure my diet on a calorie basis, and I think most people would agree...that aside, I deal with animal nutrition on a daily basis, and all the figures I use for that are based oin a % protein basis, and that's how I interpreted your post. you also might figure in that a lot more people are going to be doing physical labor and increase the calories accordingly (post revolution) I seem to remember accounts that the typical cal intake for hard laborer c 1920 or earlier was around 6000 calories (with fewer obesity problems)...but I still maintain that (at least around here) we can't feed ourselves locally, no matter what the diet.
              •  Actually... (none)
                ...I'd have said that a much more accurate and meaningful way of discussing nutritional content would be to discuss it in terms of a proportion of total mass, not percentage of calories. The amount of food we consume is much more dictated by mass than by caloric content.

                If I have a food that is .01% protein and 99.99% water, then 100% of its calories come from protein.  Is that a high protein food? Of course not.

        •  cutting back on meat (none)
          can be almost as useful as going fully vegetarian. I love the taste of meat so I can't bear to give up the occasional good steak (or chicken! I love chicken), but I have cut way back and try to have it only every day or two. Even that much would make a difference in terms of how much resources and fuels we use. If the commercials for Carl's Jr and Chili's and Ruby Tuesdays are at all accurate, most Americans eat meat three times a day in quantities far more than they could possibly need.

          Even more important than giving up meat in general would be to cut back/cut out fast food. A burger with cheap, low-grade ground beef, frozen and trucked all over the everywhere to the ubiquitous fast-food joints has to be extremely costly in terms of wear and tear on the environment (factory farming, lots of packaging, long-distance shipping of materials) --- and your arteries. I've even managed to give up french fries (mmm --- french fries --- drool). I haven't been able to give up the sodas and their high-fructose corn syrup yet.

          Besides, I'd rather wait and splurge on the occasional nice dinner out and really enjoy it than constantly be wolfing down a not-so-good burger without paying attention to the experience. Luckily, grass-fed organic all-natural fancy stuff is very trendy in the CA town I live in now, so it's pretty easy to get it when eating out.

          "There are no shortcuts to accomplishing constructive social change ... struggle is called 'struggle' for a reason." Ward Churchill

          by CAuniongirl on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 02:34:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  cows are very inefficient food producers (none)
      they consume 10 pounds of feed, for every pound of meat produced, or so I've heard.  If you're a poor farmer on scrubby land, they make sense. But, the national grasslands in the rockies and elsewhere that are leased to cattle suffer a lot from cattle. They shouldn't be used for that. If we were all veggies, those lands could go back to elk and bison. That steak is a lot more expensive than you'll ever know. I haven't eaten meat in 35 years and I'm the healthiest 60 yr old my doctors have ever seen. Hell, I'm healthier than almost anyone.
  •  I like this diary (4.00)
    Keep it up,please.I'm not a vegan/vegetarian,but I changed my food intake dramatically over the last 2 years and I lost about 25 pounds just by cutting out soft drinks and most processed foods.I also started  a kitchen garden,more or less successful,I still have a lot to learn.I bought a food dehydrator to dry fruits for snacks.
    It's been a challenge being at work for 12hrs at a time,but I'm working on it and people stopped making fun of me and my big lunchbag.
    Thanks for the recipes.
  •  When I saw the title of the diary I thought (4.00)
    it was going to cover Robert Kennedy Jr.'s Air America Radio program that I listened to yesterday about Monsanto's genetically engineered corn. I am squarely in the omnivore category, but at times I wonder if there is anything left that is really safe to eat.

    The troubling part of the story was that during the corn's pollination, anyone living near the corn field experienced serious respiratory reactions to the "super corn's" pollen.  I am not so sure I would single out the poultry indsutry as ravagers of the environment when you have to consider the impact of the coeporate vegetable and fruit agri industry's frightening impact as well.

    •  I listened to it too (4.00)
      and bookmarked that page - Seeds of Deception. I'm pretty ticked that the page says 50% of papayas are GE - just as I got into a MAJOR papaya habit. I know, eat local. I'm guilty. The Hawaiian Goddess Smoothie on my site is my new reason for living though.

      Help me retire to Hawaii by age 30! Pimp my site Simple Vegetarian Recipes!

      by OrangeClouds115 on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 08:20:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well Papayas grow like weeds (none)
        in my part of the world (well my part time part of the world) and I can't understand whey anyone would have to genetically engineer them.  Frankly they are so prolific that they are a pain in the ass because no one could possibly ever eat that much papaya and the fruit that falls off the trees attract rats.  There is an awful lot of unnecessary messing around with Mother Nature going on.
        •  yeah (none)
          i was thinking the same thing. I was just in Hawaii and that's what they told me - weeds.

          Help me retire to Hawaii by age 30! Pimp my site Simple Vegetarian Recipes!

          by OrangeClouds115 on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 09:26:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Without genetic engineering... (none)
          ...you'd be paying a hell of a lot more for papayas, if you could get them at all. Papayas are engineered for resistance to Papaya Ringspot Virus, which is now endemic in virtually all papaya growing areas (the main exceptions I know of being in Africa). Later infections result in bumpy, malformed fruit with marked low sugars, and considerably lower yields. Plants infected early bear little or no fruit.

          Papayas were among the first commercial transgenic horticultural crops to gain acceptance in the U.S. because the industry was probably doomed without them, at least in Hawai'i, where virtually all U.S. production is. The non-transgenic plants which remain probably do so because most large plantings are now transgenic, reducing hosts for the virus.

          •  Well I sort of want to say BS because (none)
            the papayas that we have - which are from local seeds because the store bought seeds don't grow - are fucking insanely prolific even in the driest condidtions.  They are also perfectly happy good papayas but there is no one in their right mind who could eat as many as are produced.  You sound like a proponent of genetic engineering.  The funny thing is that most of these diseases that we are facing in fruit and vegetable production are diseases that the plants became vulnerable to because of genetic engineering.  The genetic engineers set out to fix some BS cosmetic problem with a fruit / vegetable and ended up rendering it completely defenseless against all the stuff it had built genetic defenses against over centuries and millenia.
            •  I'll call BS on that right now. (none)
              "Most of the diseases we are facing fruit and vegetable production are diseases that platns became vulnerable to because of genetic engineering..

              This is absolutely, 100%, false. For one thing, there is virtually no transgenic fruit or vegetable production.  Last year, the only transgenic fruit in commercial production was papaya, and the only vegetables were sweet corn and squash. Tomatoes and potatoes were tried, failed, and have disappeared. To attribute the vulnerability to diseases to transgenic crops is flat wrong.

              The emergence of new diseases in plant agriculture can be attributed to a handful of things:

              1. Growing vast monocultures. Huge stands of genetically identical plants just invite diseases, and they can act as incubators which can give a relative rare, inconsequential disease time to increase its population and evolve greater virulence and pathogenicity, which would not occur in small scattered plants in the wild.

              2. Moving plant species around the globe (and/or moving diseases around the globe). Plants which evolved in the presence of a pathogen are much less likely to be devastated by the pathogen, while those from another part of the world are more likely to be vulnerable.  Introduced pathogens have come close to wiping out a number of species (Dutch Elm Disease and Chestnut Blight come to mind).

              And, in my opinion, a fairly distant third:
              3) Neglect of diseases resistance as an important selection criterion during breeding. A reliance on chemical agriculture has led breeders of many crops to emphasize yield and/or quality over disease resistance. In fruits and veggies I would contend that for the most part this effect is pretty minor, because of if you look at heirloom veggies and fruit the resistance to most major pests and diseases is pretty similar to today's in most cases. (Note that breeding is NOT genetic engineering, except in the loosest definition possible. It's been going on for hundreds of years, and without it we'd have all starved a long time ago.)

              As to why your papayas don't have ringspot virus: I don't know where you are, but I'm guessing Hawai'i. If so, there are two possible reasons: 1) You are on one of the smaller islands where PRSV is not yet endemic. I can't recall which these are...I think there are two still. Give it time. Or, 2) You can grow papayas in the area where PRSV is present because commercial papaya production is all resistant transgenics, meaning the number of infected hosts available as sources for the virus are fairly limited, and given the relatively short generation time of papaya under tropical conditions means that it is quite possible to grow a handful of trees to maturity without infection, but sustained plantings would almost certainly succumb to it.

              The other option for controlling PRSV would be dowsing the things with insecticides, to kill the insect vectors, which would be a lot worse as far as I'm concerned.

              While you may think your papayas produce plenty of fruit, the high cost of getting any kind of produce off Hawai'i to market means that producers still need relatively high yields of marketable fruit to make it worth staying in business.

              As for being a proponent of genetic engineering, I'd say I'm more of a realist. Genetic engineering is not going to be a magic bullet that solves all problems.  It's not even going to solve most problems.  I am a big proponent of classical plant breeding, and I believe that breeding, complemented by non-engineering molecular techniques, is the main key to the future of crop development.  That said, I believe that there are some problems simply will not be solved that way, and I believe the genetic engineering is a viable tool to consider in those cases.

              The dangers of transgenic crops are vastly overblown, and it never ceases to amaze me how the so-called "Reality-based Community" here suddenly loses it's ability to analyze facts when it comes to the issue. Are there real dangers involved? Certainly.  But there are real dangers involved in agriculture already, and I would argue that these are at least as bad as any of the likely threats posed by transgenics. Just like any technology, it needs to be used carefully. But electricity can be damn dangerous, too, should we ban it? I'm not saying this is a cut and dry issue. It's not, and I'll be the first to admit there are valid concerns to be addressed. But if you're going to debate it, at least get your science straight.

              The transgenic papayas contain a viral coat protein gene. It produces the same protein you'd be eating if you ate an infected papaya. It's harmless. I can't understand the fact that people are willing to go to the store, and buy a fruit that they don't know the variety of, from people they don't know, who had it shipped to them by people you don't know, from a farm you don't know where is, where it was grown by a farmer you've never heard of, and harvested, most likely, by people with no legal identity in this country, after it may or may not have been sprayed with any of a zillion chemicals you've never heard of and have no understanding of the chemistry of. And yet they are completely freaked out about the addition of a single, very innocuous gene, despite the fact that they didn't have a clue about any of the thousands of genes that were there in the first place.

              •  Well you think you can do it better than (none)
                Mother Nature and I disagree - and by the way I was using genetic engineering as the example of one of the many ways we screw around with Mother Nature in the realm of corporate agriculture.  You're way is winning anyway so I don't why I should bother to argue with you.  The few plants we have left in the world that haven't been screwed around with by the Monsantos et al of the world are endangered anyway.
                •  Well... (none)
                  ...you were pretty explicit in what you said, and what you said was dead wrong. Disagree if you want.

                  As for doing better than Mother Nature, the point is that people and Mother Nature have different goals. If you would like to eat completely unimproved plants found only where they evolved on their own, be my guest.  Good luck staying alive.

                  The problem is not corporate agriculture in particular. The problem is agriculture. It's not natural and it creates problems because of that.  However, unless you want to go back to being hunter-gatherers, you're pretty much stuck with it.

    •  The safest stuff to eat (none)
      is the stuff you grow yourself. Anything else, eat low on the food chain (i.e., eat vegetarian, and if you must eat meat, avoid scavengers like shellfish, shrimp and pigs, which are basically giant collectors of environmental toxins.)
  •  Thanks Orange (4.00)
    In the past couple of years I've become more concerned about food, not only for my own health but also for its impact on others and the environment. I switched to a vegan diet for about 2 months last year and was surprised to discover how much I enjoyed the food options and also how much better I felt physically. Unfortunately, I now live in Spain and it's substantially more difficult to eat vegan (and even vegetarian--here a "vegetable" sandwich is simply adding lettuce, tomato and egg to a ham and cheese sandwich!). However, it CAN be done and your posts serve as gentle and motivating reminders that I should and can make better choices about what I eat.

    Please keep up your posts--they are definitely appreciated!

    •  hahaha (4.00)
      I don't know WHAT I'd eat if I lived in Spain. The two weeks I spent there a few years ago were a meat feast.

      I took a vacation to Kauai recently and happened to pick a hostel that was across the street from a live vegan restaurant/juice bar. I ate that food for 5 days straight and I felt GREAT. It was a noticeable difference. And I felt noticeably worse when I got home and went back to eating some eggs and dairy.

      Help me retire to Hawaii by age 30! Pimp my site Simple Vegetarian Recipes!

      by OrangeClouds115 on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 08:03:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Museums of Ham (4.00)
        These provided us with many laughs during our trip to Spain. For those who haven't been there, the exhibits are large slabs of pig meat hanging from the ceiling.

        This is a country where the most common pre-meal snack is a couple of slices of cured ham. I've heard it speculated that this custom was originally a way to sniff out secret Jews (and Moslems, I suppose). I wouldn't be surprised.

        I'm a vegetarian 99% of the time, eat fish when there's nothing else on the menu, and basically never eat mammals. Pigs are right out (since my dietary restrictions had their roots in kosher laws). Traveling through Spain became a quest for anything I could eat.

        One evening, we spent hours looking for a place that didn't spike its food with pig products. Eventually, we settled for a Burger King. I ordered a tuna salad. The surprised person behind the counter asked if that was really what I wanted. I confirmed it. Went back to our place, took a bite of my salad -- and discovered that it was full of ham. Though my Spanish accent isn't perfect, there's no way that "atún" sounds like "jamón". Hmm. Perhaps the Inquisition lives on?

        "I think that in modern America, we have far too many options for breakfast cereal and not enough options for president." - Barry Schwartz

        by AlanF on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 09:38:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Other reasons (none)
          Although you're certainly correct that there was a very bad period for Jews there,  Spain was a Muslim-ruled country for several centuries, so I doubt they were worried about being "outed" by Christians. Also they (the Muslims) were OK with Jews, which is why there were so many still there for the Inquisition to persecute, and for Ferdie & Izzie to banish.

          I think the main reason the Spanish cuisine is so pork-centered, though, is that that's what grows best there. It's not a rich country, doesn't have huge farms or "amber waves of grain" for raising cattle. It has plenty of coastline, so there's plenty of seafood, and it's easier for small farmers to raise pigs, which, unlike cows, can eat pretty much anything, including acorns and table scraps.

          -8.25,-8.36 The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

          by sidnora on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 11:04:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Pigs in Spain (none)
          When I try to talk to my students about foods that do not contain meat I am greeted with looks of puzzlement and even outright disgust; the notion of vegetarianism is so foreign and "unnatural" to many of them, unfortunately. But thankfully I can find veggie & soy patties that aren't half bad in the natural food stores.

          I'm still sometimes amazed at the massive (from my American perspective) quantities of (often very delicious) pork products I encounter here. Not too long ago I read somewhere that the average Spaniard in his/her lifetime will consume the equivalent of 35 pigs!

          Avoiding pork in Spain if you can't prepare your own food is challenging, but not impossible. Just be prepared, though, to eat a lot of potato, egg, fish, mayonaise, and bread. And to pick out the ham that will invariably be included in most of the dishes you order. ;-)

      •  No wonder my father-in-law loved Spain (4.00)
        My mother-in-law dragged him all over Europe and as far as China on one trip.  He complained about dinner in a five-star restaurant in Paris because he couldn't get a steak and baked potato fixed like they did at the Mr. Steak back home.  He claimed to have lived two weeks on hard-boiled eggs in China because he couldn't find nothin' worth putting in his mouth.

        But he loved Spain.  Now I know why.

      •  In Kauia (none)
        I would feel great no matter what I ate!

        I find it easier to eat mostly vegetarian when the weather is warm.  I tried vegan in winter (actually for several years) and always felt a deep sense of cold and deprivation.  And gained weight.  I have gone to mostly fish as a protein source; I know that is energy intensive and not sustainable because of overfishing-not to mention bloody expensive.  For meat, mostly emu and buffalo; we are lucky to have a couple of local sources that are good.  

        I do eat vegetarian dinners a couple of time a week, and lunches are always salads.  So I appreciate the recipes!

        Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

        by barbwires on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 11:25:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Veggie lasagna (4.00)
    Veggie lasagna, usually spinach and zucchini, but anything will do, is my dish for family gatherings, since my brother and niece are vegetarians, but I take it to any place I need to bring pot luck, everyone loves it.  (I usually use one of Paul Newman's great sauces, they taste wonderful and make me feel I am contributing to something).  I also buy the free range chicken and local meat (which I don't each frequently, but my husband is a meat and potatoes guy and moving him is a long term project).  I do a salad garden in the summer, live in the woods on the eastern slope of a small mountain and have a sunlight problem!  We had hoped we were getting a CSA farm, but the land they were looking at was more suited to cattle which was what the land owner had grown before (he has put most of his land into conservations easements, yay!).  We do have local berry farms and orchards, and when I can I freeze fruit for the winter.  Nothing like raspberries in February!
    I do agree that if each of us moved away from the crap a bit at a time, we would make a big difference.  Also, we are going to have to, because transportation is going to get prohibitively expensive in the near future.  Our Master Plan committee will be looking at sustainability issues for the next project coming up.
    Thanks for this diary, we need to keep talking and keep this in front of the readers.

    We believe in prosperity & opportunity, strong communities, healthy families, great schools, investing in our future and leading the world by example.

    by nhselectwoman on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 05:53:52 AM PST

  •  Methane from agricultural animals .... (4.00)
    Last night on talk radio I heard an expert say that methane from animal waste is a far greater cause of the global warming than auto emmissions and if everyone were to stop eating meat it would have greater effect than  if we stopped all CO2 emmissions.  This he said was because with autos CO2 there was particulate emmissions that actually blocked sunlight and before they settle to the ground cool the temp.  The long term (centuries) damage has already been done with CO2, but because methane is doing it's damage immediately, if we stopped animal production we could influence the global warming in decades.

    Another reason to go to a plant based diet.

    •  Or if the methane could be captured and used. (4.00)
      There's a greenhouse complex just a bit west of Detroit that is heated--partly by methane from a closed dump.   How much more useful if the chicken poop could be loaded in a closed area and methane captured?

      And there's always thermal depolymerization---a much neglected topic in fuel discussions.

      Being liberal means one is for civil liberties, equality, social justice, fairness. ... How can someone be too liberal? Dr. P.Z. Myers

      by maybeeso in michigan on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 06:44:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thermal depolymerization (4.00)
        From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
        http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        Thermal depolymerization (TDP) is a process for the reduction of complex organic materials (usually waste products of various sorts, often known as biomass) into light crude oil. It mimics the natural geological processes thought to be involved in the production of fossil fuels. Under pressure and heat, long chain polymers of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon decompose into short-chain petroleum hydrocarbons with a maximum length of around 18 carbons.

        •  Energy independence... (4.00)
          I drive a 'vintage' Mercedes diesel. Any diesel engine can run fine on biodiesel, which is 20% petro and 80% vegetable oil. A new diesel engine can run SVO [Straight Vegetable Oil], and veg. oil doesn't emit hydrocarbon pollution. GM has a new diesel engine for cars in late-stage development, just waiting for the switchover. Unfortunately, there's just one biodiesel supplier here and it's in the city (15 miles). It supplies the city fleets - all buses, trucks and road equipment are run on biodiesel here, by statute.

          Ethanol is a polluting industry all by itself, so not very cost-effective. However, plant-based alternatives can supply cellulose for plastics and fiber for textiles as well as oil/alcohol for transportation and electrical generation. There are immense possibilities to free ourselves from what Bush calls our "addiction to foreign oil," all we have to do is do it...

          •  Hemp would be a fantastic source (none)
            for both fibers and biomass.

            Another example of runamuck capitalism----in a previous generation.

            Being liberal means one is for civil liberties, equality, social justice, fairness. ... How can someone be too liberal? Dr. P.Z. Myers

            by maybeeso in michigan on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 09:58:52 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  George Monbiot has an article about biofuels (none)
            http://www.monbiot.com/...
            which is quite disturbing. He talks about the environmental destruction being wrought by clearcutting Orangutan Habitat for palm oil plantations for biodiesel, among other things. There's no free lunch.

            -9.25 -9.18 Barbara Lee and Howard Dean speak for me

            by laurak on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 11:24:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's just empirialism run amok... (none)
              Palm oil is dense, but if we can genetically engineer corn, rape and soy for the 'convenience' (and corporate enslavement) of farmers, we can engineer an "Independence" crop and set aside some regions to grow it - preferably in the old 'cotton belt' where we could get 3 crops a year. Big-fruit oilseed engineered for high density product (palm oil gene). Sugar-rich greenery (beet gene) so it readily ferments for alcohol. High-strength and/or fine fiber (hemp and/or flax genes). Harvest the whole plant - the seed-fruit goes for SVO/biodiesel, the fiber (we can also engineer so this separates easily in a benign chemical bath) for textiles and cellulose plastics, use the leftover sweet-goo for batch-mash distilling.

              Bioengineering staple food crops isn't the wisest use of our knowledge and technology, but has great promise if we wanted to be independent. Heck, we could cut our petroleum consumption by half just by switching to biodiesel for truck fleets, railroad engines, diesel generators (electricity), home heating oil and commuting (make GM deploy their new engine). Sure, we'd have to divert agribusiness from overproduction of corn and soy for stock feed, but we eat way too much meat and and most livestock can do just fine on grass, hay and leftover sweet-goo anyway. Our subsidy system is broken, the globalization-pushers want us to end them entirely, and the money could be put to better use. As could the cropland, the machinery and the intensive human labor we consider "dirt cheap."

              We don't lack the way, we lack the will.

              •  Remember that a lot of the cotton belt (none)
                sits over the Ogalalla Aquifer which has been drawn on for decades and is being used up.   Google:Ogalalla Aquifer---too many good sites to pin it down.  

                Anything grown there for biomass needs to be independent of irrigation.

                Being liberal means one is for civil liberties, equality, social justice, fairness. ... How can someone be too liberal? Dr. P.Z. Myers

                by maybeeso in michigan on Wed Mar 01, 2006 at 06:08:07 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  a quibble on the "vegetarian hens" (4.00)
    Chickens are omnivores, and if they are let outdoors in pastures, they will eat all the animal protein they can find.  Bugs, yummy!  So I think a better phrasing might be no animal byproducts in their commercial feed.

    My favorite eggs are from pastured hens.  I have tried eggs from commercial vegetarian hens and I don't like them.  No flavor.

    We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

    by Fabian on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 05:57:51 AM PST

    •  Thanks (none)
      I stand corrected.

      Help me retire to Hawaii by age 30! Pimp my site Simple Vegetarian Recipes!

      by OrangeClouds115 on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 08:04:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And "Free Range" is Also a Big Fat Lie (4.00)
      There's no standard for what makes a free range chicken or their eggs. They are crammed into sheds and live on top of a layer of their own poop.

      Also, Omega 3 eggs are the result of feeding crap to chickens which they pass on to their eggs. It isn't natural and it isn't healthy for the chickens. If somebody needs extra Omega 3s they should take a supplement.

      The only standards for eggs and chicken meat that aren't cruel to chickens are California Certified Organic and the Oregon Tilth.

      By the way, chickens make fabulous pets for the backyard, and are very thrifty with our own leftovers. Chicken feed is very cheap, a 50 lb. bag sells for about $9.50 where I live and each of my two hens consumes about 50 lbs per year. Bog-standard chicken feed doesn't contain meat scraps! Chicken feed that contains meat scraps is simply too expensive (if you can even find it).

      •  They also do a great job of getting (4.00)
        rid of earwigs, etc., especially with a little help (lightly turn the soil).
      •  I agree free range as a standard is a lie (4.00)
        free range to a local producer means that people driving by can see their chickens roaming around...if they can't, my eggs don't sell....guess this distills the essential difference between local  and certified organic in another part of the thread....
      •  There are no real standards (none)
        for chickens and layers.  Pastured is the only one that really means anything to me.  free range, cage free, uncaged are all adjectives that tend to be used to 'sound good'.  Our local suppliers usually try to give some real information in order to sell their eggs - but at some place like Whole Food, I haven't a clue how the hens are treated.

        We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

        by Fabian on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 10:39:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  a terrific book related to this topic (4.00)
    is Jane Goodall's Harvest of Hope

    it  is clearly written, and can  help people understand what is going on with our current methods of producing meat and poultry, and the costs -- finan cial, ecological, and health.

    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

    by teacherken on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 06:10:12 AM PST

  •  Stevia (4.00)
    I've been using stevia to sweeten my plain yogurt for the past year.  I've read conflicting information on this "sugar" substitute.  Does anyone have further information?  It works extremely well - at least in the yogurt.  

    Here'Nolalily's =Healthy Breakfast Yogurt Boost!

    1 cup plain yogurt
    1 scoop stevia (most stevia comes with a little  scoop inside the bottle)
    1 T Peanut butter
    2 T ground flax seed
    Natural Vanilla extract - to taste
    1/4 cup Go Lean Crunch
    Add fresh fruit (0ptional)

    This is truly delicious!

    •  They sell the Stevia plant in plant stores (4.00)
      in Hawaii, I don't know about elsewhere.
    •  Stevia is also easy to grow. (4.00)
      It dies if you let it bloom and set seed.   I used mine last year just to surprise people with the taste.  The dried leaves added to teas make them self sweetening.

      My grandbabes would have ravaged the plants if I hadn't threatened loss of some of their favorite foods that I make.

      I got a diabetic friend who likes things SWEET started on stevia and so far no effects---he uses a lot.

      Being liberal means one is for civil liberties, equality, social justice, fairness. ... How can someone be too liberal? Dr. P.Z. Myers

      by maybeeso in michigan on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 06:27:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for doing this OC! (4.00)
    It will be great to have a weekly food/enviro/health diary.
    I was reading an old business magazine yesterday, and it had an article on a man who started a company  near a turkey processer to turn the waste into bio-fuel. Long story short, it failed because his funding dried up, the tax incentives got outsourced. He sold the business overseas, where they also have turkey guts. Now they have our tax dollars as well.
  •  just an anecdote (4.00)
      I  live near a major east/west freight rail line (BNSF). The number of large tank cars labelled "corn sweetener" or "high fructose corn syrup" that I see, sometime a dozen per train, has blown what's left of my mind.  
    •  I've switched away from HFCS (none)
      I buy juices juice sweetened and jams and conserves are either juice sweetened or sugar sweetened.  I can't tolerate the taste of commercial corn syrup jellies and jams anymore.  It's just too sweet and doesn't have enough body to it.  Of course, at the price of all fruit conserves, I use a lot less too.  

      There is still some in the cold cereal I buy, but they are lightly sweetened and nothing like the amount in candy, jellies, juice cocktails and sodas.

      We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

      by Fabian on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 07:00:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's in the honey (none)
      I can't beleive they are even selling it as honey flavored syrup now. I first noticed packets of it in a restruant and then in the grocery store. Gahh!
      •  honey, heh. (none)
        Someone told me my honey was going bad.  Now, proper honey can't go bad unless you dilute it first. My honey wasn't bad, but it was a dark amber wildflower honey, with a different flavor than pale clover honey.  So someone who had never run across anything but clover honey might think there was something wrong with it.

        Yes, they make "honey" cheaper by adding corn syrup.  Sad, isn't it?

        We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

        by Fabian on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 07:47:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this! (4.00)
    This is a great idea for a diary and I know I will look forward to reading it each week.  Thanks for taking the time to do it!  I appreciate the thread on consumption of local produce, because that is what I am trying to focus on now.  
  •  I'll be stopping by for this! (4.00)
    We got approved for our CSA share recently, and are eagerly awaiting the local produce!  And boy, are we going to need recipes....

    Our CSA is called Waltham Fields Community Farms, just outside Boston.  Their web site isn't coming up this morning (but here's one with info about them), but they have a nice estimated schedule of the produce by month.  But my housemate and I are quite certain that there will be weeks when we look in the box and are completely daunted by contents!

    I would love to see a week with good cookbooks suggestions from everyone--stuff with a high % of veg stuff (not exclusively veg is fine), and their success with the recipes reports.  

    Great idea, OrangeClouds--looking forward to this.

    •  I'd love to hear your experience with Waltham (4.00)
      I'm in Somerville too, and I go to Heirloom Harvest in Hopkinton.  

      I have some great veg recipes.  We had tons of eggplant and I had no idea what to do with 'em.  My favorite recipe was:

      1 large eggplant, sliced
      4 whole-wheat matzohs
      2 leeks
      4 tomatoes
      4 eggs (or equivalent eggbeaters)
      1/4 cup grated cheese

      Starting with a matzoh, layer lasagna-style eggplant, tomatoes, leeks and again matzohs to fill an 8x8 square casserole dish.  Beat eggs slightly, pour over layers.  Top with grated cheese and bake in 350 oven for one hour.  Serves 4.  Serve with salad.  (May substitute lasagna for matzohs, but I like the texture and firmness of matzohs).

  •  Hooray! (4.00)
    I've been working towards becoming 100% vegetarian and your diary will help me in my last push.

    A classic work on the environmental harm caused by eating meat is Frances Moore Lappe's "Diet for a Small Planet." I highly recommend it.

    And I highly recommend this very topical and helpful diary!

    "Pro-life" really means "pro-criminalization"

    by Radiowalla on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 06:54:04 AM PST

  •  Thank you, thank you! (4.00)
    Wow, OrangeClouds, I just bookmarked your website yesterday, and wake up to this great proposal for a weekly! Since I look forward to the weekends for the garden thread, Al's round-up and such, now I've one more reason to fire up early!

    My hubby and I and 'children' (who aren't kids anymore) haven't eaten meat for nearly 35 years. My grandson [15] has never eaten meat. All of us are healthy and fit, grandson is now 6'1" and still growing (with an appetite to match, but he's the world's most appreciative consumer of whatever I'll cook!).

    There are so many issues you can tie-in - GE crops (a real threat to organic ag), the death industry (I could go on about that for months!), sustainable energy use (the feed for 1 beef bovine for 1 year could maintain 5 humans healthily for that same year), etc., etc. Plus, there's zillions of great recipes easy and tricky to share!

    I'm lucky to live on a mountain in NC bordering (now for sale!!!) National Forest. Have half an acre of kitchen garden and another 11 acres of deep forest for growing medicinals - ginseng, black cohosh, goldenseal, wild rose hips, etc. These are great cash crops if managed well, though ginseng can't be sold until it's between 5 and 15 years old...

    In this rural area most of my neighbors have gardens too, and actual crops in local flatlands are kept GE-free by community agreement. The premium on organic is a good incentive, and the A-villle farmer's market has a whole organic section for everything you're mouth waters for. Also have apple, pear, cherry and nut trees, plus 20-year old muscodine and concord grapes on the fence around my garden (make great wine).

    I find it's easier to specialize and grow mostly peppers and tomatoes for market, along with a variety of culinary herbs and 6 varieties of mint for the tailgate market. One of my neighbors grows great beans, another the best sweet corn on the planet, and we all grow at least a row or two of potatoes. These are traded as they come in, so everybody's got a little of everything. Got "The Victory Garden" cookbook by Marian Morash a few years ago - it has everything you need to know about everything you can grow, and dozens of recipes for each (by vegetable) - that way when the eggplant comes in, you're not stuck making just eggplant parmesan or baba ganoush, but have lots of other tasty things to make.

    I hope you'll make this a regular feature, and thanks!

    •  Exactly what I had hoped for! (4.00)
      Thanks for the lead on the Victory Garden Cookbook.  There is one on the way to me right now.

      Sounds like a real gem.  

      •  I'm gonna check that one out too. (none)
        It sounds like just what I was looking for. My downfall is that I just can't get myself to try new recipes unless they are on the computer.

        Help me retire to Hawaii by age 30! Pimp my site Simple Vegetarian Recipes!

        by OrangeClouds115 on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 08:28:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  "Victory Garden" is Gold! (4.00)
        You'll treasure it - mine's in tatters, but precious to me! Tips on growing, storing and preserving are so good it's more valuable to me than my gazillion garden books.

        This is hard core Appalachia, where the homeless are called "dumpster people" rather than "street people." Plus we've plenty of flow-through migrant workers (big apple country) and families who have been poverty stricken for generations. My plan (still just getting started) is a "SHARES" program because just about everybody's got a kitchen garden, even in town - usually in the side yard. I provide the seeds (Johnny's is a wonderful source, order online and get 'em mid-week) if they'll donate a row for the program. Things come in weekly, put 'em in a paper bag or box, some of everything. Print out recipes from Morash's cookbook along with proper storage and preservation tips so people know what to do with summer squash, zucchini and eggplant! Give 'em away for free to anybody who stops by, am negotiating with the town to put up a stand at the local park (at the bottom of my driveway).

        Many would be shocked to think food's just given away without vouchers or paperwork or governmental intrusion, but in my experience people will purchase food if they can. If they're stopping by for the freebies, they need it and will make good use of it. Too much goes to waste anyway...

  •  Tabletop issues (4.00)
    So many issues affecting people's lives come together in food. I look forward to these diaries.
  •  Thanks (4.00)
    This is a great idea - I'd like to think I'm heading in the right direction regarding food.  Your knowledge of the subject and new recipes will be great to check in on weekly.

    As others noted upthread, anyone who has the opportunity should take advantage of Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs)- this is a great way to "re-localize" our food supply and to potentially get involved in the actual production of it.

  •  Got chicks? (4.00)
    My husband and I have decided that we would like to have chickens as egg layers/semi-pets. Apparantly this is getting more and more popular even in suburban areas. We are going to use the chicken "tractor" method where they have a very limited free-range area, but you keep moving the pen. Unfortunately I am having trouble getting chicks. The local feedstore will no longer carry them because of bird flu concerns. I don't want to order the minimum 25-30 they send you mail order. I'm still looking around. I may have to buy eggs and hatch them out.
  •  Great idea (4.00)
    Thank you OC. I will be here!  I've been a vegetarian for about 10 years now and mostly vegan for the past 5. I'm looking forward to the ideas and discussions this will generate.

    GWB: best argument I know of to refute "Intelligent Design"

    by Pandora on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 07:39:11 AM PST

  •  This is a very subversive (4.00)
    diary, you realize. Petroleum-based agribusiness is an enormous component of what passes for GNP these days. It is also an enormous contributor to environmental degradation, pollution, and the epidemics of cancer, obesity, heart problems and other ailments that infect the population. (Happy to rant on for days about this stuff.)

    I think it's probably also implicated in the national epidemic of memory loss and senility, but no one has yet proved it (money for scientific research comes from big pharma and chem companies; they're unlikely to fund research to prove that their products are killing the population).

    It's not just that factory-farmed food has no taste and that all the nutrients have long been bled out of the soil (to be "replaced") by chemicals, it's the amount of oil used to grow, harvest, transport the crops an average of 1500 miles from producer to consumer. (Food prices increased this winter, after one of the main east-west trucking routes was damaged by Katrina.)

    Here's a reference page to CSAs in North America. See if there's one near you. If you join a CSA or decide to eat locally, remember that it will take your agribiz-conditioned system a few months to get used to eating with the seasons. You will, however, be healthier and have more energy.

    As an example of CSAs and how they can grow more than enough to feed you and yours, consider Caretaker Farm in Williamstown, Mass. It has about 35 acres, of which 6-7 are under cultivation. The farm feeds about 250 adults and attendant children from late May-early June to about March. Vegetables, eggs, honey, baked goods, farm-raised beef, pork, chicken, lamb. Two adult farmers, plus four seasonal apprentices. Lots of links at Google.

    The degree to which you resist injustice is the degree to which you are free. -- Utah Phillips

    by Mnemosyne on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 07:46:49 AM PST

  •  HFCS may be a very big deal. (4.00)
    As the diarist stated, HFCS is present in just about every mass-produced processed food item - lunch meats, condiments, baked goods, many canned foods and soups, frozen foods, etc.  I imagine that fast foods, even takeout pizza (in the commercial tomato sauce and the pepperoni), is laden with it.  Check out the ingredient lables on the stuff in your pantry and fridge.  I think many folks will find that it requires diligent effort to avoid the stuff completely.

    There was some research done a while back (Dr. George Bray, LSU, as part of research into diabetes prevention) that appeared to show that the beginnings in the rise of obesity coincide with the beginning of the use of HFCS by agribusiness to substitute for natural sweeteners (around 1980 - the year that soft drink consumption per capita passed milk consumption).  This coincidence has been discounted, however, since several other factors (changes in food transportation, general increase in pounds of food consumed, general decrease in activity levels) also coincide.

    Another part of this research appears to indicate that, like zero-calorie sweeteners (and unlike natural sweeteners, including refined sugar), HFCS does not stimulate insulin production, thought to be part the body's chemical feedback mechanisms that generate the "I'm full" messages that tell one when to stop eating.  HFCS also, purportedly, appears to enhance the production of fat cells.   I don't know that this research has ever been corroborated and I wouldn't be surprised if further research has never been initiated since agribusiness undoubtedly lobbies hard against funding it (as it has for years lobbied against research investigating the claimed benefits of the consumption of cow's milk).

    And then there's the "Cheeseburger Bill" (officially, the Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act, promoted by our old buddy, James Sensenbrenner, R-WI).  This legislation would, ostensibly, prohibit consumers from suing fast food purveyors (such as McDonald's) over health issues stemming from frequent consumption of fast food meals (except for health problems caused by contamination).  

    But the bill indemnifies ALL manufacturers and sellers of processed foods and food additives from such suits.  So, if it is later proven that frequent consumption of HFCS does promote obesity (or other health problems), the manufacturers (such as ADM), can't be sued.  Versions of this legislation passed the US House in 2004 (ignored by the Senate) and, most recently, in October 2005 (no action yet taken by the Senate).  However, as of March 2004, at least 20 states had already passed similar legislation by overwhelming majorities.

    Progressives encourage dissent to improve society through constructive engagement. Conservatives encourage dissent to identify and silence the traitors.

    by sxwarren on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 07:55:45 AM PST

    •  HFCS is also full of Omega-6 (4.00)
      Omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFA) are, as the name suggests, essential. However, an other EFA is Omega-3. Historically the human diet and a Omega-6: Omega-3 ratio of around 1:1-4.

      Some recent research shows that due to changes in farming and manufacturing practices, in the American diet it's now more like 1:30-50.

      What does this mean? Well, if Omega-3 is not available for use, your body will use Omega-6, a larger molecule. Omega-3 is used in virtually every cell in the body, and vital in cell membranes. So what happens when you use a bigger molecule? The cell wall becomes less permeable. Less nutrition can get in, less waste products (Free radicals) can get out, the whole cell becomes less efficient. In nerve cells, such as the brain, it means more communication errors.

      If you were going to design an experiment, replacing Omega-3 with Omega-6 in the diet, your hypothesis based on their roles would be that increasing Omega-6 would contribute to increases in obesity, fatigue, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, behavioural disorders, neural diseases, autism et. etc. etc. Remember - it's used in every cell in the body.

      America, you are that experiment.

      Cut down on your HFCS intake NOW. Supplement with Omega-3 NOW. And no, eating more fish won't cut it - guess what they feed farmed fish on? Corn meal - high in Omega-6.

      Give us back the America we trust and respect!!!

      by icerat on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 08:52:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Flax meal is high in Omega-3's (4.00)
        I sprinkle some on my oatmeal every morning.
        •  i just finished (none)
          my oatmeal w/ ground flax seed :)

          Help me retire to Hawaii by age 30! Pimp my site Simple Vegetarian Recipes!

          by OrangeClouds115 on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 09:27:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Unfortunately (4.00)
            For we folks that eat vegetarian it looks like vegetable forms of omega-3 are not as usable by the body. Far less bioavailibility. So you need lots of flax-seed!

            Plus of course, eating it with oatmeal is a bit self defeating! Oatmeal at it's best has an Omega 6:3 ratio of a little over 4:1.

            (ps i'm ethically for humanely killed meat, but in practise it's impossible to find where I live, so eat vegetarian).

            Give us back the America we trust and respect!!!

            by icerat on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 10:01:49 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What about DHA from algae? (none)
              I am vegetarian, and I took fish oil capsules to raise my HDL.  But then my LDL shot up.

              So for the last few months I take asupplement of DHA that comes from algae (essentially seaweed, where the fish get it from).  It is called "neuromins".  I also eat a lot of flaxseed, by the way.

              Anyone have any idea if DHA from algae is as bioavailable as that from fish?

              •  Likely (none)
                algae is the source of Omega-3s in fish.  I eat fish, but am a great believer in Neuromins and high lignan flax oil (the refrigerated kind).  But be careful of algae supplements-some blue green algae are pretty toxic.

                Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

                by barbwires on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 11:41:52 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  algae (none)
                The problem of raised LDL is known to happen in some people, though it's quite rare. To the best of my knowledge it's still not known exactly why but it probably has something to do with the overall balance of DHA and EPA forms. Algae is a good source of DHA but not so good for EPA. Too much DHA and too little EPA has been shown in some studies to raise LDL, so algae may not be ideal for you. But if the blood serum tests come out better - keep using it! It looks like DHA is probably what's important in nerve cells, and EPA has more of an effect on lipids.

                Flaxseed actually contains no DHA or EPA itself, it contains ALA, which the body can convert to DHA/EPA, but not very efficiently. Indeed some research is showing that while DHA and EPA may help fight cancer ALA actually has the opposite effect.

                Give us back the America we trust and respect!!!

                by icerat on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 02:03:39 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  Superb idea!! (4.00)
    I'm hoping I speak for a few people here. When I begin to take on the task of truly cleaning up my family's diet I find it overwhelming. There are seven of us with such varying tastes! I have two sons who, if I eliminated meat altogether would never miss it. Then I have another who can put away a 16oz steak and he's only 10 yrs old!

    To find the "cleanest" type of food also seems an overwhelming amount of work. I would have to shop differently and I hate to say it but "think more".  Our diet is not atrocious and we really don't eat that much meat as a whole. I'm not trying to come up with excuses, just articulate the blocks I bump in to.

    I bookmarked your website a couple weeks ago and will look forward to participating in a weekly diary in hopes that I can implement some small changes that add up. Great idea, OC.

    "If you're going through hell, keep going". -Winston Churchill

    by One bite at a time on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 07:58:53 AM PST

  •  Adjusting to Whole Foods (4.00)
    A Whole Foods opened in my area about a year ago.  At first the prices seemed high and the brands were strange and my daughter told my mother that "she hasn't had a decent meal since it opened."  I laughed and stayed with it as I left our local superstore behind.  

    I began to notice that I was able to bring $100 dollars worth of groceries in from the car in one trip.  This wasn't that I had less food, but there was so much less packaging.  The food was actually denser, tasted better and lasted longer.  The meat and chicken, which we still enjoy, don't smell gross.  We're almost fully adjusted now and the kids love to shop there with me because I rarely say no.  We're all better for it and it's a start.  Thanks, OC.

    Nature never breaks her own laws. --da Vinci

    by lale on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 08:07:39 AM PST

    •  I heard someone call it Whole Check (none)
      But I've been looking around online at lists of GMO-free (and GMO-full) foods and Whole Foods is doing a nice job offering people the option of having no GMOs in their food. Giant corporation or no, I'm glad they are giving me extra options. When I can't make it to my local natural foods coop, I shop there.

      Help me retire to Hawaii by age 30! Pimp my site Simple Vegetarian Recipes!

      by OrangeClouds115 on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 08:42:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You should visit one, OC (4.00)
        I think you'd like it.  All kinds of good business practices, high food quality standards, some locally grown, organic & conventional foods, and the CEO takes a normal salary.  Even though the prices are higher, we're spending less and savoring more.  

        Nature never breaks her own laws. --da Vinci

        by lale on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 09:42:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Whole Foods has its issues, (none)
          including its WalMart-like aversion to union organizing, and the occasional bait and switch on organic and conventional produce.

          I do shop there occasionally, but only to supplement trips to the local farmers market.

          •  Whole Foods labor practices (4.00)
            Although I buy as much of our food at farmer's markets as possible, I really like Whole Foods, and I shop there regularly for certain items, especially some of their house-brand products. I could see that their business was successful and growing and I decided to invest in the company (literally putting my money where my mouth was, so to speak), but I, too, was concerned about their labor policies.

            I started discreetly asking employees how they liked working there, whether they felt they were being compensated fairly, whether they had decent benefits and working conditions, and unless these people get brainwashed when they're hired, the company seems to treat their employees very decently. I'd suspected as much, since the service is generally excellent, and it's really hard to achieve that consistently if the staff is unhappy. And I think the owner is pretty aware of his customers' feelings about this, too. He'd be stupid to mistreat his employees.

            I'd be more comfortable if they were unionized, because I know too well, from personal experience, that a great nonunion job can turn to a pile of ashes in a minute if the management changes its mind. But I did buy some stock, and I'm keeping a close eye on the expressions on the faces of the checkout clerks. I think that if things go bad, that will be an early-warning sign.

            -8.25,-8.36 The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

            by sidnora on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 11:22:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  i go there (none)
          went last night. I'm planning on making sweet potatoes and chocolate chip cookies today :)

          Help me retire to Hawaii by age 30! Pimp my site Simple Vegetarian Recipes!

          by OrangeClouds115 on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 01:23:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Didn't know they were out your way (none)
            It's certainly an improvement over the "Exxonmobil" of grocery stores I've been patronizing all these years!

            Nature never breaks her own laws. --da Vinci

            by lale on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 01:58:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Yep. (none)
        We call it Whole Paycheck Foods around here.  I only go when I need a "gormet" type ingredient.  

        Not that my local CSA is much cheaper, but I'd rather take the hit all at once (out of the IRS refund) than take it every week.
         

      •  We call it "whole paycheck" (none)
        When we go shopping there we have to ask if we need the $200 or the $400 cart.

        But putting that aside, I used to get angry about the prices at Whole Foods until I realized that we ate everything we bought and nothing went bad and that the food we cook tastes better.  One you get used to organic and other whole and natural foods, it's difficult to turn back.  I now notice, immediately, if something's not right with the ingredients in what I'm eating.

        The one thing I don't really care for at Whole Foods are their pre-made soups and counter meals.  I can make much better and so can you.  The other thing I'm not happy about is that they've moved more toward what they think is a "gourmet" touch and less really, really healthy whole foods.  Maybe the items they carry are more custom-made for the market they're located in.  

    •  WF took corn syrup out (none)
      of their branded soda.. use cane sugar instead

      btw.. I just found out that their awesome choco truffles are seasonal!  and the season is ending soon. The WF was sampling them like crazy and I finally succumbed and bought a box.

  •  Lobbyist Angle (4.00)
    There is a lot more to this story than a lot of people may realize.  I don't mean to "pre-pimp" a diary here, but I've spent the past week researching one particular lobbyist firm.  My interest was on a topic unrelated to food, but it turned out that it is related afterall.  This firm's main clients are from the food, restaurant and beverage industries. I found so much information that I've decided to break it into a series of either 3 or 4 diaries that I will be submitting this week.  (I'm not a writer; in fact, I haven't written a "paper" like this since I was in college almost 30 years ago! I just hope that I present it well enough to make sense and generate interest.)  This guy has and has had BIG influence on, (and I quote), "how things really function at the nexus of government policies, big corporations, and the media".  

    I encourage you to keep up the weekly diary on this issue.  Thanks for your effort!

    "You can have your own opinion, but you can't have your own set of facts." - Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) 1/25/06

    by Ellicatt on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 08:39:15 AM PST

    •  I've just subscribed... (4.00)
      ...to make sure I don't miss it.  If it's about Ag, it's related to my research interest, Rep. Richard Pombo(R, CA-11), who has his fingers in more bad stuff than you can shake a stick at.  Grew up "ranching" in San Joaquin Valley.  I say "ranching" because the ranch includes a feed lot.  He voted against protections against mad cow disease, the ones that banned animal by-products from the food chain.

      Another thought on Ag:  European birders are suggesting that Bird Flu is being spread more by domestic poultry industry than wild birds.  Brid guano (droppings) being packaged in fertilizer products (even "organic" ones?) and shipped far and wide.  Radiating from Asia, but moving far and wide.  Not sure how much there is to it, but it does get one wondering.

      Looking forward to yours.

    •  I'll look forward to it n/t (4.00)
  •  Thanks for this (4.00)
    Just posted on melvin's diary how disappointed (& baffled) I was by Yearly Kos's agenda choices.  Nothing on food, nothing on water, nothing on the environment, nothing on the West (where the thing's being held, for Pete's sake).

    A few rambling observations:

    Surplus foods from USDA:  death by cling peaches in heavy syrup, while small scale agriculture largely disappears in favor of soil destroying, petroleum- & chemical-intensive methods.  Helped squelch traditional indigenous agriculture here in the southwest (thereby paving the way for alienating water rights).  

    I've always thought people who buy organic (etc.) foods because it's better for their own personal health are - at least partly - missing the point.

    The ancient four elements:  What's it doing to our air & water?  Earth itself, in the form of soil, being recklessly depleted and loaded up with salts.  And fire?  That's all the petroleum being used...

    But then, I'm a micro-orchardist growing heirloom varieties by long-time traditional methods.  Feel a palpable kinship with the chaos in Central Asia, the wild origin of our Johnny Appleseed domestic apples.  Probably give more thought to these matters than most.

    Recommend a wonderful book called The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan, who also wrote the extraordinary Second Nature.  Thanks again for your diary (even if I'm not a vegetarian...)

    •  Micro-orchardry sounds elegant, (4.00)
      though I'm certain it's hard work. Thanks for thinking about all these things more than the rest of us.

      I have 12 or so acres of lovely south facing field in zone 5, a few miles inland in Maine. Can you recommend resources to see where I might start to learn about the possibilities for such a venture here? I have friends in MOFGA, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners, and will check locally, but I'd like to have a primer before I start asking really dumb questions.

      In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher. Dalai Lama

      by leolabeth on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 09:09:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I vote for asking dumb questions. (4.00)
        What you are thinking of really, really depends on your region.  When I lived in the snowbelt, I could grow peaches.  Now in central Ohio, I've been told that growing peaches would net a crop one every 4 or  5 years due to peach trees tendency to bloom early and lose crops due to late freezes.  So, no peaches.

        Things to think on:

        How much maintenance do you want to do?  Some crops sound good but require serious work to get even an edible, let alone saleable, crop.  

        What do you want to do with your crop?  Apples for pies, apples for cider and dessert quality(picture perfect) apples are all options.

        How much time can you spare for harvest?  Some fruits come on in the space of two to three weeks and need to be harvested every three days - cherries are like that.  Others can hang on the tree and be picked on weekends.

        We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

        by Fabian on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 11:05:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  MOGFA is great! (4.00)
        I live in VA but drive up to Maine for the MOGFA fair in late September whenever possible.  Highly recommend for anyone interested in organic farming-on any scale.  

        Re smale scale apple growing, a number of commercal nurseries, e.g., Stark Brothers have good info re apple growing and there are a lot of varieties to choose from--not just heirlooms but some new varieties like Honeycrisp--yum!  In Maine you will want the "short season" apples like Cortland.  And the good winter-keeping apples.  

        I would like to grow all organic, but find limited use of pesticides invaluable for things like coddling moth.  And I use Bitrex versus deer-they eat everything otherwise!  So I believe in IPM-Integrated Pest Management; limit the use of pesticides to the least toxic, to those that degrade readily or that take the least amount to acheive purpose. Use organic farming practices-intercropping, planting insect repelling plants etc as much as possible.

        PS--I love Maine but hate winter, so I'll probably never grow the ovaries to actually move there!

        Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

        by barbwires on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 11:56:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Check out... (4.00)
        ...FedCo seeds in Waterville, ME.  I've not ordered from them, but you might be close enough to go in person.  Specializing in your region; obviously anything which starts its life there has good chances.

        Another interesting outfit, though farther south, is White Oak Nursery, 494 White Oak Rd., Strasburg, PA 17579.  They're Amish, so no website or even phone.  But I've liked doing business with them by mail, entering a charming & quaint alien world.  We're used to all this "instant" everything.  But actually, the mail works just fine for anything you need.

        Before you order anything, check out the company's reputation and track record at Garden Watchdog.  They have ratings and links to all sorts of mail order outfits.  For your location, I'd recommend checking out

        Over the years, I've sampled everything I could find at local Farmers Market and so on.  Some of the old local trees, people don't even know what the variety is though.  If I like it, I stick a few in the fridge to check out storage.  Then plant some that seem promising (that's what led me to White Oak: the incredible flavor of the Lincoln Pear).

        A lot of the nurseries publish good info on their websites, beyond just the stock for sale.  For you, I'd especially recommend checking out:

        These two specialize in cold weather stocks, so you'd be a fool to skip checking them out.  Also, take a look at any nursery in Minnesota.  Beyond that:

        • Nourse Farms, Deerfield, MA (berries not trees)
        • Raintree Nursery, Morton, WA.  They occasionally have a horticulturalist around to answer questions over the phone.
        • Edible Forest, P.O. Box 260195, Madison, Wisconsin 53726 (apparently link not good at the moment).  I've never done business with them personally, but they do claim to specialize in northern varieties, so worth a look.
        • Greenmantle Nursery, Garberville, CA
        • Trees of Antiquity, Paso Robles, CA (formerly Sonoma Antique Apples, and people who love their work, a delight to deal with)
        • WARNING!!! Southmeadow Fruit Gardens, Baroda, MI has a great website, worth visiting.  But before you order, read the consumer reports at Garden Watchdog.  It will probably convince to purchase elsewhere.

        You can find a lot by starting at the Garden Watchdog.

        Also:  check out Apple Source, Chaplin, IL.  They don't sell plants, but you can order sampler boxes of unusual varieties from them to try them out.  One of these, the Northern Mix would be especially relevant to Maine.  Includes Fireside, Haralson, Honey Crisp, Honey Gold, Keepsake (a very tasty apple), and Regent varieties.  I also like Gold Rush, a new breed from Minnesota, good russet-style flavor, cold tolerance, and multiple bred-in disease resistance.  Keeps well and I really like the taste.

        Also:  Good old fashioned County Extension Agent is likely to have useful information as well.

        You can count me as, literally, a tree hugger.

        •  Thank-you, LoE. That's a cornucopia... (none)
          of tree hugging information.

          Thanks also for the reminder about the Extension. I've always thought they were unsung heroes rife with lots of valuable knowledge.

          In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher. Dalai Lama

          by leolabeth on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 01:20:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Parents! (4.00)
    Help!  Can anyone recommend a cookbook or website for making healthy sack lunches for kids?  Two of my kids (not the distance runner) are showing some pudginess and I don't like what they tell me they had for lunch at school each day.  I have gone on sack-making binges but it's a struggle to put together a meal they will enjoy.  We need some variety!  If they can get involved with the planning I might get some help - all I need is another chore every day!

    "An inglorious peace is better than a dishonest war." - Mark Twain

    by skwimmer on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 08:57:37 AM PST

    •  I am looking too (4.00)
      for a cook book for people who are not bright enough to read regular cook books,  with basic recipes and ways to make food go a long way.  I may have to write it myself.
    •  When my nephews stayed with us (none)
      for basketball camp, we stuffed their lunches with sandwiches on whole-grain bread, trail mix, fruit, yogurt, cheese and crackers and bottles of water. My idea was for them to have plenty to choose from for a meal and snacks and not be tempted to buy candy or soda pop. The camp also provided water so that discouraged soda drinking in general, I think.

      I think it is more important to fill your kids up with healthy stuff so they don't want junk rather than to worry that the food you provide is low-fat, low-calorie, low-salt, etc. The boys said they felt really healthy when they were staying with us.

      •  Kids can be 'Uber-Cool'... (4.00)
        My grandson is a regular 'wonder of the world' to our friends - comes in from school and puts a veggieburger (make my own w/black beans, oatmeal and chopped veggies, freeze 'em, make WW sourdough buns), then grabs a bell pepper and woofs it down like an apple. He hates chocolate, doesn't eat other candy, and the only soft drink he can stand is ginger ale. His Mom calls him "Juice-Boy."

        Worse, he's a highly subversive influence at his high school. Spent the last 3 years in a Charter, where most all his classmates were "hippie kids" like him, so gained a lot of self-confidence and is very comfortable with himself. They don't do charter high schools here, so he's at the County Seat - an hour's bus ride away and chock full of hard-core rednecks. They think he's "the bomb" (he tells me, and it's just gotta be the blue hair) and now he's got a "posse" that has successfully lobbied for fresh, whole, uncooked fruits and veggies at lunch, which they consume with great delight. They've even got veggieburgers at the 4th of July town picnic now!

      •  I think they were just (none)
        Trying to get on your good side.  I'll bet they traded all that good stuff for pop and chips.

        Kids these days!

        A vote for the Democrats is a vote for Democracy. A vote for the Republicans is a vote for Empire.

        by Bionic on Wed Mar 01, 2006 at 05:44:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Jeanne Lemlin's books are a good start (4.00)
      Try "Simple Vegetarian Pleasures" and "Quick Vegetarian Pleasures". I have used many recipes from both of those books that are beloved by my sons and their friends. Lots of things that can go into lunch bags.

      I try to subvert the friends' eating habits as often as possible. Burger King and Hot Pockets, uggh. We are not vegetarians in our household but limit our consumption of meat and poultry in both frequency and portion. T

      "And tell me how does god choose whose prayers does he refuse?" Tom Waits

      by madaprn on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 10:11:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Check out Vegan Lunch Box (4.00)
      http://veganlunchbox.blogspot.com/

      Even if you don't eat veg, this is a great blog where a mom posts what she puts in her kid's lunch box everyday with recipes.

      If that doesn't inspire you, I don't know what will!

      •  I Heart Kos (none)
        It's like the Oracle!  Thanks - that is just what I needed.  Gotta try the eggless salad sandwich with capers!

        "An inglorious peace is better than a dishonest war." - Mark Twain

        by skwimmer on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 12:06:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  3 days out of 5 (none)
          my kids took p-nut butter apples as their main item. We got very creative with these. slice an apple in half top to bottom, using a spoon core each half making a 'well', fill well with p-nut butter & put some on edges too, put apple halves back together & pack in a sandwich bag. You can also put 'suprises' in the well: trail mix, shredded cheese, jam, raisins or other dried fruit, etc, & then ice with p-nut butter & reassemble apple. Another option is to do p-nut butter & then sprinkle with sunflower seeds! They later told me everyone always wanted to trade for them.
        •  peanut butter & celery (none)
          I take this to work to add a little protein since I'm mostly veggie. I put the peanut butter in the celery, then chop it into bite size pieces and put it in a small tupperware type container. I eat it with a fork, but that's me. Yum.

          I use the gooshy non-processed peanut butter and it's pretty messy but tastes great!

          Say no to hate, bigotry, and the author of the Fed. Marriage Amendment, Marilyn Musgrave. Please donate to Angie Paccione.

          by OLinda on Sun Mar 05, 2006 at 11:41:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  snap peas (none)
      Might at least be worth seeing if the kids like them. They are cool and crisp and sweet. A great snack. I take these to work too.

      You can buy them in small bags (supposedly) washed and ready to eat. They are usually in the section of the grocery store where you find prepackaged salad greens and stuff.

      Say no to hate, bigotry, and the author of the Fed. Marriage Amendment, Marilyn Musgrave. Please donate to Angie Paccione.

      by OLinda on Sun Mar 05, 2006 at 11:45:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A big picture question for some of the... (none)
    phenomenally smart people on this site:

    If we had to get along without petroleum products, let's assume they simply get too expensive to burn or put in the ground, could we feed everyone in this country?

    What countries or regions could?

    Thanks for this terrific diary.

    In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher. Dalai Lama

    by leolabeth on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 09:02:34 AM PST

    •  Totally Without? (4.00)
      No, not soon. Massive societal breakdown within about a week, if it were to instantly disappear.

      But it isn't going to disappear, it's going to get expensive, which will cause serious recession, undoubtedly localized depression as particular regions become too costly for ordinary people to live in, and various industries and industrial/business practices become too pricey to sustain.

      No change of this kind is going to be pleasant for the poor and lower middle class. And the middle class generally is going to disappear as we know it. We're already starting to evolve towards a tiny aristocracy, a small upper class, and most of the people being what we'd consider lower-middle class & poor.

      The rich won't be able to stay in all the wild and declining areas they prefer, because they'll need ordinary people for support services, and with both living costs and also shift-work transportation becoming costly, the rich too will probably have to cluster in only some of the outlying areas they'd prefer.

      I think the population will have to relocate to cluster together in places and ways that mass transit can support.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 09:12:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Check the 2/13 issue of (none)
        American Conservative Magazine:

        In this new era, coming soon to a 21st-century region near you, the formerly industrial nations will have a great deal of trouble keeping the lights on, getting around, and feeding their people. Vocational niches by the hundreds will vanish, while the need to make up for a failing industrial agriculture, with all its oil-and-gas inputs, will require a revived agricultural working class in substantial numbers.

    •  Ugh (4.00)
      It isn't a pretty picture. There's a good bit of information at the Global Footprint Network.

      Both Cuba and North Korea suffered a huge drop in petroleum imports when the Soviet Union collapsed. Cuba survived, but North Korea had massive famine. Partly because of bad planning, partly because of overpopulation.

    •  In Kuntsler's book.... (4.00)
      The Long Emergency he addresses this in part.  Overall, I didn't find many useful strategies in this book, but there is a lot of information and conjecture about how things might look.  

      Chapter 7 is: "Living in the long emergency" and it deals with both national and regional issues.  Including (but not limited to):

    • life "will become increasingly and intensely local and smaller in scale."  
    • the end of suburbia
    • "The American West, especially the Southwest, may suffer inordinately for several reasons."  Transportation, air conditioning, water distribution among other stuff.
    • The Old Union: = mid-Atlantic, New England, upper Midwest won't be immune from problems, but may be in a "more favorable position to survive" because of the "residue of a preindustrial" infrastructure.
    • The West = Great Plains and Rockies. "The outlook for them in the Long Emergency is dismal...."  This one is just too bleak to excerpt here.
    • Pacific Northwest: sounds better, but "mild climate, abundant water, and good farmland may be overwhelmed by populations fleeing the problems of Southern California...."

      I have mixed feelings about this book.  It seems too apocalyptic for me.  But as a way to think about things and what scenarios could play out, it's interesting.

  •  We'd Been Trending Low-Meat (4.00)
    but took a big leap toward vegetarianism due to a bad heart health report for one of us (actual permanent damage found and worse threatening).

    So we both went on a combined diabetic and cholesterol-lowering regime.

    We replaced all our refined carbos with doubled & tripled servings of veggies, and modest portions of wild or brown rice, & beans. We need to learn more about this area & I'm sure these discussions will help inform us.

    Protein source at present is fish (wild only) and tofu. We eat fish every day, often twice a day. We make a lot of conventional meat dishes using fish and/or tofu for the animal portion: chili, paella, curry, spaghetti, stuffed peppers--you name it. I'm sure we'll share some recipes.

    Within just 3 months we both lost 25 pounds (I'm back to High School dimensions while she's back to post-wedding dimensions of 25 years ago), and the offending total cholesterol dropped by 1/3 while the HDL and HDL/LDL ratio shot up to youthful levels. We eat big portions, all we want, and don't get the intensity of hunger pangs we used to get when we ate the usual dose of refined & light carbos.

    But yes, it's expensive, and the societal energy implications are important to consider.

    I'm really looking forward to this discussion because we've got a lot to learn about true vegetarian cooking.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 09:03:42 AM PST

  •  I think eventually my family (4.00)
    will be vegetarian.  I had high triglycerides about five years ago that caused me to completely reevaluate my diet.  My sugar consumption is minimal now, but it is so frustrating how many things have sugar in them that really don't need to.  We have probably cut our beef consumption to a fourth of what it was five years ago, and other meat by half at least.  Slowly we keep finding great vegetarian recipes and incorperating them into our diet.

    one issue is that extended family functions and work functions will always have lots of meat, at least for me.  i already catch shit for not grabbing a huge chunk of thanksgiving turkey (i honestly just don't like thanksgiving turkey) or a big greasy (undercooked) hamburger at regular summer bbqs at work.  shouldn't stop me from doing the right thing but it is interesting (these are places where i can't launch into a tyrade into the very issues that make reducing meat a good choice-- people would shut me down and ignore me as a "granola-enviro-nutcase" and i would have to fight for months to even sound reasonable to them.  i've done such before... you have to pick your battles with some people).  i have friends who are practically vegan (for health reasons only) and they eat even a bit of meat to be polite, they pay consequences in thier gastro intestinal system.  so anyway, i guess i would like to retain the capacity to eat some meat sometimes.

    one other dietary issue you did not touch on is the amount of fake color and preservatives in our food that have definate behavioral effects.  my daughter is so sensitive to Red-40, Yellow-5, and such, that if she has even a handful of skittles she turns into an ADHD kid.  many times she's been flipping out and acting this way when my wife and i did not know she had had anything, and we find out, oh yeah, grandma gave her a glass of coolaid.  some preservatives are also chemically related and have similar effects.

    i think if americans took control of thier diets, ate lots more natural, organic, healthy food, demanded extra sugars and fake colors and so on, holy cow i think we'd be amazed at how things would change.  less health problems, better mental capacity and attention, etc.

    the food you put in your body is very much a personal choice, but i think unfortunately most people are not aware of all the shit that is in food nowadays and therefore do not factor that into thier choice.  its just "what's yummy, what's cheap" and if they are worried about health many just say "hell, the package says it has 1/2 the fat, it must be healthy!" not realizing it has twice the sugar.  or some other tradoff.

    R for Reverse, D for Drive

    by leftwords on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 09:08:22 AM PST

  •  Baked seasoned tofu (4.00)
    This is a wonderful diary.  Thank you.

    I can contribute our favorite tofu recipe, from the Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special cookbook.

    1 12-oz cake firm tofu

    1 T plus 2 t soy sauce
    1 T water
    1 T dark sesame oil
    1 t tomato paste (optional)
    1 t rice vinegar
    1 t mild honey or sugar
    1/2 t ground anise

    Press tofu between two plates, with a weight (heavy can) on top, for about 20 mins to expel liquid.  Drain.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    Cut tofu into 3 slices; stack and cut through all layers on the two diagonals, making an "x".  This will yield 12 triangles of tofu.  Combine all other ingredients in bowl and blend.

    Arrange tofu triangle in baking dish and cover with sauce.  Bake, uncovered, about 35 mins, turning tofu with spatula every 10 mins.  When tofu is taut and seared and sauce has mostly evaporated, it is ready to serve.

    My kids gobble this up.

  •  Thank You, Orange Cloud (none)
    This has been a great read, I have been bookmarking like crazy.  It is also inspiring lots of ideas.  I have to travel a ways to get to a CSA but signing up is next on my agenda. Thanks a million for this diary.
  •  Hello and link (4.00)
    Good Morning.  It's still morning here on the left coast.  This is my first post in KOS, just joined yesterday, though I have been a long time second hand listener to KOS through Mr. Puget4 aka Gooserock.

    I am really thrilled to see this particular diary topic and very happy that it will be a weekly event.  I have already hotlisted it.

    Another related blog that you all might be interested in is Eat 4 Today which is Katiebird's eating healthy committment blog.  I highly recommend it.

    Thank you for posting this diary.  I look forward to future issues.

  •  This is one of my weird posts (4.00)
    I give this forewarning because they are becoming more frequently weird and I have just returned from lunch at a tiny but truly excellent Austrian restaurant at a place called Fairy Glen - not a very Welsh sounding name I will concede.

    After the meal I had coffee and a cigarette at the bar outside the dining area and talked at length with the owner chef - a delightful Austrian who has spent many year in Wales. The other four tables were all filled by naturalised Austrian people.

    It was an amusing and enjoyable chat. I wasted the time however. As I commented afterwards, I probably had the longest and most relaxed discussion that I have ever had or ever will have with an expert in Austrian cookery. How did I use it. To get some good hints and recipes? No.

    Most of the time was spent discussing what was the most ridiculous looking vegetable. I agreed with his view. It must be Celeriac.

  •  My new cookbooks (4.00)
    I became a vegetarian at age 12 when I found out how animals were raised (force-feeding and confinement). I was a pretty opinionated kid, I guess. Luckily, I had pretty flexible parents.

    I have bought 2 cookbooks this year that have made my life a lot easier:

    1. "Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow-Cooker" by Robin Robertson. You can put together a hearty dish in the morning, usually in 10-20 minutes and have a hot meal ready when you come home at night. Or, if you're not a morning person, put it together at night, refrigerate and start slow cooker in the morning.

    2. "Quick, Simple, and Main-Course Vegetarian Pleasures" by Jeanne Lemlin. This is a real bargain because it is actually 3 cookbooks in 1: Quick Vegetarian Pleasures and Simple Vegetarian Pleasures and Main-Course Vegetarian Pleasures so you can pick as easy or as complicated a recipe as you want. The author admits that historically vegetarian recipes were complicated and time-consuming (you had to pay your dues to belong to the club) but after she had children she had to simplify.
  •  A couple of months ago (4.00)
    I started using a local home-delivery organic fruit and vegetable service called LOVE Delivery (Los angeles Organic Vegetable Express).  I've been very happy with the service and the produce, and the fact that it's clearly the best way of getting us to eat more vegetables.

    When you see all those fresh goodies in the salad drawer in the fridge, you actually do sit down and consciously plan what meals you'll make, to use up all the vegetables.  When you know you have another delivery coming on Wednesday, it forces you to decide how to eat the stuff you already have.  There is no way we'd be cooking with so many vegetables otherwise; it's too easy just to slam a frozen pizza in the oven instead.  But when the veg are bought and paid for and sitting there looking at you, it definitely motivates you to cook and eat them.

    Also, I like the convenience of someone else deciding what veg I should have this week.  Based on the preferences I expressed when I first signed up, I receive a varied box of fruit and veg every week, depending on what's in season.  It's fun to see what surprises are in store every week when the box arrives.  It's also tons of fun not to have to spend a morning going down to the Farmer's Market and picking stuff out myself, which I find takes far too much time and becomes expensive, because I amble around slowly and make tons of whim purchases when I go there myself.

    I pay $27.50 a week, including delivery, for a box of organic vegetables and fruit that is more than enough for two non-vegetarians for a week's eating, and often in fact leaves me scrambling to use everything up before the next lot arrives.  I know this is good for us and I'm gradually changing our habits so that the produce is naturally incorporated into our feeding style.

    I definitely recommend this type of service for anyone who doesn't mind paying a bit extra for the convenience of it all.  It's also good to know that the produce is local, that you're supporting local farmers' collectives, that it hasn't languished in a truck for 1,000 miles before reaching you, and that cool people who care about the environment and people's health are able to have paying jobs providing the service.

  •  Thank You (4.00)
    I am a regular Kos reader.  I am also a vegan.  I want to thank you Orangecloud115 for starting this series.  I will try to comment weekly (starting next week) with recipes and whatever else I can think of, not to mention bringing the recommends.  It's important that America talks about this issue out in the open.  Keep up the great work!
  •  community gardens (none)
    The benefits to any community is huge, both rural and urban.

    The emotional and physical reward of growing your own food is cheaper than pills. Large urban centres should be encouraged to give a portion of land for community use and if your community does not, ask why not.

    A connection to the earth is never lost from the very first tomato.

  •  Diet for a Small Planet (none)
    by Francis Moore Lappe is a great old primer for anyone just learning about the food biz and the costs of eating animals.
  •  Great diary and I love your website, too! (none)
    I actually signed up at your website because of a post you made that went something like, "help me retire" and I thought, hey, why not?  But it actually is a great site and I have my 19 year old daughter reading it now.  

    Good for you and congrats on the new condo, also!  Sounds like you are doing well and life is good for you.  Keep up the good work, we appreciate you.

    I am not your beast of burden: I will not be forced to carry your baggage.....Humanistic Property Manifesto (-5.13, -4.77)

    by panicbean on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 10:36:10 AM PST

  •  Easiest and best vegetable dish (none)
    OK, here goes!  My favorite, non-fat, yummy vegetable dish adapted from Julia Child:

    Choux fleurs en Verdure  (green cauliflower, but it sounds better in French)

    l large cauliflower, separated into flowerets
    1 or 2 bunches watercress, trimmed of woody stems and washed

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in cauliflower and cook until easily pierced with a fork but not mushy.  Drop trimmed watercress into the cooking pot and leave in 1 or 2 minutes, just enough time for the watercress to wilt.

    Drain and let cool a bit.

    In batches, but the cauliflower and cress in a food processor and puree until you get a lovely mix of green-flecked cauliflower.  Don't over process or you will get soup.  Add salt and pepper to taste.   If you want, you can add cream, butter, cheese or bechamel, but honestly this tastes best just plain.  It's a very elegant side dish and isn't bad cold either!  

    Bon appetit.

    "Pro-life" really means "pro-criminalization"

    by Radiowalla on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 10:52:25 AM PST

  •  Omega 3 (none)
    Omega 3 is a result of not feeding chicken "crap" (not sure what you definition would be for that) but FLAX SEED.  

    FLAX SEED is not "crap".

  •  Excellent plan!! (none)
    I didn't know about the egg thing.

    Our city has a law against keeping chickens...unfortunately...or I'd already do it...I think they're SO cute!!

    Anyway...I'll read and highly recommend:)

  •  Excellent diary, OC (none)
    and thanks for it!

    Although I'm not a vegetarian, I am always interested in good food, meaning tasty, humanely raised, environmentally  and nutritionally sound. I also love to cook. And since I'm pretty much a weekend Kossack, I'll be looking forward to this on a regular basis.

    The most interesting food-related thing I learned this week: that when we eat food we like, that is, food that is tasty, well-prepared and appealing, we get far more out of it nutritionally than the exact same food when it is prepared and presented in less appetizing ways, e.g. in a style we don't like or are unfamiliar with, or badly cooked, or as an undifferentiated mush.

    -8.25,-8.36 The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

    by sidnora on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 11:39:21 AM PST

  •  Thank you OC (none)
    I love this diary. I bookmarked your website a few weeks ago when you wrote about it.

    We've tried some of your recipes. They were great.
    We've been vegetarisns since 1996.  I'm trying to go vegan. That's a little harder though. So I do he free range thing. I hope they're legit. I heard that some are full of crap.

    Back in 96, on some highway in VA, we got stuck behind a truck carrying chickens and I got realy upset. Then the truck pulls into the Tyson plant and I started crying for real and that did it for me.  We were on our way to a family reunion, and it was all meat because it was a bar-b-q, and I went hungry  all day. I've never looked back.

    But I did have to buy this book...called Living in a Meateaters World. I think that was it. My friends and family give me a hard time about this. Still. Not all. But a lot. And I don't bring it up. Ever. I know why they get mad,  but I learned how to diffuse the situation without getting pissed off at them. Or visa versa.    

    It's interesting to read other Kossaks comments on this.  Thank you. :-)

  •  another useful resource (none)
    it's a book called The Tofu Tollbooth, and it's a guide to natural food stores/vegetarian restaurants for the road tripper.  of course it's not complete by any means, but it's a good thing.  and now, an überslacker vegetarian recipe:

    bake a potato

    slather with cottage cheese and steamed broccoli

    i use lemon juice and cracked pepper as well

    yum!

    weather forecast

    The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise. - Paine

    by Cedwyn on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 12:02:25 PM PST

  •  For those of you who are parents... (none)
    Stir it Up America is a great site where you can take some local and national action to help improve school lunches for children!

    I'm not a parent, so I'm not sure how I got on this email list...but it's interesting, and sometimes I link to it in my action diaries, so I keep up the subscription.

    Anyway...just thought I'd tell y'all about that:)

  •  Omega-3s and chicken eggs (4.00)
    The way to have high Omegas in the eggs without that gross fishy taste is to feed the birds weeds!  Anything green will do.  Grasses, hay, weeds!  NMSU did a study feeding the birds sprouted grains.  The green sproutlings packed in the omega-3s in both the eggs and the meat.  If the birds are free ranging, that's what they do...eat weeds as well as wild seeds and bugs.
    I have beautiful pale indigo blue eggs from my birds.

    We have an organic chicken farmer in Socorro.  He charges 8 bucks a bird dressed.  He also offers heirloom turkeys.  He sends most of them to Santa Fe for the rich people.

    That's the thing.  The good food is for the rich.  We usually have meat and dairy and especially cheap carbs in the house, but the fresh fruit and veggies go to the little boy first.  I eat beans and eggs, Dad gets meat and carbs and the boy gets meat, fresh food and carbs.  Mom and Dad rarely eat fresh food.  Mom gets less meat.  We only get organic when locally grown veggies are in season or when one of the brothers kill a deer or elk.
    We also have plenty of blue eggs.
    Our dog and the cats eat the cheapest dryed food and blue eggs.
    I also give my eggs away to my neighbors during peak spring laying season.  Even during winter there are enough blue eggs for me and the dog.
    Grain for about 20 chickens runs about $30.00 a month.
    My birds are healthy and happy.

  •  Hi OrangeClouds, (none)
    I'm glad to see you working on this.  You know it is my "thing."  And, I've had to take a break from my own weekly food diary due to what they generally call "personal issues."  While I hope to come back and do more someday, it's great to see so many people interested in the topics you're bringing up!  There's hope for us yet!  Recommended!
  •  Cancer Fighting Franks, Beans & Greens (none)
    2 cans vegetarian baked beans
    1 can Southern cooked greens or 1/2 to 1 bag frozen greens (mustard, collards, turnip, etc.)
    1 package Yves or other brand veggie dogs
    1 medium sweet potato, softened in microwave
    1 tablespoon flaxseed

    Empty beans and greens into large skillet or pot. Cut up the veggie dogs with a knife or cook's shears and add to skillet.

    Remove sweet potato from microwave and chop into bite-size pieces into the pan, including skin. Add flaxseed to pan and heat through.

    A cancer-fighting meal in less than 20 minutes! :)

  •  I became a Vegan+Fish at age 63 (none)
    Again, let me say I am so pleased to see this diary and to know there will be more of the same to come.

    I became a Vegan at the age of 63.  I have always been an animal lover and could never kill an animal myself under any circumstances.  However, I was raised in a rural community in Ohio and we ate meat and potatoes and "some" very well cooked veggies.  I didn't know anything else.  I new how to produce MANY wonderful, delicious, mouth-watering main-stream meals centered around the main course of animal meat.

    The story of why I am now a near-vegan can be found at this link.  Bottom line....high cholesterol, the presence of vessel damage, high risk of further damage.  

    Now, I am like any reformed "aholic" and am a staunch believer and advocate for vegetarian/vegan/low fat/no white carbs/add fish(not shell fish) eating.  I have lost nearly 40 lbs (I am only 5'1" tall) and feel wonderful.  My cholesterol has dropped from 288 in October 2005 to 218 in Feb. 2006, triglycerides down from 199 to 123, LDL down from 204 to 143, and HDL up from 44 to 50, my CHOL/HDLC ratio is down from 6.5 to 4.4.  I'm keeping fish in my diet because of the Omega 3 oils but eating only wild fish.  Happily, there is a good supply of that in the PacNW.  Also, I was concerned about getting enough protein without the fish, although soy is my friend.

    I still have more work to do, more weight to lose, more everything to lower and more HDL to raise but I've made a life-change decision and Gooserock has made it with me.  Without his help and companionship in this, I never would have made it.  (He'd been trying to get me to cut back on fat for years.)

    My big question now is, as a vegan+fish person, how do I make sure I'm getting enough calcium?  I'm also a small build woman, age 64 now, and my mother had osteoporosis.

    Thank you again for your wonderful diary.

  •  Corn syrup (none)
    Last year, for Ostara, I gave up refined sugars.  No brown, white or syrupy stuff.

    We still eat Mollasses, Honey and Maple Syrup (only the pure stuff).  

    In the last 10 months, I've lost over 70 lbs.  

    For snacking, I keep frozen fruit available and we're huge fans of pumpkins seeds and peanuts (chahews, pecans, etc...).

    The big difference I've noticed is that my moods are more stable.  Odd, huh?  I mean, it's easier to concentrate.  It's easier to rest and get up from rest.  I find it much easier to get things done and I make fewer mistakes.  It's like I just increased my brain power, 5 fold.  Since I have ADD, having these new found concentration advantages makes my life so much easier.

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