George and Julia's Vegan Underground

Archive for the tag “vegan”

Vegan Dog

Family
Even before I became a complicated vegan, I feared dog food.  When Bodie moved in, my fear heightened as a concerned parent and as a vegan.  Before I could say sweet potato biscuit pet owners scolded me.  “Dogs are meant to eat meat”, it’s in their DNA”, “dogs come from wolves,” “not feeding them meat is abuse”…blah, blah, blah.  Of course, the meat of their wolf ancestry was not chock full of toxins and antibiotics.  Plus, I really couldn’t see Bodie or one of his relatives as a predator.
So the Status quo says keep the dogs full of “meat”.  Of course it’s not really what we would consider meat, is it?   Most dog food “meats” are heads, feet, bones, blood, intestines, lungs, spleens, livers, ligaments, fat trimmings, unborn babies.  “Chicken” consists mainly of backs and frames.  “4D” animals (dead, dying, diseased, disabled) are banned for human consumption, but can still be used in dog food.  The same law applies for the “premium” and “natural” varieties .  So I ask, is this “essential” animal protein helping or killing our canines.? I’m no vet, doctor, or dog nutritionist but it seems that all those nasty ingredients would be hard on the kidneys, heart, liver, and arteries (but great for cancer).
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Here’s some conspiracy stuff.  There is a giant dog food industry (like the tobacco and soda industries) that pushes products they know is not healthy for their consumers.  I have many “dogs need meat” articles sent to me and I always look at the author.  One guy (Dr. TJ Dunn) writes for PetMD and runs a website funded by various dog food companies.   He is also employed by petfoodsdirect.com.  Biased indeed.
Then there are the recalls.  At least once a month a main brand dog food is recalled for killing or making a dogs ill and this isn’t just the stuff from China.  The last big one came out of a manufacturer in Colorado.  See if your dog food has been recalled.  I bet it has.  The real tragedy is that in most cases, the dog food manufacturer doesn’t even take their deadly fare off the shelves.  It’s voluntary.  Dogs die and they don’t care as long as their money keeps rolling in.  Who wants to play Russian Roulette every time you feed your dog?  Instead of criticizing our depriving our dog of meat, consider it a possible safeguard.  If you want to put your dogs health in the hands of a greedy corporation, that’s your choice.
Bodie and celebrity vegan dog "Piggy"

Bodie and celebrity vegan dog “Piggy”

All that said, I don’t claim to know everything.  Julia and I attended a conference on the advantages of making your dog a vegan.  The veterinarian had statistics, a PowerPoint and answered all our questions confidently and to our satisfaction.  While watching the presentation, Bodie was running around.  A three-legged dog kept trying to get me to play.  How can you resist a three-legged dog?  Wait it was the star of the PowerPoint I just watched.  It was “Piggy!” As the story goes “they first found him on the streets of the Dominican Republic, Piggy was just a pup – he had no hair, he was skin hanging over a skeleton, and he could barely walk a couple of blocks,” owner Tod recalls. “After a few months recovering on his vegan diet, he literally tripled in size to 45 pounds, gained a foot in height, exploded with healthy, soft fur … and he runs for miles on his three legs.”  Piggy was one happy dog, that’s for sure, a real lust for lifer.  I talked to Tod afterwards and he told me that he had gotten some angry responses from his online story of Piggy.  Some bordered on death threats.
The favorite story is that of Bramble.  Whenever someone criticizes a vegan diet for dogs, we always say, what about Bramble?  Bramble, a 27-year-old vegan Border Collie, was in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest living dog.  That’s 189 in human years.  Makes you think.  Maybe Bodie could be like Bramble.
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Bodie has been on a vegan diet for about 6 months now.  Here’s what we’ve noticed.  His pancreatitis has disappeared.  He’s was very overweight and as a vegan, he has slimmed down and even appears to have gained some muscle.  He used to itch all the time and that has disappeared.  He also had some bumps on his skin that seem to have gone away.  Although Bodie still loves to sleep he’s seems more alert, energetic and well…lovable.  We’ll never know if Bodie likes his vegan diet because he can’t talk.  We don’t have time to make Bodie his meals so we use a food he really likes called V-dog which has all the necessary nutrients and none of the heads, blood, intestines, lungs, spleens, livers, fat trimmings etc..
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Lies about Lies About Mainstream Nutrition – 1. Eggs Are Unhealthy

Julia and the rooster

Today, I will address the incredible edible Egg from the article “Top 11 Biggest Lies of Mainstream Nutrition”   Is it the perfect food or a heart attack maker?

The alleged Top 11 Biggest Lies of Mainstream Nutrition as written by Kris Gunners

1. Eggs Are Unhealthy
2. Saturated Fat is Bad For You
3. Everybody Should be Eating Grains
4. Eating a Lot of Protein is Bad For Your Bones and Kidneys
5. Low-Fat Foods Are Good For You
6. You Should Eat Many Small Meals Throughout The Day
7. Carbs Should Be Your Biggest Source of Calories
8. High Omega-6 Seed and Vegetable Oils Are Good For You and lie
9. Low Carb Diets Are Dangerous.
10. Sugar is Unhealthy. 
11. High Fat Foods Will Make You Fat

1. Eggs Are Unhealthy

What a minute.  Didn’t I read a Canadian Study reported in August of 2012 that Egg yolks were almost as bad for your heart as smoking cigarettes?  It turns out, like cigs, eggs increase artery clogging plaque.  Egg-eaters, on average have 2/3 the amount of plague as a smoker.  I suppose if you smoke and eat eggs,  you’d better make sure you’ve got great health insurance. 

george and julia san fran

No, no… the facts on eggs have “flipped” and eggs are in fact good for you now?  What am I to believe? It’s true!  While it is true a new study reported that eggs are an ideal breakfast food.  Now keep in mind when the study said “ideal breakfast. ”  It did not actually say eggs were healthy.   They’re just good at alleviating hunger.  The study, funded by the American Egg Board reports that eggs fill you up more than the leading breakfast cereal.  It must be all that plaque in the arteries that makes your body scream “no more of this poison, you’re killing me.” 

The fact is, eggs are unhealthy!  They’re one of the worst things you can eat.  One single egg has more cholesterol than the Hardee’s Monster Thick burger ( 2/3 pound of beef, 3 slices of cheese and 4 strips of bacon).

The egg industry also likes to report that “eggs are good for the eyes.”  This cataract protection chemicals they refer to is found in eggs.  However, there is over 20 times more in carrots, and over 100 times more in Kale.  You need eggs for healthy eyes?  That is a lie.

Now if you believe Kris, cholesterol is not the problem.  The arteries don’t clog themselves and anyone who believes eggs are healthy, obviously works for the egg industry.  The author also calls eggs the “most nutritious foods on the planet.”  C’mon Kris, you’re just trying to pick a fight with me.

Next up…”#2  Saturated Fat is Bad For You” the correct answer may not surprise you

Lies about Lies about Mainstream Nutrition

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To be perfectly honest, when I first read “Top 11 Biggest Lies of Mainstream Nutrition” I thought it was a joke.  Many of the cited  “lies” were dated and not current.  Like the FDA and Co., we struggle to keep up with current nutrition facts.  We crave one simple and true list.  As we evolve as humans (we are not cavemen) so does our diets.  With all the cancers and heart attacks linked to our growth-hormoned, antibiotic drunken , feces-saturated, GMO-fed dairy and meat supply, organic vegan is the way to go.  Even if you eat grass-fed, antibiotic free, organic meat and dairy you still are exposed to the dangers that come with excessive hormones (cancer) and artery plaque (heart attacks and bypasses) .

Another shelter of truth is big beef, milk and egg lobbies that will do anything to make the public believe that their products are safe and essential for proper health.  These lobbies will fund their own studies and report only the results in their favor.  They will blame high cholesterol, heart disease and cancer on many “other” factors.   When money is made by people bankrolling a study, it’s bogus or suspect at best.  (Putting in Paranoia Here).  It is likely that the author of this article (Kris Gunnars) is being paid by the meat, egg, dairy, Adkins’ diet  and especially the Paleo diet people to write this piece of propaganda.

Here’s a list of Kris Gunnars “Lies” of Mainstream Nutrition.

1. Eggs Are Unhealthy
2. Saturated Fat is Bad For You
3. Everybody Should be Eating Grains
4. Eating a Lot of Protein is Bad For Your Bones and Kidneys
5. Low-Fat Foods Are Good For You
6. You Should Eat Many Small Meals Throughout The Day
7. Carbs Should Be Your Biggest Source of Calories
8. High Omega-6 Seed and Vegetable Oils Are Good For You and lie
9. Low Carb Diets Are Dangerous.
10. Sugar is Unhealthy. 
11. High Fat Foods Will Make You Fat

While I’m not a negative guy but as a vegan and Nutritarian, I feel it is my duty to respond to each item in the article “Top 11 Biggest Lies of Mainstream Nutrition.”  As a facebook response to this post, I responded “This is the exact opposite of what I believe to be true.”  This article makes my head spin because I disagree so much.

myths george steak banana

The irony to this post is I am being the type of person that I am suggesting you avoid.  Nutrition discoveries are always changing so it is important not to resort to a single source or blog (includes  www.vegan-underground.com) Where do I get the truth?  There are several people I trust but even they do not agree on everything.   Here’s my Nutritional Knowledge Dream Team and yes, they are vegans:

Dr. Joel Fuhrman,    preventing and reversing disease through nutritional methods.   Author of Eat to Live

Dr.Michael Greger,   American physician, author, professional speaker.  

Dr. John A. McDougall  author of The Starch Solution: The McDougall Plan: 12 Days to Dynamic Health, diet coach and has his own line of vegan foods.

Me and MacDougall

Me and MacDougall

Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D. ,  former heart surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic  Author of the book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease

Dr. Neal D. Barnard, founder of the Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine(PCRM) – author of Tackling Diabetes explaining how a low-fat vegan diet can fight diabetes.

Dean Ornish, M.D.   is the founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute  research demonstrating, for the first time, that comprehensive lifestyle changes may begin to reverse even severe coronary heart disease, without drugs or surgery.  Recently, Medicare agreed to provide coverage for this program, the first time that Medicare has covered a program of comprehensive lifestyle changes. 

These professionals are on the cutting edge as they treat patients with nutrition instead of pills.  They are not funded by big business.  Most of them are a part of a group called Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine(PCRM) and most are vegans .  I have read so many studies on the China Study being flawed but have never understood these critics.  How can you ignore the incredibly case of prostate and breast cancer? How can you be blind to the China Study’s Cancer Maps?

Kris Gunnars is telling the people what they want to hear.  Eat meat, cholesterol is harmless,  fat is good.  While I don’t disagree with everything (Kris still considers sugar bad and am still on the fence about hating gluten), Gunnars’ article upsets me.

Stay tuned as I start with #1 Eggs Are Unhealthy

Sweet potato and jalapeño bisque

So for the Super Bowl, George and I were thinking about what to make for snacks almost all day. Finally once the game started, we decided on tacos…

Well we had some sweet potatoes around the house and I began googling for a sweet potato and jalapeño mash to be the base. I ended up finding another recipe, a sweet potato bisque. It was completely non vegan. There was bacon and rendered bacon fat involved, half and half and everything to turn a vegans stomach. Well I read the recipe and altered it to make it vegan. Thanks to our vitamix it was easy to make:

  • 3 sweet potatoes- soften all three, purée two, and dice the third
  • 3 roasted jalapeños
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 roasted garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 5 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup almond milk

Purée 2 sweet potatoes, roasted jalapeños, roasted garlic, almond milk and vegetable broth.

In a soup pot, sauté onions with coconut oil and cumin. Once onions are translucent, add diced sweet potato and mix well. Then add sweet potato purée. Salt and pepper to taste.

It’s sweet and very pleasant. Not overly spicy but has a lingering warmth. Reminds me of corn chowder. Roasting the jalapeño and garlic was to add smokiness that bacon would usually have. Coconut oil was used to replace the rendered bacon fat and to still give it a richness. There you have it, vegan sweet potato and jalapeño bisque. Eat guilt-free.

Vegans That Rock!

Did you know the was written by a vegan?  Director Richard Linklater, put this song in his movie School of Rock for that exact reason.  The two-chord classic Roadrunner, has been covered by the Sex Pistols and vegan Joan Jett (coincidence?).   He’s the ultimate in minimalism and has earned the title “the Godfather of Punk.”  Like Brian Wilson, Daniel Johnston and other eccentric geniuses, his music pushed others make music history.  I’m talking about Jonathan Richman, guitarist, songwriter, leader, pioneer, march-to-a-different drum-guy, vegan.

I first heard Richman’s song Pablo Picasso in the cult classic Repo Man.  As Jonathan’s songwriting matured, he insisted on a lower volume.   This caused drummer David Robinson to leave the Richman-fronted Modern Lovers and join the Cars.

While never one to be concerned with commercial success, Richman was introduced to a whole new crop of fans when he added weirdness to the Farrelly Brothers’ 1998 film, There’s Something About Mary.  On screen, he performed and sang commentary about the film’s plot. 

Boy did he influence.   Bands like They Might Be Giants, Weezer and Frank Black wouldn’t be around today if it wasn’t for J.R. .   His humble boyish persona and songwriting magic made the rock world introspective and pure.  He’s funny and dead serious at the same time.  Is he crazy, acting or just completely original?

In a rare interview, he spoke to PETA about his diet:

“I identify as vegan. I’m not strict, 100%. Every once in a while in some country, someone’s mother will make somethin’ and I’m not gonna ask grandma…you know like she’s there, she’s got her apron on and she spent four hours and I’m a guest at her house. I’m not gonna say, “Excuse me is there oleo Margarine and is there hydrogenated this-and-that. Nah, I eat somethin’. You know, I do the best I can. Left to my own devices I’m vegan.”

A private person who hates prescription drugs and air conditioning, there’s not many musicians that don’t want to be more like him.  Historic, iconic, and super sonic,  Jonathan Richman, thanks for all you have given electrically (but more often) acoustically.  You are truly a Vegan That Rocks!!

Lunch Buffet Hare Krishna Style

When I heard that the Hare Krishna’s opened up their lunch room to the public, it wasn’t “why go” but “when do we go.” You won’t be pushed to accept flowers and make donations. Govinda’s is set up like a legit restaurant.  Located in the basement of the ISKCON Hare Krishna Temple, it fits nicely into our “vegan underground” theme.  Their menu is 80% vegan so be sure to ask so you don’t accidentally eat some ghee

Govinda’s buffet-style lunch fits every budget at $3, $5, $7, or $10.   It even includes some of the best bread on earth and sweet lemonade.  The menu for this traditional Indian fare changes daily. Typical dishes include spinach with tofu, jasmine rice, split pea soup, quinoa salad, samosas, kale and sweet potatoes, curried grilled veggies, lentils and their famous mango cheesecake. Are you getting hungry? The food is filling and fresh. While less spicy than we prefer, the dishes work for all palates.   Check it out. It’s an original experience and a satisfying meal. I’d be there 2-3 times a week if I didn’t have this darn job in Midtown. LIU students, senior citizens and Downtown Brooklyn workers should take advantage of this precious gem.

On our way out, Julia and I took off our shoes and sat near the Sri Sri Radha Govinda Mandir. We watched as this Krishna spiritual leader sat in meditation, worshipers danced and we calmingly digested our meal and pondered over the universe. While our lunch did not make us Hare Krishna’s, we had a wonderful, positive and satisfying meal. You will too.  Govinda’s Kitchen is in the basement of the Hare Krishna Temple at 305 Schermerhorn St (between Nevins and Bond) in Brooklyn

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

Fall is in the air

It’s that time of year when schools back in session, the temperatures are gradually dropping, leaves are changing, and morning practice for nontraditional season have commenced. Say what? Fall is a great time of year, and is most epitomized by the sweet smells of cinnamon, nutmeg and of course pumpkin. Starbucks has made its cultural mark in the Fall season by offering the wildly popular and delicious Pumpkin Spice Latte. When the barista hands you that warm cup and the aromas penetrate your nostrils, everything just seems to make sense for that moment. However, what the heck makes it taste so good? Brace yourselves, vegan amigos.

Soy cheers

No matter if you make this seasonal favorite with Soy and no whip, it’s NOT VEGAN. In fact it’s pretty much a diabetics worst nightmare and incredibly processed and is made primarily with everything but pumpkin. When I read about the truth of the Pumpkin Spice Latte on Your Daily Vegan Blog, I was heartbroken. I look forward to making the Pumpkin Spice Latte my once in a blue moon treat in the Fall, but now I must look away and put it out of my head. But it won’t be hard seeing that the nutritional information the customer service disclosed is somewhat troubling:

Your Daily Vegan did the leg work and now I’m just reiterating the ingredients:

Sugar, condensed nonfat milk, sweet condensed nonfat milk, annotta(a colorant), natural and artificial flavors (which were not revealed), and caramel coloring. Spice flavor: Cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

Wait, so I shouldn’t finish this?

As you see, the key to it’s deliciousness must be in the natural and artificial flavors which are so top secret that the customer service representative cannot disclose what exactly they are. So let’s get this straight, to make a latte you need milk (or soy) and then to make pumpkinny flavors you add more milk products (condensed milk), a commercial produced coloring agent, and some other stuff that’s not pumpkin at all? Yikes, sounds like a lot of chemicals and cholesterol to me. Just not worth the treat.

Now it’s time to figure out how to make a pumpkin latte at home. Back to the lab and time to cook (I’ve been watching a lot of Breaking Bad lately).

What’s going into that super top secret vegan pumpkin spice concoction, George?

Nutritional Value of Dairy

The Department of Health in New York City recently passed Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal to ban sugar-filled drinks larger than 16oz. One sugary drink that didn’t get the heave-ho was Starbuck’s staple Frappuccino. This overly processed coffee favorite got to slide because the benefits of dairy outweigh the excessive amount of sugar in it…

Uhhh… What?

So the frap syrup, milk, whipped cream and caramel/chocolate sauce is more healthy than a 20oz ginger ale? No!

Don’t worry, it’s a non-milkshake courtesy of Lula’s

If we’re looking ounce for ounce, skim milk and cola are equivalent in calories. So that means anything other than skim has more cals than cola. But wait, cola has the sugar! Well in 8oz of skim milk there’s 16g of sugar. But what are the health benefits they speak of in milk?

Calcium and vitamin D.

God forbid you step outside your house to get vitamin D from sunlight, right? There is scientific evidence that cow’s milk contributes to the susceptibility of type 1 diabetes. Also there’s a giant backlash on soy right now and how it causes breast cancer, but did you know that you’re at greater risk of heightened estrogen in your body if you are consuming cow’s milk? Well think about it; in order to get milk you have to have a baby, and when you’re pregnant you have increased hormones. Let alone dairy cows are bred to produce more milk than what is required in nature. So that means they are given addition hormones and to prevent inflamed mammaries, they’re given antibiotics. You know the saying, you are what you eat so that means you are ingesting what the cow is too. By the way fellas the insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) which is found in cow’s milk has had a consistent association to prostate cancer. Oh and heart disease and obesity has been linked to dairy products due to the high levels of fat and cholesterol Anyone who consumes 2 or more servings of dairy daily are at higher risk for heart disease. Let alone there has been correlation between dairy and MS.

So let me ask you this, does the health benefits of milk really counter the calories? You know if you take dairy out of your diet you’re at less risk for osteoporosis as well. You know what Mayor Bloomberg, I’ll take the ginger ale please.

Take a look at this report:

http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/vegdiets/health-concerns-about-dairy-products

Juiced Up Thursday

Well here’s another installment of Juiced Up Thursday. Today’s juice isn’t a juice but a smoothie. As I mentioned from last week I’ve been doing more smoothie action than juice. Well this mammoth of a smoothie is chock full of protein. You non-vegans who worry about your vegan friend’s protein shouldnt worry if this is what they’re slurping down. In consists of the following ingredients that assist with your body’s muscle repair:

  • Carrot– vitamin C, A and K in the house
  • Spinach– protein and vitamin B and E
  • Kale– protein and manganese with a hefty helping of vitamins K,A and C
  • Dates– can you say Iron? Cause dates are loaded with Iron and B complex-vitamins
  • Blueberries– anti-oxidants, say no more
  • Chia seeds– complete protein with all your favorite amino acids and good for feeling full longer
  • Goji berries-anti-oxidant and helps with aging
  • Walnuts– protein and healthy fats

Warning: This smoothie will repair your muscles and replenish all vitamins

As you see from the list of ingredients this smoothie is no joke. I just wish there was a little acidity in it to give it a fuller flavor. Otherwise great drink to kick off the workday.

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