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"A human can be healthy without killing animals for food.
Therefore if he eats meat he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite."
- Leo Tolstoy

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Dear respected vaisnavas,
Please accept my obeisances. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

A petition is being sent to the President of India to address this tragedy of cow slaughter in India, s
parked by the the tragic lack of cow protection even in Braja.

Please take 3 seconds to sign it to really kick off your sankirtan day!
Also please forward to anyone who may not be able to access this with regard to the limited contacts above.

Best Wishes
Your servant
Bhaktisiddhanta Swami

Why is India vegetarian friendly?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

India seems to be the only country that houses the most vegetarians than any other country in the world. Given that more than half of the population eats meat. Well, it’s simply the numbers game when it comes to India. Only by India’s sheer strength of population that there are more vegetarians in India than the rest of the world combined. According to a 2006 survey by ‘The Hindu’ newspaper, it was found that 40 percent of the Indian population. That makes it some 400 million Indians are vegetarians.

Vegetarianism in India has been a lifestyle for centuries. Hence there is no beef or pork in any McDonald's in India. In fact the only non-vegetarian items as in McDonald’s India’s online menu have chicken and fish. To a kiwi friend of mine who visited Mumbai recently, the menu in McDonald’s had very little meat options and disappointing to his palate. In saying that, even a traditional non-vegetarian in India is more dependent on vegetarian food as on most of the days he is dependent on a vegetarian diet. Even on meat eating days like a Sunday most dishes are vegetarian except for one or two side-dishes with meat. Non-vegetarians in India typically consume meat only once or twice per week and it wouldn’t be totally off the mark to assume that meat may be regularly consumed by less than 30 percent of the Indian population due to its higher cost.

The reasoning behind the practice of vegetarianism is wide-ranging though influenced mainly by the tenets of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism or Sikhism. The other compelling reason is the affordability of non-vegetarian food. Health and social consciousness increasingly play a part in bringing about a change in the Indian psyche towards a vegetarian lifestyle. It’s fashionable for Bollywood stars to say they are vegetarians. “Vegetarianism is becoming a way of life now, not just in food but also in lifestyle products as people care more about health, environment and animals. They do not want to brush their teeth using bone-powder, they want to exclude leather from their furniture,” says NG Jayasimha, campaign manager, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India.

Add to this the corporate strategies that hinge on vegetarianism for products like toothpaste, ice-creams, skin care products, soaps, apparels etc. Here’s an example of how big brands have joined the vegetarian bandwagon. Pizza Hut has at least 60% of its sales in the Indian market to vegetarian food items. McDonald’s vegetarian selections account for around 50-65% of total sales. Colgate India carries the ‘always 100% vegetarian’ label on the carton. Baskin Robbins has 100% vegetarian ice-creams which are advertised in a big way. The world-famous-in India celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor also mentions interesting facts about the Indian ‘vegetarian-friendly’ society. “If I release a book on ‘non-vegetarian’ recipes, even then 70 out of 100 dishes would be vegetarian than just purely non-vegetarian dishes.”

India as a vegetarian country draws her veggie-food culture in a big way from her religions. The earliest records of vegetarianism as a way of harmonious living by a significant number of people come from ancient India. The rise of vegetarianism in India goes back to more than 500 BCE, which saw the rise of Buddhism and Jainism preaching the principle of ahimsa or non-violence till today.

The spiritual traditions right from the days of Emperor Ashoka in 300 BCE which assert the principle of Ahimsa (non-violence) being the highest dharma (Ahimsa paramo dharmah) led to Article 51A (g) of the Indian Constitution which enjoins on every citizen to have the fundamental duty to show compassion towards all living creatures. "You must not use your God given body for killing God's creatures, whether they are human, animal or whatever" advises the Yajur Veda. Shri Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhs says, “You kill living beings, and call it a righteous action. Tell me, brother, what would you call an unrighteous action.”

The Vedic scriptures of India, which predate Buddhism, also stress nonviolence as an ethical foundation of vegetarianism. "Meat can never be obtained without injury to living creatures," states the Manusmriti - the ancient Hindu code of ethics, "Let one therefore shun the use of meat." Even in the Mahabharata there are many injunctions against killing animals.

Saints and sages believed that eating vegetarian food to be a part of purification, bestowing good health and a restful mind. Our bodily constitution and mental framework are determined by what we eat. The great Indian mystic Osho shares, “Vegetarianism is nothing but a by-product of deep meditation. If a person goes on meditating, by and by he will see that it has become impossible to eat meat.” Mind-Body guru Deepak Chopra says “In general, it is obvious that a vegetarian diet is healthier, it is better for ecology, and less violent on life as a whole. Eating habits are based on culture, geography and influenced by religion.”  In Sikhism the langar food served at Gurudwaras is always vegetarian. All the food offerings in a Hindu worship can only be vegetarian.

Given all this, the one thing in favour of the Indian vegetarian lifestyle is the fact that it has a positive impact on climate change. Could the world leaders at Copenhagen not have ignored this about Indian lifestyle as one of the many strategies to save the planet? Or should they heed to Albert Einstein’ advice as one of the many planet saving strategies, when he said “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."

After all that is said than done, vegetarianism or otherwise like many things in life is simply a matter of taste, choice, habit, availability and reasoning.

Signature Campaign for the welfare of Indian Cows

A proposal to The Honourable President of India will be submitted in January, 2010

Our nation is a country of villages. Lives of villagers are mainly based on agriculture. Agriculture largely depends on the cow and bull. The bull is given a place of pride in our culture and national heritage. The holy ‘Gou Matha’ is a source of both food and economy. She is the centre of ayurveda, environment, Indian economics, culture and agriculture.
Neglect of villagers and cows has produced ill effects on earth, environment and health of living beings. Due to this, our culture, agriculture and economic conditions suffer. Due to the failure of crops, farmers are committing suicide. Our religions, culture as well as constitution do not support the killing of cows and other animals. In fact, the cow protection issues created the platform for the Indian freedom struggle. During that time, all freedom fighters assured that ‘after getting freedom, there will be no more cows slaughter in the nation’. But even today, cow slaughter is going on unabated.

Therefore our request to The President is…
1.Declaration – cow as the National Animal.
2.Formulation of laws to preserve various breeds of Indian cows and to ban the cow slaughter.
3.Provision of separate ministry to handle the issues related to cow.
4.Promotion of Indigenous cow protection movements to save Jana, Jala, Janvar, Jungle, Jeeva.

We all request you to give us a chance to protect the respect of the National symbole, that is ‘Gou Matha’.

Be one of us.

Fill the details to participate in the Signature Campaign

Vrindavan cows kidnapped to be killed- How Vrindavan is Losing its Cows to Slaughter
Posted on May 8, 2009 by Jeannette


May 04, VRINDAVAN, INDIA (SUN) — Subhangi Devi Dasi lives in Vrindavan India. Recently she was awoken early in the morning to witness a site none of us would even dream could be happening.Krishna’s cows are being violently kidnapped in the night. It is believed the cows are killed and sold for their flesh and leather products.

“I was sleeping,” Subhangi Devi Dasi says. “At 2.00 am I hear cows crying, people screaming and yelling. I run out to my balcony and see a truck backing away and cows franticly running in all directions down the lanes, all crying. I have never seen that in Vrindavan.”

Subhangi was witnessing the kidnapping of the local cows. “Then I see some local men throwing stones at the trucks and swearing in Hindi, some other men came with machetes and one with a rifle,” Subhangi says. These men were coming to protect the cows “The truck backed out of the road and drove off.”

Arjuna, one of the men trying to protect the cows says the kidnappers came with several trucks. “They caught and stole 48 cows just here in this area,” he says. “The men were ruthless, throwing the cows in the back of their trucks, beating then and in some cases killing them if they were resisting,” Arjuna says. “Blood was everywhere.”

Villagers say the kidnappers are armed attack anyone who tries to stop them. “A month or so back.” Arjuna says. “The police put up barricades to try to stop the kidnappers. That night they rammed the barricades with their trucks.”

“It is so out of control,” says Arjuna. “Vrindavan is the land of cows and these demons have become aware that there are so many cows and goshallas just ripe for the picking.” The locals are helpless. They can do little without risking their own lives.

It is reported that 15 days ago, when the police tried to stop them, the kidnappers rammed a police jeep. A policeman fired a shot and he got a rock in the head for his effort. It is reported that he police had to pull back as there were only four of them, whilst there were eight heavily armed kidnappers. “They criminals seem to be aware of how much resistance they will encounter and come prepared to meet it.;” Arjuna says.
“Sometimes they brick the cows in the head with rocks and sometimes shoot them or hack them with machetes if they resist,” says Arjuna. “They used to come in one truck now they travel with four trucks at a time.”

Subhangi Devi Dasi says she has heard the cows can fetch up to 10,000 rupees. It is no wonder kidnappers are armed and are prepared to injure even the police. Villagers who to try to prevent the kidnappings are said to be placing themselves and their families in a very dangerous situation.

Devotees and well wishers should contact Uttar Pradesh government ministers and demand action be taken against those who kidnap and kill cows. Kumari Mayawati is the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. Letters can be faxed to Minister Mayawati at the following fax number: +91 522 2237620.

Kidnapping of cows is a criminal offence In Vrindavan. Residents of Vrindavan say the villagers and cows need support and protection whilst the need resources to stop and catch those who prey on the cows.

You can also call Minister Mayawati directly on +91 522 2235733. If you wish you can send your letter by email to All the letters sent to this email address will be collated and presented to Minister Mayawati with a petition asking her government to take action.

My comments: I’m writing with a heavy heart. After reading this article, I was motionless for sometime and still in shock. I don’t know how such incidents keep happening. Entire Vrindavan people should be aggressive and do something concrete (large-scale strike/road-blocking ­ media houses should be notified) to bring the attention of the nation. I think simply petitioning will not be of much help. While Vrindavan people do this, the people outside can do their part (like writing to news companies, etc). If this is not immediately stopped, those murderers will increase their activities.

Op-Ed: Food for the Soul

By Nicholas D. Kristof for The New York Times on 23 Aug 2009

On a summer visit back to the farm here where I grew up, I think I figured out the central problem with modern industrial agriculture. It’s not just that it produces unhealthy food, mishandles waste and overuses antibiotics in ways that harm us all.

More fundamentally, it has no soul.

The family farm traditionally was the most soulful place imaginable, and that was the case with our own farm on the edge of the Willamette Valley. I can’t say we were efficient: for a time we thought about calling ourselves “Wandering Livestock Ranch,” after our Angus cattle escaped in one direction and our Duroc hogs in another.

When coyotes threatened our sheep operation, we spent $300 on a Kuvasz, a breed of guard dog that is said to excel in protecting sheep. Alas, our fancy-pants new sheep dog began her duties by dining on lamb.

It’s always said that if a dog kills one lamb, it will never stop, and so the local rule was that if your dog killed one sheep you had to shoot it. Instead we engaged in a successful cover-up. It worked, for the dog never touched a lamb again and for the rest of her long life fended off coyotes heroically.

That kind of diverse, chaotic family farm is now disappearing, replaced by insipid food assembly lines.

The result is food that also lacks soul ­ but may contain pathogens. In the last two months, there have been two major recalls of ground beef because of possible contamination with drug-resistant salmonella. When factory farms routinely fill animals with antibiotics, the result is superbugs that resist antibiotics.

Michael Pollan, the food writer, notes that monocultures in the field result in monocultures in our diets. Two-thirds of our calories, he says, now come from just four crops: rice, soy, wheat and corn. Fast-food culture and obesity are linked, he argues, to the transformation from family farms to industrial farming.

In fairness, industrial farming is extraordinarily efficient, and smaller diverse family farms would mean more expensive food. So is this all inevitable? Is my nostalgia like the blacksmith’s grief over Henry Ford’s assembly lines superseding a more primitive technology? Perhaps, but I’m reassured by one of my old high school buddies here in Yamhill, Bob Bansen. He runs a family dairy of 225 Jersey cows so efficiently that it can still compete with giant factory dairies of 20,000 cows.

Bob names all his cows, and can tell them apart in an instant. He can tell you each cow’s quirks and parentage. They are family friends as well as economic assets.

“With these big dairies, a cow means nothing to them,” Bob said. “When I lose a cow, it bothers me. I kick myself.” That might seem like sentimentality, but it’s also good business and preserves his assets.

American agriculture policy and subsidies have favored industrialization and consolidation, but there are signs that the Obama administration Agriculture Department under Secretary Tom Vilsack is becoming more friendly to small producers. I hope that’s right.

One of my childhood memories is of placing a chicken egg in a goose nest when I was about 10 (my young scientist phase). That mother goose was thrilled when her eggs hatched, and maternal love is such that she never seemed to notice that one of her babies was a neckless midget.

As for the chick, she never doubted her goosiness. At night, our chickens would roost high up in the barn, while the geese would sleep on the floor, with their heads tucked under their wings. This chick slept with the goslings, and she tried mightily to stretch her neck under her wing. No doubt she had a permanent crick in her neck.

Then the fateful day came when the mother goose took her brood to the water for the first time. She jumped in, and the goslings leaped in after her. The chick stood on the bank, aghast.

For the next few days, mother and daughter tried to reason it out, each deeply upset by the other’s intransigence. After several days of barnyard trauma, the chick underwent an identity crisis, nature triumphed over nurture, and she redefined herself as a hen.

She moved across the barn to hang out with the chickens. At first she still slept goose-like, and visited her “mother” and fellow goslings each day, but within two months she no longer even acknowledged her stepmother and stepsiblings and behaved just like other chickens.

Recollections like that make me wistful for a healthy rural America composed of diverse family farms, which also offer decent and varied lives for the animals themselves (at least when farm boys aren’t conducting “scientific” experiments). In contrast, a modern industrialized operation is a different world: more than 100,000 hens in cages, their beaks removed, without a rooster, without geese or other animals, spewing out pollution and ending up as so-called food ­ a calorie factory, without any soul.

Subject: FW: So you think you don't eat BEEF or PORK!

From: Ajamila ACBSP
Date: 14-Nov-09 05:56 (00:56 -0500)

If you eat any Kellogs products, thinking you are not eating BEEF or PORK
then please read Kellogs' clear admittance that most of their products
contain BEEF and PORK.

Circulate this to your fellow devotees and good things will happen to you
for sure because it is upholding Krishna dharma. Hare Krishna!!


Here's what Kellogg said when asked by Mukesh Kenia

   "From: < <;
   Date: Mon, Oct 26, 2009 at 10:31 PM
   Subject: Consumer Affairs 020527082A
   To: <;

   Thank you for your inquiry regarding gelatin used in some of our
   products. We are glad you contacted us and we are happy to provide you
   with this information.

   Gelatin is used to help the texture of the product and is derived from
   either beef or pork. All gelatin used at Kellogg is certified Kosher.

   Gelatin derived from pork is found in Kellogg'sR cereal products that
   contain marshmallow additives, for example Kellogg'sR Marshmallow Froot
   Loops cereal and Kellogg's SmorzR cereal. It is also found in all
   varieties of Kellogg'sR Rice Krispies TreatsR Squares and Special KR
   Protein Snack Bars.

   Gelatin derived from beef is found in all varieties of Kellogg'sR
   Frosted Pop-TartsR, Kellogg'sR Frosted Mini-WheatsR cereal, and
   Kellogg'sR Rice Krispies TreatsT cereal. None of the equipment that
   comes in contact with the gelatin in Kellogg'sR Frosted Pop-TartsR is
   used in the production of the other pastries. As a result, Plain
   (unfrosted) Kellogg'sR Pop-TartsR do not contain gelatin. The
   pre-gelatinized wheat starch contained in some of our toaster pastries
   is derived from wheat and does not contain any gelatin.

   All Kellogg'sR fruit snacks contain gelatin. In fruit snacks beef and
   pork gelatin are used interchangeably based on availability in the

   Again, thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your loyal use of our
   products and hope that this provides you with the information you need
   to make food choices appropriate for you and your family.


   Grace De La Cruz
   Consumer Affairs Department
  (Text PAMHO:18535803) --------------------------------------

Health Care Reform and the “V” Word“v”_word
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By Sesa Dasa on 1 Oct 2009

We’re spending $147 billion to treat obesity, $116 billion to treat diabetes, and hundreds of billions more to treat cardiovascular disease and the many types of cancer that have been linked to the so-called Western diet.

Kudos to Michael Pollan. His September 9, 2009 Op-Ed contribution to the New York Times, Big Food vs. Big Insurances, raises unspoken, yet hard to ignore, issues in the US Health Care Reform debate. Pollan points out, “The American way of eating has become the elephant in the room in the debate over health care.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three-quarters of health care spending now goes to treat “preventable chronic diseases.” Not all of these diseases are linked to diet ­ there’s smoking, for instance ­ but many, if not most, of them are:

We’re spending $147 billion to treat obesity, $116 billion to treat diabetes, and hundreds of billions more to treat cardiovascular disease and the many types of cancer that have been linked to the so-called Western diet. One recent study estimated that 30 percent of the increase in health care spending over the past 20 years could be attributed to the soaring rate of obesity, a condition that now accounts for nearly a tenth of all spending on health care.

A certain degree of anticipation grew in my heart as I read through Pollan’s two page article. It all made good sense to me, preventable diseases – yes, obesity – yes, diabetes – yes. Then, quite abruptly the article ended, leaving me somewhat puzzled and disappointed. You see, I was waiting for the “V” word but it never manifested.

How could he ignore vegetarianism?! Pollan argues his point convincingly by focuses on the numbers, the costs to health care insurers and the politics of government and agribusiness. Yet, with the exceptions of couple of unelaborated references to soda, fast food, and fresh produce he too seems to avoid speaking about the actual elephant in the room. The “elephant” is what we eat.

“Let me read this thing again,” I thought, “maybe I missed something.” To my relief, I found that I had missed a key point in Pollan’s piece. My relief turned into enthusiasm when I realized what Pollan was actually doing. He wasn’t avoiding the elephant in the room; he was opening the door for me (and others) to specifically add the “V” word to the debate. We all have a role to play in health care reform. Such a major change in direction for a society like the US is not going to happen unless we all add our own special viewpoint to the debate. Yes, I will take this opportunity to follow Pollan’s lead by presenting numbers specifically linked to vegetarianism and health as opposed to the money and politics he focuses on.

In a recent study conducted by Susan E. Berkow and Dr. Neal D. Barnard of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine reported at, the authors found that the body weight of both male and female vegetarians is, on average, 3 percent to 20 percent lower than that of meat eaters:

Obesity is one of the most pressing health problems in the United States and will soon become the country’s leading cause of preventable deaths,” says Deborah Wilson, M.D. writing for the Vegetarian Starter Kit, published by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “Because vegetarian diets are the only diets that work for long-term weight loss, it’s no surprise that population studies show that meat-eaters have three times the obesity rate of vegetarians and nine times the obesity rate of vegans…Adopting a vegan diet won’t just help you slim down, it will also help you fight an array of ailments, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and more.

In the July 2009 issue of its journal The American Dietetic Association (Volume 109, Issue 7, Pages 1266-1282) published its official position on Vegetarian diets:

It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.

A vegetarian diet is defined as one that does not include meat (including fowl) or seafood, or products containing those foods. The results of an evidence-based review showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease.

Vegetarians also appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than nonvegetarians. Furthermore, vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates. Features of a vegetarian diet that may reduce risk of chronic disease include lower intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol and higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, soy products, fiber, and phytochemicals.

Clearly, there is a link between vegetarianism and better health, and better health translates into lower health care costs. Great, so with regard to health care reform, lower health care costs, going vegetarian is a platform on which everyone wins.

Still, a question lingers in my mind. Why did Pollan stop short of using the “V” word? Are there some who don’t win with regard to vegetarianism and health care? Perhaps Pollan was intimidated by those who don’t see a win. Vegetarians remember all too well how the meat industry jumped on Oprah Winfrey back in the 90’s when she questioned meat industry health and safety standards. Oprah could afford to fight the lawsuit, perhaps Pollan can’t. Faced with opposition from this powerful wing of the agribusinesses Pollan mentions, perhaps his strategy of opening the door for broader participation in the debate also includes bringing in more diverse voices to achieve more collective strength to combat a powerfully entrenched meat industry.

The health benefits derived from vegetarianism certainly go far beyond simply what we ingest. Both our external environment and internal environment, or consciousness, impact our physical health. This is a fact also recognized by nutritionists. Holly Alley, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition Specialist, Department of Food and Nutrition at the University of Georgia, College of Family and Consumer Sciences, Cooperative Extension Services summaries how these two environments contribute to good health (

People become vegetarians for many reasons. These may include religious reasons (Hindu, Moslem, Buddhists, Seventh Day Adventist), health, fad, economic, or moral [against the killing of animals] reasons…These health benefits found in vegetarians may not be solely due to diet. Lifestyle habits other than diet, such as exercise, religious practices, smoking, and alcohol can also influence health. The research does not always separate out whether it is the diet alone which makes the difference or whether these other lifestyle factors also play a part.

Who can deny that lifestyle factors do play a part in our health? Accepting that they do play a part in our health, then the voices of their advocates must be part of the debate. Arguments of concern from those who are vegetarians because of the devastating effects meat eating has on our global environment, arguments of passion from those who are vegetarians because of religious reasons, and arguments of sensitivity those who are vegetarians because of the terrible cruelty and violence inflicted upon animals must be added to the medical arguments on the benefits of vegetarianism. Only such a collective effort will fully expose the elephant in the room, and lead to improved health care for all Americans.

Gee, I feel better already.

What Are We Really Eating?
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By Madhava Smullen on 25 Jan 2008
Image: Gavin Bell

We live in a world of enticingly packaged, processed foods where nobody really cares what they’re eating, so long as it looks good. As a child, I remember seeing a guest on a TV chat show say that they were allergic to various products, and therefore had to check the ingredients on everything when they went shopping. “Oh my God!” the host exclaimed in horror. “That must be such a pain! I could never do that!”

More recently, I was traveling in California with some friends and decided to visit Universal Studios in Hollywood. When hunger struck, we searched for the most vegetarian restaurant we could find and discovered one with a delightful buffet-style line featuring a variety of salads, pasta and pizza.

The girl at the counter filled up our plates with pasta once she’d let us know, none too confidently, that it didn’t contain eggs.

Then the fun really started.

“Do you know if there’s animal rennet in the cheese?” My friend Janmastami asked.

The girl looked blank. He tried to rephrase the question. “What is the cheese made with?”

This time she stared at him with an expression reserved for the severely mentally retarded. Her jaw slackened a little. Her eyes opened wide.

“Cheese is made with milk,” she said. “Milk comes from a cow.”

If only it were that simple. As a vegetarian, I may find this kind of routine ignorance funny – at least in retrospect – but it doesn’t inspire confidence in our eating establishments. Food companies themselves, while presenting a slightly more sophisticated front, aren’t much better. For a start, there is no law in any country that requires retailers to mark their products as vegetarian.

When you do find a “vegetarian” label, it’s simply a voluntary practice on the part of the manufacturer, and doesn’t reflect any universally agreed upon standard. Different manufacturers have their own opinion on what is or isn’t vegetarian, so even if a product announces to you that it’s fine for you to eat, it may actually contain, for example, animal-derived glycerine. Certain labels, like that of the Vegetarian Society in the UK, are reliable – but ISKCON devotees must be sure to double check, as the manufacturers generally consider eggs suitable for vegetarians.

So what can you do? Shock that poor TV host from the eighties, and check your ingredients every time. It’s the only way. Checking once and creating a list of “safe” products isn’t reliable, as manufacturers often change the ingredients in a product without warning – for instance, a rennet-free cheese may start using rennet again at any time.

But you’re still not in the safe zone yet. When you do check your ingredients, you’ll probably find that most of them might as well be written in Arabic. Packages don’t inform you that your ice-cream contains a gelling agent derived from animal ligaments, skins, tendons, bones and hooves. No, that would take up far too much space, and ruin your appetite. So instead, they use a neat little word like “gelatine.” You might be surprised to know how many ISKCON members don’t know this – a disturbing thought.

Here are some more common animal ingredients you should watch out for:

Cochineal, also known as E120, is a red dye often used in ice-cream, yogurt, glacé cherries, jams and drinks. Sound delicious? You’ll stop licking your lips after you’ve heard that it’s made from the crushed female un-hatched larva of the Cochineal beetle.

Animal rennet is an enzyme made from the stomach of calves and lambs, and is often used in cheese. Fortunately, it’s usually listed in ingredients as “animal rennet,” since rennet can also be made from vegetables.

Gylcerine is a type of animal fat that is often blended with vegetable fats. Many soap products contain it, and do not always state whether it is plant or animal-based. If in doubt, contact the manufacturer. Glycerine is also found in some chewing gums.

Lecithin is found in egg yolks, the tissues and organs of many animals, and some vegetables such as soybeans and corn. It’s often used in butter and margarine, and other foods high in fat and oils. If it’s vegetarian, the ingredients will state “Soy Lecithin.” Luckily, Lecithin is usually made from soy these days.

Beware of the phrase “Natural flavors,” on a product. Sounds friendly, doesn’t it? But often, these will be derived from beef or other meats. Contact the company and ask them what they use in their natural flavors. They may not always tell you, but the more people that do this, the more they’ll be likely to start making it available knowledge.

The world of processed foods is a strange one that seems to be intent on making sure you don’t know what you’re putting in your mouth. Today’s world, as Srila Prabhupada’s guru Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati so succinctly put it, is “No place for a gentleman.” But while you’re here, you would do well to brush up on your knowledge of animal ingredients.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have a comprehensive list that should get you started. Good sources of additional information are the Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients and the Consumer's Dictionary of Food Additives, available at most libraries or bookstores. And of course, if you have a question regarding an ingredient in a product, just call the manufacturer.

Vegetarian Menu in American Hospitals
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By Sally Andersen for VegDaily on 19 Nov 2009

Vegetarianism is considered a healthy, viable diet. Necessary nutrients, proteins, and amino acids for the body's sustenance can be found in vegetables, grains, nuts, soymilk and dairy.

Hospitals are catching on to the fact that meat is not good for the environment, their budget, their patients’ health, or even the animals!

Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) has introduced the Balanced Menus Challenge, a program that asks health care institutions to reduce their meat purchases by 20% within 12 months of taking the challenge.

So far, 14 hospitals across the U.S. have taken the challenge and will be offering more plant-based meals. The change with also include creating more meals with less meat the American Institute for Cancer Research’s New American Plate, which states that meat should not take up more than 25% of your plate and that vegetables should cover at least 50%.

HCWH says that “reducing meat purchasing at health care facilities is a potent food service climate change reduction strategy as well as an opportunity for hospitals to model healthy eating patterns for patients, staff and visitors.”

Want to Drop Your Carbon Emissions? Stop Eating Beef, India’s Minister Declares

NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 22, 2009: Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, a vegetarian himself, was not invoking any ancient Hindu scriptures, but what he said would certainly warm the cockles of those hearts who consider eating beef an anathema.

Citing measures for developed countries to cut carbon emissions he said, “It has been seen that developed countries which eat beef have the maximum amount of emissions. They can cut down on emissions, if they stop eating beef. The single-most important cause of emissions is eating beef,” Ramesh said.

Ramesh quoted a number of studies and global climate change expert R.K. Pachauri to support his view, but the issue has been debated for years. Last year, a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization study found that meat production accounts for nearly a fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions that are causing temperatures to rise, causing erratic rainfall, higher sea levels and stronger storm events.

hindusim today

India Tells West to Stop Eating Beef

By Dean Nelson for Telegraph on 20 Nov 2009

The environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, said if the world abandoned beef consumption, emissions would be dramatically reduced and global warming would slow down.

"The solution to cut emissions is to stop eating beef. It leads to emission of methane which is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide," he said.

"The best thing for us, India, is we are not a beef-eating nation.

The United States, the world's largest emitter along with China, is also the world's greatest beef-eating nation and consumes 25 per cent more than Europe.

His comments follow a call last month by Lord Stern, the author of a British Government study on climate change, for people to give up eating meay to reduce emissions. "Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases," said Lord Stern. "It puts enormous pressure on the world's resources. A vegetarian diet is better."

Hindus are forbidden to eat beef and India has more vegetarians than any other country in the world. More than 30 per cent of its 1.1 billion people do not eat meat at all.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, livestock is responsible for 18 per cent of the the Earth's greenhouse gas emissions. Cows produce harmful methane gas and environmentalists argue beef production causes greater damage than any other farming because it requires far more land and water than for any other form of animal husbandry.

Serious Environmentalism is Also Serious Vegetarianism

WASHINGTON D.C., November 16, 2009: James E. McWilliams, is an associate professor of history at Texas State University at San Marcos and a recent fellow in the agrarian studies program at Yale University.

McWilliams spoke in South Texas recently on the environmental virtues of a vegetarian diet. He noted: “The livestock industry, as a result of its reliance on corn and soy-based feed, accounts for over half the synthetic fertilizer used in the United States, contributing more than any other sector to marine dead zones.”

He continues, “It consumes 70 percent of the water in the American West ­ water so heavily subsidized that if irrigation supports were removed, ground beef would cost $35 a pound. Livestock accounts for at least 21 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions globally ­ more than all forms of transportation combined. Domestic animals ­ most of them healthy ­ consume about 70 percent of all the antibiotics produced. It takes a gallon of gasoline to produce a pound of conventional beef. If all the grain fed to animals went to people, you could feed China and India.”

McWilliams is also the author of “Just Food.” For the full article see source above.

Bellying up to environmentalism

By James E. McWilliams
Monday, November 16, 2009

I gave a talk in South Texas recently on the environmental virtues of a vegetarian diet. As you might imagine, the reception was chilly. In fact, the only applause came during the Q&A period when a member of the audience said that my lecture made him want to go out and eat even more meat. "Plus," he added, "what I eat is my business -- it's personal."

I've been writing about food and agriculture for more than a decade. Until that evening, however, I'd never actively thought about this most basic culinary question: Is eating personal?

We know more than we've ever known about the innards of the global food system. We understand that food can both nourish and kill. We know that its production can both destroy and enhance our environment. We know that farming touches every aspect of our lives -- the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the soil we need.

So it's hard to avoid concluding that eating cannot be personal. What I eat influences you. What you eat influences me. Our diets are deeply, intimately and necessarily political.

This realization changes everything for those who avoid meat. As a vegetarian I've always felt the perverse need to apologize for my dietary choice. It inconveniences people. It smacks of self-righteousness. It makes us pariahs at dinner parties. But the more I learn about the negative impact of meat production, the more I feel that it's the consumers of meat who should be

making apologies.

Here's why: The livestock industry as a result of its reliance on corn and soy-based feed accounts for over half the synthetic fertilizer used in the United States, contributing more than any other sector to marine dead zones. It consumes 70 percent of the water in the American West -- water so heavily subsidized that if irrigation supports were removed, ground beef would cost $35 a pound. Livestock accounts for at least 21 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions globally -- more than all forms of transportation combined. Domestic animals -- most of them healthy -- consume about 70 percent of all the antibiotics produced. Undigested antibiotics leach from manure into freshwater systems and impair the sex organs of fish.

It takes a gallon of gasoline to produce a pound of conventional beef. If all the grain fed to animals went to people, you could feed China and India. That's just a start.

Meat that's raised according to "alternative" standards (about 1 percent of meat in the United States) might be a better choice but not nearly as much so as its privileged consumers would have us believe. "Free-range chickens" theoretically have access to the outdoors. But many "free-range" chickens never see the light of day because they cannot make it through the crowded shed to the aperture leading to a patch of cement.

"Grass-fed" beef produces four times the methane -- a greenhouse gas 21 times as powerful as carbon dioxide -- of grain-fed cows, and many grass-fed cows are raised on heavily fertilized and irrigated grass. Pastured pigs are still typically mutilated, fed commercial feed and prevented from rooting -- their most basic instinct besides sex.

Issues of animal welfare are equally implicated in all forms of meat production. Domestic animals suffer immensely, feel pain and may even be cognizant of the fate that awaits them. In an egg factory, male chicks (economically worthless) are summarily run through a grinder. Pigs are castrated without anesthesia, crated, tail-docked and nose-ringed. Milk cows are repeatedly impregnated through artificial insemination, confined to milking stalls and milked to yield 15 times the amount of milk they would produce under normal conditions. When calves are removed from their mothers at birth, the mothers mourn their loss with heart-rending moans.

Then comes the slaughterhouse, an operation that's left with millions of pounds of carcasses -- deadstock -- that are incinerated or dumped in landfills. (Rendering plants have taken a nose dive since mad cow disease.)

Now, if someone told you that a particular corporation was trashing the air, water and soil; causing more global warming than the transportation industry; consuming massive amounts of fossil fuel; unleashing the cruelest sort of suffering on innocent and sentient beings; failing to recycle its waste; and clogging our arteries in the process, how would you react? Would you say, "Hey, that's personal?" Probably not. It's more likely that you'd frame the matter as a dire political issue in need of a dire political response.

Vegetarianism is not only the most powerful political response we can make to industrialized food. It's a necessary prerequisite to reforming it. To quit eating meat is to dismantle the global food apparatus at its foundation.

Agribusiness has been vilified of late by muckraking journalists, activist filmmakers and sustainable-food advocates. We know that something has to be done to save our food from corporate interests. But I wonder -- are we ready to do what must be done? Sure, we've been inundated with ideas: eat local, vote with your fork, buy organic, support fair trade, etc. But these proposals all lack something that every successful environmental movement has always placed at its core: genuine sacrifice.

Until we make that leap, until we create a culinary culture in which the meat-eaters must do the apologizing, the current proposals will be nothing more than gestures that turn the fork into an empty symbol rather than a real tool for environmental change.

James E. McWilliams, an associate professor of history at Texas State University at San Marcos and a recent fellow in the agrarian studies program at Yale University, is most recently the author of "Just Food."

Turn vegetarian and conquer climate change
October 30, 2009, 10:08 am
Filed under: Environmental Politics, Global Warming, Vegetarianism

The Economic Times

LONDON: Going the vegetarian way can help to tackle the problem of global warming apart from its known health benefits to human, according to a climate expert.

“Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world’s resources. A vegetarian diet is better,” Lord Stern of Brentford said.

“Direct emissions of methane from cows and pigs is a significant source of greenhouse gases. Methane is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a global warming gas,” he said.

Lord Stern, author of the 2006 Stern Review on the cost of tackling global warming, said that a successful deal at the upcoming Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen would lead to soaring costs for meat and other foods that generate large quantities of greenhouse gases.

“I think it’s important that people think about what they are doing and that includes what they are eating,” he said.

A former chief economist at the World Bank, Stern warned that British taxpayers would need to contribute about £ 3 billion a year by 2015 to help poor countries to cope with the impact of climate change.

Speaking on the eve of an all-parliamentary debate on climate change, Lord Stern admitted that he himself is not a strict vegetarian.

Ahimsa Silk

HG Muralidhara Priya Prabhu, one of our most ecstatic monks here at the Bhaktivedanta Ashram here in NYC, has written an article detailing something that most devotees may not know about-the process of how their silk cloth (saris and dhotis) are made.

It's not a pretty process, and it's certainly something that wouldn't please Guru and Gauranga.

Here's another chance for devotees to "walk the walk" as examples of conscious and conscientious members of the planet, inspiring by our practical examples and deep knowledge

Silk - should we wear it or not?

By Muralidhara-priya Das

Should we be using silk? If we want to practice compassion and non-violence toward all living entities, then we should think twice about what we are putting on our bodies. Originally in Vedic times they used what was called Wild Silk.

Wild silks are produced by caterpillars other than the mulberry silkworm and can be artificially cultivated. The worms are allowed to naturally leave the cocoon. A variety of wild silks have been known and used in China, South Asia, and Europe since early times, but the scale of production was always far smaller than that of cultivated silks. They differ from the domesticated varieties in color and texture, mainly because before the cocoons are gathered in the wild usually the emerging moth has damaged them, so the silk thread that makes up the cocoon has been torn into shorter lengths.

Commercially reared silkworm pupae are killed by dipping them in boiling water before the adult moths emerge, or by piercing them with a needle, allowing the whole cocoon to be unraveled as one continuous thread. This permits a much stronger cloth to be woven from the silk. Wild silks also tend to be more difficult to dye than silk from the cultivated silkworm.

Kusuma Rajaiah, an Indian man, has developed a new technique for producing silk that does not require killing silk worms in the process. Right now, producing a silk saree involves killing of at least 50 thousand silkworms. Rajaiah has won the patent for producing the “Ahimsa” silk. However, the production of the silk is more expensive. For example, a saree that costs 2400 rupees to produce using regular silk, will cost 4000 rupees when made with Ahimsa silk.

Rajaiah says: “My inspiration is Mahatma Gandhi. He gave a message to the Indian silk industry that if silk can be produced without killing silkworms, it would be better. He dreamt but that did not happen in his lifetime. I am the happiest person that at least I could do this little thing.”

Rajaiah says he started giving a serious thought to “Ahimsa” silk when in the 1990s. Janaki Venkatraman, wife of the former President, asked if she could get a silk saree that is made without killing silk worms. In Rajaiah’s new process he follows the old method, which allows the moth to escape from the cocoon by waiting for 7-10 days and then uses the shells to produce yarn.

So if you don’t know if your silk saree or dhoti are produced with “Ahimsa” silk or not, then it probably wasn’t, as over 99% of all silk bought is produced with the method of killing the worm by boiling or stabbing with a needle. Here are a couple of websites were you can purchase “Ahimsa” silk.

The rise of the non-veggie vegetarian

By Finlo Rohrer
BBC News Magazine

Vegetarianism used to be simple - its protagonists foreswore the flesh of any dead animal. Today there are "veggies" who eat fish, and people who eat no meat but don't call themselves vegetarians. What happened?

The conversation usually goes something a bit like this:

"Yeah, I'm a vegetarian."

"But that looks like fish you're eating."

"Oh yeah, I eat fish."

Confusion, perplexity and occasionally heated debate can follow as the "vegetarian" and their interrogator cover the issue of what is an animal and whether fish feel pain. But the Vegetarian Society, which has acted as the custodian of British vegetarianism since 1847, has a simple definition.

"A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or crustacean, or slaughter byproducts," it says. They can make that even more pithy: "We don't eat dead things."

The society tackles the issue of fish-eating vegetarians with a page headed in red capitals: "VEGETARIANS DO NOT EAT FISH."

Juliet Gellatley, director of the vegan and vegetarian group Viva, is also clear on the issue of whether fish eaters can use the term vegetarian.

"They cannot. The definition is very clear. It's someone who doesn't eat anything from a killed animal.

"It does cause confusion if someone who calls themselves a vegetarian goes into a restaurant and orders a prawn cocktail."

Many of the fish-eating vegetarians will be making a dietary exception for health reasons. The government advises the consumption of at least two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily fish. This intake is thought to help fight heart disease. Vegetarian organisations have to counter by noting that some nutritional benefits of eating oily fish can be gained from elsewhere. They recommend things like flaxseed oil and walnuts.  VARIANTS
Classic vegetarian: Eats no part of any dead animal
Vegan: Eats no animal product
Meat-avoider: Tries not to to eat meat but has occasional lapses
Meat-reducer: Is trying to eat less meat, probably for health reasons
Green eater: Avoids meat because of environmental impact

There may also be a tendency among some fish-eating vegetarians to assign a different ethical equation to the consumption of fish. It is something that is vehemently rejected by vegetarians.

"There is ample evidence in peer-reviewed scientific journals that mammals experience not just pain, but also mental suffering including fear, anticipation, foreboding, anxiety, stress, terror and trauma," says Revd Prof Andrew Linzey, director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics and author of Why Animal Suffering Matters.

"The case for fish isn't so strong, but scientific evidence at least shows that they experience pain and fear. Anyone who wants to avoid causing pain should give up eating fish."

But there is a wider problem of identification.

"Fish don't invoke the same compassionate response that a calf, lamb, piglet, or duck does," says Ms Gellatley. "We are mammals, we relate much better to other mammals. When we see a pig in a factory farm and you can see that animal is in pain that has a very direct effect on people."

Vegetarian escalator

And then there's the issue of depleted fish stocks.

Fish-eating vegetarians used to have their own term - "pescetarian" - although it seems not to be in common use today. But, Ms Gellatley says, there is a rise in the use of a new term for the part-vegetarian.
Eschew on that - vegetarians typically start by giving up red meat

"The name 'flexitarian' is coming into use. It's fairly meaningless really."

But for vegetarian activists, anybody taking on the vegetarian badge can be a positive, even if they fall short of the strict definition, says Ms Gellately, alluding to a virtual vegetarian escalator.

"People are moving along a pathway - the positive thing is that they see vegetarianism as aspirational."

While activists might offer anecdotal evidence for trends like fish-eating vegetarianism, concrete numbers are not easy to come by.

There is a view that after a period of healthy growth in the 1990s, classic vegetarianism is now stagnant. It rose from 0.2% of the population during World War II to 1.8% in 1980, according to the consumer research company Mintel.

The firm's most recent survey suggested 6% concurred with the statement "I am a vegetarian". But the Food Standards Agency's recent Public Attitudes to Food Issues survey found just 3% of the population was strictly vegetarian, and 5% partly vegetarian.

Viva cites a survey done on behalf of the Linda McCartney vegetarian food brand which suggested a figure of 10%.

Easy label

Kate Sibley is one example of the more complex definitions of vegetarian these days.
Vegetarian food has had some powerful backers

She was raised mostly as a vegetarian, but given fish for health reasons. She became an orthodox vegetarian at university but then returned to eating fish later. It's now the only meat that she eats.

"I was brought up as a vegetarian. We were given the choice when we were young. It was all about animal rights and how animals were factory farmed. [My parents] told us the the reasons and we agreed with them.

"We were fed fish. It's important for your brain to have oily fish [when young]. When I became a proper vegetarian I started to get quite ill and tired."

Her objection is mainly to the way meat is produced, not to the idea of eating an animal. She uses the term "vegetarian" almost for the sake of convenience. If she is dining with people for the first time, it makes things simpler.

One of the reasons it's so hard to assess the level of vegetarianism is because of the multiple definitions of the term.

It is clear, however, that meat-free and meat-substitute meals make up more and more of what we eat. The marketers and the activists are dealing with new groups of people, known as meat-avoiders and meat-reducers. Outside those who have a clear philosophical platform for eschewing meat, there are increasing numbers of these people, either cutting down on meat or trying not to eat it where possible, but without necessarily ever calling themselves "vegetarian".

Mintel categorises 23% of the population as meat-reducers, people attempting to eat less meat, probably mainly for health reasons. Another factor is climate change - livestock rearing produces methane, which is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in global warming terms, according to Lord Stern. It identifies 10% as meat-avoiders, people who plan to eat little or no meat but sometimes lapse, and who might well accept the ethical basis of vegetarianism.

"More than a quarter of people say they eat less meat than they did five years ago. There is a shifting change in the diet," says Ms Gellatley. "A third of our membership are meat reducers."

Many people will start by giving up red meat for health reasons, then give up white meat, and so on. Despite initially doing it for non-ethical reasons, these people can then take on the philosophical mantle, says Ms Gellatley.

But despite the health messages about certain kinds of meat, and the arguments over the amount of energy it takes to produce meat, the vast majority in the UK still eat meat. And one-fifth, according to Mintel, like to have meat every day.

The Rise of the Non-Veggie Vegetarian

What happened? Juliet Gellatley, director of the vegan and vegetarian group Viva, is clear on the issue of whether fish eaters can use the term vegetarian. “They cannot. The definition is very clear. It’s someone who doesn’t eat anything from a killed animal. It does cause confusion if someone who calls themselves a vegetarian goes into a restaurant and orders a prawn cocktail.”

Part of the confusion comes from the growing popularity of vegetarianism and the hesitant or gradual steps taken by newcomers to the fold.

Many of the fish-eating vegetarians will be making a dietary exception for health reasons. The government advises the consumption of at least two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily fish. This intake is thought to help fight heart disease. Vegetarian organizations have to counter by noting that some nutritional benefits of eating oily fish can be gained from elsewhere. They recommend things like flaxseed oil and walnuts.

The definitions of vegetarians now include - the classic vegetarian who eats no part of any dead animal. The vegan who eats no animal product. The meat-avoider who tries not to eat meat but has occasional lapses. The meat-reducer who is trying to eat less meat, probably for health reasons and last, the green eater who avoids meat because of environmental impact

“More than a quarter of people say they eat less meat than they did five years ago. There is a shifting change in the diet,” says Ms Gellatley. “A third of our membership are meat reducers.” Many people will start by giving up red meat for health reasons, then give up white meat, and so on. Despite initially doing it for non-ethical reasons, these people can then take on the philosophical mantle, says Ms Gellatley.

hinduism today

A Look In The Mirror About Animal Rights

USA, November 4, 2009: [HPI note: This is an excerpt from the opinion piece published by the admin of the Animal Right's Blog, a widely-read blog on the subject. Unequivocally condemning the animal sacrifices in Nepal, it warns against blindness and hypocrisy.]

Let us not be too blind. It can be difficult to argue against this clearly horrifying ritual without first looking ourselves in the mirror. Every year, 46 million turkeys in the United States are slaughtered for what appears to be a ritualistic celebration of life - Thanksgiving.

On a scale, certainly the American slaughter of turkeys is far greater than the Gadhimai Mela festival. The brutality is no different. And, there is no denying it, American consumers pay for the slaughter of 10 billion land animals every year. That’s 320 animals every second of every day–many more than those who perish per minute at the brief and bloody two-day Nepalese festival.

The blog suggests writing to local Nepalese Embassy to protest against the sacrifices.

hinduism today

Nepal’s Massive Animal Sacrifice Rites Attract Criticism

BARIYAPUR, NEPAL, November 6, 2009: Plans to sacrifice more than 500,000 animals during the two-day Durga Puja festival in Nepal have met with the wrath of animal rights activists, who called for the ancient ritual to be banned.

[HPI note: The form of Hinduism practiced in Nepal is influenced by "left-handed" Shakta tantric practices, which includes extreme rites inexistent in mainstream Hinduism, including animal sacrifice.]

Every five years the tiny village of Bariyapur, near Nepal’s southern border with India, is inundated with hundreds of thousands of Hindu devotees who flock to the local temple where the sacrifices happen. This year it is expected that about 500,000 animals, including about 25,000 buffaloes, will be offered to Gadhimai, a form of Durga.

The local authorities support the practice. Most observers think it is unlikely that the Nepalese Government, which has pledged about $60,000 for the festival, will intercede. An influx of tourists are expected from India, where such practices are banned. But this year temple authorities face a more powerful set of opponents than ever before. Pramada Shah, of Animal Welfare Network Nepal, said, “By perpetuating this we are projecting Nepal as barbaric.”

hinduism today

Flesh of Your Flesh - Should you eat meat?

Flesh of Your Flesh - Should you eat meat?

by Elizabeth Kolbert for The New Yorker, November 3, 2009

"Americans love animals. Forty-six million families in the United States own at least one dog, and thirty-eight million keep cats. Thirteen million maintain freshwater aquariums in which swim a total of more than a hundred and seventy million fish.

Collectively, these creatures cost Americans some forty billion dollars annually. (Seventeen billion goes to food and another twelve billion to veterinary bills.) Despite the recession, pet-related expenditures this year are expected to increase five per cent over 2008, in part owing to outlays on luxury items like avian manicures and canine bath spritz.

“We have so many customers who say they’d eat macaroni and cheese before they’d cut back on their dogs,” a Colorado pet-store owner recently told the Denver Post. In a survey released this past August, more than half of all dog, cat, and bird owners reported having bought presents for their animals during the previous twelve months, often for no special occasion, just out of love. (Fish enthusiasts may bring home fewer gifts, but they spend more on each one, with the average fish gift coming to thirty-seven dollars.)

A majority of owners report that one of the reasons they enjoy keeping pets is that they consider them part of the family.

Americans also love to eat animals. This year, they will cook roughly twenty-seven billion pounds of beef, sliced from some thirty-five million cows.

Additionally, they will consume roughly twenty-three billion pounds of pork, or the bodies of more than a hundred and fifteen million pigs, and thirty-eight billion pounds of poultry, some nine billion birds. Most of these creatures have been raised under conditions that are, as Americans know—or, at least, by this point have no excuse not to know — barbaric." the entire very confronting 4 page article

Cows, Environment, Food and People

U.S. could feed 800 million people with grain that livestock eat, Cornell ecologist advises animal scientists. Future water and energy shortages predicted to change face of American agriculture.

Grain-fed livestock consumes resources far out of proportion to the yield, accelerates soil erosion, affects world food supply and will be changing in the future.

"If all the grain currently fed to livestock in the United States were consumed directly by people, the number of people who could be fed would be nearly 800 million," David Pimentel, professor of ecology in Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, reported at the July 24-26 meeting of the Canadian Society of Animal Science in Montreal. Or, if those grains were exported, it would boost the U.S. trade balance by $80 billion a year, Pimentel estimated.

With only grass-fed livestock, individual Americans would still get more than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of meat and dairy protein, according to Pimentel's report, "Livestock Production: Energy Inputs and the Environment."

An environmental analyst and longtime critic of waste and inefficiency in agricultural practices, Pimentel depicted grain-fed livestock farming as a costly and nonsustainable way to produce animal protein. He distinguished grain-fed meat production from pasture-raised livestock, calling cattle-grazing a more reasonable use of marginal land.

Animal protein production requires more than eight times as much fossil-fuel energy than production of plant protein while yielding animal protein that is only 1.4 times more nutritious for humans than the comparable amount of plant protein, according to the Cornell ecologist's analysis.

Tracking food animal production from the feed trough to the dinner table, Pimentel found broiler chickens to be the most efficient use of fossil energy, and beef, the least. Chicken meat production consumes energy in a 4:1 ratio to protein output; beef cattle production requires an energy input to protein output ratio of 54:1. (Lamb meat production is nearly as inefficient at 50:1, according to the ecologist's analysis of U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics. Other ratios range from 13:1 for turkey meat and 14:1 for milk protein to 17:1 for pork and 26:1 for eggs.)

Animal agriculture is a leading consumer of water resources in the United States, Pimentel noted. Grain-fed beef production takes 100,000 liters of water for every kilogram of food. Raising broiler chickens takes 3,500 liters of water to make a kilogram of meat. In comparison, soybean production uses 2,000 liters for kilogram of food produced; rice, 1,912; wheat, 900; and potatoes, 500 liters. "Water shortages already are severe in the Western and Southern United States and the situation is quickly becoming worse because of a rapidly growing U.S. population that requires more water for all of its needs, especially agriculture," Pimentel observed.

Livestock are directly or indirectly responsible for much of the soil erosion in the United States, the ecologist determined. On lands where feed grain is produced, soil loss averages 13 tons per hectare per year. Pasture lands are eroding at a slower pace, at an average of 6 tons per hectare per year. But erosion may exceed 100 tons on severely overgrazed pastures, and 54 percent of U.S. pasture land is being overgrazed.

"More than half the U.S. grain and nearly 40 percent of world grain is being fed to livestock rather than being consumed directly by humans," Pimentel said. "Although grain production is increasing in total, the per capita supply has been decreasing for more than a decade. Clearly, there is reason for concern in the future."

source: Cornell University Science News

The Greenhouse Hamburger

Pound for pound, beef production generates greenhouse gases that contribute more than 13 times as much to global warming as do the gases emitted from producing chicken. For potatoes, the multiplier is 57

Beef consumption is rising rapidly, both as population increases and as people eat more meat.

Producing the annual beef diet of the average American emits as much greenhouse gas as a car driven more than 1,800 miles.

Most of us are aware that our cars, our coal-generated electric power and even our cement factories adversely affect the environment. Until recently, however, the foods we eat had gotten a pass in the discussion. Yet according to a 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), our diets and, specifically, the meat in them cause more greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, nitrous oxide, and the like to spew into the atmosphere than either transportation or industry. (Greenhouse gases trap solar energy, thereby warming the earth's surface. Because gases vary in greenhouse potency, every greenhouse gas is usually expressed as an amount of CO2 with the same global-warming potential.)

The FAO report found that current production levels of meat contribute between 14 and 22 percent of the 36 billion tons of "CO2-equivalent" greenhouse gases the world produces every year. It turns out that producing half a pound of hamburger for someone's lunch a patty of meat the size of two decks of cards releases as much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere as driving a 3,000-pound car nearly 10 miles.

In truth, every food we consume, vegetables and fruits included, incurs hidden environmental costs: transportation, refrigeration and fuel for farming, as well as methane emissions from plants and animals, all lead to a buildup of atmospheric greenhouse gases. Take asparagus: in a report prepared for the city of Seattle, Daniel J. Morgan of the University of Washington and his co-workers found that growing just half a pound of the vegetable in Peru emits greenhouse gases equivalent to 1.2 ounces of CO2 as a result of applying insecticide and fertilizer, pumping water and running heavy, gas-guzzling farm equipment. To refrigerate and transport the vegetable to an American dinner table generates another two ounces of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gases, for a total CO2 equivalent of 3.2 ounces.

But that is nothing compared to beef. In 1999 Susan Subak, an ecological economist then at the University of East Anglia in England, found that, depending on the production method, cows emit between 2.5 and 4.7 ounces of methane for each pound of beef they produce. Because methane has roughly 23 times the global-warming potential of CO2, those emissions are the equivalent of releasing between 3.6 and 6.8 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere for each pound of beef produced.

Raising animals also requires a large amount of feed per unit of body weight. In 2003 Lucas Reijnders of the University of Amsterdam and Sam Soret of Loma Linda University estimated that producing a pound of beef protein for the table requires more than 10 pounds of plant protein with all the emissions of greenhouse gases that grain farming entails. Finally, farms for raising animals produce numerous wastes that give rise to greenhouse gases.

Taking such factors into account, Subak calculated that producing a pound of beef in a feedlot, or concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) system, generates the equivalent of 14.8 pounds of CO2 pound for pound, more than 36 times the CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas emitted by producing asparagus. Even other common meats cannot match the impact of beef; I estimate that producing a pound of pork generates the equivalent of 3.8 pounds of CO2; a pound of chicken generates 1.1 pounds of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gases. And the economically efficient CAFO system, though certainly not the cleanest production method in terms of CO2-equivalent greenhouse emissions, is far better than most: the FAO data I noted earlier imply that the world average emissions from producing a pound of beef are several times the CAFO amount.
Solutions?What can be done? Improving waste management and farming practices would certainly reduce the "carbon footprint" of beef production. Methane-capturing systems, for instance, can put cows' waste to use in generating electricity. But those systems remain too costly to be commercially viable.

source: Scientific American

The Low-Carbon Diet

Change your lightbulbs? Or your car? If you want to fight global warming, it’s time to consider a different diet.

Full disclosure: I love to eat meat. I was born in Memphis, the barbecue capital of the Milky Way Galaxy. I worship slow-cooked, hickory-smoked pig meat served on a bun with extra sauce and coleslaw spooned on top.

My carnivore’s lust goes beyond the DNA level. It’s in my soul. Even the cruelty of factory farming doesn’t temper my desire, I’ll admit. Like most Americans, I can somehow keep at bay all thoughts of what happened to the meat prior to the plate.

So why in the world am I a dedicated vegetarian? Why is meat, including sumptuous pork, a complete stranger to my fork at home and away? The answer is simple: I have an 11-year-old son whose future—like yours and mine—is rapidly unraveling due to global warming. And what we put on our plates can directly accelerate or decelerate the heating trend.

That giant chunk of an Antarctic ice sheet, the one that disintegrated in a matter of hours, the one the size of seven Manhattans—did you hear about it? It shattered barely a year ago “like a hammer on glass,” scientists say, and is now melting away in the Southern Ocean. This is just a preview, of course, of the sort of ecological collapse coming everywhere on earth, experts say, unless we hit the brakes soon on climate change. If the entire West Antarctic ice sheet melts, for example, global sea-level rise could reach 20 feet.

Since the twin phenomena of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Gore, most Americans have a basic literacy on the issue of climate change. It’s getting worse, we know, and greenhouse gases—emitted when we burn fossil fuels—are driving it. Less accepted, it seems, is the role food—specifically our consumption of meat—is playing in this matter. The typical American diet now weighs in at more than 3,700 calories per day, reports the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, and is dominated by meat and animal products. As a result, what we put in our mouths now ranks up there with our driving habits and our use of coal-fired electricity in terms of how it affects climate change.

Simply put, raising beef, pigs, sheep, chicken, and eggs is very, very energy intensive. More than half of all the grains grown in America actually go to feed animals, not people, says the World Resources Institute. That means a huge fraction of the petroleum-based herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers applied to grains, plus staggering percentages of all agricultural land and water use, are put in the service of livestock. Stop eating animals and you use dramatically less fossil fuels, as much as 250 gallons less oil per year for vegans, says Cornell University’s David Pimentel, and 160 gallons less for egg-and-cheese-eating vegetarians.

But fossil fuel combustion is just part of the climate­diet equation. Ruminants—cows and sheep—generate a powerful greenhouse gas through their normal digestive processes (think burping and emissions at the other end). What comes out is methane (23 times more powerful at trapping heat than CO2) and nitrous oxide (296 times more powerful).

Indeed, accounting for all factors, livestock production worldwide is responsible for a whopping 18 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gases, reports the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. That’s more than the emissions of all the world’s cars, buses, planes, and trains combined.

So why do we so rarely talk about meat consumption when discussing global warming in America? Compact fluorescent bulbs? Biking to work? Buying wind power? We hear it nonstop. But even the super-liberal, Prius-driving, Green Party activist in America typically eats chicken wings and morning bacon like everyone else. While the climate impacts of meat consumption might be new to many people, the knowledge of meat’s general ecological harm is not at all novel. So what gives?

Roughly three percent of all Americans are vegetarians, according to the Vegetarian Resource Group, a nonprofit that educates people on the benefits of a meat-free diet. Part of the reason, I know, is the unfortunate belief that vegetarianism is a really tough lifestyle change, much harder than simply changing bulbs or buying a better car. But as a meat lover at heart, I’ve been a vegetarian (no fish, minimal eggs and cheese) for seven years, and trust me: It’s easy, satisfying, and of course super healthy. With the advent of savory tofu, faux meats, and the explosion of local farmers’ markets, a life without meat is many times easier today than when Ovid and Thoreau and Gandhi and Einstein did it. True, many meat substitutes are made from soybeans, a monocrop with its own environmental issues. But most soy production today is actually devoted to livestock feed. Only 1 percent of U.S. soybeans become tofu, for example.

One day I get carryout veggie Pad Thai. The next I cook stir-fried veggies at home with soy-based sausage patties so good they fool even the most discriminating meat connoisseurs. Bottom line: Of the most difficult things I’ve ever done in my life, vegetarianism doesn’t even make the chart.

Some folks, I realize, have a deep-down, gut-level (so to speak) reaction to vegetarianism as “unnatural.” We humans have canine teeth, after all. We evolved to include meat in our diets. To abandon such food is to break thousands of years of tradition and, in some cases, ritual behavior bordering on the sacred.

All true. But we also evolved as people who defecated indiscriminately in the woods and who didn’t brush our teeth. Somehow we’ve moved to a higher level on those counts. Now, with potentially catastrophic climate change hovering around the corner and with our briskets and London broil helping to drive the process, it’s time to evolve some more.

A compromise in recent years, of course, has been the idea of animals raised locally and organically. Becoming a “locavore” who eats regional fruits and vegetables in season as much as possible makes abundant sense, of course. And animals from your area can lower the environmental impacts of your diet in many ways while simultaneously saving cherished local farmland and progressive farm families.

But with global warming, here’s the inconvenient truth about meat and dairy products: If you eat them, regardless of their origin and how they were produced, you significantly contribute to climate change. Period. If your beef is from New Zealand or your own backyard, if your lamb is organic free-range or factory farmed, it still has a negative impact on global warming.

This is true for several reasons. Again, the biological reality of ruminant digestion is that methane is released. The feed can be local and organic, but the methane is the same, escaping into the atmosphere and trapping heat with impressive efficiency. Second, no matter the farming method, livestock makes manure that produces nitrous oxide, an even more awesomely impressive heat trapper. Livestock in the United States generates a billion tons of manure per year, accounting for 65 percent of the planet’s anthropogenic nitrous oxide emissions.

Even poultry, while less harmful, also contributes. Ironically, data released in 2007 by Adrian Williams of Cranfield University in England show that when all factors are considered, organic, free-range chickens have a 20 percent greater impact on global warming than conventionally raised broiler birds. That’s because “sustainable” chickens take longer to raise, and eat more feed. Worse, organic eggs have a 14 percent higher impact on the climate than eggs from caged chickens, according to Williams.

“If we want to fight global warming through the food we buy, then one thing’s clear: We have to drastically reduce the meat we consume,” says Tara Garnett of London’s Food Climate Research Network.

So while some of us Americans fashionably fret over our food’s travel budget and organic content, Garnett says the real question is, “Did it come from an animal or did it not come from an animal?”

Which brings us back to vegetarianism and why I live a meat-free life. The facts speak for themselves. If we really want to fight climate change, we should change our lightbulbs and purchase hybrid cars and, above all, vote for politicians committed to a clean energy future. But we should also eat less meat, a lot less, or none at all.

I believe consumer habits are starting to change similarly to the way they’ve shifted with compact fluorescent bulbs. Ten years ago people complained about the harsh quality of light from fluorescents and the hassle of switching them out. But the bulbs are now made to produce a much warmer quality of light and the price has come down. What’s more, in seven years of using only CFLs at my home, I’ve never had a guest make a single comment.

In the near future, as we increasingly discuss the climate “facts” of meat consumption, and as veggie cuisine gets still easier at home and at restaurants, we’ll see more and more people changing their diets in the same way they’re switching to CFLs in droves now. Of this I’m sure.

But when it comes to food, the facts are not enough for many people. Of this I’m also sure. A holistic nutritionist in my neighborhood says one’s ideas about food reside in the same part of the brain that houses our ideas and beliefs about religion. It’s not all rational, in other words. Facts abound about the harm of fatty, sugary foods, yet the obesity epidemic grows. And I can’t count the number of environmental conferences I’ve attended where meat was served in abundance. Even Michael Pollan’s 2006 bestseller The Omnivore’s Dilemma, wherein he dissects with encyclopedic thoroughness the eco-hazards and animal cruelty issues surrounding meat and egg production—even this book astonishingly mentions the words global warming only two times and climate change not at all. In 464 pages. That’s highly unreasonable, in my view.

All of which is to say that for people to care, the climate­food discussion must be about more than just facts, more than pounds of greenhouse gases per units of food. It’s got to be about morality, about right versus wrong. And I don’t mean the usual morality of environmental “stewardship.” Or even the issue of cruelty to farm animals. I’m talking here about cruelty to people, about the explicit harm to humans that results from meat consumption and its role as a driving force in climate change. Knowingly eating food that makes you fat or harms your local fish and birds is one thing. Knowingly eating food that makes children across much of the world hungry is another.

I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the mid-1980s, living in a tiny rural village where the staple crop was hand-tilled corn. It was harvested twice a year, in May and December. This meant the two annual “rainy seasons” had to begin right on time, in January and September, and continue for several months afterward. Any deviation from this rainfall pattern virtually guaranteed a lower corn harvest. And given the total absence of grocery stores, community granaries, or the money to buy extra food even if it existed, this meant hunger.

A signature impact of global warming, of course, is a dramatic shift in precipitation patterns worldwide, including longer and more severe droughts as well as extreme rainstorms and flooding in non-drought areas. Many scientists believe these impacts are already being felt by farmers worldwide and could spell future disaster, especially for subsistence farmers like those I lived with in Africa. Global wheat prices have jumped about 100 percent in the past year in part because a record drought in Australia—made worse by global warming—has devastated farmers across the continent. Food production in China alone could drop 10 percent as early as 2030, United Nations scientists warn.

The people I lived with in Africa contribute almost nothing to the problem of global warming, through their diet or otherwise. Coal-fired electricity versus wind power? They don’t have electricity. SUVs versus hybrid cars? They don’t have cars—none at all, or roads for that matter. And meat consumption? Tiny, tiny portions maybe twice a week.

If we in the West don’t alter course in the coming years, if we allow extreme global warming to become reality, an impact on the U.S. diet could very well be a great reduction in the amount of meat on our tables—a reduction imposed on us by nature instead of achieved by us through enlightened lifestyle changes. The wide and guaranteed availability of agriculturally productive land may simply cease. The crop yields we see now could shrink significantly, thanks to everything from weird weather to pest invasions. But it’s a safe guess to say we’ll have space for a national diet of plant-based foods (some crops are expected to benefit from global warming), just not the option of consuming all those animals.

But in the Congo and other poor countries, in places like Bangladesh and Peru and Vietnam, where meat consumption is already low, severe climate change means food off the table. It means hungry children. It means the rains don’t come on time or at all in tiny villages like the one I lived in. It means, in the end, cruelty to people.

Are we clear now on the raw facts and urgent morality of our present meat consumption in America?

We need much more than just a few magazine readers to voluntarily stop eating meat, of course. It’s a good start, but what we really need are national policies that encourage lower meat consumption by everyone. This could be achieved using fees or other market mechanisms that properly price greenhouse-gas emissions according to the harm they cause. The bad news, I suppose, is that the cost of meat could rise. The good news is we would finally have a fair and honest way to judge its danger, and thus more incentives to do the right thing, more incentives to switch to a healthy and convenient vegetarian diet of the sort I’ve joyfully embraced for years, despite my great appreciation for the taste of meat.

We could also, as a nation, just eat a lot less meat as an alternative to full vegetarianism. Anthony McMichael, a leading Australia-based expert on climate change and health issues, has crunched the numbers. He estimates that per capita daily meat consumption would need to drop from about 12 ounces per day in America to 3.1 ounces (with less than half of it red meat) in order to protect the climate.

I suppose I could measure out 3.1 ounces of meat per day, cook it, eat it, and still feel morally okay. But frankly I’d rather just go without. I’d rather be a vegetarian. It’s easier to explain. It’s easier to defend. And I just plain like it.
source: Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, is the author of The Ravaging Tide: Strange Weather, Future Katrinas, and the Coming Death of America's Coastal Cities (Free Press).

Beef Industry Fact Sheet

The U.S. beef industry is worth an estimated $175 billion with cattlemen conducting business in all 50 states and operating 800,000 individual farms and ranches.

In July 2003, there were 104.3 million cattle in the United States.

35.7 million cattle were harvested in 2003.

2002 data shows there were 805,080 cow/calf operations and 95,189 feedlots in the United States according to CattleFax.

While the United States has less than 10 percent of the world's cattle inventory, it produces nearly 25 percent of the world's beef supply according to 2002 USDA data.

The U.S. produced 27.1 billion pounds of beef in 2002.

There are 1.4 million jobs attributed to the beef industry.

The cattle industry is a family business. Eighty percent of the cattle businesses have been in the same families for more than 25 years; 10 percent fore more than 100 years.

Cattle are produced in all 50 states and their economic impact contributes to nearly every county in the nation and they are a significant economic driver in rural communities.

America’s demand for beef has increased more than 15 percent since 1998.

Consumer beef spending has grown $14 billion compared to the 1990s according to CattleFax.

Beef is the number one protein in America according to USDA consumption data. In 2002, the average per capita consumption of beef was 64.4 pounds according to USDA consumption data.

Steak is the single most popular beef dish in-home, eaten more than once a month by the average person. Hamburger is the second most popular in-home item (8.9 percent of all eating occasions) - NPD/National Eating Trends, 2002.

Beef exports, during 2003, were worth approximately $2.664 billion, variety meat exports were worth $601 million and tallow exports were worth $325 million.

During 2002, beef exports represented 9 percent of U.S. domestic beef production (2.45 billion pounds vs. 27.1 billion pounds).

source: Beef USA - Beef Industry Fact Sheet

Eight Meaty Facts About Animal Food

WHERE'S THE GRAIN? The 7 billion livestock animals in the United States consume five times as much grain as is consumed directly by the entire American population.

HERBIVORES ON THE HOOF. Each year an estimated 41 million tons of plant protein is fed to U.S. livestock to produce an estimated 7 million tons of animal protein for human consumption. About 26 million tons of the livestock feed comes from grains and 15 million tons from forage crops. For every kilogram of high-quality animal protein produced, livestock are fed nearly 6 kg of plant protein.

FOSSIL FUEL TO FOOD FUEL. On average, animal protein production in the U.S. requires 28 kilocalories (kcal) for every kcal of protein produced for human consumption. Beef and lamb are the most costly, in terms of fossil fuel energy input to protein output at 54:1 and 50:1, respectively. Turkey and chicken meat production are the most efficient (13:1 and 4:1, respectively). Grain production, on average, requires 3.3 kcal of fossil fuel for every kcal of protein produced. The U.S. now imports about 54 percent of its oil; by the year 2015, that import figure is expected to rise to 100 percent.

THIRSTY PRODUCTION SYSTEMS. U.S. agriculture accounts for 87 percent of all the fresh water consumed each year. Livestock directly use only 1.3 percent of that water. But when the water required for forage and grain production is included, livestock's water usage rises dramatically. Every kilogram of beef produced takes 100,000 liters of water. Some 900 liters of water go into producing a kilogram of wheat. Potatoes are even less "thirsty," at 500 liters per kilogram.

HOME ON THE RANGE. More than 302 million hectares of land are devoted to producing feed for the U.S. livestock population -- about 272 million hectares in pasture and about 30 million hectares for cultivated feed grains.

DISAPPEARING SOIL. About 90 percent of U.S. cropland is losing soil -- to wind and water erosion -- at 13 times above the sustainable rate. Soil loss is most severe in some of the richest farming areas; Iowa loses topsoil at 30 times the rate of soil formation. Iowa has lost one-half its topsoil in only 150 years of farming -- soil that took thousands of years to form.

PLENTY OF PROTEIN: Nearly 7 million tons (metric) of animal protein is produced annually in the U.S. -- enough to supply every American man, woman and child with 75 grams of animal protein a day. With the addition of 34 grams of available plant protein, a total of 109 grams of protein is available per capita. The RDA (recommended daily allowance) per adult per day is 56 grams of protein for a mixed diet.

OUT TO PASTURE. If all the U.S. grain now fed to livestock were exported and if cattlemen switched to grass-fed production systems, less beef would be available and animal protein in the average American diet would drop from 75 grams to 29 grams per day. That, plus current levels of plant-protein consumption, would still yield more than the RDA for protein.

From "Livestock Production: Energy Inputs and the Environment"
By David Pimentel

source: Cornell University Science News

Climate chief Lord Stern: give up meat to save the planet

People will need to turn vegetarian if the world is to conquer climate change, according to a leading authority on global warming.

In an interview with The Times, Lord Stern of Brentford said: “Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world’s resources. A vegetarian diet is better.”

Direct emissions of methane from cows and pigs is a significant source of greenhouse gases. Methane is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a global warming gas.

Lord Stern, the author of the influential 2006 Stern Review on the cost of tackling global warming, said that a successful deal at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December would lead to soaring costs for meat and other foods that generate large quantities of greenhouse gases.

He predicted that people’s attitudes would evolve until meat eating became unacceptable. “I think it’s important that people think about what they are doing and that includes what they are eating,” he said. “I am 61 now and attitudes towards drinking and driving have changed radically since I was a student. People change their notion of what is responsible. They will increasingly ask about the carbon content of their food.”

Lord Stern, a former chief economist of the World Bank and now I. G. Patel Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics, warned that British taxpayers would need to contribute about £3 billion a year by 2015 to help poor countries to cope with the inevitable impact of climate change.

He also issued a clear message to President Obama that he must attend the meeting in Copenhagen in person in order for an effective deal to be reached. US leadership, he said, was “desperately needed” to secure a deal.

He said that he was deeply concerned that popular opinion had so far failed to grasp the scale of the changes needed to address climate change, or of the importance of the UN meeting in Copenhagen from December 7 to December 18. “I am not sure that people fully understand what we are talking about or the kind of changes that will be necessary,” he added.

Up to 20,000 delegates from 192 countries are due to attend the UN conference in the Danish capital. Its aim is to forge a deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently to prevent an increase in global temperatures of more than 2 degrees centigrade. Any increase above this level is expected to trigger runaway climate change, threatening the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

Lord Stern said that Copenhagen presented a unique opportunity for the world to break free from its catastrophic current trajectory. He said that the world needed to agree to halve global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to 25 gigatonnes a year from the current level of 50 gigatonnes.

UN figures suggest that meat production is responsible for about 18 per cent of global carbon emissions, including the destruction of forest land for cattle ranching and the production of animal feeds such as soy.

Lord Stern, who said that he was not a strict vegetarian himself, was speaking on the eve of an all-parliamentary debate on climate change. His remarks provoked anger from the meat industry.

Jonathan Scurlock, of the National Farmers Union, said: “Going vegetarian is not a worldwide solution. It’s not a view shared by the NFU. Farmers in this country are interested in evidence-based policymaking. We don’t have a methane-free cow or pig available to us.”

On average, a British person eats 50g of protein derived from meat each day — the equivalent of a chicken breast or a lamb chop. This is a relatively low level for a wealthy country but between 25 per cent and 50 per cent higher than the amount recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Su Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Vegetarian Society, welcomed Lord Stern’s remarks. “What we choose to eat is one of the biggest factors in our personal impact on the environment,” she said. “Meat uses up a lot of resources and a vegetarian diet consumes a lot less land and water. One of the best things you can do about climate change is reduce the amount of meat in your diet.”

The UN has warned that meat consumption is on course to double by the middle of the century.

How is Ghee Being Adulterated?

By Maneka Gandhi for The Bihar Times [1] on 18 July 2009

(Bihar, India) Some years ago it was discovered that owners of Vanaspathi oils were putting cow and pig lard into the oil. There was a furor which died down after a few months and no one knows till today what happened to the Jains who owned the enterprise ? but I have little doubt that they got off and a few bureaucrats and policemen are richer.

Ghee (from Sanskrit gh?ta meaning "sprinkled") is clarified butter, sacred to the gods. On June 13, a ghee manufacturing unit was raided by the health officers and police of Agra . Hundreds of tins of ghee were found in the Jharna nullah locality . The so called ghee was being manufactured from animal fat boiled in huge iron pans. "25 big drums, 150 tins and four furnaces, knives and country pistols were recovered from the site" a police official said. "Animal hides of cows, monkeys, donkeys, horses and dogs hanging by the trees and bones littered showed the scale of manufacturing being carried out clandestinely for years."

Now comes the standard Indian part ? "Police said at least 50 people must have been working there in the sheds but none could be caught, probably because the information about the raid was leaked to them."

Agra Municipal corporation?s animal husbandry department Chief B.S. Verma said that residents of the locality had complained for years about the spurious manufacturing unit but the department could not find the unit.

TV channels aired footage filmed at ghee manufacturing plants. The footage confirmed that across India animals were being rendered and their fat added to ghee. The ghee plants had dead animals all around, animal fat boiling in big drums and slabs of fat hanging from the ceilings.

Members of ISKCON collected samples of commercial ghee in Pune and sent them to be tested at the Anatech Laboratory and research centre in Bangalore. The tests based on the Fancier-Transbraned Infrared spectrum Replication showed beyond a doubt that the ghee contained animal fat. This laboratory which has analyzed hundreds of ghees said that of all the brands in India, Amul was the best brand for ghee and butter, with even Nestle adulterated with about 5% vegetable oil fats. They said that most ghee, including Amul, was a mixture of cow and buffalo milk

Unfortunately most labs in India do not have the equipment to test. They can simply say that the ghee is adulterated. Why is ghee being adulterated? Firstly, because there is no milk. India prides itself on being the world?s largest producer of leather so all the cows are being killed off rapidly to service the hundreds of leather units in Chennai, Kanpur and Kolkata ? which kill lakhs of cows and calves. Recent raids have found that only 30% of the "milk" we drink, is milk. The rest is a mixture of soap, urea, earthworm fat, oil and whiteners. So if there is no milk, how does one get the ghee? 450,000 tonnes of ghee are supposedly made every year, 80% of which is eaten and the rest offered to the gods in rituals that include marriage and death. This is an impossible figure ? the actual ghee would be less than a quarter.

The second reason is that milk products like ghee only have a 5% profit margin so the only way to be profitable is to use animal fat.

If you insist on ghee make your own. Boil milk. Keep taking the cream off. When the cream is cold, take a wooden stick and churn it. The water separates and the rest becomes unsalted butter. Melt the butter over low heat gradually in a heavy-bottomed pot. Do not stir. Cook until it is a clear golden liquid. It may bubble and foam may form on top which you?ll need to skim off and discard. Remove from heat while the liquid is a clear gold. Any darker and it?s overcooked. Take a large sieve and line it with 4 sheets of cheesecloth or muslin. Place it over a clean dry pot. While still hot, carefully strain the ghee through the cheesecloth-lined sieve into the pot. Transfer the strained ghee carefully into a clean glass jar and shut tightly. Ghee at room temperature looks semi-solid. Ghee can be stored for extended periods without refrigeration, provided it is kept in an airtight container to prevent oxidation. Always use a clean utensil to scoop out ghee.

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Australia: One Animal Killed Every Hour for Scientific Testing

By Gemma Jones for on 3 Jul 2009

One animal in NSW [New South Wales, Australia] is killed every hour during testing for new medicines and cosmetic products.

The Daily Telegraph has revealed 8813 animals - including birds, guinea pigs and endangered marsupials - were killed during 12 months of trials.

Another 16,000 were kept conscious and subjected to a "a moderate or large degree of pain/distress that is not effectively alleviated".

The details are contained in the State Government's latest Animal Research Review Panel report, with critics claiming the findings prove federal and state measures to replace animals in research were failing.

Despite a three-year campaign pushing for animal testing alternatives, deaths during tests of how lethal drugs are were up by 1087 between 2006 and 2007.

The dead animals included eight of 14 native stripe faced dunnart - classified as vulnerable by the NSW Department of Environment - which were bombarded with pesticides to see how it would affect their immune function.

A justification provided for the immunity test said there was a "lack of toxicity data for endemic Australian species".

Thousands of mice died during mandated tests on vaccines for pets while 40 were killed with lethal doses of streptococcus pyogenes in a bid to develop a vaccine for humans.

University of Wollongong researcher Dr Denise Russell said the tests were cruel and had continued even when alternatives were available and in spite of government appeals.

"What hasn't been addressed is replacing animals with alternatives like computer simulation and the use of tissue samples which don't require that we take the animal and house them in a prison and just kill them in cruel ways," Dr Russell said yesterday.

NSW review panel chair Professor Margaret Rose said that the 16,000 animals being subjected to category 7 testing, the most painful test while the animal remains awake, was cause for concern.

Among the thousands of animals were 14 horses, almost 3000 fish which had their water poisoned for environmental testing, almost 1000 chickens, 379 sheep and 59 cows.

Professor Rose said laws in place forced many government laboratories, pharmaceutical companies and other private firms to kill animals during required tests.

"It is important actually that the community is concerned about the number of animals (being used in testing)," Professor Rose said.

"If that (pain) is not being relieved, that is something we need to try to hone in on and try to see how it can be reduced."

She said work was under way to prevent animals used to test how lethal drugs are being allowed to suffer before their deaths.

Scientists were trying to work out an "endpoint" where they could prove their experiment but euthanase the animal before their suffering was severe.

Professor Rose said the streptococcus experiment was one example of testing that was of great benefit to humans because the bacteria had caused infections in hospital patients.

Animal rights groups were outraged so many animals had died during testing. "It is terrible ... I certainly think the community needs to know more about what the experiments are for," Animals Australia executive director Glenys Oogjes said.

Vegetarians Avoid More Cancers

UK, July 1, 2009: Vegetarians are generally less likely than meat eaters to develop cancer, but this does not apply to all forms of the disease, according to a major study published in the British Journal of Cancer. Vegetarians developed notably fewer cancers of the blood, bladder and stomach cancer.

The study followed 61,566 British men and women, categorizing them as meat-eaters, those who ate fish but not meat, and those who ate neither meat nor fish. Vegetarians were approximately half as likely as meat-eaters to develop cancers of the lymph or the blood, about 1/3 as likely to develop stomach cancers, and 75% less likely to develop multiple myeloma, a relatively rare cancer of the bone marrow. Vegetarians also got notably fewer cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and cancers of the stomach or bladder. Fish eaters fell somewhere between those two groups. But cancer of the bowel, one of the commonest forms, did not show this reduction for vegetarians.

Professor Tim Key, the lead author, said it was impossible to draw strong conclusions from this one single study. Researchers stress that more studies are needed and that people should continue to eat a healthy, balanced diet high in fibre, fruit and vegetables and low in saturated fat, salt and red and processed meat.

hindiuism today

Belgian City plans "veggie" days

BBC News, Ghent
 by Chris Manson

A poster advertising "Veggie Day" shows a sailor rowing an aubergine

The Belgian city of Ghent is about to become the first in the world to go vegetarian at least once a week.

Starting this week there will be a regular weekly meatless day, in which civil servants and elected councillors will opt for vegetarian meals.

Ghent means to recognise the impact of livestock on the environment.

The UN says livestock is responsible for nearly one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, hence Ghent's declaration of a weekly "veggie day".

Public officials and politicians will be the first to give up meat for a day.

Schoolchildren will follow suit with their own veggiedag in September.

It is hoped the move will cut Ghent's environmental footprint and help tackle obesity.

Around 90,000 so-called "veggie street maps" are now being printed to help people find the city's vegetarian eateries.

Warning: Beef and Pork in UK Chicken Products

Source: Hindu Council UK
LONDON, UK, June 8, 2009: Hindus in Britain who eat chicken may have also, quite unknowingly, been eating beef and pork for at least the last two years. Tests performed by the Food Standards Authority (FSA) have confirmed that food manufacturers in three EU states have been using bulking agents made from pork and beef to inflate chicken breasts for sale to the UK market.

Hindus are forbidden by their religion to eat beef, and the Hindu Council UK (HCUK) has reacted to the news with shock and disgust. Anil Bhanot, General Secretary of the HCUK said, “For many Hindus, to eat beef is as bad as cannibalism. All branches of Hinduism revere cows because they give milk to humanity, as a mother does to her child. The companies who hoodwinked us by not fully disclosing the nature of the ingredients they have used to plump up chickens artificially ought to be reprimanded through all legal channels. At least then any Hindu who has unknowingly eaten these chicken products will feel some degree of cleansing.”

The companies managed to get away with their actions because the pork and beef additives had been so highly processed they did not show up in standard tests. It wasn’t until the FSA developed new, highly sophisticated tests that the swindle came to light. The FSA has now advised Hindus to avoid chicken products labelled as containing “hydrolised (chicken) proteins,” and to ask in restaurants whether chicken products contain hydrolyzed animal proteins.

hinduism today

Red Meat, Ever More an Enemy to Good Health

NEW YORK, USA, April 28, 2009: A new ten-year study of over 500,000 Americans–men and women aged 50 to 71–has provided the best evidence yet that eating large amounts of red meat damages our health and shortens our lives. The results of the study, which was directed by Rashmi Sinha, a nutritional epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute, were published in the March 23 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine.

Other things being equal, participants who consumed the most red and processed meat were likely to die sooner than those who consumed much smaller amounts of these foods. Even after carefully controlling for the wide variety of additional unhealthful habits common among heavy meat-eaters, the increase in mortality risk associated with higher levels of meat consumption ranged from about 20 percent to nearly 40 percent. Particularly impressive were the differing rates of our two leading killers, heart disease and cancer. The results of this study mirror those of several other recent studies that have linked a high-meat diet to life-threatening health problems.

Meat consumption also causes great damage to our planet, increasing environmental pollution, global warming and the depletion of potable water. According to Dr. Popkin, livestock production in the United States “accounts for 55 percent of the erosion process, 37 percent of pesticides applied, 50 percent of antibiotics consumed, and a third of total discharge of nitrogen and phosphorus to surface water.”

More detailed information is available at “Source”

hinduism today

Paying a Price for Loving Red Meat

By Jane E. Brody for The New York Times on 27 Apr 2009

There was a time when red meat was a luxury for ordinary Americans, or was at least something special: cooking a roast for Sunday dinner, ordering a steak at a restaurant. Not anymore. Meat consumption has more than doubled in the United States in the last 50 years.

Now a new study of more than 500,000 Americans has provided the best evidence yet that our affinity for red meat has exacted a hefty price on our health and limited our longevity.

The study found that, other things being equal, the men and women who consumed the most red and processed meat were likely to die sooner, especially from one of our two leading killers, heart disease and cancer, than people who consumed much smaller amounts of these foods.

Results of the decade-long study were published in the March 23 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine. The study, directed by Rashmi Sinha, a nutritional epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute, involved 322,263 men and 223,390 women ages 50 to 71 who participated in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study. Each participant completed detailed questionnaires about diet and other habits and characteristics, including smoking, exercise, alcohol consumption, education, use of supplements, weight and family history of cancer.

Determining Risk

During the decade, 47,976 men and 23,276 women died, and the researchers kept track of the timing and reasons for each death. Red meat consumption ranged from a low of less than an ounce a day, on average, to a high of four ounces a day, and processed meat consumption ranged from at most once a week to an average of one and a half ounces a day.

The increase in mortality risk tied to the higher levels of meat consumption was described as “modest,” ranging from about 20 percent to nearly 40 percent. But the number of excess deaths that could be attributed to high meat consumption is quite large given the size of the American population.

Extrapolated to all Americans in the age group studied, the new findings suggest that over the course of a decade, the deaths of one million men and perhaps half a million women could be prevented just by eating less red and processed meats, according to estimates prepared by Dr. Barry Popkin, who wrote an editorial accompanying the report.

To prevent premature deaths related to red and processed meats, Dr. Popkin suggested in an interview that people should eat a hamburger only once or twice a week instead of every day, a small steak once a week instead of every other day, and a hot dog every month and a half instead of once a week.

In place of red meat, nonvegetarians might consider poultry and fish. In the study, the largest consumers of “white” meat from poultry and fish had a slight survival advantage. Likewise, those who ate the most fruits and vegetables also tended to live longer.

Anyone who worries about global well-being has yet another reason to consume less red meat. Dr. Popkin, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina, said that a reduced dependence on livestock for food could help to save the planet from the ravaging effects of environmental pollution, global warming and the depletion of potable water.

“In the United States,” Dr. Popkin wrote, “livestock production accounts for 55 percent of the erosion process, 37 percent of pesticides applied, 50 percent of antibiotics consumed, and a third of total discharge of nitrogen and phosphorus to surface water.”

Finding a Culprit

A question that arises from observational studies like this one is whether meat is in fact a hazard or whether other factors associated with meat-eating are the real culprits in raising death rates. The subjects in the study who ate the most red meat had other less-than-healthful habits. They were more likely to smoke, weigh more for their height, and consume more calories and more total fat and saturated fat. They also ate less fruits, vegetables and fiber; took fewer vitamin supplements; and were less physically active.

But in analyzing mortality data in relation to meat consumption, the cancer institute researchers carefully controlled for all these and many other factors that could influence death rates. The study data have not yet been analyzed to determine what, if any, life-saving benefits might come from eating more protein from vegetable sources like beans or a completely vegetarian diet.

The results mirror those of several other studies in recent years that have linked a high-meat diet to life-threatening health problems. The earliest studies highlighted the connection between the saturated fats in red meats to higher blood levels of artery-damaging cholesterol and subsequent heart disease, which prompted many people to eat leaner meats and more skinless poultry and fish. Along with other dietary changes, like consuming less dairy fat, this resulted in a nationwide drop in average serum cholesterol levels and contributed to a reduction in coronary death rates.

Elevated blood pressure, another coronary risk factor, has also been shown to be associated with eating more red and processed meat, Dr. Sinha and colleagues reported.

Poultry and fish contain less saturated fat than red meat, and fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that have been linked in several large studies to heart benefits. For example, men who consume two servings of fatty fish a week were found to have a 50 percent lower risk of cardiac deaths, and in the Nurses’ Health Study of 84,688 women, those who ate fish and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids at least once a week cut their coronary risk by more than 20 percent.

Ties to Cancer

Choosing protein from sources other than meat has also been linked to lower rates of cancer. When meat is cooked, especially grilled or broiled at high temperatures, carcinogens can form on the surface of the meat. And processed meats like sausages, salami and bologna usually contain nitrosamines, although there are products now available that are free of these carcinogens.

Data from one million participants in the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition trial found that those who ate the least fish had a 40 percent greater risk of developing colon cancer than those who ate more than 1.75 ounces of fish a day. Likewise, while a diet high in red meat was linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer in the large Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial, among the 35,534 men in the study, those who consumed at least three servings of fish a week had half the risk of advanced prostate cancer compared with men who rarely ate fish.

Another study, which randomly assigned more than 19,500 women to a low-fat diet, found after eight years a 40 percent reduced risk of ovarian cancer among them, when compared with 29,000 women who ate their regular diets.

People of Faith Make Dietary Choices Part of Their Spirituality

By Galen Holley for Daily Journal (Mississippi, USA) on Sat, 2009-01-17

A variety of religions hold that our food choices impact our spiritual well-being. Some base their dietary prescriptions on sacred texts. Others pay special attention to social concerns like world hunger. All encourage followers to honor food and to consume it with reverence and moderation.

Denise Backstrom, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Tupelo, also a chef and practitioner of Yoga, said mindful eating can be understood in a number of ways.

“Taken one way, it means being aware of how one’s food choices, such as to eat fast food or food from local, organic gardens, impact others,” said Backstrom. “In another way, it means slowing down and concentrating on food, including its texture and flavor, and being grateful for the experience.”

The Old Testament, specifically the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, contains numerous dietary laws, most of them dealing with clean and unclean animals and how food is to be prepared. In the Jewish faith, these laws are known collectively as “kosher.”

According to Marc Perler, a lay leader at Temple B’Nai Israel in Tupelo, “kosher” means ritually pure and prescribes things like avoiding pork, shellfish, or any meat with blood in it. Kosher laws also dictate that animals should be slaughtered in a humane manner.

“The laws represent the discipline Jews believe God wishes people to exercise when it comes to eating,” said Perler.

Today Orthodox Jews follow kosher law strictly and Reformed communities like Temple B’Nai do so to the extent that it’s reasonable and possible. Perler added that kosher laws have influenced the dietary practices of a number of other faiths, particularly those of some Christian denominations.

Seventh-day Adventists also look to the Old Testament for instruction about eating. Adventists are predominantly vegetarians. Adventists believe that before the flood destroyed the earth, as recounted in Gen. 6, “Man only ate herbs, grains, fruits, and other plants,” said Ray Elsberry, minister at Tupelo First Seventh-day Adventist Church. Adventists try to follow this diet today.

After the flood, Elsberry said, “God gave permission to eat certain animals.” Like Jews, Adventists consider pigs unclean. They also avoid caffeine and alcohol.

Following these rules has been hard for Elsberry. Before converting 35 years ago, he said his two of his favorite foods were pork chops and catfish. Now, he can’t have either because, as he said, “Catfish is a scavenger and doesn’t have scales as the Leviticus 11 instructs.”

In addition to other dietary guidelines, Muslims also avoid pork, a rule set forth in their holy book, The Koran. According to Damilola Sadiq Owodunni, a Muslim student at the University of Mississippi, those guidelines are also taken from the exemplary life of the prophet Muhammed, and include abstaining from alcohol or any animal that has been slaughtered under conditions of extreme duress.

Owodunni said Muslims prefer to eat meat slaughtered under their religion’s guidelines, called “Zabihah,” but, like Reformed Jews, they make exceptions when circumstances make it a hardship to follow the practice strictly.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints take their dietary cues from the Word of Wisdom, a text they believe was revealed to Joseph Smith in the 19th Century. Nels Thorderson, bishop of the Tupelo Ward of the LDS Church, said God promised “health, protection, knowledge, and wisdom,” to those who followed this revelation.

The Word of Wisdom instructs LDS to eat grains, fruits, and herbs in season. It also advises eating meat in moderation and strongly advises against the use of alcohol, tobacco, or any kind of intoxicant.

Social consequences

Perler stressed that kosher laws are not arbitrary. They’re a set of guidelines for the relationship Jews are to have with food and, by extension, to all of God’s creation. “They have the effect of making us mindful of the sources from which food comes, as well as the repercussions that follow from our eating,” said Perler.

That mindfulness in eating is perhaps more important today than ever as people of faith become increasingly aware of the impact their food choices have on the world.

The Rev. Tim Murphy, pastor of St. Christopher Catholic Church in Pontotoc, converted to vegetarianism after years of being a “voracious meat-eater.” His choice has raised his awareness of world hunger.

“I read it takes 20 pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat,” said Murphy. “That really got my attention.”

One consequence of increases in meat consumption worldwide is that the cost of rice on the international market has seen unprecedented highs in recent months. The World Bank recently announced that 33 countries are now confronting food crises, due largely to the scarcity of clean water and the high price of grain.

“Without being smug about it, I think that denying ourselves helps us better understand where people throughout the world are really suffering,” said Murphy.

Owodunni said Muslims fast frequently, particularly during the holy days of Ramadan, and that’s partly to remind them of the importance of charitable giving and that the hungry and poor should always be cared for.

Jennifer Falkey, another member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, became a vegetarian partly because of what she’s learned about cattle farming in places like South America.

“Slashing rain forests, removing native vegetation and replacing it with concentrated feed lots, places where animals can’t graze and live in a natural environment, practices like this have really influenced my choice not to eat meat,” said Falkey.

Mieko Kikuchi, a Japanese liaison with Renasant Bank, practices a mixture of Shinto and Buddhism. She said although these religions don’t follow dietary restrictions, Shinto places great importance on humans coexisting harmoniously with nature.

Therefore, said Kikuchi, the concepts of avoiding waste and eating from sustainable sources are important to the religion’s followers.

“We honor the natural world, which sustains us, and have great respect for animals, plants, and the environment as a whole,” said Kikuchi.

Personal, spiritual benefits

Mindful eating also has positive consequences on a personal level.

As of 2006 an estimated 800 million people worldwide were hungry, but they were outnumbered by the one billion who were overweight. The United States, in particular, has seen unprecedented increases in recent years in obesity.

Elsberry of the Adventists is well aware of these trends and said his denomination’s diet serves both a spiritual and salutary function.

“Eating healthy just makes sense in this day and age,” said Elsberry. He eats locally grown, organic produce whenever possible, and said many Adventists cultivate their own gardens and preserve vegetables.

Falkey of the Unitarians said her two-person household always eats from a seasonable table. “Right now we’re eating greens, collards, spinach, squash, turnip greens, and sweet potatoes from Vardaman,” she said. “I feel great about where my money is going because I’m patronizing local farmers.” She’s looking forward to the spring for blueberries, asparagus, and a summertime favorite, watermelon.

Backstrom of the Unitarians said mindful eating is a great weight-loss tool.

“When you eat slowly, and savor, you eat less. You don’t feel that rush to gorge yourself,” she said.

Perler of the Jewish temple said it’s surprising how healthy a kosher diet is. “When one concentrates on food preparation it promotes moderation and gratitude,” he said.

As a physician, Thorderson said the benefits of following the Word of Wisdom are indisputable.

“When we eat healthy we feel better about ourselves. We don’t have to worry about our bodies and we can let the spiritual inside take over. We can let the spirit, rather than our appetites, guide us,” he said.

Backstrom, who prepares meals for patrons in their homes, said mindful eating doesn’t have to be an elaborate, involved process. She said the family supper ­ “although it’s disappearing from society” ­ is the perfect place to slow down, chew slowly, and become aware of the food’s goodness and the circumstances that produced it.

“Eating this way you become aware of the interconnectedness of everything,” said Backstrom. “The pleasures of good, healthy food, the pleasure of self-awareness, the pleasure of family.”

Large Study Shows Vegetarians 'Get Fewer Cancers'

By Rob Stein for The Washington Post on Tue, 2009-03-24

The new study is the first large examination of the relationship between eating meat and overall risk of death, and is by far the most detailed.

Eating red meat increases the chances of dying prematurely, according to the first large study to examine whether regularly eating beef or pork increases mortality.

The study of more than 500,000 middle-aged and elderly Americans found that those who consumed about four ounces of red meat a day (the equivalent of about a small hamburger) were more than 30 percent more likely to die during the 10 years they were followed, mostly from heart disease and cancer. Sausage, cold cuts and other processed meats also increased the risk.

Previous research had found a link between red meat and an increased risk of heart disease and cancer, particularly colorectal cancer, but the new study is the first large examination of the relationship between eating meat and overall risk of death, and is by far the most detailed.

"The bottom line is we found an association between red meat and processed meat and an increased risk of mortality," said Rashmi Sinha of the National Cancer Institute, who led the study published yesterday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

In contrast, routine consumption of fish, chicken, turkey and other poultry decreased the risk of death by a small amount.

"The uniqueness of this study is its size and length of follow-up," said Barry M. Popkin, a professor of global nutrition at the University of North Carolina, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study. "This is a slam-dunk to say that, 'Yes, indeed, if people want to be healthy and live longer, consume less red and processed meat.' "

There are many explanations for how red meat might be unhealthy: Cooking red meat generates cancer-causing compounds; red meat is also high in saturated fat, which has been associated with breast and colorectal cancer; and meat is high in iron, also believed to promote cancer. People who eat red meat are more likely to have high blood pressure and cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart disease. Processed meats contain substances known as nitrosamines, which have been linked to cancer.

Although pork is often promoted as "white meat," it is believed to increase the risk of cancer because of its iron content, Sinha said.

Regardless of the mechanism, the research provides new evidence that people should follow long-standing recommendations to minimize consumption of red meat, several experts said.

"The take-home message is pretty clear," said Walter Willett, a nutrition expert at the Harvard School of Public Health. "It would be better to shift from red meat to white meat such as chicken and fish, which if anything is associated with lower mortality."

The American Meat Institute, a trade group, dismissed the findings, however, saying they were based on unreliable self-reporting by the study participants.

"Meat products are part of a healthy, balanced diet, and studies show they actually provide a sense of satisfaction and fullness that can help with weight control. Proper body weight contributes to good health overall," James H. Hodges, the group's executive vice president, said in a written statement.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from 545,653 predominantly white volunteers, ages 50 to 71, participating in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study. In 1995, the subjects filled out detailed questionnaires about their diets, including meat consumption. Over the next 10 years, 47,976 men and 23,276 women died.

After accounting for other variables that might confound the findings, such as smoking and physical activity, the researchers found that those who ate the most red meat -- about a quarter-pound a day -- were more likely to die of any reason, and from heart disease and cancer in particular, than those who ate the least -- the equivalent of a couple of slices of ham a day.

Among women, those who ate the most red meat were 36 percent more likely to die for any reason, 20 percent more likely to die of cancer and 50 percent more likely to die of heart disease. Men who ate the most meat were 31 percent more likely to die for any reason, 22 percent more likely to die of cancer and 27 percent more likely to die of heart disease.

In contrast, those who consumed the most white meat were about 8 percent less likely to die during the study period than those who ate the least, the researchers found. Poultry contains more unsaturated fat, which improves cholesterol levels, and fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are believed to help reduce the risk of heart disease.

The risk also rose among those who consumed the most processed meat, which included any kind of sausage, cold cuts or hot dogs. Women who consumed the most processed meat (about an ounce a day) were about 25 percent more likely to die overall, about 11 percent more likely to die of cancer and about 38 percent more likely to die from heart disease, compared to those who ate the least. The men who ate the most processed meat were 16 percent more likely to die for any reason, about 12 percent more likely to die of cancer and about 9 percent more likely to die of heart disease.

In addition to the health benefits, a major reduction in the eating of red meat would probably have a host of other benefits to society, Popkin said: reducing water shortages and pollution, cutting energy consumption, and tamping down greenhouse gas emissions -- all of which are associated with large-scale livestock production.

"There's a big interplay between the global increase in animal food intake and the effects on climate change," he said. "If we cut by a few ounces a day our red-meat intake, we would have big impact on emissions and environmental degradation."

Impact of Beef Production on Water Resources

USA, March 22, 2009: Potable water is destined to be a commodity in increasingly short supply. The image at the “Source” link (which HPI suggests as very enlightening on the subject) provides a compelling pictorial statement of various water-use choices, especially the tremendous drain on our resources represented by beef production.

Producing a single pound of beef requires 1,500 gallons of water. It takes 634 gallons of water to produce a hamburger, but only 6% of that (38 gallons) to produce a baked potato and a salad containing 1/2 lb. lettuce, 1/2 lb. tomato and 1/4 lb. carrots.

Breakfasting on a bowl of cereal with milk, an orange and a cup of tea (instead of two eggs, an apple and a cup of coffee) saves 83 gallons per person per day.

A 16-oz bottle of soda takes 33 gallons of water to produce–264 times as much as a 16-oz glass of water! At 8 cups per day, drinking water instead of those other beverages will save a minimum of 78 gallons of potable water per day. In contrast, converting one’s household to “Energy Star” appliances and low-flow toilets, faucets and shower heads can save perhaps 60 gallons per person per day.

And using nuclear energy to power a household requires 255 gallons per day; solar energy requires less than 1/10 that amount.

hinduism today

In Nordic Countries, Vegetarians and Vegans Are On the Rise

HELSINKI, FINLAND, March 6, 2009: Senni Kela, spokesperson for the Finnish Vegan Society , says several studies indicate that the number vegetarians in Finland is somewhere between 3 and 5 percent of the population. “I believe that the number is constantly growing, especially now when people are realizing that their meat- and dairy-heavy diets contribute to climate change.”

This figure would put Finland somewhere in the middle of the global vegetarian league tables. A 2008 study indicated that 3.2 per cent of Americans are vegetarian, and a 2006 report indicated that 6 per cent of Britons are the same. India, of course, has more vegetarians and vegans than the rest of the world combined: 40 per cent of the population, or more than 400 million people, don’t eat meat. Hinduism emphasizes vegetarianism and Jainism demands it.

In Finland, other reasons predominate: “The main reasons are ethical, ecological or health-related,” explained Kela. “We do not want to support the unnecessary exploitation and killing of animals.” She indicated that switching to a meat-free diet could save many lives per year. “Plus, the food is delicious.”

hinduism today 

'Cows with names produce more milk'

London (PTI): Bizarre it may seem, but a new study has suggested that cows with names can produce more milk than those who are not named.

Researchers at Newcastle University have carried out the study and found that naming cows as well as treating them as individuals can help in increasing their milk production, the Anthrozoos journal reported.

Lead researcher Dr. Catherine Douglas said: "Placing more importance on knowing the individual animals and calling them by name can significantly increase milk production. Just as people respond better to the personal touch, cows also feel happier and more relaxed if given one-to-one attention.

"Many farmers dote on their cows and have long thought that such interaction helps, but it has never really been tested. The statistics were significantly different for those cows with name, there's nothing else, which could explain it."

In their study involving 516 dairy farmers in Britain, the researchers looked at interaction between people and cows, and found that those animals with names had an average higher milk yield of 258 litres, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The study also found milk yield to be lower on farms where cattle were herded as a group. Nearly two thirds -- 60 per cent -- of UK farmers said they "knew all the cows in the herd" and 48 per cent agreed that positive human contact was more likely to produce cows with a good milking temperament.

Almost 10 per cent said that a fear of humans resulted in a poor milking temperament, the study revealed. Dr Douglas said: "Our data suggests that on the whole United Kingdom dairy farmers regard their cows as intelligent beings capable of experiencing a range of emotions. May be people can be less self-conscious and not worry about chatting to their cows."

Scientific American Publishes “How Meat Contributes to Global Warming”

USA, January 21, 2009: [HPI note: Most publications covering global warming avoid any articles about the irrefutable link between meat consumption and CO2 emissions. It is significant that Scientific American, a respected magazine, finally ran an article about it.]

Producing beef for the table releases prodigious amounts of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. Pound for pound, the greenhouse gases from beef production contribute more than 13 times as much to global warming as do those emitted from producing chicken. For potatoes, the multiplier is 57. Beef consumption is rising rapidly, both as population increases and as people eat more meat. Producing the annual beef diet of the average American emits as much greenhouse gas as a car driven more than 1,800 miles.

According to a 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), our diets–specifically, the meat in them–put more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than either transportation or industry.

The FAO report found that current production levels of meat contribute between 14 and 22 percent of the world’s annual “CO2-equivalent” greenhouse gas production–with beef the worst culprit by far. Producing one pound of feedlot beef generates the equivalent of 14.8 pounds of CO2–vs. 3.8 pounds for pork and 1.1 pound for chicken. And the FAO data imply that the world average emissions from producing a pound of beef are several times those of feedlot-produced beef.

The lesson is clear: we ought to give careful thought to diet and its consequences for the planet if we are serious about limiting the emissions of greenhouse gases. (Click on the link above to read more of this informative article.)

hinduism today

What Do You Cook When Your Teenager Turns Vegetarian?

By Paula Goodyer for The Age (Australia) on Wed, 2009-01-21

No one knows how many Australian teenagers turn to their parents one day and announce that- like Lisa from The Simpsons they're now vegetarian. But the guess is that it's no rare event - especially among girls. But in the US they've crunched some numbers and, based on interviews with 9000 parents, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that around one in 200 American teenagers has taken a pledge to veg. Anecdotally, teenage vegetarianism seems to be an increasing trend, often driven by animal welfare concerns and often sparked by animal slaughter videos on YouTube, The Washington Post reported last week, though researchers say there's not enough evidence to back this up.

In terms of hard figures, there's less to go on in Australia -although a 1998 South Australian study suggested that around eight to 10 per cent of 16 to 18 year-olds avoided red meat and poultry. But most dietitians will tell you it's not uncommon - one of them is Accredited Practising Dietitian Tara Diversi who says there are some questions parents should ask their teenager before they simply remove the meat from the plate.

"One of the most important things is to understand why a teenager wants to eat a vegetarian diet - because often it can mask an eating disorder. You need to ask them why they don't want to eat meat," she says."If their reason is that red meat is 'fattening', it's worth pointing out that a healthy diet, including weight loss diets, is a balance of a variety of foods and no one food can make you fat," she says. But if they still insist on avoiding meat, it's important to help them fill the nutritional gap with other sources of protein, iron and zinc such as nuts and legumes, she adds. "But if they say they're also avoiding carbohydrates, sweets and takeaway food - and they're starting to lose weight - that's when the red flag should go up because it may mean they're developing an eating disorder," Diversi points out.

While it's true that vegetarians have a lower incidence of heart disease and bowel cancer, a vegetarian diet isn't a healthy diet if it doesn't contain the right nutrients, she says - and this is especially important for teenagers whose bodies are still developing and have a high demand for nutrients.

"Vegetarians who depend on eating a lot of cheese for protein, for instance, will miss out on iron and zinc. Some people think they can get enough protein from protein powder - but it's based on whey (a dairy product) so that doesn't provide iron and zinc either. It's very important for parents to get themselves - and their teenager - educated about eating a healthy vegetarian diet," says Diversi, especially if their teenager wants to follow a vegan diet.

"A teenager might seem to be quite healthy just eating the normal family meals, but without the meat, but the deficiencies in their diet can take time to show up - a teenager who's been existing on pasta and cheese since year 9, for instance, might start complaining that she can't concentrate in year 11."

Diversi's advice is for the family to consult an Accredited Practising Dietitian or invest in a good vegetarian cook book that also explains how to get the right nutrients. She recommends The Essential Vegetarian CookBook edited by Rachel Carter (Whitecap Books).

"In some cases teenagers can see that their family's diet isn't healthy so they decide to eat a vegetarian diet because they think it's the best way to eat healthily," she points out. "But they don't realise that it doesn't have to be all or nothing - you can have a healthy diet that includes meat."

The decision to avoid meat doesn't always last but while it does, different parents take different tacks - one parent I know simply took the view that kids should eat what was put in front of them and offered no vegetarian options.

Others are prepared to support their teenager and adapt family meals. This doesn't always have to mean cooking separate meals - with many flexible dishes like curries and pasta sauces, it's possible to produce two versions of the same dish by sauteeing onions and other vegetables all in the same saucepan, then dividing the mix into two separate saucepans, adding meat to one and legumes, nuts or tofu to the other. And it goes without saying that involving teenagers in the choosing and making of healthy vegetarian food is essential.

Food for Life Vrindavan Wins 2008 Asian Charity Award

By Deena Dasa on 24 Jan 2009

Despite tight economic times, guests and dignitaries at the prestigious 8th Annual Asian Achievers awards reached into their hearts and wallets to pledge help Food for Life Vrindavan (FFLV) build its third school for desperately poor children and their families in Vrindavan, India. Held on December 3 2008 in London, Chief Guest at the ceremony was the Rt Hon Ed Balls MP, Secretary of State for Children, Schools & Families, where FFLV Director Rupa Ragunatha was awarded the coveted 8th Annual Asian Achievers Award in the category of the Charity of the Year.

The Asian Achievers Awards are a unique event in that members of the public nominate candidates and an independent panel of judges select the winner after much deliberation. This year a record number of high calibre candidate nominations were received from across Asia, with FFLV selected as the most outstanding among them.

At the ceremony Rupa Ragunatha presented the work of FFLV to a packed house of members of parliament, business owners, senior professionals and other dignitaries. Famous UK actor Nitin Ganatra (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Bride and Prejudice, EastEnders) and C.B. Patel, editor of the two largest Asian focused newspapers in the UK, spoke to the audience of the dedication of FFLV in serving the poorest of the poor amongst Indian society through building schools, providing medical services, and social and environmental development projects which pull families out of the cycle of poverty and desperation. They appealed to everyone to donate generously towards the construction of a new school, and exceeding everyone's expectations, the business community donated a total of 130,00 pounds to FFLV.

Rupa Raghunath commented, "Before the event, we were apprehensive about how much we could raise in these difficult economic times. The Asian Achiever's Awards exceeded my hopes and expectations." He said, "I will be returning to India with a joyful heart, because now I can answer the six-hundred odd children who tug at my sleeve every day, asking when I will build them a school. Thanks to Gujarat Samachar, CB Patel and London's Asian community, construction of a new school can start in early 2009!"

With the funds from collected from the event, FFLV has recently completed the purchase of 4 acres of land and is set to commence construction of the new school. The school will immediately be filled with the 650 children currently on the admissions waiting list, bringing the total of children now attending FFLV schools in Vrindavan to over 1200.

If you would like to sponsor a child at the new school, please contact Nikunjavasini Devi Dasi, International Sponsorship Coordinator: nik AT

US Count Finds 1 in 200 Kids Are Vegetarian
By Mike Stobbe for ABC News (USA) on Sun, 2009-01-11

Sam Silverman, 16, of Westborough, Mass., works out at the YMCA gym, in Westborough, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009. Silverman, co-captain of his high school football team, and a vegetarian, says he's pleased with his health and has no problems sticking to his diet.

Sam Silverman is co-captain of his high school football team ­ a safety accustomed to bruising collisions. But that's nothing compared with the abuse he gets for being a vegetarian.

"I get a lot of flak for it in the locker room," said the 16-year-old junior at Westborough High School in Massachusetts.

"All the time, my friends try to get me to eat meat and tell me how good it tastes and how much bigger I would be," said Silverman, who is 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds. "But for me, there's no real temptation."

Silverman may feel like a vegetable vendor at a butchers' convention, but about 367,000 other kids are in the same boat, according to a recent study that provides the government's first estimate of how many children avoid meat. That's about 1 in 200.

Other surveys suggest the rate could be four to six times that among older teens who have more control over what they eat than young children do.

Vegetarian diets exclude meat, but the name is sometimes loosely worn. Some self-described vegetarians eat fish or poultry on occasion, while others ­ called vegans ­ cut out animal products of any kind, including eggs and dairy products.

Anecdotally, adolescent vegetarianism seems to be rising, thanks in part to YouTube animal slaughter videos that shock the developing sensibilities of many U.S. children. But there isn't enough long-term data to prove that, according to government researchers.

The new estimate of young vegetarians comes from a recent federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study of alternative medicine based on a survey of thousands of Americans in 2007. Information on children's diet habits was gleaned from about 9,000 parents and other adults speaking on the behalf of those under 18.

"I don't think we've done a good job of counting the number of vegetarian youth, but I think this is reasonable," Amy Lanou, a nutrition scientist at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, said of the government estimate. She works with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a vegan advocacy group.

Vegetarians say it's animal welfare, not health, that most often causes kids to stop eating meat.

"Compassion for animals is the major, major reason," said Richard Schwartz, president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America, an organization with a newsletter mailing list of about 800. "When kids find out the things they are eating are living animals ­ and if they have a pet...."

Case in point is Nicole Nightingale, 14, of Safety Harbor, Fla. In 2007, Nightingale was on the Internet to read about chicken when she came across a video on YouTube that showed the birds being slaughtered. At the end, viewers were invited to go to the Web site ­ People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Nicole told her parents she was going vegan, prompting her mother to send an angry letter to PETA. But the vegan diet is working out, and now her mother is taking steps to become a vegetarian, too, said Nightingale, an eighth-grader.

She believes her experience was typical for a pre-adolescent vegetarian. "A lot more kids are using the Internet. They're curious about stuff and trying to become independent and they're trying to find out who they are," she said.

Vegetarians are most often female, from higher-income families and living on the East or West coasts, according to previous studies. One good place to find teen vegetarians is Agnes Scott College, a mostly white, all-women's private school in suburban Atlanta with about 850 students. Roughly 5 to 10 percent of Agnes Scott students eat vegetarian, said Pete Miller, the college's director of food service.

Frequently, the most popular entree at the college dining hall is a fresh mozzarella sandwich with organic greens. And the comment board (called "the Beef Board," as in "what's your beef?") often contains plaudits for vegetarian dishes or requests for more. "They're very vocal," Miller said of his vegetarian diners.

Eating vegetarian can be very healthy ­ nutritionists often push kids to eat more fruits and vegetables, of course. For growing children, however, it's important to get sufficient amounts of protein, vitamins B12 and D, iron, calcium and other important nutrients that most people get from meat, eggs and dairy.

Also, vegetarian diets are not necessarily slimming. Some vegetarian kids cut out meat but fill up on doughnuts, french fries, soda or potato chips, experts said.

"Vegetarian doesn't mean low-calorie," said Dr. Christopher Bolling, who directs weight management research at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. He said roughly 10 to 15 percent of the overweight kids who come to his medical center's weight loss program have tried a vegetarian diet at some point before starting the program.

Rayna Middlebrooks, 15, last year started a weight-loss program offered by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, a nonprofit hospital organization. She said she's been on a vegetarian diet for four years and now carries about 250 pounds on her 5-foot-3 inch frame.

Her mother confirmed that, and said that although Rayna does a great job of cooking vegetable-rich stir-fried meals for herself, the girl also loves pasta, soda and sweets. "I have to watch her with the candy," said Barbara Middlebrooks, of Decatur.

On the flip side is Silverman, the Boston-area football player. He's pleased with his health and has no problem sticking to his diet. Rather than try to negotiate the school cafeteria line, he brings his lunch to school. It's the same lunch every day ­ rye bread, some chicken-like tofu, cheese, a clementine and an assortment of Nutrigrain, Cliff, granola and Power Bars.

He was raised vegetarian and said it's now so deeply ingrained that the idea of eating meat is nauseating. Recently, he ate something he belatedly realized might contain chicken. "I felt sick the rest of the day, until I threw up," he said.

Things to look out if you are a vegetarian

January 9, 2009

I came across this information from the Vegetarian Society website recently, and I thought it will be best for devotees to be aware of this as well.
Did you know that Gardenia bread produced in Malaysia contains Vitamin D3 and it is obtained from fish oil or the wool of  the sheep called lanolin?
Watch out for the E numbers in the ingredients of some biscuits and ice-creams. Not all are vegetarian. E120 is made from crushed insects.
Most of the pills and some chewy sweets are made of gelatin. Some low-fat yoghurt and jellies contains gelatin as well. Gelatin is obtained from the hooves of the cow!
Chewing gum often contains glycerin, a product that is obtained from animal fat. Wrigleys use vegetable glycerin. Glycerin is also fround in many toothpastes, body creams as well as soaps. You can find alternatives from ‘Body Shop’ which don’t use products from animals.
Whey and whey powder are usually by-products of the cheese making process which mainly uses animal rennet. Rennet is an enzim from the calf’s stomach. Whey is used in many biscuits. However, whey that is produced from the cottage cheese (panir) which we make at home is fine.

Albumen Derived from eggs, probably battery.
Alcohol Many alcoholic drinks are fined (ie clarified) using animal ingredients, see beer and wine. Spirits are suitable for vegetarians except for some Russian and Eastern European Vodkas which may have used bone charcoal in their production. Watch out for cochineal in Campari.
Alpaca Animal derived clothing material.
Anchovies Small fish, found on pizzas and in some brands of worcester sauce.
Angora Animal derived clothing material.
Animal Fat Carcass fat not milk fat.
Aspic Savoury jelly derived from meat or fish.
Beer All cask conditioned “real” ales will have been fined with isinglass, and some keg, bottled and canned bitters, milds and stouts also. Lagers are generally chill filtered, but some brands may use isinglass on occasion (see also Beer from the Alcohol Info Sheet).
Biscuits May contain animal fats.
Bone Used in bone china and cutlery handles.
Bread Most large producers use vegetable based emulsifiers (E471, E472 etc), but local bakers may not. Some bakers may grease the tins with animal fat.
Breakfast cereals Often fortified with vitamin D3.
Brushes Animal hair is commonly used for paint and shaving brushes.
Butter Unadulterated butter is suitable for vegetarians.
Capsules Usually made from gelatine, vegetarian alternatives are becoming widely available.
Cashmere Animal derived clothing material.
Catering/Cookery Training may require the handling of meat. See: The Cordon Vert Cookery School
Caviar Fish eggs. The fish must be killed to obtain the eggs.
Cheese May have been produced using animal rennet.
Chewing gum Often contain glycerine. Wrigleys use a vegetable glycerine.
Chips May have been fried in animal fat.
Chitin Produced from crab & shrimp shells.
Chocolate Watch out for whey and emulsifiers.
Cochineal E120, made from crushed insects.
Crisps Often use whey as a flavour carrier, ready salted are nearly always vegetarian, however, meat-flavoured crisps rarely contain real meat..
Down Usually from slaughtered ducks or geese, though some live plucking does occur, used in bedding.
E Numbers European food additives numbering system, not all are vegetarian.
Edible Fats Can mean animal fats.
Eggs Some vegetarians may wish to avoid battery eggs and/or barn eggs. The Vegetarian Society does not award its seedling symbol to any products containing eggs other than free range.
Emulsifiers May not be vegetarian.
Fast Food Watch out for Bean/Vegetable burgers being cooked with fish/chicken/meat products.
Fatty Acids May be of animal or vegetable origin.
Felt Made from wool or fur.
Gelatin/Gelatine A gelling agent derived from animal ligaments, skins, tendons, bones etc.
Glycerine/Glycerol May be produced from animal fats, synthesised from propylene or from fermentation of sugars.
Gravy Vegetarian gravy mixes are available. Be careful in restaurants.
Honey Avoided by vegans.
Ice Cream Look out for non dairy fats, E numbers, eggs.
Isinglass A fining agent derived from the swim bladders of certain tropical fish, especially the Chinese sturgeon. See Alcohol.
Jelly Usually contains gelatine though Alternatives are available.
Lactose Produced from milk, sometimes as a by product of the cheese making process.
Lanolin Produced from sheep’s wool. Used to make vitamin D3.
Leather Around 10% of the value of an animal at slaughter is in its skin.
Lecithin Nearly always produced from soya beans, though can be produced from eggs.
Margarines May contain animal fats, fish oils, vitamin D3, E numbers, whey, gelatine.
Mohair Animal derived clothing material.
Pasta May contain egg.
Pastry May contain animal fat.
Pepsin Enzyme from a pig’s stomach, used like rennet.
Pet Foods Dogs are omnivorous and can be fed on an exclusively vegetarian diet. Canned and dried dog foods are available.
Photography All Photographic film uses gelatine and some high quality photo papers.
Postage Stamps In the UK, the backing glue is free from animal products.
Rennet An enzyme taken from the stomach of a newly killed calf used in the cheese making process. Vegetarian cheese is produced using microbial or fungal enzymes.
Restaurants Watch out for non-vegetarian cheese, battery eggs, stock. See the Classified Advertising Directory and the Food & Drink Guild for local restaurants.
Roe Fish eggs, see caviar.
Shellac An insect secretion. To be treated in a similar way to Honey.
Shoes Quality synthetic shoes are becoming more widely available.
Silk Harvesting silk used in clothing invariably causes the death of the silk worm.
Soap Many soaps are not vegetarian since they use animal fats and/or glycerine. Vegetable oil based soaps are quite widely available.
Soft Drinks Some canned Orange drinks use gelatine as a carrier for added Beta Caratine. (This would not appear on the ingredients panel).
Soup Watch out for the stock.
Spirits (alcoholic that is!) possible problems with fining and filtering.
Stearic Acid May be vegetarian or not.
Stock May contain animal fat.
Suet Usually made from animal fat, vegetable versions are available.
Sweets Look out for gelatine in boiled sweets and mints, and cochineal in boiled sweets and Smarties. (some vegetarian sweets are listed by chocolate manufacturers.)
Toothpaste Many brands contain glycerine.
Vegan The Vegan Society produces The Animal Free Shopper which lists branded products suitable for vegans.
Vitamins Vitamin D2 is produced by sunlight acting on bacteria, however D3 is derived from lanolin from sheeps’ wool therefore only D3 which is guaranteed sourced from wool sheared from live sheep is considered acceptable.
Seedling Symbol You can be sure that any products carrying the Vegetarian Society’s V symbol have been thoroughly checked to ensure they are suitable for vegetarians.
Whey Whey and whey powder are usually by-products of the cheese making process which mainly uses animal rennet.
Wine May sometimes have been fined using isinglass, dried blood, egg albumen, gelatine, chitin. Vegetarian alternatives include bentonite, kieselguhr, kaolin and silica gel. Non vintage port is fined with gelatine. (see also Alcohol)
Wool may not be so sheep friendly.
Worcester Sauce Most brands contain anchovies though vegetarian versions are commonly used in ready meals.
Yoghurts Some low fat yoghurts contain gelatine.

Hindu Saint Seeks Ban on Cow Slaughter

NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 7, 2009: Hindu organizations will soon launch a unique rath yatra to pressure the Indian government to impose a complete ban on cow slaughter. Announcing this at a press conference here on Tuesday, Jagadguru Swami Raghaveshwar Bharati, the Shankaracharya of Gokarna Pitha, Karnataka, said efforts should be made to declare cow a national animal and protect it. “The Congress-led UPA government at the Centre should move in this direction,” he said.

Giving details about the rath yatra, the Shankaracharya said, “We will soon launch a 108-day yatra to push for this ban. The yatra, which will spread the message “Save the cow, save the village,” will be flagged off at Kurukshetra in Haryana on September 28, Vijaya Dashami. It will culminate at Nagpur, Maharashtra, on Makar Sankranti in 2010 after a 20,000 km journey.”

He continued, “Meetings will be held at 400 places across the country. A signature campaign will also be run. We expect to collect around 500 million signatures and submit the document to president Pratibha Patil.”

The Shankaracharya also asked that Hindu organizations be protected from Christian and Muslim groups, but did not name any specific measures, saying only that “Hindus are in danger.”

hinduism today

The Surprising History and Origin of Corn Flakes(r)
Copyright © 2006-2008, All Rights Reserved
Written by: Aaliyah Ferris

Corn Flakes(r), the quintessential American-born breakfast cereal complemented perfectly with strawberries, banana slices and, of course, milk, has surprising origins. Those tasty flakes of corn you serve for breakfast were actually invented by a group of 19th century Seventh Day Adventists to "aid sexual abstinence".

As part of their strict vegetarian diet, which excluded alcohol, caffeine and tobacco, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, a strict Adventists and superintendent of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, served various meals, dull in taste, believing spicy, hot foods encouraged sexual appetites. Most meals consisted of wholesome wheat, rice, oat and corn dishes, Kellogg believing the greatest of human ills began in the bowels and that a strict vegetarian diet with a plethora of fiber and water worked to cleanse impurities and poisons from the body. He further believed that all sexual acts aside from those used for procreation, including masturbation, were sinful.

Tending to the inmates in his care, Kellogg accidentally overcooked a batch of wheat, making it stale. Nevertheless, the batch nor the money would not to be wasted. Dr. Kellogg and his brother, Will, processed the batch as usual. But the batch formed flakes instead of dough sheets as a result. The tasty cereal was quite the hit in the Sanitarium, propelling the two men into business shortly thereafter. Corn Flakes(r), named Granose at that time, was registered for a patent in April of 1894.

While today, nobody can imagine cereal boxes without the prize or gimmick, Corn Flakes(r) was the pioneer in this type of marketing. The company offered their popular box with a Funny Jungleland Moving Picture Booklet in the early 1900s to boost sales.

The brothers also began expanding into different products and experimenting with various grains and ingredients. But Will's decision to add sugar to the recipe to achieve mass appeal conflicted with his brother and ultimately caused a split. In 1929, the company introduced the next great hit, Rice Krispies, making a "Snap, crackle and pop" sound when combined with milk. Today, Kellogg's is known for everything from Raisin Bran(r) to Eggo(r) Waffles, Fruit Loops(r), Nutri-grain Bars(r), Pop Tarts(r) and Special K(r). The company is still headquartered in its original town of Battle Creek, Michigan, publicly traded (NYSE: K) and responsible for supporting the livelihood of more than 25,600 full-time employees.

Should Vegetarians Pay Less For Insurance Premiums?

VERMONT, UNITED STATES, November 14, 2008: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is calling on Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont to raise health insurance premiums for people who eat meat, and lower the premiums for vegetarians. In a letter sent Monday to Bill Milnes Jr., president of Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Vermont, PETA’s Executive Director Tracy Reiman urged Blue Cross to raise rates on meat eaters because, she claims, heart disease, diabetes and other leading killer diseases have been conclusively linked to the consumption of meat and other animal products. But it doesn’t appear that Blue Cross will be taking PETA’s suggestion any time soon.

“Under Vermont law, we would not be allowed to vary rates based on the dietary and nutritional habits of various members,” said Kevin Goddard, Blue Cross’s vice president of external affairs. He did, however, say that Blue Cross is always looking to have the healthiest members possible, but “we have no information one way or the other if vegetarians are more healthy.”

hinduism today

California Vote on a Change for Animal Rights

CALIFORNIA, USA, October 26, 2008: California’s Proposition 2, which goes before voters November 4, has the potential to eventually improve the lives of farm animals nationwide.

The ballot initiative focuses on what are considered the worst animal-confinement systems in factory farms. It requires that by 2015 farm animals be able to stand up, lie down, turn around and fully extend their limbs. No longer would veal calves and pregnant pigs be kept confined in two-foot-wide crates so that they cant even turn around; no longer would four or more laying hens live their lives in a space about the size of a file drawer.

Peter Singer, a professor of bioethics at Princeton University and a leading figure in the animal rights movement, says this is a historic ballot. If passed, it will affect more animals almost 20 million than any ballot measure has in U.S. history. Because California is the largest agricultural state in the country, and often a trend-setter on social issues, many experts predict that if Proposition 2 becomes law it will create a ripple effect.

Proposition 2 also marks a seminal moment for Wayne Pacelle, the first vegan to become president of the Humane Society of the United States. Since he became the head of the Humane Society four years ago, he has transformed the group from a kindly but timid protector of the nations dogs and cats into a savvy, unapologetically aggressive player. He has made the Humane Society the richest and most powerful animal-welfare group in the country, with its own in-house investigation, litigation and campaign teams.

It was Pacelle and his organization who shuttered the $100 million Westland/Hallmark Meat Company slaughterhouse in Chino, with the help of an undercover investigator wearing a hidden video camera. Over six weeks last year, the investigator filmed workers using chains to drag cows too sick or too injured to stand, using also other cruel practices.

Pacelle has made farm animals a top priority.” Nine billion animals are killed for food every year, and most of them are confined in intensive conditions,” he told his staff in 2004. “It is the greatest abuse of animals that occurs on this planet. Cruelty is cruelty, he says, and its been our assumption that if decent people see images of these farm animals suffering, they will have a similar reaction.”

hinduism today

Increase in Heart attack

This is an interesting article found on the BBC news on the effects of diet on health, especially the western diet and it’s affects on the heart which remains one of the biggest killers here in the UK:

Western diet \"raises heart risk\'

So we can understand that our efforts to bring high quality vegatarian food to the whole world in the shape of Krishna Prasadam has many good effects, so to everyone keep up this valuable work.

One Response to “Increase in Heart attack”
Vasu Murti Says:
October 21st, 2008 at 5:10 pm

The following quotes, facts, figures and statistics are taken from Please Don’t Eat the Animals (2007), by Jennifer Horsman and Jaime Flowers:

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

—Albert Einstein

“Each year, the meat industrial complex abuses and butchers nearly 9 billion cows, pigs, sheep, turkeys, chickens, and other innocent, feeling animals just for the enjoyment of consumers. Each year, nearly 1.5 million of these consumers are crippled and killed prematurely by heart failure, cancer, stroke, and other chronic diseases that have been linked conclusively with the consumption of these animals. Each year, millions of other animals are abused and sacrificed in a vain search for a ‘magic pill’ that would vanquish these largely self-inflicted diseases.”

—Alex Hershaft, PhD, president, Farm Animal Reform Movement

When analyzing 8,300 deaths in the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany among 76,000 men and women in five different, large studies, researchers concluded that vegetarians have a 24 percent reduction in death from heart disease.

Similarly, in the famous Oxford Vegetarian Study, where 6,000 vegetarians were compared with 5,000 meat-eaters over nearly two decades, scientists found that the rate of death from heart disease was 28 percent lower in vegetarians than in meat-eaters.

One study analyzed eighty scientific studies in leading medical journals. The analysis found that vegetarians had lower blood pressure, and were less likely to suffer from stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure.

A large German study of nearly 2,000 vegetarians found that deaths from heart disease were reduced by over one-third, and that heart disease itself was far less than that of the general population.

Another large study examined the coronary artery disease risk of young adults ages 18 to 30 and vegetarians were found to have much higher levels of cardiovascular fitness and a greatly reduced risk of heart disease.

“The process of gradual blocking of the coronary arteries begins not in adulthood but in childhood…and the main cause of this arteriosclerosis is the steadily increasing amount of fat in the American diet, particularly saturated animal fats such as those found in meat, chicken, milk and cheeses. If there was another disease that caused half a million deaths a year, you can be sure that the public would be acutely aware of the danger, and that the cure or prevention would be universally practiced.”

—Dr. Benjamin Spock, author, child expert

“I don’t understand why asking people to eat a well-balanced vegetarian diet is considered drastic, while it is medically conservative to cut people open and put them on powerful cholesterol-lowering drugs for the rest of their lives.”

—Dr. Dean Ornish, author, Reversing Heart Disease

Stroke is the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer. Vegetarians have a 20 to 30 percent reduced risk of having a stroke. Stroke, like heart disease, is associated with diets high in saturated fats, and the vegetarian diet is naturally low in these fats.

The Oxford Vegetarian Study found cancer mortality to be 39 percent lower among vegetarians when compared with meat-eaters. The European Prospective Investigation of Cancer found vegetarians suffer 40 percent fewer cancers than the general population.

Studies have shown that decreasing a woman’s animal fat intake can reduce the chances that she will die from breast cancer. A large-scale, long-term study in the Netherlands found a powerful connection between the amount of animal fat consumed and the rate of prostate cancer. A review of a dozen studies found dietary fat strongly correlated with prostate cancer.

Ovarian, uterine, and endometrial cancers have all been shown to be strongly correlated to the amount of animal fat in one’s diet, and vegetarian women have significantly lower rates of these cancers.

“The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wrs of this century, all the natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined.”

—Dr. Neal Barnard, Executive Director, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

“Vegetarians have the best diet. They have the lowest rate of coronary disease of any group in the country. They have a fraction of our heart attack rate and they have only 40 percent of our cancer rate.”

—William Castelli, MD, Director, Framingham Heart Study

“Human beings are not natural carnivores. When we kill animals to eat them, they end up killing us because their flesh, which contains cholesterol and saturated fat, was never intended for human beings, who are natural herbivores.”

—Dr. William Roberts, editor-in-chief, American Journal of Cardiology

Radicals Push For Vegan World
Posted by Madhava Gosh dasa

From Australia:

RSPCA radicals push for vegan world
By David Nankervis
September 28, 2008 02:30am

A RADICAL push has been staged within the RSPCA to endorse vegan diets as the best way to prevent cruelty to farmed animals.

One of the supporters of the push has been elected to the board of the RSPCA SA branch and will stand for the presidency.

A motion to the taxpayer-assisted body’s annual general meeting on Wednesday called for it to adopt a range of controversial policies, including:

RECOGNISING egg, milk and chicken, pig and rabbit meat production “inflicts high levels of physical and psychological suffering on tens of millions of animals each year”.

ACKNOWLEDGING a vegetarian or vegan diet was “the most effective way to significantly reduce cruelty to animals farmed for meat, eggs and milk”.

ASKING RSPCA members to consider changing to a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Vegan diets exclude any animal product, including dairy food.

The motion was put by a “reformer” - one of a group within the RSCPA that aims to make the organisation more proactive on animal rights.

However, critics within the RSPCA have slammed the policy push as “pie in the sky” and out of touch with community values. While the motion was defeated, one of the reformers, Rosalie McDonald, was voted on to the RSPCA board and will stand for president in the ballot next week.

Ms McDonald said the motion was defeated only because it was presented at the end of a long meeting and “about half the members had left by then”.

“I voted for it because there is nothing wrong with it,” Ms McDonald, 67, said.

“They say a high fibre diet is much better for you.”

Ms McDonald, a semi-retired businesswoman who said she was not personally a vegetarian, described herself as a “reformer”.

“I feel the RSPCA management or president may represent us as . . . lunatics but with my particular background I hope they all realise I’m not a nutter,”the former teacher and local government councillor said.

The “reformer” who proposed the motion, former Animal Liberation president Peter Adamson, admitted he was branded a “food Nazi” at the meeting. But he defended the push and said the general public should consider vegetarian diets to reduce animal cruelty.

“It would be very educational for the RSPCA to encourage its members to be vegetarians and this is something I would like the general public to consider,” the former teacher, 62, said.

Ms McDonald said she wanted to become president to “reform the RSPCA to do what it is supposed to do”.

“It’s supposed to get out to the public arena and advocate the abolition of cruel practices . . . factory farming, battery hens and pork production.”

Ms McDonald also wants to increase RSPCA membership and funding.

But RSPCA member and veterinarian Andrew Carter said resolutions like the one supported by Ms McDonald “would put off middle-of-the-road people and have a negative impact on membership”.

“The message from that resolution is the RSPCA is trying to tell people what to do . . . but I don’t think becoming a vegetarian will solve problems of animal cruelty,” Dr Carter, who joined the RSPCA a year ago to represent mainstream values, said.

The motion was also attacked by former RSPCA national president Hugh Wirth who said the issue of animal food production and animal cruelty “won’t be resolved by a few people changing their dietary habits” and to think so was “pie-in-the-sky” thinking.

Heart-Stopping Facts About India’s Health

INDIA, September 26, 2008: Within the space of a decade, India has become the world capital for diabetes, hypertension and heart ailments. Obesity is on the rise as well. The spurt in cardiovascular diseases has been the most steep and rapid–currently 14%, in contrast to 11% in 2003 and just 1% in 1960.

Western countries, implementing strict anti-smoking laws and publicizing the benefits of a low-fat diet, have succeeded in dramatically reducing mortality due to cardiovascular disease–by 60% in Japan and Finland, 50% in the US, and 25% in Canada and Australia. But in India, the World Health Organization (WHO) projects that by 2015, deaths due to cardiac ailments will increase by 100%.

Experts point to India’s changing food habits and to the spread of the smoking habit. Many in India have abandoned the traditional diet focused on whole grains, pulses, fruits and vegetables. Instead, they eat increasing amounts of pizza, burgers and deep-fried items like samosas–all of which are high in trans-fatty acids. Cardiologist Dr. H.K. Chopra stated that the move toward refined foods and the lack of sufficient fruits and vegetables in the diet has dramatically lowered immunity.

Worldwide studies have shown a strong connection between trans-fatty acids and coronary heart disease. Denmark witnessed a 20% decline in mortality from cardiac ailments after regulating the trans-fat content of foods. Dishes made out of hydrogenated fat, baked items, margarines, meat and even milk have trans-fat.

Experts recommend following a more vegetarian diet.

hinduism today

Observing Meat-Free Day on October 2 To Address Global Warming

SYDNEY, Australia, September 16, 2008: Global warming has become the most critical issue facing humanity. It is the duty of each of us to do whatever we can to reduce the effects of climate change. But very few are willing to address the touchy subject of emissions resulting from meat production.

One of the biggest contributors to environmental degradation and greenhouse gas emission is the farming of animals for human consumption. Those who follow a vegetarian diet, or at least reduce the amount of meat they consume, are making a vast positive contribution to addressing the global warming problem.

The Hindu Council of Australia, ARRCC (Australian Religious Response to Climate Change) and the Australian Vegetarian Society are organizing a conference in Sydney on October 2, 2008, to highlight the environmental, health, and ethical advantages of eating less meat. Reducing meat consumption is the most direct, healthy and economical way to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. All are invited to honor Gandhi and help to protect our Mother Earth by abstaining from meat on that day.

hinduism today

Manor's Cow Carnival Thrills Crowds
Watford Observer on 26 Jul 2008

A celebration of all things bovine is underway as part of Britain's first ever cow carnival.

The event, organised to celebrate the cow and everything associated with the animal, is being held at Bhaktivedanta Manor, in Letchmore Heath, this afternoon.

The star attractions of the carnival are the temple's huge bullocks and herd of cows, with demonstrations of milking and cart rides entertaining the children.

Youngsters are also competing in the "Cow Olympics", with children racing in egg and spoon and sack races.

For the adults, seminars in running a cow sanctuary and making cheese are also being held.

Sita Rama, who organised the event on behalf of Ahimsa, said a key aspect of the event was to promote organic milk.

He said: "We want to raise awareness of cows and the issues about compassion for cows.

"We want people to be aware of the benefits of drinking organic milk.

"The cow lives off the grass most of the time and by drinking it you receive almost all the nutrients you will get in the meat.

"Organic milk holds all benefits that are held in the cow's body."

INDIA food crises meat eating

Click below to watch it on the original site:

UN Agency Suggests Eat Less Meat to Curb Global Warming

UNITED NATIONS, September 7, 2008: People should have one meat-free day a week if they want to make a personal and effective sacrifice that would help tackle climate change. So said the world’s leading authority on global warming, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which earned a joint share of last year’s Nobel Peace Prize. His comments are the most controversial advice yet provided by the panel on how individuals can help tackle global warning. Pachauri said diet change was important because of the huge greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental problems - including habitat destruction - associated with rearing cattle and other animals. It was relatively easy to change eating habits compared to changing means of transport, he said.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that meat production accounts for nearly a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. These are generated during the production of animal feeds, for example, while ruminants, particularly cows, emit methane, which is 23 times more effective as a global warming agent than carbon dioxide. The agency has also warned that meat consumption is set to double by the middle of the century. “In terms of immediacy of action and the feasibility of bringing about reductions in a short period of time, it clearly is the most attractive opportunity,” said Pachauri. “Give up meat for one day [a week] initially, and decrease it from there,” said the Indian economist. However, he also stressed other changes in lifestyle would help to combat climate change. “That’s what I want to emphasize: we really have to bring about reductions in every sector of the economy.”

Pachauri can expect some vociferous responses from the food industry. Chris Lamb, head of marketing for pig industry group BPEX, said the meat industry had been unfairly targeted and was working hard to find out which activities had the biggest environmental impact and reduce those. “Climate change is a very young science and our view is there are a lot of simplistic solutions being proposed,” he said.

hinduism today

Olympic Vegetarians

Sudakaran Sangaran from Malaysia asks:

"The Beijing Olympics have started with such a grand opening promising much faster, higher and further achievements in the sporting arena. We all know that diet plays a critical role in the performance of these Olympians. Eating right for these sporting stars equals to success in their respective fields. How relevant is vegetarianism to the modern day Olympian? Many still harbour the misconception that a vegetarian diet will only weaken atheletic prowess. Hope you can share some interesting information on this. We can only ask this question once in 4 years!

Carl Lewis, vegan athlete and winner of 9 Olympic Gold Medals

My reply:

Hello Suda. It's a myth that muscles, strength and endurance require the consumption of large quantities of animal-based foods. This myth began before anyone even talked about protein. During the Olympics, it's a good time to take a look at some amazing athletes who are champions and vegetarians:

Charlene Wong is a champion figure skater who represented Canada in the 1988 Calgary Olympics. She began competing at the age of 6 and in 1980 was named to the Canadian Team and represented Canada in the Junior World Championships. She was highlighted in The Vegetarian Sports Nutrition Guide by Lisa Dorfman.

Paavo Nurmi, a Finnish runner, was a vegetarian since the age of 12. He is often considered the greatest track and field athlete of all time. A long-distance runner, he competed in the 1920, 1924 and 1928 Olympics, winning 12 Olympic medals.

Chris Campbell, wrestler, trained for the 1980 Olympics but did not compete as the American team boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics. At age 37, he began training again and secured a place on the US team, winning a bronze medal at the 1992 Olympics, becoming the oldest American to medal in Olympic wrestling. He says, "I take care of my body. I don't eat meat, and I do yoga every day. It makes a difference."

Carl Lewis, vegan athlete, won 10 Olympic medals, including 9 golds, in a career that spanned from 1979 to 1996, competing for the US. He said, "most athletes have the worst diet in the world, and they compete in spite of it."

Surya Bonaly, professional figure skater, represented France in the Olympics of 1992, 1994, and 1998. She is also now a US citizen. A vegetarian, she has appeared in PETA ads protesting Canada's baby seal hunt and English and French fur trade.

Debbie Lawrence, vegetarian racewalker, has been a three-time Olympian (1992, 1996, and 2000) and is the world record holder for the women's 5K racewalk event. She attributes her success to hard work and a vegetarian diet.

Murray Rose, a vegetarian since birth, has six Olympic medals. He was born in 1939 in Nairn, Scotland, but he moved to Australia with his family at an early age. He was an Olympic champion at age seventeen. He was known for his vegetarianism during his career, earning him the nickname, "The Seaweed Streak." He competed in the Olympics from 1956 through 1960, winning six medals.

Al Oerter, discus thrower, won four Olympic gold medals for the US - in 1956, 1960, 1964. He was also an abstract painter.

Edwin Moses, hurdler for the US, is a gold medalist who went eight years without losing the 400-metre hurdle. Over his career, he won two Olympic gold medals. After retirement from track, he in completed in a 1990 World Cup bobsled race in Germany and won the two-man bronze medal with US Olympian Brian Shimer. Edwin Moses is a vegetarian.

Leroy Burrell, sprinter, twice set the world record for the 100 metre sprint. He won a gold medal for the US in 1992 in Barcelona. He is a vegetarian.

As stated in "Vegetarian Diets" by the International Center for Sports Nutrition, Olympic Coach Magazine, Winter 1997:

"If care is taken to include a wide variety of foods, vegetarian diets can be nutritionally adequate to support athletic performance."

"Whether an individual is a recreational or world-class athlete, being a vegetarian does not diminish natural talent or athletic performance. As far back as the Ancient Games, Greek athletes trained on vegetarian diets and displayed amazing ability in competitive athletics."

Looking at these 10 vegetarian Olympic athletes, it's clear that the need to eat meat to be strong and a champion is a myth. A whole foods, plant-based diet will give an athlete all the excellent nutrition he or she needs to be a winner.

Time to go Vego?
June 5, 2008

[via the BBC]

“The best solution would be for us all to become vegetarians”.

So suggested the head of the UN climate agency, Yvo de Boer, who is attending UN-led climate talks in Germany this week. He was responding to criticism that measures to tackle climate change are partly to blame for the rise in food and energy costs. Carbon-cutting biofuels, for example, use food crops to make alternatives to gasoline.

Meanwhile, Patrick Wall, chairman of the European Food Safety Authority, has questioned whether it is “morally or ethically correct” to be feeding grain to animals while people starve. Speaking to the Times, he argued that it’s time to end the EU ban on the use of animal remains to feed pigs and chickens. Lifting the ban would allow grain to be diverted to millions of starving people.

And the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, hosting a much publicised summit in Rome this week, has warned of global catastrophe unless food reaches parts of the world where it is needed most.

So, does the global food crisis demand a radical rethink of how we distribute food? Should we worry less about feeding our animals and prioritise getting grain to people suffering food shortages - even if that affects the availability of meat?

Is it time for us all to become vegetarian?

A Million Taiwanese Vow to Give Up Eating Meat
Radio Taiwan International on 5 Jul 2008

More than one million people in Taiwan have pledged to help cut carbon emissions by being a vegetarian. Taiwan's population is about 23 million, and the one million vegetarians would reduce at least 1.5 million tons of carbon emissions in Taiwan in one year.

The Union of NoMeatNoHeat made the announcement during its anti-global warming drive. Many prominent politicians, such as the legislative speaker, the environment minister, and Taipei and Kaohsiung Mayors all pledged to become vegetarians.

The Union said 20 percent of the world's carbon emissions are created by the livestock industry, which is higher than the 15 to 18 percent produced by all the world's transportation vehicles.

The Union said if a person eats only vegetables for a whole year, roughly 1.5 tons of carbon emissions can be cut.

Processed Meats dangerous for human consumption

Have you ever wondered why the consumption of processed meats is so strongly linked to cancers of the colon, breast, prostate and pancreas? The evidence continues to mount, as demonstrated by a recent study showing a 67% increase in pancreatic cancer for people consuming moderate amounts of processed meat on a frequent basis. (Pulse; 4/23/2005, Vol. 65 Issue 16, p10).

Conventional medical doctors and nutrition researchers tend to put the bulk of the blame on the saturated fat content of processed meats, but that ignores two notable culprits that I think are far worse offenders when it comes to human health. Let's take a closer look at these two problems with processed meats.

The first problem is found in the fats of these processed meats. The problem isn't the fat molecules themselves, but rather the toxic chemicals, heavy metals and environmental pollutants that are found inside those fat molecules.

You see, fat tissues -- whether in a cow or a human -- tend to concentrate whatever pollutants are found in the mainstay diet of the animal. A cow eats literally tons of grass in its lifetime, and in doing so, it collects and concentrates low-level pollutants found in its diet. For non-organic beef, it's quite common to find trace amounts of heavy metals (mercury, cadmium), pesticides, and even PCBs. That's because, for non-organic beef, feed practices are rather horrifying. You'd be shocked to learn what's perfectly legal to feed to cows intended for human consumption.

So while conventional doctors tend to put the health risk blame on the saturated fat found in meat products, I think it has a lot more to do with the toxic substances concentrated in those fat tissues. A cow is much like a land bottom-feeder, and eating meat from a non-organic cow is a lot like eating shrimp from the bottom of the ocean.

These toxins, when consumed, are clearly and unquestionably linked to cancers as well as nervous system disorders that can accelerate Alzheimer's disease and dementia. They also stress the liver and impair immune system function. The human body should never be exposed to mercury, PCBs or the rocket fuel chemicals that are now almost universally found in cows' milk products across the country (in a 2005 Texas Tech University study, perchlorate was detected in 46 of 47 store-bought samples of cows' milk across 11 states).

The second (and more important) reason processed meats are so strongly correlated with cancer is, I believe, the continued use of a cancer-promoting additive called sodium nitrite.

This ingredient, which sounds harmless, is actually highly carcinogenic once it enters the human digestive system. There, it forms a variety of nitrosamine compounds that enter the bloodstream and wreak havoc with a number of internal organs: the liver and pancreas in particular. Sodium nitrite is widely regarded as a toxic ingredient, and the USDA actually tried to ban this additive in the 1970's but was vetoed by food manufacturers who complained they had no alternative for preserving packaged meat products.

You can find sodium nitrite in nearly every packaged meat product imaginable. It's listed right on the label of products like bacon, breakfast sausage, beef jerky, pepperoni, sandwich meat, ham, hot dogs, and even the meats found in canned soups. If you and I walked into any grocery store in America, I could show you hundreds of products that contain this ingredient right now. And I believe this sodium nitrite is the primary cause of pancreatic cancer in humans who consume even moderate quantities of processed meats.

If sodium nitrite is so dangerous, why does the food industry use it? Simple: this chemical just happens to turn meats bright red. It's actually a color fixer, and it makes old, dead meats appear fresh and vibrant. Thus, food manufacturers insist on using sodium nitrite for the simple reason that it sells more meat products. Consumers are strongly influenced by the color of grocery products (which is why Florida oranges are often dipped in red dye, by the way), and when meat products look fresh, people will buy them, even if the true color of the months-old meat is putrid gray.

There are other problems with processed meats, nutritionally speaking. Meat has zero fiber, for one thing. But in terms of the major causative factors of disease in the human body, I believe the two primary culprits are the heavy metals and toxins concentrated in the fat tissues of cows, combined with the sodium nitrite additives used by meat processing companies to preserve their products and give them enhanced visual appeal.

And thus, the saturated fat argument is a distraction from the real causes of cancer that the U.S. beef industry doesn't want to talk about. It's not the saturated fat that causes pancreatic cancer. For example, coconut oil consumption wouldn't cause a person's risk of pancreatic cancer to leap 67%, although it's still saturated fat. The real cause of the cancer, I believe, is what's found INSIDE the fat, and what's ADDED to the meat during processing and packaging.

- by Mike Adams -


The Two most astonishing thing for the British who invaded India were.

1)      The Indian gurukula system.

2)      The Indian agriculture system.

The then Governor of British India Robert Clive made an extensive research on the agriculture system in India.

The outcome of the research was as follows:-

1)      Cows were the basis of Indian agriculture and agriculture in India cannot be executed without the help of cow.

2)      To break the Backbone of Indian agriculture cows had to be eliminated.

The first slaughterhouse in India was started in 1760, with a capacity to kill 30,000 (Thirty thousand only) per day, at least one crore cows were eliminated in an years time.

He estimated that the number of cows in Bengal outnumbered the number of men. Similar was the situation in the rest of India.

As a part of the Master plan to destabilize the India, cow slaughter was initiated.

Once the cows were slaughtered, then there was no manure and there is no insecticide like cow urine.

Robert Clive started a number of slaughter houses before he left India.

A hypothesis to understand the position of Indian agriculture without slaughter houses:-

In 1740 in the Arcot District of Tamil Nadu, 54 Quintals of rice was harvested from one acre of land using simple manure and pesticides like cow urine and cow dung.

      As a result of the 350 slaughterhouses which worked day and night by 1910. India was practically bereft of cattle. India had to approach England’s doorstep for industrial manure. Thus industrial manure like urea and phosphate made way to India.

After India attained independence in the name of “Green Revolution” there was extensive use of industrial manure.

Before British left India. The daily news paper Guardian interviewed India.

      To one of the questions Gandhiji answered, that the day India attains Independence, all the slaughter houses in India would be closed.

In 1929 Nehru in a public meeting stated that if he were to become the prime minister of India, the first thing he would do is to stop all the slaughterhouses.

The tragedy of the situation is since 1947 the number has increased from350 to 36,000(thirty six thousand) slaughter houses.

Today, the highly mechanized slaughterhouses Al-kabir and Devanar of Andhra Pradesh and Maharastra has the capacity to slaughter 10,000(ten thousand) cows at a time.

It’s a warning signal to one and all in India to rise to the occasion!!!

Vegetarian Athletes: At the Top of Their Game
By Heather Moore for on 4 Feb 2008

David Tyree may have been the star of the Super Bowl, helping the New York Giants beat the previously undefeated New England Patriots, but in my eyes, Kansas City Chiefs tight-end Tony Gonzalez is the biggest NFL champion. His team may not have made the Super Bowl, but as The Wall Street Journal recently reported, Gonzalez proved that a football player can be powerful without eating heaping helpings of meat, eggs, and dairy products. Gonzalez has acknowledged that the meat-heavy diet typically eaten by football players can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease and cancer, and is promoting plant-based foods.

A number of other professional athletes and Olympic superstars have touted the benefits of vegetarian and vegan diets. Four-time Mr. Universe Bill Pearl, powerlifting champion Bill Mannetti, 1951 Mr. America Roy Hilligenn, Stan Price, the world-record holder in bench press, and football player and Heisman Trophy-winner Desmond Howard all reportedly did not eat meat. These powerhouses aren't alone—some of the strongest animals, such as apes, elephants, and giraffes, are herbivores.

International Natural Bodybuilding & Fitness Federation and International Natural Bodybuilding Association bodybuilder Robert Cheeke is perhaps the world's most recognized vegan bodybuilder and popular strength trainer Mike Mahler says that "Becoming a vegan had a profound effect on my training. … [M]y bench press excelled past 315 pounds, and I noticed that I recovered much faster. My body fat also went down, and I put on 10 pounds of lean muscle in a few months."

Other vegetarian athletes, including tennis superstar Martina Navratilova and Dave Scott, a six-time winner of the Ironman triathlon, have repeatedly beaten their carnivorous competitors. Swimmer Murray Rose, a vegetarian since birth, has six Olympic medals. Debbie Lawrence is an Olympic racewalking champ, and discus thrower Al Oerter has won at least four Olympic gold medals. A healthy vegetarian diet helped propel two-time Olympic gold medalist Edwin Moses over the hurdles, and Olympian Carl Lewis has said that his best year of track competition was the first year that he ate a vegan diet.

Famed Argentinian soccer goalkeeper Carlos Roa, was nicknamed, "La Lechuga," meaning "The Lettuce," because of his strict vegetarian diet. Bill Walton and Robert Parish, two of the greatest basketball players of all time, were vegetarians, and John Salley, another professional basketball star, is a vegan. So is ultra-marathon man Dom Repta, who has run 100 miles in just under 20 hours.

Australian Cricket superstar Greg Chappel also abstains from animal flesh and animal by-products and fellow cricket superstar Anil Kumble has posed for a PETA advertisement promoting vegetarianism. Says Anil, "Vegetarianism saves animals' lives and can't be beat for maintaining a muscular body and building endurance. Vegetarian food contains all the vitamins and protein you need to be at your best and is free of all the fat, cholesterol and toxins found in meat."

Ronald McDonald Goes Veg

"The clown who starred as Ronald McDonald in McDonald's telly ads has quit to lead a crusade against burgers. Actor Geoffrey Giuliano - famous world-wide as the burger-loving clown - revealed he is a vegetarian!

He has pledged to rescue animals from the slaughterhouse "as my way of saying sorry for selling out to concerns who make millions out of murdering them." Giuliano, 38, has bought ten calves who wander free on his "Cow Protection Estate" in New York State."

This is not exactly breaking news, but interesting nevertheless.

Meatless Like Me

UNITED STATES, July 7, 2008: Every vegetarian remembers his first time. Not the unremarkable event of his first meal without meat, mind you. No, I mean the first time he casually lets slip that he’s turned herbivore, prompting everyone in earshot to stare at him as if he just revealed plans to sail his carrot-powered plasma yacht to Neptune. For me, this first time came at an Elks scholarship luncheon in rural Oregon when I was 18. All day, I’d succeeded at seeming a promising and responsible young man, until that fateful moment when someone asked why I hadn’t taken any meat from the buffet. After I offered my reluctant explanation–and the guy announced it to the entire room–30 people went eerily quiet, undoubtedly expecting me to launch into a speech on the virtues of hemp. In the corner, an elderly, suited man glared at me as he slowly raised a slice of bologna and executed the most menacing bite of cold cut in recorded history. I didn’t get the scholarship.

I tell this story not to win your pity but to illustrate a point: I’ve been vegetarian for a decade, and when it comes up, I still get a look of confused horror that says, “But you seemed so … normal.” The U.S. boasts more than 10 million herbivores today, yet most Americans assume that every last one is a loopy, self-satisfied health fanatic, hell-bent on draining all the joy out of life. To demonstrate what a vegetarian really is, let’s begin with a simple thought experiment. Imagine a completely normal person with completely normal food cravings, someone who has a broad range of friends, enjoys a good time, is carbon-based, and so on. Now remove from this person’s diet anything that once had eyes, and, wham!, you have yourself a vegetarian.

To read this very humorous and lengthy article on the joys of vegetarianism in America, please go to source above.

hinduism today

Meatless Like Me
I may be a vegetarian, but I still love the smell of bacon.
By Taylor Clark

Every vegetarian remembers his first time. Not the unremarkable event of his first meal without meat, mind you. No, I mean the first time he casually lets slip that he's turned herbivore, prompting everyone in earshot to stare at him as if he just revealed plans to sail his carrot-powered plasma yacht to Neptune. For me, this first time came at an Elks scholarship luncheon in rural Oregon when I was 18. All day, I'd succeeded at seeming a promising and responsible young man, until that fateful moment when someone asked why I hadn't taken any meat from the buffet. After I offered my reluctant explanation—and the guy announced it to the entire room—30 people went eerily quiet, undoubtedly expecting me to launch into a speech on the virtues of hemp. In the corner, an elderly, suited man glared at me as he slowly raised a slice of bologna and executed the most menacing bite of cold cut in recorded history. I didn't get the scholarship.

I tell this story not to win your pity but to illustrate a point: I've been vegetarian for a decade, and when it comes up, I still get a look of confused horror that says, "But you seemed so … normal." The U.S. boasts more than 10 million herbivores today, yet most Americans assume that every last one is a loopy, self-satisfied health fanatic, hellbent on draining all the joy out of life. Those of us who want to avoid the social nightmare have to hide our vegetarianism like an Oxycontin addiction, because admit it, omnivores: You know nothing about us. Do we eat fish? Will we panic if confronted with a hamburger? Are we dying of malnutrition? You have no clue. So read on, my flesh-eating friends—I believe it's high time we cleared a few things up.

To demonstrate what a vegetarian really is, let's begin with a simple thought experiment. Imagine a completely normal person with completely normal food cravings, someone who has a broad range of friends, enjoys a good time, is carbon-based, and so on. Now remove from this person's diet anything that once had eyes, and, wham!, you have yourself a vegetarian. Normal person, no previously ocular food, end of story. Some people call themselves vegetarians and still eat chicken or fish, but unless we're talking about the kind of salmon that comes freshly plucked from the vine, this makes you an omnivore. A select few herbivores go one step further and avoid all animal products—milk, eggs, honey, leather—and they call themselves vegan, which rhymes with "tree men." These people are intense.

Vegetarians give up meat for a variety of ethical, environmental, and health reasons that are secondary to this essay's goal of increasing brotherly understanding, so I'll mostly set them aside. Suffice it to say that one day, I suddenly realized that I could never look a cow in the eyes, press a knocking gun to her temple, and pull the trigger without feeling I'd done something cruel and unnecessary. (Sure, if it's kill the cow or starve, then say your prayers, my bovine friend—but for now, it's not quite a mortal struggle to subsist on the other five food groups.) I am well-aware that even telling you this makes me seem like the kind of person who wants to break into your house and liberate your pet hamster—that is, like a PETA activist. Most vegetarians, though, would tell you that they appreciate the intentions of groups like PETA but not the obnoxious tactics. It's like this: We're all rooting for the same team, but they're the ones in face paint, bellowing obscenities at the umpire and flipping over every car with a Yankees bumper sticker. I have no designs on your Camry or your hamster.

Now, when I say that vegetarians are normal people with normal food cravings, many omnivores will hoist a lamb shank in triumph and point out that you can hardly call yourself normal if the aroma of, say, sizzling bacon doesn't fill you with deepest yearning. To which I reply: We're not insane. We know meat tastes good; it's why there's a freezer case at your supermarket full of woefully inadequate meat substitutes. Believe me, if obtaining bacon didn't require slaughtering a pig, I'd have a BLT in each hand right now with a bacon layer cake waiting in the fridge for dessert. But, that said, I can also tell you that with some time away from the butcher's section, many meat products start to seem gross. Ground beef in particular now strikes me as absolutely revolting; I have a vague memory that hamburgers taste good, but the idea of taking a cow's leg, mulching it into a fatty pulp, and forming it into a pancake makes me gag. And hot dogs … I mean, hot dogs? You do know what that is, right?

As a consolation prize we get tofu, a treasure most omnivores are more than happy to do without. Well, this may stun you, but I'm not any more excited about a steaming heap of unseasoned tofu blobs than you are. Tofu is like fugu blowfish sushi: Prepared correctly, it's delicious; prepared incorrectly, it's lethal. Very early in my vegetarian career, I found myself famished and stuck in a mall, so I wandered over to the food court's Asian counter. When I asked the teenage chief culinary artisan what was in the tofu stir-fry, he snorted and replied, "Shit." Desperation made me order it anyway, and I can tell you that promises have rarely been more loyally kept than this guy's pledge that the tofu would taste like shit. So here's a tip: Unless you know you're in expert hands (Thai restaurants are a good bet), don't even try tofu. Otherwise, it's your funeral.

As long as we're discussing restaurants, allow me a quick word with the hardworking chefs at America's dining establishments. We really appreciate that you included a vegetarian option on your menu (and if you didn't, is our money not green?), but it may interest you to know that most of us are not salad freaks on a grim slog for nourishment. We actually enjoy food, especially the kind that tastes good. So enough with the bland vegetable dishes, and, for God's sake, please make the Gardenburgers stop; it's stunning how many restaurants lavish unending care on their meat dishes yet are content to throw a flavorless hockey puck from Costco into the microwave and call it cuisine. Every vegetarian is used to slim pickings when dining out, so we're not asking for much—just for something you'd like to eat. I'll even offer a handy trick. Pretend you're trapped in a kitchen stocked with every ingredient imaginable, from asiago to zucchini, but with zero meat. With no flesh available, picture what you'd make for yourself; this is what we want, too.

 to day spas are often unfazed that an equally smart pig suffered and died to become their McMuffin? Yes, I do. (Or, to use a more pressing example, how many Americans will bemoan Eight Belles' fatal Kentucky Derby injury tonight at the dinner table between bites of beef?) Would I prefer it if we at least raised these animals humanely? Yes, I would.

Let's be honest, though: I'm not exactly St. Francis of Assisi over here, tenderly ministering to every chipmunk that crosses my path. I try to represent for the animal kingdom, but take a look at my shoes—they're made of leather, which, I am told by those with expert knowledge of the tanning process, comes from dead cows. This is the sort of revelation that prompts meat boosters to pick up the triumphant lamb shank once again and accuse us of hypocrisy. Well, sort of. (Hey, you try to find a pair of nonleather dress shoes.) My dedication to the cause might be incomplete, but I'd still say that doing something beats doing nothing. It's kind of like driving a hybrid: not a solution to the global-warming dilemma but a decent start. Let's just say that at the dinner table, I roll in a Prius.

Finally, grant me one more cordial request: Please don't try to convince us that being vegetarian is somehow wrong. If you're concerned for my health, that's very nice, though you can rest assured that I'm in shipshape. If you want to have an amiable tête-à-tête about vegetarianism, that's great. But if you insist on being the aggressive blowhard who takes meatlessness as a personal insult and rails about what fools we all are, you're only going to persuade me that you're a dickhead. When someone says he's Catholic, you probably don't start the stump speech about how God is a lie created to enslave the ignorant masses, and it's equally offensive to berate an herbivore. I know you think we're crazy. That's neat. But seeing as I've endured the hassle of being a vegetarian for several years now, perhaps I've given this a little thought. So let's just agree to disagree and get on with making fun of Hillary Clinton's inability to operate a coffee machine.

Because, really, peace and understanding are what it's all about: your porterhouse and my portobello coexisting in perfect harmony—though preferably not touching. We're actually not so different, after all, my omnivorous chums. In fact, I like to think that when an omnivore looks in the mirror, he just sees a vegetarian who happens to eat meat. Or, no, wait, maybe the mirror sees the omnivore through the prism of flesh and realizes we all have a crystalline animal soul, you know?

This is excellent weed, by the way, if you want a hit. Hey, while you're here: Have I ever told you about hemp?

Hare Krishna Cuisine in Gourmet Magazine’s Top 100’s_top_100
By Vyenkata Bhatta Dasa on 19 Jan 2008

New York City ­ The folks at Saveur, an award-winning international dining magazine, are self-proclaimed fanatics when it comes to helping readers “savor a world of authentic cuisine.” Like a trusted friend who can’t resist sharing a good recipe with you, they pride themselves on preaching the glories of the best food and drink wherever they find it. And they pack their most zealous and fervent recommendations into their popular Saveur 100 issue ­ an annual list of “favorite restaurants, food, drink, people, places and things.” This year that list included the cuisine of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) ­ under the heading “A Faith that Nourishes,” the magazine deemed Hare Krishna temple dining halls “one of the best restaurant chains in the world.”

The entire entry, reproduced below, has much praise for the Krishna consciousness movement’s kitchen skills. “We always seek out the nearest [Hare Krishna temple] for a satisfying, meatless meal,” the magazine reports, adding that the “Hare Krishna brand of Westernized Indian food renews our spirits every time.” The magazine especially recommends attending the Sunday Feast program held at ISKCON temples worldwide.

The culinary kudos came after a Saveur reporter ­ who had apparently been introduced to ISKCON in his youth through “Krishna-core” bands like Shelter and 108, and had eaten prasadam (sanctified vegetarian food) at temples and Govinda’s restaurants­ contacted the ISKCON temple in Brooklyn, New York. He stopped by, sampled the regular menu, and was so impressed that he decided to use the New York temple as the model for Hare Krishna dining halls around the world. He set up a photographer to visit as well.

The Saveur’s piece includes a color picture of Satya Devi Dasi, Vice President of the temple and resident catering mastermind, in traditional devotional attire and holding a bowl of cabbage subji.

For the devotees at the temple, home to Sri Sri Radha Govinda deities, the media attention confirmed the need to re-focus on prasadam distribution. After a six-year hiatus, the devotees have resumed their successful Govinda’s lunch club program, serving a full menu from 11:30 am to 3:00pm daily. In addition, the devotees provide a wide array of catering services.

Temple president Ramabhadra Dasa feels that the Saveur article has already started to make a positive impact. “Catering orders have increased,” he said, “and the potential success for a [full-scale] restaurant is apparent…. The food must be good, and the atmosphere and customer relations must be good. If those elements are there then lack of the best location is less likely to make or break you.”

ISKCON Founder-Acarya A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada placed great emphasis on prasadam as a part of spiritual life ­ so much so that he is believed to have light-heartedly referred to the Hare Krishna movement as “the kitchen religion.” Prabhupada also famously prophesized that New York City could be “conquered by prasadam distribution.”

An interesting post-script: the Saveur magazine which includes the Hare Krishna write-up is, appropriately enough, issue number 108.

With reporting from Caitanyananda Dasa

22. A Faith That Nourishes
Dressed in saffron saris and sporting their signature ponytails, Hare Krishna devotees—who subscribe to a spiritual system, based on Hindu practices, that was imported to the United States from India in the 1960s—strike many Americans as relics of our country's counterculture past. The truth is, the International Society of Krishna Consciousness, as the religious group is officially known, is still going strong, operating more than 400 temples worldwide. Here's another little-known fact: Hare Krishna adherents run one of the best restaurant chains in the world. Called Govinda’s, these Hare Krishna TEMPLE DINING HALLS serve inexpensive, freshly prepared Indian-style vegetarian food to believers and nonbelievers alike. Whether we're in Dallas or Dublin, Brooklyn or Budapest, we always seek out the nearest one for a satisfying, meatless meal. Sundays are the best time to go; the buffet-style meal on that day, still referred to by some old-timers as the Sunday love feast, is free. From potato-stuffed samosas and paneer subji (soft cheese with peas and potatoes) to spiced cabbage with peas and tofu, the Hare Krishna brand of Westernized Indian food renews our spirits every time.

Source: Saveur magazine

Global Wheat Shortage Due to Meat Consumption?

Date: Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:26 am ((PST))

'Booming populations and a switch to a meat-rich diet in the developing world also mean that about 110m tons of the world€ ¦’²s annual wheat crop is being diverted to feed livestock.'

 THE world is only ten weeks away from running out of wheat supplies after stocks fell to their lowest levels for 50 years.

 The crisis has pushed prices to an all-time high and could lead to further hikes in the price of bread, beer, biscuits and other basic foods.
 It could also exacerbate serious food shortages in developing countries especially in Africa.

 The crisis comes after two successive years of disastrous wheat harvests, which saw production fall from 624m to 600m tonnes, according to the United Nations€ ¦’² Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

 Experts blame climate change as heatwaves caused a slump in harvests last year in eastern Europe, Canada, Morocco and Australia, all big wheat producers.

 Booming populations and a switch to a meat-rich diet in the developing world also mean that about 110m tons of the world€ ¦’²s annual wheat crop is being diverted to feed livestock.

 Short term pressures have compounded the problem. Speculative buying by investors gambling on further price rises has further pushed up prices.

 Though shortages are often blamed on the use of land for biofuel crops, the main biofuel cereal crop is maize, not wheat. Farmers have brought millions of acres of fallow land into production and the FAO predicts that the shortages could be eliminated within 12 months.

Jewish Vegetarians Weigh in Against "Animal-based Agriculture"

By Sam Hodges for Dallas Morning News on 10 Mar 2008

New York - March 6, 2008 -- The Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) announced today that it strongly commends the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) for initiating a "Scientists and Economists' Call to Action," which urges U.S.-based scientists and economists to sign a letter which calls for "policies that will ensure swift and deep reductions in U.S. emissions of heat-trapping gases."

"Since climate change is today's greatest challenge," stated JVNA president Richard H. Schwartz, "we applaud UCS for their important initiative. But they, like most scientific groups, are overlooking 'an inconvenient truth' that even Al Gore has not sufficiently addressed -- A November, 2006 report from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) documented that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all forms of transportation worldwide combined (18% vs. 13.5%).

Also very significant is that this report projects a doubling of farmed animals in the next 50 years. If that happens, the increased greenhouse gas emissions would negate the effects of many positive lifestyle and industrial changes, making it very difficult to avoid the worse effects of global climate change. Hence, it is essential that UCS and other environmental groups make a major societal shift to vegetarianism a societal imperative."

JVNA is eager to engage with rabbis and other Jewish leaders in a respectful debate on the issue, "Should Jews Be Vegetarians Today?" The group urges rabbis and other Jewish leaders to consider how a shift toward plant-based diets would: improve the health of Jews and others; show the relevance of Judaism's eternal teachings to current societal challenges, thus helping to revitalize Jewish life; and, most importantly, help move an imperiled world to a sustainable path.

Further information about the JVNA and its mission to get vegetarianism onto the Jewish and other agendas may be obtained at the JVNA web site or by contacting Dr. Schwartz ( A complimentary copy of JVNA's new one-hour documentary "A SACRED DUTY: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World" will be sent to those who indicate how they might arrange a screening or promote the movie in some other way. The entire movie can also be viewed at, a site that also has background material re the film, which was produced by Emmy-award winning producer Lionel Friedberg.

The myth of the rising cost of food

The BBC has a feature on “the cost of food“. It shows how almost all types of food are getting more and more expensive. Drastically so!

What is happening here? Shouldn’t modern high-tech farming with its nitrogen fertilizers, pesticides and specially breed (and often genetically modified) high-yield crop varieties allow humanity to easy feed everyone on the planet? Hasn’t Norman Borlaug’s Green Revolution dramatically increased the amount of food the world can produce (e.g. doubling wheat yield between 1965 and 1970)? Haven’t exports of food increased by 400% over the last 40 years, promoting the distribution of foods from countries with lots of farmland to those without the capacity to grow lots of food?

The news reporters give two possible explanations of the rising cost of food (both bogus):
The world population is increasing. Soon 6 billion people now live on the planet and the number is expected to rise by 9 billion in 2050. Feeding more mounts costs more money. Moreover, with the rising wealth of countries like China and India the people in these countries consume more food. “To put it bluntly, rich people eat more than poor people”, says the BBC.
The increasing use of corn for biofuels (ethanol) is decreasing the amount of the crop that can be used for food. A lower supply coupled with increasing demand due to an increasing world population naturally leads to higher costs.

Makes sense, right? Wrong!

Sure, the world population is increasing, but so are yields of crops. Sure, the use of corn for fuel is increasing, but the increase in the cost of corn has been comparatively low compared with crops like rice, soya and wheat.

The real problem is shown, but not commented upon, in the original BBC feature, as well as in other news sources. It is the increasing consumption of meat.

The statistics show how producing meat is radically more resource intensive than producing vegetarian foodstuffs. But take a look back at the original article: the price of meat (and sugar) is not increasing very much at all. What is going on here? Why are all foods except meat getting more expensive, when meat is the single most expensive food to produce?!

One word: subsidies.

The United States spends 35% (the greatest single amount) of its total $8 billion agricultural subsidies budget on “feed grains” for livestock. The European Union spends a whooping $76 billion on food subsidies and 18% of it (the greatest single amount) goes to subsidizing beef production. So, between them, the EU and USA spend at least $16 billion on keeping the price of meat lower than it should be, given its true cost.

So, what to do?

It’s actually really simple: promote vegetarianism throughout the world and simultaneously eliminate subsidies on meat. Without subsidies meat will get so expensive that few people can afford it. Would you buy a Big Mac if it cost $34 a burger?

If a vegetarian diet is advertised as the logical, cheaper, healthier alternative, then people will naturally stop eating dead animals. That lowering of demand will make it more difficult to sell the quantities of meat which are currently produced. Farmers will be forced to switch from growing “feed grain” to producing “grain for human consumption”. This, I estimate, can result in a tenfold increase in the amount of available food. Enough to easily feed a world population of 60 billion!

(An added side-benefit would be a huge reduction in the number of people that get cancer, resulting in lower health-care costs and longer life-spans. Large-scale studies in Europe and the USA have proven without a doubt that meat eating causes many different types of cancer)

This entry was posted on Saturday, March 22nd, 2008 at 4:27 pmand is filed under management, news. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Go Vego to Save the World
April 22, 2008 on 12:08 pm

McCartney urges vegetarianism to fight climate ills

Posted Mon Apr 21, 2008 8:37pm AEST on

Former Beatle Paul McCartney is urging the world to go vegetarian in a bid to fight global warming and is surprised more green groups do not promote it.

In an interview with the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), McCartney said the global meat industry was a major contributor to global warming.

“The biggest change anyone could make in their own lifestyle would be to become vegetarian,” McCartney, a long time vegetarian and advocate of vegetarianism, said.

“I would urge everyone to think about taking this simple step to help our precious environment and save it for the children of the future.”

McCartney says the amount of land and water used to maintain the meat industry makes it a major contributor to climate change and complains that most environmental groups do not list vegetarianism as one of their top priorities.

“It’s very surprising that most major environmental organisations are leaving the option of going vegetarian off their lists of top ways to curtail global warming,” he said.

A 2006 United Nations report found that cattle-rearing generated more greenhouse gases than transportation.

The planet is “forced” into vegetarianism

There are two kinds of people, those that learn by hearing and those that learn by their own experience. The second method it takes longer and is more painful but seems to be necessary for the majority of people in our age.

When the Hare Krishna movement appeared in the West to teach about a life in accordance with the lows of God and therefore protection of the cow and vegetarian diet it was derided and considered religious fanaticism.

Now, as the disastrous consequences of a hedonistic behavior abusing God’s material resources become more and more evident, humanity is obliged to reconsider its habits by force and we have much discussion about solutions and alternatives.

Gandhi said “the world has enough for everyone’s need, but not for everyone’s greed”.

The following is an article appeared recently in NY times and Digg and it is interesting to see how people start perceiving glimpses of what the Vedic sages have been teaching for centuries.

This article is written in the classical materialistic mentality of continuing gratifying your senses while avoiding the consequences by a scientific arrangement, so they suggest artificial meat as the solution, but as there are many comments discussing it and there is a frequent mention of vegetarianism I found this reading eventually useful for preaching purposes.

Here is the link to the original article entitled: “Can People Have Meat and a Planet, Too?” with hundreds of comments:

Can People Have Meat and a Planet, Too?

and the same one commented by the Digg’s community

E-Book Released: "How to Successfully Become a Vegetarian"

USA, March 31, 2008: The above website has published a free e-book called "How to Successfully Become a Vegetarian." The book describes the basic forms of vegetarianism, a history, reasons for becoming vegetarian and then the various issues one faces: nutrition, eating out, cooking, child's nutrition, etc. A useful resource.

hinduism today 

Finding the Best Way to Cook All Those Vegetables
By Tara Parker-Pope for The New York Times on 21 May 2008

By now, most people know they should be eating more vegetables. But are there ways to get more from the vegetables you already eat?

A growing body of research shows that when it comes to vegetables, it’s not only how much we eat, but how we prepare them, that influences the amount of phytochemicals, vitamins and other nutrients that enter our body.

The benefits are significant. Numerous studies show that people who consume lots of vegetables have lower rates of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, eye problems and even cancer. The latest dietary guidelines call for 5 to 13 servings — that is two and a half to six and a half cups a day. For a person who maintains her weight on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, this translates into nine servings, or four and a half cups a day, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. But how should they be served?

Surprisingly, raw and plain vegetables are not always best. In The British Journal of Nutrition next month, researchers will report a study involving 198 Germans who strictly adhered to a raw food diet, meaning that 95 percent of their total food intake came from raw food. They had normal levels of vitamin A and relatively high levels of beta carotene.

But they fell short when it came to lycopene, a carotenoid found in tomatoes and other red-pigmented vegetables that is one of the most potent antioxidants. Nearly 80 percent of them had plasma lycopene levels below average.

“There is a misperception that raw foods are always going to be better,” says Steven K. Clinton, a nutrition researcher and professor of internal medicine in the medical oncology division at Ohio State University. “For fruits and vegetables, a lot of times a little bit of cooking and a little bit of processing actually can be helpful.”

The amount and type of nutrients that eventually end up in the vegetables are affected by a number of factors before they reach the plate, including where and how they were grown, processed and stored before being bought. Then, it’s up to you. No single cooking or preparation method is best. Water-soluble nutrients like vitamins C and B and a group of nutrients called polyphenolics are often lost in processing. For instance, studies show that after six months, frozen cherries have lost as much as 50 percent of anthocyanins, the healthful compounds found in the pigment of red and blue fruits and vegetables. Fresh spinach loses 64 percent of its vitamin C after cooking. Canned peas and carrots lose 85 percent to 95 percent of their vitamin C, according to data compiled by the University of California, Davis.

Fat-soluble compounds like vitamins A, D, E and K and the antioxidant compounds called carotenoids are less likely to leach out in water. Cooking also breaks down the thick cell walls of plants, releasing the contents for the body to use. That is why processed tomato products have higher lycopene content than fresh tomatoes.

In January, a report in The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry concluded that over all, boiling was better for carrots, zucchini and broccoli than steaming, frying or serving them raw. Frying was by far the worst..

Still, there were tradeoffs. Boiling carrots, for instance, significantly increased measurable carotenoid levels, but resulted in the complete loss of polyphenols compared with raw carrots.

That report did not look at the effects of microwaving, but a March 2007 study in The Journal of Food Science looked at the effects of boiling, steaming, microwaving and pressure cooking on the nutrients in broccoli. Steaming and boiling caused a 22 percent to 34 percent loss of vitamin C. Microwaved and pressure-cooked vegetables retained 90 percent of their vitamin C.

What accompanies the vegetables can also be important. Studies at Ohio State measured blood levels of subjects who ate servings of salsa and salads. When the salsa or salad was served with fat-rich avocados or full-fat salad dressing, the diners absorbed as much as 4 times more lycopene, 7 times more lutein and 18 times the beta carotene than those who had their vegetables plain or with low-fat dressing.

Fat can also improve the taste of vegetables, meaning that people will eat more of them. This month, The American Journal of Preventive Medicine reported on 1,500 teenagers interviewed in high school and about four years later on their eating habits. In the teenage years, many factors influenced the intake of fruits and vegetables. By the time the study subjects were 20, the sole factor that influenced fruit and vegetable consumption was taste. Young adults were not eating vegetables simply because they didn’t like the taste.

“Putting on things that make it taste better — spices, a little salt — can enhance your eating experience and make the food taste better, so you’re more likely to eat vegetables more often,” Dr. Clinton said.

Because nutrient content and taste can vary so widely depending on the cooking method and how a vegetable is prepared, the main lesson is to eat a variety of vegetables prepared in a variety of ways.

As Susan B. Roberts, director of the energy metabolism laboratory at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition, put it, “Eating a variety of veggies is especially important so you like them enough to eat more.”

The Home Front Diet

During World War II the UK underwent rationing, but the key wasn't the restriction of food but that the aim was to get the country healthy.

However one source of food was not rationed Vegetables.

It is noted that during the war years although there was less of everything the country was at it's healthiest something that is little noted or appreciated, even today with our access to many food products we are considered not to be as healthy as during these years of austerity.

The aim of the government to make the citizens healthy was summed up by Woolton Pie a simple vegetable dish

The Recipe:

1Ib each of diced potatoes, cauliflower, Swedes and carrots; Three or Four spring onions;

One teaspoonful of vegetable extract

One teaspoonful of oatmeal.


Cook all together for ten minutes with just enough water to cover.

Stir occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking.

Allow to cool; put into a pie dish, sprinkle with chopped parsley and cover with a crust of potatoes or whole meal pastry.

Bake in a moderate oven until the pastry is nicely brown

Taking out the onions it actually makes a tasty meal.

Another interesting fact is this that during the war it was illegal to throw away or waste food, this was punishable by a prison term, now look at the unhealthy and wasteful diet we have today. Interesting historical fact that we could learn from.

Proud Vegetarians, in Costume, Take to the Streets
By Cara Buckley for The New York Times on 21 May 2008

There was a parade on Sunday that brought all manner of people who love flora and defend fauna to the city’s streets. It took place in downtown Manhattan and organizers called it Veggie Pride.

The festivities began at noon in the meatpacking district — get it? — and drew about 600 people and at least one vegan dog — Simba, a tofu-fed black Labrador retriever. Some people dressed up as bananas, or heads of broccoli, or pigs or bloodied cows. A police officer, Jim Alberici, who was helping with crowd control, said he did not expect any violence. “Not unless someone shows up dressed as a meat processor,” he said.

No one did.

The parade’s participants wended their way peacefully through Greenwich Village to Washington Square Park, led by a seven-foot-tall pea pod and an outsize carrot, who would later marry onstage in a faux ceremony. A giant pink replica of a human colon, replete with polyps and a sullied colostomy bag, brought up the rear.

“The worst part was Googling images of colons on the Internet,” said the colon’s maker, Dan Piraro, who is also a nationally syndicated cartoonist. He made the colon out of pink netting, plastic ties, bamboo sticks, cardboard, packing material, paint and hot glue, and three people were needed to hold it aloft. Mr. Piraro’s point, of course, was that meat can be harsh on the large intestine.

The parade was the brainchild of Pamela Rice, the author of a widely distributed pamphlet, “101 Reasons Why I’m a Vegetarian.” She was inspired by a similar parade held annually in Paris, and was also driven by the sense that the time for vegetarian pride was nigh. After all, she said, awareness about animal cruelty and the environmental perils of factory farming is spreading, as is the widening realization of the health hazards of meat.

Too often, Ms. Rice said, vegetarianism had been overshadowed by other causes.

“Today’s our day; we wanted to stand apart,” Ms. Rice said. “Apart from the yoga people. Apart from the New Age people. It’s just us today. We usually get the short shrift.”

The parade drew advocates from the United Poultry Concerns (“Dedicated to the Compassionate and Respectful Treatment Of Domestic Fowl”) and the Jewish Vegetarians of North America and members of the Supreme Master Ching Hai International Organization, a spiritual and avowedly vegetarian group. It drew Roni Shapiro, who runs a vegan meal delivery service in Woodstock, N.Y. Ms. Shapiro dressed up as a pig and carried a sign that read, “No I don’t have any spare ribs.” And it drew Rick Panson, who grows “sprouted foods” and showed up wearing a large thatch of wheat grass on his head.

“I’ll juice it later,” Mr. Panson said.

Also in attendance was Bernard Goetz, who embraced vegetarianism around 20 years ago, after he became known as a vigilante for shooting four youths he believed were intent on robbing him on a Seventh Avenue express train in 1984.

Mr. Goetz said he lamented people’s “distant, shallow and bad” attitudes toward animals. “The world is a deader place because of mankind’s relationship with animals,” he said.

Though it was a parade for vegetarians and vegans, some meat eaters quietly joined the ranks. Victoria and Edward Feltz of Hamilton, N.J., walked in the parade with their children, Noah, 1, and Autumn, 3, who were in a double stroller that was strewn with pro-vegetarian signs. “Be kind to little critters,” read one. But while Ms. Feltz is a devout vegetarian, Mr. Feltz is not, and the children eat meat, too. “We fight about it every day,” Ms. Feltz said sadly. Mr. Feltz conceded that he struggled with the animal cruelty issues involved in eating meat. “I’ve given it up for Lent,” he said, a hangdog expression on his face.

Another couple, Lisa Melian and Matt Belluardo, dressed up as bloodied cows, and carried signs that read, “We all bleed red.” Secretly, however, Mr. Belluardo is an omnivore.

“I’m vegan,” said Ms. Melian. “He’s here for support.”

The parade arrived at Washington Square Park about 1 p.m. Vegan jerky sticks were passed about, and a costume competition was held. One of the winners was Bex Vargas, an artist who lives in Queens and was dressed as a head of broccoli. Ms. Vargas, 26, had brought the costume in a bag. Once offstage, she admitted that she was exhausted and yearned to go home, but feared that her costume would invite harassment on the subway. “I don’t know if I’ll even fit through the turnstile,” she said.

Rain began to fall and the crowd started to disperse, yet through the drizzle a long line stretched from Thiru Kumar’s dosa cart, a vegetarian stand that won an award for best street food last year.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, business was decidedly thin at Salem Atwah’s hot-dog stand, on the southwest corner or Washington Square South and LaGuardia Place. Rarely, Mr. Atwah said, had he sold so few hot dogs.

“It’s because of the vegetarians,” he said. “It’s one of my worst days in four years.”

Faux Meat Fake Out on 'Hell's Kitchen'

I don't know how I missed this, but on the last episode of Hell's Kitchen, Chef Ramsay asked the remaining contestants to identify the missing ingredient in three dishes: chicken parmesan, beef stew, and sausage ravioli. Not one of the chefs could identify the missing ingredient in any of the dishes—meat.

That's right, Chef Ramsay replaced the chicken and beef with vegetarian Gardein "meats" (available at Whole Foods deli counters and in California and Arizona as the brand It's All Good), and the sausage with Lightlife's soy sausage. Even Ben, who claims that he has "the best palate in the world," couldn't tell that they were faux meats.

Similar products are available here in NZ in Auckland)

If you're a fan of these products or Morningstar Farms Meal Starter Strips, this probably isn't very surprising to you either, since these products taste great and have a convincing texture. As always, I was amused by the show, but definitely not surprised. You can watch the clip here:

KFCs in Canada to Offer Vegan Chicken!

No joke. You read that title right. As a part of the deal that KFC Canada has just signed with PETA (a.k.a. a huge campaign victory), the chain has agreed to start offering a vegetarian chicken sandwich at 461 of its 711 stores.

The Classic Vegetarian Sandwich, which can easily be made vegan by asking for it in a wrap and with no mayo, should be available sometime in July. I don't have any more details at the moment about which company will be making the vegan chicken or if KFC Canada will do that itself, but stay tuned for updates. Also, I hope that all of you Canadian readers will try it out as soon as it's available and let us know how it is. I personally have never found a vegan chicken I don't like, and I suspect this one will be yummy too.

Read more about PETA's KFC Canada victory here

BBC Newsnight vegetarianism

Radha Mohan das: Please visit this blog and make comments. Last night Nightnight on the BBC discussed the issue of vegetarianism because the issue came up in the UN Conference.
Radha Mohan das
Bhaktivedanta Manor Communications Secretary
07818 815 978 (m)
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Talk about Newsnight
Is it time to turn vegetarian?
3 June 08, 12:30 PM

"The best solution would be for us all to become vegetarians".

So suggested the head of the UN climate agency, Yvo de Boer, who is attending UN-led climate talks in Germany this week. He was responding to criticism that measures to tackle climate change are partly to blame for the rise in food and energy costs. Carbon-cutting biofuels, for example, use food crops to make alternatives to gasoline.

Meanwhile, Patrick Wall, chairman of the European Food Safety Authority, has questioned whether it is "morally or ethically correct" to be feeding grain to animals while people starve. Speaking to the Times, he argued that it's time to end the EU ban on the use of animal remains to feed pigs and chickens. Lifting the ban would allow grain to be diverted to millions of starving people.

And the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation, hosting a much publicised summit in Rome this week, has warned of global catastrophe unless food reaches parts of the world where it is needed most.

So, does the global food crisis demand a radical rethink of how we distribute food? Should we worry less about feeding our animals and prioritise getting grain to people suffering food shortages - even if that affects the availability of meat?

Is it time for us all to become vegetarian? Leave your comments below.

And remember when Ethical Man went vegan for a month to reduce his carbon footprint?
Watch again here: