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Archive for the ‘Irritation’ Category

I’m not sure what the hell is going on in this country but I’m starting to get pissed off.  Well, I’ve been pissed off.  I’m starting to get pissed off enough to do something.  Or at least try.  I think that’s the problem with this place.  We the people have the ability and numbers to make a difference but none of us, aside from Michael Moore, feel empowered enough to do so.  For example, I just found out last night that I can actually go and speak with my state senator face to face, or call him on the phone.  I’ve never thought I was allowed to do that.

You know I watch movies like Food Inc. and Forks Over Knives and I get so irritated and outraged and even scared about what’s happening to America that I just can’t believe what I’m seeing.  I think everybody in America should watch Food Inc, but most of the people who really need to see it won’t ever pick it up.  We are numb to our political environment and how it’s slowly poisoning us.  I’m not the person who needs to be informed about our food supply, yet I’m the only type of person that goes to see these informative documentaries.  I already know they’re contaminating everything we eat.

Did you know that in most countries in Europe GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) aren’t legal?  You can’t scientifically engineer corn and sell it to the masses.  You can’t feed it to cows so that you don’t have to make sure they have grass to eat.  You can’t make a chicken grow 5 – 10 times the normal rate, and size.  You can’t strip natural cane juice out of every thing in the supermarket and replace it with high fructose corn syrup.  But in the USA, you have to read the label of every damn thing you buy to make sure that it doesn’t contain something that one day might give you cancer.  But the labels aren’t even truthful.  Trans fat, for example, is the worst fat out there.  McDonald’s even brags about not using the crap.  But the FDA doesn’t necessarily make manufacturers put it on the label if it’s below 0.5 grams per serving.  That’s right, it will say ZERO but still be there.  The only way to avoid it is to not buy anything with partially hydrogenated fats in it.

The other day my husband posted a link on Facebook talking about GMO’s.  Evidently the government doesn’t think that needs to be on a label either, even though most of us, even the perceived non-concerned people, are scared of them.

And once you get past the actual ingredients in the food itself (most of which you can’t even pronounce) you see a little blurb that says, “BHT added for freshness.”  What is that?  I don’t pretend to be a scientist but it’s some sort of antioxidant that keeps foods fresh, among other things.  The problem is that its safety to our health is still being debated.  I had a friend in Arkansas years ago who told me she won’t buy anything with BHT in it.  I hadn’t even heard of the stuff at that time.  You can basically find it in almost any non-organic boxed food you find on the shelves.  I haven’t been checking the organic boxes though, so maybe I need to.

Companies like Monsanto are taking over are food sources.  Something about farmers being forced to use specific seeds….  Seems a little wonky to me.  And supposedly there has been more biotech crops approved in the last few weeks that we should all be concerned about.

Anyone with open eyes can see that something is awry in this country.  Look at the skyrocketing levels of Diabetes.  According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million Americans have diabetes and 79 million have prediabetes.  That’s a lot of freaking people.  They also say that the cost of diabetes in 2007 was $174 million.  I guess we can all debate the cause of diabetes, and there is likely more than one culprit, but I’d be willing to bet that a good deal of it can be attributed to the crap we are feeding ourselves.  How many millions of people eat McDonald’s food every day?  What about Burger King?  Wendy’s?  KFC?  Taco Bell?  Jack in the Box?  Sonic?  I could go on.  This food is not made to nourish your body.  It’s made to fill you up momentarily and then leave you wanting more.  Did nobody watch Supersize Me?  We are training our children to be addicted to junk food – something that one day just might kill them.  If I were a parent I wouldn’t want that on my conscience.  But that’s just the problem isn’t it?  We don’t think about it.  And when our kids die of obesity or cancer or some other yet to be known result of the shit in our food system we won’t point the finger at ourselves; we’ll find somebody else to blame.

It makes me really sad when I see an 8 year old kid walking down the street that weighs more than me.  Children should NOT be obese.  How can we set a child up to fail so early in life?  How do we not draw a connection with what we put in our bodies to what happens afterward?  Cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease – these things shouldn’t be such a big problem in our country.  But they are.  And I think it’s directly linked to our food.

You know, I’m really sick and tired of going to the grocery store and not being able to afford the organic food and being too scared to buy the non-organic food.  And even when I do buy the organic food I have to check the country of origin because most of what I see comes from Mexico.  Not that I have anything against Mexico, I don’t, but I hear they have no regulations or very slack regulations when it comes to food production.  How do I know that banana is really safe for me to eat?  Is it really organic or did Dole just stick a cute little “Organic” sticker on it?  I shouldn’t have to be leery of anything in a Kellogg’s box.  I should be able to buy a box of crackers without scouring the label for hydrogenated fats and potentially poisonous preservatives.  I should be able to buy a single organic bell pepper for less than what Joe Schmo down the street is paying to get a super value meal.

I got married recently.  Not that we are going to have some kiddos right away or anything, unless the government succeeds at stripping the funding from Planned Parenthood of course.  Did you hear about Planned Parenthood?  The Grand Ole Party thinks they aren’t necessary.  Not only will they NOT let us have universal health care (which should be a basic human right) they don’t want the people who help all the women without health insurance – like me – to be able to help anymore.  A lot of people in, dare I say, God’s country see Planned Parenthood as a death camp for unborn children.  While yes, they help women in trouble deal with the problem in that way if they see fit, but they do a lot more.  Birth control is vital.  Annual check ups and pap smears are pretty damn important too.  If I get a urinary tract infection, guess where I’m going to go?  That’s right, Planned Parenthood.  It’s the only place a job seeking, loan burdened college student like myself can afford to get health care.  But the Republicans think it’s unnecessary.  I’d say that if they are looking for some extra cash perhaps they can address the outbreak of diabetes in this country – that might put $174 million back in their pocket.  If you disagree with them please go to this page and sign the letter to urge congress to pull their heads out of their asses.

So what happens when one day my husband and I have children?  What will I feed them?  I couldn’t live with myself if I gave them the crap that everyone is feeding their kids right now.  I joke about wanting my kids to be born in another country, but I’m not so sure that’s really a joke anymore.  I want my kids to grow up feeling safe about eating an apple or spinach.  I don’t want them to have to check the country of origin on every banana or tomato.  I don’t want them to be exposed to this fast food nation that cares more about its bottom line than the health and well-being of all those contributing to it.  I don’t have all the answers or even half of the facts.  But I am going to start finding them and start bitching to somebody that can hopefully start doing something more than sit on their ass and let everything go to the dogs.  I encourage you to do the same.

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The vegan club evidently has a strict “all or nothing” policy and since I do not fall into this “all” category I am evidently not vegan.  At all.  Not even an inkling.  Assolutamente niente.  At least not as far as some vegans are concerned.  For some odd reason I had it in my head that people who care about the earth, about animal cruelty, etc, you know – vegan people, were kind, considerate, understanding, and accepting.  For it seems to me they were/ are people who have seen the larger picture and thus live in somewhat of an, I dare say it, enlightened state.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I never thought they were all miniature Buddhas running around smiling at everyone, but at least smiling a little.  And I never thought them to be so critical and exacting a demographic as a few of its members are now pointed out to me to be.

There’s this nice vegan lady in New York City who likes to cook and blog about it.  I read her blog quite often (as you should too as she does a damn fine job).  Well lately she’s taken to posting some “how-to” sort of posts for people interested in/ currently making the transition to the big V who need some help and encouragement.  Which is splendid because some people are frightened at first as they think their whole gastronomic world is coming to a screeching halt.  Well, the other day she posted a “How Vegan Are You?” post which simply discussed some of the not blatantly obvious un-vegan items, such as white sugar, honey, shoes, etc.  Ok.  Fine.  So at the end of the post she asks “How vegan are you?” and invites you to comment.  I commented.  A couple other people commented.  I went to sleep.  Went to school the next day.  And just after dinner I retook my seat in front of my PC and thought I’d go have a look-see and find out what other people had to say.  &*^$((@%($()#)  Evidently during the interim from when I placed my comment and coming back again she received a whole rash of comments, mainly between a couple people, that weren’t exactly of the peaceful disposition I thought vegans would, in general, have; at least in regard to veganism and others interested in it.

These comments were rude, chiding, spiteful, mean, and quite frankly unacceptable.  It’s one thing to voice your opinion, as everyone is entitled to one, but it’s a whole other ball of wax to open fire on someone, especially one of your own.

I’m not typing this all out to point fingers or get the last word.  I’m typing this because this sort of elitist “all or nothing” attitude towards veganism is likely something that scares people away from it.  While it would be grand if we all just stopped eating meat one day, it would at least make a difference if lots of people just cut some of it out of their diet.  You know, a penny saved is a penny earned sort of thing – a steak not eaten is a cow that’s alive and water and grain that’s not being wasted and kids in remote countries that get to eat now…  We shouldn’t all get carried away with trivial issues like one’s definition of veganism versus another, or one’s reasons for living vegan are better than somebody else’s, or that you shouldn’t label yourself a vegan if you happen to have one piece of clothing in your apartment that wasn’t made in an animal friendly fashion.

When I decided to be a vegan it was on a whim.  It was because I’d been playing around with the idea of vegetarianism and stinking Google posted a PETA ad on my screen one day that I happened to click on.  Two words for you: factory farming.  Yuck!  So I changed my lifestyle, for the most part.  I didn’t go into veganism with an all or nothing attitude and I still don’t see it that way.  I don’t think anything is ever black and white and certainly not something that has such a profound impact on your life and its quality.  To each their own is all I think anyone can ask for something such as this.

So, if you’re out there and you’re considering hugging a cow versus cutting one, don’t feel like you have to do it all at once.  Don’t feel like you have to follow a strict code of conduct.  Do what you feel is right for your life and your values.  And ignore those inconsiderate nincompoops who tell you it’s their way or the highway; they don’t represent the whole of the vegan community.

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I recently learned that Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese isn’t exactly “better.” Most of their varieties have trans fat in them.  Shocking, I know.  I typically scour the labels of most food products I buy but sometimes I get lazy, and almost trusting, with certain vegan foods because for some reason I feel like they are safe.  Wrong!  Even though their website quite clearly says that there is no trans fat in their cream cheese, the tub sitting in my fridge (about to be relocated to my recycling bin) quite irrefutably says “Trans fat 2g.” I also just returned from a trip to the grocery store where I perused all the varieties of this stuff; they all have trans fat in them except the one tub that is NOT made from partially hydrogenated soybean oil.  I’m emailing Tofutti, if I hear anything I’ll let you know.  If they absolutely have to have the crap in their product, ok it is what it is but why lie about it??

Trans fat is so “good” for you the city of New York has already banned it.  This bad fat can increase bad cholesterol, cause heart disease and stroke, and contributes to diabetes (and likely other issues).  Evidently products claiming to have zero grams of trans fat per serving may indeed have up to 0.49g, so stay away from anything that contains partially hydrogenated oil in it.  Some info can be found at The American Heart Association and also simply by googling “trans fat.”

There are recipes out there for homemade vegan cream cheese.  I’ve tried two of them and while they taste ok they don’t do well in vegan cheesecake.  I am referring to this one and this one.  If you find one that works well in cheesecake, please let me know.  Otherwise, make sure you spend the extra 20 cents or whatever it is in your neck of the woods and buy the non-hydrogenated tofutti, your heart will thank you.

Update 9/10/09: Tofutti’s explanation for the discrepancy in website versus packaging information: “Sorry Amber, we have several errors on our website that we are in the process of fixing. The packaging has the correct information.” Kind of boggles the mind how they can accidentally enter “0” instead of “2” for the trans fat content of every item on their website…

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Be nice to us peds (and cyclists).  I know we’re irritating because we walk so slowly across the crosswalks, and those five seconds you have to wait before turning really wreck your entire day; but it’s because of us irritatingly slow walkers that the gas you put into your $30,000 Acura is as cheap as it is.  And it’s too because of us that your children have a smidgen up hope for a green planet when they reach adulthood.

So, while you’re in a hurry to get your nails done or dry cleaning picked up, remember it takes us environmentally concerned folk a hell of a lot longer to get somewhere and you should be gracious and let us cross the street before you vroom your engine up and turn the corner before we can put two feet down on the pavement, especially in light of a minor detail called “right of way.”  I’d rather you not run over me, as I’m sure you’d rather not dent your shiny car with my body.

Sincerely,

a person who Goes by Foot

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Does anyone else think it’s super creepy how the internet stalks you these days?  I go to a website in search of a kitchen cart.  Next thing I know half the ads I see everywhere are for that store.  I was recently looking for a new phone from Verizon – I’ve been seeing Verizon ads for a solid month now.  I looked (just once several weeks ago) at Godiva’s website trying to find nutrition information and I am STILL getting Godiva ads.  I perused the P90X website and now I get a plethora of “tricks to shrink belly fat,” “one rule to a flat stomach,” and more ads of the like, constantly.

Not only is it super flippin irritating seeing the same flippin ads every single day, but what the hell else are they doing with all this information?  You used to not be able to leave your house without somebody being able to know where you are and what you are doing.  Now you can’t even stay inside your house and retain any privacy.  I’m not doing anything super secret over here, but just wonder where the tailored internet marketing tactics will end.

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and that is an indicator of how my Monday is going.

I don’t have time to type but in case anyone out there is waiting with bated breath for me to post something new, voila!  I’ll hopefully have some time this week to concoct something for which to transcribe here, so stay tuned.  I spent last week galibanting about Honolulu (to explain a portion of the reason for why I haven’t posted anything).

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Really Crappy Food

This is the type of food that gives vegan food a bad rap.  I was a little hungry after lunch today so I ventured to the little market inside SMSU (at PSU campus) to get a snack.  Bad idea.  I should have gone with the scrumptious cookie I knew would have tasted good, or down to the Food for Thought Cafe.  Cardboard tastes better than these things, not to mention the consistency resembled crumbled up dog food.  Fellow vegans, if you’re hungry and want a snack, I’d recommend you munch on a tree leaf prior to buying one of these disastrous concoctions.

Now some might say, “but they’re healthy for you. Healthy food tastes bland.”  Wrong!  I cook healthy vegan food all the time.  There is no need for it to taste like crap.

I’m not one to give bad reviews by the way; if you look at the rest of my blog you’ll realize this is the first.

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