Tag Archives: Eat less meat!

Too many American schools are still flunking lunch!

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This summer the City of Worcester ran a kick-ass summer lunch/snack program for low-income/hungry kids at our parks – the USDA’s national Summer Food Service Program! This blue bus (pictured above) could be seen rolling down our city streets, even making stops at our branch libraries! … School’s begun! Hola, Ms. Lunch Lady! Unlike lots of school districts, the Worcester Public Schools work to incorporate fresh veggies and fruits into students’ meals – at every grade level! AND EVERY STUDENT CAN GET A FREE LUNCH! Go, WPS, go!!! – Rosalie T.

By Heather Moore

I don’t care what kids say — the school lunch lady is not trying to kill them. The federal government is. Well, I have my suspicions, at least. Many of the meals served as part of the National School Lunch Program are high in fat and cholesterol and contain considerably more sodium than fiber. They’re a heart attack in the making. I wonder if that’s why the American Heart Association has warned us that atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries — begins in childhood and progresses into adulthood, at which point it can lead to coronary heart disease.

Most American schools serve the same artery-clogging meals that were served when I was a student, and frozen meals still had to be baked in the oven. How can we expect students to take a health teacher’s “healthy eating tips” seriously when their school cafeteria is serving unhealthy foods?

Salisbury steak, pepperoni pizza and chicken nuggets need to go the way of film projectors and hand-crank pencil sharpeners. And fast-food corporations should also be expelled from schools — or at least suspended until they serve more plant-based meals.

As Dr. Neal Barnard, the president of the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, says, “Fresh produce, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds are nutritional powerhouses that study after study has shown to be quite literally lifesaving .… [D]iets high in animal protein are associated with a fourfold increase in the chance of dying from cancer or diabetes — making heavy meat and dairy consumption just as dangerous as smoking.”

Responsible parents teach their children not to smoke because cigarettes cause cancer and other health problems. For the same reason, they should make sure their kids don’t get hooked on hamburgers and other unhealthy foods. Let’s put more emphasis on teaching children to eat vegan meals — at school and at home. Kids will gladly eat plant-based meals, such as pasta, veggie burgers and black bean chili, if they’re delicious as well as nutritious.

Knowing this, the Coalition for Healthy School Food created the Cool School Food program to develop, test and implement plant-based meals in school cafeterias. The program — which helped two public schools in New York implement the first entirely plant-based school menus in the U.S. — aims to make it fun and exciting for young people to try new foods and learn about their health benefits.

Food Is Elementary, another school program that was recently featured in VegNews magazine, is also working to introduce children to plant-based foods, which the kids prepare and eat as part of a curriculum established by the founder of the Food Studies Institute, a New York-based nonprofit that helps school cafeterias incorporate low-fat, high-fiber foods into their menus.

We need more programs like these. Students are fed up with the unappetizing, inhumane and potentially disease-promoting fare that passes as lunch in many school cafeterias. Last year, students at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Chicago boycotted school lunch in an attempt to persuade officials to serve healthier meals, including more fresh fruit and vegetables.

That’s hardly an unreasonable request. The school cafeteria is supposed to be a source of nourishment, not disease. This year’s National School Lunch Week, which will be observed in October, aims to remind “parents, students and school officials that a healthy lunch helps students power through the day!”

But how can we expect kids to make it through the day — and learn compassion and empathy — if they’re eating unhealthy animal-based foods? We need to teach children that “v” is for vegan and serve them healthy, tasty, cruelty-free plant-based foods.

Are meat-eaters selfish?

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Tropical veggie bean burger and mac salad. By eating less meat you help curb global warming.

By Michelle Kretzer
 
We all ponder the question, “Am I selfish?” from time to time. And the answer is simple: Yes, probably. If you claim to care about the environment, animals, world hunger, skyrocketing healthcare costs or pretty much any of the major crises that we face today but are still eating meat, then yes, you are selfish.
 
Because we could drastically slow down climate change, feed the entire booming population, fix the broken healthcare system and save millions of lives right now if we wanted to. But we don’t. Not enough anyway. I mean, sure, we want to solve those problems. But … bacon.
 
Researchers from Oxford University’s Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food just published the results of their study on the impact of the meat industry on the environment and our health. 
 
They found that if the human population made a global shift toward the dietary recommendations that we hear at least once a week about eating the minimum suggested amounts of fruit and vegetables, limiting red meat and sugar, and cutting overall calories, we could cut food-related greenhouse-gas emissions by 29 percent. That number jumps to 63 percent for a collective shift toward vegetarian eating. And if everyone on Earth went vegan, we could slash food-related greenhouse-gas emissions by 70 percent.
 
Simply following health recommendations to eat more plants and less meat could also prevent 5.1 million deaths by 2050. And if everyone chose vegan foods, we could save the lives of 8.1 million people. Healthy plant-based eating could save us $700 billion to $1 trillion every year on health care and lost working days. And the economic savings of significantly cutting our greenhouse-gas emissions could be as much as $570 billion. 

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Their results mirror the findings of pretty much every food study ever.
 
According to the filmmakers behind the documentary Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, “Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean ‘dead zones,’ and virtually every other environmental ill. Yet it goes on, almost entirely unchallenged.”

The meat industry wastes a tremendous amount of water at a time when waging war over fresh water is no longer seen as a movie plot but as a very real threat. Animals raised for food are the primary consumers of water in the U.S., and if the rest of the world ate America’s meat-heavy diet, the Earth would have run out of fresh water 15 years ago.
 
Turning animals into meat is also a grossly inefficient use of other limited resources. It takes up to 13 kilograms of grain fed to farmed animals to produce just 1 kilogram of meat for the world’s wealthiest citizens. With 795 million people currently going hungry, the only way to produce enough food, according to Worldwatch Institute, is “to cut back sharply on meat consumption, because conversion of grazing land to food crops will increase the amount of food produced.”
 
Every day, one vegan saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forest, 20 pounds of greenhouse gases and an animal’s life.
 
By saving the Earth and animals, we also save ourselves. Numerous health studies have found that vegetarians and vegans enjoy lower rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, strokes, obesity and Alzheimer’s as well as lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and better overall health.
 
So, are you selfish? Think about it as you head off to fry some bacon … and the planet.

Easter brunch goody goody yum yums (as in no animals were killed to make these Easter treats!)

From PETA.ORG:

“Bacon,” Potato, and Green Onion Frittata!

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4-5 green onions, chopped with the green and white parts separated
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium potatoes, shredded
2 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp. pepper, divided
2 lb. firm tofu
2-3 Tbsp. soy sauce, to taste
4 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
2-3 Tbsp. faux bacon bits (try Bacos)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and the white part of the green onions and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and heat for another 30 seconds.

Increase the heat to medium-high and add the potatoes, 1 tsp. of the salt, and 1/4 tsp. of the pepper.

Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, flipping the potatoes regularly until they are well-browned.

Blend the remaining salt and pepper, the tofu, soy sauce, and nutritional yeast in a food processor until they are creamy. Fold in the faux bacon bits, the green part of the green onions, and the fried potatoes and pour the mixture into a large, oiled pie or tart pan. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the center is firm.

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Allow the frittata to cool for 10 minutes then invert it onto a serving plate.

Makes 6 servings

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Breakfast Crème Brûlée! (you may want to increase this recipe fourfold – at the very least! – for Easter Brunch!)

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This recipe comes from Jerry James Stone of CookingStoned.tv.

Ingredients:

2 cups water
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup unsweetened berries
1/4 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup dried berries
1/4 cup maple syrup (optional)
2 Tbsp. brown sugar

Bring the water to a boil and add in the oats and salt. Reduce to a low simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let sit covered for 2 minutes.

Divide the unsweetened berries (we used frozen as fresh are not in season yet here), nuts, dried berries, and oatmeal between two ramekins.

Top with the maple syrup, followed by the brown sugar.

Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and put in the broiler on high for about 5 minutes, making sure that the crème brûlée doesn’t burn.

Serve warm and enjoy!

Makes 2 servings