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Category : Vegetarianism

A Day in the Life of a Vegetarian – The Exponent

Mary Masterson and Emma Davis live their lives as vegetarians. Both are sophomores in college who live on campus. Masterson goes to Baldwin Wallace and Davis goes to Cleveland State University. And each one has a different story to tell about being vegetarian.

So what is a vegetarian? And how is it different from being vegan? Merriam-Webster defines vegetarian as a person who does not eat meat : someone whose diet consists wholly of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and sometimes eggs or dairy products.

It defines vegan as a strict vegetarian who consumes no food (such as meat, eggs, or dairy products) that comes from animals, also : one who abstains from using animal products (such as leather).

Masterson defines being a vegetarian by not eating any fish or meat, but I still eat dairy products and eggs. I also choose not to use animal products like leather. Basically, I try to live as peacefully as I can, and for me that includes not causing any harm to animals.

Davis said they are a vegetarian, as well as a person who tries not to use anything that isnt cruelty free in regards to beauty products.

So even to vegetarians, the line between veganism and vegetarianism is blurred.

Masterson has been a vegetarian for 8 years, since she was 12. While Davis went vegetarian about six or seven years ago.

When asked how this affects her life Masterson said, I think being vegetarian really guides a lot of my moral and ethical decisions and has really changed my viewpoint about life and how I view animals and living things. For where it affects me, I would say that whenever I go somewhere to eat, I have to factor in whether or not I can eat there or if they will be able to make accommodations to the meal so I will be able to eat it.

Davis said, it doesnt affect me particularly on a day to day basis, other than having to be slightly picky whenever there is a group dinner of some kind. It also crops up when people wish to stop for fast food in the car, because salads are not really portable foods.

Masterson added that when I go out to eat with friends or go to a family party I am not always certain that I will have something to eat, and it is frustrating sometimes when my extended family doesnt have options for me to eat anything. It is also difficult because many foods can be easily made vegetarian, but people will still make them with chicken/beef broth or put meat in a sauce dish.

Davis concurs with Masterson, but only finds it difficult because I dont wish to be an inconvenience.

The reasons behind why Davis and Masterson went vegetarian were very similar.

Davis chose this because of my deep love for animals, and prior to going fully vegetarian I didnt eat pork for about five years. I watched and read Charlottes Web as a kid and couldnt fathom eating Wilbur, so I dropped the pork.

Masterson chose to be vegetarian mainly because of the ethics and animal rights component of the lifestyle. I have always cared a lot about animals, and I eventually realized that I no longer wanted to cause harm to them by eating meat because I believe animals are complex and emotional and that they deserve to have safe and happy lives. Additionally, I chose to become vegetarian because of the environmental damage that the meat industry has done, and I believe that being vegetarian is much more sustainable than the corporate meat industry, which has become dominant over many local farmers who do use sustainable practices.

Davis and Masterson then shared some stories about being vegetarian.

Davis said, a horror story of mine is when I stopped eating pork for several years and I was a pre-teen (Im not certain the exact age) and my friends mother who knew I didnt eat pork lied to me and tricked me into consuming pork. I was devastated, and promptly felt sick.

Masterson said, one story that stands out to me is when I was first telling my mom that I wanted to be vegetarian. I remember explaining to her that I was afraid that my dad would be upset that I was going to stop eating meat because when I was at his house he would always cook meat and I remember her saying that he wouldnt be upset that I wanted to take care of animals and couldnt understand why I was worried. After a few minutes of confusion, I eventually figured out that she thought I said I wanted to be a veterinarian instead of vegetarian. After everything was cleared up, it ended up working out fine and my dad actually wasnt upset about it after all.

Surprisingly being a vegetarian doesnt affect Mastersons and Daviss daily routine all that much.

For Masterson, being vegetarian really only affects what I do at meal times because I have to make sure I am getting enough protein and other nutrients, but its not that different than when I ate meat in regards to my daily routine.

Davis said that the only time it really affected them was when I was in high school my mom would text me when dinner was almost ready and then I would make my own vegetarian dish, if whatever she made couldnt have the meat removed easily.

As to how she is coping at BW, Masterson said, it can be difficult sometimes because my options in the dining hall are a lot more limited. Usually there is always a vegetarian option but a lot of times it doesnt have enough protein in it, so I will find myself having to eat other snacks. I really like when tofu is offered as a meal choice because it is more filling and has enough nutrients. In terms of finances, I think for some it may be difficult, especially if you have to buy extra snacks to get protein, and usually those tend to be healthier so they are more expensive, but I have found that it is possible to get cheap foods that are nutritious and filling, but it requires some research and budgeting.

Davis said, in regards to dining at CSU, that being vegetarian as a college student isnt terribly hard because the dining hall always has salad, and often has pasta or tacos as well.

Masterson said, I dont think its that difficult to be vegetarian, I think at the beginning it requires some patience and discipline to keep up with a plant-based diet and not eat meat, but once you get the hang of it, its not that much difficult than any other dietary choice. You also may need to be able to plan your meals in advance in order to make sure youre getting enough vitamins/nutrients and budgeting your shopping plan, but I think that can be said for any diet.

Davis added that you have to make sure to still consume some protein.

Masterson said the benefits [of being vegetarian] are that it makes me feel good that my diet and lifestyle is reflective of the morals I want to live by, and sometimes its a lot healthier than what I ate before being vegetarian. Becoming vegetarian has been one of the most meaningful choices Ive made in my life and Im glad I decided to do it.

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A Day in the Life of a Vegetarian - The Exponent

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A French city announced it would serve meatless school lunches. The backlash was swift. –

The push to end meat consumption has become one of the more urgent causes of our time and one of the most politically fraught. As advocacy against meat-eating has ramped up, with activists and consumers citing its harm to animals, workers, and consumers, so has the backlash. It is the latest flashpoint in what seems to be an all-encompassing culture war.

That wars most recent front: Lyon, Frances third-largest city and the countrys gastronomic capital.

In February, Grgory Doucet, the mayor of Lyon, announced that the citys school cafeterias would temporarily stop serving meat every day. That edict sparked a local backlash. Farmers rolled out tractors to occupy city hall, and government ministers accused the mayor of harming children.

In March, Lyons administrative court dismissed a petition by meat producers, right-wing politicians, and some parents to ban the meatless menu, saying that it doesnt create risks for children. The schools will be serving non-meat dishes (though fish is allowed) until Easter, or even longer.

Those who took issue with the change accused Lyons mayor of pushing his environmental agenda onto kids plates, but he actually had a practical reason to get meat out of the citys 206 schools: to speed up food service and make it easier to comply with social distancing rules during the pandemic. A single meatless dish, the thinking went, would be a compromise to the tastes and beliefs of all be it picky eaters, vegetarians, Muslims, or Hindus.

Despite that rationale, the mayors foray into meatless policy ended up getting sucked into a broader culture war around meat and vegetarianism. This may seem like a very French story, but meat both in France and around the globe is not just food; it is also a powerful cultural force and, as such, can be very divisive.

Last month, when Colorados governor simply suggested residents cut out meat one day in March, state legislators and neighboring governors urged their constituents to eat even more meat. That was just the latest skirmish in a long-running battle in the US over an issue that has become deeply polarized and polarizing.

And now the culture war over meat has broken out in Europe. The Lyon controversy underscores the challenge facing the movement to reform our food system: How do you change hearts and minds when something feels so entrenched in ones cultural identity?

To understand whats happening in Lyon, its important to grasp the role that food and meat plays in French culture.

Food is central to Frances conception of itself, and in Lyon especially, which is home to 17 Michelin-starred restaurants. School cafeterias are thought to have a larger mission than to simply nourish bodies; they exist to create French citizens.

That is the republican dream: the idea that wherever you come from, we can give you the conditions to succeed and the cantine is part of it. Its a place to create equal opportunities, says Romain Espinosa, an economist at the University of Rennes who researches plant-based diets.

The traditionalist viewpoint is that to become truly French, children should learn French food culture at school. Thats why pupils lunchtime is something of a ritual here: a full hour of appetizers, main dishes, desserts, and, yes, cheese platters a far cry from the United States pizzas, burgers, and fries.

In France, children as young as 3 years old participate in cafeteria events where local cheese producers present their various artisanal fromages. They learn about terroir (unique environmental factors influencing the taste of foods) and are introduced to dishes from various parts of France, from Normandy mussels to the bouillabaisse, a fish stew from Provence.

In general, Espinosa says, France, just like Italy and Spain, has a very strong food culture. This is a country where you can find butcher stores that date back to before the American Constitution, a country that awards golden medals, with great fanfare, to not just wines but also baguettes, butters, and sour creams.

Such traditionalism and the culinary habits it breeds has its benefits. The French snack far less between meals than Americans, have lower rates of obesity, and consume far less sugar.

Yet it also has downsides, none more so than a powerful reluctance to any change regarding nutrition meaning reluctance to reducing meat consumption and giving up on traditional meat dishes.

That reluctance was on full display when Lyons mayor announced his plan to make the citys school meals temporarily vegetarian; livestock producers brought along with their tractors cows and goats to city hall, and protested with banners claiming that eating meat is the basis of humanity.

French media exploded with disputes among top government officials: The minister of the interior called the decision an unacceptable insult to French farmers. The minister for ecological transition said the conservative politicians arguments were prehistoric.

The minister of agriculture, Julien Denormandie, called for everyone to stop putting ideology on our kids plates and, instead, feed them meat that they need to grow well. For what its worth, Frances food and environmental agency, ANSES, has stated that eating vegetarian once per week is perfectly fine for children, while the American Dietetic Association says that well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including childhood.

Conservative voices were quick to declare that for children from impoverished families, school lunch is the only chance to eat meat and get enough protein. That might have been correct several decades ago, but today such claims are entirely false, says Laurent Bgue-Shankland, a social psychologist at the University of Grenoble, pointing out that in France low-income households consume more meat than the wealthy. If anything, 98 percent of French kids dont get enough fiber, something that eating more vegetarian foods would help achieve.

The outcry from farmers over Lyons meatless school meals is also, in large part, about social identity, a battle of the city versus the countryside somewhat similar to the urban/rural, liberal/conservative divide in the United States.

In France, vegetarianism and veganism are often portrayed as lifestyle choices of bobos (bourgeois and bohemian): left-voting, well-off urbanites who are thought to misunderstand the realities of rural life. The bobos promotion of vegetarian diets, the thinking goes, isnt just a social and cultural affront it could have material consequences as well, leading French farmers to financial ruin.

This discourse has similar undertones to the 2019 yellow vest protests in France, which started with a proposed fuel tax, seen as particularly unfair to struggling countryside dwellers who rely on cars for commuting, while rich Parisians dont even need cars to get around their city of 302 metro stations.

But these disputes over food arent just happening in France. In Denmark, an initiative to establish two vegetarian days per week in state canteens was scrapped soon after its introduction. In the UK, parents in farming communities destroyed a meat-free Mondays idea in schools.

The US has seen even more of these skirmishes break out, often in explicitly political settings.

In 2018, Sen. Ted Cruz quipped that if Texans elected Beto ORourke, a Democrat, to the Senate, hed ban barbecue. In 2019, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and President Trump sparred over hamburgers amid arguments over the Green New Deal. During Georgias Senate runoff campaign, Republican David Perdue mocked his opponent (and now senator) Jon Ossoff for eating a plant-based burger, saying hed be having Waffle Houses all-star special (two eggs, toast, waffles, grits or hash browns, and your choice of bacon, sausage, or ham), and directly asked Georgians to pick your side.

And last month, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis declared March 20 MeatOut Day, intended to raise awareness of the environmental and health benefits of eating less meat and more plant-based foods. In response, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts declared March 20 Meat on the Menu Day, and Wyomings governor made a similar declaration.

These battles in the larger culture war show that policymakers and advocates should be intentional about how they frame the discussion around meat. While vegetarians and climate activists might be eager to enact broad policies to curb meat consumption, such moves might only backfire and inspire greater opposition given how enmeshed meat is in cultural identity.

An example from a couple of years back is instructive. When in 2019 France introduced an experiment (which ends in October 2021) to offer children a vegetarian option at all school cafeterias, the outcry was not as heated as it is now in Lyon. It was likely because the vegetarian meals were often offered as a choice, and called the green menu to avoid terms like vegetarian or meatless. It worked well: Now, when a vegetarian option is offered, its picked on average by 30 percent of students.

Espinosa suggests that other small nudges along these lines could also be effective, such as offering the vegetarian option before the meat option.

Offering a genuine choice also seems to matter. When the 2019 law was introduced, it was met with opposition in some places because the choices given to children were bland and not particularly healthy omelets with cheese, highly processed soy burgers a poor substitute for Frances usually elaborate lunch dishes. The reason? School cooks didnt know how to prepare meals without meat.

That is now changing. The government started providing recipes to cafeteria chefs and offering training.

Whats working in France aligns with what researchers at the World Resources Institute (WRI), an environmental nonprofit, recommend in order to nudge diners to choose more plant-based foods. WRI has conducted several studies and has concluded that, to no ones surprise, just making the food really delicious is key to getting diners to eat more plant-based foods.

But WRI also recommends creating appetizing dish names, spotlighting the flavor and provenance of a meal, and not labeling it as vegetarian or even as healthy. Think Cuban Black Bean Soup instead of Low-Fat Vegetarian Black Bean Soup.

Nudging our way to a more rational food system may not feel ambitious enough, especially when we consider how big of a role a shift to plant-based foods can play in countering climate change. But heavy-handed policies in that direction also threaten to activate identities around meat-eating, potentially sabotaging those efforts.

That presents a real challenge for climate, animal welfare, and public health advocates, who need to think more about how to sidestep diet-as-identity, rather than stoke it. The recent squabbles in Colorado and Nebraska demonstrate the consequences of failing to account for the role meat plays in culture, especially in such ag-heavy states.

As for Lyon, its unclear whether vegetarian food has survived the culture war, but it has at least survived this recent skirmish.

After the courts decision to uphold Mayor Doucets meatless menu, protests in Lyon fizzled out. The farmers packed up their tractors, goats, and cows and went home, while the media turned their attention elsewhere.

But the children of Lyon are still eating meatless dishes in school every day. This weeks menu includes quenelle, a typical Lyonnaise dumpling with Provenal sauce, with oyster plant au gratin on the side, and honey cake for dessert.

If its as appetizing as it sounds, children can learn that vegetarian food can be delicious, and that a less meat-centric diet need not spell the end of the culture in which they grow up.

Marta Zaraska is the author of Meathooked: The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Year Obsession With Meat and Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100.

Correction: A previous version of this article misidentified the current mayor of Lyon. Grard Collomb left office in 2020; the mayor is now Grgory Doucet.

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France Is Having an Existential Crisis About Giving Up Meat to Save the Planet – VICE UK

French President Emmanuel Macron inspects a cow at an exhibition centre in Paris in February 2020. Photo:LUDOVIC MARIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

PARIS, France Five years on from the Paris Agreement, the first legally binding international treaty on climate change, France has made grand gestures to avert impending ecological disaster.

The French government has recently proposed a ban on short-haul domestic flights, outlawed the heated terraces beloved in Paris, launched a high-profile citizens convention on the climate and is currently debating an amendment to the constitution that would guarantee the preservation of the environment.

But last month when Grgory Doucet, the progressive Green Party mayor of Lyon, announced that school lunch menus offered to some 29,000 Lyonnais children each day would no longer include meat, for many it was a step too far.

Grald Darmanin, the right-leaning French interior minister, said that dropping meat was scandalous and an unacceptable insult to French farmers and butchers that was part of an elitist and moralist policy.

Julien Denormandie, the agriculture minister, called the Lyon mayors introduction of meat-free lunches aberrational from a nutritional point of view and shameful from a social point of view.

Adding to the cacophony of criticism, Bruno Retailleau, president of the right-wing Les Republicains party in the French Senate, described the move as the totalitarian temptation of a current of thought which wants to impose its options on all by force.

Farmers feed cows on the square facing the city hall of Lyon in protest at the mayor's decision to feed kids from vegetarian-only menus. Photo: OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE/AFP via Getty Images)

But not all have been critical of Lyons meat-free policy. Instead fierce political factions have emerged on both sides, underlining the existential crisis that France faces as it attempts to uproot age-old traditions to avoid climatic catastrophe.

The Minister of Ecological Transition, Barbara Pompili, was one of those to hit back. We have fallen into a prehistoric debate, she said. I regret these worn out clichs, such as vegetarian food provides an unbalanced diet, when we know that meat can be replaced by fish, eggs, and vegetables which provide all the necessary proteins. It prevents us having a real debate on why we want to implement vegetarian menus.

That debate, added Pompili, should focus on the fact that livestock is responsible for 15% of greenhouse gas emissions. Frances own Ecological Transition Agency (ADEME) estimates that a meat dish on average requires 137g of CO2 emissions nearly ten times the 15g emitted in producing a vegetarian equivalent.

Leading global authorities have come to a similar conclusion. In a special report published in 2019, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN climate body, found that plant-based diets are a major opportunity for mitigating climate change, and recommended that countries reduce meat consumption.

For Benoit Granier, food expert for the French Climate Action Network, an environmental campaign group, a reduction in eating meat in France will be key to preventing the destruction of the planet.

Its a qualitative and quantitative problem, says Granier. We eat too much meat and too much bad quality meat. Its led to huge deforestation in Latin America. We need to massively reduce consumption of animal products, especially those made with intensive farming practices.

However, Lyon City Hall has played down the climate aspect and insists the decision to drop meat was made to speed up the service in the citys 206 schools to better comply with the pandemics health protocol requirements under COVID-19, which is now entering a deadly third wave across Europe.

We only took the decision to allow the public service to continue, a spokesperson told VICE World News. Children eat more quickly if theres only one choice and thats needed to allow social distancing to be maintained between students.

But critics are doubtful of this explanation and point to the fact that Mayor Doucet pledged in his election campaign last year to offer the choice of a vegetarian menu every day of the week in schools.

A photo shows the aftermath of a protest by farmers in Puy-de-Dome prefecture in Clermont-Ferrand. Photo: BART MAAT/Thierry Zoccolan AFP/AFP via Getty Images

Mlanie Hamon, a lawyer for the Admys-avocats firm, is representing the Departmental Federation of Farmers' Unions (FDSEA) and parents from Lyon in a legal appeal against the decision to temporarily stop serving meat.

The mayor says the reason for not serving meat is because of COVID but he clearly has a political motive, says Hamon, whose emergency appeal was submitted last month. But in any case, we consider it illegal.

The city's administrative court rejected those initial appeals earlier this month, noting that the non-meat menus do not create a health risk for children in terms of an emergency, allowing municipal canteens to continue not serving meat.

But that ruling has not halted the wave of criticism, with some decrying an assault on Frances sacrosanct individual liberty. Pierre Perrin, president of the Rhne regions Butchers Union, told VICE World News the decision to stop serving meat in Lyons cantines is an attack of freedom and that the environmental argument for reducing meat eating was not proven scientifically.

Its more an ideology, he adds. And its wrong. Eating meat is indispensable. Its very worrying. Good food, good living and good eating is part of Lyons culture. Lyon is the capital of French gastronomy.

Analysts say the furore is being framed by some as the latest Anglophone attack on French society and values: from culture wars to culinary wars.

Vegetarianism is seen as an Anglo-American import, says Renan Larue, a French professor at the University of California. Some are trying to make this a question of French identity and ecologists are being accused of betraying French heritage. Its an explosive cocktail.

Larue believes that the framing is down to the fact that France is increasingly being forced to face something of an existential crisis.

Its a particular moment of malaise, because theres a growing feeling of culpability regarding meat-eating in France but many are still attached to this past, he adds. Thats why theres been such a strong reaction.

Others see different factors behind the backlash. lodie Vieille-Blanchard, president of the vegetarian association of France, says that the very influential meat and dairy lobby in France has also played a role in the size of the debacle.

Theres been a historical support for these industries because of it, she says. Lies have been told, a cacophony of them.

But Vieille-Blanchard says that Frances meat consumption has been on the decline for years as attitudes evolve. In 1998, some 93.6kg of meat was consumed on average a year by every French person but that has since fallen to 86.2kg.

Vieille-Blanchard says that Mad cow disease a fatal condition for cattle that led to health problems in adults who consumed affected meat in the 1990s, and a more recent scandal over horse meat discovered in frozen beef lasagnas, have also led to dips in meat consumption.

I believe the decision by Lyon is common sense, she adds. A sustainable diet for the planet is one largely based on vegetable protein.

But while in January, a vegan restaurant near Bordeaux became the first to earn a prestigious Michelin star, only around 2% of French people say they are vegetarian and 0.5% vegan (although 30% say they are flexitarian).

For now, as French parliament this week debates a climate law that could require canteens to serve a vegetarian meal option every day, Lyon City Hall will continue to serve meatless meals. It remains an unpalatable reality for some.

The Interior Ministry and Ecological Transition Ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

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Dietitian to the stars Alvenia Fulton blazed a trail in natural health – Natural Products INSIDER

After finding a solution to her ulcers in raw cabbage juice, Alvenia Fulton started a journey in nutrition and natural healing that included becoming vegetarian, earning degrees in nutrition and doctor of naturopathy, authoring books and newspaper columns, founding a health food store in Chicago and being a nutrition consultant to numerous celebrities in the 1970s.

Fulton was born in Tennessee in 1907 and died in Chicago in March 1999. In between, she discovered and learned about the healing power of plants and vegetarian foods, using her knowledge and experience to help people live healthier lives.

As a child, Fulton learned how botanicals from her local woods could help heal illness and wounds. In the 1950s, she suffered from ulcers. Refusing conventional medicine, she turned to juice made from raw cabbage, on the advice of a physician. This led to her studying nutrition, which culminated in a doctorate from Lincoln College of Naturopathy, Indianapolis.

Fulton adopted a vegetarian lifestyle and relocated to Chicago in the late 1950s, where she started the Better Living Health Club to guide members through weight loss and detox regimens. Then she opened Fultonias Health Food Center on the South Side of Chicago, offering customers nutrition advice, vegetarian food and juices, and assorted health food products. Fultons reputation drew attention and patronage from celebrities such as comedian Dick Gregory, dancer Ben Vereen, singer Roberta Flack, actor Michael Caine, comedian Redd Foxx and basketball star Bill Walton. This earned her the moniker Dietitian of the Stars, especially sought after for her expertise on fasting.

Fulton used the written word to reach many people. Her column Eating for Strength and Health appeared in the Chicago Daily Defender, an African-American newspaper then available in print, now available online. She also authored several books, including The Fasting Primer, Vegetarianism: Fact or Myth? Eating to Live, Radiant Health Through Nutrition, and Dick Gregorys Natural Diet For Folks Who Eat: Cookin With Mother Nature!, which she co-wrote with Gregory.

Fulton went toe-to-toe with conventional doctors and others who challenged her work and positions. Doctors don't bother me, she said, in a 1982 Cleveland Call and Post article, according to a blog posted to the NY Public Library site. Only 28% (of doctors) have had nutrition courses in school. That means 72% know absolutely nothing about what I'm talking about. Besides, I have doctors taking my program.

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Research Radio Ep 14: The Myth of Vegetarianism in India – Economic and Political Weekly

In this episode, we speak to Balmurli Natarajan and Suraj Jacob about the politics of vegetarianism in India.

At best, only three in ten Indians are vegetarians, and more realistically less than two in ten are vegetarians. Yet, India is often portrayed as a land of vegetarians in popular culture. Our guests will probe this representation, and reveal how vegetarianism varies across caste, religion, class, gender, state and time.

We will speak toBalmurli Natarajan and Suraj Jacob about the politics of vegetarianism in India.Dr Jacob is a political economist afliated with Azim Premji University, Bengaluru and Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum. Dr Natrajan is an anthropologist afliated with William Paterson University of New Jersey, United States and Azim Premji University, Bengaluru. We will discuss their EPW articles titled"'Provincialising' Vegetarianism:Putting Indian Food Habits in Their Place" and "Deepening Divides:The Caste, Class and Regional Face of Vegetarianism."

Subscribe to Research Radio to stay tuned to our entire season. Do listen to our previous episodes if you have not already.

1 February 2021

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A definitive examination of plant-based burgers – The Stony Brook Press

Hamburgers: possibly the most American food ever in the popular imagination even if some say it came from German immigrants. Some might even consider it a staple food due to its prevalence across fast food menus. I, a proud American, sadly perpetuate this stereotype.

I love hamburgers. And with the success of Burger King and McDonalds and the ubiquity of burgers at backyard barbecues I am not alone in loving them.

That was why it took me so long to finally commit to becoming a vegetarian about three years ago. The exact reasons why involve podcasts, personal philosophy and maybe a little unhealthy guilt, but these are too complex to explain without their own article. Suffice to say that it was a hard decision to make, in part because of the prospect of forgoing cheap, filling and moderately tasty burgers.

Traditional vegetarian patty sandwich options had always been a part of my diet, like black bean burgers and garden veggie burgers. But to me, they had never actually tasted like the same type of food. I like black bean burgers, but their texture was always more smooth and paste-like than ground beef. The same goes for garden veggie burgers, which are often at their best more sweet than savory due to their corn and carrot components.

For the first couple of weeks of my life as a vegetarian, I was set to never taste what I assumed was the unique savory profile of beef and fish ever again. But then I saw a strange ad at my community college cafeteria asking me to try the Impossible Burger. Alongside claims of carbon footprint reduction, it had a similar promise to a later ad for their Burger King outing: Try it and dont see the difference. And at least for me, I can say that the Impossible Burger did the impossible successfully it made a beef-like burger without any beef. Now, especially after Burger King started selling the Impossible Whopper in New York, I may be eating more burgers than I did before I went vegetarian.

And Im not alone in this. In 2016, a study from the Pew Research Center, about American attitudes towards food, found that nearly one in ten Americans say they are either entirely or mostly vegetarian or vegan. A full 22% of people who said they were focused on eating healthy and nutritious food also said they were mostly vegetarian or vegan. Since then, the market for what marketers call plant-based meat has grown every year, with over $900 million in sales in 2019.

According to registered dietician Jenna A. Werner, who has worked in the field for 15 years, what makes these new plant burgers more beef-like than previous recipes is a variety of vegetarian protein sources instead of just soy- and bean-based products, as were popular in the past, Werner said, in an interview with Brands are using pea and rice for protein, plus fruit and veggie extracts added for color. Impossible Foods even claims that each Impossible Burger uses 87% less water and 96% less land in its production process than an equivalent 4-ounce ground beef patty.

So, with that in mind, I decided to look into how these new burgers stack up against the classics and each other.

How healthy are they?

It is important to remember that the serving size used to give nutritional information varies. For uncooked, pre-packaged patties available at the grocery store, the serving size is one patty, no matter the pattys actual size. For a burger served in a restaurant, the serving size is one whole burger, and includes the bun, seasonings and toppings. A store-bought sesame seed bun alone can add around 90 calories to a meal, and Burger Kings Whoppers openly advertise larger-than-usual buns.

The size of the patty is also not standardized. Most of the beef and plant meat patties Im comparing are 4 ounces (a little over 113 grams), as is industry standard. The more traditional veggie burgers, already marketed to a more health-conscious audience, are slightly smaller. So, keep those two qualifiers in mind calories from non-patty ingredients and unequal serving sizes as you make your choices.

How much will they cost you?

According to Vice News, an average American consumes three hamburgers a week. This average includes people who eat none, as well as people who eat multiple hamburgers every day so the standard deviation may be significant. However, for a simplified exercise, lets assume this subject is a college student who eats some sort of burger three times a week.

That student starts out eating 12 burgers a month. Eight of them may come from a fast food restaurant because who has time to cook? When they have the time available though, theyll grill around four burgers a month, buying a pack of four hamburger buns to eat them with. So, the student starts off paying around $52.50 per month for their burger habit.

Then, the student decides to try out vegetarianism for a while, but doesnt want to give up burgers just yet. The next month, they opt for an Impossible Whopper whenever they go to Burger King and buy Beyond Burgers at the grocery store when they want to grill. Now theyre paying $66.70 per month about $14 more than before.

After budgeting and seeing this increase, the student decides to keep buying vegetarian, but give up on plant-based meat to save money. Buying 12 traditional garden veggie burgers and a pack of 12 buns that month, they only spend a little over $23. However, they will have to choose between a Fieldburgers high sodium content and traditional garden veggie burgers very un-beef-like taste.

But what about the environment?

I had initially thought to compare the carbon footprint of each product the same way I compared everything else in the tables. But as I researched, I realized a single number cannot really represent the complexity of measuring environmental impact.

First off, food transport in diesel-engine trucks between processing facilities, grocery stores and consumers is a major portion of greenhouse gas emissions. So the carbon footprint of a single burger varies wildly depending on the distances between these places not to mention the fuel efficiency of the vehicles used. A single average would be useless information for the environmentally-conscious consumer.

Moreover, the modern plant-based meat movement that actually seeks to prove it can and should replace meat in our diets only really began with the launch of The Impossible Burger in 2016. The research on impact is in its scientific infancy. It will be many years before someone will have enough data to independently determine and compare the effects on the environment.

What is known is that multiple sources have shown that raising cows for slaughter is the most resource-intensive activity in the world food industry so cutting down on the cows we eat might be a good idea. It certainly cant hurt the environment to encourage more legume and soy protein production, but the difference in impact between a veggie burger and plant meat seems small so far.

I would like to give an unequivocal stamp of approval to the plant meat burgers, but I cannot. None of them are noticeably more or less healthy than a beef burger once you add in traditional toppings like mayo, ketchup and onions. It seems that if you want a meaty taste, a burger is always going to be a burger. Its never going to be healthy food.

When it comes to cost, if youre strapped for cash, plant meat is either about as expensive or more expensive than beef. So for low-budget vegans, traditional veggie burgers are the more economical option.

And as for the environmentalism angle that got the industry started, the data linked earlier does indicate that producing less beef would reduce humanitys carbon footprint. However, right now there is still too little data on the difference between the carbon footprint of traditional veggie burgers and plant meat burgers. The global carbon footprint reduction companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat are aiming for would come from more people eating less beef due to their products more meat-like taste, but the plant meat industry is still young with a smaller reach compared to traditional meat suppliers.

Bottom line, The Impossible Burger and its friends are here to stay. And who knows, maybe they will replace meat one day in the far future. Beyond the taste though, there is not much special about them. Theyre neither that harmful nor that healthy, and they are definitely not that cheap. But if you want to reduce your environmental impact without changing your diet, maybe the financial hit is worth it.

I, for one, am still eating them.

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A definitive examination of plant-based burgers - The Stony Brook Press

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

The Paul McCartney song that attacks Donald Trump – Far Out Magazine

Paul McCartney is not the most political songwriter going but he does occasionally dabble in mixing music and politics. On the odd occasion that he has blended these two worlds, his attempts tend to be on the covert side of things. But when he aimed one tune at Donald Trump, the former Beatle didnt try to hide his contempt for the most powerful man in America.

McCartney has always been rather coy about politics; he hasnt aligned himself to one political party and seems not to be a believer in party politics being a force for change, at least publically. Instead, he has used his platform to campaign about issues he duly cares about and believes will make the world a better place. Vegetarianism is a cause that he has famously used his platform for an issue that he thinks will benefit the world in multiple ways, including helping the climate. When Donald Trump dismissed climate change, Macca couldnt bring himself to stand idly by without saying anything.

Speaking toProspect Magazinein 2009, McCartney waxed lyrical about his optimism about President Barack Obama coming into office: This is why a lot of us hope for a change in US politics with the election of Obama. He is the man for the job. I was very impressed by his decision to work on the south side of Chicago after getting his degree rather than take a lucrative job on Wall Street. Im so glad he won. I think he will make a great president.

Obama was someone he had a ton of respect, and he was then replaced by somebody that McCartney never truly aligned with. After keeping his mouth shut on Donald Trump for a while, he channelled his frustration and anger into the song Despite Repeated Warnings which featured on his 2018 albumEgypt Station.

The seven-minute gentle beating of Trump contains lyrics such as despite repeated warnings of dangers up ahead, the captain wont be listening to whats been said, and those who shout the loudest, may not always be the smartest.

Normally I go along taking notice of politics but not really feeling I have to get involved, he admitted to the Evening Standard. But when Trump said climate change was a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, I just thought: Woah, wait a minute. Thats a leader of one of the most powerful countries in the world That just sounds like a mad man. Just like mad talk.'

Expanding on his writing process on the track, McCartney later said: I thought, OK, its a sea captain, and hes steering a boat, and hes gonna to go towards the icebergs, but hes been warned, and hes going because he thinks hes right, and he thinks theyre all making too much of it. The usual arguments, you know.

So thats what its about. Its a sort of story like the Titanic. If theyd have been warned, hey, youre going to sink from icebergs, and if the captain says, Its doesnt matter, itll be fine. So its that, using that kind of idea, so that its a sort of mad, daft captain, and then theres all the people on the boat who know hes got it wrong. So its very symbolic for whats going on in some areas of politics, in my mind.

Climate change is something that McCartney truly cares about and, unlike some of his counterpart, has actually poured time and money into trying to make the world a more sustainable place. To see somebody in a position of power use their status to undo this work and create a darker future for the world was something that McCartney couldnt stand. Whilst Despite Repeated Warnings is far from Maccas magnum opus, it came from the heart and struck a chord that still resonates today.

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The Paul McCartney song that attacks Donald Trump - Far Out Magazine

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Why were Graham Crackers invented? The bizarre origins of the American snack explained – The Scotsman

NewsPeopleThe humble snack is the subject of a curious origin story

Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 11:11 am

In the latest bizarre social media trend users are imploring each other to research why Graham Crackers were invented.

Today, the humble American snack is a key ingredient is a key component of the saccharine dessert smores.

But originally the cracker was created with an entirely different purpose in mind.

Why were Graham Crackers invented?

The sweet flavoured cracker, made from flour, salt, oil, lard and molasses, was inspired by Sylvester Graham, a key figure in the 19th century temperance movement.

Graham encouraged the creation of the famously plain snack with the intention of tempering peoples sexual desires,

He believed that following a healthy, plant-based diet,devoid of pleasure and stimulation was how god intended humans to live. This diet was grounded in the use of bread made from coarsely ground wheat at home.

Graham believed that following such a diet would discourage masturbation, which he believed lead to blindness and early death.

The teachings of Graham would inspire nutritionist John Harvey Kellogg who, along with his brother Will, invented corn flakes. The plain and bland cereal would become a staple of breakfast diets across the world.

Its worth noting that while corn flakes were part of Kelloggs wider call for a plain and bland diet, they were never advertised as an anaphrodisiac.

Who was Sylvester Graham?

A presbyterian minister, Graham emerged as a dietary reformer in the early 19th century.

His calls for a plain and bland diet garnered him many supporters who were known as Grahamites.

Graham is also credited with founding one of the first vegetarianism movements in the United States and is regarded by some as the Father of Vegetarianism.

Alongside a stimulant-free diet, Graham encouraged followers to engage in a comfort-free lifestyle, avoiding warm baths and sleeping on hard beds.

Grahams death in 1851 is subject to much speculation.

Historian Stephen Nissenbaum says that Graham died after violating his own strictures by taking liquor and meat in a last desperate attempt to recover his health".

The New England Historical Society, however, claims that he died after receiving opium enemas on his doctors orders.

Why were Graham Crackers invented? The bizarre origins of the American snack explained - The Scotsman

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

5 Most Ridiculous Myths About Veganism That We Should All Stop Believing In –

Whether youre a vegan yourself or just curious, chances are youve heard about a lot of myths on the subject.

For those of you who may not know, veganism is a way of life that doesnt depend on any kind of animal exploitation or cruelty. This includes everything from the clothes you wear to the food you eat.

Veganism is becoming increasingly popular and this only means that we should all be better informed about it.

From malnourishment to not having enough protein, today, we will debunk the most ridiculous myths about veganism.

This is one of the most common myths about veganism. Veganism is a way of life whereas vegetarianism includes excluding meat from your diet. Veganism is about every little lifestyle choice that you make and vegetarianism is about dietary choices only. More so, meat is not the only thing you exclude from a vegan diet. Things like dairy products and honey are vegetarian but not vegan, because they are procured at the cost of animal cruelty.

Most people believe that because of cutting out dairy and meat, you are cutting out high-protein foods from your diet. While this is absolutely true, you can always look for better alternatives. Legumes, dry fruits, soybean and vegan protein powders are only some of the many vegan protein-rich foods that you can add to your diet.

Well, in a world where a chicken salad is more expensive than a vegetarian salad, veganism is definitely not the most expensive lifestyle. Sure some organic vegetables and products are expensive, but you can always find brands that suit your budget. From giving up leather to excluding meat, veganism is not as expensive as some people believe it to be. More so, it will teach you to be minimal and stop you from spending money mindlessly.

We all have grown up with the knowledge of milk being a complete food. It is a huge part of our lifestyle, which only makes veganism an even more difficult choice. However, there are many alternatives available in the market, apart from soy milk. Theres coconut milk, almond milk, hemp milk, cashew milk and rice milk, to name a few.

If that was true, the diet wouldnt be recommended by so many professionals for boosting immunity and heart health. Like every other diet, there are a lot of factors that go into deciding whether or not its healthy for your body. As long as you make sure to research well and plan a diet that suits your personal needs, you have nothing to worry about.

Whether youre planning to try veganism or have already made the switch, you need not believe in any of these myths. After all, its a lifestyle choice that many people follow without any such complaints.

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Photo: iStock (Main Image)

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5 Most Ridiculous Myths About Veganism That We Should All Stop Believing In -

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Rep. Jamie Raskin On The Life And Legacy Of His Son, Tommy Raskin – NET Nebraska

By the age of 25, Thomas Bloom Raskin had already accomplished a great deal: He was a graduate of Amherst College, who went on to intern at the Cato Institute and J Street among other prominent organizations; a passionate vegan who wrote philosophical defenses of animal rights and converted those around him to giving up meat; a political writer who had essays published in The Nation and elsewhere; and a law student and teaching assistant at Harvard Law School, who donated from his teaching salary to charities in his students' names.

Tommy, as his father Jamie Raskin calls him, was also tormented by depression. Tommy Raskin took his own life on Dec. 31.

"Tommy was remarkable from the beginning," Jamie Raskin tells NPR's Scott Simon. "He had a photographic memory, and like some other kids in our family, knew all the presidents and vice presidents in order. But it wasn't his mind that marked him as so extraordinary. It was his heart. The stories of his love and compassion are absolutely astounding."

Jamie Raskin, a Democrat from Takoma Park, represents Maryland's 8th Congressional District in Congress.

Tributes to Tommy have poured in in the past days.

A neighbor wrote to the Raskin family about a time that Tommy organized a group dinner in high school when he learned that one of his classmates didn't have a date to the prom, so that the boy wasn't left out. The classmate never forgot it.

"We've been hearing stories like this ever since it happened," Rep. Raskin tells Weekend Edition. "I mean, Tommy, he felt all of the pain and the suffering in the world, which is how, of course, he found his way quickly to vegetarianism. Nobody in our family was a vegetarian and now everybody is."

Tommy wrote at length about philosophy and animal rights; he thought about how human lives should be measured against those of animals and animal suffering. He wrote poetry. Speaking at D.C. VegFest in 2017, he recited his lengthy poem "Where War Begins." An excerpt:

"When it comes to the right to live free from the blight

of aggression, oppression, from tyrannous might,

how smart you are friends shouldn't matter at all;

trauma is still trauma for the creatures that crawl."

Animal Outlook, where Tommy interned, called him a "dynamic force for good in this world, driven to expose, challenge and uproot all forms of injustice, including the suffering forced upon animals." He worked as a summer associate at Mercy for Animals, which wrote that his "kindness, passion, & empathy inspires our continued advocacy & remains in our hearts."

His love for animals was perhaps most challenging at home though: Tommy was allergic to dogs and cats.

"We are a very big dog family," Jamie Raskin says. So Tommy "had a special relationship with them. He would take Benadryl or whatever to be around them. And he would pet them sort of by gently touching the very top of their heads. And he would say, 'Potter, Toby, you're such a fine sentient being.' "

By multiple accounts, that kindness toward sentient beings included people.

"He held a rare level of empathy and compassion," writes Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies, where Tommy interned. Out of all of the group of interns, "somehow he was the one who took responsibility for making sure everyone was doing okay, that no one felt left out, that everyone was connected."

Jamie Raskin says, "You couldn't be in his presence and say a negative thing about people. He didn't mind gossip if it was good gossip. [But] if it was nasty, Tommy would say, 'Excuse me, but it's hard to be a human.' And then that would be the end of that."

In his 20s, Tommy began seriously suffering from depression, his parents write in a remembrance. It was "a kind of relentless torture in the brain for him" that became "overwhelming and unyielding and unbearable."

Depression affects hundreds of millions of people around the world and is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. It increases the risk of suicide. Most of the people who die by suicide have had a mood disorder such as depression.

The pandemic has exacerbated the problem. A study published in September found the percentage of people experiencing symptoms of depression was three times the number from before the pandemic.

The Raskin family has now created the Tommy Raskin Memorial Fund for People and Animals. And hundreds of people are sharing good deeds they've done in his name, as The Washington Post reported.

Jamie Raskin received a standing ovation when he spoke during debate Wednesday over the Republican effort to overturn Joe Biden's electoral win. He says he was heartened by words of support from fellow lawmakers of both parties, on the same day he had to evacuate the chamber because of a violent mob takeover.

"That has been a solace and a comfort to me that at this time of the ugliest possible division where we've got a violent, seditious mob invading the Capitol, that there is still enough decency and humanity that we can share each other's pain in this situation," Raskin tells Weekend Edition.

Going forward, Raskin says his family "will keep Tommy very close to our heart. And we will fight for every single thing he asked us to." He says Tommy knew that "the things that we say are our values and principles ... only have meaning if we act as if they're true, if we make them real. And so we can't let them be empty rhetoric."

Samantha Balaban and Kitty Eisele produced and edited the audio interview.

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Rep. Jamie Raskin On The Life And Legacy Of His Son, Tommy Raskin - NET Nebraska

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