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   PastimesVegetarians Unite!

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To: blind alley racer who started this subject5/10/2003 5:37:40 PM
From: blind alley racer
   of 2061
Vegan Chocolate

Product Reviews:

I recommend the "Hawaiian Heaven"

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To: blind alley racer who wrote (666)5/10/2003 8:34:10 PM
From: SIer formerly known as Joe B.
   of 2061

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To: SIer formerly known as Joe B. who wrote (667)5/12/2003 1:47:42 PM
From: blind alley racer
   of 2061
Yeah man!



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To: blind alley racer who started this subject5/14/2003 12:35:51 PM
From: AugustWest
   of 2061
(COMTEX) B: Obesity treatment costly in US

WASHINGTON, May 14, 2003 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The treatment of obesity costs
the United States as much as 93 billion dollars annually, and the government
pays about half of that amount, according to a federally funded study published

This is the highest estimate yet of the medical costs of overweight and obesity
in the United States. It is comparable to the annual medical bill for smoking,
which was estimated at about 76 billion dollars a few years ago.

The study by three economists, funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, affirms what many doctors have long asserted, that obesity is a
major factor in America's rising health care costs and that obesity should be
targeted as aggressively as smoking, the authors said.

Almost 65 percent of people in the US are either overweight or obese. Overweight
is defined as roughly 10 to 30 pounds over a healthy weight; obesity is 30 or
more pounds over. People who weigh too much are at an increased risk of heart
disease, diabetes, many types of cancers and other illnesses.

Overall, the annual medical cost for an obese person is about 37.7 percent more,
or 732 dollars higher, than the cost for someone of normal weight, the study

"Obesity is something as costly to society as smoking, yet the government and
private health insurers have done very little to reduce obesity rates," said
Eric Finkelstein, one of the lead authors and a health economist at RTI
International, a nonprofit think tank in North Carolina.

Copyright 2003 XINHUA NEWS AGENCY.


*** end of story ***

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To: AugustWest who wrote (669)5/15/2003 5:39:57 PM
From: blind alley racer
   of 2061
Cheese Substitutes, Non-dairy cheese for the lactose intolerant cheese lover

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To: blind alley racer who wrote (670)5/15/2003 6:06:48 PM
From: SIer formerly known as Joe B.
   of 2061
If you're a vegan you gotta be careful with those. Some of them contain casein.

I tried going vegan twice and both times I got really sick around the 3rd week. Currently I eat about 12 oz. of cheese a week, 4 oz. of cottage cheese, 4 oz. of fresh mozzerella and or feta and 4 oz. total between cheddar, swiss, provalone, mozzerella and grated locatelli romano. How about you?

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To: SIer formerly known as Joe B. who wrote (671)5/15/2003 7:36:45 PM
From: blind alley racer
   of 2061
I do eat cheese on occasion, but I am giving this soya cheese a chance...


How can one live without feta?



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To: blind alley racer who started this subject5/15/2003 7:38:11 PM
From: blind alley racer
   of 2061
A Carnivore Finds Joy, Meatlessly

May 14, 2003


THERE is a Graham Greene play, "The Potting Shed," that tells the angst-ridden story of the impact on an atheistic family when one of their number has a religious vision, followed by a stunned conversion, in the shed of the title. The fear and tension of a family whose scornful disbelief is so suddenly shot to pieces resounds particularly with me, for I have a concomitant fear. My almost unutterable nightmare is this: One day I could wake up and find myself a vegetarian.

I have nothing against vegetarians. I love vegetables. But as an eager eater, I would find it a cruel blow not to be able to eat meat. And as a cook, I would feel like a painter who suddenly finds most of the colors taken away from her palette.

Of course, there is a lot to be said for limitations. At times when I have felt particularly saddled with them, I turn brave and chipper and try to convince myself that cooking, when you come to think of it, is not unlike writing a sonnet: the art lies in the constraints.

And thus it can be done. For me, a dinner party is just the evening meal you cook for your friends while in an expansive mood. And this is a meal I would happily make for mine, regardless of dietary requirements.

You do not have to be a vegetarian to appreciate the pleasure to be gained from dipping raw vegetables into untraditionally lemony guacamole, followed by a fragrant bowl of pasta with a sauce of the best tomatoes, with some striped ribbons of grilled zucchini on the side. For dessert, you'll have a sugar-dusted pyramid of ricotta fritters.

Anyone who doesn't want to eat this doesn't deserve dinner in the first place.

My difficulties with vegetarianism — if that's even what they should be called — are not political in the least. Apart from the fact that for me, any sort of deprivation breeds obsessive greed, I feel there is a more complex problem at hand: While it is easy to eat well as a vegetarian, it is bitterly hard to create a fabulous, whole meal without flesh, fish or fowl to augment the greens. The issue is not taste, but texture.

Whenever I want to make a real, three-course dinner party with full and frank vegetarian appeal, I can feel the menu skittering off balance. True, there are more varieties of vegetable than there are of meat, but there are precious fewer textures.

This is not an insurmountable problem, though, as I hope this week's menu reveals. You just have to work harder. And by work harder, I mean strive for lighter effect. In this regard, the season makes things easier. Even a full-on dinner party this time of year doesn't have to be a heavy-duty number.

It's no coincidence, I suppose, that the dishes have an Italian accent. They may have relatively few vegetarians in Italy, but Italians have a way with vegetables that ensures their mainstream position without special pleading.

That said, I admit my Italianified guacamole is a stretch: I've never eaten an avocado in Italy, nor met an Italian who would approve of one at his table. But I wanted some balance with the pasta to follow, and wanted a softer, less pungent version of guacamole to do that, so lemon replaces the traditional lime and I use summer-scented basil instead of cilantro; I use no jalapeños at all.

For similar reasons, I use scallions rather than regular, digestion-searing onions, and I don't use tomatoes. This dish is all green, all good.

To serve, try to forget, if you can, tortilla chips. Use sugar snap peas, quartered fennel, or swords of bittersweet chicory instead, for dunking, or just smear this jade clay on fabulous toasted sourdough bread.

The pasta that follows is in some sense the ur-pasta, spaghetti in its most primitive and delicious form: al sugo crudo, which translates from the Italian, quite literally, as spaghetti "with a raw sauce." Tomato sauce, of course. Raw tomatoes are thus peeled, deseeded and chopped, then left to steep with a little sugar, some salt, pepper, a bruised garlic clove and good olive oil. If your tomatoes are fresh and fat and ripe — and they will be, increasingly, as the weeks pass into summer — you'll find that there is perhaps no finer way to dress pasta.

And by all means add cubes of fresh buffalo mozzarella to the soused tomatoes before if you want (and I often do). But my feeling is that if you're going for ricotta next, as dessert, then you can leave the tomato sauce cheeseless here.

As for the grilled zucchini, these aren't obligatory either, but they do offer a sweet textural contrast to the pasta. Besides, this is dinner — why hold back?

The baci di ricotta — perfect kisses, hot, soft and melting — are a surprisingly easy dessert if there aren't too many of you eating. It's just a question of mixing ricotta, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, eggs and flour in a bowl (by hand) and then frying rounded teaspoonfuls of the batter in just under an inch of oil until you have some light, small, vaguely ball-shaped fritters that need no more than a powdery dusting with confectioners' sugar. I love them, too, with a few sliced strawberries on the side. But you don't even have to treat them as a proper dessert. Just put a dish mounded with them on the table with coffee and watch them go.

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To: SIer formerly known as Joe B. who wrote (667)5/15/2003 7:39:48 PM
From: blind alley racer
   of 2061
Beating the Path to Organic, Through a Paperwork Jungle

May 14, 2003

SO you want to open an organic restaurant.

With organics becoming more and more popular, you probably envision crowds of environmentally aware, health-conscious diners clamoring for tables. But you should also be prepared for a daunting challenge: a constant search for organic ingredients that won't demolish your budget, mountains of paperwork and a certification process that can take years.

When federal rules defining how foods — and restaurants — could be certified as organic were adopted in October, only two restaurants met the stiff criteria: Nora's, in Washington, and the Ukiah Brewing Company, in Ukiah, Calif. They had already been certified as organic by one of the independent local agencies that are now authorized to grant federal certification. These agencies report increased inquiries from restaurants.

Among the restaurants that have started down the path to certification is Le Pain Quotidien, a chain of 10 bakery-cafes in New York and Los Angeles. For Alain Coumont, the company's founder, the reasons are personal.

"This is not a gimmick, some marketing ploy; it's something I believe in," said Mr. Coumont, who started the chain in Belgium in 1990 and who opened his first store in the United States on Madison Avenue in 1997. "I eat organic as much as possible, so why not serve the same things to our customers?"

He said that about 70 percent of the food he sells is organic. His goal is first to have his bread certified. He will consolidate the baking, which is now done in his stores, in a new plant being built in Queens. And the bakery might be the easy part, because bread-making requires relatively few, easily available ingredients, and the company already uses organic stone-ground flour.

Before the cafes can be certified, Mr. Coumont will have to prove that every ingredient has come from an organic farm or supplier (certified, of course), and have the paperwork at hand.

If a restaurant is moving from using conventional suppliers to organic, the nonorganic ingredients must be kept separate from the organic ones at all times. And then there is the cost: many organic foods are twice as expensive as conventional items. The certification process costs about $3,000, and there are annual fees.

The owner of a would-be organic restaurant has to be persistent, and committed to the cause. Allen Cooperrider, an owner of Ukiah Brewing, which has been completely organic for nearly two years and was certified by California Certified Organic Farmers, said: "It takes hundreds of pages of paperwork. We use 35 purveyors instead of just two or three like conventional restaurants."

Buying meat, Mr. Cooperrider said, is the biggest hurdle. "Though we can get chicken, beef is very difficult and very costly, and we're competing with restaurants that pay two-thirds less," he said, adding that there is very little organic lamb, and what exists is expensive.

At Le Pain Quotidien, vegetables, lettuce and many of the condiments that go into the soups, salads and sandwiches are organic. So are the teas, juices, eggs, nuts, raisins, sugar and milk. The decision to use organic milk, Mr. Coumont said, was a big one because it is twice as expensive as regular milk; he had to raise his price for a cappuccino or latte by 10 cents. The price of some breads has increased slightly.

"There are certain products, like preserves and olive oil, that Alain has spent a lot of time finding," said Laurent Halasz, the president of the company's American division. "We won't compromise on quality. And even though we know the fruits and the olives are grown organically, the farms are not certified, so we are helping them get the label."

Mr. Coumont said: "This is a big decision, and now that I've made it I do not want to compromise. I'm making a political and social statement because I see farms going out of business and water you can't drink because it's polluted from farms that use too much pesticides." He estimates that it will take at least two years for the company to be 95 percent organic, the acceptable federal threshold.

Others familiar with organics, like Gary Hirshberg, the president of Stonyfield Farms Yogurt, which has opened three fast-food cafes called O'Naturals in Maine and New Hampshire in the past two years, said that two years is an optimistic estimate. Though he expects that all of his yogurts will be 100 percent organic in another year and a half, his estimate for the cafes, which serve salads, sandwiches and the like, is closer to four years.

"Nora can pull it off more easily because she's doing it on a microscopic scale at a high premium," he said, referring to Nora Pouillon, whose restaurant Nora's became completely organic in 1999 and was certified by Oregon Tilth, a large certifying agency, last year. "What we're doing is more price-sensitive. Our average check is $7."

Ms. Pouillon said: "When I first opened, the hardest part was finding the products. I was limited to local growers and the seasons. It has got easier every year." She keeps records on every ingredient she uses and must file changes to her frequently revised menu with the certifying agency.

Her second restaurant, Asia Nora, is not certified, nor is it likely to be, she said, because many of the ingredients in the cuisine are not yet organic.

Some of Ms. Pouillon's cooks who have moved on to other restaurants have not kept the organic faith, she said. "They say it's too expensive and takes too much time, and I find that attitude depressing."

Some owners of organic restaurants will not even try to obtain certification. "I've been nearly 100 percent organic for 27 years," said Jesse Cool, who owns Flea Street Cafe and JZ Cool Eatery in Menlo Park, Calif. "But right now, certification is not what I'm after. I want to support local farms and have a place where the clientele trusts my food and knows what I'm doing. And if you're not a high-end restaurant, price becomes too much of an issue with certain products."

Juliano's Raw in Santa Monica, Calif., which is owned by Juliano Brotman, a proponent of raw food, was just certified. It was a relatively painless two-month process because the restaurant is vegan, using no meats or dairy products. "But we've had trouble finding organic truffle oil and coconut," said Rod Rotondi, the manager.

Mr. Coumont, whose Pain Quotidien restaurants are more mainstream, has other compromises to consider. "If my customers want Coca-Cola, that will never be organic," he said. "Before long I'll have to make a decision about that, too."

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To: blind alley racer who started this subject5/15/2003 7:44:38 PM
From: blind alley racer
   of 2061
Fishing for Clarity in the Waters of Consciousness


The study of consciousness has always fascinated me. I love all the impossible arguments about the self and the nature of experience. I also love fishing, but I never expected the two interests to coincide or, more precisely, collide.

I heard the crash when I read the word "nociception" in the current issue of that esteemed scientific journal Field and Stream, which I often read, but not usually for news of neurobiology.

The word was in a news item about the research of Dr. James D. Rose at the University of Wyoming. Dr. Rose published a paper last year in The Review of Fisheries Science. In it, he argued that fish do not have the brains to produce a level of consciousness capable of feeling pain.

What is occurring in fish, he said, is nociception, which, in fishing terms, is to get hooked but feel no pain. This is not at all the same as a fisherman who is "feeling no pain" and fails to notice he has hooked himself in the ear. Nociception is what most people imagine happens when a worm is put on a hook in order to catch a fish. The worm clearly reacts, but it is hard to imagine that it has a conscious mind that can register pain.

No sooner had I read this than a colleague called to my attention a study about to be published in one of the many proceedings of the British Royal Academy, proving that fish do feel pain.

None of this was good news. I like to think about consciousness, because I have it, although for the life of me I can't think why. Particularly when I am fishing, I prefer not to think about who I am. I consider fishing one of those pursuits in which you can lose yourself, along with a lot of expensive flies.

Resist as I might, once I learned about the papers, I was compelled to read them. I started with Dr. Rose, whose paper was thick with neuroscience and philosophy. He described the accepted division of consciousness into primary and higher. Higher consciousness is what I have, and which I assume, but cannot really prove, that you have. Chimpanzees may have it, too. But the consensus is that guinea pigs and frogs and men who wear golfing pants do not have it.

Primary consciousness, thought to be more widespread, consists of awareness but not awareness of self. An organism would experience sensations and feelings of who knows what sort. Pain would feel like pain; it just wouldn't be clear who was feeling it.

There is no real argument for fish having higher consciousness. What Dr. Rose argues in his paper is that they do not have the brain structure, like the neocortex, which has been shown to be active during conscious experience, and is thought to be necessary for it. Nor do fish have other structures complicated enough to support consciousness, at least in any way comparable to human beings.

I turned to the article to be published in The Proceedings of the Royal Society Series B in June, but posted ahead of time on the Web for subscribers. In the paper, Dr. Lynne U. Sneddon and Dr. Michael J. Gentle of the Roslin Institute in Midlothian, where the sheep Dolly was cloned, and Dr. Victoria A. Braithwaite of the University of Edinburgh reported first that they had demonstrated nociception in fish. No argument from Dr. Rose there.

They claimed further to have demonstrated that fish feel pain, by injecting them with bee venom and noting prolonged behavior like rubbing the spot of the injection as if it hurt.

Rather than simply quote dueling scientists, I settled on a referee. I called Dr. Piet Hut, an astrophysicist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., where Einstein worked. Dr. Hut is not just any old astrophysicist. He also has a profound interest in consciousness and philosophy, so he knows the turf. He is not an angler. Although he was once a vegetarian, he does now eat some fish but no meat.

Of Dr. Rose's work, Dr. Hut said: "I think it's a very interesting study. But we're still quite far away from solving the problem of consciousness of fish."

He said he thought that the paper made a convincing case that there was no evidence in fish brain structure to indicate consciousness that is comparable to human experience.

But, Dr. Hut said, there was really no way of telling whether fish might have some form of awareness unlike that of humans or mammals.

As to the other paper, Dr. Hut said, simply showing a reaction to negative stimuli was insufficient. No organism would survive if it did not move away from negative or damaging stimuli. Robots could be programmed to do the same without being conscious. But the behavior witnessed in response to bee venom injections, he said, head rubbing and movements that suggested persistent pain, "makes it a little bit more plausible that there could be something that we could call consciousness."

This was not proof, by any means, but he said that if he had to choose how to act "I would give them the benefit of the doubt." The fish, that is. He would not, however, assume that what fish feel can be understood in human terms.

There are big environmental issues at stake beyond the moral purity of the individual. On the one hand, if people stopped fishing or there were laws banning it (and people obeyed them), no fish would get hooks in their mouths. On the other hand, a huge political force for cleaning up rivers and lakes and ponds would be lost. And because fishermen, particularly catch-and-release fishermen, support the preservation of wild rivers, there would probably be fewer fish.

Dr. Hut had the most difficulty with the idea of catch-and-release fishing, in which the fish, if they suffer, suffer for the angler's pleasure. "If I were to fish," Dr. Hut said, "I think I would eat the fish rather than throwing it back."

Fish might prefer to be treated less ethically, getting hooked, caught and tossed back rather than eaten. But then, neither paper addressed the question of whether fish can do philosophy.

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