Food for Thought: The Joys and Benefits of Living Vegan

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February 2008
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Many companies boast that their personal care and household products are "cruelty-free" and "not tested on animals," a label more and more consumers are seeking. Today's episode addresses the fact that neither the FDA nor the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which regulate cosmetics/personal care and household products, respectively, require animal testing to ensure the safety of their products. In other words, there is no law that mandates animal testing for cosmetics and household products. Learn about the common animal tests used to test safety, the alternatives that are slowly replacing these tests, and some fabulous companies whose products deserve a place in every compassionate person's bathroom. (This episode is part of our "Compassionate Series," which features favorite companies/organizations/products/experts in the context of the topic. Enjoy!)

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According to the World Health Organization, people who live in high-income countries and middle-income countries predominantly die of chronic "lifestyle" diseases or "diseases of civilization"(Alzheimer's disease, atherosclerosis, asthma, cancer, chronic liver disease, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, stroke, depression, diverticulitis, gallstones, and obesity). In low-income countries, people predominantly die of infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and influenza. we’ve come so far in learning how to prevent infectious diseases. We should all be very grateful that we don’t have to contend with malaria on a daily basis – that we wake up and have little chance of contracting whooping cough. But what have we traded this for? We have all the information we need to prevent 80% of premature deaths and we do nothing. For what?

Direct download: diseases.mp3
Category:Nutrition, Food, Health, Society & Culture, News & Politics -- posted at: 1:47am PST
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Today’s episode is part of our "Compassionate Series," which features favorite companies/organizations/products/experts in the context of the topic.) If you’re seeing this episode after the “holidays” have already passed, please don’t tune it out. The information is relevant ANYTIME and ALL the time, and you’ll be happy you listened to hear about these fabulous companies and their equally fabulous products for healthful, happy, humane living. There's lots of information here about tea - the difference between green, white, black, and oolong - and about wax used for candles.

Direct download: gift_guide.mp3
Category:Nutrition, Food, Health, Society & Culture, News & Politics -- posted at: 1:54am PST
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Whether you’re packing lunches for your children for school or your partner for work or for yourself to take to the office; whether you're a teenager packing your own lunch or a college student looking for quick and easy meals; whether you're someone who works outside - as a gardener or landscaper, carpenter or construction worker; whether you're going on a picnic, going camping, or taking a road trip or a plane ride, you may want to listen to this episode. Packed with ideas and suggestions for a number of different sandwiches, snacks, and salads (grain, pasta, noodle, fruit, bean, tofu, or tempeh), Food for the Road leaves no stone unturned.

Direct download: food_for_the_road.mp3
Category:Nutrition, Food, Health, Society & Culture, News & Politics -- posted at: 1:47am PST
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At Animal Pharm, an anomaly is born. Whether a piglet with the hands and feet of a human baby or a human baby with the head and tail of a piglet, Ziggy only wants to find what we all seek. It is my pleasure to read this moving tale by the talented Shad Clark.

Direct download: littleboypig.mp3
Category:Literature, Food, Health, Society & Culture, News & Politics -- posted at: 1:46am PST
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Cow's milk contains calcium because cows eat grass. Calcium is a mineral that comes from the ground, which means, like grass, all green leafy vegetables are teeming with this nutrient. Let's explore the rationale behind human adults drinking another animal's milk when we don't even drink our own species' milk into adulthood. Perhaps all the calves are laughing at us, for even they stop drinking their own mothers' milk when they become adults. In other words, I think we have a lot to learn from the cows.

Direct download: calcium.mp3
Category:Health, Society & Culture, Fitness & Nutrition, News & Politics -- posted at: 1:52am PST
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When we closely examine the traditions of such holidays as Thanksgiving and Halloween, we see that we can honor their deeper meanings while still honoring our ethics and our values. Much of what informs our consciousness about these holidays is myth, which is fine. It’s fine to use myth to create rituals and traditions, but the point I make in this episode is that we pick and choose our cultural and personal traditions all the time, and these choices don't necessarily reflect some historical fact. I also spend a great deal of time talking about how vegan children can partake in all the fun of Halloween without being deprived. Finally, I offer some suggestions for using Halloween as an opportunity for advocacy.

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What if I had my own hens and ate her eggs? What if I had my own cow or goat and drank her milk? What about honey? Is it considered "vegan"? These are some of the questions people ask as they begin to consider the ethical issues of consuming animal products. Though I don't pretend to have the one definitive answer, I am happy to share my thoughts.

Direct download: drawing_the_line.mp3
Category:Nutrition, Food, Health, Society & Culture, News & Politics -- posted at: 1:46am PST
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With a penchant for romanticizing their consumption of animals, many people declare that they "pray over meat" or "weep over the animals who sacrifice themselves for us - just like the Native Americans." Not only does this attempt to assuage our discomfort make no difference to the animals we kill (for naught), I wonder: who's praying for the animals who are still alive? Who's weeping for those who need our help? And if it's so compassionate to pray over an animal while we slit her throat, isn't it even MORE compassionate to pray over an animal and NOT slit her throat? Join me as I explore what's really underneath this third-rail issue and as I suggest that it is not only insulting to the animals but to the Native Americans themselves.

Direct download: native_americans.mp3
Category:Nutrition, Food, Health, Society & Culture, News & Politics -- posted at: 1:47am PST
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Though I love talking about all things vegetarian with like-minded friends, my favorite people to engage with are strangers, whether on land or in the air (on planes). The more time we invest in conversations about vegetarianism and animal rights, the better advocates we will be and the more seeds we will plant. Despite the common assertion that "people don't want to talk about these issues," I actually experience quite the opposite. Join me today as I talk about some recent encounters with strangers on planes (the good and the bad) and how I responded to some frequently asked questions about animal rights and vegetarianism, particularly those that relate to religion.

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