Archive for the ‘vegan news’ Category
France recently voted in favor of a law that makes it illegal for supermarkets to throw away and destroy edible food in order to cut waste. Interestingly enough, I remember reading a few weeks ago an article about a young British couple that had opened a grocery store in a small English town that was reselling fresh produce and packaged food that had past their expiration date and had been donated by local superstores. It is a brilliant idea which is so overdue!
Honestly, with an ever growing population, dwindling resources, real threats from climate change to our fragile ecosystems, we must all learn to do more with what we have and more importantly NEVER waste. And this is exactly what this new new law was designed to do. From now on, all food chains in France will have to donate discarded food to charity if it is safe to eat or to farmers if not safe to eat (to be turned into animal feed, compost or energy.)
In the beginning, the law will only apply to large stores over 4,305 square feet. They will have until July 2016 to sign necessary agreements with charities, or face fines of up to €75,000. Can you imagine that until now, anyone found scavenging grocery stores bins could be charged with theft? Garbage? It is madness I tell you! On the one hand, we have so much food on store shelves, trucks keep unloading products day in and day out and on the other, our food banks are suffering from lack of donations, the poor quality of what they get (mostly cans, processed food…). So this could totally be a game changer, if we were to follow suit in the US and around the world.
According to a fascinating new documentary called “Just Eat It, shoppers throw away about one-fifth of every food products they buy at the grocery store. There are several ways to remedy this situation. We could buy less but more frequently as the Europeans do, create a menu plan for the week, shop with a list (and never when hungry!), compost fresh produce gone South if you have a back yard. You get the idea!
While food waste is often associated with Supermarkets it also happens every day in restaurants… Take French restaurants, they waste 15 percent of the food they serve but that’s nothing compared to consumers wasting up to 67 percent!
Even with the current leftover food thrown away by consumers, there are options to recycle that waste. Take the Swiss company Kompogas. It collects organic waste from residential and commercial buildings (from separate bins) and turns it into free compost for the city and energy in the form of natural biogas.
The French law will also introduce a food program to educate schools and businesses on reducing food waste and to remove best- before dates on fresh foods. The goal is to cut by half the food waste by 2025. It is estimated that of the total 7.1 million tons of food waste in France, 67% comes from consumers, 15% from restaurants, 11% by stores.
In the US, with the increasing number of people applying for food stamps, eating in soup kitchens, such a law would be a boon for food pantries around the country who have seen their supplies dwindle over the past few years. Did you know that if a person is found foraging in supermarkets food bins they can be apprehended by police for theft… That’s when you know that new laws putting an end to this madness need to be written and passed.
Now that the law has been voted, charities (like food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters etc.) will have time to organize and invest in refrigerators and trucks to be ready for the food donations. But that’s a small price to pay to get abundant free produce and food for the needy!
So what would it take to make this happen in the US? Should it be done at the Federal level or should it be at the state or even county level? America is a big country! Talk to your representatives, to your local charities… we need to get the ball rolling here because we produce more than any other country in the world! What are some of the challenges? Primarily a concern over liability and logistics. Turns out, there is no liability for store owners thanks to the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, passed by Congress in 1996 protecting them from civil and criminal liability. The bill protects, individuals, farmers, store owners, wholesalers, caterers, restaurant owners when donating food in good faith. What about logistics? Superstores don’t typically have extra space to store food “past its peakeness” and cannot always wait for agencies to pick them up at their convenience. Many don’t even know they can donate or who to contact to make this happen. There is obviously a lot we can do to improve the situation.
There are a few interesting articles and organizations that have tried tackling this issue:
Feeding America and Food Finders are the most active and act as middle men between donors and charities. They have established partnerships with Wal-Mart, Target, Kroger, and Trader Joe’s. That’s a great start but the US is a big country and the solution must be modular, scalable and repeatable.
Below are some useful links if you want to find out more about this issue in the US, that will clarify what we can do.
You win some, you lose some… This seems to be Monsanto‘s new motto ! They sure have been in the news a lot lately! While Whole Foods and others have surrendered to the GMO king in the US, the Daily Mail, a British newspaper reported that the UK and Europe succeeded in no less than ousting the company and its products from its markets and borders! Sayonara! Goodbye, bon voyage… and don’t come back!
Wow, it is amazing what people can do when they mobilize en masse with a specific goal in mind (the Occupy movement could learn a thing or two from them and in this case to have a point!)
So Monsanto, as a result, will be closing off their Cambridge-based wheat production, selling off GMO crop-breeding centers in France, Germany and the Czech Republic. As a result, other companies like Bayer CropScience have followed suit and closed shop too!
Now, if the UK, France and the Czech Republic managed to kick them out, we can do the same in the US. Granted, we are off a slow start since the US is the largest producer of GMO crops but we need to start somewhere. Take California, they introduced a ballot initiative, another one is under way in the state of Washington and many others are thinking about doing the same.
Forget the USDA and FDA as watchdogs looking after the well being of Americans, because many former executives of Monsanto (see diagram) are now conveniently, for them, watching over the interests of their former employer! You would think that this would constitute total collusion of interests, but somehow, our Federal government doesn’t seem to see any problem with that!
Read the original article who broke the news here
More interesting reading on the company.
And to celebrate this great news, how about some organic popcorn for everyone? Don’t forget to sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top for an added cheezy flavor and lots of vitamin B!
It is practically a supplement!
The largest retailer of ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ foods in the US just gave up fighting against GE crops (a.k.a Genetically Modified organisms or GMO). Now, why would a giant like Whole Foods, the champion of all things natural and healthy would do such a thing? Well, they say, because 2/3 of the products they sell contain some form of GMO products and that they are not labelled as such. Many products touted as natural are actually conventional products, processed like the others. So why fussing about this! Great, if the bar wasn’t low enough, now let’s take the bar down completely!
So what are we talking about? Mainly GMO Corn, soy and canola are the
main culprits here and they have found they way into so many products these days. So if Whole Foods were to be a no GMO store, they would have to get ridd of lots of products and that doesn’t bid well to the bottom line. We get that.
But as “leaders” of all things natural, they could lobby for GMO labelling as a start like the European Union did. They not only fought againts it but succeeded in kicking it out for the most part. You may
be surprised to know that there is moratorium on GM Organisms in France, Germany, Greece, Austria and Luxembourg (meaning it is outright banned) and for the remaining countries in the EU, labels must clearly indicate GMO ingredients. We are far from this in the US. So it is
Considering the billions of dollars the bio-tech industry (mostly
Monsanto) pours into buying public officials, seats in the USDA, the media and the scientific community, it has flat out failed in Europe (they know what is good for them and what is not!) but giants don’t take no for answer, so they set shop elsewhere, like Brazil, China, Spain, Africa, where greedy, gullible and desperate people bought their lies.
Don’t take my word for it, check the map below to see who is growing GMO crops! Start with the US, then look around. Not so popular anywhere else where people seem to care about what they grow and ingest ! What’s wrong with Americans?
There are no magic seeds, folks! Mother Nature already provided us with
all the magic we need. It is the scientific mind in all of its arrogance that thinks it can do better. But when you look closely, all you will see, is a trail of tears and blood. Tears, because farmers using these seeds end up bankrupt from all the chemicals they have to buy just to be able to grow these seeds (and these are good size agro-businesses, the little farmers are on the extinction list!) And blood because thousands of farmers in India, for example, have committed suicide, because a slight drought devastated their crops and nothing was produced year after year (but they still need to pay the loan for the seeds and the fertilizers). Not so magic after all but who is talking about this? The picture isn’t pretty. Wait, the horror movie doesn’t end here, GMO contamination can also take you to court because these GM seeds are patented! If your neighbor happens to be growing GMO seeds and the wind happens to blow them in your fields, then you owe money to the seed manufacturer for growing their franken seeds. How did we let this happen?
So as we get sicker, fatter and more tired, when are we, the American people, going to fight for what is right for us and our children? I hate doing the “us” and “them” game, but if the multinational corporations had a ounce of conscience and responsibility, we wouldn’t be in this position in the first place, would we?
Billions of people Vs a handful of powerful corporations.
Don’t you think that we could do what Europe did? What do we have to
lose? Let’s see, what is left of our health and that of our children, local food safety and our right to healthy and nutritious food.
In the meantime, you can download a free guide to GMO free food.
Here is a list of non GMO seeds companies in case you are looking for non-GMO seeds for you garden.
Another great book to read on this is Seeds of Deception, by Jeffrey Smith.
More articles on this.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if people were to stand for their values, their culture and their health? Good things for sure. For one, they would make sure that their values, their culture and the public health is preserved for themselves and future generations. Not a small achievement, by any means!
Take Bolivia for instance, after 14 years of trying to break into this country, McDonald’s announced the closure of its 8 restaurants in all major cities due to the lack of business. This new trend isn’t limited to Bolivia, restaurants will be closed in 7 other countries that haven’t done well either. McDonald’s fast food isn’t welcomed here anymore!
Kudos to the people of Bolivia for having followed the wisdom of your culture, not succumbed to the temptation and the deadly trap of American fast food, for having taught your children well as to the goodness of food made with love and wholesome ingredients!
Can you imagine if the American people were to exercise their right to have delicious, wholesome food at a reasonable price? Since supply follows demand, it shouldn’t take too long before visible changes would be seen. America doesn’t have much of a culinary history as the rest of the world does, so Americans can’t be as picky. But, access to affordable healthy food is a right not a privilege and we should demand it from now on.
How about following Bolivia’s example and create the world we want to live in by standing for our good values, for the benefit of the many instead of the few?
So, what about occupying McDonald’s?
I can already hear the slogan in the distance: “McDo, Hell no!”
Can you? Start singing, folks!
France Outlaws Vegetarian
and Vegan Meals in Schools
Are you kidding me? Being French, this news just about socked me in the gut. Actually, even my father who is a pescatarian (no red or white meat, no cow dairy products, only goat cheese and fish) keeps telling me that France will be the last country in the world to willingly decrease its meat consumption because people are soo attached to their steak and fries. As of today, France has to be one of the most vegan hostile country in the world. Come on, there is attachment and there is obsession! This is ridiculous and so sad for this country!
There are a few moments in my life where I have wanted to entirely dissociate myself from my country of birth, and well this would be one of them. I felt the same when blatent tampering with voting machines and other unethical tactics resulted in someone I won’t name, steal the elections. I almost considered moving to Canada!
So what could have caused such a drastic decision?
‘The French agriculture minister, Bruno Lemaire, declared in January 2010 that the government’s aim in determining its public nutritional policy was to defend the French agricultural model and specifically to counter initiatives such as those of Paul McCartney calling for a reduced consumption of meat with his Meatless Monday campaign.’
The decree supposedly came as an attempt to improve the quality of school meals. But the French public health authorities hold, in opposition to the findings of most medical authorities in Europe and in the world, that a balanced diet is impossible without animal products. How convenient for the agro-business! How lame too!
Below is the summary of what was decided (courtesy of Team One Green Planet):
“France has issued a governmental order mandating that all meals served in school canteens in France must contain animal products, and that meat and fish will be served at a certain minimum frequency. This implies that no vegetarian or vegan can eat at any public or private school in France (bringing lunch to school is not an option, since the government has also banned packed lunches).
France is planning to pass similar requirements for almost all forms of catering from kindergartens to hospitals, prisons and retirement homes.
So are vegan and vegetarian kids in France supposed to survive on french fries? REALLY?”
FOOD FOR THOUGHTS:
This goes to show a few things if you read between the lines:
1) The meat and dairy industry are losing market share in France and are trying their ultimate dirty trick to ensure their survivavibility.
2) Paul Mc Cartney’s Meetless Monday’s initiative is gaining ground in Europe.
3) The Vegetarian/vegan movement is quietly growing in France threatening the status-quo.
THE REAL ISSUES:
I can’t help to wonder what will kids with dairy and lactose allergies do then? That should be a legal nightmare for the government to get around. French people don’t sue as easily as Americans but this would be great ground for it. I hope that parents will mobilize to protect the health of their children. We are not saying take everything dead out (although this would be great too), but provide at least a few vegan options, even if it is only the garniture (that’s what I end up eating quite often in restaurants that don’t even have one safe option on their menu).
If this decree is extended to hospitals (God forbid) as they are planning to, then you better not get sick or injured in France! Because vegans won’t be able to eat anything on the menu. As in all things, there is always a silver lining. If you are sick or injured, fasting may be the best thing to do to heal. You can always ask for some fruit and nuts or have friends sneak some snacks for you.
While the rest of the world is reducing its production and consumption of farm animals, getting healthier and adopt more sustainable farming practices, France will remain the cavemen of Europe, if this decree is not challenged. They will be the unevolved descendants of Lascaux caves! Those who actually painted all the amazing animals had artistic appreciation for other species! When will we learn?
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
If you still plan on visiting France or Paris, make sure to patronize vegetarian and vegan restaurants, they will need your support moving forward.
Sin city must be looking for some redemption because it is now offering vegan choices in Wynn and Encore hotels and restaurants. With endless huge buffets where vegans can usually only find meager selections and not always very flavorful ones, the news of vegan options will be music to your ears!
Who do we have to thank for this great development?
To casino mogul, Steve Wynn himself. His motto: “I’m killing two birds at once, so to speak. Animal-based food kills people. This way by going vegan … we get healthy and save animals… I just wish I’d come to all of this earlier in my life instead of later. Who knows how much it would have changed everything?”
When Steve Wynn, Mike Tyson, Russell Simmons and Bill Clinton publicly announced going vegan (not all at once, but you get the point!), you know this isn’t a trend du jour! Powerful people are figuring it out for themselves and sticking to it. And this is just the ones who had the courage to come out publicly about it. Many have been vegetarian for years but thought it was a personal choice and didn’t feel the need to convince others about the importance of it. Now, with climate change, food insecurity due to weather changes, rising market prices … +50 billion animals slaughtered every year (10 in the US alone), business as usual is no longer an option! So get ready for more celebrities coming out of the closet so to speak! But to tilt the scale, everyone has to head in this direction, not just the rich and famous. It is a little like Horton hears a hoo!
So if you are heading for Vegas and were dreading the dining part of the trip, make sure to check out the menus of the Wynn and Encore restaurants here.
Other restaurants serving vegan options are: The Country Club, Bartolotta, Botero (Steakhouse $60 five-course vegan tasting menu). While you may not want to patronize a steakhouse (I certainly don’t, you have have to draw the line somewhere!) it may be an option if you travel with meat eating people. But the first 2 options will do the trick.
It is funny how things work.
The sharp rise in meat prices (40%) in Sudan is forcing people to make bold decisions such as boycotting lamb, beef and chicken which are prominently featured in the Sudanese diet. Too much in fact. Add to this a 21.1% inflation… So people are upset, thinking that maybe so much meat wasn’t such a good idea in the first place. They are researching things out, the fact that doctors are saying that reducing meat consumption is a good thing and there are many alternatives in terms of protein available in Sudan.
So, looks like a new trend towards a more vegetarian lifestyle is on the rise in Sudan… Thanks to high prices and a new health concerns for its citizens. Let’s hope that it sticks and more nations will follow.
Frankly, with climate change, increased disruptions in rice and grain production, all nations are in line to feel the garanteed price fluctuations of the commodities market. So why not take the lead, make the switch. That’s something that we can do right now.
It is a good thing that I now live near Portland, the vegan capital of the US, otherwise, I may have purchased a plane ticket to the Netherlands when I read that some 75 percent of people there no longer eat meat. Wow, that’s huge! These are my peeps! As a result when you take something out of the system, new alternatives appear to fill the gap. This means a new segment of the food market is booming, the fake meat, ham, chicken, sausage industry. Taking advantage of the fast growing trend and to ensure a smooth and speedy transition, a new chain of stores called Vegetarian Butchers is taking over the country.
They went from opening one store in the Hague in October 2010 to 30 stores accross the country today! And that’s not the end of it. The success of the stores come from the amazing textures, flavors, so well prepared that even carnivores fall for them. Reasons for switching range from an ethical choice to no longer support animal exploitation and cruelty, to fear of infections and drug resistance. Greater sustainability is a real goal in some of the European nation and Holland is no exception. Eating lower on the food chain is one of the most powerful step one can take to lower our ecological footprint. In a very near future, we, as a specie, will have to decide whether we will feed animals or humans. It is that simple! At the rate of 50 billion animals slaughtered annually around the world, dwindling indispendable non-renewable resources and a growing population, the clock is ticking.
This being said, all vegetarian meats are processed (some more than others) and because of it, should be eaten in moderation with lots of fresh food. They also contain sodium, flavorings and binding agents. Still, they are a vast improvement over a cocktail of growth hormones, tranquilizers, arsenic and various antibiotics meat eaters ingest unknowingly on a daily basis (now you do!) They are a wonderful help to transition towards a plant-based diet, allowing vegetarians and vegans to join social events and blend in (not so obvious in some parts of the US!)
As in all things, there is always space for improvement. Some of the vegie meats still use egg white or some form of dairy product to create the amazing texture. Transitioning away from ALL animals products for food manufacturers hasn’t been an easy task. More steps are needed, temperature becomes essential, costs have gone up and so is the time to produce them. But with time, trials and errors, better products continue to hit the market and the thought of animal chuncks and by-products on our plates will soon become a thing of the past.
Kudos to the Netherlands for showing the way to a healthier, kinder and more sustainable world.
Read the full article here
If you ever doubted the validity and power of this belief and statement, doubt no further and check this out.
University of North Texas (UNT) just opened its first vegan cafeteria. It isn’t a hoax! From the ‘cattle state’, this is quite an extraordinary news. It is in fact the only mainstream university to offer an entirely VEGAN cafeteria in the US ! (applause). May many more universities follow their wise example. After all, healthier food, means better students, better results, happier campus overall. Everyone wins.
The cafeteria showcases an open design, bright colors, creative signs on the wall and a soothing atmosphere. What could have caused such a surprising and bold move? Simply to address the growing requests (since 2004) from a quarter of the students surveyed to provide them with some vegan selections, healthier choices “calorie-conscious, fat-conscious, whole grain, gluten-free and locally sourced food”. The moral of the story is that if you complaint loud and long enough, you will be heard and something will be done. We have a lot more power than we think.
So, the next time you feel a little down or think that things aren’t progressing fast enough, just remember that we only need to ask…
So, less complaining, more standing for what we believe and the world around us will change accordingly.
Read the entire article here
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