Tag Archives: health

Consciousness and eating animals

I’ve been a vegetarian for almost twenty years.  For me it is easy, fun and a delicious.  I no longer see vegetarianism as a sacrifice in any way.  Eating is celebration and to eat vegetables is delightful.

Mark Bittmann, the New York Times food critic seems to be building a path to live with joyous cruelty-free food:

Many vegan dishes, however, are already beloved: we eat fruit salad, peanut butter and jelly, beans and rice, eggplant in garlic sauce. The problem faced by many of us — brought up as we were with plates whose center was filled with a piece of an animal — is in imagining less-traditional vegan dishes that are creative, filling, interesting and not especially challenging to either put together or enjoy.

My point here is to make semi-veganism work for you. Once a week, let bean burgers stand in for hamburgers, leave the meat out of your pasta sauce, make a risotto the likes of which you’ve probably never had — and you may just find yourself eating “better.”

These recipes serve about four, and in all, the addition of salt and pepper is taken for granted. This is not a gimmick or even a diet. It’s a path, and the smart resolution might be to get on it.

via No Meat, No Dairy, No Problem – NYTimes.com.

Kudos to Bittmann for the column, approach, and recipes.  To have veganism be the suggestion for New Years resolutions is wonderful.  The New York Times, one of the most venerable newspapers in North America offers a marker of the persuasiveness of vegan choice in the current public dialogue.

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Filed under Animals, communication, food, health, representation

corn syrup vs sugar

Sunday morning + coffee +New York Times –> straightforward.  In the era of the interwebs I tend to read the Sunday Times online.

I’d been wondering about the difference between sugar and high fructose corn syrup ever since seeing the advertisements last summer reassuring me that I had nothing to worry about .  They were clearly corn industry folks defending their product by claiming it was identical to regular sugar.  Any time an industry advocacy group spends millions to reassure you that their product is identical to something ‘natural’ suggests you should learn more.

At the same time, I think that purity politics of food fanaticism aren’t very healthy.  High fructose corn syrup is in almost everything — especially cheap accessible food stuffs.   The solid explanation of just how damaging certain things are might simply leave us paralyzed.

Information seems like the appropriate middle ground.  Actual information about how things work that can help to inform key decisions I have to make.   THAT is useful.

With these in mind, I dove into the ten-page NYT article on sugars.  To find the key distinction is in the liver. Gary Taubes writes:

“The fructose component of sugar and H.F.C.S. is metabolized primarily by the liver, while the glucose from sugar and starches is metabolized by every cell in the body. Consuming sugar (fructose and glucose) means more work for the liver than if you consumed the same number of calories of starch (glucose). And if you take that sugar in liquid form — soda or fruit juices — the fructose and glucose will hit the liver more quickly than if you consume them, say, in an apple (or several apples, to get what researchers would call the equivalent dose of sugar). The speed with which the liver has to do its work will also affect how it metabolizes the fructose and glucose.”

via Is Sugar Toxic? – NYTimes.com.

As the next few pages point out, when we dump heavy sugar onto our liver it process it into fat and the body increases the development of insulin.  The correlative evidence has been observed for a couple of decades.

Knowledge we can use?  Well two of the prominent cancer researchers quoted in the article make the case to simply avoid sugar.  Here is the fairly compelling conclusion:

“But some researchers will make the case, as Cantley and Thompson do, that if something other than just being fatter is causing insulin resistance to begin with, that’s quite likely the dietary cause of many cancers. If it’s sugar that causes insulin resistance, they say, then the conclusion is hard to avoid that sugar causes cancer — some cancers, at least — radical as this may seem and despite the fact that this suggestion has rarely if ever been voiced before publicly. For just this reason, neither of these men will eat sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, if they can avoid it.

“I have eliminated refined sugar from my diet and eat as little as I possibly can,” Thompson told me, “because I believe ultimately it’s something I can do to decrease my risk of cancer.” Cantley put it this way: “Sugar scares me.”’

via Is Sugar Toxic? – NYTimes.com.

Aw, I ain’t scared!  More beer.  Whole grains.  Chard.  That’s what I learned.  To be “free” from the illnesses which plague this society is to live in delusion.  To live in frozen amber unable to move forward isn’t much better.  So live and act with information.

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